Monday July 5 2021. This is the date in which Sharon Otieno murder trial is set to resume, after a near three-year hiatus.
In the case, Migori Governor Okoth Obado is accused of the murder of the Rongo University student.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said that the case had lagged behind because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that courts were forced to scale down operations as one of the measures of containing the spread of the virus.
“The case was scheduled for hearing on 16th and 17th March 2020 but was taken out following directions for scaling down of court activities by the Chief Justice following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” DPP Haji said earlier this year.
DPP has lined up thirty-seven (37) prosecution witnesses against the governor and his co-accused- his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Migori County Clerk Casper Ojwang Obiero.
Obado wants the case adjourned
Even after so many postponements, the county boss still wants Monday’s trial pushed forward again!
In a letter dated to the ODPP last week, Governor Obado wants the case pushed to a later date. He is citing the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Lake Region as the reason for seeking adjournment.
Lawyer Kioko Kilukumi says that his client resides in Migori, one of the thirteen counties that were recently declared COVID-19 hotspots by the Ministry of Health.
“As you are well aware, the Ministry of Health issued a public notice on 17th June 2021, in which it was decreed that Migori County is part and parcel of the COVID-19 hotspot zone. The Ministry of Health decreed that: Except for essential and emergency services, movement between the hotspot Zone and the rest of the country is strongly discouraged,” Kilukumi wrote in a letter dated June 28, 2021.
The letter continues: “In light of the directions issued by the Ministry of Health for the greater public good and to avoid the quick spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 to the rest of the country, my client is unable to travel outside the COVID-19 hotspot Zone. Accordingly, we request the case be mentioned virtually on Monday, the 5th July, 2021 for the purpose of fixing fresh hearing dates, hopefully at a time when the threat of COVID–19 has substantially subsided.”
The DPP, however, says he will oppose Obado’s move.
Sharon Otieno murder: Obado pleads not guilty
Sharon was abducted in September 3, 2018 alongside local journalist Barack Oduor.
Oduor, however, managed to escape and reported the incident to the police but two days later, Sharon who was seven months pregnant was found dead at Kodera Forest.
The 26-year-old second-year student had differed her studies for lack of fees and had planned to resume college the next year.
Obado has distanced himself from the murder of Sharon.