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Increased politicians’ abductions raise eyebrows

Concerns have been raised on the increased kidnappings of politicians, especially during the electioneering period, and which have remained a puzzle even to police officers.

Several cases of politicians disappearing and then resurfacing under mysterious circumstances have become common, with two cases having been reported in Kiambu within a week. Police are yet to establish what exactly happened.

Police officers have, in some instances, described them as fake kidnappings since the stories behind them are akin to movie scripts.

Pundits have said some of these acts are meant to help the politicians attract sympathy votes, and sometimes this has worked.

In 1997, ahead of the General Election, former Gatundu South MP Moses Mwihia faked a kidnapping and a murder, and blamed the powerful Kanu machinery.

RESURFACED LATER

The well-scripted incident saw Mr Mwihia, who resurfaced days later, beat his then Kanu opponent Uhuru Kenyatta. Analysts say the electorate gave Mr Mwihia sympathy votes.

The recent incidents have, therefore, rekindled memories of the 1997 incident and sparked a debate.

On Friday, the Kabete Jubilee parliamentary aspirant Charles Chege disappeared and resurfaced on Sunday morning, while Mr Kenneth Kinyanjui, who is fighting for the Ikinu MCA’s seat, went missing on Tuesday night before resurfacing on Tuesday.

Both incidents have major similarities in that the aspirants’ vehicles were found abandoned, their windows smashed, and their phones found inside the vehicles but having been switched off. Both incidents immediately sparked protests in their areas.

Mr Chege was allegedly kidnapped after ending a meeting to strategise on the launch of his manifesto. His car was found at Gitaru near Rungiri dam, with bullet holes.

CRIMINAL ANGLE

Kabete police boss Joseph Oganya said they had launched “an open minded” investigation, but the criminal angle was the priority.

This came amid speculation that the politician may have choreographed the abduction to win sympathy ahead of Friday’s Jubilee primaries.

“If anyone has evidence that the incident may have been acted, they should step forward and share it with us but not peddle speculation,” Mr Oganya said.

But a police officer who sought anonymity, since he is not authorised to speak to the media, said they suspect the incident was faked.

In Mr Kinyanjui’s case, his car was found near his parents’ home at Karia village in Githunguri. According to his father John Kamau, the politician, whose residence is in Kitengela, had last been seen in a bar at Ikinu trading centre.

INTENSIFIED SEARCH

On Tuesday, as police intensified his search, his sister Jacqueline Kamau said the politician had resurfaced along Mombasa Road.

The family said a police officer had informed the father of Mr Kinyanjui’s reappearance, saying he was fit and that he was offered fare to travel back to Ikinu on his own.

But it’s not just the two incidents that have raised more questions than answers.

On March 7, 2015, Juja ward representative Samuel Gitau was kidnapped as he drove to his home in Mirima-ini estate. His vehicle was found the following morning at the entrance to his home. He was found eight days later.

Then Kiambu County commander James Mugera said: “The ward representative’s story sounded like a movie but it will be thoroughly investigated since his resurfacing has left many questions unanswered.”

Another kidnapping which was riddled with mystery was that of Embu Speaker Kariuki Mate in 2014.

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