#DelayedJustice

Asha Yusuf Chai a victim of police brutality during the curfew period.

Name of the victim: Asha Yusuf Chai

Age: 59 years

A story told by Asha Yusuf Chai

I always look up at the sky and ask Allah (God) why did you spare me and subject me to a now painful, hopeless and ruthless life?

I wish I could revive my past promising life, but unfortunately, I can’t. My life is torn apart and I am living like tattered cloth.

I have become useless, a human being without focus and who cannot differentiate between yesterday, today and tomorrow as everything seems to be falling apart.

I was a successful fish vendor, who fetched between Ksh. 3,500 and 4,000 in a day.

In a successful week, I could bank up to Ksh.16,000 from my fish business.

It is the same business that enabled me to educate my six children up to the secondary level.

My husband died 30 years ago leaving me with the burden of raising my children. I struggled daily to ensure none sleeps hungry and that they all get their basic needs including education.

But all these changed in a single day. Memories of that day leave my stomach churning and tear my heart into pieces. This was actually the beginning of all my tribulations.

I vividly recall it was the second day of the 7pm to 5 am dusk to dawn curfew.

It was on March 28, 2020, on a Saturday evening. I had gone to sell my fried fish some few meters from my home, in Bamburi, Kisauni Sub-county.

I was almost finishing my fish stock some minutes before 7 pm when I heard people shouting “Police…police!” I started carrying my wears so that I could dash to my house, but before making a single step, police officers surrounded me.

Before I uttered a single word, I found myself on the ground bleeding.

I was hit by those wooden ‘rungus,’ they kicked and stepped on my back. They were around four police officers who descended on me, they assaulted me until I was unconscious.

When I regained consciousness I found myself at the Coast General Referral Hospital. I was soaked in blood.

I had lost four teeth at the scene of the beating, two other teeth on my upper jaw had pushed further inside my jaw and through the nose. I was told they were affecting the nerves connecting to my eyes. I was speechless.

My lower lip was hanging loosely almost falling to the ground. How my mouth was reconstructed by the doctors remain a miracle.

At Coast General Referral Hospital, no one attended to me throughout the night and even on the second day. I told my children to take me back home to Mwakirunge so that I could die peacefully. I only smelt, felt and saw death.

I was devastated and I was giving up on life.

My children who were more confused and in tears took me to a private facility at Yeshua Medicare Centre in Bamburi. The doctors said they couldn’t handle my case since my mouth had started rotting.

Since I couldn’t talk, my eldest son Ali Ngala Chai,44, who was also injured after he was beaten by the same police officers when he tried helping me, pleaded with the doctors who agreed to treat me, however, they did not admit me.

I spent all my savings, I borrowed money, I caused my children and relatives sleepless nights. For three months I could not sleep. Every time I went to bed I felt like my heart was popping out, my head heavy and unbearable back pains became my daily menu of sorrow.

I prayed that I would die since I was now living in poverty. I had no food, I could not afford medical expenses, I have no shelter. I kept asking, “God why did you spare me even after being unconscious for more than four hours?”

I have 30 grandchildren but when they surround me I try to force a smile, but only pain comes out.

I want to at least tell them a story but whenever I try I experience strong pains all over my body. My body is very weak.

When I walk to a nearby shop to buy something and come across police officers, I always hurry back home for fear of being attacked again.

I use to enjoy eating ugali with fish but now I cannot afford it, we are forced to eat ugali with salt or lemon juice as vegetables because none of my children is working. This pains me a lot.

I always sit here painfully waiting for death whenever I compare my life before those monsters turned my life upside down. I do not think that an ordinary Kenyan can get justice in this country that is full of impunity.

I painfully smile hoping that justice will be served but since it is taking long, whichever comes my way first, death or justice I will open my arms and embrace it.

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