Suspect: This is why we didn't want baby Sagini alive
The recent savage attack on a three-year-old boy in Marani, Kisii County, was allegedly motivated by property inheritance disputes, investigation by the Nation reveals.
Fears that a stepson will in the future be a beneficiary of a communal land may have led to the gouging out of Junior Sagini’s eyes.
Sagini's attackers wanted him dead. They dumped in a maize plantation after they removed his eyes believing that he was dead.
"Sagini's attackers stuffed him in a sack before taking him to an unknown location where they gouged out his eyes before dumping him in a maize farm, thinking he was dead," said a detective familiar with the investigations.
But baby Sagini survived, and was found writhing in pain and his body and clothes were soaked with blood.
Investigations have revealed that the suspects conspired to kill baby Sagini, the presumed sole heir of his stepfather’s land.
“They did not want the victim to inherit the family land in the event that his stepfather [who is ailing], dies," a relative told the police.
It is not clear how big the land is, but land is an emotive issue in Kisii where hundreds have been maimed or murdered.
Sources indicate that Ms Rael Nyakerario had two boys ‐ Sagini's father and Ochogo's.
Mr Ochogo's father, who is also the husband to Ms Pacificah Nyakerario, died years ago in unclear circumstances.
The only man left in the homestead now is Sagini's father-Mr Thomas Ongaga, who unfortunately is ailing.
Reports indicate that to keep the homestead 'alive', Mr Ongaga's sisters suggested that their brother be assisted to get a woman with children, specifically a boy.
It was then that Sagini and his seven-year-old sister, together with their mother, Ms Maureen Nyaboke, were brought to the homestead and betrothed to Mr Ongaga.
" Sagini's attackers were worried that in the event that Mr Ongaga dies, the next in line to take over the family land would be baby Sagini," a relative told police.
But some family members still viewed Sagini and his sister as 'outsiders'.
They thought by eliminating the boy, the family land would remain in the hands of those born within the homestead.
In the Gusii customary law of property inheritance, a child not born at the home where his mother is married to is considered an 'illegitimate child' and it is believed that if they inherit from their stepfather, they will 'contaminate' the family tree.
Population explosion has led to intense, cut-throat competition for land in Kisii where authorities have lamented that almost 80 percent of criminal cases, especially murder, are related to land disputes.
Police sources said that the plan by the suspects was to have the baby eliminated to get him out of the lineup for land inheritance.
On Friday, court declined to grant the suspects bond. The three suspects will remain in custody during trial which starts on January 18.