Lands Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Kimani Ngunjiri is in a spot after he was involved in a gun drama with a family in a land dispute.
When the gunshots went silent, one man lay on the ground writhing in pain from a bullet wound while a middle-aged woman was sobbing uncontrollably from a fractured arm.
Ngunjiri, a former Bahati MP, had arrived in Kwa Tom village at around 6am driving in his off-road truck and a tractor in tow ready to plough a farm that has been at the centre of a legal dispute.
“I was in my house when the tractor driver came and told me that, unlike other days, they intended to plough part of my land. I then met with Ngunjiri bringing down my fence,” said Susan Murugi.
Murugi, who is in her late 60s, said that she confronted the CAS, who threatened her, saying that it was time they vacated his land, which she uses as a holding ground for her livestock.
“He hit me with a stick. I raised the alarm after he whipped out a gun. Neighbours came to my rescue escalating the confrontation. He went to instruct some youths to destroy my fence,” said Murugi.
Her daughter Christine Njeri, 38, joined the confrontation and claims that the MP collected a plank of wood that he aimed at her.
“He was aiming at my head. I raised my left arm to protect myself. He hit me hard, causing sharp pain. Other people stopped him from further assaulting me,” said Njeri.
Murugi’s son William Ndung’u who was attracted to the scene by the commotion, arrived and confronted the state official, further worsening the situation.
“I was angered on seeing how he had hurt my sister and destroyed our property. He whipped out his pistol and aimed it at me. He fired the gun, but the bullet missed me,” said Ndung’u. In a video captured by a resident, an unidentified man is seen confronting Ngunjiri with an axe questioning why he had hurt Njeri.
One of Ngunjiri’s security detail, is however seen jumping between them to calm down the man seconds before Ngunjri fired two shots.
“You have hit me really bad. Kill me. Now go ahead and demolish the house,” Njeri is heard lamenting as Ngunjiri responds with “Come, I kill you. Come. I must plough this land!”
It was then that the residents realised that one of the bullets had hit a local, Lucas Onyango, who was on his way to a farm located a few metres away from the scene of the confrontation.
“I was heading to my boss’s farm where I tend to his animals. I felt a sharp pain in my arm, as the bullet went through. I started bleeding, but the residents came to help,” said Onyango.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
Ngunjiri then retreated to his truck and ordered his aides to help Onyango board it as he would take him to Bahati Sub-County Hospital. Another resident offered to rush Njeri to the facility.
“I was shocked when we got to the hospital, and Ngunjiri claimed to have been assaulted too. His hand was plastered, and he left. We shall continue to demand justice,” said Njeri.
Ngunjiri returned to the scene, which Nakuru County Police Commander Zachary Kimani and a team of detectives from the County Criminal Investigations office were processing.
However, angry residents shouted at him, forcing him to leave. He however continued to supervise ploughing of his ten-acre piece of land adjacent to the disputed half an acre.
At the scene of the confrontation, the police recovered three spent cartridges and a bullet head.
Although Mr Kimani, the police commander, declined to comment on the matter, the officers on his instructions, showed journalists a Ceska pistol and eight rounds of 9mm ammunition which Ngunjiri surrendered at Bahati Police Station after the incident.
The land claimed by Ngunjiri forms part of a larger 560-acre land at the centre of a court battle.
In 2008, Elizabeth Nyambura and Francis Kamau, suing as the administrators of the estate of Njuguna Mbogo, filed a case against six individuals and two companies over ownership of the entire land.
While Endao Company claims ownership of the land as a bona fide purchaser, Mbogo (now deceased) acquired it by adverse possession.
The fight for the land began in 2001 when Mbogo commenced a suit by way of an originating summons seeking to be declared the owner of the land under the doctrine of adverse possession. He contended that he had been in uninterrupted and peaceful possession of the suit property since 1959. He had sued EK Banks.
It was alleged the originating summons was served upon EK Banks, but it failed to enter appearance.
In February 2003, the court delivered an ex parte judgment in favour of Mbogo. EK Banks lodged an appeal.
While the application seeking the setting aside of the ex parte judgment was pending, Mbogo disappeared in July 2006 and was later found dead. He was a substitute in the case.
The case is still pending in court.