Tension as Court
visits scene of crime
DRAMA unfolded in a Makueni court as a new charge was brought in to substitute an older defective one.
When the case resumed, it was yet another day of intrigue as tensions soared when the court moved to the scene of crime to view the Parish House, the official residence of the Father- in- Charge of the Wote Parish of the Catholic Church.
The court visited the scene so as to ac-quaint itself with the setting of the house, the rooms the parties in the case occupied and the ex-act place where the alleged shooting took place.
The old charge alleges that Fr John Wambua Makewa attempted to murder Fr.Nzuki by shooting him on his right hand while in-deed the shots hit his left hand, a situation be-lieved to be part of the intrigue to have the case thrown out on the technicality of being defective.
After the substitution of the charge, indicating that the shot hit the left hand, Father Makewa still entered a plea of Not Guilty.
At the same time, a new advocate has filed record to represent the suspended Father in charge of Wote Parish, John Wambua Makewa in the case of attempted murder. If con-victed, he faces a possible penalty of life im-pris-onment.
The advocate replaces Ms Catherine Kathambi Kianji who left no doubt that there existed an unidentified woman who may have been a cause of disease and conflict between the two priests.
Police Inspector Joseph Katumo is prosecuting the case while a Nairobi Lawyer Victor Asiyo is holding brief for Fr Nzuki. Mr B M Musau is holding Brief for the Machakos Catholic Diocese
Kathambi’s sensational clue came as she interrogated the contents of a P3 form that doctors at The Mater Hospital filled during the treatment of Fr Nzuki.
She sought to know why the HIV status of the victim was not indicated in the report and if Fr Nzuki had disclosed his status to the doctors treating him.
Her freak insinuations that Fr Nzuki was allegedly HIV Positive appeared to irritate the apparent catholic faithful who filled the court-room as there were some clear voices of dis-approval of her line of thought.
The magistrate derailed the lawyer’s line of cross examination when he told the lawyer to drive her points directly and avoid going round in circles.
As she retreated, the lawyer nevertheless indicated that she would be re-turning to that theme at later stages of the trial, a signal that there would be fireworks in coming days.
Be that as it may, Fr Nzuki rebutted allegations that he was HIV Positive or even the existence of such unidentified woman. He dismissed the claim that he was using anti-retroviral drugs for his alleged treatment.
In effect, the lawyer indicated that defense evidence would revolve around the issue of the alleged and yet unnamed woman.
But when the trial resumed, Mr Mwangambo entered record to represent Fr Makewa and never broached on the theory of an unidentified woman and it remains to be seen what would happen to Ms Kathambi’s assertion in court over the theory.
The prosecutor must prove that it is Fr Makewa who pulled the trigger from his Short Gun that left Fr Nzuki with five bullet wounds on his hands and thighs. The Defense is advancing a theory that Fr Nzuki was shot by robbers who allegedly raided the parish house at dawn on the fateful day. One of the most stimulating issues of the case is the motive that led to the shooting of Fr Nzuki.
Fr Makewa is accused of attempting to murder Father Nzuki at the Parish House on March 23, 2010. Police investigations took place at a snail’s pace as it is believed that they never wanted the matter before court.
Father Makewa was charged in February 2011, a whole 11 months after the incident took place and after pressure being mounted on the police to have the case prosecuted. The hearing begun in March, a year later and only after the church suspended Fr Makewa from his duties as the head of the Makueni Parish.
When the hearing resumed, Makueni Senior Resident Magistrate Mr Joseph Karanja led the court to the parish house to have a view of the scene of crime.
Here, Fr Nzuki relived the events that un-folded, leading to his hospitalization for months at Mater Hospital.
It was a dramatic session as the priest demonstrated how his bosom friend fired five bullets into his body in the official residence of the Parish.
Testifying at the scene of crime, Father Fidellis Nzuki demonstrated how crawled along a corridor leading from the sitting room, a gun in his hand, to a door that he had been instructed to open by Father Makewa- before a bullet fired by Fr Makewa hit his arm. The court heard he had been given the fully loaded gun by Fr Makewa and instructed to crawl to the door, open it so that Fr Makewa could gain view of the alleged thieves.
Responding to a question from the Magistrate, Fr. Nzuki was emphatic that he saw Fr Makewa shoot him. Besides seeing him, he shouted at Fr Makewa telling him he had shot him, to which the priest responded “ Die”.
“ I even asked Fr Makewa if he actually wanted to consign me to my Creator without my manhood”, Fr Nzuki said, referring to the moment when a shot tore beside his genitals.
He confessed that he hurled a Kamba slur at Fr Makewa, telling him “…(Unprintable).. go and inform my Mother that you have killed me…” He said when he realized that he was bleeding profusely and could die, he asked for one of the priests in the building so that he could make a final confession before his trumpet call.
He testified he saw Fr. Makewa at a close range when he rose up after the first shot hit him. Fr. Nzuki informed the court that even after shouting at Fr. Makewa that he shot his hand more shots followed.
As defence lawyer cross examined Fr. Nzuki it emerged that the clothes that Fr. Nzuki wore on that fate full night were allegedly destroyed by Fr Makewa for unexplained reasons.
The clothes were removed at Makueni General Hospital and Fr Makewa is said to have taken possession of them and they were never seen again. The defense counsel Mr T Mwangambo did not pursue the matter further.
He told the court that he was dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt but could not trace where the cloths are as he was unconscious . “ I am told Fr. Makewa took my clothes to Mater Hospital” Nzuki told the court responding to a question from Fr. Makewa’s lawyer who tried to examine whether Nzuki knew where the clothes he was dressed in were.
Fr. Nzuki also testified that a parish cook passed through a corridor behind the door he was instructed to open by Fr. Makewa as the incident unfolded.
The hearing had its side shows. Fr. Nzuki’s mother who followed the proceedings keenly at the scene of crime burst into tears pro-testing : “ they wanted to kill my son and now they are denying” Nzuki’s mother said as she broke down in tears.
Fr. Nzuki consoled her with a promise that justice shall come.
The hearing resumes in July 25 to26 and is scheduled to continue in August.