Tall tale? Is fellow who dropped from London-bound KQ plane even Kenyan?
| Nov 15th 2019 | 4 min read
When Kenya Airways flight KQ 100 left Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on June 30 for London, it was just another routine journey.
The passenger plane had spent eight hours at 37,000ft (11,277m) and dropped to about 4,000ft as it approached Heathrow Airport.
It was then that the landing gear of the Boeing 787 was deployed and everything changed.
A man fell from the landing compartment of the aircraft, missing a homeowner who was sunbathing. The fall took 20 seconds.
Stunned witnesses said the man whose body left a crater looked 'like a block of ice'.
A day after the mystery man plummeted through the sky, London's Metropolitan Police said a bag, water and some food were discovered in the landing gear compartment once the plane touched down at Heathrow.
Officials in London and Kenya then began probe to establish the identity of the stowaway believed to have died before he hit the ground.
Fast forward, November 12: A report by a British television station, Sky News, identified a Mr Paul Manyasi as the stowaway.
The report said the 29-year-old Manyasi worked as a cleaner at JKIA in Nairobi.
According to Sky News, his girlfriend, only identified as Irene to protect her identity, confirmed that Manyasi was the stowaway.
She was certain after she was shown the e-fit photograph released by police and pictures of his belonging.
Sky News Africa correspondent John Sparks then traced his family to Makhabuye village, Malava Sub-County, Kakamega.
In the story, Isaac Manyasi, Paul's father is heard saying Paul was his eldest son, but he and his wife Janet had not heard from him since the beginning of July.
He confirms to the reporter that the pictures shown to him were that of his son.
From stowaway to convict
On Tuesday, the family denied the report, maintaining Paul Manyasi was not their son.
Isaac started by disowning the surname Manyasi as used in the Sky News report.
"I still don't believe that my son is dead or missing. I know him very well. A person can go for years without communicating or being in touch with his family, but that does not mean he is dead," said the father of five.
Isaac denied knowing anyone by the name Paul Manyasi, saying his son was called Cedric Shivonje. He said the last time he spoke to his son was July 2017, and their conversation ended in an argument.
Brian, Cedric's brother, corroborated his father's statement and said they had been communicating on Facebook days after the stowaway fell.
"He last posted on Facebook in July yet the man they were reporting about fell from the plane on June 30," Brian, 18, told Standard Digital.
Brian sent to Standard Digital his brother's birth certificate showing he was 25 and not 29 as reported.
On the same day, the family revealed that they believed their son was in remand over a defilement case.
Their denial was supported by that of Kenya Airports Authority, the agency responsible for all public airports and Colnet, the cleaning company Manyasi was reported to have worked for.
KAA said in collaboration with teams from multiple agencies, it had conducted investigations on the allegations and established that they were "baseless".
Colnet said it was "aware of the incident by way of fact that there were investigations carried out on the stowaway incident and the company has provided its employees' record and information to the investigative authorities which confirmed that there is no employee by the name Paul Manyasi."
On Wednesday, The Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti confirmed to a local daily that Cedric Shivonje was indeed at Industrial Area Remand Prison, Nairobi.
"We would like to know all the details surrounding the so-called stowaway and the cause of the mix-up if any. We are also going to investigate whether the man who fell off the plane was a Kenyan or came from South Africa where the plane began the journey before stopping over at JKIA," Kinoti said.
Kenya Prisons Service spokesman Dixon Mwakazi also confirmed that Shivonje was at the Nairobi Medium Prison after failing to raise Sh200,000 bail.
The narrative goes that he was arrested as a Hillary Misikho and was a teacher at a primary school in Kawangware, Nairobi.
He allegedly defiled a Class Seven pupil on August 6, was charged on August 9 at Kibera Law Courts and remanded on August 13.
Police say he was found with a KCSE certificate indicating he sat his high school examinations at Tande Secondary School in 2014 – the same school his brother Brian said he went.
Shivonje's claims that he was a former student of Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT) were found misleading after investigations found out that he obtained a D- (minus) in KCSE.
A multi-agency team that was set up to investigate the identity of the stowaway passenger maintains it has not completed the probe.
The team said it was analysing the fingerprints of the victim, and that all staff and stakeholders who were on duty on June 30 have been accounted for.
The team comprises officials from the police force, Kenya Airports Authority, Transport Ministry and National Intelligence Service.
So, who is Paul Manyasi? Why did his girlfriend say he was a colleague at Colnet? Who is Cedrick Shivonje and why was he operating as Hillary Misikho?
Who owns the Facebook accounts Cedrick Junior and Mustapha Junior where the pictures of the alleged Stowaway were removed?
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