Left to Right; Adv. Isabella Obara, Mr Maina (the Deceased’s Father) and Adv.Isinta Nyaribo
By Isabella Obara & Sarah Nyakio
Do you remember your 22-year-old self? Your dreams and your plans for the future? Evans was only 22 when his life was cut short. Three years on, we continue to press on for justice.
On January 26, 2021, the hearing of Evans Njoroge alias "Kidero," who was shot and killed on February 28, 2018, during a protest by the University of Meru students, commenced at the Meru High Court. In attendance during the hearing was the prosecution Counsel Mr. Maina, Adv. (Ms). Maina, who appeared on behalf of IPOA, Adv. Isinta Nyaribo and Adv. Obara Isabella watched brief for the family as instructed by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit and the Defence Counsel Adv. Gashishio.
After investigations of the Independent Police Oversight Authority's killings, AP Leakey Maina was indicted of murder contrary to section 203 of the Penal Code.
The hearing of the case was undertaken by Justice J.P Otieno, who heard witness statements from experts on the various technical questions raised on how Evans Njoroge alias 'Kidero' was allegedly shot dead inside a farmer's compound.
Prosecution Witness number 5 confirmed to Justice Otieno that various exhibits received per the exhibit memo were adequately assessed. PW 5 noted that "the rifle was in generally good condition."
Senior sergeant Mwaroro Pasia, an armoury custodian, told the court that he had issued guns and live bullets to three officers, including the accused, on the day when the murder happened.
"On that day (February 27, 2018), I gave out guns to officers to go to the riot. The driver, Leakey Maina, went with 25 bullets," Mwaroro said.
Further, Prosecution Witness 9, a crime scene recreation expert, told the Meru High court that he visited the crime scene upon receiving the alleged shooting and killing report. Pictorial and expert evidence adduced by the witness as evidence to be considered in deciding the case.
During the hearing, the other testimonies tendered from; the Officer Commanding Station, the officer in charge of the armoury, and the officers who were part of the operation on a fateful day.
The officer commanding station's testimony was that, on a fateful day, he organized his men to respond to the reported protests by Meru University Students. He indicated that the demonstrations' preferred mode of response was by unbarricading roads and manning the students. He stated that he was not aware of the student leader's alleged death until he received a public member's call.
As the hearing continued, the defence Counsel requested time to examine some of the Prosecution witness statements that were not in his possession. He further asked the court to disallow further in-court service by the prosecution as it would be prejudicial to the accused. It was agreed by all on record that a further hearing date would for March 31, 2021.
In November last year, the Meru High Court visited the crime scene. Justice Otieno heard how a police patrol car pursued rioting students into Kabebe village, 2km from the university. The student leader was allegedly gunned down in cold blood as he sought refuge in a farmhouse. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority official Beatrice Atieno told the court the vehicle was tracked as it made rounds towards the area. It was near the scene when Njoroge was killed.
She showed the court a scene within a private farm where the student leader, who had been nicknamed Kidero, was shot dead under a tree a few yards from a house where a family was having lunch. Atieno said the vehicle then travelled to Maua, about 40km from the murder scene, before being driven back to Nchiru market in Tigania West, where the university is situated.
Mr. Njoroge was a student leader at Meru University and Secretary-General of the Student Council.