Kisumu widow: IPOA mum on my daughter’s shooting five years after interrogating me
Published on July 22,2022
By Missing Voices Reporter
A widow and a mother of three is yet to get justice five years after a stray bullet from the police hit her two and a half years old daughter in the shoulder in Nyalenda, Kisumu county during 2017 general election.
Lydia Kagekha has faulted the Independent Police Oversight Authority for not taking her case seriously despite recording a statement from her in 2017.”IPOA officials came looking for me at my home. They took my statement but since then I have not heard from the agency.” Said Kagekha.She kept shedding tears during an interview with Missing Voices.
She spoke Friday July 22 in Kisumu during a peace festival and a public dialogue organised by Missing Voices.
The event that brought together residents of Nyalenda, stakeholders in the criminal justice system including IPOA,Internal Affairs Unit as well as the office of the director of public prosecutions sought to provide a platform for residents to share their experiences of police brutality.
Nairobi based artists including Javan the poet, Sigingi, Burguda,Chali Slim and Shiki entertained the guests and residents. Local artists who graced the event include Apesi mnyama mkali, Dawedawe,Tess among others.
Kagekha’s second born daughter Mary Shantel Sarapen was playing outside their house when the police shot her. “She was playing with her friends. One of the children came rushing and told me that my daughter had been hit with a stone by one of her friends. I told the mother of the girl who hit my daughter that I am taking my child to hospital and you will cater for her medical bill.” Kagekha said.
It is at the hospital that it dawned to her that her daughter’s pain had nothing to do with her playmates but she had actually been a victim of police stray bullet.
The 36 year old woman told Missing Voices that both her class one daughter and herself suffer from post-trauma stress disorder. “My daughter hides under the bed whenever she sees police officers or when she encounters loud noise. She loses memory at school. I am scared of going to vote this year when I remember what my daughter is going through.” Kagekha said.
Kagekha while appealing for psychological support from well-wishers said together with her daughter they have never undergone counseling because of financial constraints.
She relies on menial jobs to support her young family. ” I survive on washing people’s clothes which is not a regular source of income. I am appealing for a permanent job.” She said.
The chairperson Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Roseline Odede was the chief guest. She said the state agency prides in partnership with civil societies to execute it’s mandate.”We work very close with grassroot institutions. Our assurance to you is that we will take up these issues you have raised.” Odede said.
She called on residents to tolerate each other despite having different political opinions for the sake of peace during the forthcoming general election. “Let us not allow that to break us apart or cause us to kill.” She said.
The Executive Director for Amnesty International Houghton Irungu who was representing Missing Voices thanked Odede for gracing the event.”She has not only come herself but I think she has brought half of her office.” Said Irungu.
Irungu faulted the criminal justice system for taking so long to conclude cases. “Criminal justice system fails not because it does not return a verdict but because it takes so long to find out what happened to get justice for loved ones.” He said.