'MY FIRST TIME'

Arrested Ol Kalou bhang farmer wanted to 'manufacture Doom'

Unrepentant Mwangi says he does not consume the drug.

In Summary

• The bhang was planted along the fence and in a two-roomed mud house in Savanna cement bags.

• Residents noticed when Mwangi removed the roof to give it space to grow taller.

Passenga chief Daniel Muniu (L) and Githunguri assistant chief Pascal Gathima lead in uprooting bhang in John Mwangi's compound at Mugumo village, Ol Kalou on Wednesday evening.
Passenga chief Daniel Muniu (L) and Githunguri assistant chief Pascal Gathima lead in uprooting bhang in John Mwangi's compound at Mugumo village, Ol Kalou on Wednesday evening.
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA
Bhang farmer John Mwangi , Ol Kalou OCS Moses Munyoki, Passenga Chief Daniel Muniu and police officers inside the house where Mwangi planted bhang.
Bhang farmer John Mwangi , Ol Kalou OCS Moses Munyoki, Passenga Chief Daniel Muniu and police officers inside the house where Mwangi planted bhang.
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA
John Mwangi holding his bhang stems on Wednesday evening
John Mwangi holding his bhang stems on Wednesday evening
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA
John Mwangi and his bhang inside a police land cruiser on Wednesday evening
John Mwangi and his bhang inside a police land cruiser on Wednesday evening
Image: NDICHU WAINAINA

The seeds came in a matchbox. The instructions were clear: simply plant like maize and use cow dung manure. Do not apply pesticide or fungicide, not even top dressing. 

John Mwangi, 50, followed instructions given in April by his friend Kirimi to the letter. They had met in Nairobi, and Kirimi promised Sh20,000 at harvest. 

Mwangi planted the seeds around the live fence of his two-roomed house and some next to his son’s house at Mugumo village in Passenga location, Ol Kalou.

Most of the seeds were planted in Savanna cement bags cut into halves and filled with soil, then placed inside his house. 

The herb grew lush and tall, perhaps reaching for the sun, only to be blocked by the roof. That's when Mwangi got an idea. 

On Tuesday, he removed the iron sheet roofing of his mud house to give his crop more space to grow. That was his undoing. 

He was arrested on Wednesday evening for growing bhang.

 

“We agreed that after I harvest the crop, I should take it to Kirimi as he uses it to manufacture Doom,” he told the police and shocked villagers.

The unrepentant Mwangi said he does not consume the drug and dared anyone who thought otherwise to prick his finger and extract some blood for testing.

Passenga chief Daniel Muniu said the authorities swung into action after a tip-off from residents who discovered the bhang on Tuesday.

“It was noticed after he removed the roof to allow it space to grow taller for maximum yields,” he said

Muniu said the authorities will continue to work hand in hand with community policing, Nyumba Kumi and village elders to eradicate bhang in the area.

“I am issuing a stern warning to those in this trade that their days are numbered. We cannot allow them to continue destroying our children,” he said

Githunguri assistant chief Pascal Gathima said nothing much could be said of the culprit.

Gathima said Mwangi had been living in Nairobi and returned home in March.

He said no one could have suspected that Mwangi was engaging in such a trade as he lived well with the community and was not known to smoke bhang.

“Perhaps he found it as a good business venture as promised by his Kirinyaga friend and intended to supply it to the ready market once it matured,” he said

Ol Kalou OCS, Moses Munyoki led a team of police and local administrators to Mwangi’s residence. 

They arrested the suspect, uprooted his bhang, piled it in the police van and drove off with him.

(edited by O. Owino)