That Night a Human Being Died

That night they came
carrying pangas, rungus, mishale, ithanwa;
It was dark;
we were listening to Citizen FM;
we were 175km away from where
the main action was taking place;
we were waiting for Mr. Kivuitu to announce the results;

That night we the young boys were out by the dukas;
the older boys, our dads, our uncles
were all shouting Haki yetu!! Haki yetu!
Then suddenly we heard;
a scream, feet shuffling, people running all over;
Ua!! Ua!! Huyo!! Ua yeye!!
Kamau uka naguku!!
Then we started running

That night we all huddled up inside the church;
we had ran here for safety;
there were all kinds of people but mostly women and children;
I was with my shosho,
she has been my dad and mum since I was 5;
when mami and dadi passed away of AIDS
(because we couldnt afford ARV’s)
but ghafla bin vu we heard a rowdy crowd approaching;
they spoke in strange tongues;
then moto mkubwa ukawaka;
I only heard, “Wachome wote!! Wachome wote!!”
Then I fainted because kuliwa na moshi mingi;

That night
a human being died;
Kamau died. Otieno died.
Cherotich died. Wepukhulu died. Kimeu died.
He was my dad. She was her mum. He was his sister.
They were my brothers
That night a human being died.

Every day I ask “why her? why him? why them?”;
The waheshimiwa only sit and talk about justice and the hague;
Concepts and places I dont elewa and jua;
I only want the truth,

Tell me jirani yangu
why did you choose to act this way?
I only need you to admit and say you did it and that you are sorry.

Though it pains me every day;
To see you,
To see those hands of yours
that are stained with my next of kin’s blood;

I only need you to admit to the truth;
Then I will forgive you.
This is my justice. Give me truth;

Let us reconcile. Let us dialogue.
Let’s give forgiveness a chance.
But remember that night
a human being died.


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