Mungiki Members Face Murder Charge

East Africa Standard (Kenya)/March 20, 2004
By Judy Ogutu

An earlier charge preferred against 32 suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect will be changed to murder.

The national chairman of the outlawed sect, Mr John Maina Njenga and 31 others will now be charged with the murder of one Francis Njoroge Maina.

The group was initially charged with being members of a proscribed sect and participating in unlawful oathing, binding them not to reveal their activities.

The prosecutor in the case, Moses Odoyo, yesterday told a Nairobi court that the State now intended to charge Njenga and the rest with the murder.

Chief Magistrate, Mr Aggrey Muchelule discharged them of the earlier charges after Odoyo sought for the same.

Maina was allegedly murdered last February 19, along Kirinyaga road in the city.

However, the suspects' lawyers'objected to the application, saying the prosecution's intention to withdraw the earlier charges was an abuse of the court process as it had not given concrete reasons for its action.

They termed the application mischievous and urged the court not to allow it, saying the new Government came to power on a platform of upholding the rule of law. The lawyers were further angered by Odoyo for seeking to withdraw the charges imme-diately Muchelule freed their clients on a bond of Sh100,000 with one surety of a similar amount.

Muchelule had denied the group bond on March 9 noting that there were increased incidents of armed robbery, carjackings and cold-blooded murders in Nairobi and other parts of the country, which could have been perpetrated by the members. He had further said oathing by the sect leaders compounded the problem since it bound the suspects against disclosing their activities.

Muchelule had added that the sect had been proscribed because its activities went against the country's security interests.

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