Aisha Jumwa murder trial postponed again after she 'falls sick'

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Geoffrey Otieno Okuto

The then Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa (right) and her co-accused Geoffrey Otieno Okuto in Mombasa Court over the shooting of Jola Ngumbao in 2019. It will be the first time Mr Okuto will be facing witnesses alone after the charge against his co-accused, Ms Jumwa, was quashed.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The murder trial of outspoken Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa in the killing of an ODM supporter in 2019 has been postponed again after she failed to appear in court.

The hearing of the case was planned for four consecutive days this week but it could not start as the legislator was reportedly taken ill.

Through her advocate Danstan Omari, the legislator said she was unwell and could not travel to Mombasa to attend the trial.

“Ms Jumwa has been taken ill. She has been advised by her doctors to take bed rest for five days,” Mr Omari told Mombasa High Court Judge Anne Ong’injo.

Mr Omari said his client was ready for the trial but sought an adjournment to allow her to recover.

But prosecutors opposed the request, describing the claims of sickness as an excuse to derail the trial.

They asked for a warrant of arrest to be issued against Ms Jumwa for failing to appear in court.

The judge asked for signed and stamped documentation to prove that the legislator was indeed sick and was recuperating.

When the documents were provided, the judge adjourned the trial but said a comprehensive medical report should be produced in court next month.

“The case to proceed on February 1,” the judge said. This case has been adjourned several times. It was first slated for hearing in February 2021.

In July last year, the court adjourned the case twice after Ms Jumwa withdrew all four advocates who had been representing her and co-accused Mr Geoffrey Otieno Okuto, leaving the latter with no legal representation.

The court gave Mr Okuto ample time to appoint a new lawyer. Lawyers Jared Magolo, Cliff Ombeta, Mr Omari, and Shadrack Wamboi previously represented the two.

Denied the offence

But following the withdrawal, the four are now representing Ms Jumwa.

And when the matter came for hearing a week later, the trial yet again failed to proceed because Mr Okuto had not instructed his advocate.

When he finally appointed one, the case was adjourned again to enable the lawyer to familiarise herself with the case and to be supplied with documentary evidence and witness statements that the state intends to rely on in the case.

Mr Okuto was also required to look for a new surety after it emerged that there were plans to discharge a surety who had seen him enjoy his freedom since they were granted bond in 2020.

Ms Jumwa and Mr Okuto have been charged with the killing of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporter Jola Ngumbao on October 15, 2019 during campaigns for the Ganda ward by-election. They have denied the offence.

The court heard that Ngumbao, who was an uncle of Ganda MCA Reuben Katana, was shot dead when Ms Jumwa, Mr Okuto and their supporters allegedly stormed Mr Katana’s home and caused chaos.

Prosecutors have lined up 32 witnesses.