When Taludi Chipatula woke up on March 31 2013, she had no inkling that a near tragedy would befall her before the day wore out.
But, she alleged in an interview, the very man to whom she had offered her all turned out to be not only the carrier of the bad news. He was the bad news itself, she claimed.
Chipatula, 31, who lives in Mtupa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Vusojere in Ntchisi, claims that her husband, Peter Damalekani, hacked her in the arms and on the forehead with a panga, leaving her needing urgent medical attention at Nthisi District Hospital.
Narrating her ordeal from the hospital bed on Thursday, Chipatula said Damalekani attacked her because he was bitter that she would walk out of their shaky marriage.
She said he attacked her when she was going to a kitchen top-up with a friend.
Chipatula said their marriage began rocking in 2006 after Damalekani allegedly impregnated her younger sister.
“I forgave him after engaging relatives, marriage counsellors and the police to resolve the matter. I can’t believe I agreed to get back with him when he asked for a reunion,” said Chipatula.
She said in 2010, Damalekani impregnated the sister again.
“I felt like a fool to think that my husband cheated again with my own sister. However, because of the four children we have together, I stayed with him although sometimes I could live with my parents.
“On Saturday [March 31], I had a kitchen top-up with my friends. I wanted to go to Blantyre to start a new life and take care of my four children,” said Chipatula.
She said as she and her friend were walking to the event, she saw her husband washing his hands at a stream near the road they were using.
“There was a chigwandali [panga] on a rock near him. I had heard earlier in the day that my husband was seen sharpening his chigwandali. What I did not know was that he was preparing to attack me,” she said.
Chipatula said Damalekani followed and attacked her with the panga while her friend ran for help.
“I know he was trying to cut off my head because he kept targeting my neck. The panga inflicted cuts on my arms as I was trying to protect my head and face. He ran when he saw people coming to my rescue,” she said.
She said after the attack, she was taken to the hospital where she was successfully operated on.
When Minister of Gender Anita Kalinde visited Taludi at the hospital on Thursday, she said government is committed to eradicating violence against women.
“This is very sad. My ministry condemns this habit. Even the President speaks against gender-based violence and there have been campaigns going on to promote gender equality.
“What we want is for this malpractice to end. Thus, we hope the offenders are given long sentences to deter others,” she said.
Kalinde, who was accompanied by officials from her ministry such as Principal Secretary Dr Mary Shawa, gave Chipatula sugar, soap and bread.
Superintendent Anord Gunya of Ntchisi Police Station said Damalekani was arrested after he admitted to have attacked his wife because of jealousy.
But Gunya said the suspect later began denying to have attacked his wife.
“When he was first apprehended, he admitted to have committed the offence because of jealousy as his wife wanted to run away from him. We wonder why he is changing the story,” he said.
Gunya said the suspect has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.
Damalekani, who spoke to Nation on Sunday at the police station, denied attacking his wife, saying he was at home when the incident happened.
“I visited my wife at her parents’ home and gave her money, telling her to keep it safe. I was very confused to be taken here for an offence I did not commit,” he said.
Constable Philip Sande, officer-in-charge responsible for gender at the station, said such cases are rampant in the district, especially in T/As Kalimo, Malenga and Nthongo.