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Was this little girl murdered?

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Miriam Mueni served her seven-year-old daughter some melon on Friday last week at their home in Mlolongo Phase Three, and bid her goodbye as she left with her aunt.

Sylvia Mwende was excited about a weekend sleepover at her aunt’s place and plenty of playtime with her three-year-old cousin.

Ms Mueni was reluctant to let her girl go away this time, for no apparent reason, but she gave in to her daughter’s pleading.

In any case, it was a routine visit she had become accustomed to, just as her niece would also spend the night at her place.

Only that this time it wasn’t routine. It would be the last time she would ever see her girl alive again, a gloomy finality that tested her relationship with her sister, Caroline Mwendwa

Ms Mueni would see her little girl the next morning on the cold carpeted floor of her sister’s house, dead.

Grim trip

Instead of their usual cheerful journey back home, with her baby girl recounting her experiences, it would be a grim trip to Shalom Hospital morgue in Mlolongo.

Grief and a chain of troubling questions weighed her down. Why did it have to be her firstborn daughter?

The circumstances of her death were too bitter to fathom. Why would her little girl hang herself? What did she do wrong? She thought she had been a good mother to Sylvia and her six-month- old sister.

But did she really hang herself?

“On the fateful day, I visited my sister, Caroline, at her fruit stall. After a while, I went back home with my daughter and her three-year-old girl. Before we left, my sister told me that she would not be working the next day and that she would pick the children later to spend the weekend with her,” Ms Mueni narrated to the Nation this week.

Sylvia Mwende.

When they finally got home, they shared a melon, then settled on the couch to watch a movie. Her sister got home, dressed the children and left with them.

Ms Mueni had a gut feeling that this time something wasn’t right. She nevertheless let Sylvia go along with her aunt.

“I wanted my daughter to stay a while with me, but since I had made a promise to my sister, I let them leave. My daughter would be home with me the next day, anyway,” she assured herself.

The next morning, at around nine o’clock, Ms Mueni woke up to the sound of someone banging her door. It was her sister.

‘’She was panting, sweating and out of breath. She told me little Mwende was gone and, with tears in her eyes, she closed the door and left in a hurry,’’ she recounted with teary eyes.

Left in a daze, and with her husband already out for the day, she dressed up, strapped her younger one on her back and followed her sister.

She would find her child laid on the carpeted floor. Her body had been covered in a blue-and-white striped bed sheet. Her entire world crumbled.

According to Timothy Mwendwa, Caroline’s husband, his wife had breakfast with both children on Saturday morning, then left them to take her phone to be repaired.

When she returned half an hour later, she found her daughter locked up in the toilet. She had soiled herself, so she cleaned her up, then went to the closet to pick clean clothes to dress her up. She would find her niece’s body dangling from the closet, a belt tightly tied around her neck.

In panic, she said she cut the belt with a kitchen knife, then placed Sylvia on the bed. According to her, the girl was still alive and made guttural sounds. She lifted her and placed her on the floor, then ran out to inform the mother of the child. She did not alert the neighbours about the incident.

Neighbours rushed

It was only after she came back that she raised the alarm. Her neighbours rushed to her house. By then, Sylvia was dead. As the scuffle ensued, Josephine Mueni, a community policy advocate, passed by, and accompanied her to make a report at Mlolongo police station.

According to a report by the Athi River OCPD, the narration is the same, only that in the report, Caroline says the baby was already dead when she lifted her out of the closet.

When Mr Mwendwa questioned his wife, she said that on her way home, someone told her that her child was crying, having been beaten. She rushed home to see what was going on, an account Caroline did not share with anyone on the fateful day.

‘’I was not in the house when the incident happened, and my friends informed me about it. My heart broke when I saw her lifeless body on the floor. I was so fond of her. My heart feels very heavy and I hate staying and even sleeping in my house,’’ Ms Mwendwa said.

Clothes arranged

According to neighbours, clothes in the said closet were neatly arranged and none had fallen out of place or on the floor. The body didn’t have marks around the neck, either.

‘’We expected to see abrasions on the neck, but it was as intact as the rest of the body. There was an imprint of a hand on one of her cheeks. Her arms were still flexible, eyes and mouth closed,’’ one of the residents who sought anonymity said.

‘’When the police came in, they conducted a closed questioning, then took the body to Shalom Hospital mortuary,” he added.

On Tuesday, a post-mortem examination found Sylvia suffocated to death.

“We got the post mortem examination results. We were told that my daughter died of suffocation. We were not given any more information and we have left it to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to proceed with the case,” Sylvia’s father, Joel Muange, told Nation. Yesterday, he went to Mlolongo police station to record his statement.

“The result was given to us. It was said that her mouth and nose were closed and denied access to air. The document, however, is with the police. But we were told lack of air is what caused her death,” said Sylvia’s aunt, Grace Muia. We can confirm that the baby died from suffocation.

With the new finding, the police are working to establish how the child suffocated to death and if there was any foul play.

“Having seen the hospital’s (Shalom Hospital) pathologist report, we can confirm that the baby died from suffocation. We are now looking into what caused the suffocation and this new evidence, may change the direction of the investigations,” Athi River OCPD, George Kashimire, told the Nation.

The pathologist Michael Michieka did not respond to our calls and text messages.

A first

Area chief Peter Ndunda, who has been the administrator of the location for close to nine years, said this is the first case he has heard of a child committing suicide.

‘’The most cases I deal with concerning children are accidents. Most kids who have lost their lives in this region were either ill or drowned in uncovered holes drilled during construction,’’ Mr Ndunda said.

Caroline is in police custody awaiting conclusion of investigations.

by nation.africa


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Courts

Willy Mutunga’s former wife loses bid to revive divorce suit

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Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s ex-wife Beverle Michaele Lax (pictured) has lost a bid to revive a divorce appeal she filed against him in 2015.

The Court of Appeal had initially dismissed Lax’s appeal against a High Court divorce ruling for her lawyer’s failure to pursue it.

She, however, went back, saying her lawyers never informed her that the case was coming up.

But Court of Appeal Judges Asike Makhandia, Jamilla Mohammed and Sankale ole Kantai found that her conduct, while the appeal was pending, did not persuade the court to intervene.

According to the judges, Lax filed a separate case to dissolve the same marriage at a San Mateo County Court in California, US, and never informed the Kenyan court about it.

The court observed that the High Court had finally dissolved the marriage, hence her appeal had been overtaken by events.

“We cannot fathom the reason(s) for this action. Be that as it may, it does again point to the applicant as a person without candour. What the applicant is seeking from this court is really the exercise of discretion,” the judges ruled.

The court found that if Lax was discussing with her lawyers about their pay, they must have informed her about the appeal.

Lax told the court that she came to learn about the dismissal of her case in November last year when she temporarily visited Kenya. She narrated that she only managed to peruse the file on January 24, 2020 and could not have attended court as she was unwell.

She said her then lawyers failed to inform her that if she did not pay their legal fees, they would not attend the court sessions.

“There is no doubt that the applicant was in constant communication with her counsel who were irksome in demanding their legal fees and we therefore find it difficult to believe that she was not informed of the hearing date,”  the judges ruled.

Mutunga opposed her application and told the court he filed a divorce case against Lax in 2009. According to him, the court gave its judgement on July 26, 2012.

Aggrieved with the High Court’s decision, Mutunga said his ex-wife filed an appeal on September 18, 2015, but the case did not proceed out of her delaying tactics.

He explained that when the case came up for hearing on November 18, 2015, Lax sought for Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, who was then a Court of Appeal judge, to withdraw from the bench that was hearing the case.

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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Health

MP’s battle with Covid-19 at home

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On November 2, Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama drove to Naivasha to attend the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting.

Earlier, Mr Arama had taken a Covid-19 test at a health facility in Nakuru after he experienced chills at night.

However, on arrival at the hotel where he was to spend the night, he started experiencing chills again and developed fever, pain in the joints and nausea.

Soon he started experiencing shortness of breath.

He informed his colleagues that he was feeling unwell, and they quickly planned to take him to Nairobi for treatment.

Not able to walk

“When I booked into my room, my body temperature was high and I had chills. It was at that time that I received a phone call from health officials that I had tested positive for Covid-19. I had gone for the test before travelling to Naivasha,” he recalled.

But when he informed the department of health about his plan to travel to Nairobi for treatment, he was counselled and advised by the County Chief Officer of Public Health Samuel King’ori to self-isolate in his house where he would be monitored by medics.

Inside an isolation room in his house, he was put on supplemental oxygen and fed through tubes, with doctors examining him in the morning, afternoon and at night.

“For the past several weeks, I have kept off the public because I was not able to walk, talk or eat after being diagnosed with Covid-19,” said Arama.

After 15 days, he began to feed normally and later tested negative for coronavirus.

“God has been merciful to me. Gasping for air and feeding through tubes was the most trying moment in my life. Actually, this was my first time to feed through tubes and get oxygen support,” he said.

The MP plans to work with community health volunteers, the police and youth to sensitise locals on Covid-19 preventive measures.

He wants to buy at least 20,000 masks to distribute to the needy through local administrators and nyumba kumi members.

Prior to being diagnosed with Covid-19, Arama used to hold a meeting with constituents.

Initially, he used to criticise police whenever they arrested people for contravening Covid-19 protocols.

“At times I would rush to the police station whenever I heard that someone had been arrested, but now I support the police to fully enforce the set containment measures. It is through discipline that we will save the society,” he said.

He said during meetings with constituents he never thought he would contract the virus.

“I take this opportunity to thank God for giving me this second chance to serve Him and the people of Nakuru Town West,” he said.

His message to the public is to wear masks, wash hands with soap and water and avoid crowds.

“We need everyone to put on masks, wash hands with soap and water and avoid gatherings. This is the only way to contain the spread of this virus,” said the MP.

Dedication and courage

Arama applauded health workers in Nakuru, for their dedication and courage in the fight against Covid-19.

“I can confirm to you that Nakuru County has the best health facilities, equipment and qualified medical personnel. I spent two weeks on oxygen support machine, intensive treatment and consistent checkups,” he said.

Health records indicate that the attack rate in Nakuru is 169.2 out of 100,000 population, with a case fatality of 2.2 per cent.

Although the MP was reluctant to reveal the cost of his treatment, a source at the local department of health told The Standard he incurred a bill of Sh51,684 per day because he required supplemental oxygen and his condition was critical.

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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Business

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