Like deputy school heads, sub chiefs used to be feared and accorded a lot of respect because of the power they wielded. So much so that their mere presence used to get their subjects shaking in their boots.
Opposing their authority was treasonous, to say the least. Unfortunately, that reverence is no more. That is, if what happend to one such village administrator in Sirikwa village, Kakamega County is anything to go by.
Boniface Wambungo broke into the house of a sub-chief and made away with poultry and maize flour, among others.
After he was arrested and arraigned in court, he pleaded guilty to stealing three ducks, three hens and six kilogram of flour all valued at Sh4,500 from the home of Patrick Mwangale, an assistant chief for Sirikwa sub location.
Arguably this in the past order would have qualified for self-imposed exile from the village and thorough whipping of the offender or worse.
But the Kakamega sub-chief opted for the more civil measure of settling the matter before court where charge and charge-particulars were stated before desirable conviction was made.
Charge particulars read that, “on the night of between 16th and 17th February 2017, the complainant Mwangale safely locked his kitchen where the poultry and unga and then retired to bed. He heard noises in the night but ignored only to wake up the next morning to realise his property was missing.”
The particulars went on; “The complainant then launched a search with the help of Nyumba Kumi officials and found the missing property with Wambungo after gathering tips from villagers.”
The administrator then reported to police where Wambungo was grilled and later on forwarded for prosecution.
After pleading guilty to the charge of stealing from the sub-chief, Wambungo then prayed for a lenient sentence since he was a mere laborer in sugarcane plantations.
“I am a poor sugarcane loader struggling with life please pardon me I won’t repeat,” he begged in mitigation.
The court noted his prayer and placed him under probation officers who were ordered to furnish the court with information of the appropriate community work he could handle at a public institution.