Mysterious death of ICT official stuns Homa Bay estate

ICT David Mutai

David Mutai Kiprop. died in unclear circumstances and his body was found on Wednesday morning.

Photo credit: Pool

"He lived a secret life."

This is how neighbours and colleagues of David Mutai Kiprop, an ICT officer at the Ministry of Information in Homa Bay, describe him.

Mutai died in unclear circumstances and his body was found on Wednesday, July 12, morning at Koginga Beach, Lake Victoria, on the outskirts of Homa Bay town.

At his rented house in Shauri Yako Estate, he only said one-word greetings such as "Niaje (what’s up)?”

He did not ask questions, so most people who knew him did not speak to him when they met him except to greet him.

Homa Bay sub-county Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer Monica Bergen-Belsen said investigators were awaiting a post-mortem report.

"We cannot conclusively state the cause of death. We have to conduct investigations before we can say what killed him," she said.

The DCI officer said preliminary investigations indicated that the man had been murdered elsewhere before the body was dumped at Koginga beach.

The body was found in shallow water by people who had gone to the lake to wash their cars.

Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital CEO Peter Ogolla told the Nation that the family of the deceased had informed the hospital that they would witness the post-mortem.

"We will know what killed him after the autopsy," he said.

At his residence, only a neighbour knew that the ICT officer was dead.

"I got the information when I went to the market. I was told that a body had been dumped on the beach and when I enquired, I found out it was him," said Ms Millicent Boyi, a neighbour.

The others had no idea that the man had died. They had not checked on him, even after not seeing him for more than 48 hours.

Homa Bay town residents stand at a scene at Koginga beach where Mutai's body was found.

Homa Bay town residents stand at a scene at Koginga beach where Mutai's body was found.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

One of his neighbours said Mutai would just say hello to anyone he found in the compound before going into his house and locking himself in, sometimes for hours.

"We called him Dave. I knew nothing else about him except that he was an IT officer," said a neighbour.

Most of the tenants in the building are single men, Nation.Africa understands.

But a neighbour said Mutai had once lived with a woman.

"The woman left at the end of last year. I don't know why she left," said the neighbour.

When the two were together, the woman did most of the housework, the neighbour added.

He also had male friends who could not be immediately identified.

According to the neighbour, the friends would only visit late in the evening and speak in Kalenjin.

But they did not stay long.

"They accompanied him home, probably from a bar. No one knew what they were saying because they spoke in a different language," the neighbour said.

At work, he was known as Kip (short for Kiprop). His main job was to provide ICT technical support to government offices. Mr George Tukiko, the county ICT officer, said the deceased was responsible for ensuring that computers used in government offices were connected to the internet.

"He provided ICT technical support in offices connected to the internet," he said.

Mutai would also repair and maintain digital literacy materials. Headteachers from different primary schools would come to him with broken laptops or tablets, which he would fix.

His colleagues last saw him on Thursday last week, when he was repairing some electronic equipment. The next time they heard of him was Wednesday, when they were told he had died.

Mr Tukiko said not much was known about Mutai’s life.

Just like at home, in the office too, he only spoke when spoken to. "We only had an office relationship," he said.

Investigators have begun gathering evidence to help them determine how Mutai died.

Part of the investigation involves taking statements from people who interacted with the Mutai. DCI officers are also considering interviewing a woman who is said to have been with him before he died.