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Murder charge that could kill Aisha Jumwa’s political aspirations

Readers Lounge - By Joackim Bwana | October 22nd 2020 at 08:37:00 GMT +0300
Malindi member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa (Photo: Omondi Onyango/Standard)

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa’s political career now hangs in the balance as she is set to be charged with murder today.

Jumwa is being accused of killing 48-year-old Ngumbao Jola on October 15, last year, when chaos broke out during Ganda ward by-election.

In a separate case, she has been charged with money laundering and embezzling over Sh20 million of the Malindi Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Jumwa — who has aspirations for the Kilifi governor’s seat in 2022 — has been bogged down by court cases that now threaten her political future.

If found guilty of murder, that could mark the end of her political career, unless she successfully appeals within six months, which is practically impossible.

According to the Constitution, an MP loses their seat if they are jailed for more than six months.

However, according to political analyst Hassan Mwakimako, Jumwa’s political career is far from over, despite facing murder and graft charges.

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Mwakimako says unless the court convicts her, she has higher chances of achieving her aspirations of being governor in 2022.

“Court cases do not necessarily hinder a person from running for political seat unless they are found guilty.

“The court cases will keep her busy outside her political life and may taint her image, but they won’t stop her from running for governor,” he says.

In the case before the High Court in Mombasa today, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) plans to charge Jumwa with murder, incitement to violence, breach of Election Offences Act and breach of electoral code of conduct.

On Monday, the court ordered that she be detained for four days pending a psychiatric test to ascertain if she is fit to stand trial.

Yesterday, the family of Jola, the murder victim, welcomed the charges, saying they hope justice will be served.

Jola was Ganda MCA Reuben Katana’s uncle and the violence leading to his death was sparked when Jumwa — an ally of Deputy President William Ruto — allegedly stormed Katana’s home to confront ODM supporters preparing for the by-election.

On Monday, Alloys Kemo, the senior assistant DPP told Justice Njoki Mwangi that the MP failed to attend a psychiatric test on Wednesday last week. He said a psychiatrist had been called, but Jumwa failed to turn up despite being notified.

Cancelled bail

The judge ordered that Jumwa and her bodyguard Geoffrey Okuto, who is also facing murder charges, be remanded at Port Police Station until Thursday so they go for the test at Coast General Hospital (CGH).

Justice Mwangi declined to release Jumwa and Okuto on bond and cancelled the Sh500,000 cash bail issued by a lower court in 2019.

“The accused must subject themselves to procedures of the High Court and undergo psychiatric tests before the court can rule on the bail assessment,” said the judge.

The judge said the anticipatory bond issued to Jumwa and her bodyguard by the lower court was pending investigation into the murder, which had already been concluded.

Jumwa was to attend her mental evaluation at CGH. Her lawyer Jared Magolo told the court the MP was in Meru and Nairobi on the said dates.

“They did not refuse to go for the psychiatrist tests. They were in Meru and Nairobi and there was a misunderstanding in the communication.

“We can come before you on Thursday and you can make the order cancelling the bond if your orders are disobeyed,” Magolo said.

Mwakimako said Jumwa is a force to reckon with in Malindi and she has the support of the people for being vocal.

Aisha Jumwa Malindi MP

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