A Mombasa-based lawyer has died after falling from a building.
It was not immediately clear if Sammy Anyanzwa, 69, committed suicide, fell accidentally or was pushed from the eighth floor of Uhuru Na Kazi building.
The incident happened at 10am yesterday after Anyanzwa had visited the land registry on the first floor of the building.
He was in the process of selling a prime property in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, reports indicated.
Anyanzwa had been practising law in Mombasa for more than 40 years, specialising in civil litigation in the areas of land and property. He was one of the first Africans to form a legal partnership in Mombasa – Asige, Kiberenge and Anyanzwa Company Advocates.
He later left the partnership to run Anyanzwa and Company Advocates.
He retired as resident magistrate in Mombasa before joining private practice. He also served as a member of Mombasa County Rates Evaluation Board.
His colleagues said he had just visited the land registry to carry out a search on some properties before the incident.
Mombasa Urban police boss Eliud Monari said the lawyer, who reportedly appeared distressed, may have jumped to his death shortly after leaving the registry.
The police will also attempt to find out if Anyanzwa was pushed off the building or fell accidentally, he said.
“We can confirm the lawyer died on the spot after falling from the eighth floor of Uhuru Na Kazi building. He may have jumped, was pushed or fell off accidentally,” Mr Monari said.
His body was moved to the Pandya Memorial Hospital mortuary.
Monari said those who rushed to the scene found it was already too late to help him. He said they did not find any suicide note on him.
His former partner, Japheth Asige, said they were shocked to learn of his death.
“We are unable to give a comprehensive statement at the moment. I am shocked. What could have happened? We have very scant information. We ask for time to also contact his family before we issue a statement,” said Mr Asige, who was accompanied by Anyanzwa’s daughter, Josephine. There were reports the lawyer got frustrated after visiting the land registry. He is said to have complained of missing documents in his files.
Robert Simiyu, a court clerk, said he met Anyanzwa at the lands office and noticed he was stressed. He said he knew the lawyer well and even helped him fill in the search forms.
Mr Simiyu said the forms were taken to the land officials, who confirmed they were in order. However, Simiyu said, Anyanzwa complained that some documents were missing.
“I confirmed the documents were intact. Even the ministry official whose office he visited confirmed everything was in order,” he said.
Later, Simiyu said, they walked out of the building but Anyanzwa told him he needed to go back because he wanted to see other people in the building.
“I went back to work only to hear Anyanzwa had plunged to death from the eighth floor. I was later summoned to explain what I knew about his last moments,” he said.
Simiyu said according to the documents the lawyer had, he owned a plot in Mtwapa, which he wanted to sell.
“He also mentioned he had given the land’s title to someone, but the person had disappeared,” said Simiyu.
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Mombasa branch chairman Mathew Nyabena said they were working with the police to unravel the mystery behind their colleague’s death.
At the time of his death, Anyanzwa was one of the senior lawyers appointed by LSK to mediate issues between advocates and clients.
He was brother to Dan Anyanzwa formerly of AFC Leopards and played for the team himself.
(Report by Patrick Beja, Weldon Kipkemoi and Willis Oketch)