'Kidnapped' Speaker was with lover in hotel

Almost a year after Embu County Speaker Justus Kariuki Mate was allegedly kidnapped, investigations by The Nairobian revealed that Mate was spending quality time with a lover at a hideout in Lukenya around the time of his alleged kidnap.

A worker at a hotel in Lukenya told The Nairobian that Mate was taking it easy and tipping waiters heavily.

“Hatukujua yeye ni nani (we didn’t know who he was) till the last day. He was very generous and preferred to eat in his room. Ilikuwa tuu siku moja kabla aende ndio mmoja wetu aligundua yeye ni nani, akamuuliza na Mate akacheka tu (it was not until a day before his checkout that a colleague discovered who he was and asked him about it, but he just laughed),” the worker told this writer.

In his statement to the Press at The Aga Khan University Hospital, Mate, who wept uncontrollably when he saw his two sons Mark and Sammy, claimed he was abducted at Utalii Hotel in Nairobi where he was attending a county budget-planning meeting. Police could not track his whereabouts because he had left his phone behind.

After Mate was ‘found,’ Nicholas Muriuki Kangangi of CID Starehe was arraigned in court and charged with the kidnapping based on a ‘missed call’ made to the Speaker before Mate’s disappearance. He was released on a Sh100,000 bond and his case terminated in October 2014 for lack of evidence.

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Embu Deputy Speaker, Ibrahim Swaleh, said, “We are in shock following the abduction of our Speaker, but we thank God that we have found him and he is alive. We are hoping that as Members of the County Assembly, what has happened is not about the political issues that we have in the county. If it is, we want them to know that we are not cowards and we will continue to serve the people of Embu County.” Swaleh was referring to bitter row between Embu Governor Martin Wambora and MCAs that had led to the governor’s impeachment.