From Sharon Otieno to Ivy Wangechi: 2019, a difficult year for Kenyan women

This September marked the first anniversary of Sharon Otieno, who was seven months pregnant and was allegedly kidnapped, raped and then killed. Sharon was having an affair with Migori Governor Okoth Obado and was expecting his child.

Obado’s personal assistant Michael Oyamo was arrested for questioning in connection with the murder.

After five months in custody, he was released alongside Migori county clerk Caspal Obiero by Court of Appeal Judges William Ouko, Mohamed Warsame and Otieno Odeck on cash bail set at Sh1 million each.

The judges stated there were no compelling reasons to continue keeping Oyamo and Obiero in custody as they waited for Sharon and her baby’s murder trial.

The two had previously been denied bail by High Court Judge Jessie Lessit.

Obado, who is still Migori Governor, had been arrested but was released on a Sh5 million bond.

Despite the murder shocking the nation, on social media, Sharon’s death sparked victim-blaming and debate that shifted focus to transactional romantic relations between older men and younger women.

The nation has since witnessed an endless string of crimes of passion.

When Ivy Wangechi was hacked to death by her childhood friend Naftali Kinuthia, a popular local radio station ran a segment mocking her death.

Wangechi was killed while walking to her hostels from school a few days before her 25th birthday and a few months to her December graduation.
In June during Madaraka Day celebrations, Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris walked out of the podium as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko made a speech at Pumwani in protest at his remarks.

Responding to her concerns on why he does not respond to her calls, the governor said he was not her husband to answer her calls all the time. He claimed she wanted to create enmity between him and the women of Nairobi.

Later during an interview with Citizen TV, Sonko alleged Esther had been demanding money from him since she was elected in 2017.

He went on to add she had invited him to her hotel room. The interview was cut short after the governor declined to stop speaking ill of her.

CHILDLESS SHAMING

Sonko was also engaged in a bitter social media spat with Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo, in which he attacked her over her childless condition.

The exchange was sparked by the governor’s remarks over the matrimonial life of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth.

Sonko criticised the MP for saying he was wrong to have meddled in the late Okoth’s personal life, accusing her of having a ‘weird’ marital life and no moral authority to lecture him on matters of marriage.

He also accused her of hypocrisy for her actions supporting absentee fathers.

After Odhiambo accused Sonko of using Okoth’s memorial service to earn cheap publicity, he said she could not understand the pain of single mothers because she was childless.

“I am longing for the day you will open wide your legs to give birth to a child so that you experience the pain that the mothers I am defending go through,” Sonko posted on his Facebook page.

“You must respect those single mothers who struggle with their kids as men go missing.”

In August, Kwale woman representative Zuleikah Hassan was kicked out of Parliament for bringing her baby to work.

Hassan, 39, said she took her five-month-old baby girl Mwanabaraka to work after failing to get childcare, which would normally have meant she would have to stay at home.

The incident, which happened during World Breastfeeding Week, highlighted a lack of equal representation for women in Parliament.

It also highlighted a lack of workspaces that accommodate breastfeeding or child care needs for women.

ELUSIVE GENDER BILL 

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment Bill), 2019, also known as the Gender Bill, has been to Parliament and failed due to low turnout. It would have facilitated the enactment of the two-thirds gender principle.

Last month, the Senate Legal Affairs and Justice Committee said the Gender Bill is retrogressive and infringes on the political rights of the public.

The Nandi Senator Samson Cherakey-led committee added that the impact of the current crop of women nominated to the two Houses is yet to be felt.

The remarks were made in its annual report tabled to Senate annually. It also added it will be needless to add more women to the two Houses of Parliament.

The committee argued that women have come of age and can compete in elective politics and win as the men do.

It based this on the fact that during the 2017 general election, three women senators and governors were elected.

The bill, which is the fifth one since the promulgation of the new constitution in 2010, is co-sponsored by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo and his nominated counterpart Senator Haji Farhiya Ali.

It proposes to amend Article 97 of the Constitution to give effect to the two-thirds gender principle through the creation of special seats, which will ensure the gender principle is realised in Parliament.

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LEGALISING FGM

In October, a three-judge bench began hearing a case by Dr Tatu Kamau, who is seeking to have Female Genital Mutilation legalised in Kenya.

Kamau also wants the Anti-FGM board to be disbanded and the prohibition of FGM be declared unconstitutional.

She argues women have a right to choose whether they want to go through the process and prohibiting it infringes on their freedom of choice and also prevents them from practising their culture.

The doctor adds banning the practice is imposing Western culture on Kenyans, and that circumcision is different from mutilation. She said mutilation involves completely chopping off a body part.

Her case will be resume before Justice Lydia Achode, Margaret Muigai, and Kanyi Kimondo next Tuesday.

Despite Kenya having progressive laws and policies, a lack of implementation has seen women and girls continue to face discrimination.

According to Equality Measure 2030, the impact of legal and policy frameworks on the lives of girls and women, however, has been undermined by weak implementation and a lack of gender-responsive budgeting.

It adds that pervasive discrimination and cultural norms have influenced women’s land tenure and participation in labour markets, child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, food security and nutrition, and access to finance and technology.

Many girls and women still lack access to basic services, and women remain under-represented in decision-making positions and political leadership.

Njeri Mbugua/The Star

Exposed!!Here is the woman who was warming Okoth Obado’s bed before Sharon Otieno came along (photos

Its been weeks since the late Sharon Otieno was laid to rest after her gruesome murder along side her unborn baby leaving Kenyans in shock.

The Rongo University student was expectant with Okoth Obado’s child and it is alleged that he had demanded that she terminate it something she was not willing to do.

Before her murder it had emerged that the slain Rongo University student, Sharon Otieno had to flee to Tanzania to escape constant harassment and stalking by people who wanted her to abort her pregnancy.

The late Sharon Otieno

Haunting words from Sharon Otieno to her killers from her grave

The family claims that her tormentors were aggressive to a point where she feared for her life.

“She travelled to Mwanza by road. While there, she switched off her phones to prevent anyone from reaching her,” her mother Hellen Auma told the media.

Detectives claim that plans to kill Sharon may have been hatched months before the killers struck earlier this month. According to the Standard, it has been alleged that the plan to eliminate her had aborted on at least two occasions.

Sharon’s mum, Hellen confirmed that her worried daughter left hurriedly for Mwanza in early August and stayed away for about a week.

“Sharon woke up one morning and told me she wanted to go to Tanzania because she was no longer safe in Kenya. She didn’t tell me who was threatening her life.”

Sharon returned a week before she fell into the hands of her killers.

She met her death in the most horrifying of ways. Sharon was stabbed 8 times. 3 times at the back of the neck, 4 back, 1 left side of the stomach.

Okoth Obado admits Sharon Otieno’s pregnancy was his. ‘It is normal to have a moment of weakness’ he says

She had many bruises and strangulation marks on her neck. Her abdomen was stabbed from the back to the front, killing the baby in her womb.

It has emerged that another woman was in a similar situation as Sharon.

Rhoda Odie Nyakwaka also had to abort her pregnancy after a reported affair with Governor Okoth Obado.

She happens to be Okoth Obado’s sister-in-law.

Rhoda Nyakwaka

The First Lady, Hellen Okoth and Rhoda are born of the same father who got the latter after inheriting her widowed mother in Kadika village of Suna Central sub-county.

According to the Nairobian, when Hellen discovered the shenanigans of her beloved husband with Rhoda, she is said to have gone bonkers even as Obado, lawyer, Cliff Ombeta, insists they have never been an item.

But a member of the Kadika clan from Hellen’s side of the family told The Nairobian that Obado’s affair with Rhoda has remained an open secret for a long time.

There were allegations Obado even got Rhoda pregnant but the pregnancy was allegedly terminated at the behest of angry relatives who accused her of crossing the blood line.

The tabloid further reports that the man claimed the affair started three years back when the governor employed Rhoda at the county head-quarters in the catering department.

“He even gifted her a house in Nyasare estate within Migori town,” the relative added.

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Exposed! Here are the people who were to be killed alongside slain campus girl Sharon Otieno

Sharon Otieno, may her soul rest in peace died a cruel death and it has now emerged she was not meant to die alone but alongside other unidentified victims.

Her body was found dumped in Kodera forest with 8 stab wounds after being abducted alongside Nation journalist Barrack Oduor.

She was in a relationship with Migori Governor Okoth Obado who has confirmed he was the father of her unborn baby.

In what seems to be a new twist, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti says plotters of Sharon’s murder had planned to kill some of those involved in the murder to cover up the crime.

Kinoti told The Nairobian that,

“Between three to five people who knew about Sharon’s murder were to be killed. Luckily, we uncovered the conspiracy.”

Governor Obado is one of the suspects who has been arraigned in court over the murder.

At least six people have been linked to the gruesome murder of the former Rongo University student, who was seven months pregnant with Obado’s baby at the time of her murder.

Besides  Obado,  his aides at the county, Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero; bodyguard Elvis Omondi; taxi driver Jack Gombe and former Kanyadoto MCA Lawrence Mula, have also been charged with the murder. Three other suspects are still at large.

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Mother of Sharon Otieno reveals, ‘She was being threatened because she had refused to abort’

The mother of slain university student Sharon Otieno has demanded swift justice for her killers after police arrested the personal assistant to Migori governor Okoth Obado.

The family accused Governor Obado and his personal assistant, Michael Oyamo, of masterminding Sharon’s murder after she refused to abort a pregnancy.

But Obado’s communications director Nicholas Anyuor dismissed the claim, saying the family could not prove it.

The body of the 26-year old second-year Rongo University student was found at Kodera forest in Kasipul constituency on Tuesday evening.

She had been abducted in Rongo town, Migori, on Monday night alongside Nation journalist Barack Oduor who escaped by jumping from the speeding car.

Her body was ripped with multiple cuts and could barely be identified.

Family members and villagers who had thronged their home on Wednesday morning charged Obado with complicity in the killing.

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Sharon’s father, Douglas Zacharia Otieno, and mother Melida Auma claimed Migori governor Okoth Obado and his personal assistant, Michael Oyamo, were responsible.

Melida, a teacher at Rabango Primary School in Rangwe, narrated the love relationship, which the governor had with her first-born daughter.

She said the governor wanted her to abort her pregnancy but they advised her against it since it was in its seventh month.

“She told us about her pregnancy and the person behind it. I told her not to abort because it could result in many complications,” Melida said.

According to Melida, her refusal to abort led to disagreement between Sharon and Obado.

Melida said she realised that her daughter’s life was in danger after she began changing mobile phones to avoid being tracked by her friends who had turned enemies.

“I asked her why she frequently changed mobile lines and she told meshe was being threatened because she had refused to abort the pregnancy,” she added.

But Anyuor defended Obado against the accusations. He said Auma spoke out of anger and was responding to “pressure from some quarters”.

He said the governor was “very shocked when he learnt about this incident in the media.”

“They can’t prove the pregnancy belonged to the governor,” he said.

He said there was no way the county chief could be linked to the murder and dismissed the claims as a political scheme to malign Obado.

“If Oyamo participated in the abduction, why associate it with the governor?” he asked.

But Melida linked Obado and his personal assistant Oyamo because of the conversations they had with her daughter about him.

Melida said she had followed conversation between the governor and her daughter over county government tender awards and alluded to several meetings between her daughter, the governor and Oyamo.

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She recalled a meeting in which Sharon left home early morning about two weeks ago to meet the “governor’s people” in Nairobi.

Sharon flew to Nairobi from Kisumu airport and returned home the same day.

“Sharon told me she was boarding a plane to Nairobi and the journey was sponsored by the governor. I later realised that she received money for the trip through Oyamo,” Melida said.

On Monday evening when Sharon was abducted in Rongo town, she called her and told her she was going to Rongo to meet Oyamo briefly and return later.

“She told me the objective of the journey was to discuss how the county government would award her a tender,” Melida said, adding that she was surprised Sharon had decided to leave home late. “Sharon had never demonstrated a habit of staying outside home beyond 7pm,” she said.

This prompted her to call again at 8pm only to find her phone was off. “I was worried,” Melida said.

Sharon’s father, Otieno, said, “I went to Rachuonyo hospital mortuary and identified my daughter after being called by police. We are calling for justice in this matter.”

Sharon was pregnant with her second baby. She joined university last year but was forced to defer her studies to this year due to lack of school fees.

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