Kin of bodaboda rider who died in police cells reject suicide theory

David Nyamweya

David Nyamweya, a bodaboda rider who allegedly took his own life at a Kisii police station on Sunday. His family has disputed the suicide theory,

Photo credit: Courtesy

The family of a suspect who allegedly took his own life at a Kisii police station on Sunday has disputed the suicide theory, calling on the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to investigate the matter.

David Ondari Nyamweya died two weeks after returning to his rural home from Nairobi, where he worked as a casual laborer at construction sites, said his family in Marani Sub-County.

Within a week of his return, they said, he started working as a bodaboda rider. Under the arrangement with the motorcycle owner, he was to remit earnings from fares every day.

But the motorcycle went missing, and Nyamweya was arrested on Tuesday last week, accused of theft.

He was locked up at the Nyatieko Police Station in Kitutu Chache South constituency, before his body was found dangling on a waist belt, which he allegedly used to hang himself on Sunday night.

The Honda motorcycle, registered as KMFV 762G, was valued at Sh124,000.

Locked up

Nyamweya had claimed it was stolen by unknown people as he ate lunch. The owner had reported Nyamweya to police, who locked him up on the accusation of stealing it.

His family has rejected the police report that Nyamweya took his own life and is demanding that his death be investigated.

His widow, Ms Maria Moraa, claimed her husband never wore belts. She also said the belt police claimed he used to hang himself was not his.

“All we are asking for is justice. My husband would not have taken his own life in such a manner. That belt is not his and for heaven’s sake, I have never seen him with belts,” she said.

“Nyamweya failed to remit the daily dues to the owner of the motorcycle on Monday last week. He told me that the motorcycle had disappeared from where he had parked it as he had lunch in town,” Ms Moraa told the Nation.

Sombre mood

His home in Mokwerero village in Marani Sub-County was in a sombre mood following his death.

Close family members questioned why Nyamweya was held in police cells for several days without being taken to court as the law requires.

His sister Stella Nyaboke said he was the sole breadwinner of the family following the demise of their mother in October last year.

She claimed the motorcycle owner was pestering the family to sell part of their land and compensate him.

County Police Commander Francis Kooli said the case was being investigated.

He said police on a routine inspection found Nyamweya’s body dangling from a belt on Sunday afternoon. He was alone in the cell.

The body was taken to the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue, although the family said police had not communicated with them on the matter even as they prepared for his burial.