Feb 7, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

How Sh600 million bounty led Kenyan journalist to his death

When the United States Department of State offered a $5 million (shilling 600 million) bounty for the arrest of Mr. Felicien Kabuga, the most wanted suspect behind the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was a Kenyan journalist more than willing to help and make money doing it.

William Munuhe Gichuki, a freelance journalist, has his sights set on the ultimate prize and struck a deal with detectives from the Special Crime Prevention Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to trap the suspects.

Munuhe, of humble origin and whose star in journalism was beginning to shine, decided to risk his life in hopes of becoming a turn his family’s fortune in reward.

But without the corrupt system protecting the refugee, who is said to have been in Kenya around 2002, his dream would have come true.

into a em Fall Of the most dangerous missions he had embarked upon, Munuhe almost failed to extricate the fugitive.

Also read: Kabuga’s arrest in France raises questions about Kenya link.


On January 14, 2003, a plan to bring the suspect to police after meeting him at his home was foiled and the suspect made sure he paid the price.

Investigators, who had waited in vain for his signal for three days broke into his rented apartment, only to find his body in a pool of blood in his bedroom.

His eyes were gouged out, his face was lacerated with caustic acid, and there was Traces of gunshot wounds.

And with his death, his dream of improving the lives of his family went down the drain.


After his death, the US Embassy in a press statement on February 13, 2003, applauding Munuhe for his brave actions.

Read n See also: Family of slain journalist in court to seek compensation

The US acknowledged that Munuhe had volunteered to provide information on Mr Kabuga’s whereabouts to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ( ICTR), which was investigating him and other Rwandan genocide suspects.

She claimed that Munuhe had raised concerns about his safety, prompting the ICTR and embassy staff to maintain close contact with him to hold.

The statement also stated that through the Reward for Justice program, the US would pay individuals who would provide accurate information that could lead to the suspect’s arrest.

“When Mr. Kabuga is finally captured, as we are confident the Rewards for Justice program will make its decisions about the distribution of the reward money,” the statement said.

20 years later Later, however, the family is still waiting for justice for their son.

His mother, Lydia Wangui Gichuki, who is now approaching 90, still hopes that the family will be compensated.

According to Ms. Wangui, Munuhe being the last sibling of the family of five was a glimmer of hope.

She explained that Munuhe was a bright and active child who had a bright future.

“The My son’s death has caused me much pain and anxiety for many years. While waiting for his compensation, I also lost my husband and daughter, and I’m afraid I might die too without seeing justice done for my son,” she said.

Born on January 15, 1975 in the village of Muruguru. Nyeri County, Munuhe attended Muruguru Primary School before transferring to Mathaitha Secondary School.

During his school days, he developed a passion for writing. His parents could not afford to send him to college and he devoted himself to writing articles.

He was 27 years old when he died.

His mother still lives in the same wooden house where he raised all her children.

She regularly visits the gravesite on their small farm to mourn Munuhe’s death, which remains an unsolved mystery.


The long wait for justice had seen his brother Josephat Muriithi petition a court in Nakuru to have the fugitive declared dead so that the family could be compensated.

That was before Mr Kabuga was arrested by police in Paris in 2020 after 25 years on the run. He was brought before the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity and others.

Mr Muriithi has visited the embassy on at least two occasions to seek compensation but has been without assurances that justice will be forthcoming would be dismissed.

Although the trial of Mr. Kabuga is ongoing, the family hopes that the US Embassy and the Kenyan authorities will fulfill their promise to compensate them.