Matatu driver cries for help after police brutal attack for failure to pay bribe

Police Brutality

A victim Nelson Mwasame was allegedly injured by a police officer inside a cell at Kapenguria police station in West Pokot County. He was admitted at Kapenguria County referral hospital on March, 22nd, 2024.

Photo credit: OSCAR KAKAI| NMG

What you need to know:

  • Nelson Mwasame, a matatu driver who plies the Kitale –Kapenguria road is now lying in ward one at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital following a brutal attack by the police.
  • He claims the officer who assaulted him was bitter with him because he never parts with bribes at the roadblock.

A public service vehicle driver in West Pokot is nursing serious injuries alleged to have been inflicted on him by a rogue police officer while in custody.

Nelson Mwasame who plies the Kitale –Kapenguria road is now lying in ward one at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital following the incident he blames as a result of his refusal to part with a bribe.

The driver claimed a policeman on duty, whom he identified as a traffic officer, picked him up from the cells and took him to a dark room where he allegedly demanded a bribe by beating him with a wooden club.

“He asked me to remove my clothes poured water on the floor and told me to sleep on it. I cried but there was no help. I passed out and he brought water in a bucket to resuscitate me,” he claimed.

On the fateful day, March 20, 2024, Mwasame woke up early at his Kipsaina home in Trans-Nzoia and headed to his workplace.

Passengers having boarded, he left his station in Kitale, picking more travellers along the way, among them a female who boarded the vehicle at Kesogon stage B.

According to Mr Mwasame, he did not hear a request by the woman who wanted to alight at Talau Junction because of the high radio volume, which annoyed the passenger who alighted at Tartar Junction Weighbridge spewing expletives.

“She alighted but abused me. We disagreed and she told me that she would teach me a lesson,” Mr Mwasame claimed.

According to the driver, the passenger refused to pay the normal fare which is Sh70 and parted with only Sh50, which resulted in a confrontation, with the two hurling abuses at each other.

The female passenger proceeded to report the matter to the police. Upon arriving in Kapenguria town, Mr Mwasame was arrested over the confrontation and booked at Makutano police post.

“I arrived in Kapenguria at 6.30 am and I was arrested. I wanted a cash bail but they refused. At 10 pm I was transferred to Kapenguria police station,” he said.

He claims he was brutally assaulted and tortured while at Kapenguria police station by an officer on duty, leaving him with severe injuries.

“The police officer had interrogated me, humiliated me, and slapped me. He pushed me inside the cell. He came to the cell holding a bottle of liquor in his hand, a wooden baton, and a torch,” claimed the driver.

The victim was taken to Kapenguria Hospital by police officers in charge of the station after his health worsened. He was later granted a cash bail.

He claims the officer who assaulted him was bitter with him because he never parts with bribes at the roadblock.

Mr Mwasame is now demanding justice.

“I was not lame and I have been crippled by a human being. I need justice. I need the government to help me,” he said.

His wife Rose Nelson has called on the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate the incidents saying her husband who is the family breadwinner has been crippled physically and financially.

“I feel pain. We have four children and two are in secondary school. I am jobless and my husband who is my only hope is now crippled,” she said.

The victim’s brother Joseph Mwasame termed it an act of impunity.

“He cannot walk. We carry him like a child to go for short and long calls,” he said.

West Pokot Sub County police commandant Kipkemoi Kirui confirmed the incident adding that the case was reported on March 20 and investigations were ongoing. He also confirmed that the victim was taken to hospital.

“We want him to get better and come and record his statement. Other people in custody say they witnessed the assault,” said the police boss, promising that stern action would be taken against the officer if he is found guilty of the assault.

“The officer is still working, but we shall take action if he is found guilty and take him to court. He is not above the law. He will serve as an example,” said Mr Kirui.