Since President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua were sworn in on September 13, Ms Jane Gatwiri has gone on her knees a thousand times and talked to God, hoping her prayers will be answered.
During campaigns, the two politicians spoke about forced disappearances, blamed on security agencies, and pledged to address the matter if elected. It is this pledge that keeps Ms Gatwiri’s spirit alive that one day, her son Mwenda Mbijiwe will return home.
The security consultant went missing on June 12, 2021. The following day, a car he had hired for three weeks for business was discovered in a coffee plantation near Tatu City, Kiambu County.
Fifteen months later, Ms Gatwiri still clings to hope that her son will come back home alive. Lately, the mother of four says she can see flickers of light at the end of the tunnel.
Dozens of people have disappeared in recent years, their bodies later found dumped in rivers or thickets. Although this news drives chills up her spine, Ms Gatwiri remains optimistic her son is still alive.
I know Mwenda is well
“In all my imaginations and based on information I have gathered from people my son used to interact with, some of whom work in the intelligence service, I know Mwenda is well,” she told the Nation in Meru on Wednesday.
During a campaign rally near her home in Sirimon, Buuri sub-county in July, she said, Mr Gikunda Kimathi, a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate, inquired about her son. Among those who addressed the rally was Mr Gachagua.
“I know President Ruto and his deputy Gachagua are aware I am suffering. I rarely sleep and when I do I wake up in nightmares, trembling,” she said.
“I appeal to them to bring back my son because I know he is alive. If he were dead, his body could have been discovered a long time ago.”
Mr Kimathi said that when he made inquiries, Mr Gachagua was non-committal. “I spoke out because many of our brothers and sisters have disappeared without a trace. But he did not specifically respond on Mr Mbijiwe’s issue,” he said.
When she marked the first year of her son’s disappearance on June 12, Ms Gatwiri called on Uhuru Kenyatta to help find her son, saying the former President had personally interacted with Mr Mbijiwe.
“I campaigned for Uhuru in 2013 and 2017 and he also knows me. There is no office I have not visited, but when I go to the State House seeking an audience with him they chase us away, saying we need to first undergo Covid-19 tests,” she said at the time.
Earlier this year, her other son, Mr Nicholas Bundi, walked from Meru to DCI George Kinoti’s office to press for investigations to be speeded up. Empty promises were made.
“When Bundi realised that this matter was taking a toll on my health, he walked all the way to Nairobi, but nothing came out of the desperate move. But I know God is with Mwenda wherever he is…”