Bogonko’s family in pain eight years later as brother is buried


Mourners views the body of Joshua Mang'wari, brother to missing journalist Bogonko Bosire during the funeral service at their farm in Kamuri Village, Kuresoi North in Nakuru County on January 20, 2022 [Harun Wathari, Standard]

As a buttoned-up David Bosire was burying his fifth-born son who committed suicide, family members and villagers recounted manifold pain the patriarch has endured since his eldest went missing nine years ago.

The genesis of Mzee Bosire’s woes dates back to 2013 when his eldest son Dickson Bogonko Bosire, a freelance journalist, went missing.

Bosire, 72, stared into space and occasionally welcomed mourners to his home in Kamuri village, Kuresoi North, for the burial of Joshua Mangwari. Mangwari, 37, died by suicide on January 16. “Our father doesn’t know what is happening. There is no way we can explain to him that Mangwari is no more,” explained Bosire’s other son Elkana Rasugu.

Pain dating back to 2013 has numbed Mzee Bosire that even as he viewed the body of his son, he couldn’t understand why he was motionless.

“Mangwari and I were living in Nairobi. He recently decided to move back to our rural home and take care of our ailing father. Seeing our father in this state took a toll on him,” Rasugu said. He added that their father occasionally goes missing from their home, leaving the family distraught and searching for him. 

“Once he leaves the compound, he can’t make his way back home on his own. Sometimes they have to look for him till late in the night,” he said.

“My brother was stressed by these challenges. He turned into drinking to numb his pain. On Sunday, he returned home drunk, and out of the frustrations, took his own life."

Bogonko, who was aged 28 when he went missing, ran a popular blog while working in Nairobi. He disappeared two days before the September 21, 2013, Westgate terror attack.

“Days earlier, our brother had come home and treated the entire family with generous shopping. He returned to the city but we realised that he was no longer updating his blog,” said Rasugu.

His brother Fidelis Kiago explained that they made efforts to find him but were unsuccessful, prompting the family to file a missing person's report at the Industrial Area Police Station in Nairobi. “For two days, we tried to find him in vain. When the Westgate terror attack happened, we were frustrated,” said Kiago.

“When all the bodies from the attack were identified and our brother was not among them, we continued with the search. To date, we have never heard from him nor any mention of him being sighted,” he said.

His sister Wilfred Nyang’anyi explained that life has never been the same for the family, with their father being the most affected.

“Our father at times turns violent, which makes it difficult to contain him. He can’t recognise us or any family member. When Bogonko's name is mentioned he says he will come back someday,” said Nyang’anyi.

She explained how their mother also developed health complications that force her to rely on expensive medicine. Douglas Kimaiga, a cousin, described Bogonko as a generous brother who took care of his family and those around him.

“The land on which his parents are living was purchased by Bogonko when he was employed. He started building them a house which the family had to struggle to complete,” said Kimaiga. “Mangwari is now gone but at least we can see his grave. For Bogonko, it is always a pain." 

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