NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 9 – “Dad, Mum…” were the last words Dan Githinji mumbled, before losing his life.
Besides a flowing sewer at the junction of Soweto slums and Congo area in Kahawa West in Kasarani, a stray bullet had pierced through Githinji’s stomach.
When Capital FM News visited the scene of the incident, his blood had not dried – maybe crying for justice.
Githinji was only 2 years and 9 months old and her parent’s second born.
The police officer who fired the shot is well known among the residents of the densely populated informal settlement, and one would hear his name being mentioned, albeit in low tones.
“We heard five gunshots,” an elderly lady only identified as Peninnah said.
It is the sound of a gunshot that attracted Githinji’s mother Joyce Muthoni, who was all along looking for him alongside his first-born.
“I wanted to bathe them since it was already getting dark,” a teary Muthoni told Capital News.
With the loud bang, she thought to herself, “Oh my God, what if my babies followed the police officers.”
This triggered her motherly instincts and all over a sudden, she narrated, Muthoni was running towards where the two police officers had fired a few rounds.
While everyone was dispersing in panic, a fearless Muthoni was running towards where police were.
From a distance, she saw a child on the ground, since everyone else scampered to safety; it was her son Githinji.
“His intestines were protruding outside, and he was profusely bleeding,” the only thing the 20-year-old mother saw, before passing out.
Friends and locals made frantic efforts to save Githinji’s life, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Kiambu Level Four hospital, some 11 kilometres away.
All this happened while his father David Njuguna, 25, was washing his final car for the day at a local car wash and rush home to see his family.
“I wanted to spend time with my children,” a distressed Njuguna, who knew the death of his son through a phone call, said.
He has lost his son, but Njuguna said he wants justice served.
“I don’t know how, but I pray that justice is served. What did my son do to deserve this?” he asked before breaking into tears.
Teresia Njeri, Githinji’s grandmother was also a relative overwhelmed by emotions.
“Woi, Githinji ni mukuo? Gutiri undu nguga, Ngai niwe urihanagiria (Woi, Githinji is dead? There is nothing I can say, it is God who avenges),” a teary Njeri said when I met her in her home in Soweto.
During our interview, Njeri was holding her late grandson’s blue jeans.
“It was supposed to be food for dinner. We are too sad to even eat,” she said. “I know the police officer who killed him.”
– The fight of two sisters against the police –
Two police officers have since been arrested and are being held at the Kasarani Police station, as police carry on with investigations.
But what had led to the scuffle? And why did police use live bullets?
A fact-finding mission has revealed damning details, that led to the killing of Githinji, in the presence of hundreds of Soweto residents, among them kids.
Multiple interviews by fear-stricken locals revealed that the police officers were engaging in a scuffle with two ladies, said to be sisters.
The two youthful women, according to the testimonials recorded by Capital FM News, are known for brewing chang’aa in the area.
“They were physically attacking the police officers after they poured their chang’aa,” an elderly lady who requested to be identified with one name, Wangui, said.
“They were wondering why the police did that, yet they have been paying bribes every day.”
According to locals, the two officers and a chain of administrators including high ranking security of law enforcers receives a ‘protection fee’ from those brewing chang’aa.
In this case, police had poured “Kangara” the liquid that is distilled to form chang’aa, resulting in the fight between them and the two sisters.
Their altercation had attracted hundreds of locals, most of whom are unemployed, with majority engaging in selling illegal brews.
“There is more chang’aa here than water,” Wangui who was in the company of her friend said.
Most of those interviewed cited fear of intimidation either from police or locals, for exposing the stinking rot in the slums.
According to residents who witnessed the incident unravel, the officer who fired the killer shot was targeting one of the agitated ladies.
“One of the naughty girls was going for the officer’s (name withheld) private parts when he fired,” another lady said.
“I had tried to calm the two ladies, but they did not listen. They were attacking the two officers while hurling insults.”
Detectives privy to the probe said the two officers “acted in self -defence.”
But from what danger?
“It is like he (the officer) was targeting her leg since the lady was attacking him despite constant warnings,” James Mburu, a local resident said.
Muthoni was summoned at the Kasarani Directorate of Criminal Investigations on Monday, where she recorded a statement over the incident as Nairobi Police boss Phillip Ndolo assures that justice will be served.
A post-mortem is set to be carried out on Githinji’s body, which is at Kiambu mortuary.