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Fareed's family speaks on beauty who killed him

NAIROBI
By Mercy Adhiambo | June 3rd 2018
Ruth Kamande

When she first made news, her face was covered. Ruth Kamande desperately tried to hide her face with a baggy jumper as she scurried past a battery of journalists positioned outside Makadara court, angling to take shots of the femme fatale who had stabbed her boyfriend to death.

It was September 24, 2015, three days after she was found bathed in blood; knife still in hand, and her boyfriend Farid Mohammed lying lifeless in bed, stabbed 22 times.

Witnesses would later tell the court that they heard commotion, followed by Farid’s piercing scream, a grunted call for help and a muffled prayer as he breathed his last.

“After I broke the window, the guy (Farid) screamed again saying: she has stabbed me again, then he started praying,” said Humphrey Fenasi, a neighbour in Nairobi’s Buruburu estate where the incident occurred. He was one of the people who responded before police came.

Kamande was still locked inside the room when police arrived. When she cracked the door open, bloody walls, scattered bedding, strewn utensils and a cell phone smashed to pieces told the tragic tale of a love story gone awry.

A story that threw Farid’s family into mourning, and catapulted Kamande from the obscurity of a girl brought up in Dandora, to a star, albeit for wrong reasons.

Before the crime, the woman’s friends knew her as “Biggy’, the 21-year-old girl struggling to make ends meet. She was a hairdresser, and made a short stop as a sales agent in one of the telecommunications company where she constantly begged friends for suits to wear to work.

“She was obsessed with looks, and from her humble background, it was difficult for her to buy the many things she desired,” says her former colleague.

The late Farid Mohammed

Her other obsession was Farid. Serah Waithera, Farid’s sister says the first time they met, Kamande had showed up at her place of work to introduce herself as the deceased’s girlfriend.

“I was surprised because she was alone, telling me about her relationship with my brother,” says Ms Waithera.

A few months after the unconventional introduction, Kamande called her. She needed a ‘girl-to-girl’ conversation about Farid. She had realised the love she had for him was unrequited and wanted to do something about it. 

“She told me she was going to Lebanon and had even booked a flight and was going to work as a house girl, to forget about Farid,” she says.

Waithera convinced her to stay, citing the many cases of abuse she had heard from the gulf countries. Kamande heeded, with a promise to try and forget about Farid and focus on finding a better job in Kenya.

In between, he dated other men, but often asked about Farid.

“It was an obsession – a bad obsession,” Waithera says.

Reconnected on Facebook

There are claims Kamande was infuriated by Farid’s plans to marry another woman. She reportedly went to his house and started ransacking for evidence. She got a stack of letters that Farid’s old flame, a girl he knew in high school, had written.

“She told him to break up with her. The girl had moved to USA and they were just friends who reconnected on Facebook, but Kamande was suspicious,” says Waithera.

Phone records revealed that Farid made calls minutes before he was murdered.

“That death changed everything for our family. He was planning so many things, and things were finally looking up,” says Waithera.

Their upbringing was rough. She recalls a childhood of domestic violence, and after their mother died, things became more difficult.

Through it all, Farid excelled. He got admitted at Lenana High School before he joined University of Nairobi to study Computer science. He was employed as a data analyst immediately after graduation, and quickly rose through ranks. At the time of his death, he was a supervisor.

His name faded soon after his brutal death, only getting occasional mention when Kamande made news. She has dominated news, from the day she walked timidly to the docks, to when she struck again, this time, she was wearing a crown, carrying a bouquet of flowers, and posing seductively for the cameras.  

She had just won the ‘Miss Lang’ata Prison pageant, and her photos were trending on social media.

“Oh my goodness! Come and kill me too,” said a Bruce Ocholla, a user on Facebook.

The comments that trickled after the first photo was posted leaned on objectifying her looks – her crime somehow forgotten until Justice Jessie Lessit found her guilty of murder on Thursday.

The courtroom play was intriguing. Kamande confessed stabbing Farid, but insisted it was in self-defence. She claimed she had just discovered Farid was HIV positive after stumbling on his hospital card.

“Farid told me he would rather kill me and himself than have his status exposed. l stabbed him several times using a kitchen knife, which fell on my chest from his hands after I overpowered him after putting my two thumbs in his eyes to save my life,” she said.

She also claimed the previous night, Farid raped her.

Delivering the ruling, Justice Jessie Lessit said that the number of stabs on the deceased did not support her claims of self-defense.

Doctors also ruled out the possibility of rape.

Waithera who attended all the court sessions says the extensive coverage on Kamande’s beauty and charm overshadowed Farid, and caused them pain. In retrospect, she appreciates the huge coverage the case got.  

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