Kevin Madanga Kagoni; The pain of a mother

A photo of Kevin Madanga Kagoni before his brutal demise.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • At least 23 youths were shot during Tuesday's protest in Nakuru County.
  • Three succumbed to their injuries, the rest are receiving treatment in hospital.

Violet Gwazima clings to one of the few photographs she has of her teenage son, Kevin Madanga Kagoni.

His life was cut short by three bullets during last Tuesday's deadly protests against the 2024 Finance Bill, which left more than 20 people dead.

Kevin, 24, a first-year student at Migori Teachers Training College, was among thousands of protesters who stormed various parts of the country, calling on lawmakers to vote against the 2024 Finance Bill, which seeks to increase taxes.

Police opened fire and several people were killed.

Gwazima is in pain and has yet to come to terms with her son's death.

When the Nation caught up with her at Nakuru Level Five Hospital, during the post-mortem on her son's body, she said her light had been extinguished and her hope shattered.

"This is so painful. Did they have to kill my son? The police could have arrested him instead of shooting him and yet he was a peaceful demonstrator," she told the Nation.

"As a family, we are asking for justice for my son. We want the relevant bodies to speed up investigations and arrest the police officer who shot him and have him prosecuted in court."

Kevin’s sister, Mercy Khavete, said Kevin had been sent home from college because of school fee arrears and was helping their mother at their hotel in Ngata area of Nakuru to raise the required school fees.

She said Kevin left home on Tuesday morning and informed his older brother that he was joining his fellow youths on the streets to protest against the tax proposals in the Finance Bill. Kevin went missing that Tuesday.

For three days, the family searched for him at hospitals and police stations, but there were no records of him there.

“The three days he was missing we lived in agony as a family. We heard that two youth had been shot but we brushed it off. We didn't know that he was among those shot during the protests. He was taken to the hospital as an unknown person," his sister recalls.

His family later found his lifeless body at Nakuru Level Five Hospital mortuary.

"He always helped a lot at home. Whenever he was at home, he used to wake up at 3am and help our mother to prepare food for our hotel. He died at a young age fighting for his rights and those of other Kenyans," Khavete added.

His brother, Allan Kagoni, said he tried to call him on Tuesday evening but his phone was switched off and he thought Kevin had decided to spend the night with a friend.

During the three days they searched for him, his family hoped he was staying with friends.

When Allan visited the mortuary at Nakuru Level Five Hospital last Friday, he found his brother's body.

"At the mortuary, even the attendant was surprised to see me there very early on Friday morning.

"After I told him about my brother, he asked me to call my other relatives first. But he warned me not to say anything about the body.

"Later, we went to see his body. He had been shot three times. He had two bullet wounds in his chest and one in his neck," he recalled.

"We learnt that Kevin was brought to the facility on Tuesday evening by good Samaritans. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and succumbed to injuries on Thursday at 8pm."

Zachariah Ngugi, a friend, said the last time they were together was last Tuesday when Kevin and another friend visited him.

He said the two friends found him watching the protest live on television and Kevin jokingly said he was going to join his fellow youths in fighting for the rights of Kenyans.

Ngugi said he pleaded with Kevin not to join the protests, but it was all in vain.

“I called him at around 4pm on Tuesday to inquire about his whereabouts but the call went unanswered. I called him again at around 9pm and the phone was switched off," he said.

Ngugi described Kevin as a hardworking and brave man who always stood up for his rights.

At least 23 youths were shot during Tuesday's protest in Nakuru County.

Three succumbed to their injuries, while the rest are receiving treatment at various health facilities, including Nakuru Level Five Hospital.