What you need to know:
- The sisters say the brothers had attacked them after Stephanie turned down advances from one of the twins.
- DPP ordered Stephanie and her sister Cheryl charged with fighting in public and assault.
Cheryl and her sister Stephanie Murgor had spent most of their time away from the glares of the public, choosing to instead concentrate on their young fashion business in Nairobi.
But that was until October this year, when a video of the sisters, engaged in what appeared to be a fight with twin techie brothers Paul and Eddie Ndichu, appeared online. The two sisters say the brothers had attacked them after Stephanie turned down advances from one of the twins at a city hotel.
In this exclusive interview with the Nation, the two sisters recount the events of the day, how it has affected their lives, reports of a settlement and the way forward
Cheryl and Stephanie, who are you and what do you do?
Cheryl: I am Cheryl Murgor, aged 24, and I am a fashion designer. Before fashion, I was a cabin crew with Kenya Airways, but that ended because of Covid-19. Now I do fashion.
Stephanie: My name is Stephanie Murgor, 22. My sister and I have a fashion company named Murgor the Label. I am also a fashion designer. I had been accepted to study international law and human rights at Illinois University in 2020, but due to personal reasons and Covid-19, I was unable to go.
Our fashion line deals with both men and women clothing. We source and design the fabrics ourselves. It is basically made in Kenya and we tailor-make all the clothes. We started in February.
The reception? 2020 was a bit problematic, Covid-19 happened and since our business relies on people going out and going to work, it became a little difficult. So we are still trying to come up.
Take us back to that day at Ole Sereni, how did you two end up there?
Stephanie: The day was amazing. We did not start at Ole Sereni. We were four — the two of us and our boyfriends. We were having lunch when we received a call from my boyfriend’s friend inviting us to her aunt’s wedding after-party at Ole Sereni. We all know each other, so why not?
So what happened?
Stephanie: We went there between 6pm and 7pm, and everything was okay until when we were about to leave. One of the brothers (Ndichu) stopped me as I was walking out to go look for my boyfriend who was making a phone call.
And he made certain comments that I remember saying were inappropriate, because it is public knowledge that he is married to Janet Mbugua. I used to watch their YouTube channel way back. So I told him that what he said was inappropriate and I walked away.
And what time was this?
Stephanie: It was about 2am. So then my boyfriend returned and I told him that I was really getting upset and that it was time to leave. But when we were leaving, they (Ndichu brothers), kept on insulting me that it got my boyfriend worried. So he stopped and asked them what was going on, and that is when the confrontation began.
Where was your sister and her boyfriend at this time?
Stephanie: She had just left. So it was me and my boyfriend at the lounge/restaurant.
Okay, go on.
Stephanie: So immediately after that incident happened upstairs, where my boyfriend and I were strangled, we walked away. In fact, my wig was even removed which is the worst thing that you can do to a woman.
So, at that time, you guys were still upstairs, or where?
Stephanie: I mean, if something like that happened to you, you wouldn’t stay there, you’d definitely leave because you are terrified. And if you look at the guys and looking at my body size, I am quite small and they are huge guys.
And your sister, where was she?
Stephanie: She was at the elevator.
So you guys then go downstairs, but then the drama continued, at least according to the videos we saw online.
Stephanie: I actually left my sister behind at the lobby as we left to go downstairs. My boyfriend had gone to pick the car so we could leave, but one of the brothers came to the car and started kicking it hard. I was so scared.
But Cheryl, you are seen confronting the lady who was with the two brothers? Some said you fought with her.
Cheryl: I had left my sister with her boyfriend at the lounge. I didn’t know what was happening at that point, but then my sister came and she was crying, and I asked her what happened. And this lady (identified as Munira) comes shouting.
So if you watch the clip, you will see me asking my sister, what’s up with this girl. And my sister says she was strangled. And that is when I decided to ask the lady why they did that. And she kept on insisting and shouting that your sister is so disrespectful. In short, what she came to tell us is that you deserve everything that happened to you.
And had you guys had a conversation with Munira before the incident? Say inside the lounge?
Stephanie: We did not. All I could remember is that after what happened upstairs, she followed us to the lift and kept shouting
What of the Ndichu brothers? Had you guys spoken before?
Stephanie: That was the first encounter.
Cheryl: I do not know who they are. I only knew one of them was married to Janet Mbugua.
So then, what happened next?
Stephanie: We decided to involve the police, because we realised that the matter was getting out of hand. We reported to Akila Police Station.
But then there are those who have argued that you were also aggressive against them.
Stephanie: I walked away about two to three times (from the Ndichu brothers). So the first encounter, they (Ndichu brothers) insulted me, then I walked away. I came back again, it happened and I still walked away. Even my boyfriend was shocked because these are people who are not known to us.
I also remember that when I actually went to report to the police, one of the officers asked me what was I doing there at that time. That I should have been indoors. Like really? Even after that incident where my boyfriend and I were strangled, we walked away. My boyfriend told them to just leave us alone. To let us go. And we walked away. We went to get the car.
So what does that say?
Cheryl: For the people who said that it was an orchestrated event, my question is, did we plan to sit where we were and asked these brothers to come and speak to Stephanie? And even after Stephanie said no, did she ask to be strangled? When her boyfriend stepped in, did he ask to be strangled? It is just sad how things are taking a different turn because the victims now look like the perpetrators.
Do you guys regret going out then?
Cheryl: When we heard that we are going to be charged, we asked ourselves why even did we decide to speak out. I remember I had to go take a nap so that I could calm down. Then I called my uncle (Phillip Murgor – who is also our lawyer) and I told him that you know what, we are speaking out for the women who don’t have a voice. We are not backing down on this. We have been intimidated. Even whatever is happening now, is just a way to force us into withdrawing this case. But my question is, do we want to teach young girls to say yes to whoever? That their no is meaningless?
What of you Stephanie?
Stephanie: I feel like it should be known out there that something like this happened and that we want justice. We are not backing down.
And have the two brothers ever tried reaching out to you, either to ask for forgiveness or seek a settlement as has been reported elsewhere?
Cheryl: Of late they have not. They have had their chance to apologise. But through this whole process they have decided to humiliate us and to ruin our names.
And how about your family? How did they receive the news?
Stephanie: My mum was so devastated because she was in Sweden where she lives, works and also studies. She had to come over as soon as she could.
We even had to move back in with her because we cannot stay alone anymore. I used to stay with my sister but then, how do you even sleep and have the peace of mind? We even went for therapy because it became apparent that we needed someone to speak to and help and cope and move forward.
Cheryl: This whole thing has really been an eye-opener for us, because you never expect it to happen to you. It is always someone else, someone’s cousin, someone’s mother. But this time it hit home. And it hasn’t been easy for our family. Our mum became sick.
So, a lot of people did not know about the two of you before the incident at Ole Sereni. How has it been like?
Stephanie: The search for justice has been quite difficult. It’s like moving forward and backwards at the same time. We feel quite disappointed, because how can you be victims, but then turn into perpetrators? I mean this was a case of gender-based violence, if you look at it.
What about your lives and normal routines? Has anything changed?
Stephanie: Our lives have really changed socially. I do not really feel comfortable nowadays just going out somewhere because I know like from how things happened, people have different opinions. Some think that out of the letters that are circulating and the hashtags that we are really bad people.
We have been to places and some people whisper that those are the Murgor sisters or that they have seen us on TV. Sometimes we even wonder if people also see us and only remember the negative hashtags that were trending. So it is quite negative.
Cheryl: First, the first video that came out, the CCTV footage. That was me in the video and we would get messages from people saying oh my God Cheryl, is that you? What happened? First it was shocking to us, then all of a sudden people you haven’t spoken to for over 10 years contacting you just to ask if that is you.
And I remember every time I’d see that clip, I’d cry, because I had to think about what are we going to tell our mother who is far away. It took us like three days to tell our mother what had happened. And that was after three days of crying. I did not eat for three days and I lost so much weight. And after going to the police, I remember me and my sister, cried and asked, have we done the right thing? Did we do the right thing?
And so what would you want done? How would you want this case to end?
Cheryl: People think it is about the money. It is never about the money. And even in this particular case, I feel that these are people who are used to getting away with everything they do. But in our case, we want them to face the law. And if the law says that they will be convicted. So, be it.
Stephanie: I feel like everything should be reviewed, then fresh investigations done. All I’d like people to know that we are not backing down, whatsoever, even if it means fresh investigations. This is a case of gender-based violence; because someone comes to make a pass at you and you say no; no one deserves anything that happened to me. Being this young, I just started my life, and so that was terrible. No one should experience such a thing.