Where is Daniel Muthiani? Meru blogger missing for 2 weeks after late-night phone call

Daniel Muthiani

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

Photo credit: Pool

On December 2 at around 8.30pm, political activist and blogger Daniel Muthiani, alias 'Sniper', received a phone call from a man he knew, according to his wife, Irene Kawira.

Kawira said the conversation centred on the posts he makes on social media, with the man offering him an olive branch and saying they should work together.

Muthiani agreed to meet the man at a location he did not disclose to his wife and immediately left their home in Kabuitu, Igembe Central. That was the last time he was seen.

Kawira said her husband mentioned the name of the person he was supposed to meet and she did not call him that night "because I wanted to give him time to talk to his colleague". She waited until the next day to contact him.

“But when I tried calling him on Sunday (December 3), his phone was switched off. He did not call [back] or indicate where he was, so we got worried. We reported the matter to the police on Monday (December 4) when he failed to show up,” she said.

His brother, Francis Mutuma, said they were told to report back to the police in Maua, Igembe South, after three days. But seeing no progress, they reported the matter to County Police Commander Cunningham Suiyanka on December 6.

“We believe that Sniper is being held somewhere because he was not abducted. The person who called him has not yet been arrested or questioned and we cannot understand the reason,” he said.

Muthiani was nicknamed “Sniper” during the 2022 General Election campaign because of his stinging social media posts. He continued to post the videos, which are believed to have been the source of conflict with politicians on the opposing side. In some of his videos, he was seen praying for sobriety in politics, as he asked God to “strike” down those who were misleading the people.

“We believe that those in the other camp felt they were being hit hard by him and decided to silence him. We call on the police to expedite investigations so that he is found,” Mutuma added.

The matter became a point of discussion at the Meru County Assembly on Wednesday when the family requested ward representatives to push for investigations, with area MCA Titus Murithi saying the incident had caused distress and anguish to the family.

 Irene Kawira

The late political activist and blogger Daniel Muthiani, alias 'Sniper', and his wife Irene Kawira.

Photo credit: Pool

“I visited the family and I almost shed tears when his two children asked me where their father was. We want the police to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

Ayub Bundi, the assembly speaker, said there was cause for concern as the disappearance came at a time when Meru residents were still worried about the whereabouts of security expert Mwenda Mbijiwe, who went missing on June 2, 2021.

“We want quick action because it is worrying. People cannot be disappearing without trace and we just keep quiet. We demand that the security agencies update us on what is happening to Sniper,” he said.

“We call upon Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome to come out and talk about this matter. Sniper spoke against the ills in society without fear. Let leaders come out and condemn this because today it is him, tomorrow we don’t know who it will be,” he added.

Meru Deputy Governor Isaac Mutuma also expressed solidarity with the family and residents of Igembe Central, urging them to remain calm as police officers carry out investigations.

Athwana Ward MCA Jim Muchui said it was shocking that more than 10 days after Muthiani went missing, there was no clue as to his whereabouts.

“It is shocking that we have not heard anything from investigating officers and we demand that the authorities furnish us with information on what is happening,” he said.

Contacted for a comment, Suiyanka said investigations were underway to establish the whereabouts of the missing blogger.

“The County Criminal Investigations Officer and a team of officers are currently on the ground and once we get information we will update you on the progress,” he said.

Sources said that intelligence officers were following up on leads and had found that signals from a phone number registered using Muthiani’s national identity card number had been traced in Naivasha.

“The probe is closing in on the location of these signals and soon we might get to the bottom of the matter,” said a source.