Presidential Guard marksmen shot dead an intruder inside the State House compound last Sunday as President Uhuru Kenyatta was attending a golf tournament in Muthaiga, the Sunday Nation can reveal.
In an incident that has remained top secret as investigations continue a week later, the unidentified middle-aged man is said to have illegally accessed the highly protected grounds shortly before 5 pm and was at a parking area not far from the main building, when he was spotted by elite General Service Unit officers who guard the grounds.
Multiple sources, but who spoke in confidence, said security officials believe the man had jumped over the fence since it is virtually impossible to access the grounds from any of the several gates without authorisation.
This is the first time anybody has been shot inside the grounds in what would be the third reported case of an intruder to State House since President Kenyatta moved to the premises in 2013.
When he was shot, the man had just passed the new administration building that houses various departments and had reached the public car park when he was confronted by security personnel who shot him. One source told the Nation the intruder was found with a knife but another said he was unarmed.
CLEAN UP AREA
The officers then called in the State House fire brigade to clean up the area. The body was moved to the City Mortuary by the police on the same day and was booked as an “unknown” man shot on Dennis Pritt Road – one of the roads near the President’s official residence. Nobody had claimed the body by Friday.
“The President was briefed about the incident as he left Muthaiga Golf Club,” said one of our sources.
On arrival, the President is said to have left to inspect his nearby private residence that is undergoing major renovations.
Security was heightened but there were no indications of any danger to the President – who was away at the time — or the First Family.
The public car park – near Gates A and D – is located less than 200 metres from the main building which has the office of the President and the living quarters of the First Family and a few metres from a new administration building.
Gate A is used by the President, Deputy President and other VIPs while Gate D is used by State House staff, the public and media when invited to State House. Entry is, however, restricted and nobody is allowed to take photographs outside State House.
Not even Cabinet Secretaries and members of the President’s extended family are spared the rigorous checks at the gates.
For one to gain access, there must be an invitation from officials and details of the individuals posted with GSU officers manning the gate for easy identification. Anyone whose details are not with GSU is often turned away by the no-nonsense officers.
Planes are also prohibited from overflying State House. All State Houses across the country are guarded by members of the “G” company of GSU. The current head of G Company is Mr George Nderitu, one-time bodyguard of former President Mwai Kibaki.
DECLINED TO COMMENT
On Saturday, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu declined to comment on the issue.
“I won’t respond to that,” he told the Nation.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, and Nairobi County Commander Japheth Koome did not respond to our enquiries yesterday despite several calls and text messages to their mobile phones.
The investigations on the incident are, however, said to involve top officers drawn from the presidential security, regular police, and the National Intelligence Service units. The identity of the dead man had not been revealed by the time of gong to press.
A senior government official, who declined to be quoted for this story, said the final report is yet to be circulated to state officials.
“I do not have a full operational report, police would be in a better position to comment on that issue,” he said, adding that only the State House Spokesman could comment on record as the matter was sensitive.
The G Company are different from the equally dreaded Recce squad counterparts who often are spotted in dark suits around the President, Deputy President and former Presidents. Incidents of intruders gaining access to State House are rare but they happen nonetheless.
On March 6, 2016, 29-year-old William Njuguna left Uhuru Park passing by the Central Park and later went to the State House.
JUMPED TWO FENCES
Upon reaching his destination and assessing the environment, he jumped two fences to get into the State House compound and started walking around before being spotted by the GSU officers who detained him and handed him over to the Anti-Terrorism Police.
He said that he pulls a mkokoteni (handcart) in Nairobi and was only “curious” to see how the seat of power looked like. He was charged with trespassing.
“I wanted to see State House with my own eyes, how it looks like, since I only see it in newspapers and TV. I was curious,” he told the court.
A month later, he was set free by the court but barely two days later, on April 7, he was found dead at Uhuru Park. He had a wound to the head inflicted by a blunt object although who did it remains a mystery.
On October 27, 2015, Mr Walter Juma was arrested inside State House grounds by the GSU.
He was booked at Kilimani Police Station. Anti-Terrorism Police Unit interrogated him before he was charged.
He would later tell the court that he had arrived at 10 pm at night and that this was not his first time at the highly protected area. He claimed the President was his friend.
On December 22, 2002, just five days to the General Election that would see President Daniel Moi out of power, a man in what appeared to be religious garb sneaked into the State House building and spent the night just metres away from the President’s office in a major security lapse.
He was found a few minutes before the President reported to work. It was discovered that Mr Onyango Mono eluded the tight security to enter the protected area unnoticed.
Subordinate staff found him sleeping on the carpet at 7 am and alerted guards as anxiety set in.
After interrogation, he said he had been sent by God to President Moi to tell him to hand over power immediately.
Mr Onyango, who had sneaked in through Gate C, was later found to have been mentally unstable but the mystery of how he confidently walked past the security personnel lingers.
Another presidential security breach took place in March 2004 during the State opening of Parliament when Mr Peter Mwai entered the main chambers and sat among top judges and clergy — just a few metres from President Mwai Kibaki.