Widow who cooked stones moved to four-bedroom home

NEW HOME: Dama Kaingu, Peninah Bahati, Esther Ingolo and Elvina Mzungu at the Kisauni DCC Jamleck Mbuba's office on Monday

Peninah Bahati, the widow who boiled stones to feed her children, will temporarily be relocated to a four-bedroom house as she awaits the construction of her new home.

The house provided by Mombasa Woman Representative Asha Hussein is situated at an undisclosed location.

This is so that the widow and her family can have a change of environment to help ease the pressure they find themselves in from relatives and other people, according to Mombasa county senior social worker Elvina Mzungu.

Bahati ran into a fortune after well wishers donated following her story which was exposed by neighbour Priscah Momanyi. She had boiled stones to soothe her children to sleep in the pretext that they would wake up to eat. 

An eight-member committee formed by the national government to manage her newfound wealth has decided to build the widow a Swahili-type house where Bahati’s family will occupy three rooms and the rest of the rooms be rented out.

This was decided in a meeting chaired by Kisauni chief Said Shume, who represents Kisauni deputy county commissioner Jamleck Mbuba in the committee, at the chief’s office in Mwandoni.

Bahati will also be registered in the National Hospital Insurance Fund, which will be paid for her for the next three years.

“This is so that whenever she or any of her children gets sick, she will be treated at almost no cost at a public hospital,” Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, who is also in the committee, said.

The committee planned to visit Bahati’s house on Wednesday in Mleji village of Junda ward, Kisauni subcounty, to assess the land which her late husband Kaingu Charo had bought and built their two-room house.

On Tuesday, the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida), sought out of the committee saying they want to concentrate on the legal issues that Bahati may require help with.

On Monday, Mbuba said in a meeting between that some of Bahati’s relatives have been trying to steal her money from the bank and M-Pesa accounts. The meeting included Bahati, her whistleblower Momanyi, Mbogo, Mzungu, county gender director Esther Ingolo and Fida representative Everlyn Atieno among others

“They even stole her national ID card and went to the bank with it hoping they would be able to withdraw some money,” Mbuba said at the meeting in his office.

She handed over Bahati’s Equity Bank and M-Pesa statements to Mbuba.

She also said she would henceforth watch from a distance after she received flak from different quarters over her hard stance in managing Bahati’s newfound resources

However, Mbuba and Mbogo encouraged her to continue with oversight of the matters saying quitting now will raise even more questions.

“You took the bull by the horns and you must continue. People will always talk, especially where money is involved. Just continue helping your friend,” Mbogo said.

Muslims for Human Rights gender and children officer Topister Juma, a member of the committee, said Bahati needs psychosocial assistance to deal with the situation she finds herself in.

Juma, who has been involved in helping Bahati since her predicament was highlighted on social, mainstream national and international media, called for sobriety in handling her matter.

“This is a delicate matter that we need to handle with care because it can potentially deal a blow to other matters like the family,” Juma said.

Mbogo said he will talk to firms that have won government contracts in Kisauni to oversee the construction of the rental house for Bahati as a Corporate Social Responsibility.

“If the committee decides that a Swahili House be built for Bahati so she can take three rooms and rent out the rest, then the firm should ensure its completion to standards without charging anything,” the MP said.

Mbuba revealed that Naivas Supermarket Nyali has donated a Sh50,000 voucher for Bahati.

For it to be used, authorisation must come from Mbuba himself and the Naivas branch manager.

The Children’s department and Education ministry will take care of her children’s education.

She has seven children after her last born, four-month-old Mary Kaingu, died on May 7.

The eldest, Dama Kaingu, is 22 years old and dropped out in Form 3.

Other members of the committee include the Kisauni subcounty administration, Education ministry and the Children’s department.


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