There are strong suspicions that rogue political leaders in Central Kenya are behind the reemergence of outlawed mungiki sect in Gatundu in Kiambu county in their bid to discredit Uhuru Kenyatta’s leadership.
Recently, the illegal sect hit with a vengeance with its members raiding Uhuru’s backyard of Gatundu, forcing Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i to rush to the area to assure locals of their security.
Pundits say mungiki has now rebranded into different gangs with different names, including Quails in Kiambu, Siafu and Gaza in Nairobi, and Kwekwe in Murang’a.
According to a report titled ‘The Impact of Organised Gangs on Social Cohesion in Kenya’, released in Nairobi recently, almost all organised gangs in Kenya – 90pc – are mobilised, financed and deployed by politicians.
“Politicians support gangs by providing training, facilitating meetings, funding and facilitating transport. They pay them and also purchase weapons for them,” the report says.
The reemergence of mungiki in Central comes days after leaders rooting for William Ruto 2022 presidential ambition claimed the region has been marginalised as a result of the peace deal between the head of state and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Central voted to man for Uhuru in the 2013 and 2017 elections.
Central leaders allied to the deputy president have been complaining that no tangible development project has been implemented in the region since the handshake, which has been praised for cooling political temperatures in the country following the hotly-contested 2017 general election.
They say no key projects have been launched in the region after the handshake and hence depict Uhuru as a failure.
However, this campaign has subsided after the head of state directed principal secretaries from the region to identify projects for commissioning.
The reemergence of the sect also comes a few months after a major split in the cabinet following reports that the president had ordered police to probe claims of a plot to assassinate his deputy.
The order came after the deputy president told the President he had been informed that some cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and parastatal bosses from Mt Kenya region had met to plot his political downfall and assassination.
Following the claims, the president is said to have ordered the DP’s security scaled up.
The president also summoned a meeting at State House which was attended by Matiang’i, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and National Intelligence Service Director General Philip Kameru.
According to highly placed sources, the president informed the meeting that the DP had told him that some CSs, PSs and parastatal bosses from Mt Kenya had met at Hotel La Mada along Thika Road to plot against him.
He then ordered that all those mentioned as part of the La Mada Hotel meeting be summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to assist in investigations.
More than 10 government officials presented themselves before the DCI but refused to be questioned until the deputy president had recorded a statement to back his complaint.
CSs Peter Munya (Trade), Joseph Mucheru (ICT), and Sicily Kariuki (Health), at least six PSs, and heads of parastatals confirmed that they were summoned following a letter circulating on social media detailing a ‘suspicious’ meeting at Hotel La Mada.
But the investigations took an interesting turn after one of Ruto’s aide, Dennis Itumbi was arraigned in court in connection with the fake letter claiming there was a plot to assassinate the deputy president.
Itumbi was accused of posting the letter in a WhatsApp group of the Tangatanga team allied to the DP.
Preliminary investigations on the letter, which purported that four cabinet secretaries had met to plan about assassinating the DP, found that not only was it false, but was also written by people close to the DP.
Itumbi, an ally of Ruto, works at the DP’s office, but is the State House digital director under the communications department.
And now the mungiki sect members are back killing, raping women, defiling young girls, levying taxes on traders, and extorting and stealing with wanton abandon.
Mungiki is a Gikuyu word that is derived from the word muingi, which mean masses.
Educationally, the majority of its members are Standard Eight and Form Four school-leavers, most of them low-income earners in the jua-kali sector. Initially, the aim of mungiki was to sensitise people against then president Daniel arap Moi’s government which they accused of starting and fuelling the ethnic clashes in Rift Valley.
The sect started administering oaths to its members during the time of the tribal clashes in the hope that they would become united in fighting back their attackers.
Among the victims of the gang in Gatundu is George Kahuga, who met his death when he was brutally murdered by a gang that locals now claim symbolises the return of the dreaded mungiki gang, which has previously been accused of murder, extortion and taking illegal levies.
Irked by the shocking crimes, Uhuru dispatched Matiang’i and Mutyambai to Gatundu to clamp down on the thugs.
Last month, the same gang that is said to be armed with guns and crude weapons attacked another victim identified as George Kibe and injured his son.
Another victim identified as Joseph Kagua is nursing gun injuries after he was shot in the back by the thugs.
The gang victims are mainly in Uhuru’s home village of Ichaweri, Mutomo, Kimunyu and Ng’enda villages in Gatundu, the hometurf of Uhuru.
The only senior government official to have succeeded in weeding out the gang was former Internal Security minister late John Michuki