Missing anti-Ruto protester Dancun Onsongo found cold and lifeless at City Mortuary

In this undated photo, Dancun Onsongo. His lifeless body was found at City Mortuary. 

Photo credit: Courtesy | Family

For a family in Kisii County, the search for one of its members who went missing on July 2, 2024 ended at City Mortuary in Nairobi where the cold and lifeless body of their son was discovered.

Twenty-six-year-old Dancun Onsongo was last seen alive during the youth-led street protests against President William Ruto's administration in Mlolongo, Machakos County, where he worked as a fruit vendor.

His distraught family members said that after a frantic search in hospitals and police stations, they eventually found his body on July 5 at City Mortuary with a burnt face and chest in what they believe was as a result of a teargas-canister explosion.

Pain of a mother: Grace Kwamboka say her son was their only hope. 

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

“His neighbours said that he left his house on the fateful day, saying he was going to witness how the protests were happening. Once on the road, it is said that he was motivated and joined the huge crowd of protesters on the street,” said Geofrey Mokoro, a relative.

The family says that Onsongo's neighbours tried to persuade him against joining the protests but he defied their counsel.

“He never returned!” said Mr Mokoro.

The deceased, who hailed Amabuko sub-Location, was the first born in a family of 10. According to his parents, burial plans have stalled as the family does not have money.

“I am asking the government to help me bury my son. I have nothing. Dancun was my support system,” pleaded Ms Grace Kwamboka, the deceased's mother amid sobs.

His father, William Nyakundi, described him as a straightforward person who was a skilled mechanic and a driver but could not find a job.

In this undated photo, Dancun Onsongo.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Family

"I believed that the high cost of living and lack of employment are the reasons that pushed him to join the street protests," explained Mr Nyakundi.

The deceased's aunt Hellen Nyakerario said Duncan was the family's breadwinner and appealed to well-wishers to help them transport his body to Kisii for burial.

"May the government listen to our children and may President William Ruto be sympathetic with suffering families,” said Ms Nyakerario.

The area Ward Representative Wycliff Siocha demanded for a comprehensive report from the government on what killed Duncan.  

“I am calling for justice for Dancun. His family has not been contacted by any authority, not even a condolence message. We cannot just be having a government that is collecting taxes with nothing in return for wananchi,” he stated.

Mr William Nyakundi says he needs help to bury his son. 

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

In its latest report released on July 2, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said at least 39 people had been killed since the beginning of the nationwide anti-Finance Bill and anti-government protests in Kenya.

At least 361 other people had been injured in clashes between police and protesters.

In its update, the commission pointed an accusing finger at the police for using excessive and disproportionate force against protesters, who were largely peaceful.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the unwarranted violence and force that was inflicted on protesters, medical personnel, lawyers, journalist and in safe spaces such as churches, medical emergency centres and ambulances,” the commission said.