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TJRC: How Rigathi Gachagua butchered Kikuyus

TJRC: How Rigathi Gachagua butchered Kikuyus

By Justus Karanja

When United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua takes to the floor during the debate with Azimio la Umoja’s Martha Karua, one topic the Mathira MP will avoid is how he brutalized Kikuyus and Luhyas when he served as a Special District Officer in Daniel arap Moi’s government.     

But the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) has documented first hand witness testimony implicating several high ranking individuals in both the political and business spheres of influence who participated in the training and arming of local youth to conduct acts of violence against Ford Asili leader Kenneth Matiba’s sympathizers living in and around the Molo Settlement area during the 1992 National Elections period.

 A number of cooperating witnesses who participated in the months long exercise gave and corroborated testimony that have led the commission to conclude that the several acts of violence perpetrated were premeditated and calculated to induce widespread intimidation and genuine fear for livelihood for those targeted and their families many of whom had been tracked down beyond the Molo Settlement area for the purpose of lending credibility to intimidation tactics and threats issued to specific vocal opponents to the KANU regime of President Daniel Moi.

The government administration structure beginning at the village chief and running up the chain to State House, Nairobi had been provided a list of multi-party agitators who supported either Mr. Kenneth Matiba's Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD-Asili) or Mr Emilio Mwai Kibaki's Democratic Party (DP).

Special units headed by District Officers and Provincial Commissioners were directed to ensure supporters of either party were unable to assemble or recruit new members through strong arm tactics and use of the police service to assault, detain or forcefully evict local supporters.

 Mr. Matiba and Mr. Kibaki had been placed under surveillance by the state machinery and no limit of opportune harassment, assault or torture was placed on the special units assigned to limit the political activities of the agitators.

Molo Settlement area fell under the jurisdiction of Rigathi Gachagua who was appointed District Officer by President Daniel Moi.

 Several residents and former recruits have testified that Mr. Gachagua was instrumental in the organisation and deployment of the militia groups into the Molo Settlement area to conduct reprisals against FORD-Asili activities through kidnappings, forced detentions, torture, gang rapes and enforced exiles of pro-Matiba individuals.

 A former youth militia member testified that Mr. Gachagua would participate in the torture of young men who had been accused of discussing anti-Moi sentiment.

The victims would he kidnapped from a local hall or public square or waylaid on their way home and driven to the District Officer's office in Molo where they would be stripped naked and sexually assaulted by inserting police batons into the anal cavity and mouth, often knocking out teeth.

The victim would be tortured by beating and starvation before being forced to write  a false confession which would be filed for transmission up the command chain.

After signing the confession, the victim would be taken back home and left in a public place in the night to be discovered by local villagers as a warning.

Older men who were identified as organisers for Mr. Matiba were frequently targeted through their wives who would either be kidnapped and raped or sexually assaulted in their homestead in the man's presence.

Several witnesses have testified to the committee that Gachagua  was present during these sexual assaults and participated in at least 20 with the victims ages ranging from  11 years to 50 years.


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