Back to Square One
Story told by Mama Nura Malicha
Translated by: Lena Grace Anyuolo
Photographer: Ibrahim Rashid Otieno
“The wheels of justice have been very slow. I know if I was a rich woman, if I wasn’t a poor old woman, my son Nura would have gotten justice by now.” Halima Diramo Malicha – Mama Nura Malicha
The road to justice for the merciless killing of my son has been snail-slow, bumpy, and simply never-ending. My son, Nura Malicha, worked as a casual laborer at the slaughterhouse in Kiamaiko, Nairobi. On February 21, 2015 – the day he met his death – Nura was bursting with life as usual. He woke up and left for work very early in the morning.
At around 8:30 AM, I was in the house when a woman came to my house. She looked shaken and for some time, could not speak. I welcomed her in and inquired what the matter was. Without mincing her words, but very frantic, she said my son had been shot.
The words were cold, they sent a shiver through my spine, and numbed me. I still hear her words, today, six years later.
What had my son done?
I followed the woman, running all the way to the slaughterhouse. I found Nura lying in a pool of blood with his teeth falling out of his mouth. First, we took him to a local hospital, by then he was still alive but struggling to stay conscious. The local hospital refused to admit him for treatment because the law doesn’t allow them to treat gunshot wounds. So we rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital but we were too late. He was already dead.
The post-mortem report showed that he had been shot multiple times using police bullets. Nura was unarmed and harmless. He was a good child who earned an honest wage working at the goat slaughterhouse.
From the time he was killed, it took a year to get the case to its first mention in court. The wheels of justice have been very slow. I know if I was a rich woman, if I wasn’t a poor old woman, my son Nura would have gotten justice by now.
After five years of prolonged delays and regular adjournments, we got to what we thought was the finish line. The date for the judgment was finally set on June 23, 2021.
Then, for reasons I can’t explain, the case started over. Now we are back to square one gathering evidence afresh.
The Director of Public Prosecutions took our case file back to the Independent Police and Oversight Authority (IPOA). We followed up last week and were told that Humphrey, the official at IPOA who was in charge of our case, went on a trip. Another official told us that Humphrey had been transferred. We don’t know who is telling us the truth.
The police officer responsible, David Kibet Rono, was not convicted but transferred from Huruma police station where he had continued to work for five years after he killed my son.
Two key witnesses to the killing have fled from Nairobi. They were intimidated and afraid of the consequences of giving their testimony for the second time.
We have been neglected by the judicial system. It was clear that David Kibet Rono killed my son. All the evidence plus the witness testimonies confirmed this. If he was found guilty of murder, why was he transferred to a different police station, and not sentenced?
The police officer who killed Nura threatened me many times. One time, he came to my place of work where I used to sell roasted groundnuts, and spat on the ground to mock me. He told me that he will get away with what he did.
This case has financially strained our family. Often, I’ve had to walk to Milimani law courts for hearings because I did not have enough bus fare. Sometimes we are late and find the case already started but because we were absent, it was adjourned to a later time in the day. We have been hungry at the courthouse, beaten down by the sun, or waiting in the biting cold but still, no justice for Nura.
The grass will not grow on Nura’s grave site. My heart is broken in sorrow. When I talk about my Nura like this, it is difficult for me to sleep at night. He was my all. He was hardly twenty years old and had never harmed anyone or caused anyone to talk ill of him. It pains me to reminisce. For how long will this back and forth with the judicial system continue? I feel like I am being taken for a ride. I cannot keep talking about this. I want justice for my son.