Kenya: rising Catholic politician killed

A Catholic opposition politician was shot dead in Nairobi on Monday night, triggering angry protests in the city and in parts of the country.

Melitus Mugabe Were, 40, was the new Member of Parliament for Embakasi on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket. He was shot and killed by unknown people outside his gate shortly after midnight, police said.

A former student at Kiserian Seminary in Nairobi, Were was one of the young men who helped Comboni missionary Fr Adelmo Spagnolo found the National Catholic Youth Centre in the capital in December 1988.

He later studied social communications at the Gregorian University in Rome and worked with disadvantaged youth in Dandora, a suburb in Nairobi, where he was elected councilor in 2002.

Described by a close friend as an intelligent and hardworking mobilizer who defended Catholic teaching, Were, however, made political enemies in the course of his activism. He even received death threats.

He becomes the first member of the 10th Parliament to die. Police moved in to quell protests in Nairobi and in some towns in the ODM stronghold of western Kenya following the death.

President Mwai Kibaki condemned the killing of Were, terming it a heinous crime. He ordered police to immediately and expeditiously launch investigations into the killing and ensure that the culprits are apprehended.

ODM leader Raila Odinga said the death was political assassination.

Meanwhile, clashes between police and gangs targeting non-Kikuyu people continued in Naivasha on Tuesday. Nakuru remained calm but tense. People are still camped at police stations, the showground and in parish compounds.

Tension was also reported in Maralal after rumour went round Monday night that members of the dreaded Mungiki movement had been transported to the town. Most businesses remain closed and police are on patrol.

At the same time, formal talks between the government and ODM were expected to kick off Tuesday afternoon led by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan. President Kibaki and Odinga were required to recognize the Annan team as mediators and to commit themselves to the arbitration process and its outcome.

Source: CISA

All active news articles