Family reads foul play in death of kin inside police cell

Roselyne Masinde, the mother to the deceased at her home in Matete, Lugari Constituency is demanding answers following the death of her son Moses Wanaswa who is alleged to have committed suicide at Matete Police station on Sunday night. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

A family in Matete area, Lugari Constituency is seeking answers after their relative, who is a father of four, died while in Matete Police Station.

The family of Moses Wanaswa, also a pastor of one of the local churches, want police officers at Matete to explain the circumstances that led to the death that happened last Sunday.

Wanaswa from Matete was arrested on Friday night on an allegation of defiling a six-year-old girl, and he was expected to draft a statement at the station when he was discovered dead.

Wanaswa’s widow, Ruth Wanaswa, said she was not aware of the arrest of her husband on Friday until Saturday.

Ruth said police officers requested the family members to accompany them to a doctor for examination before the accused could come back and record a statement.

“The medical examination report revealed the girl had not been defiled and that my husband was falsely accused. I asked police officers to release him, but they demanded Sh10,000 cash bail,” said Ruth.

According to the wife, the girl’s family went to the station on Sunday to withdraw the case.

“The parents of the girl went to withdraw the case, but the police insisted we have to pay the Sh10,000. We discussed as a family the way forward and decided to go back home and come back on Monday so that we can report the matter to a higher office,” she said.

Ruth said on Sunday midnight, she received a call from a villager elder informing her that her husband had committed suicide in the police cell.

“I informed my in-laws, and we visited the station on Monday morning only to be told that my husband committed suicide and his body had been ferried to Webuye morgue,” said Ruth.

“I asked the police why they took the body to the morgue without informing the family, how are we sure that my husband committed suicide, and where did he get the alleged piece of cloth that the police are claiming he used to hang himself?

As a widow, I am requesting IPOA to launch an investigation. I can’t help but feel my husband was killed by the police,” she added.

Kakamega County Police Commander Joseph Kigen confirmed the death, stating that police are investigating the matter to establish the cause of the death.

Kuranya Njemu, the father of the dead pastor maintains that police acted in secrecy, something that portrayed that they were mischievous.

“We have professional police experts, and we have to leave it to the investigative agencies to establish what happened, and if anyone will be found involved, be it from the police side or otherwise, people shall have to take full responsibility,” said Kigen.

“We are also establishing whether there was a conspiracy or not, but the suspect died in the police cell,” he added.