Kung'u Muigai to Maina Njenga: Don't revive this Mungiki we formed together

Kung’u Muigai,

Kikuyu Council of Elders patron Kung’u Muigai, who is President Kenyatta’s first cousin. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The recent statement by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua that there are politicians in Mount Kenya who are resurrecting the criminal Mungiki gang has elicited unique reactions, with Kenya Cultural Centre Council board chairman Kung'u Muigai confessing that he was a founding member.

"Not only that, when the crackdown on the Mungiki gang started in the Central region, we provided hideouts for their leader, Maina Njenga, and his followers in our vast lands and also recruited lawyers to defend them," Mr Muigai said in a live interview with Muoroto FM on Wednesday.

He said that "when this sect was formed, I was in the midst of their teachings... The founders who were Mr Njenga and Ndura Waruinge came to the council of elders and explained their vision of Mungiki and we agreed with them". 

Mr Muigai, who is the cousin of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, added that he was depressed to see the gang being reactivated even after it had gone through a full cycle of reformation from a good cause to a criminal gang.

Speaking at the African Inland Pentecostal Churches of Africa (AIPCA) in Thika on Sunday during Archbishop Julius Njoroge's farewell service, Mr Gachagua led more than 50 elected leaders in warning that Mungiki was being reactivated for political purposes.

Mr Muigai said that "at its inception, it was not a criminal gang but a cultural purist organisation that wanted the youth of the Agikuyu community to uphold good values and advocated that they should be non-smokers, teetotalers, well-groomed and morally upright.

The founders were so cultured, he said, "that men and women slept together on retreats and not a single pregnancy was reported because of the sexual discipline they practised".

Mr Muigai, who is also the patron of the Kiama Kia Ma Council of Elders, added: "Call Mr Njenga to deny that I, we... did not help him... It was a good idea and apart from offering them hideouts and lawyers to defend them when the crackdown started, we stood by him and his supporters. 

He now says he has a message for Mr Njenga from the council of elders: "They told me to find Mr Njenga and warn him to stop his new plan on Mungiki... We have washed our hands of him because what he is doing to our children is not right and we will allow the government to crush his members.

Mr Muigai revealed that "it was former President Daniel Moi who introduced criminal elements into the sect when he sent intelligence officers to infiltrate it".

 Mr Muigai said the purpose of the infiltration in the mid-1990s was the Moi government's plan to take over Mungiki and use it as a special purpose vehicle to gain a following in the Mt Kenya region. At the time, the region had allied itself with opposition politics following the advent of multiparty democracy in 1992, and Moi's rule was under imminent threat.

He said that "the government agents sent to Mungiki were the ones who introduced crimes such as extortion in the property and public transport sectors".

When members smelled the money-making schemes introduced by these officers, he added, it became a free-for-all and soon the outfit became the equivalent of a vampire assembly.

He added that the elders were now shocked at what the sect had become and began to distance themselves from the members, withdrawing their support altogether.

"When President Mwai Kibaki came to power in 2002, he later sanctioned a crackdown on the sect in 2006 and the then Internal Security Minister John Michuki came down on them with an iron fist," he said. Mr Muigai said.

Mr Muigai lamented that Mungiki's fist had struck so hard on the sect's soul and skull that thousands of youths had died while others fled their homes to escape the bloody crackdown.

"I identify with Gachagua's sentiments that Mungiki is now regrouping... I saw the youths who accompanied Mr Njenga to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters when he was arrested for allegedly being found in possession of firearms and bhang..." he said.

Mr Muigai said "it was a sad sight to see the youths singing songs of freedom, war and liberation while invoking serious Mau Mau teachings...even when it was clear that they were just little boys whose fathers were nowhere near the freedom war".

Mr Muigai added that "the time has come to say no to Mungiki and the elders will work with government forces to ensure that the gang does not make a comeback in the name of politics, culture or fun".