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Manono: Man who rose from ‘dead’ speaks

If there is a man who has caught the attention of the country in the past few days then it has to be Boniface Manono, who was caught on camera being clobbered senseless by anti-riot police during riots against the electoral commission in Nairobi on Monday.

At first he was believed to be dead with social media awash with messages of condolences for most of Tuesday.

Understandably so, given the kind of beating he received from the policemen. In the footage, policemen descend on Mr Manono with batons. And when that doesn’t seem to work, they kick him on his back and buttocks.

All the while, Mr Manono lies still on the ground — save for the shift in position caused by the policemen’s boot-tip kicks.

However, the identity of the man the country was mourning was in question as many of the messages identified him as “Ngatia”. By midday, #JusticeForNgatia was trending on Twitter.

The opposition, too, was duped by the social media hashtag. At a press conference in the city after the protests, Cord co-principal Raila Odinga called for a minute of silence for “the protester who succumbed to injuries”.

However, the authorities — including the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the National Police Service — could not confirm that such a fatality had occurred.

DID NOT DIE

In addition, a search at both the City and Chiromo mortuaries did not yield any body brought in from the street protests.

By late afternoon, new information emerged that “Ngatia” was, in fact, Boniface Manono, who was not only alive but conscious and talking to the press and anybody else who would care to listen about his ordeal at the hands of the policemen.

It turns out that he did not die but had only been unconscious because he hit his head on the kerb when he fell.

Subsequent footage shows Mr Manono walking away from the incident alone, unsupported, albeit with a limp. He said he walked as far as Uhuru Park but then had to lie down because of the pain in his back and legs.

“I slept at Uhuru Park until 6pm, when my uncle picked me up and took me to his house in Kibera,” Mr Manono narrated.

But this man, who has styled himself as a walking miracle after surviving a beating that many thought had left him dead, may not be the innocent by-stander he claims he was.

The 36-year-old man, who says he is from Gachie in Kiambu County, has consistently denied that he was part of the protests that rocked the capital.

PROTESTER-POLICE WAR

He said he had just got to town after attending an interview with Uber Kenya in Westlands when he was caught up in the protester-police war on University Way and Uhuru Highway.

Uber however declined to confirm or refute Mr Manono’s claim with their spokesperson saying from its South Africa headquarters: “Our privacy policy restricts me from giving information on drivers, potential drivers or riders.”

However, pictures from the demonstrations show a man fitting Mr Manono’s description in the crowd of protesters, marching and chanting alongside others.

In addition, the damning footage of his brutal beating at the hands of the police show that he had a stone in his back trouser pocket, as did many of the other protesters.

But Mr Manono has insisted that he did not carry any stone and that he does not know where the stone came from.

“All I had in my pocket were my wallet and phone; I did not carry stones,” Mr Manono told journalists at Coptic Hospital on Tuesday night.

Two journalists have said that they saw him taunting a police officer, provocation that may have caused the officers to descend on him with such fury.