Mbo-i-Kamiti deaths revisited
Posted Sunday, May 27 2012 at 16:59
- Murder has become a by-word for Mbo-I-Kamiti as rival directors, when not conniving to eliminate accountants and lawyers who refuse to play ball, bump each other off.
- Now a former a director says a fresh ritualistic vow not to loot the company’s assets has put the theft and bloodletting to rest, hopefully
The Godfather, a blockbuster movie about the Mafia settling scores, cannot be bloodier than the history of the Mbo-i-Kamiti land-buying company.
Since its inception, six directors have been killed in cold blood, not to mention other officials like accountants and lawyers. Now elders think the venture was cursed right from the beginning.
Founded in 1971, Mbo-i-Kamiti Farmers’ Company in Kiambu, was worth over Sh4 billion in the 1980s and 1990s before greed set in.
The company was set up to settle farmhands who had worked on white settler farms and widows of Mau Mau freedom fighters. Each member contributed Sh500.
But money, power, and greed hit the company. Directors looted the company’s assets, dashing the hopes of its more than 8,000 shareholders.
Then there followed the killing of directors in circumstances said to be linked to leadership rivalries, competition for control of assets, and efforts to cover up fraud.
The gangland-style murder of former company chairman, Stephen Waweru Njenga, last November was the latest in a list of former Mbo-i-Kamiti directors.
On the morning of November 17, 2011, Njenga was shot in broad daylight along the Kwamaiko-Kiambu road as he travelled from his Githunguri home to Nairobi.
A small car blocked his vehicle at about 9am, then a man walked over to his window and shot him three times. Nothing was taken from him.
His wife, Jennifer Ng’endo, said the murder did not come as a surprise because he had received death threats in connection with Mbo-i-Kamiti.
Njenga was among a group of people who had filed a case at the High Court in Nairobi to block the sale of the firm’s property. This did not go down well with a rival group.
Ironically, Njenga was a suspect in the killing of a former treasurer, James Ngamau Machua, who was gunned down as he waited to board a matatu near one of Mbo-i-Kamiti’s properties on January 5 last year.
Police say the murders are not ordinary crime. “They are well planned by rival groups,” Samuel Mukindia, the Kiambu police boss said.
In February, lawyer Rose Waruingi was shot dead at her home in Kilimani, Nairobi. Police linked her killing to Mbo-i-Kamiti after it emerged that she was involved in a Sh20 million legal dispute with some people at the company.
At least six other former directors have been killed and shareholders routinely injured when rival groups clash. In 2000, Mbugua Karanja was attacked by panga-wielding people on his way home.
A year later in 2001, a man and a woman were killed, then had nails driven into their heads in their Kahawa Sukari and Juja homes respectively.
The two murders, police said, were Mbo-i-Kamiti-related. In 1996, accountant Moses Kamau was attacked and beaten to death.
A former employee who requested anonymity said Kamau and the financial manager had evidence about the theft of company funds and were to be witnesses in a court case.