Spate of unresolved murders worrying; calling on DPP to act

By The Standard | Thursday, Sep 6th 2018 at 00:00
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Two chilling deaths and threats to the life of a prominent city lawyer have gripped the country in the last one week. The latest death was reported yesterday when the body of university student Sharon Otieno was discovered with stab wounds in Migori County.

Ms Otieno and a Nation Media Group journalist had been picked by people known to them. Sensing danger, Barack Oduor jumped out of the moving car and sustained serious injuries.

In the first incident, a former Garissa county executive was trailed and attacked as he drove into his compound in Nairobi. He is still fighting for his life in hospital. Police rounded up suspects and after seemingly trying to piece together an investigation narrative, a new twist emerged.

The police claim a man, David Maina, who confessed - before a judge - to have fired the near-fatal bullet, took his own life at a city police station.

Whereas the motive of the deaths and the attempted murder are still not known, at the centre of these incidents are powerful Government officials and a quest to suppress the truth from coming out.

There have been howls of indignation about what the public genuinely feels are attempts at cover ups.

And this is why this newspaper is calling on Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to move swiftly and ensure that justice is served.

Obviously, many Kenyans have a jaundiced view of Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti’s promise to "crack the case in three days”. In the case of the injured former Finance executive Idriss Aden Mukhtar, what had appeared an open and shut case was thrown up in the air with the suicide at Parklands Police Station.

The vague postmortem report given by the Government Pathologist doesn’t help much, especially after the immediate family of the deceased man were not allowed to view his body.

That the police seem out of their depth in the first case makes it hard to convince us that the second case is going to be easy to crack. What if Mr Oduor had not jumped out of the moving vehicle and lived to tell the tale? Certainly, the story would be different today.

And that is why we're calling on the DPP who, by showing that there is no corner hidden far away from his broom in the anti-corruption crusade, can deliver justice to the countless families of the victims of needless killings and attempted murders.

The DPP should refocus his energies on the forces of impunity in the security sector that are so determined to bend the arch of justice toward lawlessness. The police have been known to singly or in cahoots with other powerful forces to subvert the course of justice. Those dark forces should not be allowed to get away with one more injustice.

Just as Mr Haji wishes to make it known that those who steal public money will have no place to hide, he ought to demonstrate that human life is sacred and far more important (than even money) by stealthily going after those who unlawfully take it and making sure that they are severely punished.

If nothing else, the DPP should ensure that unresolved killings end during his tenure. Kenyans are too used to unresolved murders - where investigation trails go cold as soon as the victims are buried.

The killers of self-styled whistle-blower Jacob Juma, former IEBC staffer Chris Msando, former Kabete MP George Muchai, Ford Foundation’s Oscar Kang’ara, Jared Achok, Wilson Munene and many others are still roaming freely.

Mr Haji should take it upon himself to catch and punish these killers. It won’t be easy uprooting decades’-old corruption and complicity in crime in a broken security system, but it is worth trying.

Taking journalists on a tour on Saturday of the cells where Mr Maina is said to have hanged himself was nothing short of a crass attempt by police to explain away the implausible. Just how did the suspect climb the wall, tie a piece of clothing and hang himself without his cellmates or the police manning the reporting desk noticing  any commotion?

Mr Haji, start here.

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