Likoni blue waters that carry my red bleeding heart

REPORT

Name of the victim: Gilbert Pulah Nguma

Age: 36

Story told by: Gilbert Pulah Nguma (First person narration)

Gilbert Pulah Nguma

I was a renowned transporter in Kwale County and beyond.

My life was all good, my young family of two children the eldest being eight years was growing well as I provided and protected it every day.

Little did I know that one day everything will be turned upside down and I will almost be turned into a poor beggar.

The physical and emotional pain is killing me, I am trying to get back to my feet but this pain all over my body and inside my bleeding heart drains all my energy.

Whenever I cross the Likoni ferry channel, I always count up to 12 steps and yes, here we are, the exact place that I almost lost my life after a ruthless beating from police officers.

It is under this tree that I was beaten, received kicks and blows. Police walked on my back until I was unconscious.

I remember very well that day. We were queuing to board the ferry and cross from Mombasa Island to Likoni mainland.

We had adhered to all Covid-19 protocols, our masks were on, we were standing one meter apart waiting for the next ferry so that we cross the calm Indian Ocean.

All over a sudden the police started beating us, it was around 2 pm so this had nothing to do with the curfew orders, we were too many and people were losing patience.

What I know is that to date, police have failed to justify the brutality on that day.

I was carrying some medicines for my wife who was eight-month pregnant by then and unwell.

The four police officers, among them the GSU, regular police and NYS crushed me on the ground, hit me hard with their wooden ‘rungus’, plastic pipes, kicks and blows and everyone thought I was dead.

They broke my left leg, my toe on the left foot was crushed. I sustained serious injuries to my left hand and my back. To date, the pain remains very strong.

If it were not for Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo who ordered the police to stop beating us, I would be dead long ago. Some of my relatives came home the next day crying after receiving reports that I was among those killed at the Likoni ferry channel on March 27, 2020.

Indeed some people succumbed to the beating though the government denied the fact that people died during the assault.

I was assisted by the Kenya Red Cross Society emergency response team who offered first aid before I tried to reach home, Kwale.

However, on reaching Kombani on my way to Kwale on a bodaboda, I was beaten again by police at around 5 pm, despite the curfew hours being 7 pm to 5 am. I sustained more injuries and all my clothes were soaked in blood, some of the bandages dropped off and my wounds started bleeding again. These people (police) are not human beings, they are heartless I tell you.

Though I reached Kwale County hospital, I received no treatment at all and I only depended on my family to dress my leg and hand and all other wounds all over my body. Whenever someone asks me about what happened to date I can’t block my tears from freely rolling down my cheeks.

After three months of pain, suffering, discomfort and psychological torture, I was able to walk through short distances trying to exercise so that I do not turn completely lame.

I cannot go back to my driving job where I earned some good money since I can’t bend my left leg for more than 15 minutes, so I can’t drive a vehicle anymore.

I resorted to painting structures, a job that I taught myself after realizing I couldn’t go back to transport jobs. I fetch a meagre amount on painting to feed my family, and when there are no such jobs, we suffer.

Whenever I cross the Likoni ferry channel, I feel my heart beating fast with fresh memories all over my head.

Whenever I see a police officer, I feel like I have seen a ghost who doesn’t deserve any life in this world. I think Kenya has the worst inhuman and brutal security service.

I always pray that none of my children joins the police force since they may end up beating and killing their own relatives.

I pray that my case would be the last one since the same police officers who are meant to protect us are now killing innocent Kenyans.

What I want is for the Kenya security agencies to cease their inhuman nature and serve the community with dignity as their slogan always states ‘Utumishi Kwa Wote’.

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