How often have you envied a friend, relative or a neighbour for possessing things you dream of owning? Is there an alternative to helping yourself to something you know your friend, relative or neighbour doesn’t really need?  Learn how the theft of a decoder landed Sean Kamau in hot soup.

theft of a decoder landed Sean Kamau in hot soup

16 year old *Sean’s family had a television set that was in good working condition. The only problem was that his family did not have a free to air decoder while *Jason Otieno, his classmate and best friend had 4 of them. Every time Sean would visit Jason, he would watch as the 3 decoders gathered dust.

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In fact, Sean had watched as Jason’s family collection of decoders grew from two to four. Seeing that Jason’s family was currently using a brand new DSTV decoder, Sean decided to help himself to one of the idle decoders. Little did he know that this simple act would land him in hot soup.

Here’s what happened in Sean’s own words.

How Stealing a TV Decoder Landed Me in Hot Soup

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I live with my parents in Soko Mjinga. Now in my home, we had a television set. But we did not have a decoder. All the houses in our plot had decoders except ours. I would feel embarrassed when children in our plot and school would share stories of what they had watched on news, wrestling and football. Without having a decoder, there was no way I would be part of the conversations.

 One day, I visited Jason, my best friend who lived with his family in a nearby plot. Every time I would visit Jason at his home, I would feel envious and jealous. Jason’s dad had just bought a brand new shiny DSTV decoder. Besides, it a stack of 3 decoders lay on top of each other, gathering dust.

The day I visited Jason, I thought there was no way they were going to miss one of the decoders. I waited until Jason went into his bedroom to take his school uniform off before I made my move. I picked the Bamba TV decoder and stuffed it inside my school bag.

As I had imagined, Jason did not notice that one of the decoders was missing. As a result, I believed that if Jason wasn’t able to notice then his parents wasn’t going to notice either. I bid Jason good bye and went home. On my way home, I thought about the TV programs I was now going to watch and felt good.

“The greater ignorance towards a country is not ignoring what its politicians have to say, it is ignoring what the inmates in its prisons have to say.”

― Criss Jami, Kilosophy

Seeing the Joy On My Mom’s Face Made Me Happy

When my mom came back found and found the TV working, she was very happy. Seeing her smile made me happy too. When my dad came home from work, he asked, “Who bought the decoder?”

“A friend of mine gave it to me for one month,” I replied. “I’ll take it back after the African Cup of Nations is over,” I added.

“Okay,” he said.

A minute later, he got glued to his mobile phone and the piece of paper where he had written the day’s betting odds. One week later, my mom was preparing rice and beans for supper. We were just about to start eating when a loud knock almost knocked our door down.

My father stood and went to open the door. When he walked back into the room, Jason, his dad and a police officer followed suit. I had never seen a policeman enter a house. But I had seen them walking in the estate and on Inspector Mwala on Citizen TV.

“Do you know why we are here?” the policeman asked my dad.

“No, I don’t,” my dad replied.

“Okay,” the police man said, “you mean the two of you have sons who are the best of friends and yet you don’t know each other?”

“There is no way my precious Jason can be friends to a thief!” Jason’s dad said.

“What do you mean by ‘your son cannot be friends to a thief?’” my dad asked.

“I realized two days ago that one of my decoders was missing,” Jason’s dad explained. “When I asked Jason, he said he suspected that your son had stolen it. That’s why we are here.”

“Do you see your decoder anyone?” the policeman asked.

“Yes, there it is!” Jason said, pointing at the decoder.

Getting Arrested for Stealing a Decoder

“Young man, you are under arrest!” the policeman commanded. “Bring your hands here,” he said, closing a pair of cold handcuffs on my trembling hands.

“Mama Sean, I have always told you that this son of yours will one day spoil our name,” my father said.

“Baba Sean, he is our son,” my mother replied.

“Sean isn’t my son! How many times will you understand that this isn’t my son?” he shouted at the top of his voice.

“Do you have anything to say?” the policeman asked.

“No, I have nothing to say,” my mother’s husband said. “Just take him to prison where people who do wrong are taken.”

We walked out of the house and went to the police station.


Sean Kamau is paying for his mistake and crime by being in juvenile prison. However, it is something that would have been avoided. Sean is not the only male teen offender whose mistakes is a result of parental failing. Long before Sean and peers were born, it used to take a whole village to raise one child.

Now, every child, especially a vulnerable male teen is left to fend for himself. Had Jason’s dad been kind and wise enough to look for an alternative means of justice, their sons would have learned a valuable lesson. They would be growing up as young men who care about each other and share what the other lack.

Instead, Sean is now in a juvenile justice system where his chances on exiting intact is slim.

What is your verdict on the theft of a decoder landed Sean Kamau in hot soup blog post? Do you know your children’s best friends? What are some of the ways you can share what your family has with them?

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