An exhausted, bitter, sobbing but restrained crowd huddled together in Ngaa village, Masii in Machakos county today to bury two children killed in Kinango, Kwale as a result of domestic feud pitting their parents.
Their small white coffins placed under the shade of an imposing mango tree, in the humble remote countryside, added to the grief that engulfed the village.
A small group of villagers had travelled overnight from Kwale, bringing their bodies to their mother’s home. Amid the emotional send-off choir songs, they struggled to keep pace with their tired frames.
Martina Mumo (7) and Valerian Nduku (5), were killed on January 2 at their Taru home after their parents quarrelled. At the time of the attack, the pair were dressed in matching African prints, their festive season-best.
The man they called their father, Charles Maingi Mutie, vanished soon thereafter. He was arrested a few days later on January 5, in Lunga Lunga attempting to cross the border.
On Thursday, Mutie was arraigned at Mariakani Law Court. He told Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Adalo that he does not recollect what caused him to butcher the siblings.
Adalo allowed police to detain Mutie for 14 days to enable them to record statements from witnesses who had gone into hiding in fear of Mutie’s threats.
At their burial, Bridgit Ndunge their mother was a figure of grief. She could barely talk at the sight of their coffins.
“You brought joy, happiness and laughter to my heart. It’s sad you have gone too soon. I will miss the best moments we shared with you,” a written tribute read out by her cousin said.
Martina was a Grade Two pupil, while Valerian was in Pre-unit. Mutie had adopted them from Ndunge’s previous marriage. Their two brothers Kevin and Wambua escaped the murderous rage, as they were not home at the time of the attack.
Calls for peaceful resolution of family disputes dominated the speeches at the burial. Senior Assistant Chief Pauline Mwende encouraged the distraught mother to keep her hope alive and pick up her pieces.
“As awful as this is, as horrible and unfortunate as it is, the human spirit is relentless. Many have suffered worse and picked themselves up to lead great and rewarding lives. Do not lose hope,” Mwende said.
Margaret Mwikali, nominated MCA, encouraged adults to square off their differences with each other and keep off children.
Area MCA Betty Ndambuki pleaded with women to keep off violent and toxic relationships.
Mwala sub-county police commander Kirui urged families to take the earliest opportunities to solve disputes to avoid them boiling over to tragedies.
Mwala MP Vincent Musau and aspirant Kilei Mutinda also condoled with the family.
Law Society of Kenya Vice President Caroline Kamende Daudi promised the family free legal representation in their pursuit of justice.
At exactly 2:17pm, under the sweltering heat of the January sun, the two caskets bearing the remains of the siblings were lowered to the final resting place, a grave hewn off their grandparents’ homestead.
A mourning village dissolved away, taking with them immortal lessons on family disputes.
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