Stories from the Mothers and Survivors Network.


An interview with Caren Kiarie

My name is Caren Kiarie Wambui, mother to the late Calan Munyaka who was executed by the police. I have two other sons and three step daughters. I have three grandchildren of whom the eldest is the daughter of the late Calan Munyaka who was selling shoes in Huruma and was staying in Dandora phase 4 at the time of his demise.

On 24/9/2013, I received a call from one of my sons that one of Calan’s friends informed him that Calan had been shot dead and we were supposed to go and look for him at the Kenyatta National Hospital morgue. After enquiring further, the friend informed us that the Calan had been shot by police in Dandora after falling down while they were running away. We requested to be shown the spot where he was shot, but his friend was so traumatized, that he immediately went into hiding. To date we have never known where and how he was shot. We found his body at City Mortuary after searching for two days. The body was marked unknown and had been taken there by police officers from Dandora police station. When we tried to seek answers to the question why he was killed from Dandora police station, no one responded to us and our quest to seek answers met a dead end. We buried him at Lang’ata cemetery on 28 September 2013. We have tried to move on since but it's tough. We hope one day to know the reason why he was killed.

The killing of my son affected the whole family and now we all live with fear of the unknown. My youngest son refused to stay in Nairobi even after getting a good job. My sons see all police officers as murderers.

I hope the police reforms will be implemented to avoid shooting of young persons who are just struggling to make ends meet. I wish my son was arrested and jailed if he had committed any crime. It pains me to date; my heart is still bleeding for the loss of my first-born son. Every time I hear that a young person has been shot, I remember my son.

Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) should continue fighting for the rights of the victims and survivors. It is only God who can pay them for the work they do.

An interview with Kevin Otieno

I am Kevin Otieno Ochieng from Kayole and an uncle to the late Felex Omondi, who was extrajudicially executed by the police on the 8th of June, 2019 at 11pm. He was 15yrs old and in class eight, waiting to sit for his exams and when he was not in school or doing his school work, he used to help me at my work cooking and selling mandazi together. On the fateful day, he took supper as usual at my place and watched television for a while after which at around 11pm he left the house to go and sleep at our business premise where he used to sleep. After about 5 minutes when he left, I heard gunshots but nevertheless I went to sleep and did not bother to know who had been shot because gun shots are normal in Kayole. It never crossed my mind that it could be Filex who was shot. In the morning, I went to work but I found the place locked. Felix wasn't there. At around 7am the police from Kayole police station came to my work place and told me that Filex was dead and that I should go search for his body at the city mortuary. I went to the morgue and found his body lying there lifeless, on the cold floor. I called his parents and then paid money for the body to be washed.

I went to Kayole Police Station to record a statement and later Kayole Community Justice Centre also documented the case and helped us to report it to relevant authorities like IPOA. Later, we came to realize that the police statement declared that Filex had a gun and that he was in the company of 5 others that had run away after a robbery. This is another clear case of criminalization of young people in the informal settlements. We were also denied a gathering permit upon our request in order to raise money for his burial.  The case is yet to start in court but it has already been reported to the authorities.

We feel devastated and angered by the police as a family. We are still mourning his death. It is so wrong that the police first kill before they can ascertain whether a person is a criminal or not. And the law states that a person should be proven guilty in a court of law. So why do the police kill? We want justice for my nephew. The cop should be arrested.

Police should start doing their work of protecting the common mwananchi and actually not violating their rights and oppressing them.

To the Human Rights Defenders, never give up in your fight for justice because some day, justice shall prevail. We all shall win.

An interview with Mama Victor

My name is Benna Buluma popularly known as Mama Victor from Mathare, I am the Mother of the late Victor Okoth and Bernard Okoth who were victims of extrajudicial killings in the post-election violence of 2017. Victor was the young brother to Benard he was 22 years old and was working at Laxman Construction in Westlands. He was married and had two children. Victor was a good looking and polite young man, who was very smart, ever since he was born. Bernard was 24 years old working at Gikomba markets as a tailor. He was married and had a young child. Bernard was polite, and he was hard working.
They really loved each other.

It was August 9 2017, in the morning Victor came first to bring his baby, then Bernard came to greet me. They both left to go to work at around 8 am. When they were returning home from work at around 3pm, that is when they were killed by police. They were trying to get home, nothing was moving along the roads because the police had imposed a curfew in Mathare and there was tight security everywhere, so they had to go a different direction that led them to a demonstration on the disputed 2013 election results which were widely considered fraudulent, this is where they were shot. Victor was shot in the abdomen, so his intestines came out and he was rushed to the hospital where he later died. Bernard was shot in the head and died on the spot. 

There was a crowd that surrounded two boys who had been shot and when Victor’s wife saw Bernard’s lifeless body, she came crying saying that Victor and Bernard had been killed. We rushed to the scene with my sister and it was so painful to see my son lying down lifeless in a pool of blood. 

There was no assistance with funeral arrangements, so after the burial I met Kennedy Chindi (JJ) from Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) and JJ was the one who documented the case, and he then advised me to come to the Mathare Social Justice Centre for assistance, and together we went to IPOA. This is how I was then introduced to human rights work. I have emerged as the leader of the Network of Victims of extra judicial killings in the Social Justice Centres Working Group. 

On the day of the killings - we could not to get to the police station, because there were so many people around and police were not letting people across. So, we went to Muthaiga Police station to report the deaths the next day. We got a permit to gather for two weeks to raise money for burial of my two sons, but we could not gather to fundraise for their burial because there were still so many police officers around and security was tight.

The case was with the ODPP, but then Walter who is an investigator from IPOA told us that it had been returned to IPOA and they are in the process of taking it to court.

The death of my sons has affected my family so much, because we are now missing two men who were bread winners, who have left families, wives and children behind. Their wives now have no one left to financially support them, because of this I now look after Victor’s son. Their older brother is so confused and affected by their murders that he lost his job. Our family has been torn apart.

There are no reforms in the police force, instead of reforming they are becoming worse with killing, harassment and brutality. They reformed the uniform, but not what they are doing.

The police are not doing their work because they should work for the people, but instead they are frustrating, harassing, beating and killing them. If you are seeking help from them, you must bribe them in order to get the kind of help that you need. The government should put more effort to reform the police conduct, not just their uniforms. When they are serving the people, they should serve them equally.

Human Rights Defenders should get more support, they are doing much work, they go to the community, they help the community and they share with them as well as counselling them. They have brought people from dilemma to a place where they can feel better. Some people/families are afraid of going to the police stations but the Human Rights Defenders take the victims to the police to take the OB (Occurrence Book) number, the Human Rights Defenders have the power to demand it. People often feel like they cannot do this on their own, and sometimes police just don't help. Human Rights Defenders should continue defending people equally. 

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