Kenya: Man Who Drove Into Ocean Was Victim of Domestic Abuse - Family

10 December 2019

The family of a man who died after he drove his vehicle into the Indian Ocean last weekend, claims he had endured years of domestic abuse by his wife.

On Tuesday, the victim's mother, Musangi Mutinda, accused her son's wife of misrepresenting issues and being economical with the truth.

In an interview with the Nation at her Kyanika village home in Kitui County, the grieving mother said her son had been recovering from severe burns inflicted when his wife scalded him with hot water in November.

MARITAL ANGUISH

"My son died out of depression and despair because of the domestic violence and marital anguish he endured at home.

"It is, therefore, wrong for his wife to insinuate he had gone mad," said Mrs Mutinda.

WHAT HAPPENED

On Saturday, the man stormed out of his house in Vanga Estate, Mombasa, at around 4 am, got into his vehicle, sped off towards the Likoni crossing, and drove into the ocean.

According to his relative, Bernard Kieti, he told his wife that he had "received a call from his late father" before leaving the house in a huff.

"He was saying things that his wife could not comprehend when he left. The wife tried in vain to stop him," Mr Kieti, who spoke on behalf of the family, said during an interview at the crossing.

MOTHER'S CLAIMS

But a visibly angry mother said the woman was the reason her son decided to take his own life. She said that life with her was unbearable.

While displaying photographs of her son, with burn wounds all over his chest, Mrs Mutinda said the wife's misrepresentation of facts aggravated the pain of losing the father of three children.

"After she scalded him with hot water, she rushed to lodge a complaint at Central Police Station in Mombasa, prompting police to lock up my son for four days," the mother said, adding that he was released without charges.

Mrs Mutinda urged police in Mombasa to investigate her daughter-in-law over the alleged domestic abuse and release the findings of the post-mortem for the truth to be known.

Her story was corroborated by the victim's siblings, who rejected the narrative of mental disturbance but regretted not intervening earlier to keep him from giving up on his life.

MUENI'S RESPONSE

Contacted for comment, Ms Mueni acknowledged they had marital issues but insisted the media should let her mourn her husband in peace.

She declined to discuss why she scalded her late husband with hot water, only saying she needed time to explain the circumstances to her mother-in-law and other family members who complained about her.

"Who has given you those photos? This is a private family issue. I cannot talk at the moment because I am at a police station organising the postmortem," she said, adding the media should not bother her as she mourns her husband.

According to the Kenya Ferry Services, Mr Mutinda, 46, drove straight into the sea at around 4.20 am Saturday without paying for the ticket.

Soon after the incident, officers from the Kenya Navy and the Kenya Police Marine swung into action.

The victim's body was retrieved shortly after 9 am and taken to Jocham Hospital mortuary.

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