Witnesses differ on time taken to ‘rescue’ Governor Gakuru

Traffic officer Francis Kitavi from Makuyu Police Station testifies at a Nyeri court. [Jacinta Mutura, Standard]

Witnesses who have testified in the inquest into the death of former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru have differed on the time taken to rescue him at the accident scene.

A traffic officer who responded to a distress call told a Nyeri court that the police took 18 minutes to get to the scene, contradicting previous witnesses who had claimed the governor bled for over 45 minutes as he was stuck inside the car.

Francis Kisavi from Makuyu Police Station told Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo that he, together with a senior sergeant identified as Simiyu, arrived at Makenji at 7am, shortly after the accident.

“We arrived at the scene at 7am and the governor had been removed from the car. We did not find anyone in the car on arrival,” said Mr Kisavi, noting that there were no other police officers at the scene.

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He said senior police officers from Kandara, Muranga South and Kabati joined them later.

Kisavi was put to task, by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Peter Mailanyi, why the police did not make a call to a nearby police station to save the governor since Makuyu Police Station is 14 kilometres from the scene.

The officer said Makuyu was the only police station with traffic officers.

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Previous testimonies indicated the accident occurred at about 6.45am, and about 45 minutes later the governor was still writhing in pain and bleeding profusely in the car.

Gakuru’s nephew, Simon Waruru, told the magistrate that the governor was rescued after 45 minutes.

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Mr Waruru had been appointed the family spokesperson during the mourning period and he was the one mandated to identify the body before a postmortem examination was done.

“I had a conversation with the pathologist who told me that Gakuru could have survived had people responded quickly. He told me that he did not have any life-threatening injuries in major organs and that he died due to loss of blood,” said Waruru.

A postmortem report showed Gakuru died of excessive bleeding.

Waruru told the court that an ambulance and paramedics arrived at the accident scene after 45 minutes.

“Even his own security team abandoned him when he mostly needed help. The man was left there to bleed and die,” he said.

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Waruru’s assertion on timings matched that of Gakuru’s driver Samuel Kinyanjui who had told the court that the governor was stuck in the wreckage for 45 minutes until onlookers devised a way to rescue him.

Mr Kinyanjui, who escaped unhurt, had told Kagendo that he struggled to go under the car to pull the governor out. He was eventually pulled out of the wreckage by the public and taken to Thika Level 5 Hospital where he died.

His Mercedes Benz, registration number GVN 019A, was towed to Makuyu Police Station by a private breakdown vehicle.

The traffic officer also explained that Gakuru’s driver was speeding when the accident happened.

Sketch plan

He produced a sketch plan in court that showed the vehicle hit the guard rail twice, ripped off the metal rail and flattened 16 concrete posts in the 68-metres impact area.

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He further said the driver’s airbag had deployed while the one on the side of co-driver’s seat where Gakuru was seated was intact.

Officers from Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) also processed the scene and took away two mobiles phones, police radio call, a phone battery and Gakuru’s bank cheque book found in the car.

A Mr Nyuguto led a team of three homicide detectives from DCI headquarters in the investigations.

“We were in constant communication with him (Nyuguto) but he later became elusive and he would not even answer my calls. He had told me on different occasions that Gakuru could have been assassinated,” Waruru told the inquest.

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Director of Public ProsecutionNyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru