John Gichia Mugi is led to start his 90-year prison sentence after he was convicted for nine counts of sodomy by a Murang’a court. [Photo: Boniface Gikandi/Standard]
A volunteer teacher has been jailed for 90 years after he was found guilty of sodomising nine pupils at a school in Gathiru village, Murang’a County.
John Gichia Mugi, 23, was charged with nine counts of sodomy and will serve 10 years for each. He was was found guilty of sexually assaulting nine pupils at the school where he taught on diverse dates between January and May 2014.
He was tried before Resident Magistrate Jesse Masiga. The scandal rocked the school in Murang’a after one of the learners reported sodomy cases to a parent. During the trial, pupils aged between 13 and 16 testified how the teacher had been regaling them with love stories and touching their private parts when they went to bed.
Mugi had been accommodated in a room next to the pupils’ dormitories and had more access to the learners. When the sodomy incidents were revealed in 2014, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) demoted the school’s headmaster for failure to report the matter and attempt to shield the teacher from prosecution.
After the interdiction of Kariuki Kamau by TSC, Mr David Karanja took over as the new head teacher in July 2014. The convict, described in his village as humble and aloof, has become the talking point in the sleepy area since the near-century sentence was imposed on him.
What surprised many, including the trial magistrate, was how Gichia turned against the innocent boys he was supposed to mould, and instead subjected them to harrowing experience. Former friends and acquaintances describe him as a man who always kept to himself.
Others have denied any previous association with Gichia afraid that such links would mean they were a part of the secret life that he led. At Muthiria Boarding Primary School, a reconstituted Board of Management has taken over running of the school.
Teachers at the school have scanty information on the volunteer tutor who served for only two terms before the sodomy accusations emerged.
“We have no information regarding him as he was not a teacher although in court the pupils testified that he tutored them,” said one teacher. Irungu Njuguna, a close friend and colleague, said despite being revered and idolised by pupils, Mugi was a very private person.
“On Sundays, he actively participated in teaching Sunday school at the adjacent Muthiria ACK Church,” he said. At Mugi’s home in Gathiru, a group of women gathered to pray for the redemption of the 23-year-old.
However, Charity Kabura, Mugi’s mother was unavailable.
A neighbour told The Standard that she had been admitted to hospital due to the shock of her son’s conviction.
A staunch Christian and devout follower of Pefa church, Kabura is devastated that the son whom she had banked on to take care of her will rot in prison. In his defence, Mugi told the court of a plot hatched by his three colleagues to frame him.
“I am a staunch Christian who could not do such shameful acts. The pupils were also not happy with my strictness that is why they were used to frame me,” he told the court.
He pleaded for leniency, saying he was responsible for his brothers’ upkeep and was still pursuing his studies. Gathiru village was in the spotlight in 2009 when another of its sons, Daniel Chege Gichia, then aged 39, made headlines in London and Kenya after he married another man, Charles Ngengi.
Gichia made history by becoming the first man to marry another man in London under under the controversial Civil Partnership Act, which came into effect in the UK in 2005.