Migori Governor Okoth Obado remained mum over the murder of university student Sharon Otieno even as sources close to him confirmed that he indeed knew the young woman.
The revelations from the inner sanctum of the governor’s relations came as an autopsy on Sharon’s body breathed a new life to the investigations which have since been taken over by Nairobi-based homicide detectives.
Sharon’s family also pulled a new one; vowing not to bury her until the killers are singled out and punished. In turn, Obado’s team pulled a political card saying their man was being targeted politically and tried in the media.
Unconfirmed reports had it that two fresh suspects had been netted upon being implicated by Obado’s personal assistant Michael Oyamo, who has been in police custody for close to a week. Police dithered in confirming the claims.
“Finally, we will charge people in court. The evidence obtained will guide on who is who,” Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet curtly told Sunday Standard.
It also emerged that Barack Oduor, the Daily Nation journalist in whose company Sharon was abducted, had made contacts with the governor through a vocal ODM official, and may have visited the county chief at least once at his home in Rapogi, Migori.
“When he doesn’t talk, they complain. When a lawyer and a private pathologist represented him during Sharon’s autopsy, people also complained yet the mere fact that the governor’s name has been dragged into this thing automatically makes him an interested party,” said the source close to Obado.
The source said the fact that the governor is being adversely mentioned in relation to the killing does not oblige him to come out on the defensive.
“He is a law-abiding citizen and has left this to the investigators. Besides, it will not help, especially because everyone has already judged and condemned him at face value,” the sourced added.
But as he spoke, pressure begun to mount on the police to, at the very least, question him on what he knew about the girl now that autopsy results are out. Obado’s counterpart at Council of Governors, Nairobi’s Mike Sonko, put the Director of Public Prosecutions and Directorate of Criminal Investigations on notice:
“They should not even dream of playing with the minds of Kenyans. Let him be arrested and prosecuted. Let us not lie to each other. Obado should carry his own cross. And I am telling Governor Josphat Nanok (COG chair) not to dare issue a defense on our behalf,” Sonko said.
Kapsaret MP Oscar Sudi also directly called for investigations to extend to Obado.
In Migori, the detectives investigating the matter on the ground are reporting to Nyanza regional CID commander and the CID headquarters in Nairobi. Homa Bay County Directorate of Criminal Investigations Commander Daniel Wachira is assisting the Nairobi detectives but only when they require his help.
“My office has handed over the exercise to the new team. I can only assist them if they need my help,” Wachira said
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He said the team was working independently.
“Even now, they are discharging their duty in parts of the county. They do their work independently,” Wachira said.
The detectives are still looking for other suspects who abducted Sharon. Oyamo was arrested on Tuesday. He was taken to Homa Bay Court the following day and the police requested for more time allow them to conduct more investigations.
Oyamo will be returned to court on Monday (tomorrow) where he is expected to be charged.
The announcement that the family would not hold the burial was revealed by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, who represented Sharon’s relatives during the autopsy.
“Going by the report on how she was murdered, we have agreed that the only way the family can know peace again is when suspects are brought to trial as they lay Sharon to rest,” he said.
Kaluma called on the DCI Director George Kinoti to speed up investigations and arrest the suspects.
The MP said they had agreed as a family to keep the body in a mortuary until the suspects are brought to book.
“We are not ready to bury the body until Sharon’s killers are arrested. We urge Mr Kinoti to investigate this matter with all energy to ensure justice prevails,” Kaluma said.
Earlier, Sharon’s parents Douglas Otieno and Melida Auma also called on the State to provide them with justice through an inquest into the murder of their daughter.
Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor conducted a postmortem which revealed that Sharon died of excessive bleeding. The autopsy also revealed that the 26-year-old was stabbed eight times.
The university student was stabbed three times on the neck, four times on the back and once on the left side of the abdomen. The attack also caused the death of her seven-month old foetus.
Oduor said they would proceed with a DNA test whose results are to be released later.
Raped and stabbed
“We have realised there was a struggle and element of rape,” he said.
Sharon’s body was moved to Kirindo Hospital mortuary due to safety issues. According to Kaluma, Rachuonyo Hospital was close to the scene where the body was found hence could instill fear on the family members.
“We feel Kirindo is safer than this mortuary and that is where we have opted to move the body,” the MP said.
Sharon was abducted on Monday evening in Rongo town alongside Nation journalist Oduor. But Oduor says he escaped by jumping out of a moving vehicle in which they had been abducted.