Kenya: I lost arm to police brutality but now fight injustice with the long arm of the law

May 29, 2017

David Makara shows his amputated hand./MONICAH MWANGI

It’s Thursday morning and 207 new advocates are ready to be admitted to the bar at the Supreme Court. Among them is one extraordinary man, David Makara.

When the oath taking time comes, the master of ceremony asks the advocates-to-be to hold the Bible with the right hand and the oath, written in an A4 sheet of paper, with the left hand, and read after him.

It is at this point that Makara’s mind races back 15 years ago, when he lost him right hand to a rogue police officer. To read the oath, Makara hangs the paper on what was left of his arm after it was amputated just below the elbow. After taking the oath and with excitement written all over his face, Makara, who had a stint of street life, did the way of the cross and jumped, celebrating his achievements.

His is a painful story with a beautiful ending. He remembers the 15th day of December 2002 as if it were yesterday. It was a normal day and in the evening, at around 6.30pm, he went to Nyahururu to collect a video cassette. “I ran a video showing business at the time and there was a video library in town,” he says.

While in the library, a group of police officers came in and held him by the belt, asking if he knew a guy they had handcuffed. Makara said yes and immediately, he was told he was under arrest. “I came to learn later that the officers had been drinking at a nearby joint and they didn’t have the money to clear the bill, so they came looking for bribes,” Makara says.


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