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Cyprian Is Nyakundi


Unsung Heroes: Celebrating Security Guards Of Kenya

By Guest Writer.

These are no ordinary times.

Circumstances around us have brought with it what most of nations never foresaw. In the midst of gloom, in all the unmatched wave of confusions there is a group of people who are heroes but no one has actually noticed or noted them.

The government asked most employers to facilitate employees to work from home. Those whose services require physical presence in workplaces and who can not work from home have had to make arrangements to see to it that they operate on shift basis. It’s no longer the usual 8 working hours.

The state requested employers to release their human resources early for the sake of not breaking the curfew times brought about by the need to prevent/contain the spread of covid-19 in Kenya.

Working hours have thus been shortened. Employers are bracing themselves for reduced income. This will translate to reduced disposable income for employees as well. Story for another day.

Those in informal employment have been hit the most. The govt asked people to stay at home. Some people are staying at home. No income, no savings. Police on the other hand have made it their duty to ensure that hustlers are not found congregating in the name of working. Owners of capital who engage labourers on a wage basis have also been forced to scale back their operations for fear of the known.

And their is a special group of people who should be lauded. The private security guards, in this case those who work at night. Some of these individuals are giving it more than 100%.

Before coronavirus, their typical working hours ranged from 5/6pm to 6/7am. Now things have changed. It’s no longer a 12/13hour shift for them. Working hours have had to be extended for the sake of humanity. Private security sector is a 24hour economy and most employees in this sector work in shifts. Change of guard to begin/end a shift happens everyday.

Day time guards hand over the baton at every evening to night guards. Night time guards hands over the baton to day time guards in the morning, everyday. This is a cycle that goes on 24/7 365. But adjustment and self sacrifice have had to be made in the wake of the pandemic holding the world by its eyelashes.

The curfew requiring individuals not to be outside between 7pm and 5am with exception to a group of special people has brought with it an unanticipated change.

Most of these private security guards walk to work. Their meagre pay can not give them the luxury of taking a PSV. If s/he takes a PSV how will s/he eat, how will the kids find something to eat, how will other bills be paid?

To get to work in time, they have to walk for more than one hour to work. That makes it more than two hours of walk to and from work. Don’t forget that these guards live far from town, as the only places their insulting pay can afford rent isn’t near town.

Before the curfew, a guard who was to ‘relieve’ his colleague at 6pm had to leave the house at around 4pm. This has changed. No guard wants to see their colleagues getting home past 7pm as this might bring untold repercussions courtesy of the police. Some guards have had to tighten their work schedules.
Now a night guard leaves the house as early as 2pm, fastly walks to work. He wants to ensure that he arrives in time, around 3:30pm or 4pm, to make their colleague(s) leave for home early, not for the dark to fall on them. Forget about private security guards being among special group who the curfew gave an allowance in time. Some police have frustrated some guards and this, occasioned by what happens past 7pm in the hands of law enforcement officers, something had to be done by unsung heroes.

Today I choose to celebrate night guards, specifically one by the name Ogutu Omondi who works for Total security surveillance Ltd and is stationed in Upper Hill area. In these trying times and despite having an underlying medical condition he’s making a self-sacrifice to see that his colleague(s) beat the curfew times and in time be home with their families. With no mask or any PPE, he hits the road everyday just to keep a smile on his family’s face.

You can imagine arriving at your workplace at around 3:30pm and leaving for home the following day at around 6:30am, walking for another 1.5hours to 2 hours to get to your shanty at 7:30,8am. You get to bed at 9am and by 2pm is up again and enroute to work for a change of shift(guard). Less than 5 hours of sleep in the house!

This kind of sacrifice is what restores my faith in humanity.

Not so many people would notice this.

Big up guards.

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