Kenyans, if you continue treating crime normally, it will treat you abnormally! It’s indeed an open secret that the ordinary citizen of this country does not really understand what it takes to qualify to be classified as a criminal.
Let’s take a walk down the memory lane, if you talk to those who lived in the 80’s and 90’s about crime related issues, they would probably tell you about how horrifying an experience in the hands of criminals would be. Why? Because of how ruthless and extremely violent the criminals were then.
This was the era of violent crime and traditional forms of executing it. It was talk of town and the known criminals were dreaded by everyone because they instilled a lot of fear in society.
Fast forward to the millennials and when you put the same question to them, they are clueless about how bad a violent criminal can get because they probably have never witnessed any of such scenes in their lifetime.
While the earlier generations hated crime and criminals with a passion, the latter have easily embraced the same and this is because many things have had to change in the way we handle our human rights issues with regard to the rights of an arrested person.
But has anything changed with respect to who a criminal is? My answer is NO. The first thing an individual loses upon becoming a criminal is conscience.
He grows cold feelings towards guilt for wrong doing and will never be sorry or remorseful for their action.
They do not sympathise with their victim and if a chance comes up again, they gladly repeat the same or even worse. To them, a criminal and his/her victim live in separate worlds that are apart.
In my opinion, over time, the monkeys (individual criminals) are changing but the forest (the criminal world) remains the same. What has also changed is that with modernity their modus operandi (mode of operation) has also had to be up scaled.
Whereas in the 90’s there were violent bank robberies staged in broad daylight by daring individual criminals, in this era, banks are still losing to criminals only that with technology, they don’t have to physically walk into a bank instead they would hack into bank systems at the comfort of their homes.
If you compare the two scenarios, it is right to note that banks lost relatively smaller amounts of cash with potentially higher casualties than in this era where the same banks lose higher amounts albeit without casualties.
Most recently, we are now properly into the era of what is called ‘organised crime’. This is more complicated for the ordinary man to understand but let’s try break it down. In current times, an individual goes to school, succeeds and graduates in their preferred field of study but instead of engaging in legal businesses, they willingly choose to work against the law.
Others seek legal jobs in offices including Government offices and while there pursue criminal agenda which is to say they work in a manner that facilitates other criminals to have their way and ensure justice is not done to victims in what is popularly known as the ‘cartel’.
A cartel is a faceless organisation of individuals who work towards a common interest which is that of swindling their victim. Against this background then, Kenyans should be aware that in the white collar criminal world, the cartel has penetrated every sector of our economy.
They are found in Parliament, in the executive, the judiciary and even in the private sector. Their main aim is to ensure that they are in firm control of the narrative that ensures that the scales do not tilt against them. Just imagine and picture a scenario where one of the cartel members is your boss and literally directs and decides what happens and when, he has the power to hire and fire you.
Would you imagine contradicting his position? Well, some have tried but the result is that you’re punished individually and that you may not be rescued by anybody because every good person left outside there is fighting for their own survival.
The cartel keeps sacrificing the junior officers as our society is cheering them on without any success in the so called ‘fight against corruption’. Corruption simply put is ‘theft’. The language a thief understands isn’t that of pleading with their conscience in trying to dissuade them from engaging in crime and to have mercy on the populace.
Punishment is premised upon the pleasure – pain principle which states that ‘criminals will lean more towards actions that give them pleasure than those that bring them pain’ hence punishment ought to be more painful so as to ensure ‘deterrence.’
As it is, it’s my humble submission that the criminal world pays the ‘cartel’ (pleasure) more than it punishes them (pain) and as long as the scales are tilted towards this ‘pleasure’, we will continue to lose our professionals to the criminal world and soon they may take over our lives for good.
(By Charles Odhiambo, The Director, Crimesight Solutions.)
Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]