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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mob Lynching: Chief faces trial

Chief held
over murder

By Musindi Nzuma

It is said that the law has long arms. This is emerging as the gospel truth for a Chief in Macha­kos County. Police in Macha­kos seized the chief  for pros­ecution for murder arising from a case of mob justice.

The Katheka-kai chief, Bernard Mutevu was arrested  and locked up at the Machakos police station awaiting to record fresh statements in connection with the incident that took place over two years ago.
His arrest comes nearly one year after a Machakos Court Inquest found the chief culpable in the death of a suspected cow thief in his area.
At the time of the incident, cattle theft was so rampant in the location that citizens be­came restless and were set to take the law into their hands and defend their cattle because the government, whose rep­re­sen­tative is the chief, could not offer the guarantee. At the peak of the theft, local one morning rounded up a suspect and frogmatched him to the chief’s home so that he would take up the matter and hand the suspect to the police.
The inquest was told that the chief made remarks to the effect that the villagers had no business bringing a man they sus­pected to be key to their woes in the location while he was still alive. It is alleged that he struck the suspect and left villagers to finish him off.
Immediately after the incident, Chief Mutevu was briefly arrested and later released. Af­ter months of pressure from the family, the State reluctantly instituted an inquest and the court found that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the chief.
It has taken more months of family pressure to have the chief brought to court and his day came this month, when police pounced on him for prosecution.
Machakos OCPD Richard Kerich said the chief would be charged with murder after the court directed that he be charged.
Meanwhile, an effort to produce the chief before court a day later hit a snag owing to unspecified reasons and was even­tually re­turned to the police station.

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