Phone call to help a friend that turned into tragedy

Ms Sharon Otieno who was kidnapped with Nation journalist Barrack Oduor on September 3, 2018. She was found dead on September 5, 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY

Until three weeks ago, Ms Sharon Beryne Otieno, Nation journalist Barrack Oduor and Mr Michael Oyamo, the PA for Migori Governor Okoth Obado, had no link.

Then one evening in August, a former civic leader in Homa Bay contacted Mr Oduor, indicating that there was a friend who needed help.

Mr Oduor contacted the number provided by the former civic leader and that is how he got to know Ms Otieno.


“In the first meeting, Sharon told me a senior politician had got her pregnant but was now walking away from responsibility as she neared her due date. She was worried,” Mr Oduor described in an interview.

“I took the details of everything; the arrangement they had, any communication and all. She said they were not married but that the politician, who had agreed to take care of the child once it was born, was now changing tune,” he narrated.

As usual, Mr Oduor sat on the new revelations for several days as he sought to speak with the politician in question. Meanwhile, social media erupted Ms Otieno's situation with the politician.

It would be four days later when Mr Oduor managed to speak with the politician.

“I didn’t have his contact or anyone close, so I spoke to a Member of Parliament and asked if I could be connected. He hesitated but later he shared my phone number with (the politician) who called me back.

“He gave his side of the story admitting he knew Sharon, denied he had impregnated her and accused her of blackmail. He promised to provide further details, saying he could not say everything on phone,” said the journalist.

From here, he contacted Ms Otieno explaining what the politician had said. From that point, it wasn’t a clear story until the politician provided further information as he promised. Three days later, she would call Mr Otieno to say the politician had changed his mind and agreed to raise the baby.

At this point, the journalist slowed down on the story because it no longer had a complainant.

But Mr Oyamo would call Mr Oduor inviting him to a meeting with Ms Otieno where he said he would provide some information.

“I told him I was no longer pursuing the story because the parties had reached a deal. But he said it was important to be sure that the deal had actually happened and said he just wanted to meet with us to ensure everything was all right,” said the journalist.

An initial meeting resolved that Ms Otieno would indeed be getting her upkeep and the reporter quit the story. But it appears Mr Oyamo and his ilk were still nervous about the potential of a reporter going ahead to file a story anyway. “He called again, insisting that I had to meet the (politician) in person. I declined initially but agreed to meet him because Ms Otieno would be there,” said Mr Oduor.

It turned out to be a kidnapping scheme. Mr Oyamo changed venues twice and when they settled for Graca Hotel in Rongo, he came in late, apologising for having been held in meetings.

Mr Oyamo asked them to leave for another venue and that's where the nightmare begun that ended with the journalist jumping out of a moving vehicle and Ms Otieno dead.