BY SIMIYU SIMIYU | TWITTER: @wakajuaness
A family from Bungoma town is demanding for the arrest of a renowned businessman in connection with their son’s lynching.
Mr Henry Kitele, 65, is demanding for justice after his second born son was on Monday morning lynched by an angry mob in Nangwe village, off the Bungoma-Bokoli road.
“I have no personal problem with my son’s employer. All I want is for justice for my slain son.” Said Mr Kitele.
Jesse Simiyu, (pictured, courtessy), who worked at a popular butchery located next to Bungoma Chemist in Bungoma town, had been sent by his boss to assist an unidenified man who had reportedly requested for back-up to deliver the said cow to a slaughterhouse within Bungoma town.
Unfortunately, a mob said to be following the footprints of the cow caught up with the 39 year old near Pamusi Teachers’ College nearly two kilometres from Bungoma town.
It was at this point that Jesse phoned his boss, a man identified as Reuben Wanjala “Ng’ombe” informing him that a mob had arrested him while receiving the cow he had been instructed to pick.
According to Jesse’s father, he received a call from Reuben alerting him that he had sent his son to pick a cow somewhere at Pamusi but which was coming from Nangwe only for a mob to arrest him at Pamusi claiming that the cow in question had been stolen.
“At around 5AM yesterday, I received a call from a man who identified himself as Reuben Wanjala, the boss to my son, informing me that he had sent my son to pick a cow at Pamusi but a mob caught him up, claiming that the cow had been stolen.” Mzee Kitele told this writer in an exclusive interview held at his home in Mandizini estate.
“Reuben was asking for my presence to follow up the matter. I quickly alerted my other son, Brondon Kitele, to accompany me and Reuben to the scene but throughout the time, Reuben was reluctant to rush to the scene despite having a car.” Mr Kitele narrates.
“I begged Reuben to rush us to the scene but he refused to visit Jesse, citing fear of being lynched by the mob.”
Elussive police officers
Their fforts to get the Bungoma Police officers rush to the scene proved futile as the police turned down their request, saying the incident had taken place in a different ‘territory’ that could only be handled by officers from the respective Nalondo police post.
Son begged for life
Mzee Kitele narrates that he constantly talked to his son on phone, who kept on begging for the presence of his boss to show the angry mob whoever sold him the said cow but in vain.
“My son kept on telling me that the only thing my the mob wanted was for Reuben to show up and disclose the identity of the person who sold him the cow and save my son from being lynched by the mob,” states an emortional Mzee Kitele.
Unfortunately, the mob escorted Jesse and the livestock back to Nangwe village.
Mutilated Lifeless bodies
“We didn’t know the exact location of Nangwe village. We traced the mob’s location but unfortunately, we arrived at the scene when my son and the other unidentified man had already been killed, with deep cuts on the heads and bleeding arms and a dismantled upper jaws.” Says Mzee Kitele, who occasionally pauses after each sentence to sustain his flowing emotions.
When he reached the scene, he faulted the mob for killing his innocent son instead of waiting for his boss or reporting the boss to the police.
Killed in his job‘s uniform
Mr Kitele adds that his son was fully dressed in a white dust coat and gumboots, an outfit depicting that he was on duty.
“I asked the mob, how would you kill a man who is in full uniform? No one goes to steal while dressed in his full work’s uniform.
“My son has never been a thief. He was just caught in the mix and that is why he even died while in his uniform.”
Photos from the scene that spread on social media and seen by Wakajuaness.Com show two bodies lying apart on the ground but one covered with a bloody white dust coat and crude weapons smeared with blood, scattered around the bodies.
But when this writer contacted Reuben via phone, the businessman claimed the cow that Jesse was caught with was not the one he had sent him to pick, a narrative that contracts his earlier phone call to Jesse’s father.
“I had sent Jesse to pick a different cow and not the one he was caught with.” Reuben said.
However, Reuben did not explain how he found out that the cow in question was different from the one he had sent the deceased to pick despite not going to the scene.
Bungoma Central OCPD Joseph Mwenje has promised to arrest members of the public who contacted the lynching and warned members of the public against taking the law in their own hands.
“Members of the public should not take the law in their own hands. When you arrest a suspect, hand him to the police. If we continue with such kind of mob justice actions, many innocent people will lose their lives,” he said.
Livestock thief a trend
Villagers from Nangwe area who spoke to Wakajuaness.Com lamented that they have lost over 19 heads of livestock over the past three months with police officers taking no actions and that residents can be forgiven for taking such actions in their own hands.
However, several of them who learnt news of Jesse’s story on Facebook regretted the killing of innocent people through mob justice and called on members of the public to act responsibly in such scenarios.
Jesse’s family has also cast lingering questions surrounding the behaviour of their son’s employer.
- Why has he not yet recorded a statement with the police despite being summoned by the police?
- If he claimes the cow in question is not the one he sent Jesse son to collect, where is the other cow and why hasn’t he disclosed it and the person that sold it to him?
- When Jesse alerted him that he had been arrested – if he is being genuine – why didn’t he rush to the scene and attest that the cow in question was not the one he had sent Jesse to pick anyway?
- Buying and transporting of livestock requires a permit from relevant authorities. Why had he not given the transporter a permit to deliver the cow at such a dawn?
As a result, Mr Kitele wants the police to arrest Reuben and record a statement.
“Up to now, he has not recorded any statement with the police despite being summoned by the OCPD. Let the police just arrest him and explain why my son had to die such a painful death.”
At his home, Jesse’s children aged between nine and three sit outside the house, silently missing their loved dad. His wife, a casual workers, meditates on the couch as she listens to her female friends who have come to condole with her.
The look on her face clearly shows the pain and emotions of a woman losing the family’s main bread winner.
Meanwhile, Jesse’s body was taken to the Bungoma Referral Mortuary the same morning where it is being preserved before the burial on Saturday.
Three people have so far been arrested in connection with the lynching. Mr Peter Wafula, Daniel Wangila and Kizito Sifuna, are being held at the Bungoma Police Station for murder.