Picture this. On your way to the bar or the washroom in a smoky, full and noisy club, you accidentally step on another drunken patron or his hot girlfriend. Chances are that he will push, punch you or a shouting match will ensue, leading to an unfortunate incident where bouncers will roughly throw you out.
Kicks and punches will accompany your dramatic eviction of course. In extreme cases, people have been known to get clobbered by chairs, a broken bottles and even brass knuckles, which incidentally find their way past the burly bouncers at the entrance. Once a preserve of out of town and dingy clubs in downtown Nairobi, cases of violent bouncers or patrons have penetrated into mainstream clubs and lounges.
Just ask Chipukeezy. Even as the popular comedian and radio show host wrote a wordy statement on social media regarding the Westlands incident, which involved Prezzo and his sidekick Samba, about three weeks ago, word on the street was that a stand-off over the VIP area did take place and a gun was flashed. The incident came days after a pilot accused a bouncer at Skyluxx of stealing his pricey phone.
The pilot, who nabbed the alleged thief after accessing CCTV at the club, also came out on social media warning others to be weary of the bouncers at the club.
And not too long ago, in Eldoret, a young man was allegedly assaulted in a club by an MP, with the man suffering injuries and later admitted in a hospital. The fight was over a woman the young man was entertaining.
Mombasa was not left out, as an incident during Easter involved a flamboyant businessman who was said to have gone onto the dance floor with a rifle strapped to his back. Bouncers had to force him out. And in this dangerous club enthronement, recently a young man is said to have been stabbed at a popular club on Kimathi Street only days after another one was shot at a Baricho Road club.
In very few words, one might not be safe in a club as they would like to be. “When a person walks into a club with a gun, we are actually in a tight spot because we are not sure who they are,” a young bouncer at a club in Westlands, while seeking anonymity, tells Pulse.
“He could be a politician, a businessman, a spy, those flashy rich kids who always seem to know a powerful person or it could be a cop. We just assume they are responsible enough with the weapon,” he adds. But isn’t that such a very casual way of screening patrons especially in these times of terrorist attacks?
“Again, we don’t want to get patrons mad by asking questions that can seem ignorant. In any case, most of these people who carry guns are regulars at these clubs and they spend big.
We have to maintain the status,” says the bouncer, who confirmed that he has never been trained but got the job because of his bulky frame. What about crude weapons like knives and brass knuckles? Are bouncers too busy to notice these when they pat revellers down?
“If a person is a criminal or has bad intentions, he will find a way of sneaking these weapons into the club. Or he will crush a bottle and use it to harm another person. In truth, we are dealing with honest people out to have fun and criminals looking to fight or maim others. This is a tricky business and we are happy when a night goes uneventful,” he adds.
Pascal Omondi of Radar Security, a renowned security officer who has offered protection to celebrities explains that there is a breed of bogus bouncers who are always compromised, leading to such stand-offs. “These people are ready to take small amounts of money to let guns and other weapons in. They are compromised instead of standing by their main work, ensuring the safety of everyone,” Pascal says.
“There are too many bouncers nowadays who are not trained and tough enough for these situations, that is why there is a considerable rise in such dangerous incidences,” he added. On precautions, he goes on to say,
“Every club or event is supposed to provide a safe for patrons carrying guns. The bouncers at the gate or entrances are supposed to check the credentials of every gun-holder and store the weapons safely. The problem with a gun is that it can turn any sober person into a criminal when they become drunk.”
With bouncers now armed with metal detectors in addition to physical patting, there is zero explanations for having crude weapons in a club other than complacency. “These bouncers forget that their reputation and that of the club or event organiser is on the line. People need to be safe,” says Pascal.