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Well-wishers raise Sh2m for Rex and Evans killed in anti-tax protesters

A fundraiser organised in honour of two youth killed during last week’s anti-tax protests has hit its target of over Sh2 million eight hours after it was set up.

The fundraiser was put up to raise Sh2 million for Rex Kanyeki Masai, 29, who died on Thursday evening from injuries sustained from a live bullet allegedly fired by police and Evans Kiratu, 21, who died the following day after allegedly being hit by a tear gas canister fired by the police.

At the time of going to the press, Sh2,242,830 had been raised from 6,486 supporters.

“Rex and Evans supported us with everything they had it’s our turn to support their families. Join us to ensure this cause succeeds,” the M-Changa notification read.

“Funds will be distributed equally to the Masai and Kiratu families,” it adds.

Rex as he was popularly known was pronounced dead on arrival at the Bliss Healthcare Centre on Moi Avenue.

The incident took place during a protest in Nairobi on Thursday, June 20, where demonstrators were voicing their opposition to the controversial Finance Bill 2024, which is due to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday after it sailed through its second reading by a vote of 204-115.

“My son was a calm and jovial boy. When l used to call him, we would laugh a lot. He never made enemies. He was a dreamer. He studied Surveying but after failing to get a job, he moved out of the family home to start his own life. He would call me to ask for 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,” his father Chrispin Odawa mourned him.

His mother Gillian Munyao, said she will miss his joviality, adding that he was always happy, and he was very open with other people.

“He was a giver. A good boy. Among his friends, he was known as a generous person. When he had money, he would support his friends. He loved peace and was obedient. At his age, I would still send him to do house chores. I never received complaints about his behaviour. Even my friends regarded him as their son. If he made a mistake, he would ask for forgiveness,” she said.

“I was like his pastor because if he earned 35,000 shillings, he’d send me Sh10,000 as his tithe. I will remember him for his generosity.”

Kiratu’s mother, Ann Wanjiru, who confirmed her son’s death, said she was informed by a Good Samaritan late on the night of June 22, 2024, that her son had been injured, only to rush and discover that her son had already died.

“He died after the canister exploded. I have identified my son’s body. I want the government to explain to me if we elected them to kill our children. I had hopes and dreams for him,” said Ms Wanjiru.

After being injured, Kiratu was rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital by a bystander who found him wounded on the street.

He was doing a plumbing course and was currently on attachment. He hails from Kiambu, and he had also moved out of his parent’s home just a month ago.

Organisers of the marches have threatened to paralyse key activities from Tuesday and have asked parents to keep their children at home.

The protesters say they will be at the offices of the Independent Police Oversight Authority and the Inspector-General of Police to demand justice for those killed and injured by security agents.