Barely a month ago, a happy Okoth Obado survived a petition challenging his re-election as Migori Governor.
Media cameras captured him all smiles on July 27 after the Court of Appeal dismissed a case filled by his political nemesis, Ochillo Ayacko, citing lack of sufficient evidence.
The feel-good moment was preceded by a handshake by the two political rivals on July 11, which brought hope of an end to spats of violence often witnessed between supporters of the two camps.
But this week misery seems to have come knocking on the doorstep of Mr Obado after his close aide, Michael Oyamo, was linked to the brutal murder of a pregnant University of Rongo student, Sharon Otieno, who had been kidnapped alongside a journalist, Barrack Oduor.
Although the governor has since denied involvement in the killing, the chorus for his investigation as a person of interest in the matter has grown louder since the lifeless body of the 26-year-old student was discovered. The shocking saga that leaves Mr Obado with a big fight to clear his name began on the morning of Monday September 3,2018.
On that fateful day Ms Otieno and the journalist attached to Nation Media Group’s Daily Nation newspaper were allegedly lured into a waiting vehicle by Mr Oyamo — who is Obado’s personal assistant.
On the day of her abduction, Ms Otieno was to meet Mr Oduor and Mr Oyamo at Rodi Kopany Shopping Centre, about 10 kilometres from her home.
Ms Otieno had earlier allegedly contacted the reporter through a local politician ostensibly to expose the father of her unborn child who is said to have threatened to disown the pregnancy.
She, however, later told the reporter that they had resolved the matter and she was no longer keen on pursing it through the media.
The matter, however, cropped up later after Mr Oyamo requested to meet Ms Otieno and Mr Oduor to deliver special messages.
“I told him (Mr Oyamo) 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 alright,” Mr Oduor said.
The meeting, first scheduled for Rodi Kopany, was later changed to a venue in Rongo town and turned out to be a kidnap ploy.
Mr Oduor claims they met the governor’s aide at a hotel who lured them into a waiting vehicle at about 7.30pm.
The car was driven for a few minutes before stopping to allow Mr Oyamo to alight.
Two men, who had been waiting by the roadside, then jumped into the car which sped off.
Stirred by the twist of events, Mr Oduor panicked and jumped out of the moving vehicle at Nyangweso market on the Homa Bay-Kisumu highway leaving behind Ms Otieno with the kidnappers.
“I sustained bruises on my palms and knees and when I looked up I saw the two men get out of the car that had now stopped and run towards me.
“I got into one of the homes and after some time a man who was in the house drove me to Kadel Police Station,” Mr Oduor narrated.
His decision to jump out of the vehicle saved his life.
The body of Ms Otieno, a second-year Medical Records and Information student, was found in a thicket in Oyugis, Homa Bay County, on Wednesday.
Mr Oyamo was arrested on Tuesday and remains in custody as investigations into the kidnap and murder get under way.
Ms Otieno’s murder adds to the latest high profile cases being pursued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The saga comes barely weeks after Garissa governor Ali Korane was questioned over the shooting of a former county executive, Idriss Mukhtar. Mr Korane denied involvement in Mr Mukhtar’s shooting.
Mr Idriss was shot in Nairobi’s Kileleshwa estate on the night of August 19. CCTV footage from the scene shows a lone gunman walking through the open gate into his compound.
He then fired three shots at Idriss then walked away, boarding a waiting motorcycle on his way out.
A suspect arrested over the shooting, David Mwai, died mysteriously last week while in custody at the Parklands Police Station. The police claim he hanged himself.