‘I was shocked to see on TV my son arrested alongside Paul Mackenzie’
By Wanja Waweru
Ms. Lilian Kabarika was keenly monitoring the Shakahola fatalities developments as the rest of the nation was doing.
But she was shocked and in amazement when she heard the news on May 2 night. That evening, a video of her son leaving the Malindi police station while being escorted by Paul Mackenzie and officers was shown on television.
She first struggled with her feelings, convincing herself that it was not her son, until she saw her son in a courtroom once more.
“I ran out of my house while the news was still on to ask my sister if what I saw on the news was true or I was hallucinating,” says Ms Kabarika.
Her sister had heard the news on the radio.
“We still did not believe it was him. I called his brother and asked him if he had seen the news, but he had no idea,” Ms Kabarika add.
The younger brother proceeded to do a search online.
“We saw a video of him foaming at the mouth. That convinced us that it was indeed my son.”
She needed to figure out how to get from Kakamega to Malindi, a city she had never visited, to learn more. She was interested in learning how her son got there.
The voyage to Malindi by Ms. Kabarika and her immediate family was difficult.
“We went to the hospital in search of my grandchildren, but it was fruitless,” she says.
At the Malindi police station, she asked to see her son, Baron Chaenza, but when the police brought him out, they identified him as Collins.
“He had even changed his name. Who is Collins? He is called Baron,” says the distressed mother.
Ms Kabarika recalls her son saying goodbye to her, telling her he was travelling to Mombasa where his wife and children had already moved.
“I begged him not to go. We have no relatives in the coast region, but he insisted that he had to go because his wife and children were already there,” Ms Kabarika says.
Communication between them was good until two weeks ago.
“Baron called me crying. I tried to find out what was wrong, but he would not say a word, he just kept sobbing,” says Ms Kabarika.
The family is now torn between rejoicing that their loved one is alive and grieving that he is in police custody.
“At the moment, we do not know where my grandchildren or my daughter-in-law are; Baron does not want to reveal their whereabouts,” Ms Kabarika says. “The police are telling us that he could be jailed for life, and they suspect that he killed his family and wanted to commit suicide.”
Kenya Red Cross Coastal Manager Hassan Musa said they have registered 558 missing people so far.