A moving piece by Sharifa Kalokola on killer fathers in Tanzania. No doubt there are many cultural issues that affect these issues, and those should be researched. But I suspect the fundamental dynamic is the same whether you're in Tanzania or Tucson, Arizona. It's the same sense of male entitlement, generously sprinkled with a lot of narcissism. The belief that women and children are nothing more than the father's possessions, to keep or dispose of depending on the day's whim. It's an obsession with controlling the lives of women and children, where controlling life itself becomes the ultimate power trip.
A cruel murder that eats away at a hapless mum
Sunday, 30 January 2011 11:11
By Sharifa Kalokola
Father kills his four children. Dad executes four-year-old girl – these are familiar stories battling for headline space in the media of late. The many cases of paternal filicide in Tanzania are now a major cause for concern.
Filicide – the killing of one’s son or daughter has become a curse in Tanzania. It boggles the mind just to think how all this could be happening in a society generally reputed to have very kind and warm-hearted people.
A 43-year-old father, identified as Evans Damian allegedly quarrelled with his wife recently in Arusha. Later, he is said to have taken his fight to a more disastrous level. He is said to have woken up around 2 am, and hacked his children, including twins, one after another, with an axe.
After the horror killings that have shocked many in the remote village, the apparently possessed father, committed suicide.
Tracking the source of such revenge killings, one easily finds a common denominator in most of the cases: sexual jealousy.
Hell breaks loose when the husband grows jealous or perhaps catches his wife with another man. He settles the score with the wife first. But to hurt her more, he destroys the most precious possession any woman cherishes - her child.
The demon-possessed husband carries out his revenge by killing the children, and then to escape earthly justice, he commits suicide.
Poor innocent children become the victims of their parents’ trust issues! To many children in crisis-ridden families, the things that pose the biggest threat to their lives are their own parents. What a sad situation?
And the cases are growing by the day, yet it is sad that filicide remains a rarely studied subject in Tanzania. There is no science-based evidence to prove the real causes of this madness, except findings from some studies conducted abroad, where situations are different from ours.
But having said all this, it is the mother who suffers the most in the end. With a husband gone and children murdered life becomes intolerable for the woman, who finds herself in such a way.
The guilty feeling that one is somehow responsible for the death of her own children eats away at you like a deadly cancer.
You do not need to be the one wielding the axe to feel guilty. The mere fact the kids are dead because you have been fighting is enough to eat your conscience.
Which begs the question: What role can a mother play to protect her child from this evil?