The Shortlife of a Nairobi Gangster

black and white hands mask bussinesman
Photo by Vijay Putra on

He was only 23 years of age at the time of his death, coming only a few months after the death of his beautiful wife, Claire Njoki alias “Clea Adi Vybz” (Nairobi’s “prettiest gangster”) who was also shot dead.

I’m talking about the notorious Nairobi gangster, Michael Mwaniki alias “Mwanii Sparta” who was said to be the leader and mastermind of the criminal outfit popularly known as Gaza gang that has been terrorizing members of the public, and which draws its inspiration from the convicted Jamaican dancehall artiste, Adidja Azim Palmer a.k.a Vybz Kartel. It’s believed that Gaza members worship Vybz Kartel as their god and even kill and commit other atrocities on his behalf, allegations that the musician has since distanced himself from.

Mwanii was shot dead last week on Sunday August 20 in Ruiru by the police and going by the afterwards rumours, it’s believed to have been the infamous cop, Hessy wa Kayole. Hessy is said to be an undercover police officer who has been hunting down criminals in Nairobi’s Eastlands area and shooting them dead, but not before warning them on Facebook. It’s said he will warn the thug and even the thugs family, and politely ask them to advice their kin least they face the consequences. He will ask the particular parents to take their children who are involved with dangerous groups to countryside or somewhere else, or they will be killed. Sometimes he will go as far as offering to help with bus fare for those poor parents. Locals love him but criminals hate him with vigour (which is expected).

After the murder of Mwanii and his comrade,Willis, Hessy went on and posted on Kayole Crime Free Facebook group the following, with very gory pictures of the two slain thugs to go with:

“Hayawi hayawi huwa, Mwani na Willis are with their ancestors right now. Mwanii killed police officers na akajifanya ati anajuwa sana ati Ruiru ndio Mafichoni,”

Mwanii was hit as he went out for a fix. Police were tipped by his armed dealer who also worked as a snitch for the popos. Which brings me to a question that has been bugging me ever since all this police vs criminal run battle started: Is it really worth it?

Late Mwanii was only 23, roughly 5 years older than his late wife who was around 18 at the time of her deth. Imagine dying at such a young age due to “avoidable circumstances”, and by the way what a heartbreaking re-union. Maybe Clea was that kind of girls that grandma used to warn me about back in the day. The ones that can’t live without you, even in the grave (read Life at Grandma’s place, my last post).

Unlike the late Caro ngumbo in Girls get a “sponsor” if you want to live fast and die young, Mwanii’s could be avoided. Unfortunately it’s not just him, most of this guys that are robbing and killing people without even blinking an eye in the streets, are teenagers. Some are as young as ten and some even less than that- those born from criminal parents-and usually carry knives and other blunt objects. The gang usually use young pretty girls like one “Minaj” to ferry guns around. So team “mafisi” next time you go out for a date with that pretty young lass, first make sure you know the contents of that fat purse of hers.

The young Gs go about in the streets, sometimes flashy with chains, you will confuse them for hip-hop artistes. They don over-sized hoodies or jackets that camouflage lethal weapons, caps that hide their tattooed (two teardrops and other ugly tattoos) faces, and boots, usually timberland. “Young Soldiers”, but if they love military life that much, one will wonder, then why don’t they go on with school, at least up to the secondary level, get their certificate-A, B, C, D, E, or whatever grade they come out of the system with-and try military recruitment! Join KDF, go in Somalia and kill for “us” the equally cruel Al Shabaab, and at the end of the day get paid for it, instead of poor fellow Kenyans trying to make ends meet.

You terrorize people, killing police officers who by the way are just doing their job (protecting people and their property and in the process provide for their loved ones), for their guns.

Kenyans are struggling with high standards of living. The economy is not that vibrant as the Jubilee government would like us to believe (hope NASA wins their petition by the way. I’ve said it and no apologies), and recession still standing at around 7.5%. Many are going hungry, businesses are shutting down and with all these going on, the last thing you need is some scumbag robbing you off the last cent you got between you and poverty, or worse taking away your precious life.

By the way what do they use the money they earn from crime for, if not flossing around! They want to compete with world’s spoiled rich kids. Nice clothes, lots of jewellery, up-to-date gadgets and to have pretty girls by their sides. They do get all these, but only for a short period of time. Because few of them live to see their kids (if they were lucky to sire with their fellow crooks) celebrate 10th birthday. Few will be lucky to one day write about their lives in crime as John Kiriamiti.

Even as I write this post, a certain guy I know got robbed yesterday, August 26th at gunpoint as he was coming back from work at around six in the morning in Pipeline Embakasi, near the Transami stage. He tried holding on to his dear phone until pistols started being dished out. Thank God he is still alive and kicking. Whatever he lost, God will bless him with more.

To my fellow youths here in Nairobi, the rest of Kenya and the world at large, your life is way too valuable to lose it chasing after short-term riches. You don’t have to get into crime to make a living, there are better choices out there. Most of us are not well off. We too are struggling, hustling on daily basis, living from hand to mouth, but we know that we don’t have to use it as an excuse to rob and kill people. We live believing that God got us, and with hard work and patience, one day we will live our dreams.

Why lose life because of a “kabambe” phone? It just beats logic, but anyway, that’s life.

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