A man who prided himself as Murang’a’s Kinjeketile Ngware, running from one criminal escapade to another for the past six years, has run out of luck and has been jailed for two years without the option of a fine.
Peter Ndung’u Kamau alias Kinjeketile has been on the police’s most-wanted list of illicit brew traders, narcotics sellers, and instigators of violent attacks in Maragua town and its environs.
According to area police officers, the man was reputed to have been visiting a medicine man from Githuya village who ‘treats’ criminals in the name of giving them immunity against arrests, bullets and lynch mobs.
"The said male medicine man cuts his clients on various parts of their bodies and smears them with portions that are sold as a perfect guard against ill luck during criminal escapades," Murang'a South Sub-County Police Commander Alexander Shikondi said.
Kamau hails from Maica Ma Thi village in Ichagaki Location, a village that has known change trade since 1961.
However, he was arrested and arraigned at the Kigumo courthouse on Monday. Appearing before Senior Resident Magistrate Shivai Agade, he was charged with the offense of manufacturing and trading in chang’aa.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced on his admission of guilt to two years in prison without the option of a fine discrediting his belief that he was indeed a Kinjikitile.
Kinjikitile was a Tanzanian spiritual leader who became famous during the Maji Maji rebellion against German colonial rule. He had in 1904 disappeared from his home in Ngarambe only to return after a few days saying that he had been possessed by a spirit.
He further claimed that ancestors had commanded him to lead a rebellion against the colonial rule and gave his people 'holy water' (Maji), saying it had been used to treat him against police bullets.
He was hanged for treason on August 4, 1905, and by 1907, Kinjikitile’s followers, inspired by his “bullet-proof” water, insisted that they were immune to German bullets. Over 100,000 died under hails of bullets, making the whole plot a fallacy.
Likewise, in Murang’a, Kamau claimed that bullets could not harm him.
“He claimed he had been fired at many times and that the bullets would miss him with convincing margins that made us believe him,” says Joseph Kahiro, his neighbor.
Mr. Kahiro says every other time police raided places where Kamau was distilling chang’aa, he would mobilize his ‘boys’ to attack the police with arrows and machetes.
“Kamau would not directly participate in the attack against police, only coming out of his hiding brandishing a machete as evidence of his invincibility as protected by mystic powers of the Kinjikitile in him,” Mr. Kahiro adds.
But police now say that the myth had been formulated by the suspect to indoctrinate gullible youth into his criminal cause.
On February 3, 2021 police caught him red-handed in the act of hacking a male victim of his violence in the Border Estate of Maragua town remains novel.
“Our officers on patrol got intelligence of a gang that was moving from Maragua town to the nearby estate while armed with crude weapons and it was trailed. We bumped into an incident where Kamau was in the process of murdering his victim,” Murang’a South Sub-County Police Commander Alexander Shikondi said.