Chuka town braces for protest over killing of boda boda rider

Traders closed their shops on Tuesday morning in Chuka town.

Photo credit: Alex Njeru | Nation Media Group

Tension is running high in Chuka town, Tharaka Nithi County as locals brace for protests against the killing of a boda boda rider. 

The protesters want a police officer based at the Runyenje Police Station investigated overt the shooting death of  Willis Mugambi, a boda boda rider.

Many shops were closed on Tuesday morning while Chuka Police Station and the Chuka Law Courts were heavily guarded by anti-riot officers.

Police officers who have been mobilsed from neighbouring Embu and Meru counties are guarding government offices while others are patrolling the town streets.

The boda boda operators led by Chuka/Igambang'ombe Member of Parliament Patrick Munene and his Maara counterpart Kareke Mbiuki had given police up to today morning to arrest and arraign the alleged officer in court failure to which they will 'take action'.

They are also demanding cancellation of an anticipatory bail given to five people accused of killing Daniel Mutembei from Nkwego village in Chuka Igambang'ombe Constituency three weeks ago.

It is the killing of Mutembei which sparked the demonstrations which led to death of Mugambi as police battled demonstrators.

All Tharaka-Nithi County elected leaders led by Governor Muthomi Njuki are reportedly to lead the protests.

On Saturday, demonstrators blocked the Meru-Nairobi highway paralysing transport until Sunday morning when police managed to unblock the road.

Tharaka Nithi County Police Commander Donatha Chali told the Nation.Africa on Monday evening that Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), Internal Affairs Unit and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers had launched investigations into the deaths of the two people.

She said she had not received a report that the deceased bodaboda leader had received a death threat and urged anyone with any information which can help in the investigations to volunteer it to the investigating team.

“The investigating teams launched enquiry yesterday and several people have recorded statements and I urge anyone with information which can help to volunteer it,” said Ms Chali.

She noted that those fearing to give information are assured of protection by the Witness Protection Unit.

The county police boss urged the boda boda operators, relatives of the deceased persons and members of the public to remain calm and allow investigations to be concluded.

“We are all interested and determined to know the truth and serve justice to the aggrieved,” she said.

On Saturday evening, Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki also announced that he had sent high-level investigative teams to Chuka town to take over the enquiry of the two deaths.

“High-level investigative teams have been dispatched to Chuka town to take over enquiry and recommend action,” Prof Kindiki’s statement read in in part.