MP engaged in ugly feud with father, siblings as brother is charged
When Joseph Mwangangi Mulyungi was arraigned in a Mwingi court on Wednesday facing three counts of stealing, nothing betrayed the intrigues of bitter family feud.
The suspect, a younger brother of Mwingi Central MP Gideon Mutemi Mulyungi, had been accused of stealing three CDF bursary cheques valued at Sh18,000.
Outside the courtroom, his sisters wailed loudly as soon as Mwingi Senior Principal Magistrate Kibet Sambu convicted the 23-year-old on his own plea of guilty and sent him to Waita GK Prison awaiting formal sentencing.
Family members are now up in arms, claiming the theft charges were not only fabricated by his influential MP brother but that he was duped to plead guilty in exchange for freedom, landing him in deeper problems.
According to Joseph’s father, Mulyungi Kithonga, 84, who stood next to his weeping daughters as his son was whisked away to prison, the MP has not been in good terms with the rest of the family.
But the legislator says he pushed for his brother’s prosecution as a means of reassuring his constituents of his zero tolerance to corruption in CDF management — and that not even his family members can get away with the theft of public funds.
However, the case marked another episode in a sequence of events that include the ageing father stripping naked and walking for a couple of kilometres in broad daylight to protest against the MP for allegedly assaulting him.
In an interview with the Sunday Nation, Mr Kithonga narrated how his action was a desperate attempt to curse the MP — an accomplished architect who served as the Secretary for Works in President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
This was after Dr Mulyungi was alleged to have beaten up his father in a family disagreement.
“I lost my front teeth when my son assaulted me in an argument. He rained kicks and blows on me until I fell to the ground in front of his mother and young siblings. One blow landed on my mouth,” a sobbing Mr Kithonga explained.
In anger and disbelief, the father removed his clothes and walked out of his homestead towards Mwingi town with his mouth bleeding.
“As a parent, I stripped naked to condemn him. I wanted to remind all my children that I am their father no matter their physical strength or wealth,” he said
The incident, which happened in 2004, when Dr Mulyungi had been elected the Chairman of Architectural Association of Kenya, appeared to have been the start of the many disputes.
The old man was stopped by neighbours and convinced to go back home as some suggested ways of reconciling the family.
“Since the assault, Mutemi (the MP) has never bothered to apologise to me or to initiate any form of reconciliation with me. I have since forgiven him but that incident is fresh in my memory and I still keep my four knocked out teeth,” the old man said.
Dr Mulyungi vehemently denied the accusations.
He says the claims are not new and were fabricated by his political enemies during the campaigns for the 2017 election, to discredit his candidacy, but he won.
“I am used to such propaganda, it never stopped me from winning the Mwingi Central seat,” the MP said.
But his father says had he spoken during the campaigns, the MP would not have won the election.
He said that instead of his son using his position to bring honour and blessings, the family has had to endure shame and anguish.
He said he chose to speak so that when he eventually dies, he will have set the record straight.
“The arrest of my son (Joseph) was instigated by his elder brother. He doesn’t work at the CDF office and it is illogical to steal a bursary cheque, which can only be useful to the school it is supposed to be sent to,” he said.
The strained relationship between the two forced the MP’s father to migrate to Ukasi area, on the border of Kitui and Tana River counties.
When the Sunday Nation caught up with Mr Kithonga, he was at the home of one of his daughters.
The daughter, Munanie Mulyungi, said their elder brother’s conduct was bothering the family.
“We hoped once our brother was elected to the National Assembly things would be better but instead our family has become the laughing stock,” said Ms Munanie, who added that it was important for the MP to reconcile with their father to avoid any more “misfortunes”.
Another young brother, Simon Mulyungi, called for well-wishers to help the family get legal representation to secure their brother’s freedom, saying they could not afford to hire a lawyer.
The young Mulyungi’s case happened in Mwingi only two days after the trial of another assault case opened in Nairobi.
Dr Mulyungi has been sued by his former wife, TV journalist Doreen Majala, who narrated before Ngong magistrate Alex Ithuku how she was assaulted by the MP in February last year, before he fled from their matrimonial home.
The MP was arrested but was released after spending two nights in custody.
Last year, the Mwingi Central MP was charged in a Kitui court with three counts of hate speech and offensive conduct in public, after allegedly using offensive and inciting remarks against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The charges stated that on October 23, 2007 at Kalundu open-air market in Kitui township, while addressing a National Super Alliance gathering, he used abusive words against President Kenyatta.
The case is still ongoing and the MP is out on a Sh200,000 bond.