A portrait of Magistrate Monica Kivuti at Makadara Law Courts Nairobi on June 18 during a memorial service.WILFRED NYANGARESI
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Kivuti’s last words to her spouse: ‘How is my daughter Elianna?’

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A portrait of Magistrate Monica Kivuti at Makadara Law Courts Nairobi on June 18 during a memorial service.WILFRED NYANGARESI
Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi| Nation

Makadara Principal Magistrate Monica Kivuti was worried about her 18-month-old daughter, Elianna Wanjiru, as she fought for her life at the emergency room shortly after a police officer shot her in the middle of a court session on Thursday, June 13, the widower Mutima Kang’ata has revealed.

She succumbed to the injuries the following day. In a moving tribute in the form of a letter addressed to his departed wife, lawyer Kang’ata also revealed advanced plans to set up a country home on a parcel of land which the family had acquired recently at Mamba Village on the Yatta Plateau in Machakos County in honour of the wife.

“Do you remember when I arrived at the emergency room at the Metropolitan Hospital in Buruburu? You were in excruciating pain but when you saw me you calmed down, looked at me and asked me: ‘How is Elianna?’ I responded that Elianna was well and that I had left her sleeping. It is then that you closed your eyes and you did not talk again. Looking back now, I realise that your biggest concern at that point was little Elianna’s welfare. And now that you have left, I want to assure you that with God’s help, I’ll bring up Elianna the best way I know how. You therefore need not worry about her,” Mr Kang’ata said during the funeral at Mamba Village in Machakos County on Saturday, June 22.

In addition to Baby Elianna, Ms Kivuti is also survived by two other daughters, Josephine Wanjiru and Michelle Menyi. Mr Kang’ata explained that he was on track to fulfill Ms Kivuti’s dream of settling down the family on the land they had acquired four months ago.

“I have decided to fulfil your dream of settling you down on the said land, albeit posthumously. Materially, it does not matter what friends, relatives, and the general public will make of it. What now matters to me is by doing so I would have honoured your dreams and wishes about that piece of land. In that regard, once the dust has settled I will immediately proceed to set up the house of your dreams as we had intended,” Mr Kang’ata said in the letter to his departed wife. 

Ms Kivuti was eulogised as a professional powerhouse, a work horse and a mentor.

Ms Kivuti’s elder sister Lucy Bitok said. “Even if she came here and was given a chance to choose between integrity and life, she would choose her God and integrity rather than life. She taught me that integrity is the most expensive thing you can purchase in this country. You may purchase it with your life and blood. We will fight on. Her favourite colour was red, the colour of courage.” 

Mourners took turns to condemn the shooting of Ms Kivuti by police officer Samson Kipchirchir Kipruto. The attacker was shot dead.

Although the President of the Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Musinga maintained that the Judiciary would not be cowed in the wake of attacks on judges and magistrates, a visibly shaken Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu made a passionate call on Kenyans to stop killing judicial officers. 

“All of us who work in the Judiciary are mortal. We know that we are going to die. I asked on Tuesday and I’ll ask again: Will you people stop killing us? Just stop killing us,” she said.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said that Ms Kivuti’s death would have been prevented if she was not working from a tent. 

The former vice president linked Ms Kivuti’s death to the runaway police brutality which he has plagued the country. 

He sought to create the impression that President William Ruto’s administration had exposed judges and magistrates to danger by delaying judicial reforms. But Ms Mwilu was of a different opinion.

“It does not matter that Monica was discharging her constitutional mandate from a tent. Her life should not have been taken away. Of course we ought to dispense justice from a secure place than a tent. But the issue here is that one of us, a judge, was killed as she did what she swore to do. Stop killing us. Every single judge and magistrate is in danger from senseless people who do not know what the rule of law means. And so I ask do not kill us. We haven’t come to kill you. There have been far too many attempts at our lives. Please stop killing us. If you think you can kill all of us those places will be filled by fellow Kenyans. Will you still come and kill them all?” Ms Mwilu posed. She said the police should have spared their colleague who had shot at Ms Kivuti “so that he would be tried. Who was he protecting? Why was the life of that person greater than Monica’s?” Ms Mwilu posed amid sobs.