By Moses Okinyi
The bullet struck me, as I stood on the balcony of my family’s home with my siblings.
This is Yassin Moyo: Another innocent life lost through police bullet. Just another statistic, another child joining baby Pendo, baby Moraa, baby Githinji and other in the afterlife.
For sure if the three of us lived on the third floor of a flat in Lavington or Runda or Nyali in Mombasa, we would all be alive today, enjoying our childhood and youth. But this is Kenya, where being poor is in itself a crime.
Before my life was cut short, I used to live in the sprawling Kiamaiko estate in Nairobi where my parents and all my neighbours are treated as criminals first by the police. Kiamaiko, like in many informal settlements in Kenya, be it Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu or Nakuru, police reign terror and kill at their pleasure.
The sanctity of life in the slums is totally ignored by the police, who have become the law unto themselves unleashing terror at will.
Yes! I am Yassin, the boy you heard about. Yes! the one who was shot in cold blood, in his balcony by the Kenyan Police.
“Go upstairs,” my lovely mother had shouted minutes earlier to me and my elder sister Aisha Hussein who is 19, obedient as we are, we went upstairs.
We knew we were safe. After all, we are within the safety of our home. Away from the crowd, police batons and bullets. But how wrong were we? At around 7.20 pm, just a few minutes after the curfew had started I was hit. Hit by a bullet my faithful tax-paying parents paid for. For my protection. Or so I thought.
I am Yassin, Yassin Hussein Moyo. Yes, Yassin, the 13-year-old boy whose voice was silenced by a Kenyan Police Bullet. And I am a Kenyan son.
I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen and as I bled, I could only think of my mum and … “Look, mum, it hit me,” is all I could say holding my bleeding stomach.
Until the Kenyan Police killed me, I, Yassin Moyo was just another Standard Eight candidate at Ndururuno Primary School, happy to be finally clearing primary school and, like other pupils, was home after learning was stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic, apparently to ensure our safety from a virus that I heard came all the way from China.
But no, the moment I left my school’s gate I was exposed. Exposed to all the dangers that Kenyan children in the slum face every day. Threats not only from lack of food, malaria, cholera or even Coronavirus. The virus that I was told to go home so that I am protected from. Little did I know that I was never going back to school. The Kenyan police, in their usual trigger happiness, would take me to an early grave.
I was not in the streets throwing stones in defiance of the curfew. I was inside our home enjoying the warmth of my family – a place we were all told we would be safe. Yet from the balcony of our third-floor home, I was shot in the stomach. Shot to death. By a Kenyan Policeman. For what? I don’t know.
I don’t know if I felt anything as my family mourned me during my burial at Kariokor Cemetery on the outskirts of Nairobi. I don’t know if at all they washed me according to Muslim rites or even if and how they carried me through the street to the cemetery. I don’t know how many of my friends attended my funeral as the government, in the spirit of protecting people from the dangerous virus, had banned big funeral gatherings.
How will I know? I am voiceless, I have been silenced. Forever. Not from corona but the Kenyan Police.
“IPOA has dispatched its Rapid Response Team to commence investigations in the shooting. The Authority has attended the postmortem investigation and has also identified potential witnesses for statement recording,” the oversight bodies statement reads in part. The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji directed the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to carry out immediate investigations into my death.
But no matter what they do, I am gone forever but I hope Justice must prevail if only to ensure another child is protected to enjoy what they denied me.
Media reports have revealed that my death was a blunder by trigger-happy undercover cops who have now hatched a plan to cover up the killing and the guilty person.
However, a newspaper reports that no gun from the Pangani team will be subjected to forensic analysis. How then will you ensure Justice for me?
“Our sincere condolences to the family,” a police tweet said. Is it not too late? How many times have the Kenyan Police tweeted their condolences? Like for the late Baby Pendo, baby Moraa and others. Did they get justice?
This is my sad ending. My name is Yassin Moyo, a 13-year-old Kenyan son, silenced forever by a Kenyan Police Bullet.