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Promising life cut short by gangsters’ bullet

He had hoped to put in an application for a post-graduate degree at the University of Nairobi this week. Instead, Dr Johnson Teyie’s promising life was brutally cut short last Monday night in a hail of bullets fired by gangsters.

On Saturday, at his parents’ house in Nairobi’s Sunview estate, family and friends fought back tears as they planned his final send-off.

His father, Mr Franklin Okonji described him as the “smiling doctor” while his mother, Mrs Felister Okonji said Dr Teyie was “my hardworking boy”.

Full of life, Dr Teyie, 30, had only acquired a loan to buy a car in November to ease his transport to work at the Nakuru Provincial General Hospital where he worked as an obstetrician.

But on Monday night, he joined the growing list of victims of killer thugs on motorcycles terrorising Kenyans whose motives remain unknown.

“I was told the killers first smashed the driver’s window at the gate of his estate and then shot him at point blank range. He died on the spot,” said Mr Okonji.

For his parents, the death of Dr Teyie, who had worked for just four years after graduating with a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery in 2009, appears unreal. 

The three had bonded over the Easter weekend during a visit to their upcountry home in Luanda, Vihiga County.

“We were to drive to Luanda on Saturday but his car developed mechanical problems and we had to take the bus,” said Mr Okonji.

On Saturday morning, Dr Teyie, an alumnus of Lenana School, woke up early to check on a patient he had helped to deliver through a caesarean section.

“He was committed to his work and has never told me an operation had gone bad,” says Mrs Okonji, a retired nurse at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

While in Luanda, his father, a deputy director at the KMTC in Nairobi, recalls taking him to a local bar to watch his favourite English football team, Manchester United, who were playing that Sunday evening.

Their journey back to their respective stations started on Monday morning when they boarded buses to Kisumu.

At 3 p.m., they boarded different vehicles with Dr Teyie taking one to Nakuru while his parents were offered a lift to Nairobi by a relative.

“We kept communicating our location and all was well,” said Mrs Okonji.

At 6.30 p.m., Dr Teyie, a teetotaller, told his mother he had alighted and was buying milk at Naivas Supermarket in Nakuru.

Moments later, he texted her that he had arrived safely in the house. 

“His last message was ‘mom, I’ll see you tomorrow or Wednesday’. He was to deliver his application for a post-graduate degree in obstetrics and gynaecology. This was never to be,” says his distraught mother.

Meanwhile, mechanical problems and traffic jams in Nairobi delayed his parents, who arrived at their house a few minutes to 10 p.m.

After dinner and freshening up, the Okonjis were about to retire to bed when a call came through.

“The caller was Dr Teyie’s supervisor and friend. He asked if I could speak and I said ‘yes’. He said he had news about my son,” recalls Mr Okonji.

The caller hesitated for a while and dropped the bombshell: “Your son is no more.”

Mr Okonji could not believe it when his son’s colleague explained the circumstances that led to the shooting of the doctor inside his car. 

“I kept asking him ‘what do you mean?’” said  Mr Okonji.

The family said they had not heard anything from the police who have since announced that they shot and killed a suspect in Kakamega, who is thought to have been involved in the death of their son. 

“We had hoped that our son would take care of us in retirement and bury us, but not vice versa,” said Mrs Okonji.

The family now wants the police to tell them who killed their son. 

“Who called him from the house? What was the motive? We do not have any suspicions at the moment but we want answers,” he said.