Inquest told late governor made last minute change to travel plans

Late Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru's private assistant Josphat Mwangi Maina at the start on an inquest into the death of the County chief at the Nyeri law courts. [Mose Sammy/Standard]
Former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru had intended to travel to Nairobi at night, but changed his mind at the last minute and decided to set off in the morning, a public inquest in Nyeri heard.

A witness told the court yesterday that the governor also changed the vehicle to be used for the journey.

“He had planned to use a Pajero, only to settle on a Mercedes Benz in the morning. He said the former was slow and he was late for an interview,” Mr Gakuru’s personal assistant, Josphat Mwangi Maina, said.

The governor was going to Nairobi for a talk show on Inooro TV and was accompanied by his personal assistant, bodyguard and driver. The three were seriously injured in the November 7, 2017, accident that killed Gakuru on the Nyeri-Nairobi highway.

Mr Maina told Nyeri Senior Resident Magistrate Maisi Chesang that Gakuru’s first wife, Catherine Wahome, was at their home in Runda, Nairobi.

The governor’s bodyguard, APC Samson Lekol, and the driver of the chase car, APC Peter Mwaniki, also testified. The State was represented by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Mailanyi, lawyer Franline Kimathi for the family and Kimani Rucuiya for the Nyeri County government.

The car carrying the governor had three other people —driver Samuel Kinyanjui Wanyaga, personal assistant Albert Gakuru, bodyguard Ahmed Abdi and the governor.

Maina, 62, said on November 6 at around 9pm, Gakuru informed him of the change of plan, saying he would travel at 4am.

He said the changes were prompted by a disagreement between the county boss and one of his spouses who was residing in Hurlingham, where he had planned to spend the night.

The personal assistant also said that the whereabouts of Gakuru’s mobile phone and his jacket remained unknown despite the fact the phone was ringing two days after the accident.

Maina said on November 7 at around 4am, he went to the governor’s bedroom to wake him up, but he went back to sleep until at around 5am. They set off at around 5.30am.

He said it was raining and visibility was not good.

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Former Nyeri Governor Wahome GakuruCatherine WahomeSamuel Kinyanjui WanyagaAlbert GakuruAhmed AbdiGakuru's death