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I dodged bullets that killed all my friends

By Esther Dianah | November 1st 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

David Kibali

Tell us about yourself. I grew up in Mumias and later moved to Siaya, where I spent the better part of my life. My parents separated after my father got a job in Kisumu and neglected us. My grandmother was also hostile to my mother and even branded my mother a witch. We got news months later that my father was getting married to another woman in a traditional wedding. My dad went back to the city with his new wife. We suffered a lot.

What happened next? I moved to Siaya, my maternal home and this is where my story in crime began. My mother got married to another man and had four other children. 

Was this a relief to you? In the beginning yes, because my mother was happy. But eight years later, her husband died and the in-laws kicked her out with the children. So they all came back to Siaya at to my grandmother’s place. In 2006, my mum fell sick for a day and the following afternoon we came back from school for lunch to news she had died.

How about school? I passed my KCPE very well. Alliance was my school of choice but we couldn’t afford the fee, so I joined a district school. Luckily, they had a scholarship programme and I was a beneficiary. They’d pay three-quarters of my fee and my grandmother would pay the rest

How was your grandmother able to pay your fee? She used to brew busaa and chang’aa. That is how she fed and raised us.

What next after high school?

I went back to the village and got influenced by peer pressure.  We had all the time for disco matangas and nightclubs. I got into a group of eight. By then I had started taking alcohol since my grandmother used to brew it. I would steal some of it. The group introduced me to bhang and many other wayward things.

What did you do after that?

My father came for me, so I moved to Nairobi. He feared that I would be murdered in the village considering my criminal record.

What did you do? I went looking for a job at a construction site. Then I met these guys who took me to their house and showed me the stuff they owned and asked if I needed the same things. They promised to show me how to get them. One night, they cornered an old man whom they were harassing. That’s when I realised they were robbers. They got me a house and I moved out of my father’s house.

What was your turning point? One night while we were setting out to rob, I sensed danger. I tried to warn my friends but they just thought I was scared. It turned out one of our gang members was working with the police as an informer. So as soon as we hijacked a car and stole the money and tried to take off, we heard shouts ordering us to stop. One of us fired at the police and who fired back. I saw my friends die. I don’t know what happened but I missed a bullet and managed to escape.

Where did you go?

I found myself in church and sat there the whole night. In the morning the usher asked me why I was not leaving. I just asked the usher to lead me to the pastor. I confessed to him that I was one of the people who was involved in a police shootout outside the church the other night, and I gave him my gun. He called was the OCS from Umoja. I thought the pastor had betrayed me.

What did the OCS do? He pitied me, he did not turn me in but promised to kill me with my gun if I went back to crime. That’s how we closed the case, it was a secret between the three of us.

What happened next? I was taken to shave my dreadlocks and I threw away my jewellery. I was prayed for and stayed with pastor for over a week. That’s how I devoted my life to serve Christ.

How was life in ministry? I was chosen to be the youth chairman. I live in and for Christ to date.

Any advice to the youth? Don’t do something just because someone else is doing it. Trust in God through whom everything is possible.

 


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