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Man jailed for failing to raise Sh 9.5 million after losing Mathira election petition



David and Goliath with a twist aptly captures Michael Gichuru’s legal battle to have Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua’s election nullified. Whereas in the biblical story David triumphs over Goliath, Mr Gichuru’s case is different.

The uneven match-up of pockets and legal manoeuvering was not as reliable as Gichuru hoped.

When Gichuru started his legal battle, immediately after the 2017 elections, all he hoped for was justice in what he felt was not a fair contest.Never in his wildest dreams did he think that what he was starting would leave an indelible mark on his life and condemn him to prison.

The 34-year-old village photographer, from Karatina, is now languishing behind bars at King’ong’o Maximum Prison in Nyeri town, after he was unable to raise Sh9.5 million to settle the legal bill from the case.

Police cell

For a man who had never spent a night in a police cell, Gichuru now mingles with convicted criminals at the prison, thanks to the jail term sanctioned by a Nyeri court.

Nyeri High Court Deputy Registrar Nelly Kariuki this week jailed Gichuru over his failure to settle the Sh9,518,972 bill that arose from the petition.According to the law, in a civil matter, the losing party bears the costs of the suit.

Call it naivety or bravery but the father of two, a son and a daughter, decided to take on the moneyed Mr Gachagua head-on not knowing that the end result might be disastrous.

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He is now scratching his head with the hefty bill hanging over his head, never mind that he has never handled a million in cash.

Gachagua’s lawyer Wahome Gikonyo sought orders to have Gichuru compelled to pay the amount and the prayer was granted.Yet for his woes, Gichuru does not believe he defied conventional wisdom when he chose to challenge the election.“I consider myself as a voice for the voiceless and since

I was aware of so many irregularities that went on in that election that not everybody knew about, I decided to act,” he told The Standard at the imposing King’ong’o Maximum Prison.

The Herculean task that Gichuru took up goes against his nature. He is discreet, and worked as a videographer and graphic designer before he was jailed.Gichuru was represented by lawyers from Rachier & Amollo law firm.

When The Standard visited him at King’ong’o Prison on Tuesday, he walked into the visitors’ room clutching a copy of the Constitution he had borrowed from the prison library. When the conversation between us lulled, he idly flipped through the pages.In the sweltering late afternoon heat, he had on a thick grey sweater over his stripped white shirt.

His first words to us were a passing comment about his size. “I know you expected that I would be bigger,” he said.

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Gichuru is diminutive and can barely pass for a 34-year-old.He is also quick to make light of his predicament. “When I came here on Monday, an officer joked that I had chosen the day inmates were served meat,” he said, chuckling.

“The only reason I am here is because I was not served with the documents on time. I was aware of the costs but I was waiting for the process to proceed in the right way.“My lawyers were not involved in the taxation and the same way I was served with the notice to show cause why I should not be jailed was the same way I should have been served with the bill of costs,” he said.

His argument, however, fell short of convincing the court that he was committed to settling the bill.

Baffled many

The deputy registrar observed that Gichuru had not provided a breakdown of how he will make the payments.Submitting on behalf of Gachagua, Wahome said that Gichuru had been served with the bill of costs through his advocates and that is why the matter proceeded to taxation.

That Gichuru was not a candidate, nor did he have any other interest in the case beyond conducting his civil duty, baffles many.

For his reformist ideology, he is modest enough to admit he might not be the headline, but is determined to be more than a footnote.

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He vehemently denies he was a proxy for candidates that lost that election.“I was not acting on anyone’s behalf,” he said, “I was an administrator during the election but that only gave me an advantage to know what was going on, on the ground and act.”

Locked out

“I am on record as informing the electoral commission returning officer that a number of agents were locked out of the polling stations and the process could never be free and fair,” he said.Although he would not say, The Standard is aware, from court records, Gichuru was employed as an agent for Phyllis Wambura, who came second in the election. Gachagua garnered 52,757 votes against Wambura’s 28,893.“I know I am not alone in this because I was speaking for a large number of people who still believe the election was not free and fair. I can still go back to them (to help raise the money),” he said.He added: “Most of the voters encouraged me to continue doing what I was doing.”

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Twelve police officers dead, one injured after IED attack in Wajir



Twelve police officers were killed in Wajir late Friday, when Al Shabaab terrorists planted an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) on the road.

A senior police officer in the region said the attack occurred on Saturday morning at Konton centre, and were pursuing attackers who raided the village late Friday and drove away with three police reservists.

“They appear to have planted explosives on the road because they knew they will be followed,” another officer said.

According to police sources, there were 13 officers in a Land Cruiser that ran over the landmine, twelve of whom died on the spot.

Capital FM News later learnt that a missing officer had been accounted for, settling earlier concerns that some officers may have been kidnapped by the attackers.

Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai however, put the number of police officers on board the patrol vehicle hit by an IED at 11.

A brief statement dispatched to media houses Saturday afternoon indicated that the officers were on a routine patrol of the Kenya-Somalia border between Khorof-Harar and Konton area in Wajir.

“I have dispatched additional resources including air surveillance capability to continue with the operation,” Mutyambai said.

Source:Capital FM

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Governor Sonko sues Star over HIV story



Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has sued Radio Africa and a journalist over an article published in The Star newspaper titled how ‘HIV report helped Sonko out of Kamiti Maximum Prison.’

The article published on June 7 was based on a documented that indicated a court had shortened Sonko’s prison term by three months.

Sonko has however told the court that he has never contracted the HIV virus as published by the paper and has attached medical documents from both Nairobi Hospital and Nairobi women’s hospital.

Through his lawyer Cecil Miller, Sonko says his HIV status is confirmed by the two tests carried out by the institutions in 2011 and 2019 respectively.He avers Radio Africa has knowingly exposed him to embarrassment and public ridicule.Sonko said the contents of the publication painted him as an immoral person and someone infected with the HIV Virus.

The Governor further say the publication branded him a convicted criminal who should not trusted by any right-thinking members of the public and particularly my voters who elected him Governor.Sonko says Radio Africa chose to recklessly and maliciously publish false statements without caring to verify the truth and he has suffered damages.

According to the court documents, Radio Africa published the said article as a vehicle for character assassination without any regard to his rights.

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He is seeking general damages for libel and slander and any other relief court may deem fit to grant.Sonko accused the journalist who authored the story of being driven by malice, propaganda, bias and personal vendetta against him.Sonko had demanded an apology from The Star after the said publication or sue for damages.

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UoN students develop App that helps out colleagues battling stress, STIs



Twelve University of Nairobi students have developed a mobile app that help students to share information and seek counselling on issues they are struggling with.

The RADA App was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

It also helps students get professional information on sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

Other features include reporting and seeking help while in an emergency or an abusive situation, getting career tips and dealing with peer pressure.

The app also has emergency numbers, a hotline feature that helps students locate the nearest ambulance and a Hall’s officer.

It has licensed by the University of Nairobi and other institutions can adopt it and customize it.

The developers hope it will help curb students drop out rate, depression, suicide, alcohol, drug abuse and HIV infections.

Vincent Robin, a Fourth Year political science student who among the 12 behind the idea explained how they developed it.

“When I joined the group, I was trained on codes and together with other students we joined ideas to form what we have now. I was in the content creators group and I have also been in charge of graphic content for the app,” he said.


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