Rex Masai laid to rest in Machakos

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The late Rex Masai

On the evening of Thursday, June 20, the reject the Finance Bill 2024 protests were in full swing. Young people from all over converged in the CBD, dancing, chanting and escaping from the occasional teargas thrown at them.

According to his mother, Rex was on his way home when he joined the peaceful protests on Moi Avenue. It was around 7 pm when the situation quickly turned deadly as anti-riot police lobbed a teargas canister at a crowd and shots rang out.

In the ensuing commotion, Masai sustained a fatal bullet wound in his thigh and was rushed to Bliss Hospital, Moi Avenue. Sadly, he passed away moments later from excessive bleeding. He was 29.

Burial of Rex Masai

At his burial, which took place on July 5 in Kamuthanga, Machakos County, his mother, Gillian Munyao, spoke movingly about her son Masai's last moments before the deadly shooting.

"My first sleep taker but it was for joy. I remember my first feeling breastfeeding you. I remember our first milestones; walk daddy, walk and you would look back at me smiling. Rex, you turned my fingers into a thermometer...you taught me how to take temperature without a thermometer, you taught me how to be a lawyer, sweeping in to protect you whenever you were hurt.

"Here you are, teaching me how to live without you. Rex why? You left me with no last words, but only receiving a call and finding you lifeless. I know you told God in the process after that policeman shot you; and watched you die slowly, blood draining out of you. Sincerely, this is more than labour pains, may the Lord teach me how to delete your number. Good night my teacher, my love. Goodnight Rex till we meet again."

In his speech read out by Rex's uncle, father Chrisphine Odawa, urged Gen Z protesters to continue fighting for change. 

"Gen Z, I will urge you to continue fighting for your parents. They have tried for many years but have not been able to do it. They have never done what you guys have shown us that you can do. We are doing this with you; we shall be pushing from behind, you are also fighting for the future generations behind you, so that when the time comes, they will find things in order," he added.

Notable faces who also spoke during the funeral include Unbwogable hitmaker Maji Maji and activist Boniface Mwangi who called for justice to be served.

"Kenya has changed because of Rex, he was the first one to die during these protests and Kenya will never be the same...Rex died a hero and we demand justice for Rex", said Mwangi.

Rex Kanyike Masai’s funeral will be a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fight for justice and change. His name now stands as a symbol of the struggle for justice and the need to protect citizens exercising their constitutional rights. 

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