By Mary Kamande
Joyce Waithera, the wife of Erick Ndumbe and
his mother Ms Philomena Wangui.
[Photo: Mary Kamande/Standard]
Having differed with his wife, Erick Ndumbe spent Easter weekend lonely. But he had high hopes of reconciling with her on Easter Monday.
- 1 Kisumu MCA Paul Okwiri charged with faking abduction
- 2 Child buyers to face the law
- 3 Three arraigned in court over series of abductions
- 4 Chief in abduction saga expresses interest to withdraw case
Eager to woo her back, he had followed her from Juja, and managed to convince her to let him accompany her to her sister’s place in Witeithie Estate in Thika.
But the anticipated reunion of husband and wife was never to be as the 28-year-old man was abducted as his wife, Joyce Waithera, watched.
“We had separated for a week and he had come to me begging for forgiveness. He had insisted that he accompanies me to my sister’s place, but I had declined. “However, he had followed me from Juja to Witeithie and when he caught up with me, I gave in to his request. But as we walked to my sister’s place, we were intercepted by four men riding on two motor bikes,” she remembers.
She says her husband tried to avoid the men but they were fast and blocked their way after which they held Ndumbe by his shoulders and forced him to get onto one of their motorcycles.
“They seemed familiar to him as when they forced one of the bike’s tyre’s between his legs, he asked one of the riders why they were bothering him yet he was with me,” she says.
“Niki muranjuria na twina mama (What is the matter, can’t you see that I am with my wife)?” he is said to have asked the abductors.
On enquiring what her husband had done to warrant the harassment, Waithera says the men said her husband was among others who had stolen a motorbike. They then left with him in haste.
“I thought that they would take him towards the local police post but instead, they drove towards a quarry, often filled with water. I rushed to Witeithie Administration Police Post and reported the matter,” she says.
But instead of getting help, she says an administration police officer discouraged his colleague from following the abductors saying Ndumbe was not worth the bother as he had on Good Friday fought with boda boda operators over a woman.
“Let whatever will befall him befall him as he is a bad person. But if we get to hear of anything worthwhile, we will let you know,” the police officer is said to have told the woman.
Tracking the abductor
During her encounter with the police officer, she says she learnt the name of one of the people who abducted her husband and approached boda boda operators for directions to his place.
“They, however, warned me not to go to his place alone. I also learnt that the man sold fuel siphoned from lorries belonging to one of Thika Road contractors,” she says.
On going to the suspect’s home in the company of a relative, she says they only found the suspect’s wife who informed them that her husband was in Thika. But she gave them his contacts.
But they would not meet with the suspect as soon after reaching him via his mobile phone, he promised to meet them but never did. Subsequent calls to him went unanswered prompting her and her family to report the matter at the Thika Police Station.
She says after reporting the matter, police requested to be shown the home of the suspect. But even after being shown the place, they never made effort to apprehend him.
Days later, as they recorded their statements at Thika Police Station, she says she saw the wife of the suspect also make a statement and learnt that she had reported that her husband had also disappeared.
But as the family of Ndumbe made follow ups, they never saw the other woman.
“I think the woman was used to disguise the matter. I also learnt that she had been my husband’s former lover and could have been the one they had been fighting over on the said Friday,” says Waithera, who had been married to Ndumbe for only eight months.
She says she suspects it was the conflict over the suspect’s wife that could have led to Ndumbe’s abduction or another deal gone sour.
But even if there existed bad blood between the two, she insists that it did not warrant his abduction.
She says that a police officer who dealt with the suspect’s wife informed her that the woman seemed to know of Ndumbe’s whereabouts. However, no action was taken to get more information from the other woman about Ndumbe’s disappearance.
Following the disappearance, she says her family has looked for him in hospitals, mortuaries and Thika Prison but without success.
“We have not checked with our family members as it does not seem possible that he could have been taken to them,” says Ndumbe’s mother, Philomena Wangui.
According to Ndumbe’s mother, police do not seem to be keen on solving the puzzle.
She says at the instruction of the police, the family showed them (the police) where the suspected abductor lived but even after taking them to his residence, no further action was taken.
“They told me to hire a taxi and take them to the suspect’s home, which I did. When we showed them where he lived, they did not make any effort to go in there. They told us to leave the matter in their hands. But we have not been given any worthwhile feedback,” she laments.
“After the initial report at Thika Police Station, we have made follow ups, even sought audience with the OCPD, but we seem to have hit a dead end,” says the mother desperately.
Hoping for the best
Meanwhile, Ndumbe’s mother and wife hope against hope that their loved one will miraculously resurface or the police will establish where his abductors took him.
“It is a now over a month since he was abducted and I fear he is not safe. He could even be dead. But all I want now is to know where he is; dead or alive,” says Wangui, a single mother of two.
Thika OCPD Mr Paul Leting first said that if Ndumbe hailed from Juja, it was not his area of jurisdiction but on informing him that the abduction took place in Witeithie, he said he was aware of the disappearance and it was the Thika OCS who was tackling it.