Kosewe

K’Osewe Ronalo Foods Restaurants proprietor William Guda Oseweat his Kimathi Street K’Osewe Ronalo Restaurant on October 7, 2021.

| Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Osewe: How shooting destroyed my life; I have to wear diapers everyday

I remember the day as if it was yesterday. December 1, 2016, to be precise. I had been at K’Osewe, my restaurant on Kimathi Street in Nairobi, for the better part of the day. I’ve always been interested in building stuff here and there and around that time I was putting up a hotel in Kisumu.

I left for Garden City Mall off Thika Road at about 2pm to meet a friend who had told me he had some building materials that I could use for my project in Kisumu. It had been a while since I was in that side of the city and there were so many developments coming up. The Garden Estate neighbourhood that I encountered was not the same one that I had last seen years earlier.

As fate would have it, instead of branching to the right off Thika Road, I branched left and headed towards Roasters Hotel. At the turn to Garden Estate I saw a familiar car. I moved closer and confirmed that it belonged to a man who owed me some money, and who had not been answering my calls. I peered closer and noticed that he was sitting in the car.

William Guda Osewe

K’Osewe Ronalo Foods proprietor William Guda Osewe leaves the Milimani Law Courts on September 27, 2021.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

I made a turn towards the car but he saw me, alighted and started walking away. I told him to stop and talk to me. In response, he pulled a gun and threatened to shoot me. I did not know people use guns that way. I am a licensed gun holder, and I know guns are not used that way. In any case, I did not have a gun at the time. You know, this gun business excites you the first two… three years, and then it becomes a bother. It is cumbersome walking around with it.

Hands in the air

When he raised the gun and pointed it at me, I put my hands in the air to prove to him that I had no intention of harming him.

But the man was serious. Within no time, he aimed and fired the first shot at my chest. Fortunately, it did not penetrate but it broke three of my ribs. I staggered and fell. In quick succession, he fired the second shot as I tried to lift myself. The bullet hit my left arm and exited on the other side. With that second shot, I lost my strength but I attempted to crawl back to the car. He then fired a third shot, this time aiming at my back. The bullet hit my lower back and shattered my spine. Then I heard a fourth shot, which fortunately did not hit me. He fired four shots at me, three were on target while the fourth hit a guard standing nearby.

Some people have suggested that maybe he shot me because he had been having an affair with my wife and I had caught them. We shall get to that shortly. Stay with me.

After shooting me and the guard, the man calmly drove off to Kasarani Police Station, where he told duty officers that he had killed somebody. Yes, “killed somebody”. That’s what he reported. He was sure he had killed me. Very few can survive four bullets, after all? Well, three got me, and that’s still too much. It’s unbelievable that I am still alive today and I thank God for it.

I did not lose consciousness but I was bleeding profusely and I could not even stand up. My left hand was broken. I managed to summon some strength and shout for help. Some people rushed to the scene and took me to a nearby AAR hospital, where doctors administered first aid on me to contain the bleeding before transferring me to Aga Khan University Hospital, where I stayed for two months.

The bullets that hit my chest and arm did not lodge, but the one that hit my back was stuck at the lower part of my spine. When doctors removed it they noticed that it had done irreversible damage to my back, pelvic muscles and nerves. That is why I am kaput from the waist downwards. Even walking a few steps is a struggle.

I used to be a self-sufficient man running his business and building his empire slowly. I ran around without much care about the complexities of the biological miracle involved in every step I took. I was an agile man, full of energy and brimming with dreams. That is all gone now.

It’s been five years since that man shot me and changed my life terribly. I cannot do anything on my own. It takes me over two hours to prepare myself in the morning to get out of the house. I have improvised a lot of things in my house to fit the needs and demands of the new me.

I’m so dependent

Everything from waist downwards is not functional. I cannot even wear shoes, neither can I drive my manual transmission pick-up truck to deliver supplies to my restaurant. I cannot do the simple things that people do for themselves. I am so dependent on other people, and that pains me.

The damage to the pelvic region means I can’t even pass urine naturally and so have to use catheters. And, even worse, I have to wear adult diapers all the time for stool. It’s a tough, rough life for me, wearing a diaper at my age because I don’t want to soil myself or foul my bedding at home. And doctors tell me this is a permanent, irreversible condition. Basically, I will have to learn to live like this. And I can tell you it’s not easy.

I still go for check-ups though and I’m on medication. I am still on physiotherapy but the recovery window is almost coming to an end. There is a limit to everything, y’know.

Other than ruining my health and sense of masculinity, this has also brought me untold financial sorrow. I was doing good business and paying off some loans I had taken to put up a few developments here and there. But then, as I lay in hospital for two months and in bed at home for three years, I defaulted on the loan repayments. Now the banks are on my case and have advertised my block of flats in South C, Nairobi for auction. My productivity has gone down to almost 30 per cent of what I am capable of doing.

As those close to me might know, 90 to 95 per cent of my work style is manual. I move around. I push myself. I exert myself to the limit. I am not a boss. I am a doer; the man on the floor, wiping tables clean and serving my customers their ugali and fish. That’s me. That’s the life I chose for myself. Now, as a physically disabled man who loves to be in charge that way, I am basically done. I will try to pick myself up slowly, to gather whatever I can and rebuild my life. And then, perhaps, learn a new walking style.

Tom Oywa Mboya, the man who ruined my life, was not really a friend. Yes, I knew him, but he was not a close friend. He was a tour operator and I would hire his services every now and then to move me around. Sometimes he would even drive me to my rural home in Uyoma. That, perhaps, created the impression in some people’s minds that we were friends. We weren’t. It was just business.

Shooter of K’ Osewe Foods owner remanded for calling complainant animal

The reason for the altercation in Garden Estate that led to him shooting me was a debt of Sh300,000. At least that’s what I knew at the time, what I chose to believe. But then his lawyer went to court and announced to all that maybe Mboya was having an affair with my wife. I don’t know what he was thinking or whether it was a plot to somehow turn the tables against me, but when the lawyer uttered those words I went home and started investigating what had been going on behind my back.

Tom Oywa Mboya

Tom Mboya at the Milimani Law Courts on June 21, 2021, over the attempted killing of K'Osewe Ranalo Foods owner William Osewe.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

I confronted my wife about it. She initially refuted it all but after some time I discovered that indeed the two had been having an affair. Now my wife and I are separated. We don’t live together.

So, a broken spine, a loose bowel, unpaid loans, and a broken marriage. Can it get worse?

Apparently, yes. The hospital bill in the first two months was about Sh5 million and over time I have spent so much more after exhausting my insurance cover. I have spent over Sh4 million of my own money since then. This situation, I think, has blown my Sh10 million just like that. I must pay for consultation, buy medicine and still pay for the equipment that I am using to pass urine. I also have to buy diapers every day.

Learning to walk

They say that the most important thing in these situations is accepting who you are and seeking life anew. I lived in denial at first, now I don’t. At least now I can walk, sometimes without the crutches. The first few months were terrible because I could not even sit. I was being taught to sit the way you teach a baby. To date I cannot walk in an open place without anything to hold on to, but hey! like a toddler, I am learning to walk! Again! I have come from being taught to sit, to being in a wheelchair for the first one and a half years, to being taught how to walk again.

This week Mboya, my attacker, was sentenced to 20 years in jail. I feel justice has been done, but the sentence could have been longer, given that I am permanently disabled. I cannot work and I am totally dependent on other people. The man has been enjoying bhis life for the last five years even after ruining mine this much. I hope the courts will not entertain any appeal from him should he file any. I mean, why should he enjoy his freedom again after the court has found him guilty? He was not even remorseful and kept referring to me in court as an animal. Can somebody remorseful refer to you as an animal, especially after reducing you to a pauper? I am a man without even a family now.

And that, sadly, is my life after those three bullets coursed through my body.

It shall be well.

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