Mom cries for justice after 14-year-son was butchered to death


• KCPE candidate Kennedy Maluni was slashed to death and the body dumped in a ditch on August 23 in Mwamlai, Jomvu subcounty

PAINFUL Margaret Mbithe displays the photo of her deceased son Kennedy Maluni, 14.
Image: Brian Otieno

On August 23, at around 8.30 p.m., Margaret Mbithe sent her 14-year-old Kennedy Maluni to the store. Little did she realise that would be the last time she would see her son alive.

By 10 o'clock at night, the single mother of four children began to worry why her last child still hadn't returned from the store.

They reside in Mombasa's Jomvu subcounty's Mwamlai neighbourhood.

“I gathered my neighbours and we started looking for him everywhere,” she narrated to the Star.

By 2am, the search was still fruitless, so, on the suggestion of her neighbours and her sister, who had joined the hunt from another hamlet, they prayed for divine intervention.

“The next morning, I went to the village elder to report the matter and he advised me to first report it at the police station,” Mbithe said on Saturday.

Around 7.10 am, the report was filed at the Jomvu police station under OB 07/24/08/2023.

She was advised to investigate a body that had been found in a ditch in Mwamlai by the police.

“When I went there, I found a lot of people, including the police, milling around. When I peeped to have a look, my heart skipped and the legs gave way. It was my son,” Mbithe recalls.

Maluni, a 14-year-old student at the Vision of Hope Education Centre in Mwamlai, was praised by Juma Lubambo, the center's director, as a brilliant kid who carried the school's hopes of attaining more than 350 marks in the KCPE exam this year.

Approximately 500 yards from the school, according to Lubambo, Maluni's body was discovered on the same route he typically travelled to get to the Alternative Provider of Basic Education and Training institution.

Maluni sustained serious machete cuts on his head, neck, hands, and abdomen, according to the school's director.

“We had reports that this was done by a group of young boys who we had not known until about three days ago, when we got wind that three of the attackers had been arrested and they named three of their colleagues, who are still at large,” Lubambo said.

The information they acquired indicated that three boys close in age to Maluni's attackers beat him up before three further attackers with machetes showed up and hacked him.

“Then one of the first three went back to where the body had been ditched to see whether it was still there or the boy had gone. He found the body had started going cold and was lifeless. He panicked and ran away, not returning home,” Lubambo said.

RIP Kennedy Maluni.
Image: Brian Otieno

One of the police officers involved in the case provided them with information.

The director of criminal investigations for Jomvu, according to police chief Lydia Wanjiru, is in charge of the inquiries.

The three suspects, according to Lubambo, are still at large and have vanished since the event.

They worry that one of them, who just got a passport, may try to leave the country.

“That is our greatest fear. We know the boys mentioned because we live with them and we have seen them grow.

“We have had these incidences where these young boys, who smoke bhang from as young an age as nine years, get away with crime by being flown to the Middle East where their parents secure them these odd jobs,” Lubambo said.

He said in Mamlai, young people, aged between 13 and 24, abuse drugs with reckless abandon with security agents doing little to stop it.

“Some walk in groups of about five to seven, all of them smoking bhang openly. They then start waylaying people from as early as 6.30pm or early in the morning around 5am, targeting those going to Kongowea market to fetch stock for their kiosks,” Lubambo said.

Lubambo said Maluni was one of the bright needy students being sponsored by the school.

“He was not paying any school fees because we had decided to lighten that burden from his mother. He was bright and we expected at least 350 marks from him in this year’s KCPE,” Lubambo said.

He said they had even started looking for well-wishers to pay for his secondary school education.

“I don’t know how the mother will handle this tragedy and how she will transport the body to Makueni for burial. She struggles a lot,” Lubambo said.

Mbithe said a post-mortem was supposed to be conducted on Friday but was pushed to Monday.

“But we don’t know how we will pay for it. We also have to plan for the funeral but we don’t know where to start. We have nothing,” Mbithe said seeking help from well-wisher.

“I ask that justice for my son be found,” she said.

Elizabeth Musembi, a Nyumba Kumi ambassador in neighbouring Chamunyu village, said insecurity is becoming rampant, especially in Mwamlai.

She however lamented that in most of the cases, reported victims of insecurity do not get justice.

“The cases are never brought to conclusion. After you report, you are told investigations are launched and that will be the song until you get tired of following up,” Musembi said.

Her son is Maluni’s friend and classmate.