The trial of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa over the murder of an ODM supporter started yesterday, with the first witness placing the lawmaker at the murder scene.
Mr Alfred Kahindi, who was then the party agent, reconstructed the scene when Ms Jumwa, her two bodyguards and a crowd stormed the home of Mr Reuben Katana, resulting in violence.
The witness said the incident happened around 4pm when he and other ODM officials were in a meeting to strategise on how the votes for the Ganda ward by-election would be guarded. The meeting was attended by agents of Mr Katana, who was the ODM candidate.
“A police Landcruiser approached the homestead, the party officials left the meeting and briefly talked to the officers, who then left,” he told Mombasa High Court Judge Anne Ong’injo.
Less than 20 minutes later, he said, another police vehicle arrived at the homestead and after a short while, two vehicles followed. Ms Jumwa and two bodyguards alighted from the two vehicles. A large crowd then teamed up with Ms Jumwa and walked to where the meeting was taking place.
“I heard Ms Jumwa castigating the police for failing to do the work that she had sent them to do. She then promised to do it herself,” the witness said. At that point, he said, Ms Jumwa’s supporters started throwing stones.
The court also heard that the MP ordered her supporters to burn Mr Katana’s houses.
The court heard that the people in Mr Katana’s homestead started fighting Ms Jumwa’s supporters.
Mr Kahindi said the police fired in the air and lobbed teargas canisters at the two groups, but the violence continued.
“I fell to the ground when I heard the first two gunshots. The gunshots continued as the warring groups scampered for safety,” he said.
The witness, who was being led in his examination-in-chief by senior state counsel Vivian Kambaga said he realised Jola Ngumbao had been shot after the police dispersed the rowdy youth that had the home.
“I saw Ngumbao bleeding profusely from his shoulder at the back. He was lying facing down. There was a bullet hole in his right chest,” he said.
He then raised the alarm and a vehicle belonging to Mr William Mtengo rushed the victim to the hospital. “I later learned that Ngumbao died. He was my neighbour,” he said.
The witness also said he returned to the crime scene the following day and found one spent cartridge where Ngumbao had fallen. He said he handed the evidence to Mr Mtengo, who promised to pass it on to the police.
Upon cross-examination by the defence led by Jared Magolo and Danstan Omari, Mr Kahindi confirmed that it was Ms Jumwa and her aide, Mr Geoffrey Otieno Okuto, who stormed the homestead.
“I saw Jumwa, Okuto and another person. I don’t know whether they were armed because I did not see them with guns,” he said.
“Ngumbao died as a result of the chaos that erupted when the suspects and their supporters stormed our meeting. Though I did not see them shooting anyone,” he said when Mr Omari asked him whether he had seen Ms Jumwa or Okuto open fire at the deceased.
When asked whether he knew Mr Okuto, the witness responded that he was the one who accompanied Ms Jumwa on that day although he did not know him by name.
“He was with her (Jumwa) and another person on that day,” he said while pointing at Mr Okuto in the dock.
He also gave a description of the clothes that Okuto wore that day. The witness said the rowdy youth numbered more than 200.
The witness also confirmed that he heard Ms Jumwa admonish the police for failing to do some work, and that she was there to do it herself.
According to the witness, the two have been charged with murder because of their storming into the meeting.
Mr Kahidi said he did not know whether the suspects had plotted to kill Ngumbao before storming the homestead.
The two have been charged with the murder of Ngumbao during campaigns for the Ganda Ward by-election in 2019.
Ms Jumwa and Mr Okuto have denied committing the offence on October 15, 2019.
The late Ngumbao was the uncle of Mr Katana, who won the by-election to become the Ganda ward rep.
Hearing continues today (Tuesday).