What you need to know:
- The alleged abductors also grabbed Mr Itumbi’s phone even as he shouted and protested before speeding off.
- The alleged kidnapping happened two kilometres from Thindigua Police Post and police immediately sent out a signal.
Deputy President William Ruto’s Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi was reported missing on Thursday evening after he was allegedly kidnapped in Thindigua area on Kiambu Road.
He was found hours later, with associates indicating he had been beaten, and was receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Images shared on social media Thursday evening show a roughed up Itumbi lying in bed as doctors attend to his injuries.
But what, exactly, happened to the blogger and self-declared ‘Hustler Nation’ spokesman?
According to witnesses, he was leaving a barber shop when he was intercepted by three men in plain clothes.
The trio, who did not identify themselves, roughed up the blogger and bundled him into the back seat of a silver Toyota Allion, registration number KBL 455S.
The alleged abductors also grabbed Mr Itumbi’s phone even as he shouted and protested before the vehicle was driven towards Nairobi.
When the Nation visited the scene, the blogger’s car, a Mercedes Benz, was still parked in the parking lot next to Joe's Apartment on Kiambu Road.
An official of Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party, who told police he witnessed the drama, reported the matter to Thindigua Police Post under OB number 0B10/23/12/2021.
Kiambu Officer Commanding Station Stephen Wainanina told the Nation that the alleged kidnapping was reported by UDA Director of Communications Wanjohi Githae and Mr Benjamin Imende.
“The alleged kidnapping was reported at Thindigua Police Post under OB 10/22/12/2021 but it was taken up by Kiambu Police Station... We requested Mr Imende and Mr Githae to provide us with the mobile number of Mr Itumbi so that we could track it but they refused,’’ he said.
“So as far as I know, we don’t have Mr Itumbi in any of our police stations.”
According to a police report seen by the Nation, the alleged kidnapping happened two kilometres from Thindigua Police Post and police immediately sent out a signal.
“Keep a sharp look-out for the same (the car) and if sighted detain the motor vehicle and the occupants and inform this end for collection,’’ the police report reads in part.
Mr Itumbi, who has been attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration since Dr Ruto was sidelined, was active on his social media on Thursday morning.
After the report of his arrest made rounds on social media, his phone was kept busy as messages to his WhatsApp account remained unread.
His lawyer Moses Chelanga, who visited and searched Parklands Police Station in Nairobi in the hope of finding his client, termed the disappearance as part of enforced disappearances perpetuated by the State.
He alleged that the government had a hand in Mr Itumbi’s abduction given his recent attacks on senior government officials.
“This is not the first time Dennis is being arrested by the government. We believe that his disappearance is enforced by the State. We want to ask the government to trace whoever is holding Dennis and if they have him, they should tell us where he is,” said Mr Chelanga.
He claimed witnesses said there was a police car near the spot where Mr Itumbi was abducted in Thindigua.
Mr Itumbi’s brother, David Itumbi, said they last met on Wednesday night where Dennis complained of a headache.
Claims of foul play
He said he only learned of his brother’s abduction on social media. He added that they made a missing person report at Thindigua Police Station before they were told to check on him at Parklands Police Station.
“He had begun taking medication as he was in pain. We are suspecting foul play and we urge the government to produce him or allow us the family to give him his medication. We are distressed,” he said.
The blogger, who has courted controversy of late, on August 13 claimed that his car was shot at while driving in Garden Estate, Nairobi.
According to a report he made at Kasarani Police Station, his car was blocked by an unidentified vehicle and he became suspicious. He hit the vehicle before speeding away.
He told police that as he was trying to get an escape route, he heard gunshots being fired towards his car.
However, detectives who visited the scene said they did not find any spent cartridge — suggesting there was no shooting.
The incident happened days after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i accused Mr Itumbi of defaming him on Twitter and threatened legal action.
Last year, Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Douglas Ogoti dismissed an application by former State House digital director to be allowed to prosecute Dr Matiang'I over the Ruaraka land scandal.
In 2019, the blogger was arrested at City Hall, Nairobi, over links to a letter that alleged an assassination plot against Dr Ruto.
Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku put Mr Itumbi and his co-accused Samuel Gateri on their defence in the criminal charge.
He is facing three counts, including making false documents, publishing false documents and reprogramming a phone for lack of evidence.
On Thursday, Dr Ruto’s camp alleged foul play in the disappearance as they demanded the release of the blogger.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, a close ally of the DP, accused State agencies of facilitating the abduction of Mr Itumbi because of his stance against the government terming it “pure politics to intimidate Dennis”.
He alleged that Mr Itumbi’s disappearance is a continuation of clampdown against individuals supporting Dr Ruto.
“We believe there is an orchestrated move to intimidate people who have political affiliation to the Hustler Nation and DP Ruto. The issue of punishing people who support Ruto must come to an end. Everyone has the right to support whoever they want,” said the Senator.
“You know very well that Dennis has been exposing the monkey business that senior government officials have been doing. This is a political vendetta. We shall comb every police station to ensure that he is produced,” he added.
Report by Amina Wako, Collins Omulo and Simon Ciuri