Wife in custody after murder of school principal

When Kiru Boys Secondary principal Solomon Mwangi and his wife Jane Mbuthia left the school’s living quarters on November 5, one would have assumed they were only looking forward to seeing their three children at their Kiambu home.

But now, slightly over a week later, Mr Mwangi is dead and his wife is in police custody facing a murder charge.

On Monday, the body of the principal, who went missing last week, was identified at City Mortuary, while Ms Mbuthia, the principal of Ichachiri Girls Secondary School in Kiambu County, was arrested in connection to the death.

Mr Mwangi’s remains were found in a coffee farm at Karugato in Kiambu County.

Police on Monday asked a court in Murang’a to let them hold Ms Mbuthia for 14 days, saying she is the main suspect in the murder. The court allowed seven days and ordered the case to be mentioned on November 21.

Initial investigations show that the principal was strangled and his body dumped in the farm.

BODY FOUND BY WATCHMAN

Mr Mwangi had failed to collect the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination papers for his school from the Murang’a County Commissioner’s office on November 7, prompting police to search for him.

According to Murang’a county commissioner John Elungata, his body was found by a watchman at the farm on Friday evening.  The guard reported to Juja Police Station and his body was transferred to the City Mortuary. “Relatives and colleagues identified him at the weekend,” said Mr Elungata. 

The search had escalated to a large-scale manhunt that involved MPs, teachers, education officials and the police.

“All angles should be examined or we will ask House committees to deal with the matter,” said Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau.

It all started on November 4 when the wife came to visit Mr Mwangi at Kiru Secondary School, which is sandwiched between tea plantations in Kiriaini.

Normally, Ms Mbuthia would visit on Fridays and leave with the husband on Saturday for their home in Kiambu, where they live with their three children. 

“He was looking forward to administering KCSE exam the following week,” his deputy Simon Mburu told teachers during a prayer session.

PREPARE FAMILY FOR THE WORST

Education officials said the couple were seen in Murang’a having a meal on Saturday. On Sunday, the principal even called a cleric from Mathioya over prayers the priest was supposed to say for students in readiness for the KCSE that Monday.

According to Mr Elungata, his wife dropped him off at Witeithie centre on Sunday, November 6, at 3pm.

“That is the last time we heard from him and we suspect that is when things started going wrong,” said Mr Elungata, who added that they were also following clues at Witeithie.

Police are said to be holding a vehicle they said was used in the operation. Queries have been raised on why the crime was reported in Nairobi and not Murang’a, where the couple had come from, or Kiambu, where they were heading.

On Tuesday, school principals went to General Kago Mortuary to look for his body after searching for him in all police stations.

Principals and education officials described Mr Mwangi as a hard-worker who had transformed the school both academically and in sports.

“Mr Solomon Mwangi was a go-getter, with a track record of turning around schools he was posted to head,” said TSC Chief executive officer Nancy Macharia.

When a Nation reporter asked the wife about the progress of the search then, she replied; “I will not talk now. I have gone to prepare my family for the worst,” she said.

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