In Kenya, it’s very easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Yes, you could be very innocent. But this is a country where one is guilty till you prove yourself innocent. Never mind that could take years.
Today you could just be picked up in streets and before you know it, you are being charged with shooting those two people in the jewellery shop. Remember the guy who was charged with killing his wife only to see her in court during his trial. Remember the Mbai suspects who first saw the victim of their “murder” on TV while in police cells.
That is the Kenya I am talking about. And I have seen dozens of such framed up cases. The most important is to ensure that you always have an alibi to get you out of the hook should the worst happen. Here are just very few tips I have gathered over time from my experience with the law and its enforcers. You can add to the list.
1. If you go to a place where visitors sign in and out, please ensure you sign in and out. That record could come back to save you from death.
2. Whenever you shop for anything even in a supermarket or a petrol station keep the receipts for a couple of days. You may need them not just to prove you did the purchases, but also that you were in that shopping mall at that time.
3. Whenever you go for a wedding or any public gathering and those freelance photographers take pictures, please buy a few in which you feature.
4. If someone leaves you in their office or house, do not leave till they come back.
5. Whenever you enter a place that is CCTV monitored, look up straight to the camera (and smile).
6. When talking to someone who is inside a car and you are outside, don’t lay your fingers on it.
7. Whenever you append your signature on any paper, ensure there is a date and if there isn’t, write it down next to the signature.
8. Always keep note of the approximate times, especially when you make or receive calls.
9. Always photocopy an original document and keep the copy, no matter how small it may be.
10. Whenever you fill in a form or document, fill in all the blank spaces.
11. If possible always use different ink from others.
12. Always ensure you get ATM receipts and keep them for as long as you can.
13. When walking in the streets and you encounter a mob justice keep as far away as possible. If the victim dies a picture taken at the scene could just be enough to fix you as one or the only murder suspect even if you were just passing by.
14. If possible never accept cash. insist on cheques or other recordable modes of payment.
By Lawyer Wahome Thuku