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Gender based violence made me kill, but I am now working on closure

Lady Speak
 Truphena Ndonga was sentenced to a day in prison (Photo: Mumo Munuve/ Standard)

She cannot access her three-acre parcel in Linao village, Siaya which she bought and stayed on with her late husband.

Truphena Ndonga Aswani admitted to killing the husband in what she termed ‘self-defence’ after the couple picked a quarrel.

The court ruled that Ms Aswani was provoked to kill James Oyengo Obochi on December 14, last year and sentenced her to a day in prison.

The mother of one is happy she escaped the maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the capital offence she faced.

She is glad that the court gave her a lenient sentence. From the tone of her husky voice, it is apparent, she is yet to find closure for the heinous act.

After serving the short and unexpected sentence, Ms Aswani spent months at her brother’s home in Kakamega North, before relocating to Turbo, where she works as a housegirl.

 She has been making arrangements to sell their land in Siaya and move with her children elsewhere.

“I cannot set foot in my home due to cultural reasons and also, the bad memories that I have tried to forget. Not everyone understands that I did it out of self-defence,” she says.

“I want to come to closure with what happened. I want to sell the land and move to another place. However, finding a buyer is a big challenge,” she added.

Before the tragedy, Aswani was among the few women appointed village elders in the country.

The former Linao village elder is now using her network of friends back in Siaya, who empathise with her situation and trying to find a buyer for the land.

She has also, among other things, asked for forgiveness even from her in-laws and her husband’s friends.

Aswani describes her late husband as “the best man I knew, but he was extremely violent”.

She says after her first marriage failed due to suspicion she was barren, Obochi, took her in, loved her and they were later blessed with a child. 

Aswani says on the fateful day, her husband returned home drunk, picked a machete, and informed her he wanted to sell their family land.

He threatened to chop off her head if she failed to hand over the land’s title which was in her custody.

“He had in the past beaten me until I almost passed on and was hospitalised. He tried to attack me with the machete, which I grabbed and hit him with it. Unfortunately, he passed on,” she told the High Court in Siaya.

Justice Roselyne Aburiri noted that Ms Aswani was a victim of perpetual domestic violence from her husband evidenced by scars on her head, backside and body.

“There are only two things to remember Ms Aswani for, one is that she was a butchered, battered, dehumanised and violated woman with no voice. She persevered through the domestic violence meted on her by her late husband described as irresponsible and violent,” she said.

She went on: “Secondly, she will be remembered as a person, who killed her husband in the process of defending her own life.”

Aburiri said Aswani was not willing to leave her matrimonial home, because she loved her husband.

“She was ready to die under his cruel hands because she had borne him a son. She loved him. This was even after Obochi’s two other wives left him due to his violent nature.”

 Aswani regrets that no one has come out to help her get her life back.

“All I need is a parcel of land and a house, so that I can raise my son and my sister’s child. The Lord made me be freed, I know he will bring a samaritan, who can help me move to a new home,” she says.

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