Nairobi, May 14, The otherwise calm morning air along Kangundo Road was disrupted by the rat-a-tat identical of a gun-fight scene. And when the dakka and action was over, strewn by the roadside was the body of Claire Mwaniki and a fellow gangster. The Beretta pistol she was clutching with six rounds of ammunition revealed a hardened thug that her innocent demeanor would never betray.
Sources have it that Claire Mwaniki alias Clea Adi Vybz alongside fellow gang members had escaped a police dragnet at 11PM on Thursday, May 11 along Manyanja Road. In the early morning hours of Friday, May 12, she couldn’t escape the hail of police bullets that would end her crime escapades.
The mother of one toddler had been warned by the police to mend her ways. However, as her final Facebook post indicates, she was barely three weeks “back” and on the wrong side of the law. A quick social-psychological forensic analysis of her associates paints a grim picture on the rise of criminal gangs made purely of youngsters in their teenage or early twenties.
The vicious race for fast fortune, fate, and fame perhaps is one of the most outstanding features of the criminal gangs like Gaza to which Claire allegedly belonged. These wannabe millionaires turned thugs like to portray distinctively flashy lifestyles that make them stand out in their ghetto neighborhoods. Take Claire Mwaniki for instance who usually donned expensive hair weaves – long, flowing and golden in color. Besides, she liked to show-off her golden tooth and silver jewellery just like most of her fellow gang members.
Fame is perhaps best spelled by those whom these young criminals look up to for inspiration. Among Claire’s last Facebook posts was one that featured Monroe-a famous Kenyan socialite, perhaps underscoring the celebrity life that she wished to lead. Hanging on the walls of most of the gang members’ houses are posters of famous entertainment industry personalities including hip-hop and reggae musicians. Perhaps to catapult into the corridors of fame, the criminals boldly splash photos on social media platforms displaying their loot, guns and their pictures in police uniforms.
Tickling the fickle finger of fate is yet another yearning of the younger crop of criminals mushrooming in the Nairobi slums. Unemployment, peer influence, poor parenting among others cause the youthful generation to resign to the volatility of destiny and fate. This turns the criminals into dare devils who won’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Likewise extravagant spending and other promiscuous behavior comes with no caution. After all, to them, tomorrow is not guaranteed hence the tendency to live large and carefree today.
Underscoring the former three is the perceived need for speed. These young criminals perceive that getting everything done fast is critical. Minting overnight fame, getting away with the million shilling robbery or booking an early trip to the grave-it happens and has to happen within the shortest time possible. That is how Clare Mwaniki resurfaced from her hideout, outmaneuvered a police dragnet, pulled the trigger on her Beretta pistol and earned herself a bullet-riddled body at City Mortuary – the vicious race.