The family of former Kilome MP Tony Ndilinge still believes he was assassinated 10 years ago.
Mr Ndilinge was shot twice in the head as he parked his car outside a bar in Nairobi’s Githurai estate on August 1, 2001. Opposition MPs at the time termed it a politically motivated murder as Mr Ndilinge had been a vocal critic of the Moi government.
But the MP had begun to mend fences with Mr Moi, and even campaigned for Kanu the weekend before he was killed.
“Political murders are never solved in Kenya, and they will never be solved. It has never happened,” says the late MP’s second wife Serah.
Mr Ndilinge’s burial site at his parents’ farm in Kiou location, Nzauwi district is a desolate, deserted place. When Mr Ivita Ndilinge received the news of his son’ s death, he suffered a severe stroke and died three days after he was buried. The former MP’s mother died five years later.
Speaking at her home in Maiani location where she lives with her three daughters, Serah said it pains the family that the killer is roaming the streets a free man even though he killed their sole breadwinner.
“The time has come for our security personnel to rise to the occasion and help unravel mysteries surrounding political murders in the country. It hurts us a lot to have a loved one killed just like that, and 10 years later it is still business as usual. Where is our police force? Where is the intelligence? They are trained to help ordinary Kenyans fight criminals,” she said.
A senior detective at CID headquarters in Nairobi, who asked not to be named as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the unit, said nothing came of investigations into the MP’s death. Two people suspected to have had a hand in his death were acquitted for lack of evidence.
“We have had no new suspects to charge with the crime; however, his file is still open,” the officer said.
“Politics puzzles me. My late husband had many friends who would pass by every now and then to say jambo when he was alive. During his burial, (the then) President Moi said that the surviving family members be taken to see him for consolation. It never happened. His close friends in Ukambani forgot about him soon after his burial,” Serah said.
But the widow is grateful to Parliament for giving the family Sh10 million from the late MP’s insurance cover and an additional Sh3 million donated by MPs.
“With help from the State Law Office, the money was shared between the MP’s four widows – Esther, myself, Elizabeth and Amina – and then a portion was set aside to educate some of the late MP’s 13 children who were either in primary or secondary school then,” she said.
“As a way of appreciating my late husband’s contribution to the politics of the day we had hoped that the government would help his children to secure jobs.”
Serah said the family has not been able to hold annual commemorative anniversaries for the MP.
“We did it only twice over the last 10 years in 2002 and 2003. After that, it became difficult as we are scattered across the region, but we talk and console each other in times of need.”
The MP’s former personal assistant Kenneth Wambua – now a famed musician going by the stage name Ken wa Maria – says the former Kilome MP appeared disturbed upon his return to Nairobi after attending by-election campaigns in Taveta that Kanu lost to the opposition Democratic Party.
“We had pitched camp in Taveta for several days. I went to all the places with Ndilinge seeking votes. He was confident of a Kanu win but kept complaining of having as many enemies as friends in his pursuits,” Mr Wambua said.
The party lost, and the two returned by road to Nairobi.
“Two days later as we sat down to reflect on what had transpired over a drink, Ndilinge answered several calls. He was the Kanu pointman in the campaigns, and some of his enemies were accusing him of letting the party down. We parted ways and agreed to meet the following day. It was the last time I saw my boss. The following morning, the news was bad. He was dead.”