NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The family of the human rights activist Caroline Mwatha whose body was found at the City Mortuary has refuted claims that she died while procuring an abortion.
According to her father Stanslous Mbai, Mwatha had no reason to procure an abortion as she was happily married and with children.
“The claim that the police want everyone to believe is a lie. My daughter got married in a church and she has children; if indeed she was pregnant, I am sure she could not even think of abortion,” said Mbai.
However, a man described by police as Mwatha’s ‘boyfriend’ is among six suspects in custody over the death that police say resulted from a botched abortion.
Her husband Joshua Ochieng called for thorough investigations saying there are a lot of inconsistencies in police accounts.
“My brother in-law came here to look for her body and was told she was not here. The name that was registered was Caroline Mbeki then yesterday we discovered that the same person was my wife and the name has been changed to Caroline Mwatha. What changed?” Ochieng wondered.
Several activists – including Human Rights Defender Khalid Hussein were at the City Mortuary since Wednesday morning demanding justice.
“We are here in solidarity with Mwatha’s family because we know the kind of a job she was doing and it is so bad that a narrative has already been created to divert attention and we want justice to be served for Mwatha and her family,” Hussein said.
They further claimed that Mwatha’s body had some deep cuts on her thighs, an indication that she could have been tortured before her death.
The Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said that they retrieved text messages between the deceased woman and her boyfriend in which they planned to abort the five-month pregnancy.
The DCI on Tuesday night indicated that a total of six people were in custody over the death.
The six include the owner of the clinic she went for the abortion, the clinic owner’s son, a doctor, the boyfriend Alexander Gikonyo Uber driver Stephen Maina and another suspect identified as Georgia Achieng’ Tabitha.
“It was further established that an unidentified doctor had demanded a fee of Sh7,000 and after negotiations the cost was reduced to Sh6,000 which was sent by Alexander.”
There had been speculation that Mwatha’s disappearance was linked to her work of speaking out against police brutality as extra judicial killings, mainly in Dandora and other slum areas in the Kenyan capital.
“That cannot be the case,” Police Spokesman Charles Owino said, “a post-mortem will be conducted on her body but from information gathered so far by the investigators, the probable cause of her death is known.