Photographer Msingi Sasis made a distress post on Facebook, 6th May 2016 about his troubled financial position ever since he was labeled a terrorist. He was arrested by the police last year when taking photos of Galleria mall, Nairobi.
Ever since that day, efforts to locate him have been futile. He phone is not going through, neither has he responded to various texts sent to his phone number, email and Facebook. People of all walks of life want to assist him but he is nowhere to be seen. For instance, the Photographers Association of Kenya (PAK) have already organized a camera and working space for him while creative writer Magunga Williams has offered to house him.
A background check to where he stayed reveals some inaccuracies in his distress message.
Msingi has been living with the mother at Osupuko Estate which is near Laiser Hill School, Ongata Rongai. Neighbours say that when he started having financial issues, he was unable to convince them of the link between the terrorism link and lack of work to be able to pay his obligations. The estate has both tenants who rent from individuals who bought the houses and owners of the houses. The rent range from sh35,000 to sh50,000, depending on how you negotiate with the landlord. The houses are 3 bedroom bungalow with a Servants Quarter. It is his mother who signed the tenancy agreement.
At 3am on 5th of May, 2016, neighbours were woken up by movements from Msingi’s house. When they went out, they found him exiting the house with all the belongings. They asked him whether he had authorization from the landlord and he could not answer. They then called the landlord who said he did not was not given a notice. He asked the neighbours not to allow him to leave with his household things. Everything was returned to the house, Msingi went back and left the following day (when he sent the distress message).
When neighbours asked him about his mother’s whereabouts, he told them that she disappeared in Europe. He said she had been supporting him but went silent and he is unable to trace her. However the neighbours did not buy this story because some of them had met her in Nairobi town a few days earlier hence they couldn’t add the dots.
The mother was last seen at the house in April.
Msingi Sasis was not evicted from the house, despite the fact that they had accumulated rental arrears.
Multiple individuals I interviewed say that there is a formal process that has to be followed before evicting a tenant. Nothing in his house has equally been auctioned because it is tied to the legal process. However it is this legal process that is currently being worked on, considering that he tried to disappear and he is unreachable.
Msingi’s brother confirmed that his dad has visited the house several times to no success. He said the family have filed a missing person’s report at Ongata Rongai police station.