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The Assassination of Jane K Mutua

Updated on September 14, 2018
Van Nchogu profile image

Am a storyteller, thinker and researcher which i infuse in my writings to communicate better to my readers,

Despite being 12 noon on a Monday which would have been characterized by the hustle and bustle that has come to define Nairobi, it was eerily silent and largely deserted with a huge contingent of heavily armed policemen in full riot gear replacing the hawkers, preachers, beggars, street acrobats, the blaring music from matatus that we’re used to. They were stationed on every major street, highways, roads and important Government installations. Tension had reached unprecedented levels with senior Government and Security officials issuing hourly press statements on all the local or foreign radio & television stations based in the country. Their message was simple, “PLEASE WE URGE ALL CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY TO REMAIN CALM AND MAINTAIN PEACE WHEREVER THEY ARE HENCE IN ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY THE POLICE HAVE BEEN HEAVILY DEPLOYED AROUND THE COUNTRY. OTHER SECURITY FORCES ARE ON STAND BY TO ASSIST IF THINGS ESCALATE THUS ANY FORM OF VIOLENCE WILL BE DEALT WITH PROPORTIONATELY. AS THE GOVERNMENT COMMENCES INVESTIGATION INTO THIS COWARDLY ACT WE URGE RESTRAINT AND PATIENCE FROM OUR CITIZENS.”

Its A Girl

“IT’S A GIRL” that was the main headline on all major newspapers as on the previous day at exactly 12 pm, 12th of May, 1976 Jane Kennedy Mutua was born to the proclaimed royal family of Kenya, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy Mutua. The eloquent, charismatic Mr. Kennedy Mutua was an alumnus of Harvard Law School, graduating on top of his class; he was plucked from a prestigious law firm in New York, U.S.A by the Government to become the youngest Attorney General at only 30 years old. Principled, Honest and Firm, Mr. Mutua tackled his work with zeal coupled with courage in streamlining service delivery, dismantling cartels that thrived on corruption and improving efficiency at the State Law Office. After 5 years at its helm, his popularity surged among the population who likened him as their messiah sent to deliver them from the evil tentacles of corruption, tribalism and nepotism that had infested the country. He single-handedly exposed, stopped major corruption plots like the 1980 Ksh. 11.5 billion Foreign Affairs Ministry Embassy Scandal where crooked businessmen connived with corrupt ministry officials in attempting to swindle the Government by misleading it into buying nonexistent properties around the world which were to house its embassies and staff, after doing due diligence on the deal he realized the deceit and exposed it.

As the Attorney General, he was credited in effectively representing the Government in Courts of law both at home and abroad. But his greatest achievement was the introduction of several crucial legislation that led to establishment of institutions like the Anti-Corruption Commission of Kenya tasked with the sole responsibility of detecting, investigating and stopping corruption. That’s why when his wife, Leah Mutua gave birth to a beautiful bouncing baby girl the media was thrown into a frenzy as the young couple captivated the public with their honest, simple but exciting life despite their stature in society. Greatly impressed by his dedication, the then President H.E Towett Mzalendo tipped Mr. Mutua to succeed him when his term ends by-passing a long line of very powerful politicians who were at the heart beat of power since independence and they started taking note of him.

Sudden Death of Kennedy Mutua

Throwing everything they can to damage his reputation he always came on top and angering them even more as his star became brighter. As the President started laying ground for him to ascend the highest office on land, his detractors started thinking of extreme measures in eliminating him completely. On 26th November, 1982 moments after resigning as the 4th Attorney General of Kenya, Mr. Kennedy Mutua accepted the nomination to become among the three Executive Vice Chairmen of the ruling party who were to be elected at the National Delegates Conference for the position of Chairman and reserved for the presidential candidate. The following day he suddenly collapsed half way through his morning jog and taken straight to hospital. After hours of surgery he was pronounced dead at exactly 12 noon and plunged the whole country into an unprecedented panic, anguish and disbelief which led to massive street protests lasting several weeks. After extensive investigations by the Government assisted by foreign experts its official position was that he died of massive heart attack occasioned by high blood pressure and an inquest opened for further investigation. With his death the status quo remained intact and the citizens lost a chance to change it.

On 25th March 2001 as the country was reeling from another huge corruption scandal that had implicated senior politicians, influential businessmen and Health Ministry officials where the tax payer lost an estimated Ksh.35 billion when they allowed the procurement of over-priced, sub-standard medical equipment from China which were to be installed on all major Government hospitals around the country another event went unnoticed at the High Court in Nairobi. 40 ambitious lawyers were taking their oath before the Chief Justice in order to be admitted at the bar and become Advocates. Among them was a young 25 year old woman whose resilience, intellect and perseverance had seen her rise from the ashes to achieve a First Class Honors in Law, Masters in Constitutional Law, and Diploma in Law plus being a Certified Public Secretary. Robbed of her father at the age of 6, Jane K Mutua overcame obstacles as she grew up to reach pinnacle of success almost resembling her father’s. With a determined mother, she ensured her daughter had the best of everything and imparted her with good moral values. Leah Mutua was forced to take two jobs to ensure her daughter had the best which meant less time spent with her forcing Jane to mature quickly and learn how to take care of herself.

A quick learner, Jane was blessed with intellect beyond her age; she was always inquisitive and incessantly disturbed every teacher on her quest for knowledge but her charismatic personality coupled with good oratory skills was what awed many. A talented debater she was the debating club captain where they were national champions for four consecutive years, a record that’s yet to be broken and also the captain of her school. She emerged the 3rd best student countrywide on her K.C.S.E scoring straight A’s on seven out eight subjects and fulfill her life’s long dream of studying law against her mother’s wishes. Since childhood Leah started noticing how her daughter was slowly evolving into a mini version of her late husband and that’s why she tried effortlessly to discourage Jane from pursuing law but she was her father’s daughter. Since her father’s death, Jane was determined to complete what her father had started, that is to become the President of Kenya and finally free her citizens after years of bad leadership.

Her impeccable credentials attracted top law firms and companies which offered an attractive remuneration package that made any sane person go crazy but she turned them down and chose to become a public prosecutor in the Office of Public Prosecutions or (O.P.P). The decision to join O.P.P baffled many as it was riddled with corruption, tribalism and cronyism which hindered its quality of service. Despite attempts to reform it, vested interests from politicians and powerful cartels embedded within the institution made it nearly impossible. It was public knowledge of how suspects with money and connections colluded with public prosecutors by bribing them to bungle cases with sub-par performances before trial judges thereby defeating the course of justice. For example the famous case of Republic of Kenya vs. John Whitley, where the flamboyant, wealthy American businessman with connections to powerful politicians in the country was accused of murdering his Kenyan girlfriend Purity Wamboi by poisoning and hiding her body in a septic tank for weeks after suspicions of infidelity. Despite water-tight evidence available to convict him, Mr. Whitley was acquitted of all charges by the Court after the prosecutor “conveniently” forgot to admit crucial evidence and gave the defense an easy pass. The trial judge was so incensed by the prosecutor’s action who seemed unfazed by his actions that he banned him from ever stepping in any courtroom.

Jane Takes the Reins at O.P.P

Diving into the lion’s den, Jane had one purpose on her mind; to become the Director of Public Prosecutions by the time she hit 30 years and reform the institution which would definitely shine some limelight on her as an incorruptible public servant. Immediately she got down to work and within one year she had successfully prosecuted several cases and refused any bribes to throw away cases which made the cartels get jittery about her. Her lineage did not help matters with many drawing comparisons to her late famous father campaign against corruption, she captivated all those who encountered her using eloquent, intellectual filled, and convincing arguments. Despite constant hurdles placed before her; Jane always came on top just like her father did and was dreaded by those on the wrong side of law. Her big break came when she successfully convicted an influential businessman with close ties to the presidency after being accused of tax evasion by the Kenya Revenue Authority which discovered that he tried bribing its officials to clear his containers without paying the requisite import duty denying the tax payer revenues amounting to Ksh. 2.5 billion. Using his powerful connections he intimidated K.R.A officials who demanded he follows the law and pay. After the story was leaked to the media he was finally arrested after weeks of public pressure and Jane made sure he paid the maximum penalty as he was handed a 5 year sentence and his property confiscated to pay the tax bill.

By 28 years she was in charge of Economic Crimes Division which put her on a collision course with the elite as she zealously went for any perceived ill- gotten gains by sometimes initiating her own private investigations with help from her growing supporters who leaked confidential information that explicitly implicated them and led to recovery of stolen public funds amounting to billions. When the Director of Prosecutions announced his sudden resignation after being caught interfering in a case that forced the Government in forking out Ksh. 5 billion in compensation to a businessman who had illegally grabbed a public land belonging to the Interior Ministry intended for a Police housing project using forged documents. Jane immediately seized the opportunity and applied for the vacant position against candidates who were more experienced and politically connected, a move that caught the public’s attention. After being short-listed her name plus other successful candidates were forwarded to parliament for public grilling where her interview lasted one hour as she impressed the panel with her, charisma and firm grasp of law despite being a novice. She was among the three nominees forwarded by parliament to the President to choose among them and appoint as Director of Prosecutions. Facing pressure from the elites who had their preferred candidate against Jane who was the public’s favorite, with an incoming election around the corner, in a populist move he appointed Jane Kennedy Mutua as the Director of Public Prosecutions days before her 30th birthday and her slow ascension to the highest seat in the land begun earnestly.

For Leah it was history repeating itself as she paralleled her daughter’s rapid rise in the Government to her late husband, who also at the age of 30 became the Attorney General in Kenya and got her extremely worried as she feared the probable outcome of Jane’s determined quest for the presidency. Her daughter’s ambition was becoming unstoppable and she somehow resigned to fate but vowed to continue pressuring Jane in abandoning her ambitions.

Jane begun her long awaited reform policies with zeal soon after taking her oath, instituting series of changes aimed at improving quality of services offered to the public, opening the institution for scrutiny, and dismantling cartels. Within 3 years its efficiency, thoroughness, and professionalism in handling cases greatly. Their rate in securing successful convictions were in an all-time high thanks to Jane’s dedication and personal efforts in reforming O.P.P which put fear on her growing number of enemies who had somehow survived her onslaught. Her popularity surged as diplomats started viewing her as a future candidate for the top seat and polls suggesting majority of people would vote for her if she sought an elective seat. Despite the pressure she remained focused on finishing her term and after five years as D.P.P; Jane bowed out elegantly and refused to reapply instead shifted her focus elsewhere.

Entry Into Politics

Gilbert Matundura was the longest serving Member of Parliament in the country having earned the distinction of representing Embakasi constituency for 30 years making him one of the most powerful and politically connected M.P who amassed a massive fortune over the years. Using his resources and connections on every level of Government he retained power at any cost. With elections beckoning, in his usual boisterous nature he declared no need of holding it in Embakasi as the results would be the same and dared the Electoral Commission to announce him the winner. Proud and narcissistic he went further in declaring himself the winner earning a mere warning from the electoral agency. When candidates started handing over their nominations papers for various elective seats, one name stood out from the rest, Jane Mutua was seeking to become the next elected representative of Embakasi and immediately Gilbert dismissed it as inconsequential. Chauvinistic in nature he saw Jane as an object that was over stepping its boundaries and launched a slew of expletives against her, going even further by attacking women in general. Although a greenhorn, Jane was focused in dethroning him, using charm and charisma she quickly grew her support base by regularly interacting with potential voters. With help from her supporters and donations from well-wishers she assembled an efficient campaign machine that slowly started penetrating the huge constituency and Gilbert went into panic mode. A member of the ruling elite, he rebuffed her efforts and countered with his own massive campaign by openly dishing out money to voters running into millions of shillings ignoring elections rules & regulation against such malpractices.

With only two contenders on the ballot after others stepped down to support Jane, Embakasi became a battleground between the ruling elite whose sole intention was maintaining the status quo and the majority of citizens tired of their rule, Jane represented the latter. The duel attracted massive media attention locally and for the 1st time in thirty years Gilbert had a real challenger. When violence and intimidation failed he resorted to whip up tribal emotions among his kinsmen & bribing electoral officials but she was unstoppable. Sensing his inevitable defeat at the hands of Jane, the ruling elite quickly abandoned Gilbert and tried aligning themselves with her but she rejected their advances. On 10th August, 2007 Jane was unanimously elected as the M.P for Embakasi garnering 195,500 votes which represented 95% of the total votes against her challenger who had a paltry 5,000 votes and threw the entire establishment into a spin as her momentum for the presidency started gaining pace.

Re-shaping the August House

Since independence parliament has been divided along ideological and party lines, where one side was pro- establishment and for the continuation of the status quo while the other side was its opposite. The ruling elite maintained its control over the legislative assembly by ensuring it always had a majority of elected representatives who advanced their agenda and systematically weakening the opposition. The politics of patronage had been entrenched with most legislators owing their survival to the ruling elite who used them in passage of unpopular policies that hurt the common man and cementing their rule. It proved to be a different ball game for Jane, without any party affiliations she quickly had to learn the intricacies involved by delicately balancing her ambitions while effectively representing her constituents.

She knew politics was about numbers, and majority of legislators viewed her with suspicion especially after dethroning Gilbert Matundura who commanded respect from most of them. But her strong character, impeccable record as a public servant coupled with strong public support worked to her advantage in enticing fellow colleagues and slowly begun bolstering her numbers. The Young Democrats as they came to be famously known, Jane and her growing legion of mainly youthful M.Ps started attracting attention from the elite who had controlled parliament for over 50 years. In a bold move, Jane led over 60 legislators to cross from the Government side and join her in forming a formidable opposition which rattled the establishment. Those who dismissed her as a political novice realized the growing threat she posed and their firm grip on parliament was beginning to get loose. Together with her fellow M.Ps they re-ignited quality debates, introduced motions challenging the status quo, and posed stiff opposition to unpopular Government policies introduced in the house unlike before where it was usually an easy ride for the establishment. Within one year Jane had started building a formidable political base that was set to catapult her presidential ambitions and it scared stiff her growing legion of enemies.

By the time she was seeking re-election, the Young Democrats popularity had risen exponentially and was the un-official opposition which gave nightmares to the ruling elite after exposing several scandals that shook the legislative assembly. For example the Ksh. 95 million bribery saga involving members of the Public Accounts Committee who were compromised in rejecting a report that implicated senior Government officials and politicians who were responsible for flooding the market with cheap imported maize without paying any tax and arm twisting the Government to buy it expensively at the expense of local farmers. The country wasted an estimated Ksh. 5 billion on the imports which could have been paid to local farmers and revitalize the economy. Her anti-corruption crusade attracted many of the disillusioned youths who were tired of the unemployment and poverty levels in the country. At the urging of her supporters, Jane registered the Young Democrats as a party and became the choice for many.

The Revolutions has Begun

The Young Democrats took the country by storm, running on an anti-establishment platform it attracted thousands of followers and by the end of election, it had secured an impressive 120 out of 330 seats in parliament establishing a formidable challenge to the ruling elite. As their party leader, Jane profile was boosted and used the publicity in furthering her presidential ambitions. But as she flew closer to the sun, her enemies were closing in and started plotting how to clip her wings.

On 13th October 2015 after opening new party offices in Nyeri county and scheduled to address a public rally where she was to make a major pronouncement, as her entourage snaked its way into the venue with thousands of supporters accompanying her, she suddenly stopped to acknowledge them. In that brief moment while she was waving back at the enthusiastic crowd, a huge deafening explosion was heard and in those few minutes after it more than 250 people lay dead. The impact was so deadly that any building within the explosion radius was destroyed; ripping apart any structure standing and injuring thousands more. The country was thrown into a panic as media houses competed in breaking the news to its audiences with the fate of Jane K Mutua unknown. The shocking incident further compounded the already tense situation when it was discovered that Jane was going to declare her intentions on running for the top seat in the coming general election at the public rally and heightened people’s suspicion that it was a clear assassination. Government officials seemed prepared for this as within few hours after the explosion, police were mobilized and stationed around the country with specific orders to ruthlessly deal with demonstrators.

“PLEASE WE URGE ALL CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY TO REMAIN CALM AND MAINTAIN PEACE WHEREVER THEY ARE HENCE IN ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY THE POLICE HAVE BEEN HEAVILY DEPLOYED AROUND THE COUNTRY. OTHER SECURITY FORCES ARE ON STAND BY TO ASSIST IF THINGS ESCALATE THUS ANY FORM OF VIOLENCE WILL BE DEALT WITH PROPORTIONATELY. AS THE GOVERNMENT COMMENCES INVESTIGATION INTO THIS COWARDLY ACT WE URGE RESTRAINT AND PATIENCE FROM OUR CITIZENS.” That was message being replayed on every radio or television station as fears of mass riots became imminent and no forthcoming news confirming if Jane was dead or alive but everyone knew her chance of being alive was nil. Everything was reminiscent of her father’s death 33 years ago, it was like father like daughter, the same fate had befallen both of them and by the time of officially announcing her death, half of the country was plunged into chaos. The ruling elite had once again denied the citizens an opportunity to dismantle their authority but this time a revolution had been sparked and was sweeping the country regardless of tribe, class, or race people came together in challenging the elite. It took two deaths, 33 years apart from the same family to finally awaken people from their slumber and started the beginning of the end for the establishment.


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