The mysterious death of a house-help in a controversial senator’s house last month has taken a fresh twist after claims emerged that attempts to perform an autopsy were blocked.
Mr Wilson Mwiti, the husband of Edith Kinanu, who until her death on October 5 worked as a house-help for Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, told the Sunday Nation that his wife’s parents opposed calls for a post-mortem that could have cleared “disturbing questions” about the sudden death.
The refusal by his in-laws to have an autopsy conducted, Mr Mwiti said, took away the chance that was there to clear any doubts on the circumstances in which his wife died — and denied him the closure he needs to move on.
Mr Mwiti said his wife was hurriedly buried a week after she died.
“I was for the idea of a postmortem but her parents refused, saying they did not want the body of their daughter to be mutilated,” Mr Mwiti said in a phone interview.
Ms Kinanu, a mother of two, was buried at their home in Marega, Tigania East, on October 15.
Speculation about the circumstances surrounding Ms Kinanu’s death has been rife, especially after Mr Linturi’s estranged wife, Maryanne Keitany, filed a report with the DCI alleging domestic abuse and that the senator had threatened her with a gun during an argument.
Ms Keitany is a former chief of staff in Deputy President William Ruto’s office. She left her position amid allegations of corruption after her name appeared in a report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission that President Uhuru Kenyatta tabled in Parliament during his State of the Nation address in March 2015.
Before Mr Mwiti made the claim, the official family line regarding Ms Kinanu’s death is that she fell sick while at Mr Linturi’s home in Maua, Igembe South, before being rushed to Maua Methodist Hospital where she died.
When Nation journalists visited Mr Mwiti’s home a few days after the burial of his wife, Mr Mwiti’s father, Samson Limiri, was reluctant to speak to us, saying his family did not want to get involved in the story.
He said the family did not suspect any foul play in his daughter-in-law’s death.
“We also heard from the media that Senator Linturi’s wife had raised issues about our daughter’s death. What we know is that she complained of headaches before she was rushed to hospital where she passed on. The hospital said that she had succumbed to high blood pressure. We are not aware of any other cause,” Mr Limiri said.
They said that the senator attended the burial and pledged to support the education of Ms Kinanu’s children.
Ms Keitany, who did not attend the burial, is also said to have supported the family financially.
On Sunday, Mr Linturi said he had “no comment” to enquiries by the Sunday Nation on Ms Kinanu’s death.
Asked whether either him or any member of his family had been questioned by police over the death, as indicated by some sources, he also said: “No comment.”
Section 386 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides that post-mortem has to be conducted on a person who dies under unexplained circumstances.
“When, except in the case of a missing person believed to be dead, there is any doubt regarding the cause of death, or when for any other reason the police officer considers it expedient to do so, he shall, subject to any rule made by the Minister, forward the body, with a view to its being examined, to the nearest medical officer or other person appointed by the Minister in that behalf, if the state of the weather and the distance admit its being so forwarded without risk of such putrefaction on the road as would render the examination useless,” Section 386(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code states.
But Meru County Criminal Investigations Officer Joseph Limo said that no member of Ms Kinanu’s family has made a complaint about the death or failure to conduct the post-mortem. In such circumstances, Mr Limo says the police would be hesitant to initiate investigations.
“If the family does not want to be involved in the matter and, as long as there is no complaint, we cannot institute investigations,” Mr Limo said.
Mr Mwiti also responded to allegations that he had previously voiced his displeasure with regard to his wife’s job as a house-help.
According to Mr Mwiti, there were no disagreements between them. Together they were blessed with two boys, aged nine and three years.
“We were living happily and there was no time we quarrelled. This is a very stressing time for me and I don’t want to talk much about the incident,” he told the Nation on the phone and declined to be drawn into further discussions about the matter.
He said he would say more about the death of his beloved wife later, adding that his focus now was on taking care of his children.
“Please let us not talk much now. I don’t want to talk now,” he said.
The Senator has been in the news in recent weeks after Ms Keitany obtained a restraining order against him. The court has barred the embattled senator from accessing his palatial Runda estate home in Nairobi and also contacting or threatening Ms Keitany.
Senior Resident Magistrate Isaac Orenge on October 25 granted Ms Keitany “exclusive occupation of the shared residence, being Mae Ridge Country Villas house number 16, erected on LR No. 7785/1324 and use of the facilities associated therewith by excluding the respondent (Mr Linturi) from the said residence.”
The order also states that Mr Linturi is restrained from “watching, loitering near or preventing or hindering access” to or from the house. The order also prevents him from making any type of contact, physical and even telephone conversations with Ms Keitany unless he is given permission to.
On Saturday, the Senator told the Sunday Nation that he was yet to be served with the court orders.
“I will respond when I receive them (orders). You wonder why orders that were reportedly issued on October 25 have not yet been served and you only come to learn about the same through the media.”
Additional reporting by Walter Menya