By Kwenda Paipi
On Wednesday, two colleagues and I came from a late night assignment around 21:00hrs. As we dropped one comrade in Chalala, I observed a young woman with a baby on her back alongside the road in panic and running as though she was being chased.
We were just the two of us in the car at this point, the driving colleague was clueless. But since we were driving in her direction, I thought to myself that we were getting closer to her and would check at close range why she seemed so distressed and alone running in a street with no other pedestrian or even a car.
As we turned to the other side and got closer to her – just when the driver was about to speed off after a sharp right curve, this young woman pleaded that we help her as she had just escaped beatings from her husband. It was dark but my colleague saw that she had blood all over the face and cuts on her hands. I didn’t see that but I could tell she needed help.
Even before the car completely stopped and even before we could permit her to enter, she quickly reached for the back door handle in desperation while panting with injected gasps, stressing that the husband was chasing behind and would kill her once he catches up. I looked behind and saw a man running to our direction. I urged the driver that we should allow the lady into the car and take her to the nearest police station. We did exactly that. On our way to the police, she narrated how she endures merciless beatings from her husband. The lady said he had beaten her to the point of hitting her to the ground without regarding that she was carrying the baby. I didn’t ask the age of her baby but looked like it was just some months old. I guess the young woman is between 19 – 21. She explained that he had forgotten to lock the door that night and that’s how she managed to run from the house while he was catching a break from his thuggery action. The lady told us that she was convinced the husband was geared to kill her that night.
When we reached the police where there was a little more light, I noticed so much blood on the woman’s face and hands. Looking at her revealed the extent of her ordeal. One can conclude that this was a case of “attempted murder”.
We explained to the two officers found at the reception how we picked this lady and what she told us and we told them that we were leaving her in their hands as law enforcement officers. One female officer thanked us for the gesture.
As we were about to drive off, we thought of waiting to hear how the police were going to assist this lady. When we went back to the reception, we heard the policewoman telling the lady that all they were going to do is give her a medical form which she is supposed to take to a public health institution for a doctor to sign. We wondered how this young lady would walk from there to a health facility. Time was ticking, it would soon be 22:00hrs. I asked the officer why they couldn’t be more helpful and she told me there was nothing else they could do as the station had no vehicle. She also mentioned that they couldn’t allow this injured lady to spend the night at the police station as they didn’t know the extent of her injuries. What if she dies here? The female officer asked me.
The beleaguered lady didn’t manage to carry the phone when escaping and hadn’t memorized any number of her relative we could call. The policewoman said the other officer could escort her to the very home where she had run from so that she picks her phone. When she told us that her mother lived somewhere around Nyumba Yanga, we offered to drive her to her mother’s home instead. This is where we dropped her and spoke to her mother and urged them to go to the hospital and revert to the police station with a signed medical form.
Since Wednesday when this incident happened, our follow up has revealed that the police have not acted to arrest the husband because the battered wife hasn’t had the medical form signed. This is because doctors are busy only attending to Covid 19 cases in most public health institutions.