By Stephen Outa & William Omondi
We held a medico-legal circuit in Masimba to conduct legal documentation and psychosocial counselling to the survivors and family members of victims of police brutality. On 2nd June 2022, while exercising their right to picket and demonstrate, residents of Masimba, Kajiado County were protesting against attacks by wild animals following an attack on a teacher earlier who was killed by an elephant earlier that week.
The attacks by wild animals had left several schools in the area closed to get a lasting solution to the incidences of killings by wild animals. Preceding the protest, women in the community had made several pleas through the area chief to find an alternative to the threat posed by wild animals, especially to pupils and teachers who walk every morning and evening to and from schools.
It was during the protest that General Service Unit (GSU) officers headed to Mombasa opened fire at the protestors who had barricaded the Nairobi Mombasa highway. Four individuals were shot dead while six others were left with bullet wounds. The families of the victims have been left in agony nursing the scars of losing loved ones and scores of others are left with lifelong wounds to remind them of the events of the fateful dark day.
During the circuit, four families of the diseased were documented and 5 families were provided with psychosocial support through our network of counsellors. It was noted that no other organization had gone back to visit the victim’s and survivors’ families since the burial of their loved ones.
Some of the families IMLU spoke to had this to say:
My son was a hard-working young man. He had just finished supplying water to his customers using the donkey cart when he had teargas being lobed at the protesting women. Just like the others, he rushed to the scene to witness what was going on. It is at this point that my son met with a bullet that took his life,” said the father to the late Dennis Matheka Mutua. Dennis, 26 years old, was the firstborn in the family of four children. Through his “hustle”, he would support his parents to educate his siblings and provide a daily meal for the family.
A widow to the diseased narrated to IMLU how her loving husband’s life was cut short. She said that her husband woke up early to go to the abattoir. It was while at the slaughterhouse when he heard a sound of a gun that had been fired. He rushed to the scene to see what was happening only to get shot leaving him dead.
I found my husband’s body lying lifeless in a pool of blood. He even had his work gumboots on when I arrived at the scene,” said the widow.
We want to thank IMLU for coming back since we laid our loved ones to rest. This place was a bee hive of activities after our brothers’ life was cut short. We do not know the message you have come with today but we are happy to live knowing that someone is thinking about us in the quest for justice” said one of the survivors.
The families of the victims received Kes. 250,000 from the government to support the burial process. “Since then, we are not sure if we should be expecting any other compensation,” Said the Window. The families are still hopeful that the peace of the Lord will befall them and put the ordeal behind them. “I keep praying every day that I will be able to move on after losing my husband”, the widow lamented. The medical bill for the survivors was also settled by the government.
A cousin to one of the victims said that innocent lives were lost through the unjustified incident perpetrated by people who are supposed to protect it. They took it upon themselves to take lives
We hope the government will move with speed to ensure that the culprits are brought to book. We hope that the families will be compensated fully and the officers arrested and prosecuted within the confines of the law. “We had no clear direction of where these cases were headed. We are lucky that when IMLU came back here today, our hope has been restored and that even though justice can be delayed, it will be served at some point. We would like to request IMLU to help us push for the case to start so that we call all heal from what happened,” said a church elder.
IMLU would like to call out all parties including the IPOA, ODPP, Ministry of Interior, County government of Kajiado and the National government to take an active role in ensuring that they deliver the mandate promised to the families of Masimba victims and survivors and the Kenya Wildlife Services to tame the animals and compensate the families accordingly