More than five weeks since a thug pumped eight bullets into Richard Muema’s body, the father of twin boys is gradually recovering.
In a ward at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Muema is slowly rising from the near-death experience.
A CCTV camera footage of the incident went viral on social media shortly after the attack in early November. It showed how thugs entered a shop and attacked the shopkeeper and Muema, who was the only client at the time.
“There were two women in the shop when I walked in. I don’t know what they bought... they kept looking around,” Muema recounts from his hospital bed.
Even then, he did not feel worried since he has never known his neighbourhood in Kasarani, Nairobi, to be risky and never imagined that an attack of that sort could happen there.
On the many nights he left the house, Muema said, he never felt unsafe.
“I was used to going out to eat at that time and getting back home at 10pm. I never imagined something like that could happen,” he says.
On the night of the shooting, Muema had gone out to deposit money to his phone at an M-Pesa shop run by his friends.
“There were two women there and they were acting suspiciously. They kept glancing around. The thugs entered after the women left and ordered us to lie down,” he recounts, speaking softly due to exhaustion.
“I lay on the ground but kept my head up,” he says.
Muema says he saw a chance to attack the thug who was brandishing a gun so he could save himself and his friend, the shopkeeper.
“I got up and hit the one with the gun with a stone, so I could get the chance to run, but he started shooting at me. I remember throwing a stone at him... I don’t remember anything after that... I just found myself in the hospital,” he says.
The CCTV footage, bearing a time stamp of 10pm, shows two women looking around the shop and exchanging money with the shopkeeper. One of them leaves as Muema walks in and hands money to the shopkeeper.
As he converses with the shopkeeper, the other woman leaves and two young men enter, one disappearing from the view of the camera and the other, wearing a red cap, glancing outside the shop before pulling out a gun from his trousers.
He orders Muema to lie down and points the gun at the shopkeeper.
Seconds later, Muema sprints from behind and hits the gunman’s head with a stone, prompting the gunman to shoot aimlessly as he follows an escaping Muema, while the other thug flees.
Muema and the shopkeeper were rescued by well-wishers and taken to the nearby St Francis Hospital, where they received first aid before an ambulance took them to the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Muema is out of danger. He was recently transferred from the Intensive Care Unit, where he spent 28 days, to the orthopedic ward. He is now recuperating in the hospital’s general ward and hopes to go home soon.
“They are waiting for the gunshot wounds to heal,” Muema says. Once he is discharged, Muema hopes to live elsewhere: “I don’t want to stay there again...”
However, Muema says he has encountered another problem as he recuperates: The fast escalating hospital bill.
Muema sustained serious injuries on his chest, stomach, arms, legs and back.
The serious nature of the attack meant that Muema had to undergo complex medical procedures, including surgery and admission to the ICU.
So far, the family says, the bill has surpassed Sh1 million.
Since the doctors have not told them the discharge date, Muema’s family expects that the bill will be higher by the time he is ready to go home.
With the help of family and friends, Muema has been able to raise some money, but it is nowhere near enough to cover the rising bill, the family says.
Well-wishers can send their contributions to M-Pesa paybill number 891300, account number 36441.