February 2017

The scene at The Late Joyce Wambui's home in Maki Estate when her body was being taken to the morgue for postmortem. INSET: The Late Joyce Wambui in a file picture.
A sombre mood has engulfed Thika Town and its environment following the mysterious demise of Joyce Wambui Githitu Monday night.

Mama Mercy, as she was popularly known, was murdered by unknown people at her Maki Estate home near Jogoo Kimakia Hotel in Murang’a County between 8pm and 10pm after arriving from work.
Preliminary reports indicate that a group of unidentified people barged into her compound before attacking her with a crude weapon that killed her instantly. Her killing was unknown to her neighbours until this morning when her house help.

The murder scene was stained in blood, an indication that the victim may have tried to run away before she succumbed to the blow.

Gatanga OCPD Beatrice Kiraguri said that the victim was hit on the head with a crowbar at the entrance of her servants’ quarters where her house help used to sleep. The police do not have information of the culprits gained entry into the compound as there were no visible signs of any break-in within the compound.

“We got report of the murder this morning (Tuesday) but cannot ascertain the exact time the crime was committed. Her house help informed us that the deceased had arrived home from work at around 8pm. We do not know how they entered the compound but we suspect that they may have sneaked in when she came home or they may have entered before the arrival of the victim,” said Kiraguri.

She added that the house help claimed to have managed to escape the gang’s net when she heard commotion near her house. The gang had before the murder destroyed the CCTV cameras but fortunately never managed to escape with the machinery.

“Forensic crime investigation will be carried out on these gadgets to try and see if they can help us nab the culprits,” said the OCPD.

Preliminary reports indicate that the motive might have been that of murder for nothing seemed to have been stolen from the victim’s house.

“They took nothing from the house other than those few electronics which included equipment connected to the CCTV and the car key that they had packed in a bag but later dropped them on their way out,” she said.

Even though the victim’s compound has no visible gate gourd, the area is manned by a security guard firm that patrols to ensure the security of the estate. According to the residents we talked to, this was just an isolated case of insecurity as they have enjoyed a relatively quiet environment.
Gatanga OCPD Beatrice Kiraguriduring the press briefing at the scene of the murder.

By the time of the murder, only the victim and her house help were within the compound. The house help has accompanied the police for further investigations.

“Cases of insecurity here are not common. This must have been a well-orchestrated scheme that had a particular target,” said one of the neighbours.

The Right Reverend Julius Njuguna Wanyoike, Thika Diocesan Bishop called for calm as they wait for police investigations. He praised the police for their prompt response but also reminded the family and friends that the blood of a human being will never drain away in vain.

He also appealed to Thika residents to embrace the spirit of ‘Nyumba Kumi’ Initiative as it was in such measures that people would be able to identify and flush out evil elements amongst them.

Mama Mercy is said to be a very social and approachable lady who used to participate in all the undertakings of the estate’s association.

In the year 2006, her husband Peter Githitu, who was a renowned businessman in Thika Town, died in broad daylight in a hail of bullets outside their wholesale shop within the CBD.

Bidco CEO Vimal Shah in an earlier photo at the Thika plant. Inset: A file photo of bamboo plants.
Bidco Africa has partnered with Kitil Farm which is a leading bamboo propagation center, to contract farmers to grow and supply mature bamboo in order to meet its demand for biomass.

The Thika-based consumer goods manufacturer presently uses over 200 tonnes of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power at its Thika and Ruiru factories.  However, the supply of both is erratic and unsustainable.

In the deal, Kitil Farm will provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.

Speaking after signing of the MOU, Jovenales M. Njuguna, CEO Kitil Farm, acknowledged that Bamboo was a wonder plant that had over 1500 recorded uses.

“About 2.5 billion of the world’s population depend on bamboo economically with its turnover being estimated to about US$ 2.5 million at the international market. The demand for industrial biomass in Kenya is high,” explained Njuguna.

Njuguna added that companies like Bidco who are looking for sustainable solutions to meet their energy needs, were now creating a market for bamboo and this was an opportunity for anyone who intended to take up bamboo as a type of investment to consider seriously.

Bidco estimates that it will require 6,000 tonnes monthly to meet its energy needs. It is for this reason that BIDCO plans to contract farmers, investment groups, individuals, Chamas, Saccos and Companies within Kenya and the East African Region who are willing to take up bamboo growing.

“Bamboo is an elegant solution for our needs. It is good for the environment because it rehabilitates the soil and is a clean energy source that reduces our carbon footprint. Bamboo is also a renewable resource. From a sustainability perspective it’s a win-win,” said Vimal Shah, CEO Bidco.

Head of Bidco’s Agribusiness department Mr. John Kariuki noted that bamboo can grow everywhere in Kenya and even though it took 3-4 years to mature, it regenerated every year for about 50 years.

“After it’s fully grown, bamboo regenerates making deforestation a non-issue and assuring the farmer of income,” he explained.

“If you have idle land or wish to take up a new type of investment, bamboo is a good option,” added Kariuki. 

Bamboo holds the Guinness World Records as the fastest-growing plant globally. Some of the estimated 1,000 species of bamboo are said to be growing by up to 91 centimetres a day. It is estimated that one hectare of bamboo plantation can yield 10-33 tons of dry stems per year depending on species, region and growing practices.

Johnstone Ndegwa stressing a point to a group of youth and Ndula residents after launching his manifesto geared towards taking Ngoliba to the next level.
Ngoliba Ward MCA aspirant Johnstone Ndegwa has launched his election manifesto at Ndula Trading Centre in Thika East Sub-County, putting economic empowerment, youth employment, infrastructure, health, agriculture and tourism at the top of his list of policies.

While launching his ‘digital’ mission statement, a first in the region for any aspiring candidate, Ndegwa explained that his resolve to vie for the seat had been driven by the challenges that he, along with other Ngoliba residents faced with no tangible solution in place.

“My resolve to contest for the Ngoliba seat has been motivated by the fact that those we mandated to represent us have failed to come up with solutions to the problems that we encounter. Majority of the people we sent to the county assembly are still trapped in the old ‘councillor’ mentality thus have failed drastically in executing their core mandate of enhancing development at the grassroots as enshrined in our constitution,” said Ndegwa before an audience of over 300 youth.

As an investor, Ndegwa said that he would apply his managerial expertise and the people’s input to develop the area which he noted that had great unexploited potential.

“It is a shame that Ngoliba Ward, a region sandwiched by two big rivers, has a tourist attraction site and with its proximity to more than four counties is now being assisted with food rations to beat famine. What kind of leadership is this that cannot exploit our potential to enhance food security and job creation?” he posed.

He said that he was committed as their next MCA, to use his position to lobby for resources from various quarters, co-ordinate economic, social and cultural projects for the benefit of Ngoliba Ward residents.

“My vision and mission for Ngoliba Ward is based on creating more and better jobs, investing in better services as we collectively developed a long-term economic plan that will offer our people the stability and the certainty that they need to grow and be independent,” he said.

Ndegwa’s manifesto was anchored on three interconnected, interrelated but independent pillars namely; Economic, Social and Cultural Pillars.

Under the economic pillar, Ndegwa promised to offer Ngoliba residents a solid economic foundation on which they could build their lives through promoting trade, identifying and creating employment opportunities and development of appropriate infrastructure that would enhance business growth. He added that he would facilitate the formation of associations that would be pivotal to the creation of jobs and search for markets for their goods and services.
Ndegwa taking Ngoliba youth through his manifesto.

“We have been living through uncertain economic times. You need that leader who can assist you to access cheap credit from both governments and well as initiate business-friendly by-laws in the county assembly. With your support and input, we shall also implement a recovery plan that will take us to where we would want to be. Together, we will make Ngoliba a business hub for others to emulate.”

For the social pillar, Ndegwa promised to work out on improving the social infrastructure at Ndula, Kilimambogo, Magogoni and Ngoliba trading centres as well as working out a plan to upgrade Ngoliba Health Centre into a level 4 hospital.

His cultural pillar targeted arts, handicraft and traditional dancers to take advantage of the tourist attractions of The 14 Falls and the Kilimambogo reserve among other strategies.

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