Kenya: Fresh Twist in Kakamega Twin Saga as Mother Reclaims Biological Daughter

Sharon Matius, Melvis Imbaya and Melon Lutenyo, all 19 years old, in Furfural village in Kakamega County on April 16, 2019.

Nairobi — Three 20-year old girls who pledged to hold together despite a shocking revelation that two of them had been mysteriously switched at birth have been separated after one of the mothers reclaimed her biological daughter on Friday.

Melvis Imbaya who was raised up in Kakamega with one of the identical twin sisters, the other having brought up by her biological mother in Nairobi's Kangemi, was taken away by Angeline Omina a week after DNA results confirmed that she was Omina's biological daughter.

Bernard Muli, Kakamega County Police Commander, confirmed that Omina had left with Melvis for Nairobi.

The twins - Sharon Mathias and Melon Lutenyo - had lived in separate homesteads, miles apart, until they recently made a shocking discovery of their striking resemblance on Facebook.

A DNA analysis released by Lancet Laboratories in Nairobi on Saturday confirmed they were in fact identical twins stirring mixed feelings.

"They share identical DNA profiles with the 23 allelic loci tested show 100 per cent perfect match which is consistent with the two being biologically twins," the laboratory report read.

Rosemary Onyango, the mother of the twins, had taken all the three girls with her to Kakamega as the two families involved in the matter resolved to allow the girls be raised up together.

Melvis' mother however stormed the Kakamega homestead demanding to have her child in what took villagers in Kakamega's Likuyani by surprise.

"She came insisting that since one of the twins had been confirmed not to be her daughter, she wanted take away Melvis because she cannot remain without a child," Sehm Abuti who had all along raised Melvis as her granddaughter said.

The panic-stricken grandmother said she had taken aback while pleading for consensus on the now emotive twin saga that could see the Kakamega Referral Hospital, where the three girls were born, sued over negligence.

The trio had warned their parents last week that any attempt to separate them would result to their disappearance forcing the two families to yield to their demand to live together.

"The girls have told us they do not want to be separated. They see each other as sisters and we have decided to respect their wishes," one of the parents told the media on Saturday following the outcome of the DNA analysis.

Capital FM News on Sunday reported that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had opened investigations to establish whether there is criminal negligence on the part of the Kakamega hospital that switched the twins in 1999,

"We believe the forensic investigation will establish if any criminal act was committed or any mitigating circumstances that may have led to the present status. We encourage and appeal to the families concerned to please report to DCI office in Kakamega to facilitate investigations," the DCI said in April after the case went public.

Despite the inexistence of official data on cases of newborns switched at birth, a number of incidents subjected to DNA analysis have turned positive raising concern among members of the Public.

Lancet Kenya Laboratories Chief Executive Officer Dr Ahmed Kalebi for instance noted four cases brought to their attention had all in the recent past confirmed that the children involved were living with parents with they had no biological ties.

"It is a worrying trend. We have had at least four cases where parents were given a baby that was not theirs," he said.

Cases of negligence at Kenya's public health facility have in the recent past put the country largest referral hospital - Kenyatta National Hospital - on the spot over incidents ranging from botched surgical procedures to operating on wrong patients.

In March 2018, the hospital denied mishandling yet another surgical operation leading to the damage of the intestines of a patient at the referral facility, days after a brain surgery mix-up that led to the suspension of the hospital's Chief Executive Officer.

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