A Kenyan man, Stephen Ngila, who chopped the hands of his wife, Jackline Mwende, in 2016, for not having a child for him and also cheating on him, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after the Machakos High Court in the South-East of Naiobi, found him guilty of attempted murder on Tuesday.
In her ruling, the Machakos Resident Magistrate, Brenda Bartoo, said:
“The court, having heard the accused person’s mitigation, noted the accused person was not remorseful for the offence he was convicted of. The court noted the offence was grave and the victim in her statement does not wish for any forgiveness.
“I therefore convict you of the offence of attempted murder. You will serve imprisonment of 30 years.”
In July 2016, Ngila had allegedly chopped off Mwende’s two hands and hacked her head with a machete after blaming her for their childless marriage.
The then 27-year-old Mwende, had narrated that her husband who was 34-years-old then, had come home drunk and told her “today is your last day” before he attacked her at her parents’ home in a village in southern Machakos County.
Mwende, who was in court during the trial, said she was satisfied with the court’s decision. Her case had drawn widespread international condemnation with some good Samaritans helping her procure prosthetic hands surgically implanted in South Korea.
But, according to her, the prosthetic hands don’t help much.
“I am the one whose hands were chopped off by my husband. I thank the court. God will punish him more because I had hands but now I live with disability,” Mwende told reporters outside the courthouse.
“I thank the court for its investigations. Some people talked ill about me following my predicament after my husband attacked me and chopped off my hands.
“May God bless all of them, both who talked well and those who supported me since I am alive. I won’t forget that God is the one who gives children. I thank God for both good and bad. I might have died.”
Without hands, she says she couldn’t do anything for herself but relied on others to do the simplest things.
“Everything is done for me. I was taken to Korea where I was given artificial hands that give pain at times. I have a lot of problems, at times going to clinic is a problem since I don’t have money to pay medical bills,” Mwende continued.
Mwende had said she was slashed with a panga (machete) by her husband for not bearing children in their seven-year marriage, adding that they frequently quarreled over the issue of childlessness.
According to another narrative, Mwende was allegedly cheating on her husband and it was her infidelity that angered Ngila and led to the attack. In an earlier interview, Mwende had admitted to cheating on her husband but insisted it was in the hope of getting pregnant and saving her marriage that led her to indulge in adultery.
Mwende said her husband had spotted her with another man in Machakos town a day before he chopped off her hands.
“We had sought accommodation in Machakos town because I did not want to bring him to my matrimonial bed. It was a one night affair and I returned home the next day.
“I did not know that my husband had set neighbours to spy on me. He then returned with a panga and assaulted me.
“It was on the Saturday of July 23. After spending time with the other man, I went back home where I lived alone because my husband had taken off three months earlier,” Mwende explained on Tuesday on the courthouse steps.
“Neighbours told him of my trip to Machakos with the man on the Saturday I was attacked. My arrangement with the man was only for him to make me pregnant, then we would part ways.
“I wanted a child. I was desperate and it was that yearning… and probably the Devil,… that made me stray out of my marriage. But I did it to save my marriage,” she said.
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