If only I could find my son, alive or dead…

By Sandra Wekesa
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Tearful Mercy Wairimu holds a photo of her sons, Kennedy and Norman. The photo was taken on the day he went missing. Photo/PD/Rodger Ndegwa
In summary

Whenever Mercy Wairimu remembers her firstborn son, Kennedy Maina, her tears flow.

On her living room wall, a large portrait sits as a reminder that her son might still be alive somewhere.

But she shudders at the thought that he could be dead since she has never seen him for six years.  

She recalls a call she received on that fateful day, at exactly 6pm, Sunday, December 5, 2014.

Her sister called to say that Kennedy had been admitted to hospital. Eager to know what was ailing her son, she probed for more information, but her sister told her that she had taken care of everything and she should plan to go to Juja the following morning.

Not knowing her son’s health status, Wairimu left her home in Saika early morning and drove to Juja to check on how her son was fairing.

However, along the way she wondered how her son could have gotten that sick to an extent of being admitted to hospital.

Kennedy Maina and his younger brother, Norman Kienja and sister Mumbi Wairimu. The photo was taken on the day he went missing. Photo/PD/Rodger Ndegwa

“I had visited my sister the previous day and Kennedy was the one who had directed me to her place, which is just a few metres from where he lived.

He was a healthy 25-year-old. Nothing made sense to me,” she recalls.

Heartbreaking news

Wairimu had a rental house in Juja and Kennedy had been staying there for two years. He was staying in a servant’s quarter, managing his mother’s property. 

On her way, she picked her younger sister at Githurai and continued with their journey.

Upon arrival, her other sister, who had called her the previous evening, told her they had to go to where Kennedy lived to get all the information.

But on arrival to his place, everyone was weeping. She assumed the worst had happened.

“At that time I began to imagine that my son was no more. I was in so much pain,” she says.

Her imaginations were then cut short by someone who said, “Kennedy drowned in river Theta after getting involved in a fight yesterday.”

“I was told that my son had visited his friends and got into a small argument.

They then started fighting and by that time, they were near river Theta. Since it had been raining, he slid and fell in the river.

My sister initially lied to me that Kennedy was admitted in hospital because she did not want to break the heartbreaking news to me on phone.

I suffer from blood pressure and my sister knew I wouldn’t be able to driver from Nairobi to Juja if she told me the truth,” she says.

Agonising search

Wairimu and her family reported the matter to Juja Police Station. The police organised divers to retrieve the body from the river.

Three divers were assigned to search for the body. They demanded Sh6,000 per day.

At this time, Wairimu was determined to spend everything she had to get closure. But nothing was forthcoming.

Nothing was found­—not even a hat, which was his signature look was found.

For three days, Wairimu spent at the shores of river Theta, watching, waiting, hoping against hope. Her sleepless nights had already began.

“I returned to the station to get a way forward, but still nothing was forthcoming.

The boy who Kennedy was involved in a fight with was arrested, but was later released because the police said there was no case,” she says as she wipes a tear.

To date, Wairimu, a single mother of three is still searching for her son, hoping that one day he would come home to unite with them.

And if at all he is dead, she just hopes to find his body and give the first fruit of her womb a decent burial.

 “Many of those grew up with Kennedy ask where he went, but I don’t know how to explain to them because just like them, I am seeking for answers,” she says.