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The devil is innocent! Kandara residents crime surge on drugs and corruption

By Mwangi Muiruri November 16th, 2022 4 min read

Some Kandara residents on Saturday defended Satan, whom area clergy had blamed for being behind escalating murder cases.

They instead pointed an accusing finger at substance abuse, mostly illicit brews and bhang, and corrupt security officers who, instead of fighting the vice, collect bribes to protect the illicit trades.

Area interdenominational clergy, alongside security, had convened a prayer meeting at Nyaga village where on Friday, a man beheaded his estranged female lover before members of the public lynched him.

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Mr. Antony Maina, 30, had ambushed Mary Mwihaki, 39, as she milked a cow and struck her neck off with a razor-sharp machete before irate members of the public responded by stoning him to death.

On April 10, last year, a female family member was arrested on suspicion that she set a house on fire, killing six of her blood relatives.

According to data from the Murang’a County Security committee, Kandara has recorded 16 murders in the past year.

On September 26, last year, a man raided a woman’s house, doused her with petrol, set her ablaze, and then ran away in the morning incident, swearing that women must practice faithfulness in relationships.

Feeling that the devil was on the prowl in the village, the prayer meeting was called where Bishop Martin Mwangi prayed that “Satan who has visited our village is so strong and destructive to a point he is presiding over wanton murders across Kandara.”

He led the clergy, brethren, and administration to rebuke the devil and pray that God redeems Kandara.

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But the area residents’ association led by Chairman James Mburu said the prayers were good but were missing the point.

“With all due respect, it is good to acknowledge God in our lives and in our society. But we should not blame our collective acts of omission on Satan. When it comes to Kandara crime, Satan has nothing to do with it. The Satan they are talking of is we ourselves,” he said.

He said the murders being reported in the Sub County result from cultism, drug abuse, and reckless alcoholism.

“The vices have induced mental illnesses in this area as our security officers continue to collect bribes to protect peddlers, brewers and criminal bar owners. That is not Satan, it is our negligence,” he said.

But Bishop Mwangi said Satan moves and manifests in many ways, including influencing traders to invest in enterprises that are a culture of death.

He added that Satan could influence security officers to take bribes and let a community destroy itself.

“We are preaching the same gospel packaged in different words. We are speaking of the satanic grip on our society,” he said.

However, Mr. Mburu said, “We cannot blame Satan when we have the law that expressly states that all illegal traders are supposed to be arrested, charged in court, and jailed upon conviction.”

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He added that the same law frowns upon security officers who neglect the call of duty in pursuit of bribes.

“What is eating us from within is a virus assembled by a network of drug and alcoholic dealers protected by our security,” he said.

An area senior administrator appeared to support the residents when she told Nairobi News, “Satan might be innocent as they are saying.”

“Hii pombe yenu watu wa Central region itawaua  (The alcohol dependency among people of Central Kenya will be your downfall). Because you are fighting it from the outside. Mnataka police awachunge msikunywe pombe (You expect police to bar you from drinking alcohol) while even your religious leaders and politicians are doing nothing to control the situation. They give youths handouts waende walewe (to go get drunk),” she responded.

She said she is unsure where the blame on Satan starts and ends, “but I am certain that those who fight the menace are humans in the mess.”

The matter has seen Murang’a woman Rep Betty Maina call out to Deputy President Mr. Rigathi Gachagua as Mt Kenya’s political kingpin to lead the fight against reckless alcoholism and bhang trade in the region.

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She said, “There is no economic emancipation programme in the bottom up maxim that will ever work in an environment of alcoholic and drug abuse wrecks. What we will reap from it are tears and anguish”.

Speaking in Kenol town recently, where Mr. Gachagua had attended African Independent Pentecostal Churches of Africa (AIPCA) service, she beseeched the Deputy President to use his office to rally the region behind the war.

“I have personally been engaging the security agents in Murang’a to help us fight this war. We are tired of being witness to our productive people killing themselves and annihilating their own population,” she said.

She added, “Even if we wanted, such people in self-destruction mode could not be beneficiaries of an economic revolution that we aspire to as a bottom-up government.”

She said alcoholism and drug abuse were the leading causes of family unit instability, suicides, mental health challenges, and brutality.

“It is a serious issue…we need you as our kingpin to rally us behind the cause of a sober region. We need our youths sober so they can benefit from bottom up economic policies that we are rolling out,” she said.

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