Time For A Thievery Guild

My mother used to say. Thieves are manner-less. In her long life, she had witnessed several audacious acts of petty thievery.  When the young men started to get restless, old ladies could not sleep properly. Rural village life, with its idyllic charm, was balanced out by its challenges. Poverty and its three ugly sisters, depression, disease and death.

During the ‘hungry days, in mid-season when food became scarce, the boys would scavenge through homesteads at night. They rarely broke into houses and avoided homesteads with well-fed mongrels. In the dead of the night, they would sneak into compounds that had been surveyed during the day, to rummage for stuff of value.

Water buckets, clothes on the line, jikos and the odd wheelbarrow. They preferred quick get-a-ways and kept identities hidden. The stolen items were exchanged for petty cash that was promptly converted into a harsh drink. It was cheaper to get high than to fill a belly with food.

Mother said, that they were not real thieves. They were just hungry. Real thieves, are manner-less. They are not afraid to show their faces. They can even cook in your kitchen. They insist on having a conversation and demand to know where everything of value is hidden. Real thieves are never in a hurry and they tend to be very meticulous.

There was the incident of a man whose pick-up truck got stolen. The thieves used it to transport his household goods. They made two return trips to pick up what was left behind.

By Bwana Mdogo
By Bwana Mdogo

After watching Josephine Kabura’s blank responses during her interrogation over the NYS graft scandal by the Public Accounts Committee, it goes without saying, that we need to establish a thievery guild.

The amount of organized crime being conducted by public officers in government has reached a level that is screaming for regulation.


Stealing has to be left to the professionals. Those who depend on stealing for living should actively call for higher operational standards in their profession.

Though thieving is generally tolerated, we are seeing a level of incompetence that will make grand pilfering unsustainable in the near future.

Which is why, I propose a Thievery Guild to secure the ongoing viability of Kenya’s corruption cartels. Guilds will set high standard for membership and exclude anyone without the requisite skills.

Standardized apprenticeship will enable aspiring thieves to intern in niche markets without disrupting the status quo and annoying tax payers who keep thieves in business.


The Guild’s core responsibilities should be to improve stealing skills and teach Guild members how to launder stolen public funds in a socially responsible manner. A Guild will allow the membership to establish an equitable system of thievery.

The main role of a Guild is to eliminate over exploitation of citizens in Kenya, exposed to oppressive stealing practises.  Kenya’s original sin at independence, was the sin of greed. The underlying feeling of being financially deprived has produced a range of deplorable tendencies from public officials.


The quality of grand theft has deteriorated. This is a worrying trend. There is no sophistication in graft. No ingenuity.  The calibre of white collar criminals we are producing is seriously wanting.

A Guild is the sensible way to ensure that the country maintains the tradition of jailing petty thieves and electing big thieves to office.

The Guild should be able to separate the amateurs from the professionals in government and private sector. The idea is to attract quality and ethical thieves who have the temperament to handle large sums of cash. The ones with a true nose for graft.


As citizens, they are a few things we can do to make a difference.

If you encounter an ethical thief, share your experience so that folks can celebrate them. It is important to speak up! Demand that your county and national authorities engage in thieving practises that are sustainable.

Do your due diligence and ensure that you are only exploited by companies that have a track record of sustainable stealing practises and are big on CSR.

Report stupid thieves to the authorities. If you spot an idiotic crime in the offing, do not hesitate to make a citizen’s arrest. Stay informed. Follow your local news channels and draw inspiration from the leading thieves.

Bribe smart by sticking to a budget. Set your limits and avoid the allure of convenience bribing. Don’t succumb to manipulation tactics that lead one to bribe when they do not need to, particularly for a misdemeanour like drunk driving.

asset-forfeitureSustainable corruption management will ensure that the stealing of public funds does not cause extreme income disparities in the country. Taxpayers have the right to enjoy the trickle down benefits of corruption from benevolent and ethical thieves in government.

Everyone can play a role in protecting our country’s corruption heritage for future generations. The future of corruption is in the hands of the younger generation.

To conserve public resources for the next generation, the Jubilee government has to galvanise support for sustainable corruption goals and ensure that pilfering of public funds is made viable.





Oyunga Pala is a Kenyan writer, curator and editor. This blog examines the texture of everyday Kenyan and African life and the challenges of modernity and disillusion. The writings commonly feature the struggle of the Kenyan male to maintain integrity in contemporary society.


  1. This satirical writing is life for me ! Haha

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