Hello, good people. My name is Simon Kiguta Mwangi. I am aged 40 and I come from Muthambi village in Mukurweini, Nyeri. Before we go any further, I have to tell you that I want my wife in jail. I want her locked up and the key thrown away. I want her out of my sight forever. I want nothing to do with her… absolutely nothing. I am a furious man, so pardon me in case I sound too angry. I canâ€™t help it.
You probably know me from the pictures they ran in the newspapers sometime back, or from the TV clips that were uploaded online after our domestic tiff turned nasty. Or you probably do not know me, and do not care at all. But I beg you to stay with me, to read on. This, I promise, will be an interesting, heart-breaking story.
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I am not that good with words, so this man from theÂ Daily NationÂ will help me tell it. It is good that he came looking for me because I have been thinking that my story will probably never be heard. It is the curse of the lowly of the lowlies, you could say, that their stories remain bottled inside for lack of a good narrative, but not this time.
My story starts in my bedroom: On February 7 last year, my friend and I decided to walk the short distance from my home to Mihuti shopping centre for a few glasses of Keg. Three hours later, I staggered home piss drunk at around 10.45.
My wife, Julia Wairimu Mwangi, was already asleep when I knocked on the door, and I could hear her struggle to light the lamp inside as I waited for her to open the door.
Once inside, she offered me some food but I told her I was okay. The Keg was already too much for my tummy and I feared that a combination of beer and food would make things worse. I would probably vomit all over the house, to the chagrin of my wife. So I told her no, I would eat the food in the morning.
I had about Sh540 in my pocket and, before I climbed into bed for the night, I gave her Sh250 for the usual household supplies. Once abed, it was not long before I started dozing off, but I remember my wife climbing in while still fully dressed. I found that quite unusual and, after a small confrontation, I decided to sleep it away. All I wanted was to catch my 40 winks.
But that was not to be. In the middle of the night â€” I canâ€™t quite tell what time it was â€” I was awakened by a sharp pain in my face. The Keg had not worn off, so my eyes and reflexes were still hazy. Still, what I saw shocked the bats out of me. My wife was standing beside the bed, a lamp in hand and a panga in the other.
I threw the blankets away and rose to try and defend myself, but the blows kept coming. I screamed at her, asking her why she wanted to kill me, but she never uttered a word. Then, suddenly, she ran outside and locked me inside the house.
I was already bleeding profusely from the panga cuts and thought I would die inside the house. I struggled to break the door down in vain, then it hit me that I could jump out through a window and seek help.
Once outside, I rushed to my brotherâ€™s house who, upon seeing my condition, immediately called my father. From there, the memories are still hazy to me, but I do know that, somehow, I found myself admitted at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital. I was later told that I had first been rushed to Mukurweini hospital unconscious, but doctors there referred me to the Nyeri provincial hospital, where I spent two weeks.
My wife was arrested while I was still confined to the hospital and arraigned in court shortly afterwards, where she was charged with attempted murder. The case drew a lot of national attention, especially because it came at a time when cases of spousal abuse against men were rampant in my area.
When she appeared before the court for the first time on Valentineâ€™s Day last year, my wife refuted the allegations of attempted murder, saying she had run away from the house after some unknown people came knocking on our door at night. The court released her on bond, but the prosecution requested that the terms of that bond be reasonable in accordance with the seriousness of the charges.
I do not know why the court found it so easy to release my wife on bond even after the police said they had a rough time trying to trace her, but since the prosecution did little to try to object to that ruling, there was nothing I could do.
That marked the beginning of lapses of judgment by the prosecuting side and the police officers tasked with the responsibility of investigating the case that, eventually, turned the case upside-down.
After a series of hearings, it became apparent that the case against my wife was falling apart. The police were bungling every angle of the investigation and it was clear that things were going downhill for me. That is why I was not surprised when, after a year of anguish, my wife was acquitted of the attempted murder charges on February 27, 2013.
In dismissing the case, Mukurweini Senior Principal Magistrate Wendy Kagendo confirmed my observation of the prosecution by saying the case had been mishandled from the start.
She said that, from the government chemistâ€™s report, the blood stains on a panga that was retrieved from my motherâ€™s pit latrine days after I was attacked were traced to a â€œunknown maleâ€, and that this introduced a new twist to the story.
Ms Kagendo also questioned why that inconclusive evidence had been introduced into the case when the prosecution knew all too well it would have a negative bearing on the case.
Investigators said they had not discovered any blood stains outside my house, but when Ms Kagendo asked whether they had found any blood stains inside, no conclusive answer was given. In fact, the clothes I wore on the fateful night and the beddings were not even produced in court!
To complicate matters, my wife gave a conflicting testimony on what I believe happened prior to the attack. First, she said that I had staggered home drunk and naked, and, second, contrary to what I had told the court, she had undressed to bed.
The prosecution produced 11 witnesses while my wife gave her own defence and called one witness, but the magistrate indicated that there was no independent witness to the actual assault as all those who had testified before the court had seen my wife after she had left our house. Consequently, my wife was set free for lack of enough evidence.
But it pains me that it had to get to this. I believed that the evidence was water-tight, the court thought otherwise. Now I have to live with these scars for the rest of my life, a constant reminder of what I believe was an injustice of the highest order.
I have been thinking of other ways of appealing this judgment, but, as things stand now, I am hopeless and helpless. One thing I am sure about though is that I am not going to live with that woman again after all this.
Maendeleo ya Wanaume, the lobby group that fights for the rights of men, says it will take up my case and see to it that justice is served by giving me legal advice and hiring a lawyer to start this thing afresh, but until that happens, all is lost for me.
Some people told me to write a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, to lay grounds on my appeal of the court ruling and copy it to Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga and the court, but how do I do that? Where do I even start?
The court said it would not convict the suspect out of public sympathy or interest, and so gave her the benefit of doubt. I know the law can be cruel at times, but this… this was too much.
I am beginning to believe that probably the prosecution bungled this thing on purpose. Where attempted murder is involved and blood is spilt, one would expect that investigators would comb the area for every little bit of evidence and produce it in court.
But not on this case. The shoes I wore, the clothes, the beddings â€” everything that could have made this case an open-and-shut one â€” were kept away from the court. The magistrate noticed this and asked what was happening, but no good answer was given.
So here I am, alone in a world that is too fast and too complicated for me. It has been one mad year for me, and now it is time to gather the pieces and move on.
I have tried my level best to understand this turn of events, but every time I go to bed, I tell myself that the nightmare will soon end, that I will one day open my eyes to a rosy world where people hug each other and children smile at you and birds sing at you from their perches, but then I wake up the following day and realise that Utopian world only exists in my imagination.
You and I do not live in an ideal world. Violence and disease confront us from every corner, including our very own bedrooms. The only thing we can do is ward it off, shoo it away. Sometimes we are successful, other times we are not.
Was justice served in this case?