Name of Victim: Antony Njehu
Age: 30 years
Story Told By: Anonymous
Event: International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30, 2020)
You see this river. Look at it filled with dirt, clogged with faecal waste, besmirched with plastic, and rotting as it flows. Sometime back this river was full of life and energy. You could see the bedrock beneath as it sang the rhythm of Kiamako’s people and lives.
Anto’s dream was to see this river clean. His desire was to restore the glory and current of this river. Now his body, beaten, brutalized, and tortured, lies six feet under and as it decays, reminiscent of the waste that clogs our river.
Antony Njehu was an environmentalist, a community organizer, and a fighter for people’s rights. He was a husband and a father to two children, a four-year-old girl and a newly born baby boy who was just eleven months old when he lost his father. Through his entrepreneurial skills, he ferried customers across Kiamako with his boda boda and bred livestock as a community project.
On the 5th of April 2020, a day I will never forget. Anto and I were just chilling with friends at a common place where we normally did. Since he worked the nightshift, he spent his afternoons with his friends, watching football, catching up on political affairs and seeking ways through which to alleviate the marginalization and poverty that most of his people faced.
On this day, I took him to Huruma police station at around 10.00 am to take back his motorcycle which had been held by the police because of curfew violations. We took it back home safely and went to the chill spot where we frequented. A few hours later, he told me that he needed to go to see a certain woman who had been calling him incessantly during the entire day.
So, Anto and I took the road together to go see her. I remember he was wearing a juggle green t-shirt, faded grey jeans and some red slippers as we had left his shoes at the cobblers.
We were around the Kiamako mosque when we saw a suspicious car parked outside the mosque. There was a woman inside the car. We brushed past two men who Anto found very unordinary. He said that he smelled a rat. We asked some businessmen about the car and they confirmed that indeed it had been there from as far as 10.00am, just when the woman had begun to call Anto. And at that time, we knew that it was a set-up.
Suddenly, the men who had brushed past us started to walk back towards us. It was at this juncture, that around 12 men dressed in civilian clothing with handcuffs and guns got out of the car and began to approach us, ferociously.
The other two ordered us to stop and yelled, “Simama! Ua Mwizi!” We were scared for our lives. We knew there was no other option but to run. We decided to run in different direction aiming for the highway. I managed to escape but Anto was not so lucky. I went straight to his parents and reported the incident.
His father reported the case to Huruma Police Station, and they were promised assistance in finding their son.
It would be fourteen days after that when I would see Anto. Unfortunately, it would not be in our usual chill spot, or at the boda boda shed at Mother Teresa road where I would find him working, nor at the community social justice center seeking ways to better our community. No. It would be at City Mortuary with indications of what used to be Anto.
Morgue records confirmed that he had been dropped off by an unknown person. The postmortem report showed that he had died because of torture. The doctor confirmed the fact that his death was a result of murder.
I could not believe it when I saw Anto’s body, just a figure of what he had been. Looking at the bruises and injuries on his body, I could not imagine what he could have done to deserve such torture. I had not wept for a long time, but seeing my friend in such a condition, made my tears flow like the river he so much wanted to clean.
Anto will never get to see his dream of cleaning Kiamako river nor alleviating the struggles of his community. He will never get to see his children grow up and follow in his footprints. We will never chill together at our spot seeking ways to better the lives of our people. Now his wife and children suffer in agony and pain living without their protector and provider. A deep scar wounds his parents who lost their first born. And Kiamako river is still Rotting.