Kenya: Baby Pendo's Parents Speak at BBI Launch, Back Constitution Review

26 October 2020

Nairobi — Parents of a 6-months old who was shot by police during 2017 poll chaos in Kisumu have supported constitution review under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) saying proposed reforms will ensure peace and stability.

Samantha Pendo's parents spoke during the launch of the BBI report at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.

The infant was beaten by baton-wielding policemen, who had laid siege on her parents' house, during the post-election violence after the Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in 2017.

Pendo's mother Lexa Achieng recounted the loss of her baby due to divisive elections, and called upon politicians to preach peace even during campaigns.

"A flower was uprooted from my garden and it can never be replaced. I can be given another person but it can never be Pendo. I want to ask politicians please be mindful of what you say when you come to us," an emotional Achieng said.

She said Kenyans should be allowed to read the report and make a decision.

Pendo's father, Joseph Abanja, applauded the handshake, saying since then the country has been peaceful.

He said Pendo's should be the last shed over elections, while urging Kenyans not to be deceived by politicians.

"Let the blood of my child be the last time blood is shed because of divisive elections," he said.

Abanja, also asked the government to support their family.

An inquest in February 2019 found five police commanders liable for the death of six-month-old Samantha Pendo.

A magistrate heading the inquest said there was sufficient evidence that Pendo succumbed to injuries inflicted on her by members of the police service responding to protests in Nyalenda following the declaration of the presidential election results on August 11, 2017.

An autopsy conducted at the Agha Khan Hospital in Kisumu on August 17, 2017, had revealed that Pendo had suffered acute head injuries, her scalp cracking as a result of brutal force by the police.

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