Questions arise over George Muchai’s killing

By Cyrus Ombati
 
Kiambu Governor William Kabogo signs the condolence book at the Kamulu home of slain Kabete MP George Muchai Sunday. Detectives have been sent to Kampala, Uganda to trace the owner of the car used by the gunman. The car had Ugandan plates. [Photo: Courtesy]
Kiambu Governor William Kabogo signs the condolence book at the Kamulu home of slain Kabete MP George Muchai Sunday. Detectives have been sent to Kampala, Uganda to trace the owner of the car used by the gunman. The car had Ugandan plates. [Photo: Courtesy]

Police have revealed that the car used by the killer of Kabete MP George Muchai, his two bodyguards and a driver bore Ugandan registration plates even as more questions emerge over the murder. They announced this after reviewing CCTV (closed circuit television) camera recordings of the crime scene on Nairobi’s Kenyatta Avenue and a nightclub in the city where the MP and his family were said to have spent the better part of Friday night and part of Saturday morning. The footage from Galileo’s Lounge showed the MP with his wife, daughter and another man seated at a table for more than four hours. Many people passed by to greet them and the MP at times placed his hand on his wife’s shoulder. From the club, Muchai walked to the parking lot and boarded his car with the two bodyguards and a driver, while his family entered a separate salon car. All those in the Fortuner were shot dead by a hooded gunman allegedly wielding an AK47 rifle, who jumped out of a white Toyota Probox that rammed into the MP’s Toyota Fortuner. He was said to have been on his way home. Stolen plates See also: Police probe carjacking, strange calls before MP attack The investigators from the Nairobi County Criminal Investigation Department and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) met at City Hall to review the footage of what may have happened before and after the killing of Muchai, his driver Samson Wambugu and police constables Samwel Lekakeny ole Matanta and Samwel Kimathi Kailikia. But police sources who asked not to be named because they are not the official spokespersons said criminals often use fake or stolen vehicle registration plates. Sunday, Nairobi County Criminal Investigations Department boss Nicholas Kamwende said a team of detectives had been dispatched to Kampala, Uganda to track down the owners of the vehicle. Reports indicate the gunman wore a balaclava to disguise his identity and there were at least two other men in the Probox. Police who viewed the CCTV footage said the white Toyota Probox saloon rammed Muchai’s car on the right side before the masked gunman stepped out and began firing at the four occupants in an attack that lasted barely a minute. The gunman then beckoned his two companions who then walked into Muchai’s car and carried away some luggage and two pistols belonging to the bodyguards.

This corroborates testimony by a street boy who said he saw the gunman call his alleged accomplices and asking them to go and “pick what they had wanted from the late MP’s car”. The street boy said the two occupants later informed the gunman he had seen them, but the man in balaclava dismissed him as “a madman” who could not expose their crime before the car made a u-turn towards Uhuru Highway and raced towards Mombasa Road. “I can’t reveal much, but we are looking for a white saloon car that was captured driving towards that of the MP. We are working well and will ask for your help if and when we will need it,” Kamwende told journalists. Kamwende and his team also recorded statements from Galileo’s security manager John Mbugua and newspaper vendors who allegedly witnessed the attack. But questions lingered about the killings especially considering the proximity of the scene of crime to well policed Government installations. The area is within a heavily policed belt stretching from Continental House, Parliament Buildings and Intercontinental Hotel to University Way and the Central Police Station. Government premises See also: Police probe carjacking, strange calls before MP attack For instance, why is it that police officers guarding Government premises near the scene never responded to the bursts of gunfire? The scene of the killings is directly opposite the infamous Nyayo House that houses the Administration Police headquarters in Nairobi and is usually heavily protected by police. The officers who were on guard that morning were also to be questioned about the incident. The crime scene is also near Kipande House, which houses a branch of the Kenya Commercial Bank that is also well guarded. Another question is why an alarm was not raised as the killings occurred a few metres from Nairobi County’s CCTV Control and Command Centre at Nyayo House given that the surveillance is supposed to be a 24-hour operation. “The CCTV cameras are fully functional and we hope that we will get the culprits through the footage that captured well the number plate,” Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said. It is also not clear if the luggage grabbed by the assailants from the MP’s car included a briefcase. Was he carrying something valuable or a large amount of cash? Did Muchai’s driver and bodyguards notice that they were being trailed by a conspicuous white saloon car? And why didn’t they shoot back?
Muchai was also attacked in 2011, but his accounts of the shooting in which he killed one of his assailants before the rest took off differed with that of the police. The MP said at the time that he was attacked on Kangundo Road but police said it took place in Donholm estate but confirmed that the then trade unionist was shot in the thigh. From Galileo’s, Muchai stopped at the junction of Uhuru Highway and Kenyatta Avenue to buy newspapers. He was then to proceed to the Kencom bus stop to drop his driver Wambugu who was to take a matatu to Huruma where he stayed.
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