Mungiki gang on the prowl, claim Central leaders

Thursday, November 23rd, 2023 04:09 | By
Mungiki gang on the prowl, claim Central leaders
Mungiki gang members participate in a past public demonstration. PHOTO/Print

The mere mention of the word Mungiki is enough to send shivers down the spines of many in the Mt Kenya region.

Though the government has downplayed residents’ fears of the reemergence of the sect, there have been tell-tale signs of the return of the gang that spread terror in the region in the early 2000s.

Members of the outlawed sect have been regrouping, sometimes attacking those perceived to stand in their way as they extort from Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and residents of the region.

They are part of criminal gangs that run shadowy extortion rings that have taken over the management of matatu termini.

Yesterday, nine women MP from the region asked the government to crackdown on the sect. They told the press that members of the proscribed sect had regrouped and taken control of businesses and transport sectors in the region.

The MPs claimed some of the gang members have been demanding money from business owners to allow them to continue operating.

Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings yesterday, the MPs threatened to mobilise demonstrations in Mt Kenya region should the government fail to crack down on the criminals.

They claimed the gang leaders had held meetings to recruit followers in Kenol area of Murang’a county and are planning to hold similar meetings in Nyeri and Nakuru counties in coming weeks.

They urged Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to crack down on the group. “We MPs drawn from the Mt Kenya region have noted with concern the recent attempts to revive and sanitise the activities of the outlawed Mungiki sect by clandestine forces aimed at destabilising the peace and tranquillity in our region and the nation at large,” the legislators said in statement read by Nyandarua Woman Rep Faith Gitau.

She said the group had in the past disrupted the social fabric of the society and should not be allowed to re-emerge.

Mary Wamaua, the Maragua MP, demanded that the government take action against the gangs which, she said, were creating fear among the people. “We hereby demand that Prof Kithure Kindiki, CS Interior, immediately cracks down on any resurgence of Mungiki as has been recently witnessed on several occasions,” she said.

Other legislators who were a the press conference were Jane Kagiri (Laikipia Woman Rep), Alice Ng’ang’a (Thika Town), Ann Muratha (Kiambu Woman Rep), Irene Njoki (Bahati MP) Jayne Kihara (Naivasha MP) Rahab Mukami (Nyeri Woman Rep) and Pamela Njoki (Embu Woman Rep).

PSVs plying the Ruiru-Nairobi route have in the past complained that criminal gangs have been harassing and forcing them to pay protection fees.

The MPs spoke about a week after former leader Maina Njenga said the sect had ceased operations after his retirement.

Terror groups

Speaking in a TV interview, Njenga said the gang was non-existent, and that he now leads a peaceful Christian initiative. “Some 40 years ago, I used to lead an organisation called Mungiki. But after 20 years, I retired. Mungiki is not there anymore, when you retire you retire with everything,” he said.

Early this year, Kindiki warned of the alleged resurgence of Mungiki in Central and Eastern Kenya. “We saw them chanting outside the DCI when we arrested a suspect and you can see the courage and demeanour of these criminals. I reiterate again that any person who thinks we can go back to the years when terror groups, hiding behind culture, raped, killed and extorted our people is mistaken,” he said in March.

“All those who are recruiting unsuspecting youths to join proscribed organisations are enemies of Kenya and for the sake of Kenya, we will come for you and get rid of you. As much as I want to decongest prisons, I have room for dangerous criminals,” Kindiki had warned.

Days before Kindiki’s warning, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua had cautioned that any attempt to resurrect the outlawed organisation would be met with swift and decisive action.

And yesterday, the MPs called on the government to act tough, accusing the sect of extortion in public transport and construction sectors.

They, in particular, called on the media to stop giving coverage to sect members, saying this was akin to adding insult to injury. “It is unfortunate that we are seeing some media houses attempting to sanitise Mungiki through coverage of their activities. This is completely unacceptable and an assault to the dignity of our country and our people,” said Wamaua.

The legislators said there was need for the media to deny coverage to any leader associated with the sect so as not to amplify their actions.

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