Widow gets Sh4m for husband death in hands of askaris

Sunday January 14 2018

Justice Joseph Onguto

Justice Joseph Onguto during a proceeding in court. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BENSON WAMBUGU
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A widow whose husband was clobbered to death by four Nairobi County inspectorate department law enforcers two years ago has been awarded Sh4 million.

Justice Joseph Onguto said Ann Wairimu Njahira had proved that the four city askaris were responsible for the death of her husband Irungu Kamau and compelled the county government and its employees to compensate the deceased.

The court heard that the askaris Alfred Marenya Ogesi, Protus Sarara, Ambani Akasi and Julius Achieng accosted Mr Kamau on the evening of September 16, 2013 and clobbered him with crude weapons leaving him for dead.

 Mrs Njahira testified that on the fateful day, they were walking together with her husband and several hawkers to a funeral meeting at Nyam hotel along Duruma Road when the askaris descended on them. Mr Kamau was the leader of the hawkers group operating in the area.

Upon seeing the askaris, they ran for their safety to avoid the commotion but the law enforcers pursued Mr Kamau and cornered him within Nyamakima area, dragged him out, clobbered and stabbed him several times.

KIAMBU HOSPITAL

He was taken to Kiambu hospital where he succumbed to the injuries. His death was reported at Kamukunji Police Station.

Consequently, Mrs Njahira moved to the Constitutional and Human Rights Division and sued the City County Government and its law enforcers seeking compensation.

She said she had to endure pain and suffering as well as trauma as a result of her husband’s death. She further testified that she had to undergo a psychiatric treatment and her children were affected by their father’s death.

Mr Edward Kiboi, a hawker in River Road who also testified, said he saw one of the askaris cut the deceased with a panga while others stabbed him with knives and broken bottles.

A government pathologist Dr Peter Ndegwa informed the court that Mr Kamau died as a result of bleeding due to blunt objects.

Opposing the petition, the four askaris who are currently facing murder charges in the High Court, defended themselves against the accusations saying they were not on duty on the fateful day.

The City County on its part stated that it operates on working hours between 8am and 5pm and debunked the argument that the inspectorate department law enforcers could have been on duty when the alleged incident took place.

COMPENSATION

But awarding the compensation, justice Onguto said Mrs Njahira had proved her case.

“I am satisfied that it was the city askaris, with the county government being a vicarious entity, who caused the death petitioner’s spouse,” he said.

The judge further said the witnesses who testified were consistent enough as they knew and were familiar with the askaris. He noted that the life of Mr Kamau may never be regained due to the arbitrary acts of the rogue county askaris.

“The right to life was violated. It has not been suggested that the deceased was a threat to askaris. I hold the city inspectorate department law enforcers responsible for the death of Mr Kamau,” he said.

Mrs Njahira had sought for Sh15 million constituting general, special and aggravated damages, but justice Onguto said he was conscious of the fact that no amount of damages may rewind the clock and awarded Mr Kamau Sh4 million posthumously.

Justice Onguto additionally said  the State and its organs have an obligation to protect life.