George Muchai's killer shot without provocation, witness says

Tuesday January 19 2016

The late Kabete MP George Muchai, who was shot dead on Kenyatta Avenue on February 7, 2015.

The late Kabete MP George Muchai, who was shot dead on Kenyatta Avenue on February 7, 2015. FILE PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VINCENT AGOYA
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The gunman who killed Kabete MP George Muchai opened fire without provocation, an eyewitness told a trial court in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Mr Ronald Nyangeres Siang’o, a vendor, said he was handing over newspapers to Mr Muchai on the fateful morning of February 7, 2015 when a lone gunman stepped out of a white car, which had stopped in front of “mheshimiwa’s vehicle and just started shooting”.

“He first shot at the driver, whom I had given the newspapers and who had turned to hand them to mheshimiwa (MP), who was in the backseat ... I heard about eight gunshots,” the witness said.

The witness was testifying in a case in which six suspects are charged with robbing and killing the MP, alongside his aides, in a gangland-style shooting in Nairobi’s central business district.

“I knew mheshimiwa well as I had sold him newspapers for over seven years,” Mr Siang'o said.

He said when the late MP’s car pulled over on Kenyatta Avenue, his driver beckoned him to bring the newspapers.

He said Mr Muchai was killed before he paid for the four copies of newspapers he had handed to the driver.

“The white car appeared shortly after the one carrying the MP pulled over and stopped directly in front of it as if to block it," the witness said.

He said a masked tall man stepped out of the co-drivers side and was armed with a gun.

The witness was on Tuesday shown a G3 rifle, which he said looked like the killer weapon he saw on the fateful day.

“He shot without provocation, he stepped out and started shooting, first at the driver, I fell to the ground and left my bunch of newspapers on the ground,” the witness said.

DID NOT RETURN FOR TWO WEEKS

He said he ran towards Parliament to save his life and did not return to the spot for two weeks.

“I was hurt when I fell on the ground and when I went to hospital at daybreak, I heard that Mr Muchai had been killed alongside his three bodyguards,” the witness said.

The seven suspects in the case, among them two women, are detained at the Langata Prison, where they are also awaiting a trial for four murders.

They were reportedly arrested after two guns, one believed to have been used in the actual shooting and another snatched from one of Mr Muchai’s bodyguards, were found in their possession.

An affidavit police presented in court in earlier proceedings indicated they were believed to be “hardcore criminals who were on a robbery spree around the city before they bumped into and killed Mr Muchai and his aides.”

Seven suspects are in police custody, including a man who last week was “being investigated for murder”.

Mr Eric Muyera Isabwa, alias Chairman, Mr Raphael Kimani Gachii, alias Kim, Mr Mustafa Anyonyi, a former convict, Mr Stephen Lipapo, aka Chokore, also a former jailbird, Mr Simon Wambugu Gichamba, Ms Jane Wanjiku Kamau, alias Chiro, and Ms Margeret Njeri Wachori have denied participating in the robbery in which the MP was killed.

The MP was accosted at around 3am in the city centre as he was being driven home from a family gathering at Galileo’s restaurant in Westlands, Nairobi.

It is the exacting precision with which the killer eliminated his target(s) and the brazenness with which he shot at the four armed men under the glare of surveillance cameras that baffled investigators.

“When the gunman shot the first volley of bullets, I was standing next to the driver,” the witness said.

The hearing continues.