Friends recall ‘budding musician’ whose life was cut short
As detectives investigate the murder of Ms Monica Kimani in Kilimani, Nairobi, close friends describe the prime suspect in police custody as a promising musician since his youth.
Mr Joseph Irungu, alias Jowie, 28, was a member of a band that entertained revellers in Naivasha and Nakuru towns, where he was born and brought up. Mr Irungu comes from a family of artistes. One of his brothers is a guitarist, while an elder brother is in photography.
"He was an inspiring singer,” said a friend who teamed up with Mr Irungu to form the musical band.
The members later disbanded to seek greener pastures. “At Agape Church in Pangani Estate, off the busy Kanu Street in Nakuru town, Irungu was a vocalist and an instrumentalist,” the friend said.
“He is one person who never missed church,” said another friend.
Yesterday, when the Nation visited Mr Irungu's home in Lanet on the outskirts of Nakuru town at 4pm, the gate to the palatial house tucked between Kiratina estate and Lanet Baracks, was closed.
Efforts to access the compound were futile, despite knocking at the gate and ringing the bell. A neighbour we met at the entrance revealed that a few weeks back, Mr Irungu's parents disclosed that he was outside the country "but did not state what he was doing abroad”.
Mr Irungu is the second-born in a family of two boys and two girls. He was a founder member of church choir Agape Stormers. A worker at the church on Saturday said: "I knew him personally and I was shocked when I learnt that he had been arrested in connection with murder".
Close friends revealed that Irungu schooled at Racetrack Primary, next to the sprawling Mwariki estate where his family used to live, before being transferred to another school. He joined Langalanga Secondary School in 2008 and sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination examination in 2011.
Mr Irungu's family later settled in Lanet. Many of his friends said that they parted ways with Mr Irungu when he went to Dubai and later Afghanistan, where he trained in security matters.
All the friends that the Nation traced described Mr Irungu as a well-mannered person of “good character”. “The last time I saw him in Nakuru was in 2015. Since then I have not heard of him,” said another band member.
A neighbour who declined to be named said he is yet to come to terms with the murder charges facing Mr Irungu. “He was such an amazing young man who was talented in music and had superb vocals. I was shocked when I saw his photograph in the newspapers as the main suspect in the Kilimani murder,” the neighbour said.
Ms Monica Kimani, 28.