• Henry Mbonda, a Tanzanian, scalded her with hot cooking oil in hot water on December 13, after Natalia rejected his reconciliation requests.
• The two had been staying together for three years during which time they had their son, before separating a year ago.
Christmas is only two days away but a family in Leisure, Mombasa has little to celebrate about.
Sylvia Kalama’s 24-year-old daughter, Winnie Natalia, is hurting at Coast General Hospital after suffering severe burns inflicted upon her by the jilted father of her four-year-old son.
Henry Mbonda, a Tanzanian, scalded Natalia with hot cooking oil and water on December 13, after she rejected his reconciliation requests.
The two had been staying together for three years during which time they had their son, before separating a year ago.
Natalia works at a salon in Kiembeni.
She had just buried her elder sister, with whom she had been close, and was trying to get closure.
However, Mbonda’s pestering was not giving her peace of mind.
“For the past few months, he has been coming home, and more frequently after I lost my sister. He came for the burial. He wanted us to reconcile,” Natalia said from her hospital bed, her voice low and occasionally wincing in pain.
“He wanted a chance so we can sit and talk but I always refused and told him I’m over it,” she said.
On Friday, at around 10.30am, Natalia was braiding her best friend Doreen’s hair at the salon when Mbonda showed up.
“He said ‘So, your friend has decided it is like that once and for all?’ Doreen told him people make decisions and that is it,” Natalia said.
“He said ‘It is okay. But I will make sure she feels the same pain I am feeling,’” Natalia said.
He went out for about 30 minutes and came back with a jug full of hot oil mixed with hot water.
He poured it on Natalia, who he bumped into while she was walking out of the salon.
She got 13 per cent burns on her chest, left side of the face and head.
“I will only be at peace when I know he is in police custody,” Natalia said.
Kisauni police boss Julius Kiragu said Mbonda escaped to his native Tanzania after the incident.
He said the police are still actively looking for ways to get him arrested and charged in Kenya.
“We have been following up on him and are using our relations with our neighbours to try and see how he will be arrested and brought here to face charges,” Kiragu said on the phone
Muslims for Human of Rights gender officer Topister Juma said Mbonda is not remorseful for his actions.
“He posts things on social media saying he now has peace of mind and has done his revenge,” Juma told the Star on the phone.
“Natalia’s family is seeking justice for their daughter. It has been an abusive relationship,” Juma said.
Juma advised young couples to probe the background of their partners before getting into serious relationships with them.
“[The] cases have been too much. It is so sad. Lawyers should take up these cases pro bono,” Juma said.
She called for the establishment of special magistrates and courts to take up GBV cases.
“Many cases end up being dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence after being in courts for almost two years,” she said.
Kalama said she still cannot understand Mbonda’s actions.
“He even came to the burial of my daughter. He looked calm,” Kalama said.
“If it was love and it was over, everybody has to go their own way. It really hurts and he did wrong. I would like justice for my daughter,” Kalama said.
Kalama said Mbonda had been formally introduced to them but had not married Natalia.
“But he has been arrogant. He has been disturbing my daughter,” Kalama said.
She said that Natalia had once taken reported Mbonda to the police for assault and filled in a P3 form.
Mbonda was arrested and spent four days in police cells before Natalia’s friends prevailed upon her to forgive him and withdraw the case against him. She did.
Nominated MCAs Fatma Kushe and Milka Moraa, who on Saturday visited Natalia in hospital, said cases of gender-based violence are increasingly being reported in Mombasa.
“Love fades. Love is not forced. When it dies, just accept and move on. You will find another love. You don’t have to kill. Because Mbonda was killing Natalia,” Kushe said.
The Mombasa county assembly health committee vice chairman advised young couples to always think of the positives in their partners and not the negatives.
“Now the four-year-old boy will always see the father as an enemy. What kind of life is that?” Kushe asked.
She criticised the police for letting Mbonda walk scot-free after what he has done.
“It is more than a week now and the man has not been arrested. He may come to finish the job in the hospital,” Kushe said.
Moraa said the health committee will lobby to have Natalia’s hospital bill waived.
“She should stay in hospital until she is completely healed. She should not worry about the bill. Let us worry about that,” Moraa said.
She said she will come up with a sexual and gender-based violence policy which will address such incidents.