Since 1902

Get to the bottom of Wanjiku’s 2012 murder in Nanyuki

The State’s attempts to ignore the murder of Agnes Wanjiku of Nanyuki should be a source of national shame.

Her body was found in a septic tank in 2012, two months after she was last seen with British soldiers.

She was 21 and left behind a nine-month-old child. Why has it taken nine years to investigate her murder?

We must not lose sight of the historical import of Agnes’ murder. For much of the 1950s, British colonial occupiers were in the business of torturing (and murdering) Kenyans for sport.

These heinous acts are well documented in “Histories of Hanged” and “Britain’s Gulag,” two excellent books on the era.

Given this history of dispossession and humiliation, how is it that Agnes’ murder did not elicit a swift investigation and conviction?

Do our public officials have no self-respect? Do they understand what their inaction tells the British about our strategic naïveté?

Do we even know all that the British are up to at the BATUK military base? And on the part of the British, have they no shame about their history in Kenya since the late nineteenth century?

We know what would happen if Kenyan soldiers at Sandhurst were suspected of murdering a British woman and dumping her body in a septic tank.

The British Home Office would move heaven and earth to investigate such an incident and secure a conviction.

Yet in the case of Agnes’ murder, it has taken nine years of exposes in the British press for the matter to become public and force a response from the British High Commission in Nairobi.

On their part, the Kenyan government’s inaction in the intervening period sends a clear message – they attach little value to Kenyan lives.

Agnes’ tragic murder opens a window into the strategic naïveté of the Kenyan state. BATUK was renewed in July 2021.

Was this case part of that deal, or are we just happy that the British found us “worthy” of hosting their military?

The writer is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University