A Kenya Forum correspondent first wrote about this subject on the 18th August, 2011, in an article entitled ‘Kenya’s “Strange Fruit” and the Impunity of the Mob’ and regretfully we have had to return to the subject many times since.
I refer to the subject of ‘lynching’, “extra judicial killings”, or so-called mob ‘justice’.
Tragedy inflicted on people celebrating the New Year
A few days ago, a motorist travelling in the Butula subcounty of Busia, along the Butula-Bumala road, ploughed into a group of people in a church procession celebrating the New Year, killing two women and seriously injuring at least eight others.
The two women killed, hit from behind, were identified (according to a police report seen by The Star newspaper) as Consolata Achieng Oketch, aged 65, and Electine Madiang Nyongesa, aged 56.
The eight injured were rushed to Mutunga Subcounty Hospital. Their condition has as yet not been reported.
The motorist was burnt alive
A tragedy indeed, and heart-breaking for the families and friends of those involved. But the agony of tragedy and heartbreak were then compounded by violence and injustice.
The police reported, as told in The Star, that ‘following the incident an angry mob beat up the driver before burning him inside his vehicle.’
The driver was burnt alive by the mob.
No truth, no justice
Some reading this may feel, as clearly some at the scene felt, that the driver deserved to be ‘lynched’ to pay with his life for the deaths of the two women and the injuries to others.
Think about it, however. The crash may have resulted from driver error his or disregard for the safety of others. Perhaps he had been drinking. Perhaps he was speeding. Perhaps he fell asleep at the wheel.
The truth is we do not know, and I venture to suggest neither did the people at the scene.
Try this. The car’s brakes may have failed. Maybe the driver swerved to avoid hitting someone walking on to the road. Or did his car hit a patch of oil? Perhaps he had fallen ill, fainted at the wheel.
Again, we don’t know but accidents do happen, including tragic accidents.
The driver should have been handed over to the police for the legal process to take its course.
Neither Truth nor Justice were severed. We are less likely to know the truth now the driver is dead. And neither him (or his family), or the victims (and their families), will now get justice.
And let us be bluntly truthful. This wasn’t ‘mob justice’. Don’t hide behind the phrase “extra-judicial
killing”. As the Kenya Forum has said before: it was murder.
Kenya Forum readers may wish to read:
Kenya’s “Strange Fruit” and the Impunity of the Mob (18/8/2011)
‘Lynching’ in Kenya: Are we Guilty of a Mob Mentality? (15/5/2012)
Lynching Witches in Kenya (20/10/2021)
‘Witches’ are Still Being Lynched in Kenya (24/2/2023)