Drama, death after woman throws dirty panty at her mother-in-law

Mourners at the burial of Douglas Mung'abo in Ogalo village. [Benard Lusigi]

An elderly woman in Matungu Constituency, Kakamega County, is at a loss what to do with a panty her daughter-in-law hit her with during a domestic row that saw her son commit suicide.

On April 5, 2024, Elizabeth Mung’abo had gone to her son’s house to solve a domestic wrangle between him and the wife.

In the ensuing fight, her daughter-in-law removed her pant and hit her mother-in-law on the head with it. 

Frustrated by his wife’s actions Douglas Mung’abo, 45, is said to have committed suicide.

Elders have advised the family to first bury Douglas before they can give direction on when and how to conduct a cleansing ritual.

According to Elizabeth, on the material day, she had asked her daughter-in-law to help her with a basin but she refused.

“She refused to give me a basin despite having many empty basins in the house, so I went and asked for a basin from another daughter-in-law who gave it to me,” said Elizabeth.

At lunchtime, her daughter-in-law prepared sweet potatoes for the entire family.

“One of my grandchildren commented that the potatoes were not well cooked and this drew laughter. This annoyed my daughter-in-law who walked out and started packing her clothes, threatening to leave,” said Mung’abo.

Elizabeth said that in the evening she went to her son’s house accompanied by her husband and her other daughters-in-law after she heard the couple quarrelling.

“We talked at length about what happened during the day. As we tried to resolve their their fights, my daughter-in-law got angry, and to our shock she removed her panty and hit me on the head with it,” said Elizabeth.

“I asked her why she did that because it was a bad omen. My husband took over the matter and directed her to apologise, we even called her parents and she apologised. My husband directed that we leave the two alone and wait for the following day to solve the matter with the help of elders.” 

The following night, the two had another fight and the woman took her  belongings and left for her parent’s home.

On Saturday morning, Douglas told his mother that his wife had left the previous night.

He expressed his frustrations about his wife’s behaviour, but his mother did not suspect that it could push him to take his life.

“The death of my son because of domestic wrangles has hit me hard. My daughter-in-law gave my son sleepless nights and a difficult life.” 

Elizabeth now wants elders to give her directions on what to do with the panty, stating that based on Luhya culture if a ritual is not done in time the family is bound for another calamity.

“Now that I have buried my son I need elders to quickly convene a  meeting and give my family the direction on when to conduct a ritual to appease the spirit of the dead so that we can avoid further calamities in the family. What happened is taboo, according to our Luhya culture,” she said.

Locals condemned the incident and urged couples to solve their differences amicably. They also urged women to respect their mother-in-law and father-in-law.

“We need to solve our differences amicably. Women should show respect for their elders especially their mother-in-law and father-in-law while so that we can avoid such unnecessary deaths,” said Innocent Asedi.

Douglas was laid to rest on April 8, 2024 at his home in Ogalo village, Matungu Constituency, Kakamega County.


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