"Our mission is to…Open the hidden perspectives"

End of the road!

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on October 19, 2009

The OB at the Police Station had an unusual entry at number two on 12/01/2000; Mrs. Mumbi wa Muturi had reported a rape. She stated as follows: There was nobody in sight. The environment was eerily quiet, save for the chirping of birds and some screeching crickets that commonly inhabit aging cypress woodlots. I carried my basket with the leather handles going round the top of my face and bringing the basket to comfortably rest on my back. The basket contained the seed I was going to plant and some githeri for my lunch. I had already transported pig manure to the garden so it was a simple exercise remaining. Although the garden was small, I got enough sukuma wiki and nduma to keep my children well fed irrespective of the weather because there is a stream nearby. I wanted to try some mbembe this season and see how they could perform. As I walked up the steep side of the valley while thinking of my own troubles, I heard a distinctive sound like that of a dry stick breaking behind me. Startled, I stopped and turned sharply and carefully scanned the steep incline on the other side of the valley, but saw no one; I checked the side of the valley on which I was walking but saw nobody too. I dismissed the sound, thinking my ears were playing tricks because the leather straps were too close to them.

How mistaken I was! Out of nowhere, in a flash, a figure lunged at me like a leopard. Holding a sharpened dagger to my throat, the aggressor growled with a low menacing voice, “keep quiet, or I will slit your throat”! As if they had some grievances against me also, the basket straps fell off my face and onto my neck. They provided a perfect stranglehold for the animal that was now leading me deeper into the bush. At knife point, finally having reached a secluded place, I was violated against my will. In those critical moments afterwards, I was completely disoriented, and the animal vanished as fast as he had appeared. I remember one thing though; he had a scar on the left inner thigh. I would never miss that scar because it was a long and dark and ugly piece of art on his skin.

As I rose and started absorbing the scene around me and the reality of what had happened to me, I did not know whether to run or to sit there. Whether to raise the alarm or to just walk back home. How would I raise the alarm yet I had children old enough to be parents? How could I explain what happened? I decided against that. I decided to go quietly to the hospital and seek for treatment. I was not going to mention anything to my husband because I did not know how he could interpret it. He may say that I had planned the whole thing! I went to the hospital and was treated by the gentle doctors who encouraged me to come here and report. Here they gave me a P3 form to bring here.

Having kept the secret as best as possible from my husband and children, I could not suddenly stop going to the garden without reason. I decided that I will always go in the company of other people never alone. One early morning, we were weeding in our little gardens when we heard a distinctive scream of a young girl, the sound coming from the same valley of the animal and his dagger. All the six of us joined in the screaming. As we cautiously approached the direction from which the sound came, we met people from neighbouring homes who had also heard the alarm and rushed to the valley. Men, women, girls and boys. Everybody came with whatever weapon they could lay their hands on. All of us were just in time to see a lone girl in school uniform holding the blood-stained dagger! She was obviously in shock but quickly explained what had happened. She also indicated that her assailant had not gone anywhere. He was hiding somewhere in the bushes nearby.

By now, at least about one hundred people had gathered at the scene. With bitterness and rage, they announced that they were going to search until they caught the culprit. It was at that moment that a man was suddenly seen strolling on the path towards the enraged mob. He asked the first person he met what they were looking for? The gentleman told him that there was a rapist who was on the run. He very helpfully pointed out that he had met a tall brown man running away from there. As the member of the irate mob reported to his colleagues that the suspect had been seen running away, he was asked, who had seen him? As he turned to say this guy here is the one who saw him, he found that the “guy” had melted into the crowd. But the young girl was nearby and picked him out and screamed at the top of her lungs while pointing at him. Cornered, he started running away. He got out a mobile phone and called the police and told them “ Hallooo, halloo, kuna mtu anapigwa hapa, tafadhali kuja mshike yeye”! As he repeated his SOS message the second time, somebody managed to trip him and bring him down with a thud.

The crowd got working in no time. Then the strangest things happened. All of us women who had been tilling their gardens caught up and ordered the men to move back. We removed the man’s trousers. He was wearing two long trousers. We took off the first, and lowered the second. As soon as the left thigh was exposed and I saw the long dark scar, my hands moved mechanically and with teary blood shot eyes and full of bitterness, I dug the assailant’s genitals out as he cried like an animal. No amount of pleading would bring respite from the women each of whom moved forward to have a go. Each of them could be heard saying “ndiye huyu, toa kabisa”! . Apparently he had many silent victims!

After about ten minutes into this business, it looked like a scene from hell under that tree. The lifeless body of a very stout man lay on the ground, without a shirt and the lower garments partially removed, exposing an almost dismembered genitalia, and a right palm that had a long, fresh gash. Even as the body limbly lay there with genitalia hanging by the slightest piece of tissue to the body, one of the rape victims still found it prudent to dig into the offending section of the dead man’s anatomy once more to ensure that it was completely severed, just in case he woke up. As to what went wrong for the rapist that day, is it not a story for another day?

Tony Mongare

So Mumbi asked the policewoman, what would you have done if you were the one?


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