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Aisha Jumwa finds second political wind after prolonged legal trouble

Politics

A year ago, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender Aisha Jumwa was facing murder and graft charges that had tainted her name and threatened to end her political career.

Jumwa became a frequent guest in police cells at Port Police Station where she was detained for days on various occasions. She also made numerous appearances both in the High Court and Lower Court in Mombasa.

She was facing a Sh20 million graft case where she had been accused of making an illegal payment to a contractor from the constituency NG-CDF kitty. The case however collapsed due to ‘lack of evidence’.

Matters became worse for Jumwa when she and her former bodyguard, some say lover, Geoffrey Okuto were charged in 2020 with the murder of Ngumbao Jola who was shot dead in 2019 in Ganda, Kilifi County.

Through it all, Jumwa maintained that the cases were a political witch hunt instigated by her choice to ditch Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) for then Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Nine lives

After getting trounced in the race for Malindi Governor, many expected that to mark the end for her political career given the heavy legal battles she was facing as well. But like the proverbial cat with nine lives, she emerged as a CS for Gender and Public Service when President Ruto announced his new Cabinet.

Aisha Jumwa takes oath.

More sunshine lay ahead, for on November 30, Jumwa walked to freedom when she turned a state witness against Okuto, her former bodyguard who is also alleged to have been her lover for six years.

A pre-bail report laid before Lady Justice Njoki Mwangi in 2020 at the High Court in Mombasa revealed that Jumwa had lived with Okuto at her palatial homes in Lavington and in Malindi as a bodyguard and lover. The MP hired Okuto six years ago as her private bodyguard when the state withdrew her security detail.

Okuto should have smelled the coffee when Jumwa withdrew all the five lawyers who were representing them, leaving him to defend himself and seek new counsel.

On October 18, Jumwa’s lawyers Jared Magolo, Titus Kirui and Duncan Osoro asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the case against her, saying evidence presented by three prosecution witnesses had shown that she was not involved in Jola’s shooting.

Stable relationship

The report by probation officer Nick Makau indicated that the CS had been in a stable relationship for six years with Okuto after divorcing her first husband 20 years ago.

The report quotes Okuto’s wife Judith Awinja who claimed that he was first employed as a personal assistant and bodyguard before the contract mutated into a romantic relationship

Makau, while presenting the report in court in 2020, confirmed Jumwa and Okuto were involved in a romantic relationship.

“Enquiries established that accused (Jumwa) divorced her first husband over 20 years ago. That for the last six years, she has been in a stable relationship with Mr Geoffery Okuto who is the co-accused in this matter,” Makau’s report read.

Jumwa has three children from her previous marriage — two sons aged 25 and 14 years old and a daughter whose age is yet to be verified.

She has also adopted three other children who belonged to her late sibling.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa Katana (right) and Geoffrey Okuto Otieno at a Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on Thursday 17th October 2019.  Photo/Kelvin Karani

According to a probation report, Okuto was married to Judith Awinja in 2009 but the couple allegedly separated later. But the probation officer in his report indicated that Okuto lied about separating from his wife Judith Awinja with who they bore two children aged eight and five years old respectively.

The report indicated that Okuto’s young family stays in a rental in Embakasi and was currently on the verge of eviction due to three months’ rent arrears.

“The accused (Okuto) married Judith Awinja in 2009 whom he alleges to have separated from. It was however established this information is not true. He is a father of two children aged eight and five years old,” read the pre-bail report.

“His family stays in a rental house in Embakasi and is currently on the verge of eviction due to three months’ rent arrears,” Makau’s report read.

The report further said that Okuto’s wife Awinja was aware of the fact that the accused was at first employed by Jumwa as her personal Assistant before their relationship mutated into a romantic relationship.

What next for Jumwa? Only time will tell.