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Kakamega twins make case for forensic lab

By The Standard | April 22nd 2019

Melon Lutenyo, Sharon Mathias and Mevis Imbaya pose for a photo at their Furfural home in Likuyani, Kakamega County. The three teenage girls are alleged to have been separated at birth in Kakamega County Referral Hospital. 18th April, 2019. [PHOTO: KEVIN TUNOI]

The demand for a DNA test to determine the parentage of Sharon Mathias and Melon Lutenyo underscores the need for a fully-kitted forensic laboratory.

It is presumed Sharon and Melon are twins separated at birth in 1999 at the Kakamega General Hospital. Thus, the only proof the two girls are not doppelgangers is a DNA test, but such tests do not come cheap in Kenya.

The Anglo Leasing scam that came to light in 2002 cheated Kenyans out of a police forensic laboratory that would not only have assisted greatly in bringing criminals to justice, it would have come in handy for DNA tests, making them affordable for many. As it is, DNA tests are too expensive for low-income families.

Worst, serious tests are carried outside the country. In the time it takes to transport samples to the lab, some degenerate. In a few cases, it is said delays have resulted in the tests failing to give conclusive results.

The parents of the two girls had indicated they could not afford DNA tests; the clearest indicator that had Kemri not volunteered to conduct and foot the bill for the DNA tests on Sharon and Melon, their parentage would have remained a matter of conjecture and anguish to their parents and themselves.

The matter of a forensic lab should be expedited to give relief to Kenyans who are in dire need of such services but are financially constrained. And they must be many.

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