‘My son died as a result of police assault that made him impotent’

Celine Akoth

Celine Akoth, the mother to George Ojwang (inset) during the interview at her home in Bondeni estate Nakuru County on June 19, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Ojwang’s, encounter with the police forever altered the trajectory of his life.
  • A police officer is said to have grabbed his private parts during the confrontation.

George Ojwang, a 30-year-old Nakuru man who died on Tuesday, lived a life of anguish after he was assaulted by police and rendered impotent seven years ago.

Ojwang, a boda boda rider, was assaulted during a protest at Bondeni area in Nakuru City.

His family said he went into depression and got caught up in drugs, until Tuesday when he died after injecting himself with a drug.

His mother, Celine Akoth, in an exclusive interview with the Nation, narrated her son’s heartbreaking story, saying Ojwang was a promising young man with dreams and ambitions like many of his peers,but his life changed after the ordeal.

“For more than five years,my son wallowed in depression following the ordeal in 2017,before he took his own life on Tuesday. With no hopes of ever siring children,he got depressed and indulged in drugs,” said Ms Akoth.

Born and raised in Bondeni slum,in Nakuru East sub-county, Ojwang’s, encounter with the police in 2017 forever altered the trajectory of his life.

According Ms Akoth, the fifth-born was assaulted by police officers for no apparent reason.

“It was around 7pm and a group of police officers from Bondeni Police Station had responded to a fire incident within the slum. They met my son on the way and asked him to stop. He obeyed the orders and stopped his motorbike even though he was carrying a passenger. He then inquired why he had been stopped, and this seemed to anger the officers, who then started beating him,” said Ms Akoth. What should have been a standard procedure turned violent.

It is during the incident that a senior police officer is said to have grabbed Ojwang’s private parts and threw him to the ground. He was later bundled into a waiting police vehicle.

Ojwang was later taken to Rhonda Police Station despite informing the officers that he was in pain and needed medical attention.

At the station, his elder sister tried to inquire why the officer had manhandled her brother, but the officer was furious and arrested her, sending away the rest of the family members.

The two were later presented at the Nakuru Law Court where they were charged but were released on a cash bail of Sh20,000.

“That day, he passed by here. He told me that he was very tired and needed to rest. He told me that he will not wait until I prepare dinner, only to be informed later that he had been assaulted by a police officer. When I saw him he was in pain, his testicles were swollen,he was just pleading for help but we could not do anything. I just watched helplessly,” Ojwang’s mother recalled.

Ojwang was charged with incitement, a case which took one year and ended in 2018. He was fined after the court found him guilty of the charges.

The conviction added to Ojwang’s pain.

His mother said she felt emasculated and worthless, struggling to come to terms with his new reality. The mental anguish sent him on a downward spiral.

Unable to cope with the trauma and the shame, she says, he turned to drugs. Initially seeking solace, he soon found himself ensnared in a vicious cycle of addiction.

His drug use escalated as he tried to numb the mental anguish. Friends and family watched in despair as the once vibrant young man became a shadow of his former self, retreating further into his addiction.

According to Ms Akoth, Ojwang received treatment at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, but the family opted for outpatient service in fear of being attacked by the officer.

“During the recovery period, he was given some medicine and the doctors assured us that he would be well. But since the incident, he was really affected, he avoided women. It was hard for me to ask him if everything was okay. I have never quite understood what transpired. He was not an open person, he kept to himself,” she said.

According to Ms Akoth, she had just woken up on Tuesday morning, when her daughter informed her that she had received information that Ojwang was not feeling well and he had requested her to rush there.

At his house, she was shocked to find her son lying in bed unconscious while blood oozed from his mouth. 

When the terrified mother touched her son, she felt that he was cold. She was shortly informed that he was no more. His siblings went to report to the police who came and picked his body. 

His friend’s body was found a few metres from Ojwang’s place. The bodies are lying at the Nakuru City Mortuary awaiting post-mortem examination.

Nakuru East sub-county criminal investigation officer Samuel Ngeiywo said that preliminary investigations showed that the two died after injecting themselves with drugs, which are yet to be established.