Unsung heroes: Families remember Rex Kanyike and Evans Kiratu amid protests

A collage photo of Rex Kanyike and protestors. (Courtesy)

In a tragic turn of events during the ongoing protests against the Finance Bill 2024, two young men lost their lives.

Rex Kanyike (29) succumbed to a gunshot wound in his thigh, while Evans Kiratu (21) was struck by a tear gas canister during the protest. The demonstrations, led by Generation Z, were peaceful and orderly, yet the police used water cannons and tear gas against them.

The family of Evans Kiratu spoke on Citizen TV. His aunt stated that she never got to see her nephew alive, saying, "We are demanding justice for my nephew."

In a statement, Ernest Cornel, a spokesperson for the Kenya Human Rights Commission, said, "He was rushed to hospital at around 6 p.m. on Thursday and died there. It is tragic that a young person can lose his life simply for campaigning against the high cost of living."

Rex Kanyike was shot and killed by a police officer who remains at large following the night-time protest in Nairobi town. This tragic loss has sparked outrage among Kenyans and netizens who have united in condemning the police for using excessive force during a peaceful demonstration.

Kenyans took to social media platforms and raised over Ksh 2 million. The fundraiser, started on M-Changa Africa with a goal of Ksh 2 million, surpassed its target by Ksh 733,759 in support of the two heroes' families.

The M-Changa Africa description for the Rex and Evans fundraiser reads: "Rex and Evans supported us with everything they had, now it's our turn to support their families."

The families also shared their tributes on the platform.

Tributes from the Family and Friends

Rex Kanyike Masai

"My son was a calm and jovial boy. We would laugh a lot when I called him. He never made enemies. He was a dreamer. He studied surveying but after failing to secure a job, he moved out to start his own life.

"He would call me for bus fare or food money whenever his daily hustles didn't work out. We would laugh about how he didn't have a wife or any money, but I'd still send him the money," said Chrispin Odawa (Dad).

"I will miss his cheerfulness. He was always happy and very open with others. He was a giver, a good boy. Among his friends, he was known for his generosity. When he had money, he would support his friends.

"He loved peace and was obedient. Even at his age, I would still send him to do chores. I never received complaints about his behaviour. Even my friends considered him their son. If he made a mistake, he would ask for forgiveness.

"I was like his pastor, because if he earned 35,000 shillings, he'd send me 10,000 as his tithe. I will remember him for his generosity," said Gillian Munyao (Mum).

Evans Kiratu

Evans Kiratu was only 21 years old when he met his untimely death fighting for a better Kenya. He was undergoing a plumbing course and was currently on placement. He hailed from Kiambu and had moved out of his parents' home just a month ago.

The fundraising continues as Kenyans await their burials. The money raised will be split equally. Several others were injured during the protests, and volunteer medical teams treated some of them. The protests are expected to continue until the end of the week, with millennials and Gen Zs united in their demand to "REJECT FINANCE BILL 2024." We hope there will be no further deaths or casualties.


Related Articles