A man was stoned to death yesterday evening at a major supermarket in Kisii town after attempting to hold the whole supermarket hostage using Lipa na Mpesa service.
Trouble started when the father of three went to the busy supermarket after work to buy bananas and milk. As usual, the evening is usually busy as shoppers rush to shop before going home after work. This means that shoppers are angry and a little bit impatient, and thus anything that can make them angrier or slow them down does not go down very well.
This particular evening, five of the six counters were unmanned, with the manned one having a very disinterested cashier who seemed to be chatting on the phone while serving a queue that had grown to 7 people.
To complicate the matter, the two people who had been served before the unfortunate customer came had paid using a card, taking a long time to retrieve the right card from their pulses and choosing the right card. In fact, one had to empty the whole handbag to find the card, making the angry customers angrier.
But it was the Lipa Na Mpesa customer who became the proverbial straw, and the camel’s back broke. The man waited patiently for the cashier to calculate the totals and it came to only 138 shillings. To the dismay of other customers on the queue, the man picked his smartphone and started navigating to the M-PESA menu, taking time to enquire if it was Buy Goods and Services or Pay Bill service. He then went further to spend time trying to confirm the Till Number, and trying to conceal his phone as he entered the PIN.
At this point, murmuring had already started and a storm was brewing. But the worst was yet to come. The writing was on the wall that things would not end well.
The long wait for the M-PESA confirmation message came. The cashier hit the keyboard several times trying to retrieve the message from the system, while the customer was seen trying to raise his phone for a better signal reception. All attempts were unsuccessful.
It was at this point that an angry lady at the back of the queue threw a 200 shilling note at the customer, perhaps trying to signal her intent to pay the 138 shilling bill before they waited for another 6 hours. Unfortunately, other customers joined suit and started throwing whatever was at hand. The man was stoned to death with packets of milk, doughnuts, bread, bananas and even shoe polish.
The man was rushed to Kisii Level Five Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A post mortem on the man reported the cause of death to be multiple soft tissue injuries.
The cashier also sustained some injuries as they tried to rescue the man who was under attack.
Witnesses who spoke to PostaMate gave a detailed account of what transpired.
“The man had held the whole supermarket hostage for 183 seconds as he waited for an M-PESA confirmation message,” said one supermarket staff who did not want to be identified as he is not authorized to speak for the media.
The family of the victim is now appealing to Safaricom to compensate them for the unnecessary loss of life.