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ELECTION 2022

Story of a mother who has killed three of her seven children in Kisumu

NYANZA
By Anne Agwata ands Jennipher Igena | Mar 28th 2015 | 2 min read

Kenya: It feels strange to find multiple child killer Salome Awiti at her home in Ayweyo Village, Kisumu County and not in a mental institution. The 44-year-old mother, who has been described as deranged by relatives and neighbours, has not just killed one of her seven children, but three of them. Her mother Joyce Anyango, 65 appears resigned to these traumatic and unusual events.

But her neighbor  Truphena Ondigo recalls some of the events.

"She reacted when the child began to cry, slamming the child's head onto the ground until the child died," says Truphena.

Even though the law requires that deaths in a home be reported to the police, there was no formal police investigation into   this death.  Not surprisingly Awiti, who is deaf and dumb, would kill her second child.    Truphena said circumstances surrounding the death were equally tragic.

"She informed her mother what she has done through sign language after which preparations for burial were made, says Ondigo.

Again, no formal investigations were launched over the death with local assistant chief Tom Otieno saying authorities were not informed of these killing

Even the third child's death went unreported. Assistant chief Otieno says although these deaths occurred before he was posted to the region, they are aware that   the family is troubled with mental illness.

It is not clear if Awiti understand the import of her actions as there have been no formal investigations into these killings.  Neither has her mental condition been formally diagnosed and certified.  Could Awiti have been injured by the death of her first child who died as a result of illness?

It appears that her mother Joyce Anyango, 65, was alert to Awiti's mental condition and inability to responsibly raise children and chose to raise Awiti's second child Jack Ogalo, now 22. Ogalo's 13-year-old sister Theresa Akinyi was also raised by her grandmother, while Awiti's last born, Andrew Ogola, is under the care of  Mier Pamoja Educational  Care Centre.

The ebullient Awiti is easy prey to sex pests who target her because she is of unsound mind.   She has been repeatedly raped by some men in the village who lure her with food and money and it is improbable that Awiti knows who has sired her children

Awiti's son Ogalo recounts his mother's troubled life even as he speaks of trying to provide for his own wife and child.  He and wife Judith Otieno have struggled to raise a responsible daughter Seline, now a pupil at a local primary school.

From his one bedroom home in Riat where he works as a caretaker of a home of a family that lives in Nairobi, Ogalo says he has no other place to call home.  "With nothing to inherit, my future is bleak," he says.

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