Gachagua, Kahiga to know their fate in death inquiry after the elections

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and the late Wahome Gakuru. [File, Standard]

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga will know whether they will testify in a hearing on the death of a former county boss after the August 9 elections.

Justice Florence Muchemi yesterday deferred her ruling on whether the two will be summoned to appear and give evidence at the inquest until August 18.

The judge informed the parties in the case when the matter came up for virtual hearing at the Nyeri High Court. This is the second time the ruling was being deferred after an earlier postponement on May 3.

The inquest is looking into events surrounding an accident in which the third governor of Nyeri, Wahome Gakuru, died along the Kenol/Nairobi road at Makenji on November 7, 2017.

Gakuru had been in office for three months when he died of his injuries after being rushed to the Thika Level 5 Hospital. The economist had succeeded Samuel Wamaathai who took over the reins after Nderitu Gachagua died in office in February 2017.

In their application before court, Mr Gachagua and Mr Kahiga are seeking a revision of a ruling by Nyeri Chief Magistrates Wendy Kagendo and Francis Adanyi requiring them to appear as witnesses on March 29 and 31.

Examine records

Through lawyer Wahome Gikonyo, the two want the court to recall and examine records and orders made on August 12 last year and January 20 this year by the two chief magistrates summoning them to court.

“I pray this application be heard on priority basis,” Mr Gikonyo said. “The court has not formed an opinion that an offence has been committed by the applicant to warrant their summons.”

The lawyer said his clients have no evidence to give nor have they been mentioned adversely in court proceedings. “As public figures holding the office of governor and MP, summoning them without complying with the law will erode public confidence and embarrass them and violate their constitutional rights.”

Kahiga and Gachagua, who is Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate, had unsuccessfully implored the court to expunge their names from the list of witnesses.

Others summoned to give evidence at the inquest include Nyeri County Secretary Benjamin Gachichio and Chief of Staff Paul Wambugu.