I am just coming to the realisation of the many things that happen in the world, relating to HIV/AIDS. I will admit to being abit... just abit, ignorant of HIV and AIDS before my direct contact with it, and I tell you I am yet to learn so many things that will directly affect my life. One of the comments on a previous post is a guy who has been off medication for (about) 4 years and still counting, for insurance reasons. I would have thought such an act suicidal, but what do I know? I am still gathering facts and information, have not started on any medication yet (still need advice on this - have an appointment next week with a doctor charging an arm and a leg). Other comments have made me realise how possible it is to still live a full life... I mean full in terms of time/duration... I used to think it was like Ebola, a poisonous snake bite, or such, that will probably kill you in days, if you are lucky. How naiive?!
Then, I have come to the realisation that certain communities will rather bury you alive, throw you to the forest and totally forget about you than be associated with someon with HIV/AIDS. A father will throw his wife out, children and all, choose not to have a life with them, because his wife has tested HIV+
Some things you won't even know if, or where, to draw the line. How do you react to a person who has killed another to prevent a 'likelyhood' of contracting HIV? Read on:
I killed to defend my dignity
Story by DOUGLAS MUTUA
Publication Date: 2007/07/08
Killing a person attracts harsh penalties for the culprit, but Mr Martin Gathuru Gitau, a 25-year-old taxi driver, did it and got away with it – legally.
Mr Gitau admitted before trial judge Justice Muga Apondi that he killed a 36-year-old engineer but was released after the court found his action justifiable in the circumstances under which it took place.
Sitting on a bench in the corridors of the High Court building, Nairobi, minutes after securing his freedom, the tall, bespectacled man recounted the events that led him to remand at the Industrial Area GK Prison in Nairobi. It all began at around 1 a.m. on March 25, 2006. Mr Gitau was drunk.
“I was walking home from a pub in Kileleshwa, Nairobi, when a car came to a halt and the motorist offered me a lift. I regret I accepted the offer,” he said, blinking frequently.
The motorist was a neighbour with whom he had never spoken before. The man, who introduced himself only as Solomon, was also drunk. After a few minutes’ drive, he invited Mr Gitau to his house to drink more beer and “hot drinks.” Mr Gitau said the man was so persuasive he found it hard to turn him down. They went into the Kuguru Flats and, on entering the house, Solomon locked the door and kept the key in his pocket. Gitau found this suspicious.
“Under ordinary circumstances, I would expect one to leave the key at the door,” he said. After five minutes Solomon brought a bottle of beer which was almost empty and offered it to his guest.
“I declined and argued that I would do so if he sipped first,” he said.
“You are unruly,” his host said. “It doesn’t matter, your consciousness will not hinder me from doing whatever I intended to do if you became unconscious.” Solomon began caressing him, promising him a lot of money if he “cooperated”.
“He threatened to sodomise me,” Mr Gitau recalled. “I swore that he would do it over my dead body.”
He said the man grabbed him and wrestled him to the floor, and a fight ensued. Neighbours, attracted by the commotion, peeped through the window. They saw Mr Gitau pick up a stool and hit the other man on the head. He fell to the floor unconscious. The neighbours called the police, and Mr Gitau was arrested and taken to Kilimani Police Station.
The injured man was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where he died of head injuries after four days. Mr Gitau remained in police custody for three months before being charged with murdering Solomon Wangwe Thiga.
Mr Gitau, unable to afford a lawyer, got the services of Nairobi lawyer Solomon Wamwayi after Justice Apondi ordered the Registrar to find him one. He denied the charge but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. During the trial, the defence lawyer urged the court to consider the circumstances under which the offence was committed.
“In these days of HIV/Aids, and considering that the accused person is not a homosexual, he did what a normal human being would do to avoid sexual assault and danger,” he said. He added that Mr Gitau was remorseful and had even quit taking alcohol.
Passing the judgement, Justice Apondi said Mr Gitau was right to defend his dignity and morality.
“The deceased had no right whatsoever to harass the accused person. This court has also taken judicial notice of the numerous sexual diseases that are now prevalent like HIV and Aids,” the judge said. He noted that the deceased had acted fraudulently and dishonestly by offering Gitau hot drinks with a hidden motive.
“But it was naive and foolish for the accused person to go to a stranger’s flat at around 1 am just for free drinks,” he noted.
Releasing him, Justice Apondi said: “Obviously, the deceased provoked the accused person and can only blame himself for what happened.” He added that he hoped Mr Gitau had learnt his lesson and would “stop following free drinks at midnight.”
Mr Gitau regrets that a life was lost. “But I don’t regret defending my dignity,” he asserts. He is now a born-again Christian, having taken a pastoral course and become a preacher.