BY JAMES MATHERI IN NYANDARUA COUNTY.
The father of First Year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Tabitha Muthoni, who was killed by thugs outside the institution’s compound, has revealed that JKUAT’s administration hadn’t informed him of his daughter’s death until the following day, when he personally went to the school.
Speaking to EDAILY at his Mwangaza Village home in Kipipiri Constituency, Nyandarua County, Mzee Elijah Mwangi, 71, said JKUAT administration had – all through – told him that his daughter, 19, was in the hospital, while in reality, she had already died.
“On Thursday night [February 7], a lecturer at JKUAT called and asked me if I knew a young woman whose name is Tabitha Muthoni, and I answered in the affirmative. He, thereafter, told me: ‘We are very sorry Baba Tabitha, your daughter, who was in the company of her friend, while heading to the hostels from the university, was stabbed by thugs; and she has been rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital’,” said Mr Mwangi.
Mr Mwangi says he collapsed – from shock – upon reaching JKUAT’s main gate the following day, when he found students at the institution demonstrating over his daughter’s death, yet he was unaware that Ms Muthoni was already dead.
“I was shocked to discover that the person, who the students were protesting over her killing, was my daughter. All that while, the university had kept me in the dark. JKUAT had, all through, made me think that that she was hospitalised at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” said Mr Mwangi.
“Upon regaining consciousness, I couldn’t help but let tears roll down my cheeks,” added the distressed old man.
Mr Mwangi would, thereafter, proceed to Kenyatta Funeral Home, where he – indeed – confirmed that his daughter was “no more”.
“When I saw my daughter’s motionless body, I couldn’t believe that she was the one, whom I had just spoken to a few hours earlier. I broke down – uncontrollably. In my entire life, I had never allocated money to buy a suit [for myself] – simply because I was plunging all the money I had into my daughter’s education. I, honestly, do not know what my family and I would do [now that she is gone],” said Mr Mwangi.
“[Interior CS Dr Fred] Matiang’i should keenly look into the security concerns arising from JKUAT. It makes no sense why we should send our children there, only for them to be killed by gangsters,” appealed Mr Mwangi.
Mr Mwangi’s wife, who is Tabitha Muthoni’s mother, was “too heartbroken and distressed” to speak to EDAILY.
Mr Mwangi’s neighbours were equally saddened by news about her death.
“We loved her; we had bestowed a lot of hope in her – both community-wise and her family. We were shocked by news of her death. Children in this community are extremely saddened by that development,” said one of Mr Mwangi’s neighbours.
Ms Muthoni, the last born in a family of six siblings, will be buried at her parents’ home in Kipipiri on Friday, February 15.
Tabitha Muthoni, A First Year; Second Semester student, who was pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree course in Supplies Chain Management, was, on February 7, accosted by two criminals, who demanded she hands over her smartphone and money to them.
Ms Muthoni, however, refused to heed their orders. The robbers, thereafter, brandished a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the left side of her chest, leaving her bleeding profusely, as they took off with her money and phone.
Ms Muthoni was rushed to JKUAT health centre, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Ms Muthoni’s body was taken to Kenyatta University Funeral Home.
JKUAT administration on Friday, February 8 issued a press statement following the incident. “The university is ready to work with security agents in Juja to investigate the incident and bring the culprits of the heinous crime to book,” said JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, in the statement.
Following Ms Muthoni’s murder, JKUAT students took to the streets to protest against deteriorated security in the area, which has resulted in increased cases of killing of learners studying at the varsity.
Juja OCPD, Simon Thirikwa, confirmed to EDAILY that investigations into the killing of Ms Muthoni are underway, and that police are at the “advanced stages” of tracing the killers to their hideout.
(Additional reporting by Brian Okoth)