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Sharon’s parents speak of life after daughter’s killing

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A huge mound of soil marks Sharon Otieno’s grave. Some weeds have, however, started growing and flowers placed on it during her burial about three months ago are now long withered.

Besides this grave is that of her seven-month-old foetus, which is overgrown with grass and weeds, four months after it was interred.

Sharon’s family says reality is now sinking in, and the grave is a constant reminder that she will never be back.

Sharon, a Rongo University student, was killed in a most gruesome manner, her death shaking the nation because of the high-profile persons suspected to have been involved.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado was charged with the murder of Ms Otieno and was released on a Sh5 million bail by High Court Judge Jessie Lesiit.

His co-accused, Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero – who are his personal aides – were, however, denied bail.

Mr Obado admitted that the slain university student was his girlfriend, but denied any role in her murder. Government scientists confirmed that the baby boy Ms Otieno was carrying was Obado’s.

Sharon was stabbed eight times while seven months pregnant. A postmortem report indicated that the fatal blow to the foetus was a single knife stab through the 26- year-old’s abdomen.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: The real untold story of Sharon Belyne Otieno and Zacharia Okoth Obado

“There are 99.99+pc chances that Zacharia Okoth Obado is the biological father of the donor of the DNA generated from the foetus, that is Sharon Belyne Otieno’s child,” the detectives said.

For about two months before her burial, her name remained on many Kenyans’ lips, but this died down soon after her remains were interred at her grandfather’s homestead in Magare village, Homa Bay County.

Ms Melinda Auma and Douglas Otieno, Sharon’s parents, are worried that their daughter’s macabre death could just be forgotten so easily.

Ms Auma has since developed high blood pressure, effects of not being able to withstand painful memories of her first-born child.

“My daughter’s death should not be in vain. It aches our hearts that things suddenly went silent, but we hope justice will finally be done and her killers will be made to pay for their sins,” says Ms Auma.

She criticises Mr Obado for asking Kenyans to pray for him.

“Who is praying for us especially Sharon’s orphaned children? Shouldn’t he be prayed for long after us? Our spirits are still very low and we are left to wonder why he did not call for prayers for a girl he claimed to have loved,” said Ms Auma.

Mr Obado (Left) and Ms Otieno (Right). PHOTO FILE

Mr Obado had in November asked Christians across the country to pray for him, saying it is like he is walking on fire.

READ ALSO:   Governor Obado records statement on Sharon's murder

The Migori county chief further said it is like he had been thrown inside a crocodile’s mouth.

Speaking at Nyabururu Catholic parish in Kisii County during a funds drive in November, Mr Obado said the prayers would help remove him “from the crocodile’s mouth”.

The governor has, however, reduced the talk after he was re-arrested in connection with guns found in his Migori and Nairobi homes.

Sharon’s father says her first born child’s death still puzzles him.

“I usually wake up early at times at 4 am to visit her grave. It satisfies me to know she and her baby lie beneath the soil,” said Mr Otieno.

But his wife has not visited the grave site after the burial of her daughter as it pains her to see it.

Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor were kidnapped but the journalist managed to jump out of the abductors’ moving car, suffering serious injuries.

Sharon left behind three children, with the last-born in Standard Six.

The family says it has been receiving strange visitors who think they were given money by well-wishers.

“We wish to tell Kenyans that we do not have any money with us and those visiting us with ill-motives should stop it,” said Ms Auma, who added that some conmen had already made away with over Sh40,000.

READ ALSO:   Obado speaks on his ill health

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Courts

VIDEO&PHOTOS: Drama in court as Bomet man is confronted by his daughter

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Tension was high at the High Court in Bomet on Monday as a carpenter, who allegedly doused his wife with petrol and burnt her, was charged with murder.

Robert Kipkorir Tonui was arraigned before Justice Roseline Korir. He denied the charge of murder.

After he took plea, his eldest daughter, 21, confronted him outside the courtroom, demanding to know why he killed her mother.

Tonui is accused of murdering his wife Emmy Chepkoech Mitei, a former deputy headteacher at Cheptalal Primary School.

His eldest daughter confronted him outside the courtroom, demanding to know why he killed her mother.

Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Emmy sustained 97 per cent body burns in the attack and succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at Tenwek Mission Hospital.

Emmy, who was 45 years old at the time of her death, was buried at her home in Kobel Village on October 19. She left behind seven children.

The offence is alleged to have been committed on the night of October 7 in Seanin Village, Konoin constituency.

Tonui was arraigned in a courtroom packed with tense family members and curious members of the public with a Kericho-based advocate, Brian Langat, representing him.

As soon as Tonui was whisked out of the courtroom after taking plea, he was confronted by relatives led by Anita, her sisters and brothers-in-law.

Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Dressed in a black jacket zipped up to the neck, and a hood hanging on his back, Tonui, who is 50 years old, wore a blue mask that covered half of his face.

READ ALSO:   Governor Obado parades wife as he denies role in Sharon’s murder

He spoke only twice when asked the language he preferred to use and while answering to the charge preferred against him by the State, which carries a life sentence upon conviction.

Unlike when he appeared in a Sotik court shaken and unkempt following his arrest a week after being on the run, Tonui was well groomed with his thinning hair neatly combed.

When the charge was read to him after prosecutor George Mureithi tabled in court a medical report that said the suspect underwent a mental test and was confirmed to be of sound mind, he looked directly at the court clerk.

Tonui denied the charge and his lawyer made an application for his release on bail.

But the prosecutor opposed the plea, saying Tonui was a flight risk and that tension was still high in the village where the alleged murder was committed.

The suspect Robert Kipkorir Tonui in court.

Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

“Releasing the suspect on bail will pose a risk to his life as tension is still high in Seanin village where the crime was committed. Two of the witnesses are the accused’s children and there are high chances he will interfere with them if released,” Mr Mureithi argued.

Justice Korir directed that the suspect be held at the local prison until November 12 when a probation report on the suitability of his release on bond will be tabled in court.

READ ALSO:   I’m hurt but have accepted my fate: Obado

After the court session, drama ensued outside the courtroom when the deceased’s eldest daughter, Anita Chelangat, wailed uncontrollably and hurled insults at her father.

As soon as Tonui was whisked out of the courtroom after taking plea, he was confronted by relatives led by Anita, her sisters and brothers-in-law.

With his head downcast and a mask hiding his facial reaction the suspect, without saying a word, boarded the waiting police vehicle.

Tonui’s daughter was pulled away by relatives and taken outside the court precincts to the main road some 30 metres away and was put in a relative’s vehicle where she collapsed on  the front seat.

Anita was restrained in the vehicle until the police vehicle ferrying her father to the local prison, some 400 metres away, sped off.

“Why did you kill our mother? Why did you make us part orphans after all the years of psychological torture? Who will take care of us? Her spirits will hound you to the end,” Anita shouted as members of the public and court orderlies surged to inquire what the drama was all about.

During Emmy’s funeral, relatives said that on the fateful day, elders and local administrators had tried to reconcile the couple but Tonui declined to participate in a meeting at his home.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: The real untold story of Sharon Belyne Otieno and Zacharia Okoth Obado

He allegedly later followed his wife to her parents’ home where he attacked her.

BY NATION.AFRICA.

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Business

Restoring The Dignity of Senior Citizens

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In order to succeed, our desire for success should be greater than our fear of failure.

That’s why Optiven Foundation together with Philanthropists and partners continues to Transform the lives of Mama Nduku and her children in Ivovoani.

Partner with us TODAY to enable her succeed in getting a new home. Log on to www optivenfoundation.org
#RestoringTheDignityofSeniorCitizens
#OurPhilanthropyDay
#TransformingLives
#Eyesonthecommunity

READ ALSO:   Clues that linked Obado to murder
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Lifestyle

Blended with love: How two parents formed a united stepfamily

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Joseph Mwangi and Nelly Njoki describe their honeymoon as a “great start to their blended family”. This is not a typical way of describing a romantic gateway, but there’s nothing ordinary about their four-year union.

They both had children from previous relationships when they got married four years ago, and wanted a honeymoon destination that would accommodate all their children aged from eight to 16.

Nelly had an eight-year-old daughter from a past relationship while Joseph, a widower, had a nine-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.

They wanted their children to get to know each other during the honeymoon.

“We figured that we were the ones who loved each and chose each other, the children did not, and so we had to make a deliberate effort to have them know each other well,” says Nelly.

Ups and downs

“The fun part was that we got the most beautiful house that came with a chef and it was by the beach. The walks on the sandy beaches and swimming in the ocean was fantastic,” she says.

“For the children, this was the first time they were spending an extended period together. They would argue and makeup, each would be clingy to their respective parent at the start of the honeymoon, but by the time we were going back, they had bonded, they argued less, and when they did, we did not even get to know about it,” she adds.

The beginnings

Joseph and Nelly’s romance dates back four years ago. For Nelly, the journey to having a family leave alone a blended one was accidental. She found love at a time when she had made peace with the fact that she might never get married.

“I had already told God if He wanted me to spend my life as a single person and much as I desired marriage, I would accept his will,” she says.

“So I started working on me and my daughter, I embarked on investing and buying assets to secure her future.”

When she met her current husband who had lost his wife to cancer a year earlier, her main concern was offering emotional support.

Brother’s friend

“My husband is a friend to my elder brother, and at that time, I feared and respected both of them very much,” she says, smiling at the memory.

“He was a pastor, and I had never imagined a life where I was a pastor’s wife. He was way out of my league too, and my interaction with him before was very formal, so at no point did I imagine I would be his wife,” she adds.

Lost his wife to cancer

Joseph said when he lost his wife to cancer, people kept telling him to remarry, and friends would try to hook him up with their female friends. He was, however, very particular about the woman he wanted. He was looking for a mature and very spiritual woman.

READ ALSO:   Governor Obado records statement on Sharon's murder

“I did not want to marry a very young woman, and I was also looking for a God-fearing lady who read the Bible and was a fiery preacher. Looking back now, I think I was looking for a perfect person when I am not even perfect myself,” he says.

When he told Nelly that he was looking for a wife and asked her if she would do some research on a woman he had been asked to pursue, she obliged.

“I was more than glad to do the legwork for him, I enquired from people I knew about the woman he was interested in, but I did not get any feedback,” she says.

Softening the blow

To soften the blow, seeing that she had not gotten the information that Joseph wanted, Nelly offered a pep talk, told him not to worry and that he would get a good woman. She also warned him not to be in a hurry to marry, especially now that he had children.

“I found her to be very concerned and caring and would always be keen on how the children would cope when I got a wife. She told me to be careful not to marry someone who just wanted to get a husband. She said that it was easy to love a woman but getting one who would genuinely also love the children was the tricky part.”

‘Please come for me’

It soon dawned to Joseph that Nelly was the woman for him.

“There was a day I went village with my son, and while we were there he went down to the farm, and I wanted him back to the house, so I sent him a text that read: Please come,” narrates Joseph.

Nelly continues: “I don’t know how, but that text landed to me, and I replied to him “Please come for me.”
It was at that point that they realised there was some love brewing between them.

The two started going for more coffee dates and spent a lot of time together.

“Joseph also increased the number of times he would pass by my office on his way to upcountry,” says Nelly.

Joseph says introducing Nelly to his family and even to his late wife’s family was not hard as he had at one time asked for their blessings in case he would want to marry someone else.

He says that in his life, he is keen on involving parents in his plans and seeking their guidance-” That is how you tap on blessings.”

The blended family of Joshep Mwangi and her wife Nellie Njeru with their children Samuel Mwangi, Joy Mwangi and Precious Mwangi at their home in Kiamunyeki, Lanet in Nakuru county on October 20, 2020.

Chebiote Kigen | Nation Media Group

“When I knew I was certain I wanted to marry Nelly, I took a few friends to visit my late wife’s family. They blessed my children and me, we knelt, and they prayed for us,” he says.

READ ALSO:   I spend time with Sharon in the mortuary everyday: Father

“I later brought my fiancé to them, and they accepted her with open arms. I requested them to accompany me for her dowry negotiations, and they did.”

During the dowry negotiations, his late wife’s family was introduced and recognised as Joseph’s parents.

“They also got involved in the negotiations, so it was not just attending and staying on the sidelines,” he says.

The wedding took place soon after, with their daughters as the flower girls.

Blended family wisdom

Nelly says raising a blended family calls for wisdom.

“You have to be careful about how you discipline the children, so you do not appear to be favouring one child,” she says.

“In the early days of marriage, it is important to let everyone discipline their blood children before you get familiarise with each other and set ground rules. Now, I will pinch both of the girls if they make a similar mistake and they will both cry,” she says.

She also adds one should take note of how children react to the tiniest of actions. She cites an example of how when giving children their church offering, although she would give them the same amount, giving one a new note and another an old one would be met by pouting and a mood change.

“Now, I make sure I have new notes in my wallet so that I solve the issue of some getting old notes and others new.”

She adds that some people who interact with the children can make blending a family hard with the remarks and questions that they ask the children.

Nelly says their daughter would come from school looking moody, and when she pressed harder, she found that some friends and some teachers would pester her asking if she was being “overworked or denied food.”

“We even had a house help who would push her asking her how I treated her, trying to influence her on how she should be treated and we only got to know about it when she left. I had to sit down and explain to my daughter on how to handle people who asked such questions,” she says.

She advises that the children need to learn from the get-go that you are coming from a good place and that you mean well.

“You should know that you are in a transition and therefore be deliberate on how you introduce any new thing, that way, they will not question your intentions even when confronted by people on how you are treating them.”

Little decisions

For her, she says she involved the children in any changes that she wanted to implement as they already had a way of doing things.

For instance, when she wanted to paint the house different wall colours, she sought the children’s opinion.
“I love bright colours, and so before I could paint the house yellow, orange and green which are my colours, I asked them, and surprisingly they loved the outcome that was a bright house, when we were also removing the wall unit and building something to replace it, I consulted with them,” she says.
At the start of the marriage, they also had to talk to the eldest son who was 16 then, Samuel Waweru, about the new family dynamics.

READ ALSO:   DPP Drops Murder Conspiracy Charge Against Obado in Sharon's Killing

“Since he was in boarding school when he came home, we used to joke with him as we wanted to know what he thought about the new family, with time, he saw that we are easy and warm and started opening up and being chatty,” says Nelly.

“Right now, Sam, who was the quietest child of them all is very chatty, even relatives get shocked by how much he talks,” says Nelly.

She also adds that she got support from her husband, who would not side with the children when they complained about Nelly disciplining them.

“I also made sure I do not compare my current wife with my late wife, those two are different people, and I appreciate their uniqueness,” adds Joseph.

Easier for everybody

In a blended family, maintaining a good relationship with your ex-partner makes life a lot easier for everybody.

The father of Nelly’s daughter is also involved in all the children’s lives. Nelly says much as he does not live in the country, he is aware that Nelly is now a mother of three and requires him to treat her as such.

“So when he calls to speak with the daughter, he will talk with all the children, he will also buy presents for all of them when he visits, and he also takes all of them out when he visits, it works well for all of us, “says Nelly.

Nelly advises women to think long and hard before moving in with a man who already has children.

“It is a calling and not for everyone. When the honeymoon days of love are over, your true colours will show, it is difficult to bring up another woman’s children, and that’s why you hear of step mums beating up the children because that is not their calling,” she says.

Joseph says one of the things that have made their marriage flourish is doing things together as a couple.

“We go everywhere together, when I travel even for work, she accompanies me, you will also see us in the supermarket together, we go to pick children from school together, I don’t get bored of her at all,” he says.

Nelly adds that just like all families, making a blended family work calls for love and sacrifice for your partner. 
She relocated to Nakuru and changed churches to accommodate her family.

“I don’t regret it at all, I did it for love, and I am happy,” she concludes with a smile.

By Nationafrica.co.ke

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