Where is my brother? Homa Bay pastor launches search for missing sibling

Kenneth Odemba

Kenneth Odemba holds a photo of his brother Derick Wasonga who was reported missing from April 12.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

Kenneth Odemba, a pastor of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, spends most of his weekdays putting up posters of his missing brother on the streets of Homa Bay town and neighbouring markets.

Odemba, a pastor at Makongeni SDA Church in Homa Bay, said printing posters was the last resort in his search for his brother, Derick Wasonga, 50, who disappeared three months ago.

Odemba had previously tried other means, including radio announcements and contacting relatives across the country in a desperate search for his brother, but to no avail.

Wasonga, the second born in his family, went missing on April 12 this year.

He was living in a rented house in Sofia Estate in Homa Bay, one of the areas police combed for clues after a search was launched.

Odemba said his brother was a social man. “Everyone loved him. He had no grudges with anyone,” he said.

According to Pastor Odemba his brother had a child with his wife, but had been living alone since their separation five years ago.

"He would do all house chores by himself, including going to the market and cooking," said Odemba.

Wasonga ran a cyber cafe and a shop, but a month before he went missing, he closed the shop and took all his belongings home.

On the day he disappeared, neighbours reported that he left the house in the afternoon.

His landlady, Rosemary Okongo, said she thought Wasonga had just gone to run an errand. "However, darkness fell before he came back," she said.

Some of his neighbours claim that a few days before he disappeared, Wasonga told them of his plans to plant maize at his rural home in Kamreri, Suba.

As a result, most of his neighbours thought he was busy working on the farm.

All the while, Odemba tried to reach him by phone, but it was switched off.

"I decided to go to his rented house to inquire where he might be, but no one seemed to have a clue," Odemba said.

The matter was reported to the police five days after the discovery.

According to Odemba, DCI officers established that the last time his missing brother used his phone was somewhere near Waondo, just a few kilometres from Mbita Town.

"Most of the people he called were close relatives and they were just greeting each other. They were also shocked that my brother was missing," he said.

Pastor Odemba said that he had gone as far as Mfangano and other islands in Lake Victoria to put up the posters.

"I have even taken some to Siaya County," said Pastor Odemba.

Charles Koilenge, the Homa Bay Sub-county DCI Commander, said that investigators were already looking into the matter.

“We managed to trace his phone sometime back before the signal was lost. We are on the case and we will provide answers to the family,” he said.