Wahome Gakuru inquest: Governor Kahiga, Rigathi Gachagua summoned

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

A Nyeri court has summoned Governor Mutahi Kahiga to testify in the ongoing inquest into the death of his predecessor Wahome Gakuru.

Also to appear before the inquest is Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua alongside county-secretary Benjamin Gachichio and Chief of Staff Paul Wambugu and investigating officer, Edward Nyambuto.

Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo summoned Gachagua following an application by lawyer Martha Weru, representing Dhamana Afrika, an NGO associated with Gakuru. The NGO has named name the MP a person of interest.

Kahiga and the other senior government officials are expected to testify on a financial audit Dr Gakuru had ordered before his death in an accident at Makenji along the Thika-Kenol highway on November 7, 2017.

The governor's official Mercedes Benz ploughed into the guardrail, knocking down 16 concrete posts, before stopping 48 meters away. Dr Gakuru, who was badly impaled by the guardrail, died at Thika Level Five Hospital.

First responders at the scene, November 2017. [Willis Awandu, Standard]

Kahiga and his top officials are expected to appear before the inquest between November 24 and November 25.

Ms Kagendo issued the summons on Friday after visiting the site together with other court officials. 

Weru urged the court to summon Kahiga and the other county officials saying it would only be fair that they shed some light on the financial probe Gakuru ordered when he took over after the August 2017 elections.

"Governor Kahiga is a direct beneficiary of Dr Gakuru's death and, therefore, needs to shed more light on what he knew about the accident. He is on record saying he had warned Gakuru against using a certain vehicle, a call that his former boss failed to heed," said Ms Weru.

Hearse used to ferry Wahome Gakuru's body. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Ms Weru claimed there was an imposter who could have compromised the security of the governor. Of importance, Ms Weru said, were the audit issues relating to procurement by the county government.

"It is important to note crucial evidence was lost in a fire. It is critical to find out who could have been interested in the governor's death," the lawyer said.

At the same time, Kagendo issued warrants of arrest against four police officers - Sergent John Wanami, Sergent Martin Simiyu, Corporal Francis Kisavi and police constable John Kivuva - who visited the scene when the accident happened.

The late Wahome Gakuru. [Waweru Murage, Standard]

She issued the warrants after the officers failed to accompany her and other court officials to Makenji on Friday as they tried to reconstruct the accident scene.

"The four officers were aware of the case. In fact, summons have been issued and as such, I apply for their warrants of arrest for them to explain what happened," said prosecutor Kennedy Magoma.

The magistrate ordered the sub-county police commander in Makuyu to ensure the officers are arrested.