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Girl tormented for a crime she never committed

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Girl tormented for a crime she never committed

Post  mara thon on Fri 30 Dec - 23:45

By Stanley Ongwae

Fourteen-year-old Violet Mbusiriaís story is one of a child born to suffer.

Mbusiria celebrated her Christmas on a hospital bed nursing deep burns on the legs and thigh

that make her sit most of the time. She doesnít stretch her legs at all.

Any movement of the legs triggers the healing muscles to twitch vigorously; causing an even more excruciating pain that makes her cry like a toddler.

Before she was admitted to St Josephs Ombo hospital in Migori, she was a beauty full of health.

According to health officers, the most recent trauma she underwent greatly affected her mental health. They say she is now struggling with depression.

The kind of violence to which Mbusiria was subjected was unbearable. The perpetrators had beaten and tortured her for more than six hours.

But they still considered the punishment not enough. So they tied her hands, hanged her on a tree and set her on fire.

"I saw the world come to an end as one of the men tied a stack of grass around my legs before another one lit a match stick," Mbusiria painfully narrates how she survived narrowly a lynch fire.

"I pleaded for mercy but it all fell on deaf ears," she states. "One of the men slapped me with a panga instead and insisted that I reveal the truth about the missing money my aunt alleged I stole from her."

The men together with my aunt watched as her beautiful legs got consumed by the blaze and her whole body enveloped in smoke.

This is the punishment the girl endured for allegedly stealing Sh6,000 from her aunt, a woman she stayed with.

Turned wild

"Everyone was urging me to say where I hid the money so I could be let free," she recollects.

The people she once knew as relatives and good neighbours at Gensenga in Isebania, Migori County had all turned wild.

Today she is alive because of her cousin. The girl came to the scene just as the rogue men threatened to add more grass to the fire.

She was in school all morning and she had come back home for lunch. She was shocked that Mbusiria was serving a punishment she didnít deserve.

The lawless crowd was shaken when the cousin produced the lost cash, which she said she taken from her mother whom she said was very drunk and might have lost the money.

The truth was too much for Mbusiria. "I suddenly found myself engulfed in darkness only to find myself in a very strange bed with nurses surrounding me," she recalls.

Ultrasound scan

More perplexing is the suspicion that Mbusiria may be pregnant. But according to Eddy Mboya, a student doctor who attends to her, they are yet to conduct an ultrasound scan to establish the truth.

If Mbusiriaís mother were alive, she would lament the heartrending story of her daughterís life. But she died about ten years ago.

The then four-year-old girl remained in the hands of a father who could not fend for her.

A grim picture of a malnourished young Mbusiria attracted attention of a local charitable organization, which volunteered to take care of her. That was back in 2003.

"We came in and enrolled her into our programme of orphans and vulnerable children. We started feeding her, dressed her, took her to school and made sure she was comfortable," says Jacinta Mwise, the sponsor relations officer of Kuria Child and Family Programme, an organisation affiliated to Child Fund International.

According to Jacinta, the girl could not continue with formal education beyond Class Four. "She dropped out of school early this year and she never wanted to continue any further," Mwise says.

"Because we found it difficult to get her back to class, we opted to take her for an apprenticeship training in dressmaking where she had already started learning the skill," says the officer.

That was the time Mbusiria moved in with her aunt in Isebania town as she attended her tailoring lessons.

Two months after Violetís tear-jerking ordeal, the court is yet to determine a case of assault filed against three suspects who are believed to have harmed her.

Lydiah Kwamboka, a lawyer representing Mbusiria through Child Fund International, says the court process is subject to question owing to the fact that there are procedures that have been done irregularly.

P3 form

"The suspects were not supposed to take plea of charges against them before a medical report with a P3 form is filled and filed," the lawyer argues.

Already, the three suspects, Victor Gadi, Mbingiri Chacha and Victoria Bokeiye (Violetís aunt), have all entered pleas of not guilty.

However, the lawyer is optimistic that justice will prevail.

Elizabeth Nyambura, a psychologist with Child Fund International, says the teenager needs more counselling to reduce depression.

"But compared to a month ago, she is strong in spirit and she is showing great improvement," says Nyambura.
mara thon
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