October 22nd 2017

Opinion / Commentaries

The Githurai-bound Matatu crew needed a lesser verdict than to hang

Make no mistake of branding me a misogynist. I'm just, like any other person, expressing my displeasure over the verdict which warrants appeal in all good conscience. Even murderers spend 7-year jail term, robbery with violence 14-year sentence and many other jail terms.

By Athanas Kipchumbaakipchumba@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 21 Jul 2017 10:09 EAT

Wednesday’s court judgement that handed a fatal blow to the infamous Githurai 44 woman strippers has continued eliciting myriad of mixed reactions from the visibly enraged and infuriated members of the public across the social media. These avalanche of reactions indisputably underlines the weight of the case and court’s verdict.

Many prominent social media users, especially those of the fairer gender who reacted to the Magistrate’s ruling in their numbers gave their opinions in language that openly suggested “the magistrate would have granted the criminal trio some leniency.”

“What about something like 7 years in jail, hard Labour and several strokes of the cane for the Silly Githurai-3? Death sentence is way off the mark for that offence” said Jackson Mwalulu, a former MP on his FB page. I agree with them, in all fairness.

On Wednesday, 19th July 20, 2017 Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi found a matatu driver, tout and petrol station attendant guilty of robbery with violence, stripping a woman in public  and sexually assaulting her.

The magistrate had added them 25-year jail term for committing the aforesaid heinous acts, but the jail term was suspended since they will be already subjected to the

 death sentence.

While delivering the judgement, the soft-speaking magistrate described the terrible acts committed by the triumvirate as “senseless and uncouth act that they seemed to enjoy because they were cheering as they stripped the woman”

While I condemn and acutely disapprove of these felonious actions, I remain partly critical of the severity of the Magistrate’s ruling. In my opinion, the verdict went beyond the imaginable limits. It is like the guys committed high-profile economic crimes in the match of Anglo leasing, Golden berg and so on; which could easily attract death penalty.

Make no mistake of branding me a misogynist. I'm just, like any other person, expressing my displeasure over the verdict which warrants appeal in all good conscience. Even murderers spend 7-year jail term, robbery with violence 14-year sentence and many other jail terms.

To say that the magistrate wanted to issue a red notice to ‘potential strippers’ with a view to suppress the recurrence of such regretfully heinous acts, isn’t a hyperbole. In fact most of these odious deeds are happening today in the society. It’s only that most of the victims are shushed into silence by the animalistic perpetrators.

The victims are oftentimes tossed into the abyss of interminable threats, blackmail and by extension coercion. The scale of the trauma they are undergoing in  is unthinkable. Well, the trenchant message has been hammered home. But, under the current social circumstance, the death sentences facing the trio is open to further scrutiny and review.

Why? Because the society we’re living in is full of indecency. The magistrate, I'm certain, missed the point by failing to fathom the dressing code espoused by our respectable women. In major cities [to be precise] scale of indecent dressing style seems to be increasing as the clock ticks forth. Most City women, especially in Nairobi dress sexually provocatively. I'm sure a considerable portion of Nairobi men too “have hell to pay” soon after they step out of their houses. The streets are… And yes, on the look of things, it wouldn’t be an overstatement when one imagines the lady [or is she a woman?] at the epicenter of these case was, at the time of the troubling incidence, indecently dressed or sat in a manner that aroused the sexual feelings of the criminals in question.

I have personally witnessed and questioned this emerging trend. That our moral fiber is constantly under attack cannot be contradicted. Blame it on western civilization or anything else, but the sad reality is; moral decadence particularly among the ‘xaxa’ generation is calling shots in our society.

With this in mind, it would have been pretty fair for the magistrate to grant the criminal trio some leniency - thus scaling down the magnitude of the penalty to, say, 15-20 years. That would be reasonable. And the lesson, which has been learnt the hard way, will achieve the intended objective.

In actuality, the criminal trio shouldn’t have been sentenced to hang but rather given a bit of some leniency. A reasonable Jail term does the thing.

Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press





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