Faith Mutheu Ndalana recalls the last day she saw her father alive.
It was an opening day and she was all set to report back to Pangani Girls School School.
He advised her to work hard and, in between sobs, apologised profusely to her mother, even though the two were in good terms and he had not done anything to warrant an apology.
A week later, her mother, Ms Esther Ndalana, came to her school. Mutheu was needed at home. Her father was dead. He had allegedly committed suicide.
A week earlier, on July 28, 2016, around 10pm, Ms Esther Ndalana had received a call from a woman who used to do her husband’s laundry in Kisumu, where he worked as a police constable attached to the traffic riders unit.
The caller had bad news, and in a huff said, “Mzee amejinyonga” (your husband has hanged himself), then she hung up.
The sad news came barely an hour after Alfred Mutinda Ndalana had rung his wife, but she had missed the call. She had made a mental note to call back.
Confused, she dialled his number, but the calls went unanswered. She then called the woman who had broken the sad news, who informed her that Mutinda had been rushed to hospital.
An hour to midnight, she had assembled her sisters-in-law and a driver to take them to Kisumu.
“When they got to the house at the Nyalenda police lines around 6am, they found the door ajar. The bed and pillow were blood-stained and his slippers wet. Throughout that night, and up to today, the police never called my mother to formally inform her of the incident, yet she was listed as my father’s next-of-kin. Yet the OCPD kept on briefing the media on the matter,” says Ms Mutheu.
After viewing the body at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary, Esther set about packing her late husband’s belongings.
“While packing up, my mother found the room’s keys under the bed, and one cartridge that she later presented to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ office. She also noticed bullet holes in the ceiling,” says Ms Mutheu.
An inquest report explained around 9pm on the fateful evening, a Sergeant Beatrice Mwakoi heard gunshots and when she sought to find out what was happening, she found Alfred Ndalana had locked himself in his room Number 4 on Block C.
“With the help of other police officers, she managed to break his door and found Mutinda dead and with a gunshot wound on the lower jaw (chin). He was still holding an MP5 firearm. Four spent cartridges were found inside his room. Later, the body was moved to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue,” the report read.
A media report had it that Mutinda had asked a colleague to get him a screwdriver from a shop. He had then locked himself inside the house before taking his life using his colleague’s firearm.
And while the OCPD described Mutinda as a responsible person, his friends said he was worried about a police vetting that had been conducted two months earlier.
A post-mortem report indicated there were two bullet-entry wounds and three exit wounds. It singled out the cause of death as severe head injury as a result of gunshot wounds.
A report by the DCI examining officer indicated there were five exhibits – one submachine gun Serial Number 750968, one magazine, 16 rounds of ammunition, four fired cartridge cases and one bullet.
A national television station reported Mutinda had been at pains to explain several M-Pesa transactions he had conducted using his mobile phone and the source of millions of shillings in his bank account.
“My father had an Indian friend who, from time to time, would hire him to escort their religious paraphernalia. That is where he got the extra income. Besides, my mother is a businessperson,” Ms Mutheu told the Nation.
Convinced Mutinda was murdered, the family filed a criminal case at the Kisumu Law Courts, where an inquest was opened.
“The dragged on and before we got the ruling this year, it had been a painful five years of waiting. In March 2019, my mother appeared in court and narrated her story. I was there. A witness statement indicated the MPF gun belonged to my father’s roommate,” says Mutheu.
After completing her secondary education, and unhappy with the pace of the case, Ms Mutheu took to twitter.
“I started in 2018, but for two years it didn’t gain much traction. In 2019, Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) reached out, but after consultation, told us they would only step in after the conclusion of the court case,” she explained.
Ms Mutheu said that as the case progressed, her mother was attacked while closing her shop in the evening by a man on a motorcycle.
She ran two M-Pesa shops and one electronics outlet opposite Buruburu Phase 5 stage in Nairobi.
“The man ordered my mother to open the shop. He shot at the side of the door and proceeded to take away two Equity Bank point-of-sale (Pos) gadgets, two KCB PoS gadgets, three MPesa handsets, one Co-operative Bank PoS machines, three electromagnetic debit cards and Sh600,000 in cash,” Ms Mutheu said.
Later, she added, her mother called Buruburu Police Station. When detectives came to the shop, her mother reportedly overheard one of them saying, “Na si hii ni yetu?” (Isn’t this ours?) in reference to the spent cartridges. The machines were later found in a dumpsite in Ruai.
Ms Mutheu further told the Nation that her mother started being trailed by motorcycle riders as she drove home in the evening. When one motorbike disappeared, she narrated, another took over in quick succession. They only stopped when she reported the matter to the DCI.
Besides, she added, gunmen started frequenting their Harambee Estate neighbourhood, prompting the family to relocate.
On June 18 this year, the court ruled that Mutinda committed suicide.
“The judge cited three reasons – that there was no sufficient evidence to claim otherwise, that the family had not conducted their own post-mortem independently, and that it was only the family that felt that the manner of death was weird,” explained Ms Mutheu.
The family reached out the Ipoa head office in Nairobi. They were redirected to the Kisumu office, where they were assured the matter was being handled.
“Immediately after the vetting, my father came home and told us he wanted to quit his job and start a family business. He said he had already submitted his resignation letter, adding that previous ones had been rejected. After taking me to school, he went back to work, and was supposed to be home that Friday. On Thursday, he was lifeless,” recalls Ms Mutheu.
“He also called his brothers and asked them to pray for him because his bosses were on his neck. On the day he cried before me, he might have had a premonition that his life was about to end,” Ms Mutheu stated.
“We know that he was shot in the thigh, even though the report did not indicate this. If only the DCI could trace his phone calls, we would find the truth.
“I think there was bad blood between him and his bosses. In Mombasa, where he had been posted before, he was happy and had many friends. However, in Kisumu he became a loner. Eventually he died there,” concluded Ms Mutheu.