One after another, the fuel guzzlers snaked through the dusty roads of Kathima Village in Machakos County, headed to the home of Jackline Mwende, whose hands were chopped off by husband.
It was a big day for Mwende who unlike the previous times had a wide smile, ready to host the First Lady of Machakos County Lilian Nganga, the area Woman Representative and three other legislators.
The leaders were joined by the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA), and LG Company officials, who offered to cater for her medical expenses as well as taking her to and from hospital.
It was all eyes on Mwende, as political leaders, relatives and neighbours offered their support as well as condemning the brutality meted on by her husband of seven years.
It is with this environment that the previously bitter, angry and desperate 27 year-old Mwende forgave Stephen Ngila, who wanted her dead on the fateful day of the attack.
“Leo niko poa, si unaona hivyo? (Today I’m okay, can you see?),” she asked, during an interview with Capital FM News on Wednesday.
Asked whether she has forgiven her 34 year-old husband Ngila, she said, “yes, I have already forgiven him.”
She however stated categorically that they will not reconcile. “I will never return to his home.”
How did she find it in her heart to forgive Ngila after the brutal attack?
“You know, sometimes when people do such things, they are not in control of themselves,” she said adding that her husband “could have been under the influence of alcohol. It can affect him. nimemsamehe (I have forgiven him).”
Her mother Jane Munyoki vowed to ensure she does not reconcile with the son in-law.
The pain is still fresh and she knows the life of Mwende will never be the same again. “I will never forgive that man. I want him sentenced to death.”
“I would rather be killed than see my daughter return to that devil.”
She narrated the pain she continues to undergo, “seeing a daughter whom I gave out healthy, now being fed and cleaned. It pains me a lot.”
Her eyes however brighten at the mention of well-wishers, whom she says have “really helped us. I am hopeful my daughter will be okay once she is through with her medication.”
“May God bless our leaders and the entire country… I hope it will never happen to anyone else again.”
Her financial status was boosted after Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua donated S00,000, to cater for her household needs.
The Machakos County First Lady said they will also hire a house help for Mwende for a period of one year and give her Sh30,000 on a monthly basis for 12 months.
– Leaders views on Gender violence –
Taita Taveta Woman Representative Joyce Lay, who also represented a German based Non-Governmental Organisation MERCK, said it was time for both men and women to speak out against gender violence, which she laments is on the rise.
“We have women being victimized because they cannot bear children and sometime it’s not even their problem,” she said. “For them (the Ngila’s) to have gone to that extent, it means they must have gone through traumatizing moments and they could not have spoken to anybody.”
She accused the society of failing the couple, “since they only stigmatise those affected instead of helping them.”
It is a subject, Lay says she is passionate about since she could also not give birth and had to use a surrogate parent.
FIDA Chairperson Josephine Mongare on her part urged the Director of Public Prosecutions to oppose the release of the suspect on bond “since he (Ngila) may come to finish what he started.”
The case will be mentioned on Friday.
Her advice to married couples is; “nobody should stay in an abusive relationship just to be seen to be married. There is nothing like persevering.”
The County Woman Representative Susan Musyoka said a centre against gender based violence will be established to ensure the current trend is reversed.
The couple’s problems started after four years of marriage when they sought help, on why they could not bear children.
It is at that point that it was established that Ngila had difficulty siring children.
“The doctor however said they would try to rectify his condition and assigned him medical visits which he never honoured,” a visibly distraught Mwende narrated.
Ngila, she says, lived in denial.
After that, the husband, she knew to be a born-again Christian, went back “to darkness” and started, “drinking alcohol, chewing miraa and smoking.”
This was just the beginning of a long and a painful journey, with a man who now knew he had a health condition barring him from having kids.
“He even started unusual quarrels and coming home or not showing up at all,” Mwende said of her husband, a tailor based in Masii town within the expansive Machakos County.
Mwende says he has been living alone for a year in their two bedroom brick house, which they built from hard earned savings.
“We bought a plot and built a house which all along… ” she poses, attempts to wipe her watery eyes with her left elbow and continues: “We wanted to see our children play in the compound; have a family that would give us the true meaning of life and our hard work.”
But it however became apparent on July 25, when she was attacked that, “all my dreams were just that.”
Mwende’s specialised medication will kick off on Thursday.
Already detectives have recorded statements with Mwende and her parents over the incident.