Businesswoman reported missing in July found dead

Scolastica Syowiya. [Image: Courtesy]
Joseph Mwaya is an angry man. Questions continue to linger over the mysterious disappearance and eventual murder of his mother, a 43-year-old businesswoman in Nairobi.

Her body was discovered dumped dozens of kilometres from where she was last seen by a family that still held onto hope that she would one day walk back into the house she left one night in July.

When Scolastica Syowiya walked out of her Umoja Three house on the evening of July 31, she was heading to a nearby club to meet someone who had called her for what is believed to be a business meeting.

It, however, turned out to be the last day her family would ever see her alive.

Mwaya, the oldest in a family of three boys, told Sunday Standard that his mother was a trader well known in Umoja.

He recounted the family’s month-long journey in search of their missing mother that ended up at the Kajiado mortuary where Syowiya’s body had been lying for close to three weeks.

Police in Kajiado contacted the family and informed them that Swowiya’s body had been picked up from a bush and was lying at the Kajiado referral hospital mortuary since August 2.

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This was two days after she went missing. The news marked the beginning of a fresh probe by the police on the killers of the businesswoman and their motive.

In an interview on Thursday, Mwaya said days before his mother went missing, she had told him that she had been receiving strange calls and that she feared for her life.

Mwaya said his mother was kidnapped by unknown people who lured her into a meeting at a club near Mama Lucy Hospital.

His claims are backed up by CCTV footage that showed the mother of three walking into the club while speaking on phone at 18.45.45. She was captured walking out at 18.46.42, barely two minutes after walking into the club.

On August 2, Mwaya filed a missing person report at the Buru Buru Police Station.

He told the police that he had failed to reach her on phone and also at their home which was locked.

The day before she went missing, they spoke on the phone. His mother had requested him to find time and pick up his younger brother in town where the school bus would drop him after schools closed for the August holiday.

Mother and son had agreed to finalise their plans later in the evening.

So when a teacher informed him that they could not reach Swowiya to pick up his brother in town, he knew something was wrong.

Mwaya picked up his brother from town and proceeded to their home in Umoja to find the house locked from outside.

Mwaya then took his brother to her mother’s friend where the young boy spent the night of August 1. He then walked to Buru Buru police station on August 2 where officers asked for her photograph which they were to circulate to all police stations around Nairobi as they opened a search for the missing trader.

On the same day, Mwaya called his grandparents in Ukambani to inform them that his mother was missing. He had to break into their house in the presence of the police, thinking she could have been locked inside the house.

What followed, Mwaya says, was endless trips to Buru Buru Police Station to follow up on the investigations.

Every day, until last Thursday, Mwaya or his aunt would visit the police to check on the investigations but each time, the police shared with them reasons why the probe had failed to take off.

Eventually, the police informed them that they could not crack the matter. The family complained that the police had even declined to contact the club where Swowiya was last seen for CCTV footage. They also claimed that DCI officers demanded for cash.

“They were simply not interested in the matter,” Mwaya said in an interview at the Sunday Standard offices.

The Kajiado DCI officer informed them that a body had been collected from a thicket on August 2. It had taken the investigators three weeks to get the identity of the woman and reach the family.

The police informed them that she appeared to have been strangled and hit by a blunt object on the head.

A postmortem confirmed the same.

Yesterday, Buru Buru DCI chief Adan Guyo declined to comment on the matter.

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Joseph MwayaScolastica SyowiyaKajiado hospitalBusinesswoman