Kibaki guard who was dismissed from GSU after Machakos accident

David Wambugu

David Wambugu who guarded Mwai Kibaki between January1996 and December 3, 2002 when Kibaki was involved in a near-fatal accident.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

For Mr David Wambugu, viewing the body of former President Mwai Kibaki is an emotional affair that he is not sure how to handle.

Mr Wambugu, a former GSU officer, had been assigned the role of guarding Kibaki in 1996, when the latter was Othaya MP.

Mr Wambugu played that role until 2002, when they suffered an accident that almost claimed their lives at the Machakos turn-off on Mombasa Road.

"I recall it was on a Tuesday and it was drizzling. We were in a Range Rover, registration number KAH 016G, when we were obstructed by two people. The car hit them accidentally. There was no foul play, as some people may think," he recalled.

David Wambugu sits behind Kibaki at a function in Embu in 1999.

Photo credit: File

He said the car veered off the road and hit an electricity pole. The impact led the car into a ditch.

"Mzee said, 'Woi, Wambugu nitwakua (Oh, Wambugu, we are dead)...my instincts told me to hold him and I did but then fell unconscious," he said.

He regained consciousness around midnight. He was lying in bed at the Nairobi Hospital.

Recognised me

"I never thought we would survive it and so when I woke up and realised I was in hospital, I asked where the President was and was wheeled to his bed. His wife, then First Lady Lucy Kibaki, was seated by his side. He recognised me," he recalled at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday.

David Wambugu

David Wambugu pays his last respects to the late President on April 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

He said he had gone to pay his last respects to a man he served and loved not for the benefits he enjoyed while guarding him both in the country and on his overseas trips, but in honour of who he was to him, his family and the country.

"I recall when I was called to serve as his bodyguard at the age of about 25. Mzee had insisted on being served by a man from his home county, setting off the process of handpicking a junior officer from the unit," he recalls.

At the time, Wambugu had served in the unit for several years, having been recruited at the age of 19.

He described Mzee Kibaki as a humble and generous leader who would assist particularly those who were unable to complete their studies for lack of school fees.

Today, Mr Wambugu walks with a limp as he later suffered more complications from the accident.

Before his retirement age

The effects, however, saw him dismissed from the service before his retirement age.

Mwai Kibaki

The then president-elect, Mwai Kibaki, holds a Bible as he sworn in as Kenya's third president at Nairobi's Uhuru Park on December 30, 2002. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

"I was forced to retire at the age of 30 due to my condition. Since then I have been hustling for survival," he said.

He said his file at the National Police Service shows he has a pending bill of around Sh200,000 at Nairobi Hospital, whose clearance by the state the former President had ordered.

At the age of 51, Wambugu would still be an officer with the GSU had his duties not been terminated.

He has a pending case at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi, I which he is seeking compensation for wrongful dismissal.

But in a past interview, former police spokesperson Eric Kiraithe defended the force against Mr Wambugu’s accusations and maintained that he retired voluntarily.

“The retirement was voluntary. There are many cases of people who retire before time and then realise that what they were going for does not materialise. Anyone who retires and then realises they have made a mistake cannot be reinstated. That’s in the Force Standing Orders, whether someone changes their mind after five or twenty minutes. It cannot be revoked. There are many cases of that nature. But if the gentleman has information that we don’t know, he should pass it on to us,” Mr Kiraithe said.

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