25 June 2019

Kenya: No Justice Yet for Mwende After Man Gouged Out Her Right Eye

On April 25, when the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji visited Kisauni in Mombasa, they received complaints of human rights abuses from the residents.

But what caught the attention of Mr Kinoti was the case of Stella Mwende, 43, who narrated to him how a man gouged out her for refusing to be his lover and how the continued walking scot-free.

Mr Kinoti ordered that the suspect, Victor Odhiambo, 28, who allegedly assaulted Ms Mwende, be pursued and charged for the crimes he had committed.

ARRESTED

In two weeks' time, the DCI posted on its official Twitter handle that Odhiambo had been arrested in Kayole by detectives.

He had been on the run since December 2018 when he committed the offence.

Odhiambo was taken to Mombasa and faced two charges of causing grievous harm and wounding Ms Mwende.

He pleaded not guilty and was remanded.

The case was set to for hearing on May 28, but when it came up in court, the prosecution said it had not received the police file and the court gave another hearing date of May 30.

POLICE LAXITY

In what appeared to be pure laxity by the police in pursuing the case, when the matter came up again on the new date, the prosecution said the file had not been placed before the court and ordered the case be withdrawn.

The case, according to the court file seen by the Nation was withdrawn under Section 87 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Following this withdrawal, Odhiambo is back on the streets, a free man.

"My friends told me they saw him (Odhiambo) in Ganjoni, where I used to stay. I wondered what happened and when I asked the police I was given unsatisfactory answers," said Ms Mwende who had a hard time crossing Mombasa Road for the interview with Nation.

She could not clearly see the oncoming vehicles from her right hand side.

LOST BEAUTY

This, she says has been among difficulties she has had to endure since her right eye was gouged out because of rejecting the man.

"I have also lost my beauty. I sometimes feel like being beautiful is the reason for my woes. I still cannot figure out why he had to do this to me," says Ms Mwende.

Her face was also slashed and a permanent mark left by the heartless man who is now going on with his daily errands as Ms Mwende suffers.

"A senior DCI officer told me that they have started looking for me and I should not report the matter to his seniors," she said.

Ms Mwende was slashed on December 15, 2018 when Odhiambo visited her home in Ganjoni, Mombasa.

Ms Mwende, a mother of two sons, was then 42 and Odhiambo was 27.

"He had come to ask back for his panga. I went upstairs to go pick it and a few minutes later I saw him standing by my door. I handed over the panga and in a flash of a moment I was in a pool of blood," she narrated.

FOOD VENDOR

Ms Mwende used to sell food at a roadside kiosk while Odhiambo was a scrap metal dealer and was her regular customer.

To her, he was just a customer, but Odhiambo had been having other thoughts about Ms Mwende.

"He had been asking me to be in a relationship with him but I had turned down his requests on several occasions. I had told him that I was like a mother to him but he kept on persisting," narrated Ms Mwende.

On December 12, two days before Ms Mwende had her eye gouged out, her face and the back of her body slashed, she had been looking for a person who would help her put up a temporary shade at her eatery.

Odhiambo offered to help and brought a panga for digging holes where the shade would be erected.

DRUNK

"He did not finish the job that day and he had promised to come back but he did not show up and asked me to keep his panga well," she said.

On the fateful day, Odhiambo who was visibly drunk, went to Ms Mwende to ask back his panga and the cruel incident happened.

She reported the matter at Central Police Station under OB No. 88/17/12/2018.

She spent a week at the Coast General Hospital nursing her injuries.

After she was released from the hospital, Ms Mwende went up and down looking for assistance from the police but nothing was forthcoming.

When she met DCI boss Kinoti whose intervention saw the suspect finally being arrested, Ms Mwende hopes of getting justice opened up.

But her renewed hopes would soon die as the case was withdrawn due to what seems to laxity by the police.

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