Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How Ivy Wangechi’s killer has ‘eluded justice’ for over 3 years

The wheels of justice in Kenya turn excruciatingly slow. This has been especially true and painful for the family of Ivy Wangechi.

You see, over three years have now passed since Naftali Njahi Kinuthia brutally murdered Ivy Wangechi, a student at Moi University main campus. Naftali, then 28, hacked Ivy to death outside the Moi Referral Teaching Hospital.

Ivy was 25. Since then justice for the loss of their daughter has eluded the family of Ivy, with the case in court dragging on with no end in sight.

The years 2020 and much of 2021 were particularly painful for the family. The case could hardly start as the defense offered hurdles after hurdles. For instance, on May 27, 2021 the hearing of the case was postponed for the fifth time.

This postponement came after Naftali’s lawyer, withdrew from the case citing frustration from his client.

“We spend between Sh. 60,000 and Sh. 100,000 on expenses for every trip to bring all these witnesses. Emotionally and financially nobody seems to care for what we as the victim’s family is going through,” said Ivy’s mother Winfred King’ori outside the court.

High Court judge Stephen Githinji directed Deputy Registrar Grace Sitati to immediately appoint another lawyer to the accused to fast track the case. He directed the case to be mentioned on June 9 2021.

The case finally took off in July 2021 after the court outlined the hearing schedule. In December 2021, the hearing of the murder case was adjourned until February 2022.

In a shocking testimony after committing the murder, Kinuthia said that he had murdered Ivy after she broke his heart through frequent disappointments.

Confessing to Eldoret East DCI boss, Ali Kingi,after killing Ivy three years ago, the killer had claimed that he had invested money and emotions in Ivy, but his love and financial kindness wasn’t reciprocated as per his expectations.

“The accused said he used to send the woman some money. The girl, according to accused, had told him that she was organizing her birthday party, which would happen soon.”

“He said he sent her some money to arrange the event. After sending the money, Ivy refused to pick his calls. That is what prompted him to travel [from Thika] to Eldoret. He said he wanted to know why she was ignoring him,” Kingi said.

“When he [Kinuthia] arrived in Eldoret, Ivy continued to decline to pick his calls. He said it got to a point where she switched off her phone. According to him, that angered him prompting him to look for an axe,” said Mr Kingi.

“He said it wasn’t his first time coming to Eldoret, and that he used to visit her often in the past. He said he visited Ivy Wangechi days to the murder, and their meeting was brief.”

Ivy Wangechi

“Ivy told him that she was going to her residential place to take off her professional attire. She told him she would be back. However, upon reaching her residential place, Ivy switched off her phone, effectively blocking her planned meeting with him,” said the Eldoret East DCI chief.

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“He said that also provoked him into returning to Eldoret to try speak with the Ivy. Upon returning to Eldoret, the accused said he felt despised by Ivy when she refused to pick his calls. He bought the axe and knife in Eldoret town and went ahead to murder the girl,” said Kingi.

The DCI chief said Ms Wangechi’s parents knew the suspect, and that he had been their family friend for long.“The girl’s parents  said they knew Kinuthia. He used to visit them often, and was a family friend. They were also shocked why Kinuthia killed Ivy. Ivy Wangechi and Kinuthia had known each other since childhood.”

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