Parents of baby Samantha Pendo have said they do not want to be compensated; all they want is justice for their child’s killing.
Six-month-old Pendo died on August 5 a few days after being injured on the head in their house. Her parents said a police officer hit her on the head with a baton.
But a report by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) said it could not identify the particular officer(s) who caused the death.
Pendo’s parents have termed the report unjustified, adding that the officers who killed their child were well known.
Baby Pendo died in Kisumu after chaos broke out following the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as President after the August 8 election.
A post-mortem carried out two days after baby Pendo’s death revealed that she had suffered a cracked scalp and had deep injuries, according to the Government Consultant Pathologist Dr Dickson Mchana.
The baby died due to internal bleeding, he said.
“Actually it was bad. The baby had gaping head fractures. That is what kept the baby alive.
“When the scalp opens, it relieves pressure, otherwise if it would have been enclosed the baby would have died immediately,” said Dr Mchana.
Pendo’s mother Lancer Achieng’ questioned why the investigations did not lead to the identification and arrest of the officers.
“When they came to investigate the matter after the death of my child, we gave all the leads that could have led to the arrest of the culprit. How come they are telling us that they are not able to lay their hands on a specific officer?” she wept.
“My baby died out of internal bleeding, are we the ones who did that? Why can’t they identify the officers who caused my child’s death?” screamed Ms Achieng’.
She said that the troops that were sent to Kisumu to calm down the protesters are well known and it should not take a long time to identify them.
“I know they are trying to hide them but I am very sure that justice will prevail for my child. We expected a report that could have led to their arrest and not the one that was released yesterday,” said Pendo’s father Joseph Abanja.
“What was the purpose of doing the investigations? Why are they adding us more pain?” he asked.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko last Thursday ordered the National Police Service to take action against four Kisumu police commanders, following the death baby Pendo.
The DPP also directed that public inquests be instituted into the killing of baby Pendo and eight-year-old Stephanie Moraa, who was shot dead on August 12 in her family’s house in Mathare, Nairobi County. He also asked the National Police Service to compensate their families.
The orders came a day after the Ipoa investigations into the two killings found the police commanders were negligent in the police operations.
Ipoa concluded that it was not able to identify the particular officers who caused the death of baby Pendo.
“Given the high standard of proof required in criminal cases, it could not recommend any criminal charges concerning the said incident against any of the police officers involved in the operation in question,” said part of the report.
The Ipoa said the commanders – the then Kisumu County Commander Titus Yoma, Kisumu East OCPD Christopher Mutune Maweu, Kisumu Central AP Commander Benjamin Kosgei Koima and Kisumu Central OCS John Thiringi – were in charge of the operations in affected areas and were negligent in how they handled police operations that resulted in Pendo’s death.
The Ipoa report signed by Rose Kipyego instructed that the National Police Service Commission consider instituting disciplinary proceedings against the police commanders in question for being negligent in performing their duties and failing to coordinate the police operations that made it difficult to identify the officers who committed the criminal act.
The report also advised Pendo’s parents to pursue civil proceedings against National Police Service for compensation.
“This is going to cost me more pain because I don’t even know where to start. What I want is justice for my child. They took away my happiness after several agonies and now they are telling me that they cannot get those who killed my child. I am going to file a case and get justice for my child,” said Ms Achieng’.
“When I was shouting at the top of my voice for the officers to spare my daughter’s life, they did not care … The report has served us injustice,” said Mr Abanja.
He said Ipoa did not inform them that it had released the report even though they cooperated during investigations.
“I am wondering how they are communicating. Why didn’t they find it wise to share with us the outcome? I am reading so many things here but God will see us through this,” he said.