14 February 2019

Kenya: Revealed - What Killed Caroline Mwatha

Photo: Nairobi News
Caroline Mwatha Ochieng, a founder member of Dandora Community Justice Centre.

A post-mortem examination on Caroline Mwatha shows the Dandora-based human rights activists died of excessive bleeding from a ruptured uterus after a botched abortion.

Independent Pathologist Peter Ndegwa said Thursday evening that Ms Mwatha had a male foetus of five to six months still inside her womb, but which is mutilated, one hand is missing and the skull badly injured.

"The uterus was perforated at the backside. There was an attempt to dismember the foetus because one hand was missing and part of the skull was injured," Dr Ndegwa said.

'NO STRUGGLE'

The examination showed that, apart from needle marks which showed some medical intervention, she did not have any other physical injury on the body or any signs of struggle but she had internal bleeding and external bleeding, the pathologist said.

Dr Ndegwa said the injury on her neck was due to an embalming procedure at the City Mortuary, where she was booked as a private citizen.

However, the pathologist said that despite the post-mortem being conclusive, it is upon investigators to establish the circumstances under which she died.

He said it is upon them to establish if the abortion was done with or without her intention.

A toxology exam will be done to establish if Ms Mwatha ingested any chemicals which could have also caused her death.

Speaking on behalf of human rights organisations, Mr Kamau Ngugi of Human Rights Defenders said, "We have been involved in this process, we are satisfied with the competency and independence that the police and members of the medical profession have displayed in carrying out the post-mortem examination.

"This puts everyone in a place where it will be possible to accept the results, " he said.

Mr Ngugi added: " We are grateful to the police service which under intense pressure that was generated by this episode have worked quickly and shown great levels of competency in investigating the death of Caroline."

However, the organisations said they are waiting for justice for Ms Mwatha, a human rights defender, who they said died in "unclear circumstances".

"Nothing takes away what Caroline used to do in the community. The outcome today is part of the investigation," Mr Ngugi said.

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