The Genesis of Mungiki Sect.
The outlawed Mungiki sect started in Murang’a District way back in 1999. Matatu touts came up in arms against the proscribed Mungiki sect. They were protesting against a daily ‘protection’ fee Mungiki charges them.
It created confusion among the community as it was thought to be linked to the controversial Tent of the Living God sect, which was led by the late Ngonya wa Gakonya. In 2000, a police officer was killed after he and his colleagues were overpowered while dispersing an illegal gathering at Kanjahi market in Gitugi location. In pursuit of the sect, police raided a home in Iyego location, Kangema division, where they found several people holding a curious “talk”, which they termed a Gikuyu culture.
Among those held included elderly “traditional healers”. They were arraigned before a Murang’a court shortly. They denounced the sect, alleging they belonged to “Mihiriga Kenda”(The nine sub-clans of the Agikuyu). With that incident, the controversy about the real identity of the Mungiki and their intentions began. A security consultant, however, traces the genesis of the sect way back in 1987 in Rift Valley when a group of people began promoting the Agikuyu culture before venturing into politics.
Indeed, former Molo MP, the late Kihika Kimani, paraded several adherents of Mungiki at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium and introduced them to former President Daniel Moi, saying the youth had vowed to change their ways.
Biggest cause of insecurity.
Adherents of the Mungiki sect during a past rally at the Kamukunji grounds. Nobody took them seriously then and Kenyans thought the move was a political prank. Apparently, the sect did not fizzle out with Kihika’s pronouncement. It grew undetected as an undercurrent and lethal outfit. With time, it graduated into crime, with matatu (public transport) operators hiring its operatives for “security” of termini. Ironically, today, the Mungiki are now the biggest cause of insecurity.
At some point, they broke ranks with the transport operators after demanding more money than the operators were prepared to part with. Owing to the consequent confusion, the Mungiki transformed itself into a vigilante group. It took control of rural villages and claimed to be “guarding” them at night for a fee. Later, they moved back to the lucrative matatu business and forcefully took control of stages in Murang’a District.
The Government cracked the whip on the sect four years ago following street demonstrations by residents. Before long, Mungiki had moved into other towns and started levying illegal charges on vehicles. Soon, it emerged that Mungiki was a ‘national’ outfit with national officials to boot. They come out in the open, held press conferences and radio talk shows, and recruited hundreds of youth. But even then, the true intentions and scope of membership remained shrouded in mystery.
Some of the burnt houses belonging to sect members in Banana. File picture Still, the Government dithered and shuffled in indecision, allowing the movement to fester and grow. Mungiki boasted of national and district officials in major towns. Its members strutted press conferences sniffing tobacco and proudly displaying their unkempt dreadlocks.
Chiefs are fearful of repercussions.
Within the larger Murang’a District, known strong holds of the sect are Gitugi, Muthithi and Ngurwe-ini in Kandara. They made themselves an authority and killed matatu operators who declined to pay ‘protection’ fee. Recently, Murang’a District Commissioner, Mr Kenneth Lusaka, called on chiefs to help the police identify the whereabouts of the sect members.
But the chiefs are apparently fearful of the repercussions. And such fears are not unfounded, given the last week incidents where four people were beheaded. One head was pinned at the gate of an assistant chief, a warning to the Provincial Administration. The incident was probably the worst in recent history and rocked the entire country, given the gory details of the killings.
Munala Wa Munala.
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