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There is an element of Sharon Otieno in all of us

As I write this post, the family of the late Sharon Otieno has announced that she will be buried on Friday 19th October 2018.

Her mother Melinda Auma says her dear dear daughter will finally be laid to rest at her grandfather’s homestead where the foetus she was carrying was also interred.

For several weeks, the gruesome murder of Sharon, a student at Rongo University has made headlines. It has fascinated Kenyan audiences and you can tell by the social media posts about the Sharon and Obado.

The 26-year-old lass was a lover to Migori Governor Okoth Obado. The murder happened around the same time the Kenya Revenue Authority effected a 16% tax on petroleum products and we experienced a fuel “shortage” that saw long queues in some fuel stations. While this was a big deal, we seem to have moved on and gotten engrossed with the murder of Sharon and one Monicah Kimani.

You see, Sharon’s story resonates with Kenyans. It has hit home because we know a “Sharon” somewhere. Actually, there is a “Sharon” in all of us.

Kenyans are really fascinated with death. Psychology explains this. People are drawn to gruesome murders because it triggers fear – a very basic and powerful emotion present in all of us.

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The Sharon Otieno gruesome killing has been a hot discussion topic for Kenyans. People have given their opinions about the incident while following police investigations closely. There are many speculation theories flying around about who killed her and why. On social media, Kenyans have stoned and crucified Sharon as a gold digger even as details emerged about her relationship with Governor Obado who even confessed that he was willing to take responsibility for the child.

You see, Sharon’s story resonates with Kenyans. It has hit home because we know a “Sharon” somewhere. Actually, there is a “Sharon” in all of us.

A DNA test showed that Okoth Obado was the father of Sharon Otieno’s unborn child.

First, remember the photo that appeared in the media? Sharon was holding a high-end iPhone. She had posted the photo on her Facebook page. If you look closely, Sharon was doing something we all do… Sitting with a phone as we scroll through social media, chat on WhatsApp or review photos we have taken. Taking photos is a normal thing we all do.

If you doubt me, scroll through your social media pages and check the kind of photos of yourself you have posted. Also, check your photo gallery. I am sure you will find several photos of yourself taken in different places relaxing, smiling or relaxing.

Sharon Otieno was your typical Kenyan girl.

Second, Sharon was a campus girl in a rural town. She was romantically linked to power = a Governor. Many of us like to be associated with power, influence and wealth. I am sure you know people who name drop to prove they “know people”. Sharon was no different. She met power. She loved it, was excited and wanted to enjoy the privileges that come with “knowing people in POWER.” It is not a bad thing by the way. I am sure you would not mind having Uhuru Kenyatta on speed dial as a buddy.

Third, Sharon is your daughter or sister. Many people have been asking why her mother did not ask her where she was getting money. We will never know. Sharon was 26 years old and a mother of three children already, she was a grown woman.

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Like any child (human being), Sharon may have made bad choices along the way.  But her parents loved her. She was still their child regardless of her blemishes. Even after her macabre killing, her parents stood by her and said she was a wonderful child.

“I just sit next to her. Seeing her brings me some relief. I feel good, happy and satisfied that she is still with us. Her being dead does not scare me, she is my daughter anyway and I loved her very much. Her killers have robbed me off a pearl,” said her father Douglas Otieno in an interview with the Nation.

“Sharon is my child, I fathered her and she deserves all respect and love, even in her death,” added Baba Sharon.

Many people will identify with Sharon’s parents. You have a child or a sibling who makes foolish choices or has friends you disapprove or lives a lifestyle that goes against your values. You will, of course, tell them to change. If they do not listen, do you disown them? No. They still remain your flesh and blood! At the end of the day, you pray for them and keep hoping that they change their ways. There is nothing much you can do with an adult.

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Fourth and which we all easily identify with is the fact that no family is perfect. You would wish the ground swallows you if the intrigues of your family were to be exposed to the public. We all have a relative who has children with different men or an uncle who left his wife and children and moved in with a young girl. You know of a male member of your family who has had children out of wedlock. This is “normal” and is not peculiar for the case of Sharon and Obado.

Okoth Obado called a media conference in Nairobi and confirmed that he had a relationship with the late Sharon Otieno. He was accompanied by his wife Hellen, daughter Evaline and son Jerry.

Why you will keep following the Sharon Otieno murder story

Stories of murder will always make headlines. They always have.

A.J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, says following crime stories is fascinating because “it offers us a glimpse into the deviant parts of the human psyche. We’re drawn to these stories,” she explained.

Why you may ask. Because we want to understand the motivation behind such gruesome, bizarre, senseless acts of violence. “We want to understand because we are afraid,” says Prof. Marsden.


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