By Kevin Koech |
Celebrated actress Jackie Vike, popularly known as Awinja Nyamwalo opened up on the death of her 20-year-old brother who was shot by police officers. The actress said her brother became friends with a section of his peers in the neighbourhood who were suspected robbers.
Awinja said her mother would warn him against hanging out with the group but he insisted they were just friends and they believed him. “My brother had friends within the neighbourhood peers who were robbers, my mum had warned him against hanging out with them. But he assured my mum that they were just friends and that he did not participate in robbing people as they did. So when all this was happening we believed him,” recalled the actress.
At some point, Awinja’s brother would leave home unannounced and when asked about his whereabouts, he would say he is at his friend’s place. “He would go and never come back. When we called him he would say he was at his friend’s place, that friend was a robber. I think he was finding it hard to let go of the friendship. He was once arrested in Eastleigh with his friend after they were allegedly involved in robbing a Somali guy and broke his arm in the process,” she said.
Adding, “My brother was at home at 7pm and the incident occurred at 9pm. So they took my brother to the guy who had been robbed luckily for him the guy said he was not among the robbers. I used to fear receiving calls from his friends. Every time I would pray he has not been arrested. Every time we heard of mob justice we prayed it was not him.”
After some time, the young man rented his own house and informed his mother that he was moving out, “On 31st 2010, I called him and asked him to come so we could mark the new year. He said he would not come but he came on January 1. He told my mum that he had now rented his own house. Every time I wanted to go see the place he was very dodgy. Maybe he did not want me to visit him unannounced,” Awinja said.
On the fateful day she was informed of her brother’s death, Awinja said she was heading to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to visit her mother’s friend when she received the disturbing phone call. “One day I was on a bus going to Kenyatta to visit my mum’s friend when I received a call from a friend. Then a neighbour called then hang up. While at KNH, the first boy called me again and he told me that my brother had been killed. According to him, he had gone to eat lunch when they came face to face with some officers who shot all the five guys. I could not believe it so I called another friend to confirm the news. I later met a friend who took me to City Mortuary. All along I thought it was a mistake.
I was shown my brother and there he was, he had been shot in the mouth with the bullet exiting on the neck. After that, I was not even sure how I would tell my mum. My friend advised us just go home and tell her. By the time I was alighting from a matatu at our place, everyone was looking at us. What hurts me the most about his death is that he was only 20 and his life was just beginning,” she said.
The family then embarked on organising his burial that was faced with a lot of challenges including discrimination and criticism from the society. Fortunately, they successfully raised funds to facilitate the burial ceremony and transferred the young man’s body upcountry. “Even back at home we had challenges finding a pastor who would conduct the burial ceremony because he was shot and we just had to look for someone and paid him to conduct the funeral. You know most of the times, in Western, after the burial ceremony you don’t leave the same day but the following day, a lot of people left the same day,” said Awinja.