NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan county governor was charged in court on Monday with murdering a university student whom he had got pregnant.
Zakariah Okoth Obado, the governor of Migori county in western Kenya, denied killing Sharon Otieno and her unborn child in a short hearing broadcast live on state TV.
A witness said Otieno was abducted by four men in a car on the county’s Homa Bay Road - which lies near Lake Victoria - on Sept. 3, prosecutors said in a statement.
Her body was found a day later in a thicket near Oyugis, a small town about 40 km (25 miles) away, the National Prosecution Authority added in the statement released on Twitter.
“It was established that an intimate relationship existed between Zakariah Okoth Obado, the Governor of the County of Migori, which subsequently led to a pregnancy with the deceased that the Governor was unhappy about,” chief prosecutor Noordin Haji said in a statement.
“Sharon and her unborn baby lost their lives in a gruesome and horrifying manner in the hands of her killers,” he added.
Local media said Obado was 59 while Otieno was in her 20s.
Obado denied a charge of murder. “It’s not true,” he told the court after the charge was read out.
Michael Juma Oyamo, described as Obado’s personal assistant, was also charged with murder, while another assistant, Caspal Ojwang Obiero, was charged with aiding and abetting murder, the prosecutors said.
Neither of the assistants appeared in court to plead to the charges on Monday. Reuters was not able to speak to any of the defendants or their lawyers.
The chief prosecutor did not spell out what role the prosecution believed each person played, but said “the hitmen and other persons” had not yet been arrested.
Obado was remanded in custody by the High Court judge until Tuesday when his application for bail will be heard.
Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Andrew Heavens