Pendo inquest verdict strikes blow for justice

Saturday February 16 2019

School children carry the coffin of Baby Samantha Pendo to her final resting place,  at Konjra Village in Ugunja, Siaya County on August 26, 2017. PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

School children carry the coffin of Baby Samantha Pendo to her final resting place, at Konjra Village in Ugunja, Siaya County on August 26, 2017. PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OTIENO OTIENO
By OTIENO OTIENO
More by this Author

To call the policeman who broke a six-month-old baby’s skull in Kisumu in August 2017 a beast is an insult to all the wild animals out there reported to have shown extraordinary sense of care towards the young ones of their usual prey.

In 2001, wildlife experts, tourists and villagers in Samburu marvelled at the sight and behaviour of a lioness that adopted and protected a baby Oryx antelope for 16 days instead of turning it into a meal.

THIRST FOR BLOOD

Nature channels like the National Geographic occasionally air similar stories of animals demonstrating an inherent instinct to preserve life. In human civilisations, children and women have traditionally been spared death or harm by conquering armies during wars. Of course, there have been cases where wars have produced large numbers of child victims. But that’s not the norm, and the militaries involved are generally considered rogue – the scum of the earth.

The eight men who broke into Joseph Abanja and his wife Lencer Achieng’s house in Nyalenda on August 11, 2017 not only represent the brutal face of Kenya’s law enforcement, but they also rank down there with the worst kind of people that ever lived.

The testimony of Mrs Abanja at the inquest into the killing of their daughter Samantha Pendo, which delivered its verdict last week, painted a graphic picture of brutes so consumed with their thirst for blood that they are bereft of humanity.

Before they barged in, they threw a tear gas canister into the one-room house, leaving the couple and their baby choking. As if that was not cruel enough, they descended on the man and his wife with beatings, disregarding the woman’s pleas for mercy as she held her baby.

Then came the death blow – an officer aiming and landing his club on the weak head of Baby Samantha Pendo with force.

FACELESS BRUTE

What the hell was going on in the mind of that fellow described by Mrs Abanja as tall, dark and slim? Well, Kenyans might get to know if he ever gets to be identified and prosecuted for the murder of the innocent. The magistrate presiding over the inquest into the death of Samantha Pendo last week recommended the investigation and prosecution of the officers, including five commanders in the operation to quell post-election riots in Kisumu.

The court’s decision has given some hope that the young family could get justice for the loss of their daughter. But the length of time the suspects have been afforded to continue working in the police service is disturbing. Close to one and a half years have gone by since Baby Pendo’s murder.

If the Directorate of Criminal of Investigations and the office of Director of Public Prosecutions act of the recommendations of the inquest, the investigations and the prosecutions might drag on even much longer.

It’s scary to imagine what more harm the as-yet faceless “tall, dark and slim” brute, for instance, can cause with the bludgeon in his hand during that time.

Advertisement