Police Commissioner almost went mad hunting down Wacucu, Wanugu and Rasta- Kenya’s baddest crooks
By Undercover Reporter
He was the Police Commissioner when some criminals gave chicks AK-47 assault rifles as Valentine’s Day gifts. Flowers and chocolate were too common. It was also during the tenure of Duncan Wachira, who died at 73 this week, when bank robberies and carjackings were more regular than common cold.
Indeed, one morning in 1997, cargo man Charles Omondi ‘Chacho’ walked into a strong room at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and walked out with Sh54 million! It was Kenya’s largest solo heist at the time and figures went up when final math was done.
‘Rasta’ the criminal could empty an entire magazine leaving cops scampering for dear life
More was to come in the fierce form of the Three Musketeers: Wacucu (Anthony Kanagi), Wanugu (Gerald Munyeria) and Rasta (Bernard Matheri Thuo)-Kenya’s baddest, most wanted criminals-who often embarrassed the police. Rasta, in particular had no heartburn throwing grenades when ambushed at police road blocks. He could also empty an entire magazine leaving cops scampering for dear life.
Wanugu was slaughtered under a hail of bullets alongside his girlfriend whom he used as a human shield
Wachira formed the elite Alpha Romeo Squad from the CID (now the Directorate of Criminal Investigations) to track and capture Wacucu, Wanugu and Rasta- ‘dead or alive.’
They all died under crack marksman Daniel Seroney’s relentless pursuit: Wacucu, the ringleader, was shot dead in Ongata Rongai where Wanugu escaped. He wore bullet proof vest. But he was cornered in Kabatini slums in Bahati, Nakuru County after a shoe shiner police informer got suspicious of the new client who always fished out Sh500 note for a Sh10 shoeshine job. It was Wanugu. He was slaughtered under a hail of bullets alongside his girlfriend whom he used as a human shield.
Rasta, who got sick after missing out on his snuff tobacco supplies, was the last man standing
Rasta, who got sick after missing out on his snuff tobacco supplies, was the last man standing. The man who once gave his chick an AK-47 assault rifle as Valentine’s Day gift, was also said to bribe cops for info on his trackers. Rasta, who removed the nails of his victims, was nailed by Seronei in Murang’a County.
Duncan Wachira -who shares both names with a deceased Kenya Air Force Commander- suffered a heart attack last year. His family exhausted funds as he underwent treatment at the Apollo Protocol Hospital, India. He left a Sh5 million medical bill which police were asked to shoulder.
Wachira’s two years as Police Commish is Kenya’s second shortest, but one of the most colourful for dramatic crimes and daring crooks
The late Wachira’s career was punctuated by pivotal moments in Kenya’s history: The August 1, 1982 coup attempt, ethnic clashes, criminal daredevilry, the onset of terrorist attacks. But his two year reign from 1996 to 1998 is Kenya’s second shortest for a Police Commish after Edwin Nyaseda’s one year stint to 2003.
But it was the most colourful for dramatic crimes and daring crooks. Like the band that walked away with Sh96 million from Stanchart Moi Avenue in broad daylight in 1996. So keen were they to get salt away the loot when one of their own returned to pick bank notes falling off the bank sack, they shot him dead and sped off!
Crook directed traffic along Kirinyaga Road over lunch hour while armed atop a Pick-Up after shooting at cops in hot pursuit
Then there was the crooks who directed traffic along Kirinyaga Road over lunch hour while armed atop a Pick-Up after shooting at cops in hot pursuit.
Besides crooks, police were a law unto themselves. In fact, 11 cops stood trial after shooting two Kenyatta University students during a riot in December 1996. The trial made history. Cops had never been tried before. Sadly, they were later acquitted.
For Duncan Wachira, it was baptism by fire which did not come any hotter than the August 7, 1998 Bomb Blast in Nairobi
For Duncan Wachira, it was baptism by fire which did not come any hotter than the Bomb Blast besides accusations of routine torture of political dissidents in undisclosed locations, arbitrary murders of civilians by police. Matters came to a head with the 1997 ethnic clashes in Molo, raid on a police station in Likoni, Mombasa.
Before then, Police Commissioners had only been sourced from the Mt Kenya region
Before then, Police Commissioners had only been sourced from the Mt Kenya region since independence: Bernard Hinga, Ben Gethi, Bernard Njinu, Philip Kilonzo, the bible thumping Shadrack Kiruki and Duncan Wachira-whose had joined Kenya Police as an assistant inspector at 22 in 1969.
Wachira’s star began shining during the August 1, 1982 abortive coup attempt as he was the Divisional Commander in Nakuru, the seat of Moi’s Kabarak home and the Nakuru State House.
For helping quash the coup, cops and military bosses not implicated rose through the ranks: Wachira became Provincial Police Officer in North Eastern Kenya, Provincial Police boss in the then Eastern Province and Nairobi, the Traffic Commandant, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police. And then Police Commissioner.
Duncan Wachira Kabuthe, father of three, grandpa of two was buried in his Kirimara Farm, Subukia in Nakuru County on October 28, 2020.