By Boniface Mwangi
On Sunday, June 10 around 7am, David Mbati went out on his usual morning jog along Namanga Rd, leaving his expectant wife Cathy, but he never came back. His wife Cathy waited and by noon, there was no sign of David. Being a Sunday, the house-help had taken a day off and the helpless Cathy couldn’t leave her three-year-old daughter unattended.
At 6pm, tension had built up. Conveniently, Cathy got a neighbour to watch over their daughter as she went looking for her husband. Her search ended at the Kitengela Police station at around 7pm where she went to file a missing person report. The duty officer referred her to a traffic officer, who informed her that police had found a victim of hit-and -run car in a ditch along Namanga Rd. The description was that of her husband. It must have been a terrible moment for her.
On the spot where David met his death, there were clear tyre marks suggesting that the killer driver veered off the road, hit David before speeding off. There were no eyewitnesses, reported the police officer who collected the body. The unidentified body was taken to the City Mortuary. And this is a story very similar to hundreds that Kenyans have heard time and again over the years.
David Mbati was only 35. That Sunday, he became part of statistics of Kenyans dying every day in avoidable road related accidents and other preventable deaths like collapsing carelessly built buildings, cyclic floods and crime.
Just like many ‘ordinary deaths’ David’s may never attract any national attention: no commission of inquiry will be engaged; flags won’t fly at half mast neither will there be a presidential visit to the widow.
Even more intriguing is the fact that Cathy may never know why her energetic husband of 11 years had to die in such a tragic way. Even sadder is the fact that her two daughters and their unborn sibling will never hear their dad’s laughter again.
The bigger picture
If our government cared about its citizens, this is one of its sovereign obligation, there would be jogging lanes in Nairobi; only qualified people would be driving; and in case of an accident, the truth would be easily accessed plus justice dispensed. But that is not in Kenya where the life of an average citizen is not that highly valued and innocent blood is spilled every day and top dogs are still unperturbed.
The police officer, a servant that taxpayers pay every month hoping to get something in return, felt that Cathy, David’s wife, was bothering him when she tried to understand the circumstances around the accident. Elsewhere, the police officer would have been out there looking for the truth, not intimidating a clueless victim.
To our poorly trained, equipped, paid and housed police officers, David’s death was a shut case. It is sad, but even sadder is the fact that it reflects the bigger picture.
We lost billions in the Anglo leasing scandal that was meant to give Kenya police a forensics lab. The so-called leaders who govern us continue to loot and store money in overseas accounts.
Even then, the so called emerging middle class Kenyans continue to whine, vent on social media as they make weekend plans to party, leaving our politics in the hands of goons who are ready to rape, maim, kill and sell their vote for a few hundreds.
This must change if we expect to go back to sanity. But peppered bar talk alone won’t change Kenya. Social media can only help highlight and mobilise but won’t bring the ballot revolution we so badly need. If we don’t vote for visionary leadership in the forth-coming elections, we must then be prepared to live a lifetime of unnecessary deaths as our leaders pop champagne.
Meanwhile, David’s daughter’s cry after she learnt about her father’s death will haunt us. She screamed, “tell me it’s not true.” In my case, I beg: “Tell me it’s not true that we plan to vote back the crooks and their sons who have misruled this country for 49 years”.
Find Boniface Mwangi on Twitter @BonifaceMwangi