Kenyans have pulled together to raise funds for a disabled mother of 6 who was harassed by Nairobi County officers.
Mary Otieno’s situation garnered public attention after a video showing the mother who works in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) being harassed by kanjos went viral on social media on Saturday, October, 21 after which, comedian Eric Omondi picked it up, shared it on his channels, asking members of the public to share information that could help him locate her.
Following this, Omondi revealed that he had located the mother at her home in Mathare, Nairobi County, and started an online fundraiser for her.
The viral video depicted County Askaris descending on Mary Otieno’s business premises and knocking down her structure, destroying her stock while confiscating some.
A collage of police arresting protesters in Nairobi in April 2023 and county council askaris (kanjos) roaming around the CBD
The video also showed the kanjos dragging Mary on the ground while some packed her items into a sack.
Mary Achieng has been hawking in Nairobi for the last 20 years.
When the video went viral, public outrage soon ensued with most Kenyans piling on the County Government accusing its officers of operating with impunity. Most Kenyans also pointed out that it was in the same week that the officers harassed smokie vendors and destroyed their carts.
As of Monday morning, Eric Omondi announced that well-wishers had contributed a total of Ksh 817,000 with contributions closing in on Ksh1 million.
”Thank you very much to all who contributed and may God bless you,” Mary said acknowledging her well-wishers through Eric Omondi’s channels.
Earlier in the week, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja had been forced to apologize to smokie vendors after county askaris were caught on camera destroying property and seizing their carts, ostensibly in a move geared at bringing back order in the city.
The Governor in a statement afterward apologised to the traders and confirmed that he had ordered each of them to be compensated Ksh10,000.
“I have ordered the immediate release of all confiscated items, apologized to the traders, and personally compensated each of them to the tune of 10,000 shillings each,” the Governor said in a statement.
Governor Sakaja further said the county government will take disciplinary action against the involved officers.
Before Sakaja broke his silence on the matter, Kenyans had rallied to raise money for Quinter Adhiambo, a smokie and eggs vendor whose property was also destroyed by the county askaris.
Well-wishers raised over Ksh 600,000 for Adhiambo after a video showing her being harrassed by the kanjos went viral.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja speaking during a Church service at Deliverance Church, Lang’ata, Nairobi County on October 1, 2023.