The Story of 2 Mothers Who Lost Sons in Embu & Kitengela Killings

  • Upper row; From left, the two Kianjokoma brothers and their mother Catherine Wawira. Lower row; Lucy Wanjiru, the mother of two brothers killed with their friends in Kitengela.
    Upper row; From left, the two Kianjokoma brothers and their mother Catherine Wawira. Lower row; Lucy Wanjiru, the mother of two brothers killed with their friends in Kitengela.
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  • "Young, promising, loving and energetic."

    These are just some of the adjectives that Kenyans used to describe two pairs of brothers that lost their lives in mysterious circumstances in just a span of two weeks in the month of August 2021.

    Now coined the Kianjokoma brothers, Benson Njiru Ndwiga, 22, and Emmanuel Marura Ndwiga, 19, died on August 4, 2021, while in police custody.

    The caskets of the Kianjokoma brothers, Benson Njiru, 23, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, who are being buried at their father’s farm in Kithangari Kianjokoma in Embu North.
    The caskets of the Kianjokoma brothers, Benson Njiru, 23, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, who were buried at their father’s farm in Kithangari Kianjokoma in Embu North.
    (COURTESY)

    The deaths of these brothers caused a public outrage both in Embu where demonstrations were ongoing and to the entire East African region where the social media hashtag #JusticeforKianjokomabrothers trended for three consecutive days.

    The outrage forced authorities into action and on Wednesday, August 11, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i visited the bereaved family and promised that speedy investigations would be conducted.

    Before the dust could settle, another family from Kitengela was coming to terms with the death of their two sons, 30-year-old Fredrick Mureithi Wanjiru and 25-year-old Victor Mwangi Wanjiru, who were killed by a mob in Kitengela over suspicion of being livestock thieves.

    The brothers were accompanied by two of their friends, Mike George, 29, and Nicholas Musa, 28, who were also murdered.

    Four young men who died after they were lynched by a mob on August 8, 2021.
    Four young men who died after they were lynched by a mob on August 8, 2021.
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    Following the two cases, a section of citizens described Kenya as no country for young men - and they could be right. 

    More profoundly is that perhaps this has become no country for mothers. It is often said that when one child dies, a part of the mother’s soul dies too.

    Now imagine that for these two mothers - Catherine Wawira and Lucy Wanjiru - each lost two sons. The killers left them nothing but indelible memories about their painful exit from this world.

    A month later, Catherine Wawira, the mother of the Kianjokoma brothers, disclosed that she was yet to come to terms with the ordeal.

    She narrated that going to the market had become an uphill task, saying that she is ashamed and did not want to meet a lot of people. Wawira added that she had also cut down the time she spent in gatherings.

    Catherine Wawira, the mother of the slain brothers, overwhelmed by emotions during the burial on Friday, August 13.
    Catherine Wawira, the mother of the slain brothers, overwhelmed by emotions during the burial on Friday, August 13.
    (COURTESY Amnesty Kenya)

    "I don't want to keep meeting so many people. I have been invited to chamas but I have turned them down," Wawira stated.

    Ben, as she fondly remembers him, was a good chicken farmer while Emmanuel was a good cook.

    "To lose two sons is no joke, Ben even had a twin sister. I urge the government to ensure that no other parent will have to go through what my family and I have endured," she added.

    Kenyans.co.ke reached out to Lucy Wanjiru, the mother of the two Kitengela brothers, who was still coming to terms with their death.

    Wanjiru, who has had to seek the services of a counsellor, noted that she was still mourning her only children.

    "I cannot stay alone in the house because I don't know who killed my children so I have fear. I don't walk outside this house save for the days that I go to court," she told this writer.

    Lucy Wanjiru, the mother of two brothers murdered in Kitengela during her sons funeral
    Lucy Wanjiru, the mother of two brothers murdered in Kitengela during her sons funeral
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    Wanjiru has become a regular visitor of the Kenyan courts, indicating that she will leave no stone unturned until justice is served.

    "The courts have arrested only one person and I do not think that one person can kill four people. They are very slow, they keep saying that they are doing their work and that they are trying but the process is slow.

    "Chiefs say that residents in the area have kept mum and are refusing to disclose what really happened on the unfortunate night," she continued.

    Wanjiru, who left Kenya for the UK in 2018 in search of greener pastures intimated that she had no plans of going back just yet.

    "I am looking for justice for my children, I won't be going back to the UK soon because it is not a priority," she stated.

    She disclosed that the two brothers were rarely together, suspecting that his firstborn son might have been lured to the scene.

     "Fredrick was always alone and a very quiet man. How he went there (scene of the crime) still puzzles me."

    Wanjiru also called out a section of the media for misreporting. She noted that some of the news pieces that had been written about her were untrue.

    "Some people said that I had burnt my children things which is not true. I did not say that, it was a lie. I will see their things until I get the closure I need. It is so painful," she concluded.

    All the two mothers have now is hope, hope that justice will be served and perpetrators will be brought to book.

    File image of a court gavel
    File image of a court gavel
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    died death dies thieves murder arrest killed suspect