A Kisii-based clinical officer, who went ‘missing’ after testifying in the ongoing murder case against Migori Governor Okoth Obado at the Milimani Law Courts on Wednesday, fears for his life.
After being found yesterday, Mr Cliff Momanyi, who works at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, said his life is in danger and demanded he be put under witness protection.
Through his advocate, family and colleagues, he said he feels threatened given the weighty evidence he gave in court.
His family said that after leaving Nairobi for his home in Kisii on Wednesday, the clinical officer switched off his phone because he did not want his whereabouts to be known. This is because he feared for his life.
The clinician testified in the case in which Governor Obado and others are accused of murdering Rongo University student Sharon Otieno in 2018. Mr Obado and two of his aides, Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero, are the main suspects.
Mr Momanyi’s advocate and cousin, Mr Nicholas Bosire, urged the media and Kenyans to respect his privacy as an individual and witness who is giving his evidence voluntarily.
“His testimony is still ongoing in that murder case. He cannot stand here for an interview,” said Mr Bosire, assuring journalists that Mr Momanyi was safe and had faced no harm.
But when Mr Momanyi alighted from a black Toyota Auris vehicle which brought him to the Kisii Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) offices yesterday, he appeared exhausted and scared.
He avoided the media and was at some point covered from the glare of cameras by an unidentified person. He was accompanied to the DCI by his close relatives.
Earlier on, family members had reported that Mr Momanyi returned to his rural home in Gesonso near Kisii town on Thursday night.
He reportedly went there without informing his wife, Ms Mary Kimaiga, who had raised the alarm that her husband was unreachable.
“Whether he went back to the family house or not is not the issue now. Let us just respect his privacy,” said Mr Bosire.
The Kisii branch chairman of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Mr Ogden Lazarus, and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Kisii County liaison officer, Dr Otucho Obure, said there was need for the state to ensure Mr Momanyi’s security.
Call for state protection
“We thank God because this morning, Momanyi presented himself to the police and has confirmed that he is well. We will not talk much about his whereabouts because we understand that this is a very sensitive case.
“We know what usually happens in such cases,” said Mr Lazarus.
He said witness protection in sensitive cases, especially those that involve high-ranking government officials, should be taken seriously by the state.
“Such witnesses should not just be left to roam around. They should also not be exposed to the public. His statements in court and his identity were made public. This is not very right, whether the witness did it willingly or unwillingly,” said Mr Lazarus.
Testifying, Mr Momanyi narrated how he faked medical records for Mr Obado’s co-accused and personal assistant, Oyamo. He presented copies of the forged medical records in court.
But according to Ms Kimaiga, her husband did not tell her that he was going to testify in the murder case in which Mr Obado is accused of killing the university student.
She had on Thursday told the Nation that her husband, who left home on Tuesday for a work-related trip in Nairobi, had not returned home. He was expected back in Kisii on Wednesday night.
She said she was informed by a friend about her husband being a witness in the case after his photos were published in some local dailies on Thursday.
And before the medic was found, his family had reported the matter to Kisii Central Police Station under OB number 54/23/3/2022. The medic was last seen online around 7.29pm on Tuesday.
Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli had said “a missing person report” had been lodged with them and investigations were underway.