Police brutality and executions won't end crime, says grieving mum

Wamburu says summary executions, especially in the slum areas, is counterproductive

In Summary
  • Gitau was to leave for Qatar for a driving job
  • Police claim Kevin Gitau was a hardcore criminal
Phedesia Wamburu in Mathare on April 22, 2019
EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS: Phedesia Wamburu in Mathare on April 22, 2019

My son was to leave the country for Qatar today for a driving job, a distraught mother of Kevin Gitau said. The 20-year-old man was killed last week by the police in Mathare.

Phedesia Wamburu yesterday said police should have arrested and jailed her son, even for life, instead of killing him. 

She narrated her harrowing experience after receiving a message about the death of her son on April 14. Gitau was allegedly gunned down in Mlango Kubwa while on his knees.


Wamburu spoke to the Star at the Mathare Social Justice Centre offices.

The mother of four said using brutality and summary executions to combat crime, especially in the slum areas, is counterproductive.

"The police squad out to bust crime in this area will not be successful if they think brutalising and killing young men, mostly in their teenage, is the best tool," she said.

But Rashid [the AP officer alleged to be leading an execution squad in the sprawling slum], warned my son that he does not want to meet him anywhere. He promised to shoot him on sight.
Phedesia Wamburu

Wamburu said she came to know of her son's death through her younger son at 9pm that day. She immediately set out to verify the information at Pangani police station.

Police claim Kevin Gitau was a hardcore criminal. The mother, however, said her second born son had quit crime and was doing legitimate business of selling fruits and juice at City Park, Nairobi 

"It all started in February when my son was reported to have snatched a phone from a certain woman. Rashid arrested him but did not take him to the police station to book him for eventual court appearance," she recounted.

Wamburu said Gitau was held in the officer's vehicle for more than 24 hours. "It took the pressure from activists to have him be produced at Makadara courts," she said.

The court eventually released him because no statement had been recorded to link him with any such crime, she said. 

"It is despicable that this man shoots our young children with such ease. Does he have children?" 

Two months after the "warning", Gitau was shot dead.

"They nabbed my son at the Juja Road junction. He was waiting to cross the road. A witness told me they grabbed him by back of him neck and handcuffed him," she said.

They dragged him to Amana petrol station and shot him multiple times, she said. 

Gitau's body was buried on Saturday April 20.

Efforts to get the area's OCPD comment on the alleged incident were unsuccessful as he did not pick calls or responded to messages.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star