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Two gruesome murders occurred in April in Wundanyi, Taita Taveta.

The incidents revealed the war against sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) is far from over: All victims were women, Defense Wawuda, 45, and Driscila Waleghwa, 51.

The murders occurred about four days apart from April 8, but all booked at Wundanyi police station and showed how women are more isolated and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Wawuda’s murder is under OB number 40/12/04/2021. Waleghwa’s recorded as 21/10/4/2021.

Wawuda’s body got dismembered: her head cut off, her arm and leg amputated. The parts were buried at a shallow grave along the Verugha riverbank. The rest of the body got dumped at the Kese market. Police arrested her boyfriend who disclosed where the mutilated body parts were. He is facing a murder charge.

Defence Wawuda suffered five stab wounds on the chest and heart, and her nervous system was not intact, the autopsy revealed. Photo: Courtesy.

Waleghwa’s naked body was discovered at Chale village. Blood was oozing from the right side of her head, and her stomach was already swelling up. Police suspect Waleghwa might have been raped before being fatally struck by a blunt object. Three suspects are in police custody.

Autopsy

Postmortem occurred on April 15 at Wesu sub-county hospital.

Wawuda suffered five stab wounds on the chest and heart, and her nervous system was not intact, the autopsy revealed. 

Pathologist conclusion of Wawuda’s death: massive haemorrhage from the right ventricle, penetrating wound, decapitated head, and traumatically amputated limbs.

Waleghwa died of head injury due to trauma assault, postmortem showed. She was raped.

What is MUHURI doing about SGBV?

Besides facilitating the postmortem and urging witnesses to record statements with police to allow speedy trial in the two incidents, MUHURI has been running Social Accountability Project (SAP) to end SGBV in Coast and Garissa counties. SAP, funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, is designed to prevent and respond to SGBV in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Started in April 2020, SAP has helped form three policies that will fight SGBV in Taita Taveta county. Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Welfare and Protection, and SGBV policies are under discussion at the Executive level.

Taita Taveta county assembly has already adopted the County Policy on Eradication of Sexual Gender-Based Violence.

These policies will help prevent and coordinate responses to SGBV after rising reports of violence against women and girls—including rape, domestic violence, FGM and child marriage. The policies will employ a multisectoral approach.

So far, SAP has trained male champions, capacity-built community influencers, religious and opinion leaders. They are sensitizing the community against SGBV.

There have been dialogue forums with state and non-state actors, including police and judicial officers, over surging SGBV cases.

SAP has made SGBV part of the agenda at the Court Users’ Committee (CUC), an avenue that addresses matters in the administration of justice while enhancing public participation and stakeholder engagement. And because of such discussions at CUC, SGBV cases have been tried faster in courts, especially during the pandemic.

A file photo of the Court Users’ Committee (CUC) meeting in Lamu that was held in October 2020. Photo: Umulkheir Ahmed.

Another CUC meeting in Kwale was held in Kwale last December. Cases related to SGBV were discussed. Photo: Zamzam Sirat.

MUHURI field officer Kelly Aduo and civic educator Flora Ali contributed to this report.