Court orders ex-Nyeri Governor Gakuru’s death inquest to start afresh

Thursday March 21 2019

Former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru.

Former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru. Public inquest into his death will start afresh. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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Public inquest into the death of former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru will start afresh, the court has ordered.

Nyeri Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo on Thursday said that this will enable sufficient questioning of witnesses.

Ms Kagendo issued the order after an organisation called Amana Africa filed an application, expressing interest to cross-examine State witnesses.

The organisation, in which the deceased was a member, entered into the case on Thursday when the matter, which had for one month due to absence of the presiding magistrate Maisy Chesang, came up for mention.

Ms Chesang’ is in police custody in connection to the death of her husband lawyer Robert Chesang’.

EXAMINE WITNESSES

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Mairanyi supported the idea of starting the inquest afresh.

“After we adjourned in the previous hearings, I got information on which I would like to examine the witnesses,” said Mr Mairanyi.

Already three witnesses, led by the former governor’s personal assistant Josphat Mwangi Maina and two body guards, Corporal Peter Mwaniki Maigua and Corporal Samson Lekol have testified.

Lawyer Kaari Kimathi for the late governor’s parents and siblings also did not oppose the move.

In her orders, Ms Kagendo also directed that the inquest be conducted for seven days. The dates were fixed as June 25, 27 and 28 and July 2, 4, 9 and 11.

The inquest is looking into the circumstances that caused the governor’s death in a road crash in November 2017.

INTERVIEW

Governor Gakuru died in the morning of November 7, 2017 in a road accident at Makenji area on the Nyeri-Nairobi Highway while on his way to Nairobi for an interview with a vernacular radio station.

In the crash Dr Gakuru’s driver, Samson Kinyanjui, lost control of the vehicle – a Mercedes E250 – and rammed into a guard rail which tore through the car.

The vehicle had four occupants at the time of the crash— the deceased, his personal assistant Albert Gakuru, his body guard Ahmed Abdi and the driver Samuel Kinyanjui.

Three witnesses told court in the previous hearing that ambulances and police officers failed to rescue the late governor from the wreckage of the car.

CHANGE DRIVERS

Prior to his death, the witnesses said, for the three months the governor had been in office he would regularly change drivers and would at times drive himself for fear of his personal security.

“Sometimes he would decline to be driven and he would instruct the driver on duty to sit at the back,” said the witnesses.

For the period he had changed the drivers three times from a Mr Gakinya, a senior sergeant from Kenya Police, another one whom the witnesses could not recall names and Mr Kinyanjui.

Mr Kinyanjui, who had driven the governor’s Mercedes for about three weeks, was initially driving a county government’s ambulance.

Before being seconded to the governor, Mr Kinyanjui served the county’s First Lady Catherine for three weeks.