Neighbour from hell: My daughter didn’t derseve to die from illegal electricity connection
When schools open next week, Mercy Munjiru Maina will not be joining Grade 5 as she was looking forward to. Her life was tragically cut short by an illegal electricity connection, resulting in her electrocution.
On Thursday last week, the 12-year-old girl had accompanied her peers to fetch water at Gathara River which flows through the sprawling Kiamaina slums on the outskirts of Nyahururu town.
After she fetched water, Mercy came into contact with a live electric wire that had been illegally connected to a neighbour’s wire mesh fence that she had leaned on at some point.
The seventh-born child of a family of nine died on the spot.
Her mother, Ms Nancy Wanjiru, is currently inconsolable as she comes to terms with her death. She described Mercy as the most hardworking of her four daughters.
“She was very active both at home and school. At home she would clean all the utensils and fill all the jerry cans with water by herself,” said the devastated casual labourer.
Calls for justice
Mr Peter Maina, her father, is demanding justice.
“I was shocked to be called in the afternoon to be told that my daughter has died. It is very painful...she had a future full of promise,” said the father of nine.
On Wednesday, calls for justice dominated speeches given during the minor's burial at Siberia public cemetery.
Mercy’s classmates from Maina Primary School moved mourners' tears when they recited a poem calling for justice.
Clergy, family members and community leaders also urged the homeowner, who has since gone into hiding, to surrender to the police immediately.
Pastor James Nderitu of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK) said Mercy was among pupils from poor backgrounds who were being supported by the church.
“It is sad that we have lost a girl with such a promising future,” said the pastor.
He blamed the local administration and village elders for failing to take action after several incidents of electrocution were reported near the river.
“Those who had gone to fetch water at the river a few days before Mercy’s death reported feeling electric shock in the river and at the fence. Those responsible failed to take action,” he said.
“People are running out of patience and the authorities should act before they take the law into their hands,” noted pastor Nderitu.
Rev Joseph Kamau of Seed of Immanuel Church of Eldoret urged locals not to take the law into their hands and allow the law to take its course.
Maina location senior chief Joseph Muraya confirmed that the fence had been illegally connected with high-voltage electricity.
“It was an illegal connection and that is why Kenya Power disconnected the whole home after the incident,” said Chief Muraya.
The administrator said that no one had reported to him or his assistants that electric currents had been reported at the river.
“We would have taken immediate action against the homeowner,” he said.
Police from Nyahururu police station said they are in pursuit of the suspect.