To residents of Nyamira County the mention of Amanyamara (scorpions) invokes images of mayhem at funerals, political rallies and all sorts of social gatherings.

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To these residents, the term rinyamara has taken up a new meaning different from the conventional reference to a terrestrial arachnid with pincers similar to those of a lobster and a poisonous sting at the end of its jointed tail, which it can hold curved over its back.

Though largely misunderstood, feared and loathed in equal measure the political elite have continuously engaged the services of amanyamara (human scorpions) to subdue opponents and flex their political might during public appearances.

Origin of Amanyamara

The Amanyamara army is a creation of Keroka Town Backstreet which is located behind the Post Office. Many who pride themselves as bona fide residents of Keroka have a mixture of tales about this street. 

There is a fair blend of pleasant and unpleasant accounts. Immediately you wind the first left bend behind the post office, you are bound to come face to face with perhaps the most famous street in this town. 

The first scene you will definitely encounter is a group of young men seated on an old rugged low bench sharing a single cigarette stick. The bench has been here for as long as one can remember and no one in particular lays claim to its ownership. 

After all, it is placed in between a barber shop and a small motor vehicle spare parts shop whose current occupants were welcomed to the street by it. Next to the kinyozi is what can best be described as a casino. 

Here, in a one-storey wooden structure, is a wines and spirits bar, a video show and several pool tables. There is a tiny urinal pit at one corner.

Composition of amanyamara

The amanyamara are made up of a cocktail of individuals drawn from various circles. 

Some are businessmen while others are political brokers. Some are in employment or job seekers. The common denominator is that they all have passed through the rough hands of this backstreet. When they take charge they are vicious and lethal. 

They don’t warn or pull back. They don’t apologize.Though amorphous unlike an organized gang, amanyamara operate like an army under some command. They are well coordinated and will take vantage positions in gatherings. They traverse all parts of the County and beyond. 

Surprisingly, they are law abiding citizens who do not carry or employ unauthorized weapons in disarming their targets. Their main weapons are their bare hands.Amanyamara are good at gathering intelligence and using it to their advantage. They will always know who is bound to upset their master of the day and will devise a disarmament plan in advance. 

They have a variety of approaches to utilize depending on the situation. They can snatch a mic from an opponent, they can disconnect power, they can force an MC to hand over the mic to their master, they can shout a speaker down, they can rough up people or end a meeting prematurely.

Besides their bare hands they can convert plastic chairs into missiles.Though not trained as their counterparts in the VIP protection, amanyamara are very keen learners and you will see them running beside VIP vehicles and at times hanging dangerously to the roof rails. 

They always have their own vehicle which delivers them at any venue. It is not clear however, if they have fixed charges for their services.

By Mike Gisesa