2018 will no doubt go down history books as a year that experienced some of the most gruesome murders in Kenya.
Surprisingly, a majority of the victims were female and the murders mostly occurred in quick succession.
None of the murders have been resolved although several suspects have been charged.
Several murder cases occurred in the year, but a few made headlines, particularly due to their nature of execution or the caliber of suspects mentioned.
Some are prominent or high ranking individuals in society.
The second-year Rongo University student’s mutilated body was found at Kodero forest, Homa Bay County, on September 4, a day after she was abducted together with Nation correspondent Barack Oduor.
Detectives linked the murder to Migori governor Okoth Obado after days of investigations.
Obado’s aides Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero were also charged with the murder. A taxi driver, a police constable, and a former MCA were also questioned as persons of interest.
DNA results confirmed that Obado was the father of Sharon’s unborn son. She was seven months pregnant. Detectives cited this as a motive for murder and arrested Obado after days of speculation.
The sequence of events leading to Sharon’s brutal murder reads like a Hollywood script.
She was allegedly set up by Oyamo and handed over to her killers, reportedly on Obado’s orders.
The governor denied the charges and was released on Sh5 million bond on October 24.
Sharon wanted the journalist to expose and shame Obado after the governor allegedly started being uncooperative after he learnt that he was the father of her unborn child.
Oyamo set up a meeting with the duo at Graca Hotel in Rongo.
He paid the bill and led them to a Toyota Fielder believed to have been driven by one Jackson Gombe.
On the way to a new meeting location in Homabay, Oduor said Oyamo alighted few meters from the hotel and ushered two men into the car. They sandwiched him and Sharon.
Oduor said moments later, the men started to strangle him. In the nick of the moment, he managed to jump out of the moving car at Nyangweso trading centre, hid in the bushes and sought help at a homestead.
Sharon’s mutilated body was found the following day at Kodero forest with condoms and her underwear strewn around the scene.
Postmortem results revealed that she was stabbed three times on the neck, four times on the back and on the left side of her abdomen and bled to death.
Her unborn son was stabbed through the spine and the knife exited through the stomach.
“It means that the baby also died from the same injuries that the late Sharon sustained,” government pathologist Johansen Oduor said on September 7 while releasing the autopsy results at the Rachonywo Level Four Hospital in Homa Bay County.
He said the 2nd year medical records student may also have been raped before her murder.
Before the dust on Sharon’s murder settled, the country was hit with news of yet another spine-chilling murder of a young lady – Monica Kimani – on September 19.
The 28-year-old businesswoman had just arrived at her Kilimani apartment in Nairobi from Juba when tragedy struck.
Monica’s body was found by her brother in the bathtub with her throat slit from ear to ear. Her mouth was shut with a tape, her hands tied behind her back and her feet bound together. The killer left the tap running.
Investigations implicated Joseph Irungu – fiancé to TV journalist Jacque Maribe.
Irungu was captured on CCTV camera exiting Lamuria Gardens Apartment, off Dennis Pritt Road, on the night Monica was killed.
He was driving Maribe’s car and signed in at the gate under a false name – Dominic Kamau.
DCI investigators later ascertained that Irungu shot himself on the upper left side of his chest inside Maribe’s house at Royal Park, Lang’ata.
He used a neighbour’s pistol during an argument with Maribe.
A live bullet was found under Maribe’s bed and a bullet hole concealed with wheat flour dough was discovered on her sitting room’s wall.
Maribe is out on bail while Irungu, alias Jowie, is in custody. She was released on a Sh1 million cash bail.
Justice James Wakiaga, while denying Irungu bail on October 30, described him as a male version of a “slay queen and a woman eater.”
“He was living in the house of the second accused, driving the second accused’s car with no known source of income since 2017 when he provided security for some Jubilee politicians,” Judge Wakiaga said while justifying his decision.
The case resumes in June 2019.
Abduction and murder of Maribel Kapolon
Days before Monica Kimani’s murder, the decomposing body of a nine-year old girl was discovered in Imenti forest, about three kilometers from Meru town.
Maribel Kapolon’s mutilated body was discovered on September 17, almost two weeks after she was abducted by unknown people on September 6.
The class four pupil was the daughter of Githongo Law Courts Senior Resident Magistrate Carol Kemei.
She was abducted at around 5pm shortly after being dropped by the school bus. Reports made to the police said she was picked up by a man who appeared known to her.
She referred to him as “uncle” when she called out her name near Total Petrol Station along the Meru -Makutano road.
Maribel’s killers demanded a Sh500,000 ransom but never made a follow up.
The girl appeared to have been tortured before her death as her body had cuts on the thighs and one arm appeared to have been burnt by acid.
“The body was lying face down and a part of the head had no hair. One arm appeared to have been burnt,” an officer who saw the body told reporters.
A suspect was later arrested in Nairobi as investigations continue to unravel those responsible and the motive behind the murder.
Kakamega DC Paul Yatich’s wife
On October 16, the country woke up yet to another shocking news of the horrendous murder of Loice Yatich, wife of former Kakamega DC Paul Yatich.
The TSC curriculum support development officer in Uasin Gishu County had been reported missing a couple of days back.
Her decomposing body was found in her house in Kiplombe, Eldoret town where she lived alone after years of separation from her husband.
“The body had serious cuts on the shoulder. We also suspect she was raped during the attack,” Eldoret West OCPD Zachary Bitok said.
Yatich wondered why anyone would want to rape and brutally kill a 62 year old woman.
“This is quite brutal and I don’t know why someone would do this. We leave it to God and hope the police will do their work thoroughly to arrest those involved,” he said.
The deceased’s farmhand, who went missing after the incident, was suspected to be behind the horrific murder.
Two suspects, Laban Cheruiyot and Simon Lumile, were arrested at Kabiyet in Nandi County after they were found driving the woman’s missing car and arraigned in Eldoret.
Teacher murdered in her in-law’s home in Ongata Rongai
The series if chilling murders in 2018 kicked off earlier in the year.
On February 11, a primary school teacher was found murdered at her mother-in-law’s house in Ongata Rongai, Nairobi.
Priscilla Wangeci was allegedly murdered and her remains concealed in her husband’s bedroom. The husband works in Dubai.
Reports initially pointed to suicide after her body was found tied to a bed to suggest that she had hanged herself.
An autopsy examination, however, established that the woman, who was six months pregnant with twins, had been strangled to death.
“The police are now trying to put available pieces of information together and also trace the movement of the deceased to the time her death was reported to the police,” area OCPD Silas Ringera told the Star on February 19.
Wangeci’s mother, Veronicah Wanjiku, said her daughter, who lived in Buruburu, had been invited by her mother in-law to a family meeting at their home near the Smith Hotel along the Rongai/Kiserian road on February 10.
Murder, cannibalism of two young girls in Kiserian
And as if to wrap up in style, the hideous murder and eventual cannibalization of a six-year old girl was reported in Kiserian on November 28.
A 17 year old suspect arrested in connection with the chilling murder told police that the girl was kidnapped by a group of 15 boys and raped in turns before her throat was slit.
The suspect said some of the boys, who were partying at Githima village, were known to the innocent girl.
“They spotted her passing by and called her. She was easily lured to join them because she knew some of them,” a police officer working on the case said.
The gang members then forced themselves on her one by one, before slitting her throat and drinking her blood. They also ate some body parts.
Six days later on December 4, the body of another girl estimated to be around eight years was discovered in a dam within the same locality.
The discovery of the dismembered body with a missing head raised fears of there being a serial killer in the area.
Ngong OCPD Joseph Mwika said the body would be marked as unknown person until relatives claim it.
Residents called for 24-hour police patrols on suspicion that members of a cult targeting children could be on the loose.
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.