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Why Irungu Njaro’s family refuses to bury him



The parents of benga music businessman Edward Irungu Njaro, popularly known as Wanjaro Junior, have refused to bury him, protesting what they termed as police negligence in investigating his death.

His father, Mr Njaro Wairatu, told Nation.Africa that he is not willing to lay him to rest since doing so “was tantamount to burying the raw truth that my son was murdered”.

Njaro went missing on July 14 and his body was found in Masinga Dam three days later, with messages posted on social media alluding to him drowning himself in River Tana, on which Masinga Dam is constructed.

The police said they suspected he had died by suicide over a Sh700,000 debt.

Edward Irungu Njaro wanjaro parents
Ms Nancy Waithera and Mr Njaro Wairatu, the parents of Edward Irungu Njaro.

Mwangi Muiruri | Nation Media Group

But Mr Wairatu and his wife Nancy Waithera dispute the suicide theory, insisting that their son had told them his life was in danger, and that seconds before his phone went off, he had called to tell them that he had been abducted.

“Investigators have taken advantage of my poverty to treat my assertions as creations of a mad man. I will, in turn, not bury him. Let his killers bury him. I won’t use my land to cover the truth,” he said.

Ms Waithera said she had a strong feeling that her son did not die by suicide, but chances of finding out exactly how he died were nil.

She revealed that after the family refused to bury him, his Nairobi friends bought a grave for him at Lang’ata Cemetery.

Timeline of events

Mr Wairatu said on July 13, Njaro had visited him and told him that there was a cartel in Nairobi that was demanding an undisclosed amount of money due to a botched shady deal. He hinted that four people were after him. Fearing that he would incriminate himself in shady dealings if he reported the matter to police, Irungu is said to have opted to keep quiet.

Mr Wairatu has not reported this to police, neither has he been summoned to record a statement after he published the allegations.

Njaro is said to have driven himself from Nairobi to Sagana Bridge on the Kenol-Nyeri road. Inside the car was his phone, with which he reportedly sent text messages to his friends, revealing his suicide intention. One of the messages indicates that he owed the cartel Sh750,000. Another message directs where he would park the car.

The same day, his wife Joyce Wanjira, in the company of his uncle Josphat Mwaura reported him missing at Kasarani police station and showed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officers the text messages they had received. They were not issued with an OB number. However, officers accompanied them to where the vehicle was parked.

The officers removed the vehicle from the scene and had it driven to Kasarani police station. They also took the phone. Kasarani police boss Peter Mwazo did not report opening any investigations into the matter.

Found out on social media

When Njaro’s body was found in Masinga dam, 106 kilometres from Nairobi on July 17, a Thika blogger uploaded his photo and broke the news on social media. That is how Irungu’s family and friends learnt of his death.

Investigators never sought to know how the body, which had no identification documents on it, was so promptly identified and profiled immediately it was found by fishermen.

All along, Embu and Nairobi treated the case as a suicide.

And when the media started looking into the case, Mr Wairatu reported that he was receiving strange calls offering him money to stop talking to the media. Hostilities against the media came to the fore when four men attacked journalists at the Embu Level Five hospital mortuary during the post-mortem on July 22.

The men complained that the media was intruding into their business about the body, a conflict that escalated to the hospital’s CEO office for arbitration. The CEO sided with the media.

But questions still linger, who were the four men?

Dr Phyllis Muhonji, the pathologist, said her results were from the point of recovery — Masinga dam. She concluded that the death was due to drowning.

Immediately the post-mortem report was out, the four men quickly applied to have the body buried in Makuyu, Murang’a South sub-county. The mortuary management assisted in packing it into a small Mazda Demio car.

While Irungu’s wife and children live in Nairobi, and his parents live in Kiharu sub-county, it is not clear who in Makuyu intended to bury Njaro. The Embu mortuary staff did not find it odd that the interment application was made at 4pm.

When Kenol police station officers seized the vehicle carrying the body, the driver had already passed Makuyu and was on his way to Kiambu County, meaning the four men had no intention of burying Irungu in Makuyu as indicated on the burial permit.

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