No child should die like that, say Pendo’s kin

Lencer Achieng and Joseph Abanja, the late Bay Pendo's parents speaking after they were visited by Team Embrace Kenya. (Collins Oduor, Standard)
Emotions ran high as the family of six-month-old Samantha Pendo, who was killed during operations to stop protests in the last elections, relived the pains of brutality at the hands of protectors.

Leaders from Team Embrace Kenya Women Building Bridges Initiative also fought back tears as they promised that Baby Pendo’s death was the last witnessed over election violence.

Joseph Abaja and Lencer Achieng’, Pendo’s parents, fought to remain stoic as over 30 leaders, led by Kisumu Woman Representative Rosa Buyu and Gladys Wanga of Homa Bay, trooped to their home in Nyalenda slum as part of a recently launched campaign to heal and reconcile the nation.

The family tearfully described the death of their baby as the price they had to pay for the country to realise the impact of violent electoral cycles.

“No child should die like that. We are still wounded but we hold no grudge. We would be happy if her death was the last in an election and united us,” said Achieng’.

“Pendo’s death served to remind us that negative ethnicity was tearing us apart and that we need to set aside our political and ethnic differences and pull together as a nation.”

Abaja described the brutality meted out on them by police officers when they were pulled from their beds as unfortunate.

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“An election should be like a football match where fans of opposing  teams walk home without fighting over who won or who lost, it should not lead to the kind of brutality we were exposed to,” he said.

Human rights activist Betty Okero said those responsible for such atrocities should be brought to book speedily to serve as a deterrent.

Wanga said, “We should not just condole, we are going to ensure those culpable are prosecuted.”

Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege said they were happy with the inquest and called for immediate prosecution of those culpable in the killing of the baby.

“We have to say that we are not going back to what we have seen in the previous elections. And our stand must be embraced by the next government in office,” she said.

The MPs said they would ensure the Sh10 billion allocated for victims of historical justices reaches the victims of the 2007 and 2017 election skirmishes.

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