Diary of a Kenyan Uber driver: Watchmen are the new KDF
5th November 2018
Back then when Redykyulass was ridiculously funny, they once chomoad a clip kuhusu watchies, you jua them: those watchies who handa you as if you’re helping them with investigations: unaenda wapi? Kwa nani? Wewe ni nani? Ati? Wapi ID? Uko na appointment? Na nani? Ako floor gani? Siskii. Umekuja kutafuta kazi au nini? Ati?
You’d have jijaziad that the corporate employers of kurutu ‘’digital” watchies wa siku hizi, yes, those ones who can be spotted marching in and out of Uhuru Park, would have screened it countless times as if it’s cholera, to chapia their recruits that their jobo is to guard premises and facilitate entry/exit, tosha.
To be fair, many watchies jobo in hoods where the bandikwad right of admission and the residents’ movements are as fictitious as “our employees are our greatest asset.” “No boda bodas or taxis allowed.” Yet, here are the residents, ingiaring and chucking in cabs viajab.
But, sisi ma dere reason ya kuishi is to serve our customers, and kwa kawa, we greet and tell watchies swatching, sorry, guarding these places, whom we’re picking/dropping; and on leaving, say “wazi, brathay”, coz we jua we’ll be back there one day.
I’ve experienced the originals and remixes of watchies’ madha: shouting where I am going coz the watchie won’t come out of the gate, to calling the customer so that the watchie can verify i’m halal, to being forced to drive in and out via one gate (that wasn’t part of driving school daros), to being swung wrong directions inside big estos (Nyari, mko konjo?), to the watchie closing the gate yet I’m dropping and bouncing, not being chipod ndani ya hiyo plot; to watchies banging the ndai as if being manambas is their side hustle (Space Lounge, mko?).
One usiku I got a call sides za Karen and the customer was courteous enough to show me that the feeder road leading to her cager was mbof. Real mbof that I needed a breakdown as escort? No, she replied. True, it was real dug up, like an MCA mtarajiwa was campaigning visugu via maendelo mashinani. But, the 195/65/r 15 tyres vumiliad. My fear was that the passengers ni wale wameshiba na wajaze the ndai 4 pax. I would need that breakdown…
True to the saying ‘mgeni siku ya kwanza hupotea’, I got lost searching for her hao and had to make a u-turn in the spirit ya “let’s start from the very beginning.” On shikaing the directions, I headed back, only, this time, to meet drums kaa zile za kidero blocking the runway. Two watchies appeared and I told them where I’m headed.
“Si ulitupita tuu hapa?” one said. I semad that I didn’t see anyone and, it’s not like they were as visible as an alcoblow road block: sirens, breakdown landis, karaos, spikes… I added that I was lost mara ya fao, but I now juad where to go. Drums didn’t roll. Haya, Iemme call the customer mubonge naye.
Drums didn’t roll.
I called the paymaster and it’s only after she sent her jungu huzy to confirm my presence was as legit as an accredited IEBC agent, (which msupa can dare venture into a mbof road, without mwangaza mtaani lights, surrounded by ungrabbed forest land?), that the drums rolled!
No need to deploy KDF to “hotspots,” send watchies instead.