Aisha Jumwa reveals Ruto order to cabinet nominees

Aisha Jumwa

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa. A corruption case against the CS was formally withdrawn on Monday and an amended charge sheet, without her name, presented in court to the remaining six accused persons.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Public Service Cabinet Secretary nominee Aisha Jumwa has unwittingly revealed the order President William Ruto has issued to all his nominees after their approval by the National Assembly.

While appearing in court for the hearing of her murder case, Ms Jumwa did so virtually, raising questions from the judge.

Mr Danstan Omari, who appeared for the former Malindi legislator, told the court that his client could not appear in person because all Cabinet Secretary nominees had been ordered to remain near State House in Nairobi.

 “There is a possibility that those nominated to the Cabinet Secretary positions may be sworn in today (Wednesday), so they must be near State House so that the exercise can be conducted,” he said.

Not physically in court

The lawyer informed the court about the order after the judge wondered why Ms Jumwa was not physically in court.

“Ms Jumwa is not in court and I don’t remember excusing her from attending court today,” the judge remarked.

Justice Ong’injo, however, said she was satisfied with Mr Omari’s explanation but warned that the advocate should in future not wait until the court inquires about a suspect’s whereabouts.

“The matter will be mentioned on November 30. The suspect must attend the court physically on that date. Their advocates can attend virtually,” the judge said.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly approved President Ruto’s 24 Cabinet Secretary nominees, paving way for their appointment to the top Executive offices in charge of developing and implementing policy and government programmes.

Meanwhile, the murder case against Ms Jumwa has been pushed to next month.

The postponement came after Ms Jumwa failed to update the court on the progress of ongoing negotiations to settle the matter out of court.

Ms Jumwa is charged, alongside her aide Geoffrey Otieno Okuto, with the murder of Jola Ngumbao, an ODM supporter, in Kilifi on October 15, 2019.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Wednesday told High Court judge Anne Ong’injo in Mombasa that they were yet to receive key information they had requested from Ms Jumwa’s advocates.

“We have reached out to Ms Jumwa’s advocate to seek particular information. We ask that this matter be fixed for further mention so that those particulars are supplied to us,” State Counsel Vivian Kambaga said.

The prosecution further told the court that Ms Jumwa’s advocate Jared Magolo was bereaved immediately after he appeared in court last week.

Ms Jumwa was also ordered to deposit with the court her passport after returning from a conference in Egypt scheduled for early next month. The passport was released to her in August.

The court released the passport after being informed that the former legislator would be travelling to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt for the upcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP27), scheduled for November 6 to 18.

According to court documents, Ngumbao was killed in 2019 during Ganda ward by-election in Malindi.

Ms Jumwa and Mr Okuto have denied killing the ODM supporter who was also an uncle of Reuben Katana.

Mr Katana won the Ganda ward seat in the 2019  by-election.

Caused chaos

Ngumbao died at Malindi hospital after allegedly being shot in the shoulder when Jumwa and her supporters stormed and caused chaos at Mr Katana’s homestead.

Last week, Ms Jumwa informed the court that she had engaged the DPP to review the charges as she was negotiating with the family of the deceased to have the matter settled out of court.

Through her advocate, Ms Jumwa said she had approached the DPP to make her a state witness.

She added that the testimonies of witnesses who have appeared before the court should trigger withdrawal of the case against her.

According to Ms Jumwa, the family of the late Ngumbao feels she was not the principal offender in the matter as she was not armed and fire the shot that killed man.

Appearing before the parliamentary vetting committee last week, Ms Jumwa pleaded with the committee to give her a chance to serve under the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The case will be mentioned on November 30.