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Police and her boyfriend say Brenda Kawira died by suicide. Her family disagrees



Police and her boyfriend say Brenda Kawira died by suicide. Her family disagrees

It was alleged that on February 21, 2023, in Nairobi’s Kasarani estate at around 11:30pm, Brenda Kawira, 29, jumped 50 feet to her death.

She was buried 17 days later on March 12, 2023, in Meru County.

The only witness in the suicide claim was her boyfriend and who confessed that they had quarrelled on their way to the bedroom.

He alleged that Ms Kawira, in a fit of rage, stormed out of the bedroom situated on the fourth floor of the rental apartment, went to the balcony and executed the jump of death.

The death brought to a tragic halt the life of a bright woman described as full of life and optimism; a fighter who had received her share of beating but held on.

Born on Jan 3, 1994, in a family of a Catholic priest, Peter Gitonga and Mama Catherine Gakii, Ms Kawira had three brothers and two sisters.

She was the mother of the late Gianna.

Ms Kawira schooled in Nkubu Primary School between 1997 and 2006 before she proceeded to St Mary’s Igoji Secondary School from 2007 to 2010.

In September 2021, the late Kawira graduated with first-class honours from the University of Nairobi where she was pursuing a degree in medical biochemistry specialising to become a geneticist.

She had briefly worked as a Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry teacher at Kaanwa and Marimanti girls’ secondary schools before she moved to a Nairobi-based pharmaceutical company where she was working till she met her death.

Master’s degree

She had also won a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in Australia and would have left the country in June 2023.

In her death, her relatives, friends and police officers who spoke to Nation.Africa last week expressed a strong need to relook into the chronology of events that ended the life of Ms Kawira.

In fact, a detective attached to Kasarani police station told Nation.Africa to “please help this family get a serious investigation into this death…I work here and there is a good reason I’m making that suggestion”.

Some of her relatives said they also have reservations about how police were quick to declare the death a suicide.

“We want Interior CS Prof Kithure Kindiki and Inspector General of police Mr Japheth Koome to help us put her death in the right perspective,” said Josephine Gitonga, the family’s doctor.

She added that there are so many gaps in the witness narrative and it is only the involvement of the homicide department of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) that can unravel the mystery surrounding Ms Kawira’s death.

The boyfriend’s testimony, which the police relied on to treat the death as suicide, says that “we had an argument before she raged, walked out of the bedroom and straight to the balcony”.

The man said he later heard a thud. “I went to check for her in the sitting room, kitchen and in other rooms and she was nowhere to be seen. I then decided to go to the balcony and I saw her body sprawled on the ground floor,” he further told police.

Mr Richard Dzengu who said he schooled with Ms Kawira at the University of Nairobi, Chiromo campus, termed the suicide theory a poorly thought-out composition “that first says he heard a thud while he was in the bedroom but proceeded to search for her in several rooms, decided to move to the balcony and at 11.30pm saw her sprawled on the ground 50 feet below”.

Assisted him

A police report of the incident indicates that the boyfriend raised several neighbours who assisted him in rushing her to Uzima Hospital on Thika Road where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

It is then that police were called to the hospital while her body was still in the backseat of a personal car.

“Physical examination deduced visible injuries and bruises on her face,” the police incident report indicated.

The autopsy report later showed bruises on her right thigh, the left side of the neck, the left cheek and the legs.

The cause of death was “internal bleeding”.

Dr Gitonga said the police report and the autopsy report do not agree on logic.

“I fail to understand how a falling human from a height of about 50 metres will land in a way that bruises the left sides of the neck and the cheek, at the same time injuring the right sides of the thigh. This implies a strange kind of a still fall since she was deduced to have died before she was taken to the hospital,” she said.

With Ms Kawira dead and buried and her death ruled a suicide, all that is left of her big dreams is grief from those who loved her and who now collectively demand “justice for Brenda”.

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