Kenyan Politician Detained in Burundi Prison

  • A Kenyan politician and prominent businessman, Joseph Mboya Nyamuthe, is reportedly being detained incommunicado in a Burundian jail. 

    The Kenyan national who runs several businesses in Burundi was arrested in April 2021 after he was accused of drug trafficking.  

    Mboya hails from Rangwe constituency in Homa Bay County and he expressed interest in contesting for the parliamentary seat prior to relocating to Burundi in 2019.

    He is also the son-in-law of celebrated Permanent Secretary Hezekiah Oyugi, one of the most powerful politicians during former President Daniel Moi’s era. 

    Joseph Mboya addresses a gathering in Homa Bay in December 2019

    He launched a pharmaceuticals company in Burundi in 2019 that was unveiled by then President the late Jean Pierre Nkurunzinza. Mboya and his associates were accused of using the company to export and import illegal substances in the East African country. 

    Detectives reportedly started tracking Mboya after a Turkish national was arrested at Bujumbura Airport allegedly trafficking narcotics on March 20.

    The Turk was reportedly linked to the drug trafficking network which roped in the pharma company, top government officials and Kenyan businessmen. 

    It was alleged that Mboya’s company ferried drugs to Burundi via Somalia in the disguise of medicine imported for the country’s military and peacekeeping armed forces. 

    Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye and President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly discussed Mboya’s detention when the former toured Kenya on June 1, Madaraka Day. The two launched a number of government projects and Uhuru gifted his ally 50 heifers as a token of appreciation. 

    Sources privy to the details told the Nation that Uhuru declined to speak or comment on the crucial issue, arguing that he should face his own consequences. 

    “I have no knowledge of his whereabouts,” Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna declined to comment when contacted. 

    Kenyan Investor, Joseph Mboya Nyamuthe (in spectacles) watches as the late President of the Republic of Burundi H.E. Pierre Nkurunziza signs a visitors book at the launch of Mboya’s company in 2019