The name Jamin Mukobero sends chills down the spines of residents of Bulira village in Kakamega County. The name brings back bad memories of the night Mukobero hacked members of his family to death using a panga 17 years ago. The family had supper and went to bed. In the middle of the night, the man of the house, crept from his bed and picked up a panga. What followed remains Kenya’s ugliest case of violence at home, a petrifying moment of rage.
Mukobero’s actions on April 29, 2011 shook the entire village. When Benson Muchika hears this name, he squirms in fear because the bearer of this name is responsible for untold suffering. He started by hacking Muchika’s parents to death. At the time, Muchika, now a father of three, was a Standard Eight pupil. He wishes he defended his parents but he was too young and weak to do it. Those who witnessed the killings said Mukobero looked like he was thirsty for blood. Muchika’s mother, Anne Khatenje and father Gideon Ingaso, were among seven people Mukhobero butchered on that Sunday night. Some had survived his initial attack but would later succumb to their injuries St Elizabeth Mission Hospital Mukumu, where neighbours had taken them. Ingaso died five months after the attack.
Fresh memories The attack may have happened close to two decades ago. However, the memories are still fresh in the minds of residents. Mukobero hacked his wife Susan to death. She was expecting a child. He rushed to the hut where his sons — Evans, Alusiola and Oscar — and killed them too. As if he was possessed with an evil spirit, he woke up the other family members, saying his wife was unwell and needed to be taken to hospital. He killed four of them, bringing the number of the dead to nine. He also killed his 17-year-old daughter. Others killed were Lillian Matenje and Felistus Mwenje. They never saw it coming. Mukhobero hoped to escalate the attacks to the neighbours but the screams were too loud. Villagers came to answer to distress calls and he escaped. “In case he is pardoned by the State, he must look for where to go. He has cause us a lot of suffering and he is therefore not welcome here,” sad Muchika. Mukobero’s brothers Jothan Ingoso, Enock Mwanje, Elkana Alusa and Inshow Mboya all survived the attack but have since fled the village. Their houses and that of Mukobero collapsed long time ago and their place taken over by a thicket. Relatives have never dared tilling the land because the fear it may be cursed. “They left many years ago. Even when a relative dies, they never show up,” said Haron Mwabishi, a nephew to Mukobero. Mwabishi narrowly survived attack. His brother woke him up but he still sustained a deep cut in his neck. Survivors say villagers do not want to see Mukobero again. “Imagine how people would react. It would cause tension. People are yet to come to terms with what he did. He only be coming to kill those who survived his attack,” Mwabishi said.
Death sentence Eight six-year-old Esther Khamayo’s reaction speaks volumes. She mumbles and says: “I can’t stand his sight. He cannot come back here.” Officer in charge of Kakamega Main Prison Henry Ochieng’ said since the Constitution has abolished the death sentence, Mukobero could be released through Presidential pardon