SHOTS FIRED

Pain of bullets, batons and young lives cut short in tax demos

Anti-riot police descended into the town armed with batons, teargas canisters and bullets

In Summary
  • Antony Kimeu, who was described as a quiet person who would dip his head in his work and forget anything else, fell victim to officers' batons
  • It was the same fate for Brian Kasaine, who was shot a few metres from the Narok  police station
Nairobi protesters drop caskets on the streets on July 2, 2024.
Nairobi protesters drop caskets on the streets on July 2, 2024.
Image: KEITH MUSEKE

June 25 was abuzz with activities in Rongai, with pockets of protests, but Antony Kimeu did not expect that the yard where he worked as a carpenter would be affected.

As the day went along and protests intensified, anti-riot police descended into the town armed with batons, teargas canisters and bullets; then a deadly melee ensued.

Police officers stormed Kimeu's workshop located near Barclays bank and cornered him as all his colleagues took off.

The man, who was described as a quiet person who would dip his head in his work and forget anything else, fell victim to officers' batons. 

Richard Ukwale, Kimeu's cousin, told the Star that police aimed the batons at his face and head, sending his teeth to the floor and fracturing his skull.

The beating rendered the 45-year-old father of two unconscious. 

“Those people beat him so bad and visited so much injury on him he stood no chance to survive. So sad that they did to a man that was in his place of work and was beaten in his space,” Ukwale said.

He was rushed to hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Ukwale said police frustrated his quest for justice and attempt to formally lodge a complaint at Ipoa and other offices, where action could be taken to investigate the matter.

“I had to clash with the OCS in Rongai to give me an OB number when I reported the incident. It is sad that police are clearly trying to cover for one another as we seek to hold them accountable,” Ukwale said.

“We are seeking assistance for burial experiences. We are also seeking justice for our kin.”

It was the same fate of life taken too soon for the family of Brian Kasaine.

The 19-year-old Form Four leaver was shot by officers on June 25, a few metres from the Narok  police station.

His mother, Mary Nyanchoka, said Kasaine woke up in good health on the fateful day.

They had light banter as usual, before he left for the protests in the busy town.

“It is so painful,” she said, adding she was in denial that her son was no more.

When he failed to return home by 7pm, Nyanchoka sensed that all was not well.

She embarked on searching, going to the police station but was told no one had been taken into custody.

Nyanchoka also searched hospitals, resuming her mission the following day at 6am.

A promising young man, Kasaine stayed enlightened on current affairs, asked questions and spoke up whenever he felt things were out of turn.  

His friends say he always had an opinion - and he expressed it in conversations.

“He had very strong feelings on the Finance bill 2024 and this government generally. He could not resist going to the streets to join his generation in standing up for Kenya,” Joseph Lemayan, one of his classmates, said.

The 'brightest bulb in the family' was dimmed before he joined the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology in September, having scored a B plus in last year's KCSE.

Kasaine died while receiving treatment at the county's referral hospital.

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