Rita Waeni and Starlet Wahu were gruesomely murdered recently in Nairobi. Their cases are still under investigation. [PHOTO: COURTESY]

Kenya is one of the countries with the highest rates of femicide. Homicide statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show that 706 women were victims of femicide in Kenya in 2021. This translates to 2.64 per 100,000 women.

Since the year began, several femicide cases have been reported across the country; including Starlet Wahu and two university students. The most recent case of femicide involves a 24-year-old woman, whose mutilated body was found stuffed in a paper bag off Thika Road in Nairobi. 

Women and girls continue to be killed on the basis of their sex and gender, rendered more vulnerable to femicide when being women and girls intersect with other grounds or identities,” reported Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

“In 2022, nearly 89,000 women and girls were killed internationally the highest yearly number recorded in the past two decades,” UN Women reports. 

Around 48,800 women and girls worldwide were killed by their sexual partners or family members. This means that more than five women or girls are killed every hour.

Femicide is a global issue that necessitates a multifaceted approach that combines international collaboration, mental health awareness, and legal reforms to bring about meaningful change.  

In 2023 Femicide Count Kenya recorded 152 killings; the highest in the past five years. According to representatives from Femicide Count Kenya, the actual number of killings is likely to be much higher.

Some of the women gruesomely murdered in 2023, some under very mysterious circumstances include:  

  1. Rose Muthoni Kariuki 

The body of the 64-year-old woman was found murdered in her home, Komboini village, Kirinyaga county on November 3, 2023. Police investigations showed that Wambui had injuries and blood was oozing from the mouth. It is alleged that her shamba boy, a Ugandan national was behind the murder.

  1. Jane Mwenda Mwanzia 

Slain Mlolongo hairstylist  Jane Mwende Mwanzia’s body was discovered in a pit latrine in Mlolongo. According to pathologist Dr. Michieka Michieka,  the deceased died due to lack of oxygen as there were marks of strangulation. Three women suspected to be involved in the murder were arrested. According to the DCI, Jane lost her life in a dreadful case of a love triangle. 

  1. Leah Mwaniki 

A 71-year-old woman’s body was discovered at her home in Escarpment Village, Lari subcounty. A 40-year-old man known as  Ding’uri Maina is alleged to have beheaded Leah Mwihaki. The suspect is reported to have entered the Granny’s house by cutting the iron sheets with a panga after which he allegedly murdered her in her bedroom.

  1. Three Women In Kiambu 

The bodies of three women, Penina Wairimu Ngugi, 87 her daughter Pauline Njeri 50, and a third body of a relative were found at a home in Matathia village, Ngoliba Ward, Thika East in Kiambu County. The bodies of the two women were discovered in the newly built house while the third body was found in a shallow grave. 

  1. Faith Adongo

Faith Adongo Owino a first-year Literature student at Pwani University in Kilifi County was murdered on October 20, 2023, during a fresher’s night event. Adongo was stabbed severally by unknown assailants along Misufuni Way, a popular location for university gatherings. The reason behind her murder remains unclear. 

  1. Mercy Maingi 

Mercy Maingi, 75, was thrown into a well by her son after conflicting over joining a religious group that advocates for FGM and polygamy. On pushing her into the well, her son also threw himself in the same well. The tragic incident occurred on September 19, 2023, in Githunguri, Kiambu County. 

  1. Agnes Muthoni 

Agnes Muthoni who worked as a secretary for Matsac Public Transport Sacco at Gakungu town was attacked by an unknown assailant in her compound in Matheng’eta village, Kenol-Nyeri Highway. The assailant attacked Agnes on 17th September 2023, poured paraffin on her, and set her ablaze. Agnes succumbed to the burns two days later. She was 41. 

  1. Consolata Kajuju

The 73-year-old miraa farmer was murdered in her home on October 25th, 2023. Kajuju was stabbed twelve times in the neck and cheeks. Three young men who purchased Miraa from her are suspected to be behind the murder. The motive behind her murder is suspected to be a land tussle since the family anticipated a ruling on disputed land on November 6, 2023. 

  1. Grace Wanjiru Karoki

 Grace, 84, hailed from Kirimiga village, Murang’a county. She was burnt to death on September 28th, 2023. The perpetrators and motives of petrol bombing her in the night are unknown. She had however been involved in a land dispute with her neighbour since 1987.

  1. Cheposetem Torepe

A 59-year-old woman better known as Loke hailed from Kokwakales village, West Pokot County. Loke’s son murdered her by hitting her with a blunt object in her house for being denied permission to sell a cow.