Edwin Matayo Omari, 28, one of the GSU officers killed on Sunday by bandits, had asked his parents to pray for him after he was deployed in the volatile region.
His mother, Ms Alice Kerubo, told the Nation at her home in Ratandi-Bogusero village, Kitutu Chache South, Kisii County, that the last time she talked with her son was on Saturday, a day before he died.
“His father had called him to ask for school fees for his siblings who were to open school from today. He promised to help but he insisted that we should always remember him in prayers. These are the same words that he used to tell us every time we communicated,” Ms Kerubo said.
There was a sombre mood at the family’s home as mourners gathered in small groups, conversing in low tones and consoling Ms Kerubo, whose son, her first-born child, was the only flicker of hope for the family.
Mr Matayo's father, Paul Omari, was not at home. Authorities had called him to the city to receive the body of his son at Wilson Airport. But he revealed the condition of his son’s body when a relative called to inquire about something from him.
“Walimvunja vibaya sana (he was dismembered),” Mr Omari was overheard saying through speaker phone.
Amid tears, Ms Kerubo braved herself to explain how difficult it was to get their son into the police service.
“We struggled. We are just peasant farmers. We educated our son, but he did not find a job even after completing a plumbing course. When he got the opportunity to join the police, we said Alhamdulillah (Thank God) because we knew he would change our lives,” Ms Kerubo added.
Help at hand
Mr Matayo’s sister, Ms Melvine Kemunto, recounted that her brother always came to their rescue whenever they had a problem.
“We could call him at will, asking for financial support. If he had money, he would gladly send it. He had taken the burden of paying our fees off our parents’ shoulders,” Ms Kemunto said.
Turkana was Mr Matayo’s second deployment. His first posting was in Chepchoina, Trans Nzoia County. He had been in the service for barely one year and slightly over a month in Turkana, his mother said.
He joined the service a year ago and was due to commemorate his first anniversary in November.
His grandfather, Mr Zebedeo Moindi took issue with his grandson’s deployment in a hostile area. He lamented that the young man had recently graduated from training and was not ready to be deployed to the restive region.
“Why do they send young inexperienced officers to such areas where banditry is the order of the day? It is not good to train young people and then send them to such areas yet they have not gained a lot, leave alone mastering the terrain,” Mzee Moindi lamented.
He urged President William Ruto to hasten his naming of the Cabinet so that the country could have someone in charge of security.
“We know of Dr Fred Matiang’i, who held that docket very well. The President should pick someone who will work like the outgoing Interior Cabinet Secretary,” Mr Moindi said.
Commenting on the attack, President Ruto ordered the police to deal with cattle rustlers firmly and decisively. The President posted on Twitter: “After receiving a comprehensive report on the Turkana/Pokot incident that led to 10 security/administration officers losing their lives, I have instructed security agencies to deal firmly, decisively and conclusively with those involved, cattle rustling will stop na sio tafadhali.”
Mr Matayo’s family has asked for support from the government to pay for expenses related to their loss. The late officer leaves behind a widow and a two-year-old daughter.