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New Conmen Styles in Nairobi

Nairobi City center is renowned for its bee-hive of activities, from merchants to hawkers and the general public. Recently a friend of Nyanza daily shared her experience on what would have turned out to be a gruesome kidnapping ordeal. On Wednesday, Sharon (not her real name) went on an errand in town around midday to meet a client and unknown  to her, danger lurked around the the set rendezvous, which was next to Jeevanjee gardens. Being a drop and pick meet up, she decided to park her car near the area and wait for her client who was a few minutes away. In the process, she was approached by a guard who informed her she was at the wrong spot for parking. Being candid she requested for 2 minutes  before leaving, so as to wrap with the task at hand.

The guard agreed and went back to his station. Immediately she was approached by a man who emphasized he was working with the city inspectorate saying he had been studying her for a while and that he needed to confirm that she was not up to anything suspicious. He further added that she had stayed at the spot for too long and inquired if she had paid her parking fees and proof of it. In a bid to explain herself to the “officer” the man signaled his mate, a lady of about 35 years to come and join him as he had found Sharon violating the city laws. As all this unraveled , Sharon’s client called and she consequently gave directions to where she was. At this point, the two , man and lady had caused a commotion and insisted they had to take her to their headquarters to be charged as a petty offender. They insisted she let them in the car and by the time Sharon’s client was getting to the meet up point they were inside the car and were not willing to move an inch.

On reaching the venue , Sharon informed her client she had been busted by the authorities who insisted they leave the place and drive towards “their station’ somewhere around OTC. He then suggested that she follow their orders to find an amicable solution. Of course we all know they wanted ”chai”. The two individuals started shouting and commanding Sharon to pick up pace so as to get done with the whole process. Being innocent she followed their orders but at the back of her mind she kept questioning why the two did not have official uniforms meant for the city inspectorates. She remembered uttering the words  ” Nimeshikwa! Nimeshikwa! ( i’ve been arrested ) to her client but in a low tone, as if absent-minded, but unfortunately he did not have the smarts to pick up this distress call amid all the fracas.

They left the area and ended up driving all over town, while these two, conman and woman kept shouting and making demands on what seemed like an eternity. They finally got to OTC and she was asked to follow a specific route to their “headquarters” , the man asking her why she does not know the city inspectorate offices, which normally are based at city hall, she thought! Sharon mastered courage and asked them how much they wanted to let her go and without hesitation the man say KSh. 4,000. Meanwhile traffic was heavy around the area and vehicles had stalled. Sharon called her brother to try and get him to help and in the process added salt to injury with her new company as they inquired why she was using her phone while driving. The lady at the back kept hurling insults at her asking why she had no money on her yet she was driving, that they could not take her meager offer of KSh. 1,000 to set her free. She says she lost her cool and inquired what she had done to give them four thousand shillings.

Her client called back to inquire if she was safe and if there was any way he could help. Sharon put him up to speed on the happenings and he offered to help pay the amount.He the asked her to drive back to where they had left him to fetch the money but the the conman and woman hesitated to the idea. The two then signaled her to drive towards a dark alley and to look for a flag sign as their destination. Her gut feeling told her otherwise and she ended up taking a different turn from the one instructed. This pissed them off and they continued with their outbursts. In confusion, she ended up knocking another vehicle from the back but luckily it was a minor accident that went unnoticed.  Sharon then insisted she was not moving from that spot and that she had only a thousand shillings on her nothing more. The man picked up the anger in Sharon’s voice and this scared them. He offered to give them the 1000 bob or if they wanted more she could send or alternatively go and pick it from where his client was. They thought about it and decided to take the offer and immediately alighted the vehicle and disappeared.

Shook! she whispered a prayer and found herself weeping uncontrollably for some minutes before terminating her errands. Note better! Not everyone in town is a city inspectorate, and next time you are in town, check for the uniformed officers and know your way to city hall!

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