Hard choices as 2 families meet to plot way forward

From left Melon Lutenyo, Mevies Imbaya and Sharon Mathias after the two families met in Nairobi yesterday. [Standard]
Relatives of the three girls separated at birth now say they will make choices that would not tear them apart, as they seek closure to a saga that has caused them sleepless nights.

But they still have to live with the reality printed in black and white on a DNA test result document, which showed that two girls were twins and their third “sibling” not a blood relative.

The search for truth has come at a cost. For starters, the three girls, who are in Form Four, will not sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations this year.

Cognisant of how negatively the events of the past few months have disrupted their studies, the girls will report to their respective schools this week but return to Form Three.

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The girls will continue living in the homes where they were brought up in Kitale and Kangemi, but they will be free to visit their biological mothers any time.

The family members also ditched plans to sue Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital, where the girls were switched at birth almost two decades ago.

These are among the resolutions adopted after an intense four-hour meeting by the two families at Kose Heights Apartments in Nairobi, yesterday.

The talks were mediated by Kevin Okwara, a political aspirant from Lukuyani Constituency, where Melon Lutenyo grew up. It was not until a few minutes past 5pm that the meeting ended yesterday, and the media allowed in.

The families clutched one another in long embraces and smiled as the cameras flashed.

The girls – Sharon Mathias, Melon and Mevies Imbaya – wore striped black and white dresses. It would have been impossible to tell Sharon apart from Melon if they had not worn name tags.

Contrary to what had been hinted earlier, that the families would seek legal redress, they said they would not press charges against the hospital.

“None of us will go to court and that is our agreement as parents. If any other member of the family proceeds to court, let it be their own problem,” said Richard Olukhakha, the father to Sharon and Melon, according to the DNA results.

Mr Olukhakha said he was content with the DNA results, adding that there was no need to seek revenge.

“We have forgiven the hospital and we will not seek any compensation. For even if we sue, we do not know who did the exchange of babies. We do not want to sue the wrong people,” he said.

Wilson Lutah, who was found to be Mevies’ father, said the saga of the girls had caused confusion and thrust the families into an emotional roller-coaster.

Due to financial constraints, it was decided that the girls would continue with their education in their respective schools. But Olukhakha said it was their desire to attend the same school if a sponsor to pay their fees could be found.

“At their age, we cannot separate them anymore. We need to bring them together. During the holidays, it will be for them to decide where they will stay; if it is in Kitale, fine, or if it is Nairobi, we are still okay with their decision,” said Olukhakha.

Sharon, Mevies and Melon said they were content with the DNA results. They also realised they had lost a lot in terms of school hours.

“We have decided to repeat Form Three as this saga has cost us a lot in terms of our education. We want to live happily as a family. We should not separate,” said Mevies.

Rosemary Khaveleli, mother to Sharon and Melon, said the most important thing was to ensure the girls pursued their education.

“I love all my children very much and I thank God for them. The only wish I have is to find a well-wisher who will facilitate their education,” she said.

Angelina Omina, mother ofMevies, said she was glad the matter had finally been put to rest.

“What is important is the love we have for each other. We should always stay as a family,” she said.

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Kakamega County Teaching and Referral HospitalKose Heights ApartmentsMelon LutenyoSharon MathiasMevies Imbaya