Protesters demand justice for slain Kisii politician

Hundreds of protestors have blocked the Kisii-Kilgoris road in an effort to pile pressure on the government to bring to book killers of Thomas Okari, a ward aspirant. Okari was aspiring to be nominated by the ODM party to contest Bombaba Borabu ward seat in Bomachoge Borabu constituency.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group.

Hundreds of protesters blocked the Kisii-Kilgoris road to pile pressure on the authorities to bring to book the killers of Thomas Okari, a ward rep aspirant.

Mr Okari planned to take part in ODM party primaries to contest the Bombaba Borabu ward seat in Bomachoge Borabu constituency.

He had travelled home from Nairobi to prepare for the primaries that are planned for Thursday.

But what happened next has left many people in Kisii County in general and Bomachoge Borabu in particular dumbfounded.

Unknown assailants entered his house as he slept and stabbed him with sharp objects on Monday morning. He bled to death.

On Wednesday, Bomachoge Borabu constituents protested, demanding justice for the butchered politician.

Evans Machoka Kimori, an engineer who hails from the constituency and is aspiring to be an MP, said the killing had struck fear in other hopefuls.

He said he no longer sleeps in his house and demanded that local and national ODM leaders follow up on the murder.

"We want justice for Okari. We want his killers brought to book. We want to know the motive behind his killing," said Mr Kimori, noting that the father of three was killed in cold blood.

Police had arrested one suspect in relation to the killing.

The murder has revived painful memories of the brutal killing of one-time MP for the old Bomachoge constituency, Zedekiah Magara, who was attacked and killed in 2002 as he readied to reclaim the seat he had lost in 1992 to Ferdinand Obure.

The attack on Mr Okari, who was popularly known as Esandona, has sent shockwaves across Kisii and it bolsters muted complaints that some politicians are being targeted in this election period for taking specific political stands.

The killing, which has left his family members and close relatives devastated, is being investigated by police in Kisii County.

"He was in his bedroom sleeping and suddenly called and said he was under attack. When we responded to his call, we found only a nephew he stays with in his house," said Mr Joseph Henry Mairura, an uncle of Mr Okari.

Mr Mairura said Mr Okari had been hacked several times using sharp objects by people who are believed to have forced their way into his house while he was asleep. 

"He was sleeping here on this bed. You can see the heavy blood stains left after he was attacked. We fail to understand what was the motive behind his killing just two days before the ODM nominations," Mr Mairura said.


Speaking in Kisii on Tuesday, ODM gubernatorial aspirant Simba Arati, his running mate Robert Monda, senatorial aspirant Richard Onyonka and over 100 aspirants for various seats seeking ODM nomination tickets condemned the killing.

“It is my plea that this electioneering season, we will maintain peace and respect each other. It's not a do or die exercise. There is life after politics," said Mr Arati, who is also the ODM party team leader in Kisii.

He said it was important for people to tolerate and appreciate each other, noting that at the end of it all, people will remain brothers and sisters.

Mr Okari, 38, succumbed to his injuries at Oasis hospital, where he was rushed after the attack.

Hundreds of his supporters thronged his home wailing and cursing his killers. Mr Okari has left behind a wife and three children, all of whom live in Nairobi.

Mr Harun Onsarigo said his grandson was a peace-loving man and the family was yet to come to terms with his death.

"He was humble and often avoided controversy. We are still wondering why anyone would have wanted him dead. We are still wondering why they had to take away his life in such a horrendous manner," he said.