|Senator Wamatangi||Winfred Wangui|
I will never forget July 8, 2006. It was my third day at work as a househelp in the Wamatangi household. I can recall the exact time, 1.30pm, because I wanted to watch a programme on television. My boss Wamatangi came home and found his wife with me in the sitting room.
He started quarrelling her, demanding to know why she didn’t go to work. I quickly stepped out of the sitting room and went to the kitchen. I could hear them quarrel in English. I could gather that mzee was not happy. After five minutes, madam left for work, and I was left in the house with Wamatangi.
He then summoned me into the living room and asked me to bring him tea.
He asked me to sit down and chat. I politely refused and told him I prefer black tea since I didn’t like milk. That was the moment he pulled me next to him and pushed me onto the sofa.
I started screaming and he slapped me on the face. He then used his hand to cover my mouth. I think my screams must have attracted the neighbour next door because I heard someone knock on the door, but they soon left.
He forcefully removed my panty and forced himself on me. I cried bitterly. I had never had sex. I was a virgin. I was saved and a staunch church member.
I don’t know how long it lasted, but I just lay there, in pain, and too shocked to move.
When he finished, he dragged me to my feet and ordered me to wash myself. I showered as he stood by the door, looking at me, only wearing his shirt and socks.
He warned me not to reveal what happened to anybody. He said he would call the police and tell them to lock me up if I dared.
How was I to know that one should never shower after a rape ordeal? I dropped out of school in class eight for lack of school fees. My father died when I was very young, and my mother is a peasant farmer.
Wamatangi is a millionaire, the richest man in my village, and has connections with ‘big’ people. I was too scared.
Too scared to talk
I took my shame, and hid in the bedroom where I stayed until madam came in the evening. I didn’t tell madam since mzee was also around, and I was afraid of him.
The next day, I went and told our neighbour, who invited madam and told her. Madam was not shocked. She told me there was nothing she could do, and that her hands were ‘tied’. The neighbour convinced madam to tell mzee to take me to hospital ‘ili nisafishwe.’
It took madam three days to gather courage to ask her husband to take me to hospital. He agreed but when we reached Nairobi Women’s Hospital gate, he told us to get out of his car and threw Sh1,200 on the ground, warning me to never step in his house again. He fired me right outside the hospital gate and sped off. After one week, my greatest fear was confirmed. I had missed my periods.
On April 23, 2007, I gave birth to a baby girl at Nazareth Hospital. It was when the baby was two months old, that Wamatangi came to see his daughter.
He gave me Sh7,000. He never came to see the child again, or offer any financial support. I went to the children’s office at Nyayo House where they wrote a letter to him. After two weeks, I went back. The gentleman at the children’s welfare office in Nyayo House told me they could not help me. I didn’t lose hope and mid July 2007, I went to Fida (Federation of Women Lawyers – Kenya). They wrote a letter, which was delivered to Wamatangi.
In August, I went back to Fida and the director (she died a few weeks back after thugs attacked her and raped her two daughters) told me pointblank that she could do nothing. She then took my papers and tore them into pieces. She told me, “Lazima uongee mzuri na mzee. Hakuna kitu unaweza mfanyia (You have to be polite with the old man. You can do nothing to him).”
Towards the end of 2007, Wamatangi was running for a parliamentary seat. He came home to my mother, and gave her Sh20,000 promising to cater for his daughter’s upkeep.
But he lost the elections.
Allowed me in his bazaar
He again went silent and in May 2008, I decided to visit his office near Nyayo Stadium where he has a car bazaar. He kept me waiting the whole day then around 3pm, called me to the conference room.
He summoned all his employees and warned them to never allow me near his office.
He threatened to fire anyone who allowed me to his bazaar. He hurled abuses at me as his employees watched. I started crying and he dragged me out and threw me out the gate. I was carrying my daughter who was also crying. One employee was touched and gave me bus fare.
He doesn’t pick my calls. He doesn’t reply to my texts. His daughter is seven years old and he only saw her when she was two months, and ten months. In total, the amount of money he has sent on M-Pesa for his daughter’s upkeep is Sh70,000.
In seven years, only Sh70,000, yet I was not even his girlfriend. He raped me. I was ignorant of the law, and I am from a poor family.
He knows there is nothing I can do.
Wamatangi's photo credit: in2eastafrica.net