Kenya: At Nairobi Morgue, Families of Protesters Collect Their Loved Ones - Reportgist

Kenya: At Nairobi Morgue, Families of Protesters Collect Their Loved Ones

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Nairobi, Kenya — As protests resumed in Kenya, some families were visiting morgues Monday to collect the bodies of relatives who died during last week’s demonstrations against proposed tax increases.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

Hussein Khaled, CEO of Vocal Africa, an organization of community activists, was at Nairobi’s City Mortuary assisting mourners and trying to ensure that autopsies were performed and causes of death recorded.

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“We are here to support the families, particularly those who were shot and killed by police officers. We make sure we have the necessary documentation that will help us in seeking justice,” Khaled said.

Reports of the death toll vary. While President William Ruto said on Sunday that 19 people have been killed, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported that 24 people have died since the protests began two weeks ago.

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Kennedy Mwangi Njeru, 20, was among the fatalities. His parents, Joseph Mwangi Njeru and Mary Muthoni, came to the morgue to collect their son’s body. His father said Kennedy, who he described as his firstborn and best friend, was shot in the head and the back.

“I feel very bad,” his mother said. “My son is gone, and I will never see him again.”

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Kennedy Mwangi Njeru’s aunt, who gave her name only as Esther, accompanied her relatives. She said, “We have a lot of stress in our minds. … We were ready to bury [him] on Thursday this week, but we don’t have money even to pay the mortuary to travel from here to Kirinyaga.”

Phoebe Akumu Maina, a widow who lost her 17-year-old son, Kevin Odhiambo Maina, also faced a financial burden.

“I don’t have money, I have nothing. I am only just a mother. … I don’t have anything … to carry the body up to the cemetery,” she said.

Activist Hanifa Adan and others have set up an account through M-Changa, a mobile contribution platform, to help offset some of the protesters’ medical and funeral expenses.

“We had a target of 10 million [Kenyan shillings], but it actually surpassed. We collected 24 million in a day, in just like 10 hours,” Adan said.

She explained that the money, equivalent to about $193,000, will help pay hospital bills and for burial costs.

As some protesters demanded his resignation, Ruto promised a thorough investigation into the deaths. He has withdrawn the controversial tax bill and proposed a multi-sectoral forum to engage youth and discuss issues related to debt, taxation, unemployment and corruption.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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