Esther Mutisya

Esther Mutisya, mother of Evans Mutisya, at her home in Mukuru kwa Njenga.

| Mercy Chelangat | Nation Media Group

Agony of poor boy shot in Mukuru slums evictions

At 9am on December 27 last year, 15-year-old Evans Mutisya arose from his tent at Mukuru kwa Njenga in Nairobi and walked to his mother’s iron-sheet house for breakfast.

Outside, residents were engaging the police in running battles over an alleged land grabber who was reportedly under police protection.

The man had come to set up beacons in an open area where people’s structures had been demolished.

A tipper loaded with sand and bags of cement hinted that the man was keen to develop the plot.

Mutisya stayed in the house with his mother until 3pm. The door had been locked and mother and son were too scared to go out. When the noise

subsided, he and his neighbours went out to check whether all was clear. They were, however, met with flying tear-gas canisters aimed at their residential building.

From the first floor, where his mother lives, Mutisya hurried down the wooden stairs to a blue tank at the main entrance to the structure.

His neighbours were desperate to wash their faces and rush back to the safety of their houses, and Mutisya was among the last ones.

Once he had washed his face, he raised his head just in time to see a police officer heading straight towards him.

He had seen the officer before and can recognise him. He saw the officer crouch, fire, then get up and hurry towards him. As he scampered for safety, he felt a sharp pain on the left side of his stomach and realised he had been shot.

The bullet exited near his pelvic bone.

“I ran to a neighbouring residential building and met a friend there. I informed him that I had been shot and he started making calls to inform my mother.

Since I had her phone with me, he called a friend who then called my mother’s sister. Fortunately, they were both in the house and that is how she got to know what had happened,” explains Mutisya.

The bleeding teenager was rushed to Mukuru Nursing Centre for first aid, then dispatched to Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital in an ambulance. The next day, he went under the knife and even though he was to be discharged on New Year’s Day, he was held until January 3 due to inability to clear the hospital bill.

Since that day, he has to walk 100 metres from home armed with Sh100 to see Mr David Ouma, a clinical officer who cleans and dresses the wound four times a week.

Although Mr Ouma is kind enough to dress the wound even when Mutisya doesn’t have the money, the teen doesn’t like bothering the medic.

Can cause infection

On January 26, the day of the interview, he discloses that he hasn’t been for a whole week.

Mr Ouma is concerned about this. Infrequent dressing coupled with unhygienic living conditions, he says, can cause infection, or see the wound take long to heal.

“When he was brought to me the first time, his wounds were still open, but they are now sealed. Despite the fast recovery, he should be taking painkillers and antibiotics but he is not, probably because his parents cannot afford them,” he says.

The dressing, he said, should continue for as long as the wounds take to heal, especially because his recovery period depends on his body’s immunity.

“The bullet touched my intestines, but that was repaired through surgery. I only feel pain around the wound when it’s cold. Because of this, I haven’t been going to school. I had only attended classes for three months.  My college has however been kind enough to allow me to resume in April,” says Mutisya.

Mutisya’s mother, Ms Esther Ndung’wa, explains that her house was demolished in November. Though she salvaged some of her belongings, she lost a lot, including a pub that ensured her three children were warm and fed.

“We lost most of our clothes and a bucket full of shoes disappeared mysteriously. Someone made away with my cooking gas container, utensils and electronics. I only recently managed to buy a charcoal stove (jiko), but getting a meal is like winning a lottery,” she laments.

Thus rendered homeless, she secured a tent for her two sons from the Red Cross and because of an injury on the leg injury that she sustained from a past road accident, she rented a one-roomed iron sheet house to protect herself from further risks and to keep her seven-year-old daughter safe.

The boys would spend the day at their mother’s house, then go to the tent to sleep.

The alleged land grabber first attempted to set up beacons on Christmas day but he was ambushed by the residents, who forced him to seek refuge at the Mukuru police post.

The next day, on December 26, tension was still high and only uniformed police officers could be seen around.

'Detained my phone'

“On December 27, when my son was shot, the man was escorted to the cleared plot by more than five police land cruisers and a confrontation ensued,” narrates Ms Ndung’wa.

“When I heard that my son had been shot, I feared getting out of the house. When I finally saw  him at the health centre, I found out that the pharmacy had detained my phone in exchange for some medicines,” she recalls.

She explains that her son goes to the chemist for dressing because she cannot afford to take him back to Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital.

“Every morning I have to hustle to get Sh100 shillings to enable him go for dressing at the chemist, but he hasn’t gone for a week because I don’t have money. I took him to the hospital recently, but it was a struggle because a taxi is expensive,” she says.

Her second-born son, she says, is back home with her. He is in Form One, but was told to go back home for school fees two weeks ago. Though her lastborn attends school, she has to go  without lunch.

She plans to enrol her second-born in a cheaper school but if things don’t work out, he will have to stay home and repeat his current class next year.

Now, for the safety of the boys, she has rented another single iron-sheet room, for which she pays with promises. She will this month hold a fundraiser to help her household.

Nyumba kumi chairman from Sisal area and a gender-based violence activist demanded for justice and protection for Mutisya.

“This boy is still a child and has a right to be protected. His rights are being violated by the same government that is supposed to protect him, which is wrong,” the activist said.

Mr Geoffrey Mboya, a youth community leader, explains that it’s urgent for the minor to see to a therapist over the trauma and mental flashbacks to the shooting incident.