Samson Odongo

Samson Odongo, who was shot at Mukuru kwa Njenga on December 27 last year. His body is still at the City Mortuary as the family seeks for help to clear the bill.

| Photo | Pool

Killed by the police, he can’t be buried until state is paid

On the morning of December 27, Samson Odongo, 32, left his home in Mukuru kwa Njenga for a walk. He never returned home.

His wife, Elizabeth Achieng, received a phone call at 1pm the same day informing her that her husband had been shot and was fighting for his life at Cana Health Centre.

By the time she got there, the father of four was dead.

“He was shot by a police officer who had escorted some men to set up beacons on land in Mukuru kwa Njenga. He was just passing by,” she said.

Mr Odongo was a mason and the family’s breadwinner, she said.

“I’m a housewife and my children attend school. I don’t know how we are going to survive,” she added.

Ms Achieng is pregnant and expects to deliver her baby in June or July.

Her husband died from a single gunshot to the chest, a post-mortem examination report showed. The bullet tore through his lungs before exiting. He died as medics tried to resuscitate him.

Now, his body is lying at Nairobi’s City Mortuary, 18 days later, awaiting burial.

The family, Ms Achieng said, has been unable to pay his mortuary bill so that the body can be released to them, and they have no money to conduct the burial.

“We came up with a budget of Sh280,000 to cover the mortuary bill, transport the body upcountry to Alego Usonga, Siaya County, and funeral and burial expenses,” she said.

“We initially planned to just clear the mortuary bill and get his body on January 14, but now we have no money, so we hope to get it discharged on 21st. Most leaders that we have tried to reach only give empty promises.”

Mr Odongo’s father, Richard Odongo Nyadida, pleaded with the government to intervene, saying he was unable to raise the money required to lay his son to rest.

“I am asking the government to intervene because the bullet that killed him is theirs,” he said.

“The two weeks that we have been in Nairobi since we travelled from Siaya have been traumatic,” Mr Odongo’s mother, Rose Girenge said.

Nelson Achieng, who said he was Odongo’s friend for 10 years, recalled they were together three days before the shooting. Odongo told him he was planning to visit his parents in Siaya as he had been in Nairobi for a year.

“I live in Fedha. On the fateful day, I received a call from his neighbour, telling me my friend had died,” he said.

Another of Odongo’s friends, Mr Nelson Oywaya, said Odongo was to travel to his rural home that evening.

“He had bought some items and left them in my place, and was supposed to pick them up that day. We still don’t understand how he was caught up in the fracas. He was not the type to engage in fights,” Mr Oywaya said.

“His children called me uncle; even though we were not related, we’re that close. Now, I’ve to take the things he left to his parents on the day of the burial,” he added.

Embakasi Division OCPD Makau Masai said the case is still under investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority. The probe, he said, is expected to be concluded by January 21.

“If the government is at fault, the family will be compensated. However, if the deceased is at fault, then the case ends there,” he said.

The Inspector-General of Police sent Nairobi Region Police Commander Augustine Nthumbi and Embakasi police division commander on compulsory leave over the shootings.


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