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Gichugu IEBC returning officer laid to rest 

Gichugu Constituency Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer Geoffrey Gitobu who died in Nanyuki town on Monday, August 22 was on Wednesday buried at his home in Marurui village, Buuri East Sub-County in Meru County.

The burial which attracted a huge number of mourners was also attended by IEBC employees mainly from Meru, Tharaka Nithi, and Kirinyaga counties.

The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer who sent his condolences referred Mr Gitobu as a hardworking man who was always committed to his work whenever he represented the Commission in the 12-year period that he worked there.

During the ceremony, some IEBC employees regretted the fact that being an employee of the Commission in the country was the most dangerous task considering that officers must die in mysterious ways every electioneering period.

Their sentiments were echoed by leaders who attended the ceremony led by Meru County Deputy Governor Isaac Mutuma who also called on political players to always learn to accept the outcomes of elections without victimising the Commission officials.

“I am today calling on political players to ensure that they don’t beat up or in any way intimidate the referee when they lose the contest,” said Mr Mutuma.

He said politics should not be taken as a fight and at the same time called on Kenyans to remain peaceful even as they await the verdict of the Supreme Court on the ongoing presidential petition.

Kirinyaga County Senator-elect Mr James Murango who led the delegation from Kirinyaga County where the late Gitobu was working before his demise said the country led by the sitting and the future presidents should always find it fit to protect IEBC officers since they were all fruits of the same commission.

“The president should know that he is a product of this commission and as a result, he should ensure that the commission’s staff are secure from threats and intimidations from rogue political players,” said Murango.

He also called on the President to direct the security agencies to investigate and bring to book those who have been involved with the death of all the IEBC staff.

Gitobu is said to have taken some time off-duty after overseeing the elections in Gichugu, in order to visit his family that lives in Nanyuki.

The 57-year-old official reportedly felt dizzy while he and his brother were driving within the town and so they headed to a nearby clinic, where the medics quickly called for an ambulance as his condition got serious.

He was then rushed to a local private hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy on his body revealed that he died out of a heart attack which was caused by a blood clot in the pulmonary vein with pathologists ruling out foul play in the sudden mysterious death.

By Dickson Mwiti and Margaret Makaa

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