Victim of police brutality becomes justice defender
Nothing about David Makara’s birth and upbringing was out of the ordinary.
As per his Gikuyu community traditions, her mother and women present during his birth ululated joyfully five times to signify the gift of a boy child.
Makara, whose name means charcoal, grew up as an altar boy at his local church in Nyahururu and did ordinary things such as playing football with peers, his greatest hobby is watching movies.
But one evening in 2002 as he was at a shop buying a movie police officers arrested and started to clobber him.
“I remember the day very well, I had just turned 22 and was from church and decided to pass by a movie shop. Little did I know there was a police swoop,” he said.
He said police demanded a bribe and he handed over the Sh70 he had and was set free, but before he could flee, one of the officers shot him. “One bullet hit my right hand, another the left side of my stomach,” he said.
He managed to get to Nyahururu hospital but police followed him there claiming he was a criminal wanted for murder. He had to be handcuffed on the bed. After recovery, Makara was charged with murder but later his case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
“Though the culprits were arrested, they were later released under mysterious circumstances and I only got a compensation of Sh500,000 for wrongful detention but not for the loss of my hand,” he said.
Fast forward to 2019, Makara is not just a statistic of police brutality but is a lawyer and the chair of Global Survivors Network Kenya Chapter, a network of survivors of police abuse ready to stand up against injustice in their communities
“We want to activate the survivor services within the public justice system to serve survivors, support them as victims and witnesses while they file complaints and seek for justice, and ensure that their rights are upheld as they go through the Criminal Justice System,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Nordin Haji graced the launch of the network with over 30 members.
“From our prosecutorial experience, we know that an empowered survivor is a credible complainant who can report a case and follow it through investigations to the prosecution,” he said.
He added that his office has been working to ensure that only the right people are prosecuted for crimes.