Villagers lynch mentally challenged woman, 78, on suspicion of being a witch

By Kenan Miruka   

Kisii, Kenya: Residents of a village in Kisii County are in shock after a mentally challenged elderly woman was lynched on suspicion of being a witch.

Keziah Monchari Okengo, 78, was hacked to death after she wandered into a homestead at Manyatta village, Monianku sub location in Gucha South.

The owner of the homestead, a 23 year old man, claimed the elderly woman knocked at his door at 2am prompting him to raise alarm. Villagers responded to the alarm and descended on the woman, killing her instantly.

Tension was high as news of the woman’s lynching spread to her home and it took the intervention of local administrators led by South Mugirango Borabu Chief David Kenyanya to cool tempers among villagers.

Administration Police from Ekona patrol base and their counterparts from Nyamaiya police station arrived at the scene as tension mounted. The body was moved to Nyamache District Hospital mortuary pending investigations.

Gucha South OCPD Moses Kanyi said one suspect, the owner of the homestead, was being held to help with investigations while three other suspects were at large.

“The deceased had a mental problem which might have caused her to wander into the home. We are holding the owner of this home because he raised alarm claiming to have found a witch, leading to the lynching. Once we gather evidence, he will be arraigned in court,” said Kanyi.

The deceased is widely known to have a mental condition which causes her memory lapses. On that fateful night, she had wandered from her Mogumo village home to the neighbouring sub location, a kilometre away.