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Saturday, September 17, 2022 – Below is a viral post by CK Njuguna, narrating how Stella Kibaki, the niece of the late President Mwai Kibaki, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend.
One day in 2005, Stella Njeri Kibaki was brutally stabbed to death.
According to the autopsy report, her trachea and oesophagus had been sliced open. It was almost like the slaughtering of an animal.
Her killer according to the High Court and the Court of Appeal of Kenya was her boyfriend, James Love Mwangongo.
Let me take you back kidogo.
This guy was my friend. We called him Jimmy Love or Mapee (you know, for mapenzi). I’m going to use both names interchangeably.
He was a short guy, even shorter than me if you can believe that. He was light-skinned, handsome and quite the ladies’ man.
He was Taita and had a slight coastal accent despite having grown up mostly in Nairobi. Women loved that accent. Which put some of us at a disadvantage with the girls when we’d go out together. We were simply not him. We couldn’t compete.
We met at a company where we both worked in town. We became fast friends because he was just that kind of a guy. Very friendly and lots of fun. Just good vibes all round.
At some point during our time together there, I was promoted and became his boss. We remained friends and we’d still hang out together, especially after work in those upstairs clubs on Kimathi Street. Me, him, and Wanjohi. You remember Wanjohi from that other story I told about the Love Interest.
So Mapee had a girlfriend. Stella Njeri Kibaki.
She was the President’s grand-niece. I honestly don’t remember what she looked like and I feel like I should apologize for that. She deserves to be remembered. But I do remember she was a very beautiful girl. What we now call clean wealth.
She was in college when I first met her and she’d sometimes pop into the office after school and shoot the breeze with us before leaving with Jimmy Love.
Eventually, she did finish college and then for a while disappeared from our radar, only occasionally passing by the office to say hi. But we’d always ask after her.
Then she got lucky and landed a job with Kenya Airways as a stewardess.
And I think that’s when everything started to change in their relationship.
As I mentioned before, Jimmy Love was a ladies’ man. His appetite for women was legendary and that I suppose did put a strain on their relationship.
When she got that job, it obviously came with money and a change in lifestyle. She was flying all over the place and meeting all kinds of different people and she basically started enjoying the independence that this brought her. Also, she was now doing better than him.
Inevitably, things came to a head and she left him.
Mapee was inconsolable.
He grieved for her as though she had died and not just merely moved on.
He’d come into the office and spend the day brooding and on a couple of occasions even burst into tears. As his superior I had to sit him down and tell him to snap out of it and stop being a fucking child.
It happens. Women leave men all the time.
Someone mentioned at the time that Jimmy Love was the kind of guy who could kill his ex because if he couldn’t have her no one else would. We laughed. We shouldn’t have.
Fast forward to 2005.
I had already left the company and moved on to other things. Mapee and I weren’t hanging out any more but there was always the occasional phone call just to catch up. You know, just bro stuff.
One Sunday morning, I bought the daily newspaper and the first thing that caught my eye on the front page was the murder of Stella Kibaki. Even before I finished reading the story I was already on my phone dialing Wanjohi’s number.
He picked up and the first words out of my mouth were “I think Jimmy Love amemurder Stella.”.
He said he thought so too even though there was no mention of our friend in the story. It only indicated an unnamed suspect who was being detained at the Buru Buru Police Station.
But, man, we just knew.
Having known him for years and knowing how emotional and volatile he could get and how chaotic that relationship had become towards the end, I’m a little ashamed to say that I wasn’t surprised it had come to this. Damn.
I went to see him the following day at the police station.
By this time the news outlets were reporting that her estranged boyfriend, James Love Mwangongo was the suspect in custody and that he had already confessed to the murder.
It was a huge story! It was even being said that President Kibaki himself was getting personally involved. She was his kin after all.
The cops at the OB desk couldn’t pronounce his last name, Mwangongo. So I told them to just holler Jimmy Love and he’d respond.
When he came out from the cells, he looked so small. He kind of looked like Riggy G in that oversized blazer. He saw me and walked towards me with a big smile on his face and then we proceeded to have a weird conversation.
“Sasa CK, you heard mamaa passed away?”
“Yeah bro, that shit is all over the news, man!”
“I know! These people are saying I did it.”
I lowered my voice.
“Bro, did you do it?”
“Nah, I didn’t. I was in my digs the whole day…”
“But they’re saying you’ve already confessed. WTF are you telling these people?”
“I only told them that because they kept asking questions na nilikuwa nimechoka, man. Hawaniachi.”
“Do you have a lawyer? Because Mapee enyewe hii ni blunder…”
“Niko poa. My famo is talking to Cliff Ombeta. I think he’ll be here kesho.”
“Hiyo ni sawa. Mtegee kesho basi and for heaven’s sake bro, don’t sign anything and shut your mouth from now on. Talk to Ombeta tomorrow.”
I asked if he needed anything but he said his people were handling things and he’d be okay.
That was the last time I ever saw Jimmy Love in the flesh.
Later I’d see him in newspapers and on TV during the course of his trials both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
So the story goes that on the day of the murder, Jimmy Love went to Stella’s house in Nairobi’s Kimathi Estate and waited for her to come home. No one saw or heard anything but in the room where her body was found there was so much blood it looked like a scene from a horror movie. Her throat had been sliced open and her carotid artery was severed leading to massive loss of blood.
Eventually, he ended up back at his house in Ongata Rongai where he lived with his heavily pregnant girlfriend, Carol.
In her testimony during trial, she said he told her he’d killed Stella and asked her to burn his clothes which had blood on them. She refused.
He was arrested later that night by detectives.
James Love Mwangongo was found guilty and sentenced to death.
I speak of him in past tense because I don’t know if he’s still alive. I hope he is. I know his sentence was later commuted to life in prison by Presidential decree. I saw him once on Dennis Onsarigo’s Case Files speaking from Kamiti Prison and he still insisted on his innocence.
This was just a sad, sad story all round.
They were good people, those two.
Stella didn’t have to die and Mapee didn’t have to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The Kenyan DAILY POST.