, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The wife of the man who tried to smuggle their baby out of the Kenyatta National Hospital over a Sh56,000 bill has narrated how the failed plot was hatched.
Vivian Murage said her husband, Boniface Murage, who secured his freedom Tuesday morning after a Nairobi court handed him a three-month suspended sentence revealed the plan to her on Saturday during a routine hospital visit.
“He came in the morning and asked me: “Do you think the baby will fit in this bag? I responded in the affirmative. He then directed me to put the baby inside the carrier bag. He picked the bag and left,” Murage’s wife explained on Tuesday.
As fate would have it though, the daring escape from the hospital’s ‘detention’ came crumbling down as Murage walked past a security checkpoint while exiting the ward.
“What is that you’re carrying young man?” Murage recalls being asked by one of the guards.
According to Murage, the guards insisted on confirming the contents of the bag, a request he had no choice but to heed.
His submission to authority nearly had anger-stricken spectators descend on him as security guards accused him of attempting to suffocate the baby.
“I had carefully placed the baby inside the bag. It was well ventilated,” he recalled.
Murage was lucky enough to escape the wrath of the security guards who upon checking established the baby was alive.
Vivian said she had to come to his defence confirming to the guards that there was indeed no ill-motive other than the desire for them to escape from the hospital which had detained them since February 11 when the doctors issued a discharge note.
Murage was later transferred to a police station where he spent the weekend in detention awaiting arraignment on Monday.
His court date came and without much contestation, Murage admitted that he indeed tried to smuggle his child from the referral hospital due to inability to afford the Sh56,937 medical bill for the hospitalization of his month-old baby since January 24.
He was formally charged on Tuesday with attempt to commit a felony contrary to section 389 of the Penal Code.
Caroline Nzibe, a Resident Magistrate at the Milimani Law Courts, granted Murage freedom in a short court session with a caveat that he should not commit a crime within the three months of his suspended sentence.
“The accused person admits he committed an offence stating that his financial status drove him to commit the offence. Be that as it may, the scales of justice tilt both ways and the court has a mandate to balance that scale,” the magistrate outlined in her ruling noting that Murage had two weeks to appeal.
A visibly delighted Vivian could not hide her joy following the acquittal of his husband.
Murage’s case brought to the fore hospital imprisonments that are rampant in public hospitals, with the practice flying in the face of Article 43 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to the “highest attainable standard of health which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care” to every citizen.