Location: Mathare Mental Hospital
REF: Court mandated Psych Evaluation to determine defendant’s mental capacity and ability to stand trial as ordered by Presiding Judge; J. Mayanja
Psychiatrist: Dr. C. Gicheru
Patient: S. Kavita
Time: 0900 hrs – 19 July 2019
(The patient is brought in by two orderlies. She is in handcuffs, an armed officer accompanies her. The orderlies seat her gently on the chair opposite mine. I ask the officer if the handcuffs are necessary, he nods. I signal my intent to begin the conversation to the orderlies. They leave the psych room, officer attempts to stay. I insist that he leaves. We remain alone.)
Question: Hello Kavita, my name is CJ Gicheru and I am your psychiatrist today. Do you know why you are here?
Answer: ….silence….(patient keeps eyes on the ground)
Q: Kavita, you have to answer my questions.
A: (Lift head and looks straight at me)
Yes, I know why I am here.
Q: Good. I have to tell you that anything you tell me will be turned over to both your lawyers and the prosecution. You have chosen not to have your lawyer present, is that correct?
A: That is correct.
Q: That does not seem to me to be the wisest thing given your position. Do you mind telling me why you chose that?
A: I felt I have nothing to hide. I just want to get the truth known and get this over with.
Q: What truth? The police at least from my end have a pretty easy case. You were the last person seen with him alive. You have a history of violence, and an even clearer motive.
A: (shakes head angrily) I am not the last person to see him alive!
Q: (I lower my voice) Who was?
A: The taxi driver.
Q: The man you claim drove him away, yet there’s no proof of that anywhere?
Q: Okay, let’s try this again. What were you doing in Nanyuki with a boy 25 years younger than you?
A: (patient looks away, stares through the window at nothing in particular) I loved him.
Q: That is not what I asked.
A: I know, but for me to answer that question. We have to go back to the beginning. How it started.
Q: Okay, let’s do that.
A: (patient stares off at something outside the window. Fiddles with her thumbs)
I used to pick him up at Kencom. Just past where the purple Double M buses park. He was always late, I forgave him. I figured when a man has a whole life in front of him….what is an hour of my time? There was always a preacher there, the evangelical kind. (The patient stops, wipes her nose with her right hand, then continues). The preaching was always based on the book of Revelation. The preacher promising we would burn in lakes of sulphur if we did not repent. Somehow we would always lock eyes with the man. I often wondered if God hated what me and the boy did. The preacher’s eyes would however soften when I dropped a brown note into his cup. His tongue would then speak blessings upon me. Promising he would pray for me.
Q: Ma’am, let us constrain ourselves to the boy.
A: (sniffles, then nods in agreement)
The boy would show up just past 7, he would rush into the car and then raise the window. I initially thought nothing of it.
Q: Why do you think he was always late?
A: I don’t think he wanted to be seen getting into a car with an older woman.
Q: What did you do about it?
A: (Patient shifts in her chair)
I felt hurt. Like he was rejecting me. Until I looked at it from his perspective. A young well built man getting picked up by an older woman. The optics definitely did not favor him. I then started asking him to meet me at the intercon.
Q: The Intercon?
A: The Intercontinental Hotel. It is on the same street, but there’s less traffic there, and fewer chances of someone recognizing him.
Q: Why were you meeting him on that day?
A: I missed him. I felt like he was pulling away from me. He insisted that second year of University was tough and he had to put in more hours at school.
Q: How did that make you feel?
A: (patient shifts in her seat, rubs her arms where the handcuffs are) I don’t understand your question.
Q: How did his pulling away from you make you feel?
A: Like I was worthless, not deserving of his time and love.
Q: Doesn’t it appear odd to you that a 45 year old should be made to feel that by a 20 year old?
Q: Where did you take him after picking him up on that day?
A: Nanyuki. I thought that if he stayed with me for a weekend maybe he would remember why we started this in the first place.
Q: Started what exactly?
A: Our relationship
Q: Where did you stay in Nanyuki?
A: I had rented a house for the weekend?
Q: Was he happy to be there?
A: He pretended to be. But I could tell from the drive from Nairobi that he wasn’t. He had this mood all through Friday and Saturday morning. At about 2 PM Saturday, he came to me and said he wanted to leave and no, he did want me to drive him home. So I called him a taxi.
Q: Can you take me through the last moments with him after you called the taxi and decided to leave.
A: (patient shifts in her chair, and seats in an upright position)
We sat there. In an uncomfortable silence. He had somehow already packed everything he had brought. His left hand on his suitcase, pushing it back and forth. The fingers on his right hand mindlessly tapping on his right thigh. It was his body’s way of signaling impatience. I smiled. It was remarkable how well I knew him.
I asked him if he would call me when he got home. He nodded and then looked at him watch.
You could see it on his face, he wanted to be anywhere but here. Though he would never say it to my face. At least he still loved me that much. But that was quickly dissolving and a sinister apathy taking its place. I figured, if ever there was a time to ask, it might as well be this.
Q: Ask him what?
....(patient disregards my questions and continues with her monologue)…
A: “Do you still want to be with me?” I asked.
The question caught him by surprise.
He sits there for a moment, lost. Unsure of what to say. Afraid of what his rejection would mean to me. Then slowly, he shakes his head. Doesn’t even voice his rejection. My heart sinks.
Q: What is your reaction after he shows you that he does not want to be with you?
A: I don’t react in a way he can notice.
Q: That does not answer the question.
A: (a little louder) I did not react!
Q: Is that the time you did it?
A: (Patient loses control and starts and shouts) Sikumuua, I swear sikumuua!I did not kill him. Nampenda! You have to believe me.
(She rises from her seat and wobbles toward me. She does not make any threatening motion. Orderlies and armed guard come into the room)
A: (Shouting) You have to believe me! Sikumuua.
Q: (Orderlies lead her back to her seat and force her down. She does not resist. They leave. I signal to the guard asking him to stay.)
Kavita, you have to remain in your seat. Can you do that?
A: (She nods. She signals asking for a tissue. She makes crying sounds. I do not observe tears)
Q: Kavita, can we continue?
A: (nodding) Yes, we can continue.
Q:(I offer patient water in a bottle, she drinks, we continue)
You’re saying that you did not attack him in any way?
A: (wipes eyes again) I would never do anything to hurt him.
Q: How does he react after that?
A: (Patient is calm now) For the first time in weeks he smiles with me. Glad to have found a way out. He is happy again, he looks almost like he did when I first saw him. Happy. The taxi driver calls, says he will arrive in 5 minutes. “Toka nje ndio nikuone?” the driver says. Rather, that is what the boy tells me the driver said. He ends the call, stands up. Says his goodbyes and almost runs out of the house. He doesn’t ask me for spending money as he normally does. It’s the fastest I have ever seen him get into a car. And with that it is quiet in the house again, unless you count the sound of my heart breaking. Badly.
…(Patient begins to cry uncontrollably. Heaves heavily. Whispers, “I didn’t do it” and “Sikumuua” multiple times. Evaluation ends at 1041hrs. Scheduled to resume at 0900 hrs on 20 July 2019)….
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