Religious leaders in Murang'a have announced the start of 30 days of fasting over increased murders targeting women in the county.
Announcing the move on Sunday at the Holy Ghost Tabernacle in Kigumo, the clergy who fall under the Protestants for Social Welfare Action Group chaired by Bishop Samuel Nyutu, said the county is in the “grip of a strong spirit that is influencing gory murders”.
At least 32 churches in the county will participate in the fasting that commenced on September 20.
"It is a spirit that has roamed our county for the past five years. We rarely go for a month before we witness macabre murders in our society," Bishop Nyutu said.
According to Central region police records, in the last five years, the county has recorded 108 murders, 93 of them involving women.
Those targeted are minors, traders, housewives and barmaids.
The leading motives for the murders are recorded to be defilement, rape, cultism, revenge and love triangles.
Bishop Nyutu said the 30 days of fasting will be used to dedicate the society to God for it to be delivered from the murderous spirit.
Bishop David Thagana, the executive director of God Outreach Assembly, said the only way out is for the society to present the challenges to God.
Suspects at large
"We are faced by a situation where the spirit is so strong to a point that it is shielding perpetrators of the murders from the law enforcement agencies. Not many suspects have been arrested," he said.
Rev Patrick Kariuki Kimotho of the Presbyterian Church in Makuyu, said serious prayers are needed in the county to have those in relationships embrace the choice of peace, love and forgiveness.
He said all clergy should come together and organise public crusades to spread the gospel of compassion.
“Let us embrace the sanctity of life and dwell in respecting it. There is no mistake that justifies the punishment of death. That is why there is no justice system that has legalised murder for those convicted of marital malpractice. Even Jesus ruled that the woman who had fornicated and had the mobs baying for her blood be let to live,” he said.
Gruesome murders have been witnessed in Murang’a, with some of the victims being beheaded, skinned, body parts harvested and bodies packed in sacks and dumped into rivers while others have been found cut into pieces.
Politicians from Murang’a have also come out to voice concern over the murders.
All is not well
“It is not okay and we cannot pretend that all is well. We have a serious problem where we are waking up to a form of devilish competition about where the bloodiest murder will be reported. We have run short of God’s glory and we need a serious revisit to respecting the sanctity of life,” Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said.
One of the recent bazar murders is that of Ms Joyce Wanjira who was on August 20 found cut into four pieces and her body dumped near Kagaa Secondary School in Murang’a South.
Dr Kang’ata called on the police to investigate cultism, political support for gangs or substance abuse as the motivation for gender-based violence against women in Murang’a.
“We know that we have politicians who support gangs like Mungiki. In Murang’a we have a gang called Nja Nene that wakes up during political seasons. We also have cults and substance abuse incidents that derange minds. We should see serious crackdowns even against those politicians who are linked to violence as means to achieve their goals,” he said.
No arrests yet
He said there are sub-counties that have reported serious cases of gender violence but there has been no urgency in arresting and prosecuting the culprits.
“We have several cases of such violence that cost the lives of innocent barmaids in Murang’a South and we are yet to see arrests. We have gruesome murders in Kigumo and Kangema where both the youth and the elderly have been found murdered in very satanic versions. We are here to bury a very unfortunate murder victim and indications are that she had been sexually abused,” he said.
Senator Kang’ata was speaking in Kariguini during the burial of Joyce Wanjira, a murder victim.
Murang’a South Police Commander Alexander Shikondi said that it is the policy of the government that all cases of violence be investigated.
“What we have in place is a dedicated team of police managers pushing the juniors to act decisively on radical elements out to endanger life and property. But on the other hand, we have a society that is very economical with information to help us neuter these violent mind-sets before they claim lives.
“It is only after a murder or a grievous assault has been meted on a victim that we hear and see witnesses confess on social media and in street banters,” he said.
He said most of the fatalities being recorded start showing predictable patterns long before actual attack happens and that is when the society can cooperate with the police to address the challenge.
His Kandara counterpart Catherine Ringera, in whose jurisdiction Ms Wanjira was buried, termed the prevailing environment as “fluid for gender peace”.
She lamented that her area has in the past one month reported two serious cases of gender-based violence where, besides Ms Wanjira’s murder, a 65-year-old woman was two weeks ago reported to have allegedly behead her 99-year-old husband in Ndururumo village.
“That is not the way to live and we are a shame to ourselves as a society. While we as security managers will do all we have to do to enforce [the law] so as to minimize these cases, I personally urge the society to evaluate itself and strive hard to embrace peace that is bred of reconciliation and tolerance,” she said.