The judgment of an excommunicated Kitui Catholic priest who attempted to murder his lover and child to conceal his promiscuity, will be delivered on June 16, 2021 before Kitui Chief Magistrate Stephen Mbungi.
Father Japheth Mwove Kimanzi, formerly of Kabati Parish under the Kitui Catholic Diocese, was accused of causing grievous harm to Ms Veronicah Musali Mutua at Muthale village in Mutonguni location, Kitui West on November 16, 2015 at about 10 pm.
The priest was also in the second count, charged with causing grievous harm to Lillian Mwikali, daughter to Ms Mutua.
The Priest who pleaded not guilty to both charges and released on Sh100, 000 bond with a similar surety with an option of Sh15, 000 cash bail was informed of the impending judgment on Monday at the Kitui Law Courts.
It is reported that trouble began when the priest denied fathering the woman’s child, who was born blind, in 2012.
Ms Veronicah Mutua disclosed that the two got into a sexual relationship when Father Japheth Mwove was stationed at Nuu in Mwingi, Kitui County, but things turned bitter when she got pregnant for him while she was still a form one student at Mwambiu secondary school.
“I was always concerned that I would conceive but he advised me not to be afraid promising that he would marry me eventually. He hated me when I gave birth to a blind child and declared that he did not sire my daughter,” she recalled painfully.
The child’s paternity dispute persisted until the two resolved to have a DNA test conducted to establish whether Father Japheth Mwove was indeed the father. The DNA test report was filed in February 2016.
The report, seen by KNA, showed that the said Catholic priest was indeed the girl’s biological father. “Since the DNA report confirmed that he was Lillian’s father, he has been trying to shed us off in order to avoid parental responsibility.
He said he wanted to see me so that we can discuss the way forward now that it had been confirmed that he was the father,” noted Veronicah.
She called on the government and human rights activists to intervene and ensure that they get justice as well as ensure their personal security.
“I feel that my daughter and I are in danger. We appeal to the government to protect us,” she expressed.
In 2016, the then 23-year-old, Veronica said that she was attacked on a Monday night when she had gone to visit the cleric at his rural Muthale home.
“He called me while I was in Thika and asked to see me together with my daughter but he was nowhere to be found when I arrived at Kabati Holy Family Church, a Kitui Catholic Diocese parish, where he used to serve.
“He later advised me to go to his home at Tulia but he was not there either. His mother chased me away prompting me to seek accommodation from their neighbour,” she told journalists amid sobs.
She said Father Mwove’s mother followed her there and forced the neighbour to evict them saying that she was a disgrace to her clerical son and the family at large.
“Father Mwove’s mother gave out Sh. 500 for my bus fare and threatened her neighbour that she would suffer dire consequences if she allowed us to spend the night there,” she explained.
She said the woman was cowed by the threats and decided to escort them to a nearby market to board a taxi to Kabati shopping center and they were attacked just a few meters away.
A man, armed with a blunt object, emerged from nowhere and started chasing them. The man started hitting her hard on the head, while the other woman took off to safety leaving them at the mercy of the assailant.
She said, “He also hit my child, who was still on my back, on the head and blood started oozing blood from her nose. He hit and broke my fingers as I shielded my head from the successive blows.”
“I fell down and feigned unconsciousness when it occurred to me that the attacker was determined to kill us. He was therefore convinced that he had accomplished his task and fled the scene towards Father Mwove’s home,” she added.
The two, having sustained serious injuries following the attack, were discovered sprawling on a path by a boda boda operator, who alerted the villagers and the police the following day.
Officers from Tulia police post immediately rushed the victims to Muthale Mission Hospital where they were given first aid and admitted for further treatment.
By Yobesh Onwong’a