Why family has not laid to rest slain Meru blogger ‘Sniper’, yet

Daniel Muthiani

Political activist and blogger Daniel Muthiani, alias 'Sniper'.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Muthiani was abducted on December 2, 2023, tortured and brutally murdered in mysterious circumstances.
  • His body was found in a thicket on the banks of Mutonga River in Tharaka Nithi County on December 16.

The family of slain Meru blogger Daniel Muthiani alias Sniper has maintained they will not bury their kin until they are satisfied justice has been served.
Julius Muthee, his elder brother, said despite the arrest of 10 individuals and their arraignment in court, the family is not satisfied. He claimed that “those who planned and financed the murder” were still free.
“We have decided that our brother will remain in the mortuary until such a time that those who executed the murder are not only arrested and charged but also convicted. The family is prepared to keep the body in the mortuary for as long as it takes for us to get justice,” Muthee said in a phone interview.
“As we speak we are living in fear and have been forced to flee our homes because some people who don’t want to hear us demand justice for our brother are after us. But we will not buy that fear,” he told nation.africa.
Muthiani was abducted on December 2, 2023, tortured and brutally murdered in mysterious circumstances. His body was found in a thicket on the banks of Mutonga River in Tharaka Nithi County on December 16.
A postmortem conducted on December 22 by government pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor revealed that Muthiani was tortured to death.
Among those charged with the murder is Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza’s brother Murangiri Kenneth Guantai, with the suspects awaiting a ruling on the bond application. The blogger’s murder raised political temperatures in Meru County, leading to demonstrations.
Dr Benjamin Kanake, the family doctor who witnessed the postmortem, said they were not in a hurry to lay him to rest until "all those involved are brought to book."

Read: Two charged with murder of Meru blogger 'Sniper'
“People are asking when Sniper will be buried and what we are telling them is that he was buried at Mutonga river where his body was dumped. The killers intended to completely obliterate evidence that he ever existed and the family has come to terms with that,” Dr Kanake said.
“I am taking the family through counselling and they have made it clear that burial is not on their minds. They say that those who planned, executed and financed the torture and brutal killing of their loved one should first be brought to book,” he added.
According to Dr Kanake, the parading of the body in various parts of the county, which a section of leaders had condemned, claiming the matter had been politicised would continue, saying they were doing so as a lesson to the killers.

Read: Sniper murder: Governor Mwangaza's husband and sister record statements
The medic said after witnessing the postmortem, he was moved by the level of torture Muthiani was subjected to, saying “the tears I shed after seeing what Sniper went through in the hands of the killers will not be in vain. If it means quitting medical practice to pursue justice for Sniper, I am ready…”
“Meru has undergone intense political heat over the years pitting leaders who became rivals to a point of exchanging blows. But at no point did somebody get killed, especially after expressing their views on social media. What we are doing is extraordinary because we want to send a message; no politician should ever dream of killing somebody just because of expressing a divergent view.”
Meru senator Kathuri Murungi has also waded into the matter and wants the Senate to state the progress of the probe into the murder.
In a letter addressed to the Senate National Security Committee chaired by Baringo Senator William Cheptumo, Mr Murungi has demanded a status report on the investigation, stating preliminary findings or insights that may have emerged.
“The statement should also clarify reasons behind the significant delay in concluding investigations and absence of public updates in its progress, given the widespread concern and the urgency with which the family of the deceased seeks closure,” the Senate Deputy Speaker says in his letter dated March 13.

Read: Meru political activist ‘Sniper’ was tortured before being killed: post-mortem
Mr Murungi has also asked the committee to outline specific measures the government intends to put into place with the view to address escalating incidents of harassment, intimidation and violence against journalists and political bloggers in the country.
Two weeks ago, Peris Mugera, a political commentator and blogger based in Tharaka Nithi County who went missing on February 29, was murdered in mysterious circumstances. Her body was found on the roadside along Makutano-Sagana Highway on March 4.
According to police reports, the body was found with bruises on the forehead. So far, no suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder, even as the family calls for justice.
Mr Murungi also demanded that Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki should be summoned to the Senate to respond to questions concerning the killings.
[email protected]