Speaking to the Nation, Mr Mbadi said Mr Oduor approached him seeking his help in getting access to the governor over a “sensitive” matter.
He added: “Your journalist Barrack approached me asking me to help him reach Obado over what he called a very sensitive matter.
“I, however, forgot about it but after one or two days the governor called me over a totally different matter. After we had discussed the matter, I remembered and told him, ‘by the way, there is a Nation reporter based in Homa Bay who wants to talk to you over some matter he says is sensitive, so please get in touch with him’.
“The governor told me, ‘No problem, give me his (Oduor) number’ and I gave him the number. I remember it was on September 1. That is as far as it went. Barrack is my friend and it is not unusual for me to give contacts of my friends to journalists whenever they want to get in touch with them.”
The Nation reporter appears to have interacted with Ms Otieno, Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Mr Obado’s aide Michael Oyamo, longer than initially thought.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are analysing telephone and text conversations over the past month-and-half to understand the nature of the relationship and how it precipitated if at all, the reported abduction of the duo and the subsequent killing of Ms Otieno.
An officer privy to the investigation said they were doing multilateration (a surveillance technique based on the measurement of the difference in distance to two stations at known locations by broadcast signals at known times) to establish the frequency of their meetings to try and tease out whether there was a tragic story of love, betrayal or extortion in the saga.
And even though the journalist — Mr Oduor — said that his phone and that one of Sharon were confiscated by their abductors on Monday, police said they would use mobile service provider signals to investigate their movements and whether threats were exchanged among them.
Mr Oduor knew Ms Otieno for close to a month, the two met several times and even travelled together twice from Homa Bay to Nairobi on a mission to meet the Governor, but did not manage to, as Mr Obado had travelled to Makueni with other governors.
Interviewed by fellow journalists at Nation Centre, Mr Oduor said he was approached by Ms Otieno who told him that she needed to share a story with him.
“We met for the first time almost a month ago and she told me that she had been having an affair with the governor. I questioned her about her details and she said she was a student.
“She also told me that she wanted the story made public because the governor had neglected her. Even so, she admitted to having received Sh100,000 from the governor three weeks before our meeting, an amount she said was too little as compared to what she had been receiving from him before he started ignoring her calls and texts,” Mr Oduor said.
According to Mr Oduor, Ms Otieno she revealed that their affair went sour when the governor discovered that Ms Otieno had been chatting with his own son.
The governor accused her of having an affair with him.
To prove the allegations, Ms Otieno showed Mr Oduor telephone conversations and WhatsApp chats between herself and Mr Obado.
She allegedly also played a recording of a phone conversation whereby the governor purportedly asked her to have an abortion and stop posting too many pictures on social media.
After hearing her story, the journalist said he decided to contact the governor through Mr Mbadi so as to get his side of the story.
Mr Mbadi, true to his word, told the governor that a journalist wanted to speak with him.
“Governor Obado called me later and I gave him the story. He said he would not deny or confirm the allegations. He told me that his personal assistant would handle the issue.”
Days later, he said, they travelled together with Ms Otieno to meet the governor in Nairobi but were unable to see him. They travelled back.
“Sharon was constantly hesitant about the story being published in the media. From my understanding, she was not decided fully and so I took my time to conduct more investigations.
“She, however, kept sending some pictures to the governor, which annoyed him. I still don’t know the kind of pictures those were, but she said he was not happy,” Mr Oduor said.
The conversation between Mr Oduor and Ms Otieno was halted for some time, until on Monday (the day they were abducted) when Ms Otieno called Mr Oduor, telling him that the governor’s aide, Michael Oyamo, had asked her to ask him to go and meet him.
Ms Otieno, who was a second-year Medical Records and Information student at Rongo University, was the one in contact with the PA all this time and planned the meeting, according to Mr Oduor.
Mr Oyamo, Mr Oduor and Sharon met at Graca Hotel in Rongo around 7.35pm, but the PA said that they had to move to a different venue.
They all boarded a vehicle with two occupants that sped towards Kisumu.
On the way, the car stopped and Mr Oyamo disembarked, two people got in and sandwiched Mr Otieno and Mr Oduor between them, according to the journalist.
On the way, the two men became violent and tortured them and on sensing danger, Mr Oduor jumped out of the moving vehicle at Nyangweso market on the Homa Bay-Kisumu road, and escaped into a nearby homestead, according to the journalist.
Mr Oyamo was arrested on Tuesday morning while the body of Sharon was discovered in a thicket in the Kodero market.
The questions that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are seeking to answer include: the identity of the men who went away with the student, the kind of relationship the four main people of interest in the saga had, the reason behind the brutal murder of the seven-month pregnant student, if indeed the governor was responsible for her pregnancy and whether the murder was linked to that fact.
The other question is why the abductors, knowing too well that one of their captives had escaped and could spill the beans and get them arrested, went ahead to kill the student if indeed they were responsible for that.
Detectives, including their boss, Mr George Kinoti, say they cannot yet reveal their suspect in the abduction and murder as this could jeopardise their investigations.
Meanwhile, Mr Obado kept a low profile despite his name being adversely mentioned as a person of interest in the death of the student.
Instead, Mr Obado reacted to the allegations through his press secretary, Mr Nicholas Anyuor.
Ms Otieno’s mother Melida Auma reiterated that her daughter had told her of an affair with Mr Obado 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 childbirth,” she said.
Ms Auma also disclosed that her first born daughter was abducted on Monday evening, she left her spare phone at home.
“Luckily, her sister had the pin and she switched it on. I found many calls marked unknown and was not able to identify the callers. The phone was handed over to the CID,” she said.
But Mr Obado, through Mr Anyuor, insisted that the governor’s opponents could be behind his current woes.
“I said the governor will not be drawn into the matter which is under police investigation, because he has not been implicated,” Mr Anyuor said.
He insisted that Mr Obado will only comment if he is required to do so by the police.
On Thursday, Nyanza regional DCI boss Michael Barasa did not confirm or deny that they will interrogate Governor Obado over the incident.
The CID boss, 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,” the officer said.
Mr Anyuor had initially argued that “associating the governor with this incident 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, it was 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.
Sources say the Governor had planned to travel on 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 on Saturday, September 8, but the governor is not in Kigali.
Mr Obado may have shelved his trip because of the ongoing investigations.
“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,” a source familiar with the Rwanda trip said
In Migori, another source revealed that the governor was last seen in office last week and that he travelled to Nairobi on Monday awaiting his Tuesday travel to Rwanda.
Monday is the day Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor were abducted. Mr Anyuor was cagey over the governor’s whereabouts.
The official said he could not comment on the governor’s locations but only respond to any queries directed at his boss.
“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 elaborate Rapogi home in Uriri, riot police were deployed on Wednesday as students of Rongo University protested against Ms Otieno’s killing.
Yesterday, there was minimal activity at the home.
The usual sirens that normally rent the air as the governor arrives and leaves were conspicuously silent.
During the protests, no county vehicles were able to operate past Rongo from Migori Town.
Uriri politician Bernard Omondi yesterday wondered why Mr Obado was silent on the death of Ms Otieno despite being adversely mentioned.
“His silence is not normal. 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 said.
“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.”
Governor Obado’s two cell phones remained off the whole day yesterday. Many in Migori believe the governor is holed up in his Nairobi home.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.