The mother of murdered Rongo University student Sharon Otieno wants Migori Governor Okoth Obado, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and county assembly clerk Caspal Obiero to remain in remand during the murder trial.
Ms Melida Auma Rangili pleaded with the court to consider having the trio locked up, saying her family is living in fear.
In documents tabled before the court, she said if the accused persons are released on bail, they are highly likely to expose witnesses to intimidation, interfere with evidence and unduly undermine the prosecution’s case.
“As a family, we live under mortal fear following the murder of our daughter Sharon. The thought that those accused of murdering her can be free during trial is chilling, a situation not helped by the fact that as family members, we are possible witnesses in this case,” said Ms Rangili.
She said she believes Mr Oyamo and Mr Obiero would have no reason to kill her daughter except under instructions from their boss, the Migori governor.
She added that the brutal death of her daughter and grandchild has pricked and gripped the conscience of the entire nation besides Homabay, Migori and Nyanza region.
She further pointed out that Kenyans are angry as they had bayed for Mr Oyamo’s blood when he was first arraigned in a Homa Bay court.
In a sworn affidavit, Ms Rangili said that on September 24 when the governor was arraigned at Milimani law courts, a group of people who appeared to have been hired assembled inside and outside the court with placards bearing obscene writings against Sharon, herself and her husband.
She said it took the intervention of police, who had to escort her outside the court premises.
She alleged that during Sharon's post-mortem on September 20, their family’s representative was accosted by five people who took away his phone, money and identity card. The incident, she said, was reported to the police.
She further said the governor had pressurised the deceased to carry out an abortion before the murder.
“I pray that everyone linked to the murder of my daughter Sharon and her unborn child remains in custody even as the trial is expedited. I beg this court to find that there are compelling reasons to deny the accused persons bail during this trial,” said Ms Rangili.
This came even as the three pleaded not guilty to a second count of murder for the unborn child, whom the prosecution has named Baby Sharon. The three were freshly charged yesterday with the murder of the university student and her unborn child between September 3 and 4 at Owade area in Rachuonyo within Homabay County.
They had initially been charged separately with only the murder of Sharon. But their cases have been merged. High Court judge Jessie Lesiit had on September 27 declined to have Mr Obado released on bond pending the trial because the prosecution had not presented witness statements to the court as well as all parties in the case.
The judge therefore directed that Mr Obado remains in custody until October 8, and that he makes a fresh request regarding his release.
And since Mr Oyamo and Mr Obiero had been charged with a similar offence as the governor’s, the prosecution had requested that the three cases be merged into one and that their bail application be heard together. Last Friday, Mr Obado filed a second application seeking to be released on bond, saying he has suffered a severe back problem known as nerve compression with disc lesion on the lumber spine since 2013, and it has aggravated after he was remanded. He was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital on September 29.
He argues that his trial has been subjected to external forces as well as unsubstantiated public opinion based on untrue statements, hence he fears that his rights will be violated.
The Federation of Women Lawyersalso wants the accused denied bond. The three will remain in police custody until Friday, when they will know their fate on whether the court will heed to their request to be freed on bail pending trial.