Lamu East ODM candidate Shekue Kahale lost his whole family after a boat travelling from Lamu capsized in the Indian Ocean.
Kahale, who had just lost to incumbent MP Athman Sharif Ali in the just concluded elections, survived the accident but watched his whole family perish after almost seven hours in the water waiting for help.
The ODM candidate was travelling with his wife, four children, sister-in-law and three nephews to Lamu Island when their boat, MV Samaki, capsized on August 13.
Kahale and his relatives and the boat’s coxswain were in the boat when it capsized shortly after 10 am but he managed to swim to safety due to his fishing skills.
He used his skills to keep them alive for almost seven hours but unfortunately couldn’t save them.
“We had passed Mtangawanda Jetty heading to Lamu but on reaching Manda Bruno, our boat was overpowered by the high tides and capsized,” he said.
“I tried to grab my wife and her sister but I could not help them. You know they were adults and so I was overwhelmed and had to watch them get swept away one by one as they cried for me to save them. “I was however able to get hold of the children and I gave them a rope which I tied around my body.”
A weeping Kahale said he made sure some of the children held onto him and the rope he untied from the boat as he tried swimming to safety.
However, one by one he watched as the children were plagued by fatigue and dizziness, and loosened their grip on him and the rope.
“I was still with the children even as the strong currents pushed us further East to Asia. At one time the currents turned and started to push us towards the shores but they were not strong enough
“At about 6pm after floating with the children for close to six hours the children got tired and one of the children veered off after he lost grip of the rope. I struggled with the others and brought him back
“The last kid died after eight hours of struggling with him. It was around 6pm and the sun was setting by that time. I decided to swim for hours before I came to an island where I was found by the rescue team,” he said.
It is around this area where two months ago, another boat accident occurred, leaving about a dozen people, mostly women, dead.
The politician pleaded with the Government to increase marine patrols and let them operate for 24 hours to rescue people when accidents occur at sea.
“I am sure my family could have been saved if there had been active marine patrols on the Indian Ocean by the time the accident occurred,” he added.