- Murinzi had only served less than a month before his death.
- He was described as someone genuinely interested in changing Lamu.
Lamu subcounty police commander Samuel Murinzi, 50, was just starting a new life with his bride when Covid-19 struck.
The father of six succumbed to Covid-19 complications on Sunday at the Coast General Hospital.
He fell ill shortly after his wedding on August 28.
Lamu residents eulogised him as an exceptional officer.
Murinzi served in Lamu for less than a month following a promotion. He previously served as deputy OCPD in Changamwe, Mombasa Urban and Likoni police stations.
Governor Fahim Twaha described him as a great and brilliant man who was genuinely interested in changing Lamu for the better.
“For the shortest time he was here, the impact he made will be felt for years to come. It’s unfortunate he didn’t live long to accomplish much of what he planned for us. His death is however a reminder that Covid-19 is real. Let’s stay safe,” he said.
The OCPD, a staunch believer and reverend in the East African Pentecostal Church, was also eulogised as a humble and polite man who put the needs of others first.
Lamu community leader Ibrahim Madi urged other police officers to emulate Murinzi.
Religious leaders, elders, activists and locals have mourned the officer as one in a million who had a heart of gold and treated everyone with respect irrespective of status.
“When people were arrested, he would make sure you understood why you were being held and would go an extra step to ensure your rights were observed. No one would be beaten or harassed. We loved him," a resident said.
In the two weeks he served in Lamu, Murinzi initiated projects through peace and dialogue, earning the love and respect of the community.
Many police officers have acquired a reputation for harassment and ruthlessness, but Murinzi was hailed as the exact opposite.
Lamu county enforcement officer Haroun Musa praised Murinzi for fostering a great relationship between askaris and the police.
“This had never happened but with him we did it and we saw a lot of good come from that, including being able to contain the boda boda menace,” he said.
The Lamu community is known for its fear of the police following persistent security crackdowns linked to violent extremism.
Since 2015, Lamu town, a Unesco world heritage site, has struggled with a growing number of boda boda operators, threatening the heritage of the town.
Edited by Nicholas Awuor