January 22nd 2018

Opinion / Commentaries

Spike in ‘crimes of passion’ reveals deep stress in today’s relationships

The expression ‘crime of passion’ is swiftly turning into a household term in Kenya, with the number of love related homicides shooting up at an alarming rates.

By Sandra Onindosonindo@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 07 Jun 2016 09:12 EAT

The expression ‘crime of passion’ is swiftly turning into a household term in Kenya, with the number of love related homicides shooting up at alarming rates. Crimes committed in  fits of rage have landed people behind bars, love being the perennial excuse.

A number of murder cases related to passion have made headlines in Kenya this year. Two days ago, a Briton was arrested on suspicion of the murder of his Kenyan lover. Richard Alden, 42, the CEO of Wananchi Group, rushed Grace Kinyanjui, 42, to Karen Hospital on Saturday afternoon, alleging that Grace had shot herself with his rifle in a suicide attempt. Police found fresh stab wounds on the deceased’s body and her fingers were notably broken. Investigations are ongoing.

On May 28, a man identified as Leonard Kanari shot another man, Christopher Adangi, in Garden Estate upon finding Adangi with Edna Kariuki, Kanari’s girlfriend, in the wee hours of the morning. Adangi was confirmed dead on arrival at a Nairobi clinic where he had been rushed. The woman at the center of the dispute who was not harmed recorded a statement at Kasarani Police Station.

On March 17, a pregnant 19 year old woman stabbed her boyfriend on the neck with a kitchen knife in Kangemi. Sheila Atema stabbed 25 year old Kelvin Mugalla after an argument triggered by Mugalla’s upload of a different woman’s picture on his Facebook wall.

Still in March, students of Moi University’s main campus woke up to the obscene sight of the aftermath of what is believed to have been a love triangle. Steve Wairimu, a fourth year student had been stabbed eight times with a kitchen knife by Dickson Sirengo, a first year student. The perpetrator was said to have been displeased on seeing the deceased and the woman in question sitting on the same bed.

As far as crimes of passion go, this year might turn out more horrific. On September 27, 2014, Ruth Wanjiru, 21, stabbed her 24 year old boyfriend Farid Mohammed 22 times and later attempted to kill herself. The incident took place in Buruburu, Nairobi, triggered by the culprit’s finding of love messages on the deceased’s phone.

Two months later, a British citizen was arrested over the murder of his diabetic Kenyan girlfriend. Carl Singleton, 41, was suspected of the murder of Ashley Agumbi, 22, a University of Nairobi student. The man allegedly flashed Miss Agumbi’s life-saving medication down the toilet, leading to her death due to respiratory failure and diabetic hypertension. The couple had met on Facebook two years prior.

These cases represent only the tip of the iceberg. They are big only because they received national media attention. The spike in crimes of passion reveals deep stress in relationships that experts should help us to address. There are obviously many issues at play in any single circumstance, but experts, psychologists in particular, should explore ways of reducing such crimes.

Sandra is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press specializing in news, health and lifestyle coverage.

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