My plans for today sadly included waking up early and going into the office with Hubby so that I could pick up my friend, Wrestler, and make our way to the High Courts. While all of these happened today, some of them – like waking up – didn’t happen quite as I planned.
First off, Hubby woke up at 5:30 a.m. with stomach problems. (TMI perhaps but still pertinent to the story.) This naturally meant that I was woken up at 5:30 a.m. so I could call down the stairs periodically to see how he was feeling. Aren’t I a lucky girl? After reading a few chapters of “To Kill a Mockingbird” for my Book Group and chatting with Hubby about our plans for the future, I had finally fallen back asleep when my phone beeped at 7:30 a.m. to indicate that I had received an SMS.
Since no one I know has fully grasped that I don’t wake-up before 9:00 a.m., I assumed it was either Wrestler with news about a change in plans (that hopefully included me sleeping for another hour), or another friend whom I could plot to kill later. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.
“Security Update: Mungiki riots and area affected: Kawangware…” I stopped reading at this point since I knew that the news was already affecting my morning commute to the Organization. A few minutes later, I received a second message, this time saying that the police “had taken cover.” I decided that it was a typo and that the sender meant that the police had taken control of the situation.
Despite what many people first assumed, the riots were not in response to yesterday’s news about the world’s most bloated and overpopulated cabinet. (Honestly, if you’re the loser MP who didn’t get a Cabinet post yesterday, I kind of feel bad for you.) Rock quickly filled us in on the real cause for the disturbances: They were in response to last week’s killing of the wife and driver of the jailed Mungiki sect leader Maina Njenga. According to Rock, the Mungiki believed that the police were behind the two murders and also wanted to pressure the government into releasing Njenga from prison.
After debating whether or not the riots had leached onto the streets of downtown Nairobi, Wrestler and I made our way to the High Courts to act as moral support for the friend of a friend who was on trial for murder. It turns out that we were actually there for an arraignment hearing, meaning that we were able to sit through twelve other trials first – none of which we could hear. The lawyers and judges on Law and Order are WAY better mic’ed than their counterparts in the High Court.
The good news from the trial was that the charges against Friend of Friend were dropped – the first-degree murder ones that is. The judge then said that the police were free to re-arrest her on the lesser charge of manslaughter as soon as she had been released from custody. FoF has spent the last three and a half months in prison and I’m guessing that new charges will start her clock ticking again meaning that there is no telling when her real trial will be.
As all of this was going on, someone in the gallery kept calling out, “Murderess!” much to the consternation of the two-dozen people who were there on FoF’s behalf. I will share the details of the case, as they have been made familiar to me, at another time. Needless to say, this first-hand introduction to the Kenyan legal system was quite enlightening.