Felix Gitari Mbiuki

Mr Felix Gitari Mbiuki, a Tharaka-Nithi politician who was found dead in a vehicle in Embu on July 18, 2023.

| Alex Njeru | Nation Media Group

Murder or suicide? Mystery of Tharaka-Nithi politician Felix Gitari found dead in car

Was it murder or suicide? This is the question keeping investigators and relatives of Felix Gitari, a Tharaka-Nithi politician, awake two weeks after he was found dead inside his car.

Gitari was a former Machakos County Assembly clerk, a long-serving civil servant and an accomplished businessman.

His body was found in the driver’s seat inside his vehicle that was parked on Mati Road in Kanganga village in Embu County on July 18.

He was found bleeding profusely from a bullet wound on the right ear and left eye and with a pistol containing eight rounds of ammunition next to his chest.

No bullet was recovered from the car and there was no exit hole on the vehicle which had its windows rolled up suggesting that he could have been shot outside the vehicle, according to detectives.

The front bumper guard of the vehicle was slightly damaged and there were some stains of blood on the outside of the vehicle.

Mbeere North Sub-County Police commander, Mr Eric Yego who confirmed the incident said the residents saw the vehicle on Tuesday morning and when they peeped through the window, they saw the man lying dead.

“The man from the neighbouring Tharaka-Nithi County was found dead in his car and we have launched investigations to establish what exactly happened," said Mr Yego.

But who could have wanted Gitari dead and for what reason? Alternatively, what could have pushed such a man who was physically full of life to take his own life?

Felix Gitari Mbiuki

Some of the family members of the late Tharaka-Nithi politician Felix Gitari Mbiuki at the Chuka court on August 1, 2023.

Photo credit: Alex Njeru | Nation Media Group

Even after losing the 2022 Tharaka Nithi gubernatorial contest, Gitari continued with his businesses and supporting the needy through his Gitari Mbiuki Foundation which has educated many needy students.

The 60-year-old man did not show any sign of depression according to family members and his close friends.

Emotional family members led by Mrs Beatrice Gitari said they were shocked by his death.

The family also wondered why Gitari had left the Meru-Nairobi highway which leads to his home and followed Mati Road.

Tharaka Nithi politicians led by Maara Member of Parliament Kareke Mbiuki, his Chuka/Igambang’ombe counterpart Patrick Munene and woman representative Susan Ngugi have urged the investigators handling the matter to conduct a thorough job to ensure that the cause of his death is uncovered.

“We have lost a great leader, a businessman and a philanthropist who has educated many needy learners and what we are now asking the government is to do through investigation and tell us what killed our brother,” said Mbiuki during the burial ceremony in Kambandi area on Tuesday.

The burial of Gitari was not without drama after a woman identified as Dorothy Wanjiru sought a court order to stop it arguing that she was the wife of the deceased.

She claimed that they were blessed with two children but they had been excluded from the burial arrangements.

The applicant also asked the court to order that her name and those of her children be included in the eulogy and any other burial documents.

Magistrate Duke Ochora ordered that a DNA test be conducted before the body, which was lying at the Tenri mortuary in Embu County, was released for burial.

Lawyer, Kuria Kiratu representing the applicant also insisted that his client and children be included in the eulogy for future reference but the court said that it was too late because the document had already been printed and that it will be of no importance in future court matters.

However, the court ordered that the applicant together with her two children fully participate in the burial ceremony.

Through her lawyer, Senior Counsel Carol Kamende, the respondent, Beatrice Gitari promised to allow the applicant and her children to fully participate in the burial ceremony.

"This court orders a DNA test conducted on the body of the deceased at the cost of the applicant before the body is released for the burial," said Mr Ochora.

Another woman identified as Rita Gitari had also sought the court to stop the burial claiming that she was also Gitari’s wife but it was dismissed on grounds that it had been overtaken by time.

Before resigning to run for the gubernatorial seat, the deceased who is also an established businessman worked as Machakos County Assembly clerk for two terms.

He also worked in various capacities in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Thika, Siaya, Kiambu, and Chuka municipal councils before devolution.