Migori Governor Okoth Obado has kept silent despite his name being adversely mentioned as a person of interest in the gruesome murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.
Instead, Mr Obado has chosen to react to the allegations through his press secretary Nicholas Anyuor, despite the weight of the matter.
Ms Otieno’s mother Melida Auma reiterated that her daughter had told her of an affair with the county boss and said it was not a secret
“She told me the governor was responsible for her pregnancy and that he would care for her until child birth,” she said.
Mrs Otieno also disclosed that by the time her first born daughter was abducted together with Nation Journalist Barack Oduor on Monday evening, one of her mobile phones that had her alternative number was left at home.
“Luckily, her sister had the pin and she opened it. I found many calls marked unknown and was not able to know the callers. The phone was handed over to the CID (renamed DCI),” she said.
But Mr Obado, through Mr Anyuor, on Thursday insisted that the governor’s political opponents could be behind his current woes.
Mr Anyuor said he no longer wished to be quoted on the matter going forward.
He insisted that Mr Obado will only comment if he is required to do so by the police.
Nyanza regional DCI boss Michael Barasa on Thursday did not confirm or deny that they will interrogate Mr Obado over the murder.
Mr Barasa, however, noted that they were concerned by Mr Obado’s communication secretary’s utterances, which he noted may compel them to question him.
“We have noted the official has been making comments on behalf of the governor over this matter and if need be, we shall also question him,” said the official.
Mr Anyuor had initially stated that: “associating the governor with this incidence (sic) could be a political ploy meant to tarnish his name”
But Mr Barasa said it was only fair for the officer to give details of his thoughts.
Asked whether they would question Mr Obado for being a person of interest in the case, the DCI boss said: “At the moment I cannot comment on that because there are channels of investigation. We don’t want to make comments that may prejudice the ongoing process.”
“Our team from Nairobi is working with us to unravel the mystery surrounding the death and abduction.”
But it is Mr Obado’s inexplicable silence that is worrying.
On Thursday, the Nation independently established that Mr Obado was meant to represent the Council of Governors at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali Rwanda as the COGs Agriculture Committee chairman.
Impeccable sources intimated to the Nation that the governor had planned to travel to Kigali on Tuesday, September 4, a day after Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor were abducted.
The AGRF event kicked off on Wednesday, September 5, the day Ms Otieno’s body was discovered in a thicket in Oyugis, Homa Bay County.
The event concludes tomorrow, September 8, but until now, the Nation can authoritatively confirm he is not in Kigali, Rwanda.
The event whose theme is: "Lead. Measure. Grow: Enabling new pathways to turn smallholders into future agribusiness" brings together key speakers, including Rwandese President Paul Kagame, Al Gore, Aliko Dangote, Carlos Lopes and Tony Blair.
Others are Howard Buffett, Strive Masiyiwa, Issad Rebrab and Sunny Verhese.
“Attendees will hear first-hand from the global leaders and distinguished personalities,” the AGRF website reads.
“Our future leaders in agriculture will also have a platform to discuss and plot the way forward – and there is a dedicated programme that includes the voice of the youth in the agricultural future of Africa.”
It is said Mr Obado may have shelved his trip to Rwanda to attend the event following the ongoing investigations into the murder of Ms Otieno.
“It is true the governor was to represent the CoG at the event in Rwanda but I cannot authoritatively tell you about his whereabouts. Let your Nairobi team check for him in the city (Nairobi),” a source familiar with the Rwanda trip told Nation.
From Migori County, another source revealed that the governor was last seen in office last week and that he travelled to the city on Monday in readiness for his Tuesday travel to Rwanda.
Monday is the day Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor were abducted.
Mr Anyuor, the governor’s press secretary, on Thursday remained cagey over his boss' whereabouts.
The official said he could not comment on the governor’s locations but only respond to any queries directed to him.
“Why do you want to know where the governor is? I am his press secretary and whatever I tell you is his response,” Mr Anyuor said.
On Wednesday, at the governors Rapogi home in Uriri, some anti-riot police officers were seen hovering around as students of Rongo University protested against Ms Otieno’s killing.
On Thursday, there was minimal movement in and out of the home.
The usual sirens that normally rent the air as the governor arrives and leaves his residence were conspicuously missing.
During the Wednesday student protests, no county vehicle was able to operate past Rongo from Migori town.
The hawk-eyed students watched out for any vehicle with Migori County government registration number plates, and inspected others they suspected belonged to the devolved unit.
Uriri politician Bernard Omondi has questioned why Mr Obado was silent on the death of Ms Otieno despite being adversely mentioned.
“His silence is not normal to us. If he is clean, why can’t he come out and clear his name? Let him come out of his hideout and speak,” Mr Omondi, popularly known as Omondi Gwonyo, told the Nation.
He went on: “How comes heavily armed police were spotted guarding his home on Wednesday as the students protested? The police must move swiftly and question him on this matter once and for all.”
County staff interviewed by the Nation said the Mr Obado had not been seen in office since Monday.
Some of the staff, visibly shaken, refused to talk to the Nation out of fear of reprisals.
The governor’s two cell phones remained off for the whole of Thursday.
“This place is almost empty as many senior officials are away for one reason or the other. Remember anti-graft sleuths have also been camping here,” said one official.