Former Nakuru Town MP David Manyara stands in the dock at the Nakuru Law Courts. Trial judge Justice Daniel Musinga returned a verdict of not guilty and released him.
Jubilation rent the air in Nakuru yesterday after former MP David Manyara and 12 suspected Mungiki members accused of murder were set free due to lack of evidence.
Manyara said he had forgiven those who had linked him with the murder.
"It was political, there is no way I could have organised to kill people I had served for many years and knowing well that I had future political ambitions, " he said.
He said he was saddened that hundreds lost their lives in the skirmishes.
Hundreds of jubilant supporters of Manyara broke into song and dance when the 13, who had languished in remand for close to two years, were freed by Justice Daniel Musinga.
Manyara's wife Mary and daughter Jacqueline Wangechi shed tears of joy on being re-united with their loved one as other relatives scrambled to reach him on the dock.
Immediately after Manyara and his co-accused were cleared by the prison officials at the court basement cells, they boarded a pick up and made a triumphant entry into the town.
Manyara acknowledged cheers from hundreds of people, who had lined up along the busy Kenyatta Avenue, as the procession snaked its way slowly into town.
The former MP made a stop-over at the Railway Ground, where he addressed a crowd.
Manyara's lawyers Karanja Mbugua and Gordon Ogolla who accompanied him in the tour of the town, said they would sue the State for malicious prosecution.
Manyara and his co-accused were arrested after violence rocked Nakuru town when suspected Mungiki adherents hacked innocent people to death.
Set free alongside the former lawmaker were John Njenga, Jeremiah Muturi, Jeremiah Wanjiku, Duncan Ndichu, John Kiaye, Samuel Maina, Peter Githuka, Francis Njoroge, Paul Kimani, Mto Mkoloi, Kariuki Mugo and David Wanyoike.
They had been charged that on January 5, 2003 at Flamingo, Kimathi and Lakeview estates they murdered 10 people.
A shoddy work by the prosecution earned the suspects their freedoms.
In his hour-long ruling, Musinga wondered how the prosecution had closed its case without calling the head of the investigation team, Superintendent (rtd) Jonathan Chelule.
The judge gave the accused benefit of doubt, while ruling on whether they had a case to answer.
He particularly pointed out that the case against Manyara was " totally wanting and too weak to sustain such serious charges as murder". He said the evidence of Chief Inspector Leonard Lutta, who had linked the former MP with murder, could not hold water since he was relying on an untruthful informer.
The judge said the informer took the police in a wild goose chase to various places in Nairobi to look for the MP who all along had been at his house in Bondeni.
In fact, the court noted, Manyara helped police repair the vehicle at his garage to enable them pursue the killers.
"The accused did not behave in a strange manner since he presented himself at the Rift Valley Provincial police headquarters after being informed that police were looking for him," the judge said.
The judge further said the police did not produce the brand new pangas that the politician was alleged to have purchased for the killers.
Former MP David Manyara paid to have people killed in Nakuru Town, last year, a .
court heardInspector Leonard Lutta said yesterday that Mr Manyara, who was the area MP, bought mchetes for the outlawed Mungiki sect members, which they used to kill 10 people.
He told the court that police sources indicated that Mr Manyara planned with Mungiki members to kill people in various estates within the town.
"My colleagues and I were ordered by our seniors to look for Mr Manyara and verify the information, but we did not find him until after the killings," he said.
The inspector told how police went to Mr Manyara's home in Bondeni estate, but never found him.
Said the inspector: "We found a woman [who was] so rude, she refused to tell us where the former MP was. She said she does not carry Mr Manyara in her pocket."
During across examination by lawyer Gordon Ogolla for all the accused, the witness said they later got information that Mr Manyara was at The Stanley, a hotel in Nairobi.
Mr Ogolla asked the witness whether he knew the amount of money Mr Manyara paid the Mungiki members.
"I don't know the amount, for sure, but I received information that he was giving them between Sh200 and Sh300 each."
The witness also said police received information that Mr Manyara had been spotted near Parliament Buildings, then travelled to Nairobi but never found him.
Asked by Mr Ogolla whether they made inquiries with police officers in Parliament, the witness said that they never did so.
He also told the court that he never knew the shop from which Mr Manyara bought the pangas.
The inspector then told the court that on January 6, 2003, he was summoned by his seniors to the provincial police office, where he met Mr Manyara seated in the waiting room. However, he did not know how Mr Manyara got there.
The former MP was latter arrested and charged with 10 counts of murder, together with the suspected Mungiki members.
Dr Noah Kamidigu Oloo, who performed postmortem on eight of the bodies, confirmed that the deaths were due to injuries inflicted by sharp objects.
The trial of a former Nakuru Town Member of Parliament and 12 suspected Mungiki sect members begins today.
Mr David Manyara and the others are accused of killing 10 people at Nakuru's Flamingo, Lake View and Mwariki estates on the night of January 4 and 5, last year.
Mr Justice Daniel Musinga will preside over the hearing for two days.
The hearing against had been set for December but was brought forward following a request by the defence and Mr Manyara's family.
They said the former MP had developed complications at the Nakuru GK Prison.
Two suspected Mungiki members charged alongside Mr Manyara have died in custody.
Mr Nderitu Chuma died with a bullet lodged in his thigh, while Mr Peter Mwangi died after complaining of abdominal pains.
Also charged are suspects Jeremiah Muturi, Duncan Chege, John Njenga, John Irungu, Samuel Mwangi, Peter Karanja, Francis Maina, Mr Paul Gathii, M'to Muchiri Mkoloi , Kariuki Mugo, David Karanja and Jeremiah Wanjau.
The Attorney general terminated the case in June, but the suspects were immediately re-arrested and charged afresh.
A Mungiki sect member has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 13-year-old girl in Njoro amid revelations that the sect was re-grouping.
The killing of the girl, whose torso was discovered on Sunday was yesterday linked to a ritual killing by members of the outlawed sect.
Police arrested a 78-year-old man suspected to be the leader of the sect in the area. His arrest came hot on the heels of the arrest of 23 other sect members in Nyandarua who were being herded to a "holy shrine" for oathing.
The head of the late Julia Wanjiku has not been found.
Nakuru police boss Joseph Ng'isa said it is suspected to have been carried away to be used in rituals associated with the sect.
Wanjiku, a top Standard Six pupil at Kikapu Primary school on Gichobo Farm, was found dead in a valley on Sunday by her father, Mwaura Njoroge after she went missing .
Police say the suspect is a Mungiki oath administrator who lives quietly in the village located about 30 kilometres from Nakuru town, near Egerton University.
"We made inquiries and several names were mentioned. We raided their homes but found nothing but as we approached the old man's home, he took off and we went after him," Ngisa said.
Police caught him after a two- kilometre chase and recovered 15 pictures of members of the sect from his pockets.
Police said the pictures of the youth in dreadlocks would help to establish their identities.
In Nyandarua, investigations by the East African Standard revealed that the sect followers were arrested as they re-grouped. Militant sect leaders are recruiting youthful members from various parts of the country before herding them to secluded 'shrines' in the vast Aberdare and Gathanji forests.
The gullible youths are then made to take an oath, 'muma,' to maintain secrecy.
The recruits were to start training in South Kinangop.
Police, were, however, tipped off and laid an ambush on the Njabini-Sasumu road. Unaware of the dragnet the sect members started streaming towards their holy shrines but 23 of them were arrested while scores escaped.
Armed police yesterday dispersed members of the outlawed Mungiki sect who were addressing a Press conference in a Nairobi slum.
The Mungiki members took to their heels and leaped over a barbed wire fence as advancing police shot in the air.
Ten people were later arrested.
The Mungiki leaders called the Press to the Mathare slum to protest at the recent shoot-to-kill order by Central PC Peter Raburu, who had accused Mungiki of being behind a wave of crime in Maragua.
The sect members, led by their spokesman Njuguna Gitau Njuguna, condemned Mr Raburu's order and threatened him with dire consequences if any of them were shot.
Said a defiant Mr Njuguna, who was flanked by a handful of his supporters carrying placards: "We will not go down like chickens. We have been accused of being thieves and murderers without any evidence adduced. We are now mobilising our members to fight back because we don't believe in turning another cheek when provoked."
Mr Njuguna claimed that the sect had lost 50 members so far, but did not elaborate on whether they were arrested by the police or attacked by the public.
He demanded that Mr Raburu should tell him under what law he issued his September 1 edict that police should "act ruthlessly" against criminals, whom he claimed were hiding within the illegal sect to commit murders and robberies.
He told Mr Raburu the Police Act was clear that any suspect must be arrested and charged in court.
The open-air protest was held outside a hall made of corrugated iron sheet in the middle of the sprawling slum, opposite Mathare Mental Hospital. It attracted a large crowd of Mungiki members and residents of Mlango Kubwa, who watched and listened keenly.
But the meeting was cut short by police gunfire as Mr Njuguna was saying: "We are going to mobilise all the Mungikis to fight back because of this suppression. We will not turn the other cheek, if they use violence and guns on us we will also use the same on them."
Chaos reigned as the Mungiki spokesman and his supporters jumped over a barbed wire fence surrounding the compound and ran for safety.
The police, led by the Pangani deputy police boss, Insp. Stephen Lelei, had earlier laid an ambush around the venue and moved in 10 minutes later as Mr Njuguna was reading his statement.
They later confiscated placards saying "Mungiki Most High, Enemies of the Wicked,", a copy of the Nation and a copy of a novel titled James Madison: Statesman and President, by an American author, Regina Kelly.
Mr Njuguna had earlier denied claims by some politicians, whom he did not name, that Mungiki was the military wing of the Democratic Party of Kenya, one of the affiliates of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), led by President Kibaki.
Mr Njuguna accused Environment minister Kalonzo Musyoka and other politicians of seeking to eliminate the outlawed organisation because they feared that it would frustrate their political ambitions.
Operations at the Nairobi Law Courts came to an abrupt halt yesterday after an estimated 300 suspected Mungiki sect members fought with prison warders along court corridors.
Business was put off for about 20 minutes as the dignified court corridors became alleys where rowdy youths fought the warders.
There was a stampede when the officers were forced to cock their guns to repulse the rowdy group.
Some armed themselves with stones and dared the officers to move closer while others jumped over the fence and scampered to "safety", with the officers in hot pursuit.
The dramatic scenes, not seen at the Nairobi Law Courts in a long time, drew curious on-lookers. The mid-morning incident prompted court orderlies to vet those getting into the court as a security ring was thrown around the seat of justice.
A few metres away, the blind goddess of justice kept watch as the onslaught against justice was taken right into its turf.
According to court orderlies, the youths wanted to force their way into the Prisons basement cells at the High Court.
Thirty-four people have been charged with being members of the outlawed sect. Among them is Mr John Maina Njenga, said to be the Mungiki chairman.
Yesterday, the suspects were before Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule to take fresh hearing dates. He directed the case to be heard from November 1 to 5.
A clandestine training camp for the outlawed Mungiki sect has been smashed by police in a remote village in Nyandarua District.
Three initiates of the militant sect were arrested at the training base at Charagita's Olaimutia scheme in Ol-Jororok Division while scores of others eluded the police dragnet under the cover of darkness.
The 32-acre farm where the "college" is situated, belongs to the father of one of the self-confessed national leaders of Mungiki.
During the midnight raid at the camp, police recovered certificates written in Arabic, which were yet to be issued to the initiates, several pass-port size photographs, snuff, clubs and exercise books.
Other items recovered included literature authored by one Dr Maina Njenga and machetes.
Residents told reporters that the Mungiki followers held an oathing ceremony on Tuesday night in which they vowed to maintain secrecy over their clandestine movement.
Emuhaya MP Kenneth Marende yesterday questioned the Government's commitment to fighting the outlawed Mungiki sect.
Marende also challenged Internal security minister Chris Murungaru to resign for allegedly misleading Kenyans that the sect had been crushed.
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The legislator accused the Government of supporting the activities of the sect yet it had promised to crack down on the terror gang.
" We recently saw Mungiki officials on television and newspapers. Why were they not arrested when minister Murungaru had vowed to crack down on them," he asked.
The MP who was speaking in Kakamega added that Mungiki posed a major security threat because of its involvement in murders, robberies and forcible circumcision of women.
Marende said Murungaru should tell Kenyans if Mungiki had now been officially registered and whether there were "plans to compensate families of those killed or maimed by the sect members".
The Mungiki sect has been holding meetings in Nakuru since May, the Sunday Standard has learnt.
The first meeting towards the end of May was held Ndundori Gwa Kiongo, an outback trading centre on the boarder of Nakuru and Nyandarua districts in the chilly night and a cleansing ceremony conducted in a river.
But police sources say they were unable to catch up with the sect members because they mingled with the public after they realised they were being followed.
"We discovered a pattern after our informers told us that sect members were leaving their homes for a journey, one by one," said the source.
He added that before the force could recruit more informers to follow the sect members and their direction, the trail went cold, and they re-appeared after two days.
In the other instant, a driver with one of the branded public service vehicles that ply the busy Nakuru/Nairobi route said he was hired in early June by people who asked to be taken to Kitengela and back.
"When we arrived at an isolated farm I was shocked to find that it was a meeting of the sect members from all over the country, who were building a huge house," he said.
The man said the Mungiki followers had a busy day, laying the foundation of a house, putting up a fence and holding prayers and a feast before dispersing at dusk.
Both sources said the sect members engaged in oathing and other macabre acts, vowed to stand by each other at times of need and swore to eliminate deserters.
Fearful residents of Nakuru said the sect leader uses several aliases, including Kainuria and Meja, while one of his real names is Gichia.
He lives in Engachura village, and controls the group by relaying information through trusted allies who move swiftly from one location to another.
His deputy is called Mitimingi - his home area- and operates from Kimiruri home in Bahati. His real name is Njenga.
Police sources said the two have been sighted in Nairobi riding in the same car with one of the outspoken Narc MPs from Nakuru district.
The same politician, said the source, is being closely watched by security forces for utterances in public meetings to the effect that the youth should not allow the "government to be grabbed."
The sect raises money from well-wishers in Nairobi, Nakuru, Meru, Nyeri, Murang'a, while the battle for control of the lucrative public transport routes is still going on.
Public service drivers and conductors say the sect members only moved from the parks in the town centres and set bases in estates.
In Nakuru, they still collect their Sh10 levy at the end of the Mwariki, Rhonda, Pangani, Langalanga and Racetrack estate routes.
Most of the sect members do menial jobs like hawking and invade the main terminus after 8 pm when touts close down and demand a fee from vehicles that operate late.
According to transport operators in the town, the Mungiki demand "protection fees" for late night vehicles, a trend police have been unable to stop.
The emerging Mungiki, say sources, are under Chief Managers in designated locations, who receive information on potential cash sources, and organise extortion rings.
Once thought and said to have died out, the outlawed sect members have now resorted to underground tactics as it goes about reviving its spirit.
The violent Mungiki sect is about to acquire an FM transmitter to set up a clandestine radio station with the help of a UK-based illegal arms dealer.
Investigations by the Sunday Standard reveal that all that the sect now needs is a delivery address and installation instructions to hit the airwaves.
The gadget is to be dismantled and its components packed in electronic equipment that will separately be checked out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, on arrival.
Also on offer for the Mungiki is a range of high-powered weapons that include the deadly Israeli-made Uzi sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, silencers, and pistols. The sect is already reportedly in possession of a magazine profiling the weapons, complete with pictures of the replicas.
Payments for the transmitter, along with any other hardware the Mungiki might purchase shall be deposited in the bank account of the UK agent who is believed to be a sympathiser of the sect. The dealer is originally from Jerusalem Estate in Nairobi's Eastlands area. He is believed to have been part of the gangs based in the Gachie area on the outskirts of Nairobi before he relocated to Britain
Money isn't likely to be a problem as the Mungiki, who in recent times have been regrouping, are also allegedly being bankrolled by a clique of pro-establishment politicians, in addition to their known violent fund-raising activities.
Details of the UK agent's bank account are sent to the mobile phone number of a local Mungiki contact person by using short text message service (sms) - ostensibly to avoid detection. The transactions are based on complete trust.
Mungiki's resurgence against the background of a highly volatile political situation that has polarised the ruling National Rainbow Coalition into two viciously opposed camps is raising concern in political circles ahead of an impending pro-constitution rally next weekend.
The spontaneous re-emergence of the outlawed sect, whose members have been engaging politicians in banter, has put the government on the spot. Fears are widespread that armed adherents of the thuggish cult could be unleashed on demonstrators to intimidate pro-democracy lobbyists - and score a political point.
To announce their return, the Mungiki have recently gone into an orgy of murders that have borne all the hallmarks of revenge killings. The bloody executions, which include beheading deserters of the cult, are calculated to send a chilling message - once you're in you can't get out!
Using a code recently leaked to us by a suspected Mungiki adherent privy to the goings-on -but who, apparently repulsed by the sect's violent ways, may have already quit at the time - the Sunday Standard successfully made contact, last Thursday, with the UK-based arms dealer. To make contact, we needed a code and the dealers' UK registered mobile phone number.
The response to the initial short text message (sms) sent in Kikuyu was swift and startling. It promptly confirmed the underworld status and a cold, calculated and rather disconcerting willingness to arm dangerous outlaws operating in Kenya for a fee.
Excerpts of sms messages between the UK arms dealer and the Sunday Standard:
Nii ndi wa mbutu ya Gachie ni tuhothete mbeca cia kuigana. Turenda redio transmita twatumwo n "Roger" (This is the initial message we sent in Kikuyu using the code word "Roger").
23-Jun-04 03:38 pm
Code verified! Trust based upon business no problem. I have three types of transmitters to offer based on FM or AM modulation for short distance broadcast continued (The arms dealer's response. Interestingly, the dealer chose to text back in English even though the message was in Kikuyu)
Nitunyuite muma ndukamake. Urendia mbeca cigana? Tutume mbeca atia? Ugutuma nyamu atia, no tuerethere kunitumira. (We've been sworn to secrecy, so don't worry. How much are you selling it for? How do we send the money? How will you send the gadget?).
This is the second message we sent after having made contact. His trail went cold until the next day after another text message below, our first attempt at communicating with the dealer in English. The grammatical errors are deliberate. Whether or not this fooled the dealer into believing we were illiterate rural folk is not quite clear. But the message elicited a response)
This is "Tinkerman" wa Gachie. We send u sms yesterday u tell what's good and price, money is not problem! Trust us OK!
24-Jun-04 01:38 pm
Please send me ur e-mail and then we can go from there plus your delivery address in Nairobi, more info end of text message.
The suspected former Mungiki adherent who gave us the inside story of the sect's link to the UK arms dealer and the movement's plans to install a clandestine radio station said:
"If you have money and want to buy a gun or a silencer just text him on his mobile phone and say you are being referred to him by "Roger". He will send you a small magazine of replica guns and whichever you pick [ on] he will send you concealed in electronic goods. Then he will text you his bank details to deposit the cash."
The source gave us the arms dealer's UK mobile phone number and real names, which we withhold for legal reasons. According to the source, the Mungiki radio deal was to be finalised over a fortnight ago. To set up the station, all the Mungiki will need is the transmitter, an antenna and signal feeding equipment.
Telecommunications experts say that it is easy to import a radio transmitter and set up a clandestine radio station.
"You can acquire a transmitter simply by placing an order and supplying the manufacturer with frequency specifications," said an official with the Communications Commission of Kenya
"With that, you can easily set up a clandestine radio station, but it won't take long before we find [ you] out. In the case of the Mungiki what it means is that they (Mungiki) will use a frequency not assigned [ to] them officially. If you like, they will have to hack into someone else's frequency, which is illegal "
The only problem, according to the source, would be enforcement of the law: "Taking them off the air could pose serious difficulties."
Clandestine radio stations are often associated with designs to force political change in a country. While such stations usually sound like any other "legitimate" broadcasters, they are extralegal and deceptive in operations. They often lie about their location, sponsoring organisation, and intentions. They may also be difficult to track down because mobile broadcasting units can evade tracking devices.
Clandestine stations are often used by rebel movements or guerrillas who use propaganda to induce political change or incite revolution.
Meanwhile, intelligence sources say members of the sect have started regrouping in Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyandarua. They are reportedly holding night meetings in forests and it is believed that a Mungiki shrine has been set up deep in the Abardares, after they abandoned the original one at Thiira Village in Gituamba location of Laikipia.
Sources say the original shrine that was situated on a parcel of land belonging to a Joseph Kamunya Njenga is now considered desecrated after a police raid in March.
In Nakuru, a secret recruitment drive has been going on in the villages in Engashura, Bahati, Ndundori, Wanyororo, Mwariki and surrounding areas, police sources say.
Although the sect's renewed activities are now a matter of public knowledge, they are still reluctant to engage in open prayer sessions and meetings, preferring to maintain secret communication channels.
While their organised structures were destroyed by a crackdown soon after Narc came to power, those left behind have continued with their activities, which have heightened recently. The remnants of the sect members have assumed a siege mentality; they are ruthless to deserters.
That the sect is well and alive came out openly when a deserter, Patrick Wanyeki Thimbara, was beheaded and his body left to rot in his house in the week ending June 11 in Bahati.
Thimbara, a potato vendor from Bahati Forest who lived at Mutukanio Village, had a week earlier shaved his dreadlocks as a mark that he was parting ways with the sect.
Later, he would be summoned by two of the area's sect leaders who accompanied him to his house. He was never seen alive again.
Those who summoned him, police sources say, came from Wanyororo B Farm, one of the areas where the sect has deep roots and an organised structure.
Police sources in Nakuru said the body of the youthful man, whose father is a cook at the Jomo Kenyatta High School, was found decomposing in the house, which had been locked from inside.
"Investigators believe the murders chopped off his head, covered the body with bedsheets and blankets and left it on the table before fleeing through the window," said the source.
The body was recovered after a foul stench directed neighbours to the house. Police broke into the house to find the grisly sight.
Although they do not meet openly in Nakuru as before, members of the sect have now resorted to sign language and night meetings to pursue the revival of Mungiki.
Nakuru police chief Titus Yoma said they were investigating a possible Mungiki connection to the killing.
He said a number of people interrogated by detectives have confirmed that the deceased was an active member of the outlawed sect. However, Yoma said they had not arrested anyone in connection with the brutal killing of the youth.
Mungiki Movement (Kenya) Updates 2004
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