David Mugo started crucifying himself to mark the crucifixion of Christ.

He used to be an Easter spectacle before police would ruin the party by arresting him. He would imitate Jesus who refused to speak to the Roman centurions who arrested Him, by remaining mum and refusing to answer questions from the police who would arrest him after having himself nailed on a cross in the Kibarani area of Mombasa. That was the story of David Mugo, who started crucifying himself to mark the crucifixion of Christ. David Mugo said he could only speak to no lesser personages than bishops!

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Mugo, variously described as an ‘artist’ and at other times a ‘street hawker,’ asked his friends to hammer 23-inch nails into his hands on a cross, from where he was found in nothing but a towel around his waist. Crucifixions are common in the Philippines, Asia’s only Christian nation, where come Easter, ‘Catholic fundamentalists’ dress like Roman soldiers and have no qualms nailing hands and feet on crosses. Others faithfuls flogged themselves with bamboo strips to the point of bleeding. Those who could not stand blood or self-flagellation, lug heavy wooden crosses on the streets.

In April 1987, Mugo attempted to have himself crucified for the second time. His attempt at crucifixion three years earlier had been thwarted, but not that 1987 Good Friday when he was successfully nailed to the cross and became a national sensation after police ‘uncrucified’ him from the wooden cross. Funny how he was charged with among other things, ‘attempted suicide.’

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The then 30-year-old later explained that his own crucifixion, like Jesus’ in Golgotha, was to thank God for saving his life after 20 passengers died in a road accident in 1979. Mugo was one of two survivors. He was later thrown into the sea from a cargo ship in which he had stowed away. He survived, and to thank God, he attempted seven self-crucifixions which the police considered to be ‘felonies.’

The Mombasa court acquitted David Mugo who was later arrested for being ‘drunk and disorderly’ in April 1988. Mombasa senior resident magistrate, Injene Indeche, ordered a mental examination on the man who vowed to go on hunger strike demanding the place of his crucifixion be preserved as a sacred shrine and a mosque or church built on it.