It is not yet clear how Charles Oluenyi turned from an admired sales and marketing executive among his peers to a suspect in a murder investigation.
On Wednesday, when former classmates, workmates and business acquaintances saw him plastered across television screens and all over social media, few could reconcile the image of the usually well-groomed, eloquent university graduate with the man threatening to jump off a sixth-floor balcony of a flat in Nairobi’s Kayole estate.
It was even harder for those who knew of his plans for a grand wedding in two months’ time with his 28-year-old girlfriend.
“His only problem was falling in love,” said James Atune, Oluenyi’s former schoolmate.
And love, his friend says, now has him suspected of murder in one of the most gruesome killings in the recent past.
“We have enough evidence to press charges,” Kayole DCI boss John Rioba told the Saturday Standard yesterday, adding that Oluenyi will soon be arraigned in court for murder.
But as the police continue with their investigations, the Saturday Standard managed to piece together the life of the man at the centre of it all.
Moments of intimacy
Oluenyi’s background, his life before the death of Margaret Muchemi believed to have been his girlfriend, as well as a peek into a future friends believe he was looking forward to.
Murder suspect Charles Oluenyi is taken to an awaiting police vehicle following his arrest. [Emmanuel Mochoge, Standard]
First his past
Interviews with individuals close to Oluenyi reveal that at the time of Muchemi’s death, the two were no longer an item. And that officially, their relationship had ended months earlier.
However, a statement by Muchemi’s house help, who found her employer’s remains, shows that the two still shared moments of intimacy.
Before the break up, Oluenyi looked to be on a one-way street to success.
The private university-trained sales and marketing executive was the envy of his peers and friends.
“He is a well-polished man in speech and manners,” a friend said.
After his studies, he landed a job at a leading media house where he was attached to one of its vernacular stations.
Here, he started off as a marketing executive and rose through the ranks to the position of a team leader in the marketing department.
After leaving the media house in 2013, Oluenyi secured another job as an accounts executive in Nairobi with a satellite television firm.
Here he worked until 2015 when he left to pursue other ventures.
Not much is known about his professional life after leaving his last employer, but friends said he led a comfortable life in Nairobi.
Oluenyi spent much of his time at a liquor store in Umoja Estate. The liquor store represented both his present and future. His present because this is what many of his friends say paid his bills and sustained him.
The store was also his future because it is alleged he co-owned the shop with a 28-year-old woman, who was said to be his new lover.
On the day Oluenyi was taken by the police, the businesswoman too was arrested.
The two had plans for a collective future. A wedding was just two months away. Then Muchemi’s murder happened.
A postmortem examination conducted at the City Mortuary yesterday found that Muchemi died as a result of excessive bleeding from a deep cut on her throat. Her charred remains were found on her bed, arms tied to the headboard.
With the past forgotten and the future forfeited, an unfortunate reality has dawned on all those touched by the case. A reality in which Muchemi’s family is faced with the painful task of planning a burial and having to live with the burden of loss for the rest of their lives.
A reality that sees Oluenyi’s fiancée abandon every girl’s dream of a fairytale wedding and a happily-ever-after pushed aside. A reality that leaves him in the shadows of a murder investigation that for a brief moment in time, captivated a nation.
Oluenyi’s 28-year-old fiancée was freed after investigators failed to find a reason to continue holding her.
Oluenyi is admitted to a Nairobi hospital with knife wounds that he reportedly inflicted on himself in a suicide attempt.
But amid all this, life, as it often does, goes on.