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They have killed my only son, slain student leader’s father mourns

By Standard Team | March 1st 2018
Peter Njoroge, father of slain university student Evans Njoroge, and his daughter during an interview at Karebe village in Meru yesterday. [Peter Muthomi, Standard]

The family of the slain Meru university student leader was yesterday trying to come to terms with his untimely death.

In a few months' time, the family would have been travelling to Meru for Evans Njoroge's graduation. But their hopes have been dashed.

Yesterday, they were in the town to collect the body of their son who was to celebrate his 23rd birthday next week.

His distraught father Peter Njoroge Gathuri could not believe that the life of his only son had been snuffed out by a trigger-happy police officer.

As the family mourned, the Independent Policing Authority (Ipoa) said it had dispatched its officers to investigate the shooting.

"Ipoa has dispatched its Rapid Response Unit to investigate the incident, with a view of establishing circumstances of the shooting," head of communications Dennis Oketch said.

Mr Oketch said if the officer was found culpable, he would face the full force of the law.

The Ministry of Education, too, weighed in on the tragedy with Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed saying the ministry had noted "with utmost regret the chaos at Meru University of Science and Technology that led to the death of a student".

In a press release, the CS said she had constituted a team to urgently investigate the matter, with a view to making recommendations to forestall similar situations in the future.

In the meantime, she appealed to students to respect the university’s decision that the institution remains closed as arrangements are made to recall them.

Gathuri was inconsolable. He said the family's hopes for a better life had been terminated by a "rogue police officer".

Gathuri, who struggled to control his emotions during an interview with The Standard yesterday, said as a Christian family they had left everything to God.

“The family had a lot of hope in him, especially since he is my only son in a family of seven. Despite being the fourth born, everyone thought he would uplift the family's standards. His star shone bright and we predicted a bright future for him," said Gathuri.

Njoroge's mother, Rachael Wirimu, was yet to come to terms with his son's death.

Gathuri said his wife has been traumatised since the news of Njoroge's death went viral on social media.

He said she could not even muster the courage to travel to Meru to view the body.

Family members learnt of Njoroge's death through friends on social media.

The slain student's older sister Monica Njoroge, 30, said a student from the university called his younger sister who found it difficult to break the news to the family.

Monica and their father stay in Nairobi while the rest of the family reside in Longonot town, Naivasha.

Njoroge, the secretary general of the Student Council, was allegedly shot dead by a police officer on Tuesday during a protest against fees increase.

Meru County Police Commander Nelson Taliti said they would conduct independent investigations and whoever committed the heinous act would be brought to book.

In a phone interview, Mr Taliti said investigations were at an advanced stage.

“We are sorry for what happened. It is not our wish to have thr life of a youth ended by a bullet. What l can say that whoever will be found culpable will be prosecuted even if he is one of us since he is a criminal like any other,” Taliti said.

Shocking news

In Longonot, news of Njoroge's death was received with shock.

Relatives of the student popularly known as ‘Kidero’ tried to come to terms with the shooting, with some collapsing on receiving the news.

A neighbour and friend Charles Mburu expressed his shock over the murder, terming the student as among the best brains in the area.

Naivasha Professional Association Secretary General Absolom Mukuusi, in a statement, termed the death a major blow to the sub-county.

In Kisumu, the Kenya University Students Organisation, through its Secretary General Victor Njeru, threatened to hold countrywide protests over the killing.

[Darlington Manyara, Antony Gitonga and Cyrus Ombati]

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