The shocking murders that gave Kiambu a bad name in 2022

From left: Sudhir Shah, George Mwangi, Moses Nyachae, Fred Obare, Elijah Omeka and Frank Obegi.

Had George Mwangi, the slain husband of Gladys Chania –the Kiambu politician who is accused of killing her husband aided by a farmhand-- been alive, he would have flown out of Nairobi this week to Kigali, Rwanda where he had been running his mainstay Double M International for decades.

Unfortunately, at his matrimonial home in Mang’u, Gatundu South, his imposing mansion that sits in the sleepy village of Kiambu is a pale shadow of its former self.

There is a new farmhand taking care of the five-bedroom house that stands a few metres from his grave.

“By now, my brother would be planning to come home for the Christmas celebration. He would be jetting in on December 23 and flying back to Kigali after spending two weeks. He was a very generous person. I don’t know how I could describe him. A kind and a very loving person,” Jane Mwangi, his sister told Daily Nation last month.

The macabre killing of Mr Mwangi shocked the country and had all the hallmarks of pain.

The widow of Mr Mwangi, who went missing on October 12, failed to raise an alarm and proceeded to grace a television station as a marriage counsellor on healthy relationships.

Later, when the body of her husband was found dumped in Kieni forest, Gatundu North, she told the media that her husband had walked down the stairs of their house never to return.

Matrimonial home

Later, detectives from the Homicide unit from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters visited the matrimonial home of the deceased and finds suspicious evidence including bloodstained clothes, bedsheets and walls, touching off speculation that the deceased was killed inside the house and his body ferried to the dumping site.

Ms Chania, who is the prime suspect in the murder, later penned an emotional letter during the burial of the deceased on October 29 describing him as loving and caring as she reminisced about the good days they shared.

Farmhand arrested

Gladys Chania and Morris Mbugua when they appeared before a Kiambu court on October 17, 2022. They are the suspects in the murder of Rwanda based businessman George Mwangi.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media group

“It has been twenty-four years since the day we settled together on a Sunday 25th April 1998. We have grown from two to five. I thank God for the way your care and concern surrounded our family day in and day out,” Ms Chania said in her condolence message read on her behalf by a relative.

“Just like any other family, we had our high and low moments but each day we held our love for each other by reminding ourselves the far we have come,” she noted in her detailed tribute.

“Now that you have left us untimely, we shall try to fill in your shoes but it’s already difficult to fill them…rest in peace my love, the father to my children,” she added.

Released her

Ms Chania never made it to the burial of her husband even after a lower court at Kiambu Law Courts released her together with a co-accused in the murder, Maurice Mbugua, on a cash bail of Sh1 million and a surety of a similar amount. She however failed to raise the amount.

The case would later be taken over by a Kiambu high court under Justice Kasango.

Ms Chania is currently detained at Lang’ata Women's Prison while Mr Mbugua is detained at Kamiti Maximum Prison.

The case will come up for a hearing on February 9 2023.

For starters, Kiambu is a rich county that borders Nairobi,  with murder cases being driven by fights over property, deals gone sour and infidelity among other motives. In the vast Kiambu, contracted killings are the order of the day.

What at first looks like murder from general crime later turns out to be related to succession battles or infidelity.

It is a county that has earned the dubious title of the new murder capital of Kenya.

In March last year, Sudhir Shah, a Thika-based businessman was in the company of a group of investors who wanted to buy 150 acres part of 300 acres in the Ndarugo area.

The property is registered under Ndarugo Plantation 1960 Limited and is based in Juja, Kiambu near Thika Superhighway.

The value of the land is estimated to be worth over  Sh4 billion given the latest index by Hass Consult, a property ranking firm where a commercial acre of land touching the Thika superhighway can fetch as much as Sh150 million.

Mr Shah was in the company of the said investors as well as Francis Michuki, son of the former powerful Internal Security minister the late John Michuki and his bodyguard when a lone gunman with a pillion passenger pulled up and shot him at close range.

Hit a dead end

Nothing was stolen from him and the investigations seem to have hit a dead end.

The deceased’s brother was killed in a similar manner a few years ago when his car was sprayed with bullets at Blue Post. Again, nothing was stolen from him.

No arrests have been made in both cases and the family is still seeking justice. So bad is the situation that Mr Sudhir's widow Taru Shah fled the country fearing for her life.

And in June 2022, four friends were found murdered and their bodies dumped in Kijabe Kiambu and Magadi respectively.

They are Frank Obegi, Mr Moses Nyachae, Fred Obare and Elijah Omeka. Police would later reveal that their preliminary investigations had revealed that the four were crypto scammers.

The four were seemingly tortured before they were murdered and the investigations seem to have collapsed with no update from investigators.

This is just a small fraction of the killings that have happened within Kiambu in the past year, a county where murder stories make headlines with no headway on arrests of the killers.

The families of the deceased are still looking for answers on who killed their sons.