Police release photos of Malindi poll stripping suspects

Monday March 21 2016

Ms Martha Kahonzi. A video clip showing Ms Kahonzi’s ordeal, which she said left her devastated, went viral in the social media. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Martha Kahonzi. A video clip showing Ms Kahonzi’s ordeal, which she said left her devastated, went viral in the social media. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES LWANGA

Police on Sunday released portraits of people they believe were behind the stripping of a woman during the March 7 by-elections in Malindi Constituency, Kilifi County, and appealed for information that would lead to their arrest.

The suspects are alleged to have stripped Ms Mary Mwanguo alias Kahonzi, a mother of two and a tailor at Kisumu Ndogo claiming to be searching for bribe money for the by-elections.

A video clip showing Ms Kahonzi’s ordeal, which she said left her devastated, went viral in the social media.

Women lawmakers called upon the government to take stern action against the perpetrators.

The incident prompted hundreds of women — including members of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation and youth groups, as well as women members of county assembly — to hold a peaceful demonstration in Malindi Town on March 12 in protest.

Malindi police boss Matawa Muchangi said by-election case files had been opened and forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution for further directions.

“We have also released portraits of suspects and we appeal to the public to assist us in identifying the people involved,” said Mr Muchangi at a press conference in his office.

Mr Muchangi said the people shown in the photos are said to have robbed Ms Kahonzi of her personal belongings before stripping her naked.

“The suspects stole her pouch, which contained her identification documents, a Nokia phone and Sh5,” he said.

In some photos, a suspect is seen attempting to grab Ms Kahonzi while another holds a stone. Another photo shows a group of agitated people trying to pull her out of a police vehicle.

Mr Muchangi said police officers who witnessed the incident have recorded statements and are assisting in investigations into the matter.

“Ms Mwanguo Kahonzi was grabbed by the suspects while inside a police vehicle,” he said, adding that “even one of the suspects tried to run away with police car keys”.

The photos are displayed at the Malindi Police Station.