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Clan elders jailed for applying pepper on woman’s genitals

Six clan elders who punished a woman by applying a mixture of sisal juice and grounded pepper on her private parts have been jailed for nine years each.

The woman was being punished for going to a lodging at a bar in Makueni County and taking alcohol with her husband’s relative.

Passing the sentence, Kilungu Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Wambugu said the elders committed “a barbaric and cruel act which violated her constitutional rights.”

“This court can’t fathom the pain the complainant felt physically and emotionally by being paraded naked before 98 people and a person lighting a torch into her private part and pouring a sisal juice and pepper into it,” the magistrate said.

The worst, he said,” was when a fellow woman pulled and pinched her private parts in the name administering an inhuman and degrading cleansing ceremony to the 46 year-old woman who had since been divorced by her husband.”

The clan elders, who claimed to be conducting a traditional rite known as “Kuusya” (cleansing), were also found guilty of slaughtering the woman’s ram and feasting on it overnight.

The six Rose Muthoki Muthiani, Christopher Sumbi Kavolo (clan chairman), John Mutie Kimolo,Marieta Kamene Kavevo, Margaret Ngwembe Ngwese and Rosina Nthenya Masyuko were convicted of assault, causing actual bodily harm, theft of stock and committing an indecent act.

The magistrate said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that all the accused acted in concert and had a common intention.

In mitigation, the clan elders,  citing their age, appealed to the court for a non -custodial sentence.