When twins become a curse that must die

Mt. Elgon Fred Kapondi (left) in a conversation former area MP Wilberforce Kisiero. Mr. Kisiero, a village elder, said the killings were uncalled for and urged police to arrest the couple. PHOTO/ OMBECHO MAKABIRA

What you need to know:

  • The children’s father put them in a sack and buried them alive as they cried

A child’s birth is often a blessing, and getting twins is a double joy.

But for a family in Bungoma, the arrival of twins 10 days ago was considered a bad omen. The verdict: the twins had to die, and they were buried alive — by their father.

Samson Pakachini put his two new sons in a sack, dug a hole in his compound, and placed the boys, still alive, in it. He then filled the hole with soil even as the two infants cried.

Pakachini (not his real name), a Sabaot from Mt Elgon now living at Katome village in Bungoma West, says having twins is culturally unacceptable.

That is why, as soon as his second wife Anne delivered the twins, he buried them alive.

This was not his first encounter with twins; when his first wife had twins, villagers say, she fled the home with them when she learnt that her husband was planning to kill them.

This week, the mother of Pakachini’s new twins was too grief-stricken to say much.

She said between sobs that she was prevailed upon by the family and the community to have her children killed.

“They threatened to chase me away with my other children,” she added.

“I have no place to go; that is why I allowed them to do it.”

But former Mt Elgon MP Wilberforce Kisiero, a village elder, said the killings were uncalled for and urged police to arrest the couple.

Twins in the Sabaot community are revered and considered a special blessing, he added.

“Special songs are sung in their honour and they are protected by culture against any form of mistreatment. Among the things you cannot do to them is hit them on the head.”

Area chief Ronald Wachiye also condemned the killings, saying: “They are innocent victims who should not have been killed.”

Local residents were horrified after police held the couple for a few hours and then released it on Thursday evening.

And some residents on Friday marched to Lwakhakha police station and demanded that the couple be re-arrested.

Others were camping at the homestead, threatening to set their house ablaze.