By JAMES MWANGI
For years, members of the outlawed Mungiki sect have remained a thorn in the flesh in Central Kenya, terrorising and defrauding hapless residents.
But in parts of Murang’a County, a new sheriff is stealthily dealing the Mungiki a deathblow and bringing down sect members like a house of cards.
Apparently, residents of Kigumo District, especially businesspeople, are seeking charms from witchdoctors, not to protect their businesses but to squash njama, or pests, as the Mungiki are known here.
For instance, in the matatu business, which is a milk cow for Mungiki, new entrants cough about Sh30,000 whereas old operators are charged a relatively lower rate for introducing new vehicles on a route. This is exclusive of daily levies.
But whereas operators have been parting with the money, they ensure the cash is first ‘treated’ by witchdoctors, to render the initial recipients zombies or kill them altogether.
This has sparked apprehension and scores of the adherents have shunned extortion activities after seeing their ‘workmates’ commit suicide or go mad.
“If you thought the Mungiki are running away from the roads here due to police vigilance, you are mistaken. Yes, the government has tried, but witchcraft is the new ‘medicine’ bringing them down,” confirmed a matatu driver who did not wish to be named.
Though this is talked of in low tones, tales of those who have gone nuts or luckily escaped death or ‘madness’ abound. The trend reportedly started when a driver and his conductor from the area were mercilessly butchered a few years ago despite having met the sect’s demands.
The entire gang involved encountered mysterious fates, with four reportedly hanging themselves separately in one night on the same Mugumo tree.