Andrew Njiru Mwangi.

The late Andrew Njiru Mwangi. He was allegedly beaten by villagers during the Friday, August 25, night nationwide blackout. His body was later found dumped in Sagana River.

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How 12-year wait for job ended in tragic case of mistaken identity for teacher posted in Murang'a

When the whole country was immersed into darkness owing to grid collapse on August 27,  35-year-old teacher Andrew Njiru had his life cut short after neighbours allegedly beat him up after mistaking him for a thief.

Born and raised in Embu County, Mr Njiru was recently posted to a Murang'a County village school, and which saw him rent a house near his new workstation.

"My son had undergone a stressful phase of life by remaining unemployed for 12 years. Just about the time his God had come through for him by blessing him with a job, he is here, dead... I am desolate," his father William Mwangi told the Nation.

Mr Njiru was to start teaching at Rutune Primary School in Kiharu constituency on September 1.

"To show my son support in his important moment of starting his career, I accompanied him to the school on August 25, helped him shop for a rental house and bought for him some household items that cost me Sh50,000," said the father.

Mr Mwangi added that his son was in high spirits and had promised him to work hard, diligently and also pursue higher education with an intention of maximizing his chances of ascending in seniority and salary

"He had promised to become a role model of responsible and progressive professional and invest in real estate and transport industries," he said.

Mr Mwangi said he called his son on Saturday night "after I developed some strong instinctive concerns about him".

But, he adds, the phone did not get through, hence him postponing the call to the following morning.

"At around 7.30am I called him again and the phone did not get through. I had his landlady's mobile number and I called her. She told me she had not seen my son return the previous night... hinting that she heard he encountered an incident," he said.

Alarmed, Mr Mwangi travelled to the place and started enquiring about the possible whereabouts of his son.

"It is in the process of those inquiries that I landed very disturbing news about my son. His would-be neighbours confided to us that they witnessed someone being beaten at night,” said Mr Mwangi, the suspicion being that that was Mr Njiru receiving the beating. 

When the Nation visited the place on Friday, September 1, we were also told of how Mr Njiru returned home at around 10pm and in the darkness that had engulfed the country, he missed his compound.

"We were woken up by a man screaming in distress. We ventured out... we were about 10 and we heard the commotion to be in a neighbour's compound. We could only hear voices saying the man was new in the village, could not identify himself and was a thief," said Mr James Kamau, who lives nearby.

Mr Kamau said that "we joined the group and the victim was by now lying down, appearing lifeless".

He says that the two brothers at the centre of the beating appeared apprehensive for the turn of events "as we retreated back to our houses but not after we had advised the two to ensure they either took their victim to the hospital or to a police station".

Neighbours claimed that there was a motor vehicle that was driven to the scene at around midnight.

The following morning, Mr Njiru was not in his house and was not at the place where he was last seen being beaten up.

"We went to the nearby police stations and hospitals and he was not there. We reported him missing at Murang'a police station and also put up an appeal on the social media for help to trace him," his father told the Nation.

But on Wednesday, villagers who had gone to fetch water at River Sagana near Gicagi village saw a floating body trapped by rocks and in turn informed the police.

Mr Mwangi said he could not believe it when he was called by the landlady to be informed that his son's body had been retrieved from the river.

"It is painful. I don't know whether I will ever heal or forgive this village... An employment blessing has turned out to be a curse. A family tragedy. This life and its turns and twists... May God visit my soul and give it fortitude to bear," Mr Mwangi mourned.

Muranga East police boss Mary Kasyoki said the matter is Pending Under Investigations (PUI) and the body is at the County Mortuary awaiting post mortem.

"We will factor in all those narratives being advanced. There are those who are saying Andrew Njiru was seen taking alcohol in a nearby bar, that he was experiencing mental instabilities, and that he was attacked... all those angles will be explored," she said.

She said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is on the case with a mission to establish what exactly happened leading to his demise.

"It is our commitment that we will provide answers. We are also for justice in this case. We will ensure all parties get answers about circumstances in this death," she said.