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GUEST POST: Are crimes of passion justified crimes?

The last few days has seen an avalanche of “crimes of passion” in Kenya. The most recent being that of an Ex-military officer who stabbed his girlfriend because she was planning to leave him after he had paid for her university education. Are these crimes justified? Our guest writer takes an in-depth look.

By Ryanne Achieng’


Crime of passion refers to a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage or heartbreak rather than as a premeditated crime. Such crimes are not new in our society and are mostly caused by love inflicted pains and betrayals.

Love is a variety of different feelings, states and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection to pleasure. It is defined differently by different people and for this case defined as the ‘Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.’
BERTRAND RUSSELL describes love as a condition of ‘absolute value’ as opposed to ‘relative value’. MEHER BABA on the other hand states that in love there is a ‘feeling of unity’ and an ‘active appreciation of the intrinsic worth of the object of love. ‘ According to Philosopher GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ, love is ‘to be delighted by the happiness of another’ whereas to the Biologist JEREMY GRIFFITH, love is simply ‘unconditional selflessness!’ To me, it is a heartfelt affection, so good yet so deadly when misused! It is however common knowledge amongst us that the complex and abstract nature of love often reduces the general talk about love to a thought-terminating cliche… the main reason why we have lots of love related drama!

Maxwell Ochieng’ loved this lady. Word has it that he did everything humanly possible to ensure that she got her University degree. Life was probably very rosy until she graduated! An event meant to be the end of a long journey and the start of a new chapter in their lives brought nothing but pain to him. Reason? She wanted nothing more to do with him!

Confused, feeling betrayed and obviously ANGRY with probably no time for proper thinking, he acted…murdering the love of his life in cold blood! To some she deserved this but to others, nothing justifies taking one’s life! Fact… people react differently to love inflicted pains…this was his reaction to the action of being damped after all the sacrifices he made for love! The Big question is, was his action justified? Let the Jury decide!

Can crimes of passion be avoided? Maybe. Would things have turned out differently had he embraced dialogue or probably just walked away from it all? YES.

Sadly most people who commit such crimes have very little time to think clearly and only realize their mistakes when it’s too late. Maxwell’s action however justified to some, was a big mistake. He committed murder, a crime punishable by law! The best he can get is having his crime reduced to manslaughter. Is this possible? YES. All he needs is for his legal team to try eliminate the element of premeditation. To make this claim however, they must prove that he acted immediately upon the rise of passion, without the time for contemplation. Is this necessary? Yes. By eliminating premeditation, they lessen the ‘provable homicide’ charge to ‘manslaughter’ with no death penalty and probably limited prison terms! Whichever way, this young man with a great future is headed to prison and his love, to the grave. What a double loss!

In life, every good deed has a price tag so it’s upon one to find out what it is before its too late so that we repay good with good, the only way we avoid such tragic endings! That said, there are always THREE SIDES to these types of stories…His version, her version, and the TRUTH which, we will NEVER know!!!

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