Anti-tax protests: Kin of boy shot 8 times in Rongai seek justice

Jocinta Anyango

Ms Jocinta Anyango, the mother of Kennedy Onyango, 12, is overwhelmed by grief after viewing her son’s body at Ongata Rongai Sub-County Hospital mortuary on July 5, 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Mr Denish Okinyi had just returned home and turned on the television to watch the news when he learned that his son, who had been living with his mother, had been killed during the protests in Rongai last week.

Speaking exclusively to the Nation, Mr Okinyi said he saw his ex-wife, Ms Jocinta Anyango, wailing in pain as she narrated how their son, Kennedy Onyango, was shot and killed.

"I did not believe it at first, but the reality set in when neighbours also flocked to my compound in Suba, Homa Bay County, asking if I had seen the news," said Mr Okinyi.

This prompted him to wake up the next morning and buy a newspaper, which he now carries with him as he repeatedly reads the article about how his son lost his life.

Mr Okinyi said he had been living with Kennedy since 2018 when he and his wife separated, but in August 2022, Ms Anyango returned for Kennedy, who left with her amid assurances by Mr Okinyi that he would take him back when schools reopened.

"My son was able to borrow phones and call me...We even agreed that he would come back to Suba when school closes in August," said Mr Okinyi.

Killed by the police

Mr Okinyi said all he wanted was for justice for his son and for him to be able to take Kennedy’s body back to Suba for burial.

"I went to the morgue yesterday (Wednesday July 4,2024) and they never allowed me to see the body..." he said, adding that his ex-wife since remarried.

Mr Okinyi lamented that his son was killed by the police, who were supposed to protect him.

He wondered why an officer would shoot a school boy yet all he was carrying was a book.

"I was told that my son had gone to borrow a book from his friend when he encountered the rioters. While the police were busy dispersing them, my son was shot eight times," said Mr Okinyi.

Mr Okinyi’s lawyer, Mr Edmond Kobil James, said he planned to go to court and get an order stopping the boy’s burial until the matter was resolved.

He said they were even forced to file a report at Ong'ata Rongai Police Station but officers told them that the matter was being investigated.

The Nation has established that the matter is recorded under Occurrence Book (OB) number 35/28/6/24.

"We are not going to let this matter be swept under the carpet, all we need is for the law to be followed and justice for the young man who was shot dead by the police," he said.

Government documents in our possession indicate that there was a dispute over the children, (Kennedy and his three sisters) who were staying with their mother in the city.

Kennedy studied at Koyombe Primary School from Grade One to Grade Six and sat his Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) examinations.

Junior secondary school

"The boy was staying with his father as his mother had left home for Nairobi," read a letter written by the school's deputy headteacher, Mr Caleb Ochieng.

Mr Ochieng went on to say that Ms Anyango later transferred Kennedy to another institution in Nairobi, where he joined junior secondary school.

On Wednesday, the Nation visited Ms Anyango's home in the Quarry area of Ong'ata Rongai and found the family busy receiving visitors who had come to view the body at the Ong'ata Rongai Sub-County Hospital mortuary.

She said all she wants now is justice for her son, who dreamt of becoming an artist as he loved to draw.

"My son was not a criminal and he was not part of the protesters, I had spent most of the day with him," Ms Anyango said.

She said plans were underway to take the body to Rusinga in Homa Bay County, her current husband's home.

Siaya Governor James Orengo, who was among the mourners who visited the home on Wednesday, called on the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority to investigate the matter and ensure that the officer behind Kennedy’s killing is jailed.

"Why kill a school-going child who does not even have a criminal record? The police officers on duty that day should be held accountable," he said.