By Sarah Nyakio
When Boniface decided to ferry a customer to Lucky Summer police station on January 8, 2021, he didn’t know that he would lose his left eye. Boniface Otieno, a father of three, a driver, and a motorcycle operator, narrates the story of his wrath with police officers at Lucky Summer police station.
On January 8, 2020 evening, he was approached by a customer at his place of business in Lucky Summer; the customer requested a ride to Lucky summer police station. On arriving at the police station, Boniface and his customer met with two other people who shouted: “ndio hawa” (here they are). He did not know what was happening, but he dropped off his customer, who paid him Ksh 50.
Before he left the station, an officer approached him, grabbed him, slapped his left cheek, and asked him to remove his shoes.
“He grabbed my testicles and the pain was sharp stabbing,” he told IMLU.
Boniface was thrown to a cell that he described as dark, smelly, stuffy, and did not have a toilet or a window. He says that the pain from his testicles was so much that he was screaming for help in the cell, asking to be taken to hospital.
“After a few hours of screaming and asking for help an officer opened the cell door and dragged me out of the cell. I thought help had come only for the officers to beat me thoroughly, kicking my head, face, and eyes,” he narrates sympathetically.
Boniface Otieno during the interview on February 23, 2021 at IMLU offices
The father of three says he was tortured for hours, after which the officers stole Ksh 1000 he had on him. Hours later, the OCS arrived at the station and asked the officers to release Boniface as he was not also on the occurrence book. On leaving the station, he was taken to the hospital by his customer. He had a fractured leg and had lost his left eye completely
“I paid Ksh 19000 for treatment and had to ask my relatives back in the village to sell a cow for me to pay for the bill,” he continues.
After leaving the hospital, his friend told him about IMLU. Although his friend did not know how to contact the organization, he assured him he would find its contact details. Boniface asserts that on calling IMLU, he received a favorable response.
“I visited the IMLU offices on January 14, 2021, and they have provided me with medical support. I was able to visit PCEA Kikuyu Hospital where I got eye surgery and my eye can now pass light and see color,” he says.
Unfortunately, he can’t see objects which he says is frustrating since he cannot ride the motorcycle nor drive, which is his only source of income. Boniface has since reported the incident at Ruaraka police station. He further indicates that he is still receiving threats on his life for pursuing the case.
“I am very thankful to IMLU for assisting me. I am better now and hope to go back to my work soon,” he concludes.
Boniface hopes to get justice for the violation of his constitutional rights and those guilty to face the law.