Did a Nairobi politician plot the rape and killing of his wife? Did he take part in it? Or did he just happen to be at the wrong place at an awfully wrong time?
Those were the questions police officers spent this weekend trying to answer as they pieced a complex puzzle of love, matrimony, and estrangement between a former member of Nairobi County Assembly and his wife, who died last week after 24 hours of unimaginable pain and horror.
It all started on Wednesday last week, when 24-year-old Lucy Njambi received a call from her estranged husband Samwel Ndung’u, who informed her that he would be passing by her new home at Thindigua on Kiambu Road later in the evening.
Ndung’u, who is the former MCA for Nairobi’s Riruta Ward, showed up at 8pm to, among others, give Njambi some money for the upkeep of their four-year-old son. She had been living in the rented apartment for a month after moving out of her husband’s house in Lavington.
Njambi did not let him inside the house, according to her househelp. Instead, the two sat inside Ndung’u’s car at the parking lot. The property’s caretaker says the couple even had their dinner, served by the househelp, at the parking lot.
All seemed hunky-dory, but barely an hour later, Njambi lay in a coffee plantation at Kamiti Corner; raped, scalded, and left to die. And die she would, a few hours later in hospital, but not before she told the police what had happened to her.
As she sat with her husband inside his car on the fateful evening, two men pounced on them in what, witnesses say, appeared to be an abduction. They drove to the coffee plantation at Kamiti Corner, where they assaulted and abandoned her. She crawled from the farm to the roadside and sobbed out the agonising wait for help.
Reverend John Kwenyurah says he was on his way home with his family at around 9pm when they saw Njambi by the road, screaming for help. “We took her to Kiambu Level Four Hospital,” he says.
She had suffered 75 per cent burns from what doctors suspected to be acid corrosion, and was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital on Thursday for specialised treatment. The following day, on Friday, she died. An autopsy on Monday will establish the cause of the burns.
The sudden, painful death of the young Njambi, who was described by neighbours and relatives as chirpy and full of life, has shocked the nation.
It is not clear what happened between the abduction at the parking lot and the ordeal at the coffee plantation, and neither the identity of the attackers has been established.
Everything seems hazy now and awkwardly confusing. For starters, her estranged husband is in police custody to help with investigations.
Njambi’s uncle, Peter Njuguna, says she and Ndung’u were married in 2012 after the budding politician parted with his first wife, with whom he has two adolescent daughters. Neighbours say the pair had occasional tiffs but nothing major to raise alarm.
And, as proof that he wanted her for life — the tiffs notwithstanding — Ndung’u paid brideprice for Njambi in November last year.
“She seemed excited at the prospect of them settling down together,” says Njuguna, the uncle.
Nothing, therefore, could numb the family’s disappointment when, less than a month after the dowry ceremony, on December 6, Njambi stormed out of her Lavington house, and vowed never to return.
She never did.
“Ndung’u traced Njambi to her new apartment in Thindigua days after she moved out of his house,” says neighbour Mario Nderi. “He visited her frequently, even though they always chatted outside her house.”
Ndung’u was arraigned at Kiambu Law Courts on Friday last week, charged with assault. He was remanded pending investigations, but police say when he appears in court on Monday, the charge sheet will have changed. He will be charged with murder.