In Summary
  • JM, increasingly stressed at the turn of events, was advised by his doctor to take a few days rest away from public limelight.
  • A friend advised JM that he was secretly followed and his phone monitored, therefore he should not travel to Mombasa.

On this day 43 years ago, someone who only identified himself as “Israeli businessman” telephoned the third wife of Nyandarua North MP JM Kariuki.

The MP had gone missing 10 days earlier.

The mysterious caller had a short message for Mrs Terry Kariuki: “Have you checked whether your husband is lying in the morgue?”

The caller was told the family had twice been to the Nairobi City Mortuary. The caller said, “Just check again!” and disconnected the phone.

Recovering from the shock, Mrs Kariuki collected herself and alerted JM’s two other wives, Nyambura and Mwikali.

They met at the City Mortuary. Inside, they were shown a partially decomposed body of an unidentified male adult and told it had been brought there by police the previous night.

Terry, who was last to see her husband alive, right away identified the body and screamed. “My God, they have killed my husband.”

Though the face was disfigured, the body was in the same green jacket and a dotted red scarf JM had worn on the morning he left his house never to return.

But just to be sure, Mrs Kariuki would tell me many years later, she pulled his torn trousers and spotted a familiar birthmark on his right thigh.

From the mortuary, the three widows headed to Parliament Buildings and straight to the lounge where they screamed: “They have killed our husband JM!”

Butere MP Martin Shikuku, who received them, quickly mobilised a number of MPs and made a dash to the morgue to confirm the news.

That afternoon, the National Assembly chambers went into flames.

When leader of government business Vice-President Daniel arap Moi sought to cool tempers, his voice was drown with shouts of: “Shut up liar! You’re a government of murderers!”

Sensing danger, the VP and Cabinet ministers in the House hurriedly walked out, removed flags from their official vehicles and sped home.

Backbenchers were left to vent their wrath in the most violent language ever heard in the history of Kenyan parliament.

“This is a government of killers, murderers!” shouted Kamukunji MP Maina Wanjigi, to add to Shikuku’s bombshell: “Now the hyenas have eaten one of their own!”

Few weeks to his disappearance, it had become clear JM was living on borrowed time. A decision had been made that he must die.

Nakuru Town MP Mark Mwithaga would tell me many years later that he got a feeling JM life was in real danger one evening when the two were playing darts over a drink at Nakuru’s Stags Head Hotel.

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