Bishop Margaret Wanjiru in the dock at a milimani court where she was charged with malicious damage of property at City Park (Photo: George Njunge)
Nairobi governorship aspirant Bishop Margaret Wanjiru had a long day in court after being charged with attempting to disrupt the Jubilee party nominations.
It was a nail biting experience for the former lawmaker, who looked tired and unkempt as her lawyers haggled with prosecutors for her freedom. And when Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi spoke, Wanjiru was shocked to learn she would spend five more days in police custody until May 2 when she would be released on bond. This will be on condition she pays Sh500,000, as bond, and two sureties of similar amount.
Things turned from bad to worse for the once MP for Starehe Constituency and Bishop of Jesus is Alive ministries, as the glory seemed to have deserted her amidst reality of facing up to two years in jail, if found guilty of the offences.
Night in cells
Wanjiru’s ordeal started with being locked up at the Parklands police station overnight, before being detained at the court cells for over ten hours as Andayi made a decision on whether to release her on bail or order for her detention.
As if being in the dingy cells of Milimani law courts rubbing shoulders with suspected hardcore criminals was not enough for Wanjiru, the bishop had no way of monitoring the tallying of her votes and those of her son Stephen Kariuki who was vying for Mathare MP. Wanjiru was in a bitter contest with Mike Mbuvi sonko and Peter Kenneh for the Nairobi governor’s seat.
Away from the glamour of her pulpit where attendants were at hand to proffer sanitised handkerchiefs, at the dock she sat pensively alone as the charges were read out, throwing occasional motherly smiles to her son, Kariuki. A number of her supporters and faithful were also in court to comfort her at her darkest hour.
Wanjiru faced a first count of malicious damage to property where it was alleged that on Wednesday during the Jubilee party nominations at City Park Market in Nairobi, she destroyed ballot boxes and assorted ballot papers worth Sh30,000.
In the second count, she was charged with creating disturbance during the party primaries by allegedly storming the Jubilee party polling station at City Park Market and disrupting the voting exercise.
She denied all the charges but the prosecution through investigating officer Shadrack Mbila filed an affidavit to persuade the magistrate to deny her bail, stating that her release will compromise ongoing investigations.
“Our investigations have showed that the accused was accompanied by over 50 rowdy and chaotic people who are still at large. They scared the polling clerks who fled for their safety and we are yet to trace them to record statements,” said Mbila.
The prosecution further hinted of preferring more charges against Wanjiru, and pleaded with the magistrate to detain her as a measure of maintaining peace during the ongoing party primaries.