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Family learnt of officer’s death in Naivasha tragedy on social media

The family of Constable Kevin Kibet Torongei, one of the 11 General Service Unit Officers who perished in the Naivasha tragedy, has said they learnt of the death of their kin on social media.

The family that hails from Trans Mara, Narok County, said they are yet to receive any communication on the officer’s death from the police or government.

“We only learnt of his death on WhatsApp. We saw his name among the list of GSU officers who died in the tragedy in our local WhatsApp group called “Trans Mara Massive,” said Mr Richard Torongei, a brother to the deceased.

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Mr Torongei was heading to the scene of the accident at Karai along the Nairobi-Naivasha highway when the Nation called him on Monday morning.

He said it was sad that the government had not officially informed them of their brother’s death, more than 24 hours after the fatal incident.

“He was attached to State House and lived there. Despite dedicating most of his time to his job, the government has not bothered to inform us of his demise,” he said.

Mr Torongei, a former councillor, said he first heard of the tragedy on local television channels.

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“I had not known that my brother was among the deceased. But I started getting anxious when I heard that some GSU officers attached to State House were among the casualties,” he said.

He said at around 10 am, he received condolence messages directed to his family on WhatsApp.

“It was very traumatising when I saw my brother’s name among the list of those who perished,” he said.

He said the entire family was shocked because they were not aware that Mr Kibet was in Chebunyo in Bomet County, where President Uhuru Kenyatta had toured.

“Our 70-year-ol mother is shocked. Especially because Kibet was just a few kilometers away from his rural home and did not even call to inform us that he was around,” he said.

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The family lived in Njipship town, which is a few kilometres from Chebunyo.

The late Kibet was a teacher before joining the police in 2009. He is survived by a wife and two children.

He called on the government to have a proper communication channel to families of affected officers to reduce anxiety.

“It is only fair for affected families to get the right messages directly from the government instead of getting messages on social media,” he said.

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