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When Andrew Moeche met Eunice Chepkwony at the Kenya Police College in Kiganjo, he was immediately attracted to her. He told her how he felt and he was over the moon that she felt the same. Before long, the two trainee police officers were having a passionate relationship and promised each other, that no matter what happened, they would one day end up together.
But sadly, that was easier said than done. After their training, they were split up and stationed at police stations far away from each other. They tried to maintain a long-distance relationship, but as only a few people owned cell phones in Kenya in the early 2000’s, communication was a problem. They called each other from pay phones, sometimes from work… Their schedules also didn’t allow for leave at the same time and eventually, their relationship fizzled out.
Their promise to end up together, was always at the backs of their minds, even when both of them married other partners and started families.
As fate would have it, their paths crossed again in 2006, when they were both posted at the Eldoret Town Traffic Office. As soon as they saw each other, their feelings for each other were re-ignited – they still loved each other after all this time. They were both married with children and Eunice did not want to leave her husband. But she also could not stay away from Andrew.
Their affair would come to a boiling point during one of the most turbulent times in Kenyan political history. This is a love story gone terribly wrong a time and place when it seemed like everything in the world had turned upside down.
Before the December elections of 2008, Kenya, was known as one of the most stable countries in the whole of Africa. It grew out of its status as a British protectorate and gained independence in 1963, remaining part of the Commonwealth.
Kenya became known internationally as a peaceful nation, living in a beautiful landscape. Kenya had it all: the white sandy beaches of Mombasa, abundant wildlife, ancient history… Tourists flocked to the charming country to fulfil their safari dreams and loved experiencing Africa up close and personal.
But beneath the surface, tensions were rising. Tribal frictions had been rising for many years. Social and ethnical conflict between communities over land, wealth and power were as contentious as it had ever been.
President Mwai Kibaki found himself in a face-off with Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement. Kibaki was from the majority Kikuyu tribe, who was reputed to be made up of land-grabbers who loved to line their own pockets.
The nation rallied behind Odinga, because they were ready for change. Since Kenyan independence, lawmakers, police officers and other people in positions of authority had become more and more corrupt.
Kenyans went to the polls on the 27th of December 2007 and despite all indicators leaning towards a win for Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement, the Electoral Commission of Kenya announced that Kibaki had won the election on the 30th of December.
This was when all hell broke loose in the once-peaceful country of Kenya. Minutes after the announcement riots began and unimaginable violence followed. People from the Kikuyu tribe were targeted: their homes were burnt down and they were attacked.
Elders from the Kalenjin tribe warned that they were not about to back down. The attacks were part of an organised effort to drive Kikuyus from the Rift Valley, an area that Kalenjins felt belonged to them. Many Kikuyus left, as they feared for their lives. The violent campaign was ethnic cleansing at its strongest.
Kenya’s neighbours were concerned that Kenya was going down the same route as other African countries with ethnic wars. In 1994, Rwanda’s ethnic violence resulted in the death of 800,000 people. Kenya was in a state of chaos and international companies withdrew their staff and operations from the country and the tourists cancelled their trips. In a matter of days the economy had already suffered a huge blow.
By the end of January more than 800 lives had been lost as a result of the riots. And the follow-on of the attacks brought even more social problems with it. People were forced from their homes and hospitals were bursting at the seams. In one attack, a group of Kikuyu women and children took refuge in a church that was then burnt down by protestors.
To paint the picture of what life in Kenya was like after the 2007 elections, here are some extracts from the Waki Commission’s report:
“According to reports, including witness testimony, mattresses and blankets were set ablaze with petrol and thrown into the building, while mothers and babies who were trying to flee the inferno were pushed back into the church. Kikuyu men attempting to defend their church and loved ones were hacked to death with machetes, shot with arrows, or pursued and killed. The death toll for this horrific incident was 17 burned alive in the church, 11 dying in or on the way to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and 54 others injured who were treated and discharged."
The Waki report also brought the grim danger of sexual assault to the attention of the World Health Organisation:
"The Commission knew that while women normally are the main victims of sexual violence when order breaks down, men too had experienced horrid types of sexual violence after the Kenyan election. These included sodomy, forced circumcision, and even mutilation of their penises. Between hearing of women who had been gang raped and mutilated, the accounts of ethnically driven sexual violence against certain men was also horrifying."
At the centre of the violence in the Rift Valley, was Eldoret Town. The main conflict was between the Kalenjin (who followed Odinga) and the Kikuyus. Traditionally, the Rift Valley was the home of the Kalenjin and Masai. That changed during British colonisation, when it was developed into tea farms. When Kenya became independent in 1963, however, the government re-distributed the land to president Kenyatta’s tribe, the Kikuyu people. This decision was contentious from the start and tensions rose quietly but steadily over the years. It was a ticking time bomb, that exploded after the 2007 elections.
Eunice Chepkwony was transferred to Eldoret Traffic Office in 2006. As fate would have it, she found that her ex-boyfriend whom she had met during her time at the Police College, Andrew Moeche was also working there. Six years before, they had a serious relationship and planned to get married. But when they were posted in different towns, their relationship fell apart. Living in the same town again, working together every day, they could not deny that they still had feelings for each other.
But things were complicated. In the time apart, both of them had married other people and had started families. At first, they agreed to be friends and nothing more. They introduced their spouses to each other and the two families became friends.
In June 2007, Eunice’s husband passed away and before long, she entered into a love affair with Andrew. Andrew’s wife, Edna Kerubo, realised something was going on, because he was spending less time at home. At first he told her that his working hours had changed, but Edna knew there was more to it. She eventually called Eunice at work and she came clean about the affair.
According to Andrew, he had asked her to marry him in August, only two months after the death of her husband, and she agreed. Polygamy is still acceptable practice in traditional communities of Kenya. A man can have more than one wife, but it does not work the other way around. So Eunice was only able to marry Andrew after her husband passed away and she was no longer married.
Edna, was not opposed to the fact that her husband wanted to take a second wife. In fact, she said:
“I accepted Eunice as my co-wife and asked him to formalise the relationship.”
However, Edna learnt that Eunice’s husband had died of HIV and AIDS, she was concerned about Andrew’s – and by implication her own – sexual health. In October 2007, she had herself tested for HIV and insisted Andrew and Eunice did the same. All of them tested negative.
The same month, Andrew took Eunice to his home in Nyamira, Kisii to meet his family. He told them of his intention of taking her as his second wife and his father gave his blessing. He trusted his son’s judgement – and if Andrew said he was up for the challenge of having two wives and all their children, he could do whatever he wanted.
Andrew was very committed to move his relationship with Eunice forward and sold his matatu (that’s a minivan). He gave Eunice the money he received from the sale – 300,000 Kenyan Shillings, which roughly converted to 3,000 US Dollars. Eunice added some money to that and together they bought a Toyota Karina. They shared the vehicle, well, they were spending most of their time together anyway. Andrew kept the car at his house when they were apart.
Andrew was shocked when found out through a fellow police officer that there was another man in Eunice’s life. He didn’t know who he was, only that the man’s name was David. Andrew realised that there was not much he could do to prevent Eunice from seeing someone else. He did not break off their relationship, however. He always wanted to have Eunice as his wife and he was not about to let that dream slip away.
In January 2008, less than a month after the elections, Eldoret Town was in disarray. There was a lot of pressure on law enforcement officers to try and maintain some form of law and order in a place where riots, arson, rape and murder became everyday practice.
On the 29th of January, a member of the opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (or ODM), Mugabe Were, was shot and killed outside his home in the capital city of Nairobi. ODM leaders accused the government for orchestrating the assassination. When police used tear gas to break up the crowd of mourners outside of Were’s home, the people were outraged. In the days that followed, violent riots swept across the country as Were’s followers vowed to avenge his death.
Before long, Eunice Chepkwony’s tumultuous love life would become a case of national interest. On the morning of the 31st of January, on the outskirts of Eldoret town, a young woman saw Eunice standing next to a maroon Toyota Karina, locked in a ‘serious conversation’ with a man, but witness did not pay much attention to it. She noticed another man sitting in the car, in the driver’s seat. The car was parked in a neighbourhood called West Indies Estate on a dirt road surrounded by warehouses and some residential homes.
Moments later the witness heard Eunice scream and turned back to see what was happening. That is when she saw Eunice on her knees and pleading for her life:
“Mogaka, don’t kill me.”
Mogaka is Swahili for ‘hero’, in this context, it was probably used as a pet name. The witness saw a man in police uniform, slapping Eunice again and again before she heard three gunshots. The policeman then walked to the driver’s side of the car and fired multiple shots, killing the other man instantly, before getting on his motorbike and speeding off, leaving a cloud of dust behind him.
After hearing the gunshots, another witness ran to the scene. He saw the shooting victim in his grey suit, slumped over the steering wheel with blood coming out of his mouth. The witness opened the door and checked the man’s pulse – but he was no longer alive. He then saw Eunice lying on the grass, a couple of yards away from the car. He noticed that she had a firearm strapped to her waist and took it for safekeeping. The witness then called police and when they arrived, he gave Eunice’s pistol to them.
Eunice was rushed to the Moi Referral Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. She was shot in the chest and thigh – of the three shots fired at her, two hit their target.
The crime scene attracted a lot of attention and within minutes a large crowd had gathered. In the chaos of trying to save Eunice and organising transportation for the male victim’s body, footprints were trampled over and vital crime scene evidence at the scene was destroyed. The crowd pushed against the car and finding fingerprints or any relevant clues would be impossible
The male victim was identified as local opposition politician and member of parliament, David Too Kimutai. At the height of the tribal conflict, Eunice found herself in a deadly love triangle. She was in love with both Andrew Moeche from the Kisii tribe as well as David Too who was Kalenjin.
David Kimutai Too was born on the 23rd of August 1968, in Kericho, in Kenya’s Rift Valley and spent his childhood years there. He became a much-loved local high school teacher. David was only in his thirties when he became headmaster and people in the community had a lot of respect for him. He had their full support when he decided to try his hand at politics and was elected to the National Assembly as part of the opposition. All the while with the support of his wife, Linah Too.
Member of Parliament, Charles Keter, described David as "a very humble, quiet man." But when David’s name appeared on the "List of alleged perpetrators" who incited and financed violent attacks after the 2007 elections, it polarised him as activist rather than a politician. He was quoted to have urged the people from the Rift Valley on more than one occasion to ‘remove the “stains” from the region’ – meaning the non-indigenous people.
Eventually, he would be remembered for his private life rather than his political impact. His fate forever sealed alongside the memory of traffic officer Eunice Chepkwony.
On the same day as the killings, Eunice’s boyfriend, Andrew Moeche, turned himself in to law enforcement at Turbo, a couple of miles northwest of Eldoret. He confessed to the murders, saying that it was as the result of a love triangle.
Andrew made a statement, explaining what lead to the murders. He said that he was on patrol when he saw the vehicle he co-owned with his lover in West Indies Estate. Eunice was standing by the trunk of the car and – according to Andrew – he assumed she had car trouble. He got off his motorbike and as he approached her, it became obvious that she was upset.
Andrew greeted her, but before she could reply, David Too got out of the driver’s seat of the car and asked Eunice:
“Is this the guy that’s been spreading rumours about you?”
Eunice confirmed it to David and confronted Andrew for telling fellow police officers that she had tested positive for HIV and AIDS. Before Andrew could answer, he saw that David was pointing a firearm at him. David wanted to know why he was talking nonsense about Eunice behind her back.
Then, according to Andrew’s version of events, he heard two gunshots. Fearing for his life, he shot at David, who fell to the ground. Despite being injured, David then managed to get up and made it back to the car, where he got into the driver’s seat again. Eunice and Andrew both went for David’s firearm that was still on the ground. Eunice held it to her stomach while Andrew tried to wrestle it off her. In the scuffle, he heard two gunshots. A second later, Eunice collapsed. Andrew believed that Eunice had accidentally shot herself.
Andrew’s statement did not make a whole lot of sense. Firstly, the witness said that she saw Eunice’s service pistol on her waist after she had fallen down. Eunice did not have another weapon in her hands as Andrew claimed. The witness also said that she did not see David and Andrew talking to each other at all and that the confrontation was between Eunice and Andrew, while David was in the car.
However, a forensic examination found that David was shot in the abdomen, the chest and head and it was ruled that it was unlikely that he was shot while sitting down. He was probably shot a couple of times while he was standing outside the vehicle, then tried to make his escape, before he was shot through the window. That meant that Andrew’s story was true – in part. What he did not disclose was that he had walked up to David and finished what he had started.
The Pathologist concluded that Eunice was in an upright position, defending herself when she was shot. Ironically, her engagement ring had a circular bullet hole with an upward trajectory, proving that she was kneeling, looking up at Andrew, begging him not to shoot her when he pulled the trigger.
Although the crime scene was not preserved after the shooting, police did their best to process it. They could not find any other gunshot evidence to fit Andrew’s statement. In fact, what they found was that only Andrew’s Ceska pistol was fired at the scene. Eunice’s pistol wasn’t in its holster anymore, so they could not determine if Eunice had pointed it at Andrew or not. A witness confirmed that he was the one who had removed the pistol from the holster when he found her, to prevent on-lookers from taking it. Remember – it was a time of anarchy and violence. If a firearm was up for grabs, chances were it could have fallen in the wrong hands.
But something was still not adding up. Police had to build a case against one of their own and with the political unrest of the time, nothing was straight-forward anymore. Because the forensic findings did not corroborate the witnesses’ statements, police decided that her evidence was unreliable. According to the witness, she never saw David leave the car. But the trajectory of his gunshot wounds proved that he was shot while he was standing.
It is possible that David got out of the car in the time that the witness was walking away from the scene and perhaps she did not see him. By the time she returned he was back in the car, and probably deceased. If all the shots were fired while he was in the car, there would have been more bullet holes, which there were not. Investigators also believed that, had David still been alive while Eunice was pleading with Andrew NOT to shoot her, he would not have stayed in the car, waiting for her to get killed. Still, prosecutors felt that because of the discrepancy in facts, the witness’ testimony would not stand up in court.
Police were able to determine that Andrew was not on patrol at the time of the murders. He was on duty, yes, regulating traffic on Uganda Road in Eldoret Town. But a friend had seen Eunice and David driving in Eunice and Andrew’s Toyota and tipped him off. Andrew then abandoned his post and followed the car on his government-issued motorbike. Once he had caught up with them, they pulled over and Eunice got out of the car by herself.
But, because of David Too’s high-profile position, this was not a simple case of: were Andrew Moeche’s actions self-defence or not. By the time Andrew turned himself in, David Too’s death was already regarded as a political assassination. Although the men came from opposing tribes, Andrew insisted that what happened that morning at the West Indies Estate was nothing more but a love triangle gone wrong. He said that he did not know the 39-year-old David Too, nor did he know that David was a politician.
Kenyan government officials were quick to try and squash the idea that the murders were rushed politically motivated, confirming to the media that it was a "crime of passion" within hours of the incident.
The fact that David was shot only two days after his fellow party member, Mugabe Were, was enough to raise suspicion. David’s death also came less than 24 hours after Minister of Internal security Professor George Saitoti’s “Shoot to kill” order. The order was issued to Police to shoot anyone ‘carrying offensive weapons’ or building barricades on roads. The fact that Andrew was in the police force, made a lot of people think that the shootings of David and Eunice were as a result of the order.
ODM leader Raila Odinga came out and publicly stated that David’s murder was, without a doubt, a political act:
"David Kimutai Too was killed by a policeman. I condemn this second execution of an ODM member of parliament. The purpose of this killing is to reduce the ODM majority.”
Opposition leader, William Ruto supported this notion and said:
“How can police call this an ordinary murder before any investigations? There is nothing ordinary about having two members of Parliament killed like this.”
All hell broke loose. The town of Eldoret prepared to be the battlefield for the worst of the tribal conflicts. Shops closed down and most residents evacuated, fearing that they would become victims of random violence.
A report from the Kenyan Human Rights Commission describes the savage killings and chaos that ensued:
“Enraged citizens raided the Ainamoi Divisional Headquarters, soon after getting reports of Too’s death, and killed an AP officer whom they cut into pieces. They set him alight and watched as his body burn to ashes. On the same day, 17 people were killed by the police. Seven of them were killed after being found looting Stagemart supermarket in Kericho Town.”
A mob of more than 200 people gathered outside the local police station. They threatened to burn down the police station – a threat that many of them were ready to make good on, bringing gasoline bombs to the riot. It was chaos as police tried to ascertain who was there to attack, and who had come, seeking protection from the riot. The mob demanded Andrew Moeche’s head on a plate, so to speak. They said:
"Bring him out so we can do our own justice. This is a government plot to wipe out ODM."
When rioters couldn’t get to Andrew, they turned their rage toward the Kisii tribe instead. The violent attacks were not only in Eldoret Town, but rippled through the whole country. Rioters barricaded roads, threw rocks and burnt tires.
Police held a press conference, declaring yet again that the murder of David Too and Eunice Chepkwony was in no way politically charged. Rioters refused to believe it, especially because of the timing of the killings. Two members of the Orange Democratic Movement killed in less than a week… They blamed president Kibaki’s government and vowed to bring the country to its knees if needed.
And that is exactly what they did. Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, mediated political negotiations personally. But after David Too’s death, talks were put on hold, because Kenya was simply too dangerous for UN officials to enter.
David Too’s funeral was a big, televised event. It was held on the 9th of February in Chepkoiyo. His wife, Linah Too, paid her respects as she reeled in shock about learning the circumstance of her husband and his alleged lover’s deaths. ODM Secretary General, Anyang Nyongo made a powerful speech at the funeral, saying that…
"…the blood of David Too must run to the door of those who stole the election".
Eldoret police were not swayed by the view of the masses – that David Too’s death was an assassination. Andrew Moeche confessed and it was up to them to prove whether he killed David and Eunice in self-defence or not. Eunice did not point her weapon at Andrew, and police had to prove or disprove the fact that David threatened Andrew at gunpoint. This became a contentious issue later-on in the case, when it was found that police officers had tampered with evidence.
David Too did not own a firearm. But Eunice Chepkwony had mistakenly been issued two weapons, instead of the regulatory one. Both weapons were found by police at the crime scene: a pistol and a G3 Rifle that was issued to Eunice only two days before her death. But in an attempt to cover up their error – of issuing two weapons – they did not log the rifle into evidence. In fact, the rifle was never found.
Another version of events emerged – this is the most probable one. It was theorised that Eunice had called Andrew, asking him to meet her at West Indies Estate to discuss their relationship issues. That is why she was waiting outside the car when he arrived. Andrew was furious when he learnt about Eunice’s affair and lashed out by spreading rumours to their police friends about her HIV status.
Eunice was not going to take his slandering without putting up a fight, and decided to scare him off. David Too agreed to go with her, to support her in putting Andrew in his place.
Eunice confronted Andrew by herself, but as the argument intensified, David got out of the car, with Eunice’s police-issued rifle and told Andrew to back off. It was a threat, nothing more, as the weapon was never fired (like Andrew claimed in his statement).
Andrew lost it and opened fire on David, who collapsed and dragged himself back into the car. He was defenceless as Andrew stood over him and shot him through the window of the driver’s seat door.
Eunice could not believe what was happening and tried desperately to calm Andrew down, calling him by his pet name, begging him for mercy. She had a weapon, by she did not point it at him, because she probably never thought that he would actually shoot her. Andrew’s life was not under threat when he shot and killed David and Eunice, at point blank range on that January day in 2008.
Andrew Moeche’s trial began in early 2009. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty, saying that he killed David and Eunice in self-defence. He said he heard two gunshots from the rifle in David’s hands. This could never be tested for gunshot residue or fingerprints, seeing as Eunice’s rifle ‘disappeared’ when officers tried to cover up the fact that she had wrongly been issued with a second service firearm.
23 witnesses were called to testify in the trial which lasted 10 months – one of the shortest murder trials in the country at the time.
Trial judge, Justice Maraga concluded that he was satisfied that Andrew Moeche did not know David Too before the day of the shootings. He agreed that David and Eunice had no intention of injuring or killing Andrew. The judge said:
“They were simply annoyed by the rumours, that they attributed to [Andrew Moeche], that Eunice had contracted HIV and AIDS from her late husband and wanted to scare him off from further spreading them. That is why neither of them fired even one shot.”
Despite this, much to everyone’s surprise, Justice Maraga acquitted Andrew Moeche of murder and instead found him guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter. He believed that Andrew Moeche had reason to believe that he was in imminent danger. In conclusion, the judge stated:
“Faced with two armed people, I find that the accused was justified in thinking that he was in imminent danger and was provoked to shoot in self-defence.”
Justice Maraga said that Andrew did not act in ‘with malicious aforethought’, which would have made the crime premeditated murder. The judge felt that Andrew was provoked and acted in his own defence. However, in retaliation, he used too much force. Andrew could have and should have shot them only to disarm them, not in the head or chest so as to kill them. There was also no evidence of warning shots at the scene, proving that his intent was to harm them.
Andrew Moeche was sentenced to the maximum sentence of manslaughter, which in Kenya is 10 years in prison. He was handed down two sentences, running concurrently. Most people did not see this coming and thought he was lucky to have escaped the death penalty.
David Too’s family was disgusted with the outcome and made themselves heard in the courtroom. David’s brother said that Andrew Moeche had robbed two families of their breadwinners. His crime of passion has left Eunice’s children orphaned and David’s children without a father.
Andrew Moeche’s defence attorney, Gladys Ndenda said that he was remorseful and has turned to religion while in prison on remand, asking God’s forgiveness for his actions.
In the next by-election, David Too’s brother, Benjamin Langat won his brother’s previous seat. He used his position to go after Justice Maraga, to have him dismissed due to a lack of competence. A case was brought in front of the National Assembly, making it clear that David Too’s family felt that justice was NOT served.
David’s brother’s attorneys argued that the evidence proved Andrew hunted the victims down with the intention of killing them. They also pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever that David was romantically involved with Eunice. In fact, Benjamin said that David only knew Eunice as a neighbour. He said on the day of the murders, David was on his way to Ainamoi. The implication was that Eunice was escorting the MP in her capacity as a law enforcement officer.
Justice Maraga was accused of mis-interpreting the evidence, concluding that both David and Eunice had firearms pointed at Andrew, while Eunice’s pistol was still in its holster and she was seen kneeling and begging for her life. There was also no proof that David ever held Eunice’s service rifle, let alone point it at Andrew.
In his own defence, Justice David Maraga was quoted to have said that he was human after all and bound to err once in a while. He also made a statement, blaming tribal divide:
“The reason this allegation is being raised is because the accused person is my tribesman. I do not look at myself as a Kisii when am working.”
Maraga did not lose his job and was appointed as Chief of Justice in 2017.
The violence in Kenya continued throughout 2008 and the UN intervened, mediating between all parties involved in the conflict. As a result, they agreed to a power-sharing agreement that became known as ‘two principals. In the agreement, Mwai Kibaki was to keep his job as president and ODM leader, Raila Odinga was appointed prime minister, a position created for him, as a compromise.
Failing the launch of a competent criminal investigation into the post-election crisis in Kenya, the International Criminal Court authorised an investigation into crimes against humanity in Kenya in 2007 and 2008. In 2010, Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo named six suspects, the group consisted of ministers, chief of police and the head of a Kalenjin language radio station. The group became known as ‘The Ocampo six’. They were all charged with crimes against humanity. In 2014, prosecutors asked for the case to be adjourned, due to a lack of evidence linking the suspects directly to the brutal murders in the Rift Valley and throughout Kenya. The investigation remains open.
Andrew Moeche is serving his time in Kisii Main Prison and is due for release this year.
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