Kenya: Obado's Fate Hangs in the Balance as Sharon Otieno is Buried

The mother of slain Sharon Otieno, Melida Auma (centre), is comforted by her relatives at their home in Magare village, Homa Bay County (file photo).
19 October 2018

Migori Governor Okoth Obado is still waiting to know his fate at the Industrial Area remand prison as his girlfriend Sharon Otieno is set for burial on Friday.

Mr Obado, a key suspect in his girlfriend's murder case, will most likely follow her burial proceedings in a television news bulletin later in the day, if lucky. The county boss will also be watching as mourners celebrate the life of Ms Otieno in a burial ceremony that has attracted his both his political friends and foes.

MEDICAL GROUNDS

This is the fourth week the county boss is a State guest and insiders say he is now used to the lowly prison life.

Yesterday, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris flagged off a bus full of mourners headed to Homa Bay County for the burial. Ms Passaris has sponsored them.

There are unconfirmed reports that ODM leader Raila Odinga is among the dignitaries expected to attend the burial.

Last week, the prosecution opposed the governor's bail application as he sought to be released on medical grounds. "We are saying bail is not an absolute right, bail is not mandatory," said State lawyer Jacob Ondari. "The consideration for bail depends on the seriousness of the offence, likely punishment and the possibility of interference."

The governor has been receiving treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.

DENIED CHARGES

Mr Obado was arrested in connection with the Rongo University student's murder on September 21. He is expected back in court next week for a ruling on his application for bail. DNA results linked the governor to the child Ms Otieno was carrying, but the governor's lawyer Cliff Ombeta said this does not implicate the county boss in the murder and demanded that he be released on bail.

Other key suspects in the murder are Mr Obado's personal assistant Michael Juma Oyamo and Migori County Assembly Clerk Casper Obiero. They have denied the charges. They are also awaiting determination of their bail application whose hearing is set for October 24.

Hundreds of mourners have thronged Sharon Otieno grandfather's home in Magare village in Homabay for her burial. Yesterday, Sharon's body was removed from MED 25 International- Kenya Hospital Mortuary in Mbita and ferried to her grandfather's home in Magare village, Homa Bay where she will be buried next to the grave of her unborn baby. In accordance with the Luo traditions, Otieno's body was brought to their homestead for overnight vigil.

MOVING VEHICLE

Yesterday, relatives, friends and residents of Magare village thronged the family's home. On Wednesday evening, her mother Melida Auma fainted when the body arrived at the home of her grandfather Samuel Odege, ahead of Friday's ceremony. Ms Auma was taken to her home, about 70m away, for first aid.

Police have made several arrests as the State fights to have the suspects detained. The body of Ms Otieno, who was seven months pregnant at the time she was killed, was found near Kodera forest in Homa Bay on September 4, a day after she was abducted alongside Nation Media Group journalist Barrack Oduor.

The journalist said he cheated death by jumping out of the moving vehicle used to abduct them.

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