This post first appeared on HukuKisumu by Daniel Ominde.
For the past few months Kisumu residents have known no peace. Like village chicken they have been forced to go back to their homes by sunset as gangs wreck havoc in the lakeside city with impunity. Not even the recently launched Quick Response Unit that consist of specially trained officers with state of the art toys have managed to tame this crime wave.
Now the homes are not safe either, you get home early but they will still come and break your windows and doors with specialized equipment. What is sickening about this panga wielding gangs is that they do not stop at robbing.
They come to kill as well and when they do not kill they maim but not before raping the women and girls.
Kisumu residents are living in fear…the women cannot wake up early to get to Kibuye market for fresh supply of vegetables to their stalls. Those going to offices and work places that require them to venture out before sunlight cannot dare to. Investors in Kisumu are counting losses because they cannot open their businesses early and neither can they close late – this even as we aim to become a 24 hour economy.
But even with all that nobody is safe in Kisumu – when your day comes they will get you from your house.
They will rape your wife and daughter before your very eyes.
They will slash your husband and son to pieces as you watch.
Residents have now become a helpless lot, with nobody to turn to.
Even the police seem to have given up…they too must be very afraid to venture out in the cold dark night lest the panga wielding gang strike in the dark streets – streets dark because the county government does not see the need to light them up.
After all they will just kill us.
You do not know helplessness until you hear the police deny this very thing I am talking about – they say only four incidents have been recorded in the past month while the truth is that everyday the gang strikes somewhere raping women and girls, slashing men and boys but the police who are also too afraid will not only do nothing but they will say nothing as well.
I get it, I really do. The police boss has a job to protect, you wouldn’t want to lose your job because you cannot contain crime, would you?
We are now living like orphans, vulnerable with no one to protect us.
But this is lives we are talking about here – do Kisumu lives really matter?
For how long will we be butchered as our leaders and those assigned to protect us watch.
Kisumu people are now saying they have had enough, they are saying #KisumuLivesMatter they are saying #InsecurityInKisumu has gotten out of hand.
They are not just saying, they are getting out to say they will not live like slaves in their own town.
They are saying it’s time to get the leaders and the security apparatus working – enough is just enough.
This is why if you love Kisumu you have to add your voice to this, you have to show up at Taifa Park on Friday at 10 am wearing white T-shirts because the residents have organized a mammoth march to the police station and the county headquarters not to ask for but demand action.
We march because we have had enough of living in fear!
Use of Social Media by Kisumu Residents to speak out on insecurity
A group of active Kisumu resident on twitter started the hashtags #InsecurityInKisumu and #KisumuLivesMatter on Wednesday 19th August prompting other residents to join in the conversation and demand action from their leaders.
— Kisumu Trends (@KisumuTweets) August 19, 2015
— xtine♫♫♫ (@cndolo) August 18, 2015
— Sherry Ayugi (@SherryADH) August 18, 2015
— Gracella (@GraceIrien) August 18, 2015
Daniel Ominde together with other Kisumu residents have organised a peaceful demonstration on Friday 21st August from 10am at the Kisumu Taifa Park.
Follow the writer Daniel Ominde on @IamOminde