Was ‘wa Kahalf’ bewitched?
By James Mwangi | June 26th 2015
Disturbing details are now emerging of what transpired in the months before the death of popular musician, ‘Murimi wa Kahalf’ he of the Ino ni momo vernacular hit song.
Allegations of witchcraft have been raised by his family as his second wife denies any involvement in foul play. Wa Kahalf had reportedly told fellow musicians that witchcraft was involved in his imminent demise.
He died on June 4 leaving over Sh1.6 million in medical bills after four months of battling a mysterious illness doctors could not diagnose.
A day before his death, wa Kahalf - born Sammy Murimi - had been taken to Igembe North in Meru County where witchdoctors cast purported spells that had dogged his health since February 13, 2015 - the day he fell sick.
Grace Kanuthu, wa Kahalf’s mother, told The Nairobian that the musician had kept saying he was hearing summons from Meru witchdoctors who wanted to meet him, but she protested only to give in when he insisted.
“He claimed those men kept calling him in his dreams.
He received texts and calls from people who wanted him to go. He was desperate and it reached a point I could not dissuade him anymore,” says the mother, recalling that the witchdoctors charged Sh10,000 to reverse the ailment, but she doesn’t know who paid the money.
They went to Igembe on June 3 and met five healers who were armed with paraphernalia and a sheep. They went round him several times holding gourds of honey while chanting, then fed him pieces of meat and soup.
“It was horrifying seeing my son undergo that ritual while lying helplessly on the ground. I cried throughout. Little did I know that was the killer blow. I wish my son listened to me” she says.
On their way back, wa Kahalf began experiencing stomach ache and by midnight, his tummy had bulged out as he screamed endlessly. “His stomach was like an inflated balloon. I have never seen such before. He wanted us to perforate it with a knife. He was screaming in pain but there was nothing we could do,” laments the mother, adding that hours to his death, wa Kahalf vomited and relieved himself of some bizarre stuff. He died hours later on arrival at St Francis Hospital, Kasarani. “He asked for some water and when he took it his tummy deflated, he collapsed and passed away,” said his cousin.
His mother says that a few hours before wa Kahalf died, he called her and his other wife, Pastor Zaweriah Wang’ombe to his bedside, held their hands and urged them to live peacefully and united for the sake of his now orphaned nine-year-old daughter - whose mother was wa Kahalf’s late first wife.
“That was the most powerful but painful experience I have had with my son. It was an emotional moment when we listened to him bid us goodbye” says Kanuthu.
Kanuthu means ‘half’ hence the musician’s name, Murimi wa Kahalf - whose miseries the mother heaps on his second wife, Nancy Karambu.
But Karambu denies any Meru trip saying “That is weird. I don’t remember meeting witchdoctors in Meru. I don’t know who poisoned his mind with witchcraft claims but he kept telling friends he was bewitched.”
The musician’s blood relations claim that Karambu kept compelling wa Kahalf to see her father urgently if he was to survive the ‘sickness.’ But Karambu told The Nairobian she was being accused of things she was not aware of. “It is true I changed my SIM cards severally to avoid them, but I only texted wa Kahalf to urge him to take medicine. I don’t know why he skipped medication. I don’t know those other people who texted and threatened him,” says Karambu.
The mother also claims his son bought a Toyota Prado that was involved in a controversial accident and was written off, but Karambu says there was no such vehicle or incident. “My husband owned only a Probox. I don’t know about that Prado. Can they prove he had one?”
It was also claimed he was poisoned and even the house help allegedly offered Sh30,000 to poison him and his daughter, but she declined. The relatives however dispute the claim.
“Why did she admit this when it was too late? She should have warned him early. We chased her away. She can start life elsewhere,” says Kanuthu, further claiming that between February and March, there was an attempt to poison his drinking water but the plot was foiled. His food and porridge were poisoned and even paraphernalia found in the house.
Later, wa Kahalf’s and his daughter’s underwear were discovered twisted seven times, his vest and T-shirt ripped at the neck and front then concealed in a black paper bag in the house.
This made wa Kahalf to relocate to the house of his other wife, Pastor Zaweriah Wang’ombe.
Karambu disputes these allegations as planned to portray her negatively. “If food was poisoned, why was this not detected in the medical tests? Wa Kahalf has been unwell for over two years and I wonder why they claim it was witchcraft. Initially, they said the house help was offered Sh300,000, then Sh200,000 and now Sh30,000. I am tired of these fights,” she said.
Karambu adds: ”He was convinced he was under a spell and medicine would not heal him. I believe those paraphernalia were planted in the house. I never saw them apart from pictures of that stuff they shared around.”
Wa Kahalf spent over 100 days bedridden at home, the Aga Khan Hospital and at St Francis Hospital, Kasarani. He survived on drip water and kept vomiting and spitting saliva. “When he swallowed his saliva he would vomit. We had a container at his bedside in hospital and at home,” said a cousin who tended to him. The family claimed even after dozens of tests, doctors could not determine what was wrong with him.
The whole saga has had all manner of women crawling from the woodwork, including one Njoki who called on June 19 from Germany saying she had miscarried wa Kahalf’s twins.
Kanuthu says Karambu had threatened to deal with Njoki, an allegation she denies explaining, “my husband had women all over and I tried to dissuade him from those relationships but he never listened.”
Wa Kahalf was one of the musicians who performed at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaigns in the run up to the 2013 general election.
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