On November 14, 2018, Mr Peter Mutisya walked into a butchery owned by Mr Joseph Ndegwa in Hola, Tana River County, and made an order of 7kg of beef.
Mr Mutisya was known to Mr Ndegwa, he was ever jovial and would often crack jokes.
Mr Ndegwa’s regular customer told him to store the beef in the freezer, and promised to make payments later as he picked the beef.
Before he left, he counted the pieces of beef to the amusement of those in the butchery. He turned to Mr Ndegwa and asked him not to sell his meat.
Mr Ndegwa obliged, he kept the seven kilos of beef in a deep freezer before continuing to serve other customers.
By sunset, Mr Mutisya was nowhere to be seen. Mr Ndegwa called him on his mobile phone and he promised to pick the meat.
The following day, Mr Ndegwa waited for his customer to come pick and pay for his order. It was a no-show too.
Days turned into months. Mr Mutisya had neither been spotted in town nor at his residence. He picked up calls but insisted that his beef be preserved until he returns.
During a follow-up call in March, Mr Mutisya’s response roused the butcher's curiosity.
"I suggested to him that we sell the beef to dog keepers and get him fresh meat. It was then that he went ballistic, warning that if I sold his beef I would close shop the following morning," he said.
Troubled by his client’s response, Mr Ndegwa decided to continue storing the meat. In May 2019, he decided to call Mr Mutisya again.
"The first thing he told me was that he could see I had not sold the meat. He then asked if I had incurred any electricity bills for storing his beef, saying he could help pay.
“I told him there was nothing of the sort and asked him when he was coming back. He only told me, ‘soon’," he narrated.
Mr Ndegwa says he wondered how his customer knew he had not tampered with the meat. He reached out to some of his friends who did not help calm his nerves.
Ndegwa’s colleagues opined that Mr Mutisya must be practicing witchcraft in his freezer.
His friends’ counsel nearly drove him to get rid of the meat but he decided to wait just one more month. On July 7, Ndegwa woke up with his mind made up.
He went to his butchery and threw away the seven kilos of beef and cleaned his freezer. Mr Mutisya walked into the butcher the next day.
He told Mr Ndegwa and his colleagues of his adventurous trip to Marsabit for a “well-paying hustle”.
Meanwhile, Mr Ndegwa was trying to find an escape route but before he could, his client asked for his 7kg beef.
The butcher made some excuses all the while trying to divert his client’s attention before Mr Mutisya jumped over the counter and headed straight to the deep freezer where he found fresh beef.
DISPOSED OF BEEF
All hell broke loose when the butcher revealed that he had disposed of the beef but offered to give him 7kg beef free of charge.
Mr Mutisya grabbed a short axe and threw it at Ndegwa, narrowly missing his head as he ran for his life.
Mr Mutisya was at his heels screaming and with a knife in his hands threatening to slaughter the butcher and hang him for sale.
An elderly man intervened by knocking Mutisya unconscious with a club.
When he regained consciousness, his hands had been tied and he was surrounded by elderly men with Mr Ndegwa in their midst inside a compound.
Entry into the compound was restricted with only close friends of both Mr Ndegwa and his client allowed in.
By the time dusk fell, the elders were yet to calm the enraged Mr Mutisya. Not even the offer of a cow.
Those in the compound said Mr Mutisya never uttered a word, neither did he accept the offer of two cows and a sheep.
He was released late in the night. The bizarre incident has left many in confusion and also fuelled speculation on witchcraft.