Mama Rex demands justice for slain son as protesters issue 7-day plan


• Rex was allegedly hit by a police bullet in the city centre on Thursday evening. He died shortly after.

• His mother said she was informed about the shooting by Rex's friend, who called using the his phone.

Mama Rex demands justice for slain son as protesters issue 7-day plan
Image: courtesy

Jillian Munyua, the mother of Rex Masai who was killed during the anti-tax protests in Nairobi on Thursday, wants justice for her son.

This is even as the organisers of the demos issued a seven-day plan of activities, to oppose the next tax measures.

Rex was allegedly hit by a police bullet in the city centre on Thursday evening. He died shortly after.

His mother said she was informed about the shooting by Rex's friend, who called using the his phone.

The friends rushed him to a clinic in the CBD, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

"I was called yesterday (Thursday) at around 7pm and was told he had been shot on the left thigh. They took him to the nearest clinic at Archives. When I got to town, he was dead," she said.

Munyua said Rex was her first born child and described him as respectful.

"His only mistake was participating in peaceful protests and standing up for the rights of all Kenyans. The government must ensure he finds justice," she said.

The killing has been condemned by opposition politicians and human rights defenders. 

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) said it has launched investigations into the killing.

"The authority has documented the death of Masai allegedly as a result of police shooting and several serious injuries suffered by other demonstrators, including police officers," IPOA chairperson Anne Makori said in a statement.

Amnesty International also condemned the killing.

Amnesty International executive director Irungu Houghton said the Thursday protests were largely peaceful.

"We are deeply concerned and outraged by the killing of Rex last night. In what was a remarkable day where we had thousands of Kenyans on the street of Nairobi," he said.

"Under the cover of darkness, we are sad and shocked, like the rest of Kenyans, to hear that a police officer killed a young Kenyan."

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino asked Kenyans to stand with the family of Rex "during this difficult time of mourning".

The MP, who accompanied Rex mother for the post-mortem at City Mortuary, said he was pained to see parents in anguish.

“To die at the prime of one’s life, fighting for a future that has been brutally snatched away by the oppressor, is a terrible price to pay. We will make sure your sacrifice is not in vain," he said.

Babu gave contributed Sh200,000 to assist in funeral arrangements.

“I call upon Kenyans to stand with the family of this fallen hero at this difficult time through their paybill and give whatever little they can.”

The opposition urged Inspector General of police Japhet Koome to resign in the wake of the killing.

In a statement on Friday, Azimio coalition also urged Nairobi regional police commander Adamson Bungei to quit.

They accused the two of failing to protect protesters, who were demonstrating peacefully.

"As Azimio and on behalf of the people, we demand that Inspector General Japhet Koome and Nairobi regional commander Adamson Bunge immediately tender their resignations for failing to protect the peaceful demonstrators," Azimio said.

Azimio said the two must be held accountable and individually culpable following the shooting of Rex.

"Rex braved the cold front to hold up a placard and join in a protest song against the Kenya Kwanza regime. Rex, like all his comrades, was peaceful, unarmed and non-violent. But he was senselessly gunned down by a bullet," Azimio said.

"Our coalition is extremely disturbed by Rex's fatal shooting. We have far too many memories of tragedies and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the community."

Meanwhile, the organisers of the protests have released a seven-day schedule of activities as the protests persist.

The events, beginning Friday, will culminate in another round of 'Occupy Parliament' demos on Tuesday next week.

It's the same day MPs are expected to take a vote on the contentious Finance Bill, 2024.

Activist Boniface Mwangi, one of the organisers, said despite Kenyans’ collective rejection of the Bill, MPs Thursday still voted to enable it sail through the Second Reading.

“And despite our peaceful protests, police have responded with bullets, killing two of our own, maiming many others and one person is in critical condition,” he said.

“We refuse to be silenced, so we are marching on.” 

Mwangi said on Friday they would attend Jumaah prayers at Jamia Mosque, where they would distribute water to those leaving after the prayers.

On Saturday, when the clock strikes midnight, “all bars and clubs where Gen Z frequent will stop the music to listen to a national crescendo of Reject Finance Bill”.

On Sunday, he asked churches to deny politicians who voted ‘Yes’ to the Bill the opportunity to speak.

The Bill sailed through the Second Reading after 204 MPs voted ‘Yes’ against 115, who opposed its passage.

“Day 4, Monday, June 24: Make a courtesy call on MPs who voted 'Yes' at the constituency office. Tell them: Endelea hivyo hivyo! Ostracise them for betraying 54 million Kenyans. Start collecting signatures to recall them,” he said.

On Tuesday, when MPs will be voting on the Finance Bill, Mwangi said the second round of 'Occupy Parliament' protests will be underway, complemented by similar demos countrywide.

“Day 5, Tuesday, June, 25: #OccupyParliament. A national strike. Gen Z are granting all hard-working Kenyans a day off. Parents keep your children at home in solidarity,” he said.

On Wednesday, the protesters will visit IPOA offices and the IG of Police to demand justice for Rex.

This will be followed by another round of demonstrations on Thursday, where they will march to State House to show their dissent on a day the President is expected to assent to the Bill.

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