You will find him at Shauri Moyo Police Station, beaten by the vagaries of time, work and life.
Simon Nderitu has seen it all in his 40 years as a police officer. Nderitu, apart from the fact that he is a police officer offering service to the nation, is not different from the masses of poverty-stricken Kenyans in the sprawling Shauri Moyo estate.
With a tired look and sun-scorched clothes, Nderitu, 57, has served for 38 years as a constable. He says that his age mates are all senior police officers in government.
He partly blames his woes on an injury he sustained on his left foot, one that has forced him to use crutches to walk. The injury relegated him to the customer care services desk and light duties around the station.
The diminutive man has trained hundreds of police officers across the country as a police instructor. In fact, all the police officers at his station are his students, including the station commander.
“It is has been a painful and shameful experience, particularly so working under my students as their junior. All my agemates and colleagues are now senior people in the police. My promotions have been snatched in the last minutes by the rich,” he shares with a tinge of pain.
Nderitu joined the police following his prowess in boxing, but later hanged his gloves after losing his spot to represent the country in Germany.
Nderitu was recruited by the Kenya Police in 1980 and was to fully train as a boxer. He represented the country in several championships, including East and Central Championship held in Uganda in the 1980s where he won a bronze medal.
But after several fights that saw him emerge top, he quit to become a service man.
“In 1994, I was posted to Kiganjo as an instructor for physical training among others, then several transfers followed across the country,” he said.
He adds that: “At some point, I took a course at the Dog Unit but remained a constable. I’ve also worked under anti-stock theft and motor vehicle theft units, as well as several stations in Nakuru, Gilgil, Solai and Nanyuki”.
In 2008, Nderitu, while on duty, was involved in a motorbike accident while rushing to bond some suspects who were to appear in court the next day. His his left leg was fractured in the accident.
“I was treated and promised Sh600,000 compensation after my file was forwarded to the Treasury, but I’ve been pursuing the same for 10 years now,” he said.
He reveals that, “At some point, I was told I’m supposed to be paid by the insurer. I suspect someone might have pocketed my compensation because we only got insurance cover around 2015.”
Even though life has been hard for Nderitu, he has managed to raise and educate his four children. His first born child is based in Germany, the second born is an engineer along Thika Road, while the third born is a university student. His last born child is also set to join university sometime this year.
“I’ve struggled through loans and sometimes slept hungry. Sometimes my juniors here offer to buy me tea, but I don’t encourage that. I’m not disabled, only that my promotions were bought by others and my compensation has been delayed,” he says.
Nderitu’s plight first came to light almost a month ago when officers from IPOA and Internal Affairs visited Shauri Moyo Police Station. It was here that he shared his painful journey, an account that left some cops in tears. They took his details with the promise to forward his case to the Inspector General for intervention. All he is asking for is a listening ear from his bosses.