On the morning of the day that the girlfriend of Migori Governor Okoth Obado, Ms Sharon Otieno, was abducted and later murdered, four of the governor’s aides gathered at a home about five kilometres from Migori Town.
The four — Mr Michael Juma Oyamo, a personal assistant, Mr Caspal Ojwang, another personal assistant, Police Constable Elvis Omondi, the governor’s bodyguard and Mr Dick Ogolla, the Sergeant-at-arms at Migori County Assembly — will play a starring role in the murder trial likely to start today.
Over weeks of investigations and confidential interviews with officials who have access to information relating to the investigation, the Daily Nation has formed a comprehensive view of the probable sequence of tragic events which culminated in the discovery of Ms Otieno’s mutilated body.
Mr Obado was arrested on Friday last week and spent the weekend in custody. He is scheduled to be arraigned this morning on murder charges.
Details of the September 3 meeting between his aides, bodyguard and sergeant-at-arms remain scanty but will form an intriguing part of the trial.
Seven days earlier, on August 27, Mr Oyamo is believed to have bought an Airtel mobile phone SIM card in Migori Town and registered it in the name of Vincent Obonyo.
Daily Nation sources believe he diverted all calls on his Safaricom line to voicemail and used the new line. Why he did this will be an issue of much debate.
As far as the Nation can establish, the series of events that led up to the death of Ms Otieno were kicked off by a call from Mr Omondi Okoth Elvis, a police constable attached to the governor’s security team.
Nation sources claimed that Mr Omondi called a taxi driver, Mr Jackson Otieno Gombe, the driver of a grey Toyota Fielder, KCL 418K, to pick up Mr Oyamo at Uriri town on the Migori-Rongo road. Uriri is the hometown of the governor.
According to Nation sources, some who were briefed on the investigation, at around 6pm Mr Gombe picked Mr Oyamo as well as two other men — whom witnesses claimed belonged to the governor’s campaign team during the last election — at Uriri and headed towards Rongo town.
The final destination was Graca Hotel where Ms Otieno and Nation correspondent Barack Oduor drank Penasol wine as they waited for Mr Oyamo.
The meeting had been long coming; Ms Sharon, seven months pregnant with Mr Obado’s baby, had been lately getting mixed reactions from the governor regarding the future of their relationship.
Since March, Mr Obado had stopped answering Ms Otieno’s phone calls or responding to her text messages, and she complained to her mother that it was because she had informed the governor that she was carrying his baby.
A DNA test report by a government analyst last week confirmed that Mr Obado was indeed the father of his mistress’ unborn baby.
“There are 99.99+percent more chances that Zacharia Okoth Obado is the biological father of the donor of the DNA generated from the foetus, that is Sharon Belyne Otieno’s child,” the statement read.
Ms Otieno, confident that Mr Obado was the father, did everything she could to show the governor that she was proud to be carrying his baby, including taking photos of her bulging tummy or ultrasound scans of the pregnancy and forwarding them to the governor.
Mr Obado, meanwhile, remained elusive; reading the messages, viewing the photos, but never responding.
As the pregnancy progressed, Ms Otieno became increasingly desperate for the governor’s attention and support.
She had used every trick in her book to worm her way back to Mr Obado’s life — including, on several really desperate days, sending photos of her bump and the ultrasound to the governor’s family — to no avail, and she was quickly running out of patience … and time.
Ms Otieno’s desperation was also related to the fact that relations with her husband, with whom she had two children, a boy and a girl, were frosty because of her affair with the governor.
She also had a son from a previous relationship. A student without any means of support, she was forced to move back with her mother together with three children, and a fourth on the way.
And so she sought out former Kanyadoto Ward, Homa Bay County, MCA Lawrence Obonyo Awuor to introduce her to a journalist who could help her expose and shame Mr Obado.
Mr Awuor introduced Ms Otieno to Mr Oduor, but also offered to negotiate with Mr Obado on her behalf.
On a cold July morning, Mr Awuor met with Mr Obado at Serena Hotel in Nairobi and the governor wanted to know what Ms Otieno wanted.
By and by, Mr Obado was given the terms: Ms Otieno wanted Sh20 million to buy a house in Nairobi or Kisumu and Sh5 million for her upkeep.
Mr Obado is reported to have made a counter-proposal — build Ms Otieno a three-bedroomed house on an acre in Homa Bay, all at a cost of Sh3 million.
He was prepared to pay the money at the end of the month, that is August, according to sources privy to witness statements.
Communication having been established, it is also alleged that the governor paid a total of Sh280,000 for Ms Otieno’s upkeep in two instalments.
It was in the midst of these goings on that Ms Otieno received a call from Mr Oyamo on September 3, asking her to meet him at Rongo later that evening.
She resisted, suggesting instead that they meet at Rodi Kopany, which was nearer home.
Mr Oyamo, however, insisted that they meet at Rongo. Her mother cautioned her against going for the meeting alone, and so she called Mr Oduor to accompany her.
Mr Oyamo is said to have requested to meet Mr Oduor alone first before seeing Ms Otieno, but the reporter refused, saying the governor’s aide would have to meet them both at Graca.
At Graca Hotel, Mr Oyamo asked that they leave, paid the bill and led them to the Toyota Fielder believed to have been driven by Mr Gombe, and they headed towards Homa Bay.
Mr Oyamo stopped the car a few metres from the hotel and alighted as two other men jumped in and sandwiched Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor.
Mr Oduor jumped out of the car at Nyangweso trading centre and dashed for help, but Ms Otieno was not lucky.
A Nation source who claimed to have been briefed on Mr Gumbe’s interview with the police alleged that the driver explained that around 9pm, he was ordered to get off the road near Oyugis and the two unidentified men left with Ms Otieno.
It is not clear under what circumstances she agreed to leave the vehicle, if at all.
According to the source, the driver claimed that the two men returned after half an hour and said they had taken the pregnant girl home. They were dropped off at Uriri and the driver returned to Migori.
The following day in the afternoon, Ms Otieno’s bloodied body was found in a thicket. She lay in her blood-stained white track suit, with her underwear and condoms around her.
She had been stabbed in the neck, back and abdomen and, according to the post-mortem, bled to death.
Her unborn son was stabbed through the spine and the knife exited through the stomach.
Mr Oyamo reported to the police that he had been kidnapped while meeting Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor at Graca Hotel by two men driving a white Toyota Axio and robbed of Sh270,000 and his two mobile phones.
He claimed to have lost consciousness during the ordeal and found himself at Kisii Referral Hospital the following day.
Detectives are reportedly sceptical about that claim. The Nation source claimed that Mr Oyamo’s mobile phones were active around his hometown of Uriri until 11am on the night Ms Otieno died.
Last week Mr Obado’s lawyer Cliff Ombeta said DNA results linking the governor to the unborn baby do not directly implicate him in the murder, and he accused the directorates of criminal investigations and public prosecution of playing to the gallery.
“Something has to give. The DCI and DPP should be ashamed because they know they have nothing and only want to push a process forward,” Mr Ombeta said.
As the prosecution begins, the biggest loose end in the investigation remains — who are the three mystery men, and where are they now?