Baby Sagini's eyes were gouged by close relatives, court rules

From left Rachael Nyakerario, Pacificah Nyakerario and Alex Ochogo suspects in a case where a 3-year-old boy Brighton Junior Sagini's eyes were gouged out when they appeared before Kisii Magistrate Christine Ogweno. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

A Magistrate at the Kisii Law Courts has found three suspects linked to the gouging out of Baby Sagini's eyes guilty.

The three had been charged before Chief Magistrate Christine Ongweno with causing grievous harm.

She ruled that the three; Alex Ochoga, Rael Nyakerario, and Pacificah Nyakerario will be sentenced on July 21, 2023.

"Evidence adduced throughout show a consistent pattern of a child growing in an abusive environment where he was brutally denied basic rights to survival as should any normal child."

Both Rael and Pacificah were reported to have had advance knowledge of the attack on Sagini and went ahead to enjoy a local brew in Pacificah's house on December 13 and 14.

In the ruling Sagini and his elderly sister were born between a three-year difference when the parents were already separated.

Ongweno said the ruling looked at the basic constitutional principles which also enshrine the basic fundamental rights of children to enjoy life.

"We cannot stop every act of violence, but if you save even one of such then we will give everyone a chance to live. Considering the evidence by the prosecution, the three are found guilty of the offence," she ruled.

In her ruling, the Magistrate said the first accused was fully involved in the gouging of Baby Sagini's eyes.

She said this was no ordinary case.

"It was marred with several challenges. The offence was committed within the family set-up and homestead. The prosecution has identified several challenges in the family."

She asked; "What makes someone perform such an act? What was in the mind of someone like Alex? What can motivate someone to do such an act? Is it land, witchcraft or discipline?"

In her four-hour ruling, Ongweno said; "Baby Sagini is a child, his eyes were removed in a scandalous manner. It was done by family members who were supposed to offer him shelter. It was done by a cousin and an aunt behind the grandmother's muddy house. He was placed in a sack and presumed dead."

In an emotional ruling made before a packed courtroom, Ongweno said the three-year child had been plucked completely into blindness.

"What kind of torture is this? He will never have a chance to see them again. He will never have a chance to appreciate the colours like any other human being. He will never be able to see the faces of any other friend."

"He needs to learn how to walk again without vision and adapt to a new life. There is so much he will never see again. One wonders again, what kind of people are these; putting a child in a sack then they go out to celebrate and dance over alcohol."

Without mincing her words, Ongweno said; "It is savage, brutal and inhuman. Everyone in society has a duty to ensure that a child lives. These people had a hand in the act."