BY ALLAN JAMES FOR EDAILY
A postmortem conducted on a six-month-old baby, Samantha Pendo, who was clubbed by police in a security crackdown in Kisumu during post poll chaos, shows the little girl “died of head fractures occasioned by a head injury”.
Dr. Dickson Mchana, a consultant government pathologist in Western Kenya, says the injuries inflicted on the head were “very severe”.
Addressing journalists at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu on Thursday, Dr. Mchana said the baby “also had a bang on the back of her skull”.
“Samantha died of a severe head injury. Actually, it was bad. A gaping fracture on the head is what kept the baby alive because when the skull opens up, it releases pressure. One can therefore survive. Otherwise, if the head injury had not resulted into the cracking of the skull, she would have died much earlier,” said Dr. Mchana.
According to Baby Pendo’s family spokesperson, Amos Pambo, they would move to court to seek legal action against the little girl’s killer.
“We, as a family, want to ask for a lot of calm. We also want to explore this to the highest level possible in form of justice. It was very sad to see Baby Pendo suffer for that much. As the doctors have indicated, the damage was so grave,” said Mr Pambo.
Baby Pendo’s father, Joseph Abanja, was unable to contain his emotions during the postmortem and was escorted outside the mortuary by his family members.
The procedure, which lasted less than an hour, was witnessed by officers from the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), officers from the Kisumu CID Crime Scene Unit and selected family members.
Samantha Pendo died on Tuesday evening at the same health facility after being admitted to the intensive care unit for three days.
Her parents said she was teargassed and clubbed by police in a security crackdown after the disputed August 8 general election.
Baby Pendo was asleep in her mother’s arms when police forced their way into their home and beat her and her parents as they searched for protesters, her parents said.
“She remained in coma throughout. She never improved one bit,” said Dr. Sam Oula at the Aga Khan Hospital in the western city of Kisumu.
The baby and her parents were beaten when police were sweeping their neighborhood for opposition protesters on Saturday, residents told Reuters journalists who investigated the incident.
Kisumu is a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is contesting results from last Tuesday’s presidential election.
An official tally said President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election by 1.4 million votes.
Odinga’s accusations of rigging led to protests in Kisumu and in Nairobi slums.
Residents there say police have responded with lethal force and many residents were killed in their homes.
Among the dead are an 8-year-old girl, hit by a stray bullet as she played on her balcony, and an 18-year-old student whose mother said was pulled from under the bed and beaten so badly he died the next day.
Police have promised to investigate all incidents but human rights groups say they rarely hold officers to account for extrajudicial killings.