The post-election witnessed in December and January 2009 taught great lessons through the experience I had while working as a volunteer with the Kenya Red Cross Society. We were in-charge of relief distribution, offered first aid services to the injured, traced lost members of family, performed logistics including other operations. To date its only one experience that lingers in my mind since it was so traumatic.
It was in early January 2008 while in a Red Cross ambulance that we received a radio call from one of our seniors, of an emergency incidence in the heart of Mathare slums where people were said to be in critical condition and required urgent response. We set off and rushed to the scene. On our way to the scene we reached Mlango Kubwa where a gang of armed youths carrying all forms of crude weapons had lined up other men whom they claimed were from ‘the enemy community’. Beside the place we were laid five bodies oozing blood and had stained the enter place with blood. For a moment I shut my eyes in horror… it was too much for me to comprehend. I hardened my heart and had to be brave since I knew ultimately we were the ones to collect the bodies and scattered body-parts to mortuary.
Our team leader got off the ambulance and pleaded with gang to release the lined up men and not to harm them. The gang leaders couldn’t listen and replied in kiswahili- “tupatie chakula na sisi tuwaachie miili msipeleke mortuary” (give us food for us to release them to save you from taking the bodies to the mortuary).
After a lengthy pleading the armed gang opted not to kill the men. Before freeing them they performed all sorts of assault on their bodies… an action that left many of them bleeding profusely. We later conducted first aid to them as we waited for another ambulance to pick the dead.
In order to avoid repeat of the violence we witnessed I urge the Kenyan youths who count for the larger population not to elect leaders on the basis of tribal affiliations and for the government to speed job creation for the ever-growing youth population.