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Obado: “Sharon Refused a Ksh. 10 Million House Offer From Me, Wanted a Ksh. 35 Million House”

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Migori governors wife Hellen Okoth(left), Governor Okoth Obado(centre), son Jerry Okoth and daughter Evaline Okoth addressing the press on the murder of Sharon Otieno at a Nairobi hotel on 12/9/2018.

It all started with a glance, then a text before it blossomed into an explosive love affair, which climaxed into a pregnancy before demands for a Sh35 million house in Nairobi soured the relationship.

This is how Migori governor, Okoth Obado described his six-month romantic relationship with slain Rongo University student, Sharon Otieno when he was grilled for at least eight hours by the police on Tuesday.

In his statement to detectives in Kisumu on Tuesday, the governor explained that he first met Sharon in November last year after she initiated communication.

According to the governor, Sharon had sent a couple of text messages to him after last year’s election prompting him to invite her to Migori for a first meeting.

However, on that day, Obado was not able to see her as he had other engagements on county matters; an incident which infuriated the late Rongo university student who sent him a text to complain.

Later in the day, the county boss called to apologise and asked Sharon to reschedule a meeting for another day as he was to leave for Nairobi that evening.

Coincidentally Sharon told Obado she wanted to ‘see him’ on her way to the city too, a development which led to the pair having their first meeting in Nairobi.

The next day, the two met at the Intercontinental Hotel for a drink. In Obado’s words, one thing led to another as the two began a romantic relationship.

The Governor would then see Sharon regularly and most of their dates were either in Kisumu or Nairobi until one day she told the Governor of her pregnancy.

Obado recalled that in April during the Devolution Conference in Kakamega, he and other county bosses were booked at Acacia Hotel when Sharon travelled to Kisumu and checked in at Imperial hotel, in his name.

The Imperial hotel manager then called him saying ‘welcome your excellency to our hotel’ but he could not understand what he was talking about as he had already checked into the other hotel.

The manager then informed him that Sharon had checked in to ‘your usual room’. Late that evening, Sharon called the governor asking him to go to the Imperial hotel.

As he contemplated whether to go or not, he received a call from his wife Helen who inquired about his whereabouts. She then dropped a bombshell.

Hellen asked her husband whether he sure that he was at Acacia hotel but when he insisted that he was she demanded to know who Sharon Otieno was.

According to the statement, the Governor got confused and struggled to explain to his wife that there was no mischief involved and even asked her to come to Acacia.

The wife then warned Obado against going to Imperial saying if he dared, she would get the entire episode on camera as she had a team monitoring him.

Scared by the warning, Obado called Sharon to say he can’t make it for the night since madam was around. Ironically, Sharon was infuriated, Obado said and accused him of being with another woman and using madam’s name as an excuse.

Sharon told Obado that she knew where the wife was, telling him ‘every time I want to see you I first monitor madam’s movements’.

He asked Sharon to plan and meet him later in Nairobi after the conference. Sharon, who had at this point not revealed to Obado that she had other children from previous relationships, wanted the Governor to move her to Nairobi.

The county boss linked her with an estate agent who found a Sh10 million apartment but she declined the house. She instead got another house in Westlands worth Sh35 million.

Obado declined to buy the house and following further negotiations, Sharon said she was willing to settle for a Sh25 million house. This too, was declined. This was in May this year.

After this disagreement, the Governor then cut communication with Sharon and blocked her calls. Perhaps out of desperation, the student began sending texts to the governor’s close aides even family members.

Obado told police at one time, Sharon sent a picture of her baby bump to his eldest son who upon inquiring what the picture was for, was told: “I am carrying your brother, send it to your mother.”

As the texts intensified, his wife one day called him and asked that they talk as a family. She asked the governor to hand over his phones to his security so that they can have an uninterrupted discussion.

Having sensed the issue at hand, Obado spoke first and confessed to his wife about ‘that Sharon that you had warned me about sometime back’, who was now pregnant. The two later called their children and explained the same to them.

Obado then told investigators he later received a call from ODM chairman John Mbadi who said there was a journalist by the name Barack Oduor who had a story about him. Mbadi sent him Odour’s number.

The Governor called Odour and the two agreed to meet in Migori.  The journalist then met Obado about three days later in the company of Lawrence Mula, a former MCA.

They explained their mission but the Governor who seemed unmoved told them to proceed and publish the story since the ‘pregnancy was no longer a secret in the family and Migori’.

However, the two explained that their mission was not malign his name but would love him to sort out the issue with Sharon amicably. Obado asked them then to go and ask Sharon what she wanted.

About a week later, Mula travelled to Nairobi and met Obado at Heron Court saying Sharon had now settled with a proposal of getting a plot in Homa Bay.

Mula was then given Sh50, 000 to sort out his car which as in a garage before returning to the city to meet Obado later at Serena hotel.  The ex-MCA was given Sh100, 000 to deliver Sh80, 000 to Sharon and Sh20, 000 for his night stay in Nairobi and fuel back to Homa Bay.

Two days later, Mula called to say Sharon had identified a plot in Homa Bay town which she wanted him to buy for her.

Obado declined the proposal and asked the MCA to ask Sharon to identify a plot, between an acre and two acres. He then offered to construct a three bedroomed house for her.

The Governor recalled that just a few days before the abduction and eventual murder of Sharon, he had received a text from journalist Oduor cautioning him that the matter was getting out of hand and he needed to act immediately.

Odour is said to have warned Obado not to blame him for anything that happens on the Sharon matter. The next thing, Obado says he heard was that Oduor and Sharon had been abducted and Oyamo (Michael) his PA had been implicated.

His Communication Director Nicholas Anyour was the first to uniform him about the incident before Nyanza regional police chief called him on the same matter.

“The pregnancy was not a problem to the governor. Sharon was in the process of being assisted and that if the child eventually was to be born and is confirmed to be his, she was to be provided for. There is nothing to gain with her death. What was the benefit?” Obado’s lawyer Cliff Ombeta said.

On Wednesday Obado was accompanied by his family as he sought t to distance himself from the brutal murder of Sharon. Obado has since given police his DNA samples.

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Tale of misery, hopelessness of the landless Kibwezi Ngulia :: Kenya

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Kioko Mutua stands next to his ‘house’. He is taller than the house that he squeezes self in to sleep.

For more than four decades, they have lived in squalor. They have been abandoned by successive governments and short-changed by leaders, with empty promises of finding them alternative land.

The more than 2,000 squatters in Kibwezi West in Makueni County have for years lived in shanties, adults having to share makeshift beds with their children.

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Their troubles began in 1976 when the Government gazetted Ngai Ndethya as a game reserve and rendered those settled there landless.

According to Wandia Mutungi, 88, they were among 5,000 people who were evicted from Kyulu ranges in 1987 to create space for wildlife conservation.

Ms Mutungi said in 1992, some of those evicted were given land at Masongaleni, Kibwezi, Kiboko ‘A’ and ‘B’ settlement schemes that were created for the squatters. However, not all the displaced persons were allocated land.

Weak sticks

From a distance, one can confuse the structures with manyattas, if not for seemingly weak sticks they stand on. They are grass-thatched, while others are covered with black polythene papers.

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We peep into one of the smoke-stained structures. Inside an old man sits on a stone closely watching as something cooks in a pot on a three-stone fire. He refuses to let us in. His neighbours tell us he would not open for fear that children might stream in to beg for his little meal.

The delay in creating settlement schemes has subverted the locals and crippled agriculture. Most of the squatters have no land to till, while others have pieces measuring 10 steps by 25, which cannot yield much.

“I had planted hundreds of mango trees in Kyulu before eviction. Now I’m forced to make use of a piece measuring only 10 by 25 steps here,” said Mutungi.

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Lutha Kakui, one of the few men in the camp, has pleaded with the Government for land, wondering who, between wild animals and the people, are more important?

“We border a wildlife conservation reserve and a research centre (Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation) that keeps animals,” said Mr Kakui.

He is considered rich, for he owns an old bicycle that doubles up as the locals’ ambulance and also transports them to Makindu market.

There are 79 people in the compound. Many of them are old men and women abandoned in the shacks by their children. Many youthful sons and daughters of the squatters are said to move to neighbouring Kajiado County to do irrigation work. Many never return.

We meet two girls who have dropped out of primary school after giving birth. The younger one yearns for education. She hopes to save her parents from poverty.

At this place, they have also formed a welfare group “Umiisyo wa wildlife” to voice their grievances.

“We formed this group to assist one another and lobby,” says Magaret Katunge, the group’s chair.

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Some five kilometres southwards is ‘Boma 5’ alias Kalembe Raha. It was created by former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile.

Here the situation is dire. Irresponsible sexual behaviours are rampant. Even school girls are said to flee their homes for fear of sharing beds with their fathers.

Some have become beggars and other street children in Makindu town. Mutua Musilu, a local, says several others prostitute on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

To the north of ‘Boma 4’ is Katia village, where squatters live in fear of attacks from elephants and Kenya Wildlife rangers.

“We are suffering as squatters, but in addition to that, rangers come in the middle of the night and arrest you. They accuse you of hunting game. We can’t grow anything, all the crops are destroyed by wild animals. We never get compensation,” said Onesmus Manthi, a father of five.

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Milcah Mueni, a mother of 10, shares a shanty with her two daughters-in-law and when their husbands come they are forced to sleep in lodgings in Makindu before returning to work.

It is not a house – the structure has no beds, they sleep on the dusty floor, and they close their structure with an old-tattered cloth. There are no pit-latrines.

Mueni says floods washed away her six goats and chickens, her only source of livelihood.

The suffering locals say they have no place to bury the dead, no means of transporting the bodies as they ferry them in carts to the only cemetery located 10kms in Makindu town, which has no space.

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Baobab trees

The squatters have criticised the Government for promising to find them land. Their hopes have been fading 55 years on. They say they are tired of politicians maximising on their plight every electioneering period.

Most of the poor homeless Ngulia people blame influential Ukambani politicians who grabbed large tracts of land leaving majority of the people squatters scattered in various regions in the former larger Kibwezi.

Some of the squatters say they originated from Ngai Ndethya, past Mtito Andei.

The Ngulias’ sufferings started in 1836. According to Lindblom and Hobley’s book, The Akamba of British East Africa, they were the indigenous Kamba of Kikumbulyu.

As Lindblom and Hobleys explain, the Ngulias migrated to the southwest before settling between Taveta and Lake Jipe near the Pare mountains and later moved to Tanzania stretching from Musi Valley, Usambara and the Maramba region.

Reportedly, a large number of these people remained in Kikumbulyu, the area between River Kiboko in the north and Kyulu Hills in the west.

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Between 2002 and 2006, there was a policy research project by the Masongaleni Community Organisation for Sustainable Development (Macosud) highlighting the plight of the landless Nguliapeople, who lived under baobab trees. 

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Parts of the Jacobus Kiilu-led Macosud research read that when the East African Scottish missionaries, led by Dr James Steward, arrived in Kibwezi in 1891, the Ngulia Akamba were there.

Further, there were documented agreements between the missionaries and the Ngulia under the rule of Kilundo in 1891. The report says the Ngulia, who form part of the biggest population of Kibwezisquatters, had their settlements centered near water points, water courses, hills and raised rocks.

The two-year research found that the Ngulias’ troubles started in the late 1890s and 1900s after missionaries settled in Kibwezi.

“In a blink, the whites initiated a tactical eviction of the Ngulia people. According to existing records, when Tsavo West National Park was established. The Ngulia people were moved from River Tsavo, passed Mzima water catchment area and settled at River Mtito Andei,” said Mr Kiilu.

Chronologically, in 1902, there was the Crown Lands Ordinance, which restricted Ngulia people to the Kikumbulyu Native Reserve, which included Kyale, a region near river Kiboko, Mbui Nzau adjacent to Kibwezi town and Kyulu block along the Kyulu ranges.

Kyulu block reportedly had more than 5,000 people.

The research document points out that in 1932 the colonial district commissioner paid a visit to Kikumbulyu reserve, something that intensified the Ngulia people’s problems.

Records indicate that he proposed that Kamba people from Kyulu block were suffering from drought and they were to be moved to Kyale, near Kiboko River.

The contents of the Carter Land Commission, 1932, states that they agreed to go-by the DC recommendations for the Kyulu residents to be moved north of the railway line.

 

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Murang’a woman commits suicide after daughter’s death :: Kenya

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A woman has committed suicide two days after the burial of her daughter.

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The body of Leah Wangui Mugo, 36, was found hanging from the roof of her bedroom on Thursday night, two days after her daughter Sarah Nungari was buried in Kanjama village, Mathioya sub-county.

The Form Two student at Kiria-ini Mixed Secondary School had hanged herself on September 11, after she quarreled with her mother over money she demanded to pay for an educational trip.

Mary Wanjau, a local, said Nungari committed suicide after she was slapped by her mother, who accused her of being rude.

“After she was slapped, she moved away. Her body was later discovered hanging from the roof of her room,” Ms Wanjau said. Villagers said the girl was reserved. “She rarely interacted with other people,” a neighbour said.

Kiria-ini Chief Francis Mwangi said Francis Mugo, Wangui’s husband, had informed him that his wife suffered depression after the death of their daughter. He wanted the chief to give him advice on how to handle the problem. 

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But the administrator said Mugo did not visit him on Thursday as had been agreed.

“On the material day, I passed near their farm and saw the couple being helped by friends to pluck green tea leaves,” the chief said.

Mr Mugo had approached several other people  for advice to help his wife out of the depression. 

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THE CUTTING EDGE

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The tow trucks and forklifts usually parked at the Cabanas interchange on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, are an eyesore.

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