Two guards guilty of killing man who stole miraa twigs

Miraa thieves

Miraa exchanges hands in Laari town, Meru County. A Meru High court has convicted two miraa guards who clobbered to death a man who stole some twigs from a farm his family had leased out.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

A Meru High court has convicted two miraa guards who clobbered to death a man who stole some twigs from a farm his family had leased out.

Benjamin Kithinji and Bernard Mutura were found guilty of beating to death Joses Kaiyongi Kachumbika at Mulika market, Kiegoi, Igembe South, Meru County.

The two flogged the deceased on August 21, 2015 night and invited a mob that beat him to a pulp with crude weapons, alleging he had stolen miraa.

The beating that was carried out for more than two hours left Kaiyongi with a cracked skull, and he bled to death in the hands of the overzealous guards.

Justice Edward Muriithi ruled that the prosecution led by Brenda Nandwa had placed the two at the scene of the crime, through witnesses who saw them carry out the lynching.

The judge acquitted their employer, Mr Cosmas Kirimi, saying there was no evidence that he participated in the killing, and he was not seen at the scene of the crime.

During the hearing, Ms Rael Ncooro told the court that her husband had earlier leased a portion of the miraa farm to Mr Kirimi so that he could get money to go to hospital.

She testified that on the previous evening at around 8pm, she, together with her daughters Dorothy Kathambi and Beatrice Kagendo, had seen the two men pass by her homestead heading to the farm.

When Ms Ncooro asked them what they were going to do at night, they told her they were going to check on some miraa they had harvested earlier in the day.

Ms Kathambi detailed seeing her brother come home at around 10pm carrying some miraa and a soda.

About an hour later, she claimed that she heard someone knock on Kaiyongi’s door and they left with them in the dark.

His distraught mother recounted how at around 4am, they were woken up by Mr Kirimi and told that Kaiyongi had been beaten to death.

Ms Ncooro stated that when she heard that her son had been killed, she surmised that it was because he had resisted selling a portion of land to Cosmas.

“I couldn’t summon the courage to go and see him in the morning. I later went to see him in the mortuary. His clothes were blood stained and his skull was split. My child was killed because he refused to sell 0.10 acres to the 3rd accused,” she told the court.

Lynching suspects

The judge noted that the death stemmed from the alleged theft of miraa from a farm leased from the family of the deceased, and emphasized the need to stop lynching suspects.

“The offender must be dealt with in accordance with the rule of law, not rule of the jungle. The two accused ought to have followed the due process of the law by reporting the matter to the police.

“If everybody decided to take matters into their own hands every time another person wronged them, there would be no one left in this world,” he ruled.

The two are being detained pending sentencing.


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