By Wahome Thuku
DICKSON Munene was a young, educated and high-flying Chief Inspector of Police attached to a station in up market area in Nairobi. He was on the path that every cop would love to take.
Untill 2009 when the worst happened. Munene shot and killed yet another brilliant son of former Gatundu South MP Patrick Muiruri during early morning fracas in Westlands. The rest is history.
Munene was convicted for murder and sentenced to death. His appeal failed. He hasn’t been hanged yet. This year, he marks 10 yrs in jail.
Munene has now filed an application at the High Court to be released on compassionate grounds and given time to rehabilitate.
On Wednesday after the Dennis Itumbi case I sat in the next courtroom as Munene’s lawyer Kiraithe Wandungi a seasoned criminal lawyer made almost tearful, 40-minute submissions for his release, before judge Luka Kimaru.
Wandungi mentioned the word “remorseful”, more than 20 times. He say his client regrets everything he did and has learned his lesson. He is guilty and will leave with it.
He has tried to seek forgiveness from Muiruri family through friends and even church pastors including Bishop Mark Kariuki. It was a passionate appeal by the lawyer, for Munene, whom he called “a shell of a man”, to be released and pick up what is left of the him.
And true the man seated in that dock was the shell of the handsome man I first saw in 2009 when he and a co-acussed Chepkonga were arraigned in court. Chepkonga was later acquitted.
On the other hand, Muiruri the former MP made an equally passionate plea to the court not to even think about releasing Munene.
Muiruri who had been called by the judge to give his side of feelings gave a 30minute address saying what Munene did completely destroyed his family. Releasing him would kill his wife who has never recovered from the trauma.
Muiruri’s son was a Phd holder and a lecture in the UK and was only visiting the country. Following his killing the family was awarded 15million compensation but Muiruri said he rejected the money.
Muiruri, himself a former police officer, said Munene was never remorseful throughout the trial and has never approached the family ever since. In short, Muiruri asked the court to let the officer rot in jail.
Judge Kimaru had to give a word of consolation to Muiruri family, praying that they try to heal. I liked that about the judge. But even as he retired to make his judgement, I couldn’t help but wonder which way Kimaru will go. Yet he has to decide either way.
BACK to my long point to our police officers. Before you go out of your mind to do the unthinkable at the heat of the moment, or out of excitement of being a cop, just remember Chief Inspector Munene has been in jail for 10 yrs and counting.
Have a policing day.