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Inspiring:A Phone Call From America That Foiled Robbery In Western Kenya

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Jack AmbukeIt is almost mid-night in Bunyore western Kenya. People are in Lalaland-dead asleep. But in the land of Abraham Lincoln, a land of the free and a home of the brave- United States Of America-People are awake and going by their daily routine.

Unfortunately, all is not well in the village of Ebusikhakle Ebusokho in Bunyore western Kenya. Robbers are trying to break-in a family home. Although it is almost mid-night, mother and father of the homestead are not a sleep. From a distance they begin to hear commanding footsteps. Scared, they place calls to their sons and daughters in Eldoret, Nairobi and United States of America.

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Of the three phone calls, only one in United States went through. “Hello”, a mother’s trembling voice from a cross Atlantic Ocean rends through the ear of her daughter-Ms. Betty Clive Johns. “Hi mom, what’s happening?” Betty inquired. “We are hearing footsteps of people walking in the compound and others are trying to break the door. Thugs are in the compound”, a shaken mother cried out.

Those would be the last words between a mother and a daughter who are worlds apart. Fearing thugs would hear her communicating to the outside world for help, mother switched off her cellphone.

Confused, concerned, worried, perturbed, disturbed and angry is understatement of trying to describe a myriad of feelings Betty went through. In the heat of the moment, Betty embarked on emotional roller-coaster of calling anyone she could remember-in Kenya and abroad-who could call Luanda police station or any security agents for that matter.

I was among people that crossed Betty’s mind. I received a text message. “Do you know any police officer in Luanda? Robbers are breaking into my parents’ home. They have switched off their phones. I can’t communicate with them” the text read.  Since I was extremely busy, I hesitated to respond. After a minute, I got a follow-up text “please please respond.” I knew things were bad. I forwarded a couple of numbers including a number to my cousin Mr. Josephat Okwako-Chief Central Bunyore Location.

Meanwhile, Betty was on-line searching for emergency police phone numbers in Kenya. She got the following telephone numbers for Kakamega: Landline: 05620222l, cell: 0721350037. Nairobi central police station: Cell: 07213379999, Landline: 020222222. Nairobi police headquarter: Cell 0721228989, Landline: 020240000. Sadly, all the above numbers are either dysfunctional or emergency dispatchers were sleeping on the job. As they say, when it rains it pours. It really poured for this family.

Betty didn’t give up. She made numerous phone calls. Among all people who were called during the heat of that emergency, just one guy in Kisumu picked up the phone and salvaged the situation. The Kisumu guy called somebody who knew somebody that knew a police officer at Luanda police station. Police were called and thank God they intervened immediately with a sense of urgency. As they began to arrive in the compound, robbers sensed danger and flew in four different directions. It was claimed that as robbers flew, mother peeped through the window curtain and she saw a boy from the neighborhood that looked familiar. The family has recorded statements at Luanda police station. Meanwhile, police are investigating the incident.

Sadly, what happened at Bunyore rings a bell across the country. Insecurity is rampant. Yet, it shouldn’t take somebody who knows somebody to get security. Security is a basic need for every society. It is the foundation upon which economic and social tranquility rets. It is shameful that a family or individual could die, get robbed, killed and consumed in fire, for lack of emergency help services like ambulance and police.  Leaders of our country of Kenya should know better. In this digital and cellphone ages there’s no reason why technology cannot be devised as a tool to enhance security. Everyone has a cellphone in the palm of their hands. By a mere dial, it is possible to change tides and situations. Let’s use this cellphones as security apparatus.

That’s why we are appealing to Commander in chief of the armed forces president Uhuru Kenyatta, Inspector General (IG) of Kenya police Mr. David Kimaiyo and county police bosses to up their game, enhance security and introduce a functional emergency phone number that citizens can call during emergencies. If it were not for a mid-night phone call from Arizona, United States; a family in Ebusikhale Ebusokho in Bunyore would be reeling from injuries caused by robbers, would be distraught over stolen property and/or would be dead.

By Jacktone Ambuka, a Kenyan residing at State College Pennsylvania USA. You can reach me by email jsambuka@yahoo.com

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