Kenya: Court Told of Late Nyeri Governor's Rocky Marriages With His City Wives

Deceased Nyeri governor Wahome Gakuru was not in good terms with friends and his two wives prior to his death, a court heard on Tuesday.

Nyeri Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo heard that the governor was cautious of his security because of an audit he had ordered on the former regime's administration.

The revelations were made on Tuesday at a public inquest into the circumstances of Gakuru's death by state witness Mr Josphat Mwangi Maina.

The witness was the governor's chief security officer and a long-time confidant.

He told the court that the governor had separated from his first wife Catherine about five years before winning the seat.

PUBLIC APPEARANCES

However, Gakuru kept making public appearances with Catherine in campaign rallies and frequently introduced her to crowds as his wife. This was after his rivals started spreading claims that he had no family or a permanent home, the court heard.

After winning the gubernatorial seat, Catherine was made the First Lady and given an official county government vehicle.

Catherine lived in Runda, while the second wife - named as Wangui - was living in Hurlighham.

Few weeks before his death, the deceased governor was also not in good terms with Ms Wangui, the court heard.

The court further heard that Gakuru had expressed fears for his life after a group of his friends held a meeting in Karatina, where they made threatening statements.

The meeting, the court heard, was convened by the late governor's political advisor Mr Kinyua Kimuli who actively participated in Governor Gakuru's election campaign.

"After getting the seat (governorship), Kimuli and his group wanted positions. They missed and were unhappy. Kimuli called them at his Karatina home for a meal. One person in the meeting informed the governor about the threats," testified Mr Maina.

The threat was never formally reported to the police.

NO FOLLOW UP

The witness said he informed the Central Region Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) but no follow up was made.

Governor Gakuru died on November 7, 2017 in a road crash on the Nyeri-Nairobi highway in Makenji area, few kilometres to Thika Town.

He was in office for only 77 days and was heading to Nairobi for an interview at a vernacular radio station.

His driver, Samson Kinyanjui, lost control of the vehicle - Mercedes E250 - and rammed into a road guard rail which pierced through the car, entering through the front and coming out at the rear.

The witness, who was in the Governor's security chase car, said it was raining throughout the journey and the governor's car was driving at a speed of over 130 kilometres per hour, forcing the chase car also to speed up.

"The governor was on the front left seat and after the accident the vehicle's airbags on his side failed to inflate. But the airbags on the driver's side inflated. The driver did not suffer severe injuries compared to the governor," said Mr Maina.

FOUR OCCUPANTS

The vehicle had four occupants at the time of the crash-- the deceased, his personal assistant Albert Gakuru, his body guard Ahmed Abdi and the driver Kinyanjui.

They had left Nyeri at around 5.00A.M and at 5.30 they were at Kabati, the court heard, with the witness emphasizing that they were speeding to ensure the governor was not late the media interview.

"Governor Gakuru and I lived together at a house he had leased in Ring Road Estate in Nyeri town. A day before the accident we had planned to travel with his Prado vehicle but he changed in the morning and chose the Mercedes car," said Mr Maina.

He could not tell whether the governor's vehicle had undergone a service maintenance.

The inquest will continue Thursday June 27.

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