Our secure insecurity


Hello. I’m Kamal Kaur and I’m a Westgate Survivor and for now that is all I’m going to talk about that incidence. What I do want to talk about is the insecurity in our country, especially in my city because that’s where I am affected directly.

From every other day, the frequency of hearing of incidences, which almost always involve guns, seems to be daily. Whether they are urban legends or not, I have no idea but I do know that after what we went through at Westgate, people can come into our turf when they choose and do whatever they want. They proved it. Those are the terrorists that I’m talking about.

Then there are these thugs who have guns and access to motorbikes, stolen cars, police uniforms, security personnel uniforms, IDs of personnel who work in utility companies like electricity and water and goodness knows what else and turn up at your home to rob you.

The Westgate incidence happened on a Saturday but the Monday earlier that week I had two guys on a motorbike, wearing helmets, come to my gate and demand to be let in so that they could ‘finish some work that mzee had sent them to do’.  I didn’t open the gate but spoke from the little space between the gate and the wall. When asked which mzee had sent them, they pulled out a gun. Yes. They pulled out a damn gun at me and in shock, I ran off. It was my first instinct. I ran to the outdoor security panic button and pressed it and in the interim they had gone off on the motorbike. This was at about 3pm in the afternoon. This is how daring thugs are.


To make things more audacious, the security company did come on time and even though they couldn’t do much at that time, they hung around to ensure everything was ok. With them came a uniformed policeman who took our gardener aside and asked him for his mobile phone number. I overheard this and asked him why he needed to ask for the gardener’s number. He looked shocked that I spoke in such a loud voice and I kept insisting to know why he needed our gardener’s number. Is there a law for this kind of thing? I live quite near a police station and when I suggested we go there he brushed me aside and walked off. I complained about this but what could the private security company do when a guy with a gun in a uniform sits with them and calls himself a lawmaker behaves like that? He may not have broken a law but I felt violated. Why did he need the number?  I’m not an isolated case. My friend’s sister was shot at around 1pm on a busy road in Parklands. What was that all about? Unprovoked! And then to top it all, Al Shabab turns up. We are so busy minding other peoples’ business that we have forgotten to look after our own turf first.

My 8 year old son’s advice to the President and the Minister for Security is stop worrying about what Somalia is doing. Stay at the border and guard our country from there instead of going to their country to fight them. If a stranger came into our home and started attacking us, we retaliate by attacking back and calling security right?

Simplistic views of an 8 year old but I agree with him. Biased or not, he made sense to me. Let’s look after our own home before we go out sorting other peoples’ manenos. Fifty years on and we are still being ridiculed by the world when our own lawmakers can be so corrupt and turn against us to loot us.

I am angry and I feel very violated. If you have ever been robbed or have had a gun pointed at you or even shot at you, I’m sure you will know what I mean. This is not the first time I’ve had a gun shoved into my face. I’m all for community policing and agree with the directive that these thugs should be shot on sight. They lost their right to humanitarian rights when they decided they could start taking lives to loot.


  1. Dear Kamal Kaur,
    I understand how the Westgate incident has left people in fear, but i have now heard a different story from a close friend whose relative escaped from westgate but passed away due to the shock.This news has come out of Nairobi. I don,t know where the truth lies but as far as we know from the media there were 4 to 5 Somali Al – Shabab terrorists involved in the attack ,they got in started the firing completed the attack & got out of the building as hostages after changing there clothes they walked out with there hands held high as if they were hostages. As the first shots were fired GSU security force got to the scene first and tried to get in to secure the scene , Later on the army got there & demanded to take control of the situation. You will now be surprised as i was the Commander of the GSU unit was shot by the army as he refused to turn over the Command over to the Army. So here starts the 4 days of looting by the army regulars.To hide the evidence they threw in Grenades & Blew up the whole middle section down. This is all the corruption ..



    • Jasbir, while I appreciate you taking the time to reply and to give your point of view, I will strongly suggest you only say these things if you know them to be 100% true because when such unrest rises we cannot have hearsay take over our sense and sensibility and we start spreading such terror with stories.
      To hear it with your own ears is one thing, seeing with your own eyes is something else.
      Also my article isn’t about Westgate. It’s about the insecurity we seem to be facing with people holding others at gunpoint and robbing them of their valuables in broad daylight. I was relating my incidences about having a gun shoved into my face more than once.
      With all the trauma I’ve faced and am still facing, I have no wish to analyse what happened at Westgate. From 22nd September onwards, I refused to watch the TV and read any news articles on the same. I don’t want to hear concocted stories at all. Even I have ‘heard things with my own ears’ but I’m sensible enough to put it down to hearsay if people cannot provide evidence to support what they say.
      Thank you for reading Kamal’s Korner and thank you for taking the time out to give your opinion.


  2. I can relate to that experience.I had an AK47 shoved in my face in Uganda.wish kenyans would wake up and demand security as a priority above all else from their political leaders.No citizen should live with fear in their country.Keep up the good work.


    • The US has funded and armed the Kenyan army to wage war against Al-Shahab because it is risky and will cost American lives if they did it themselves. The US has destroyed many peaceful countries in this way over the last few decades. Kenyans should stand up to this as well as the the lack of internal security as you pointed out. SOme good has to come out of this tragedy.


  3. Kamal, my husband has been carjacked twice in Industrial Area, robbed twice at our office premises at gun point. To the extent we now keep our office doors grilled and locked. He was offered a gun by the guy at the kiosk for 1,000/=. That is how easily the guns are available.

    And no, he didn’t get one 🙂


  4. when i visited nairobi last june, my friend who own a shop in Nagara area narrated an incident where a person walked into his shop and demanded money pointing a gun at him, my friend fearing for his life emptied the tiller and gave all what he had including the amount in his valet. after an hour or two he went to the police station to file a complaint only to see the same person who came to rob him, sitting on one of the tables dressed in police uniform..can you imagine the shock he got.. this is the kenyan police who are corrupt to the core and as kamal kaur mentioned one has to clean once back yard first before venturing into others.


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