For Prof. Fredrick Ogolla, the academic director of the MBA programs and the director of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Strathmore University, bad luck selected him on the last day of 2017.
He suddenly lost his wife, Rebecca Gombe Mwachongo, affectionately known as Becky. Then police came after him and separated him from his six-week-old baby.
The couple had been married for three years without a child, and the joy of their marriage peaked with their arrival towards the end of 2017 her son Matisse.
They had planned to ring in the New Year in style at quiet ABC Place in Westlands, but fate wouldn’t.
“December 31, 2017, the day , when we wanted to celebrate our baby, started well. Our spiritual leader, Fr. Andrew Massawe of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, who was in Uganda at the time, was ill and urgently needed extra doses of some medicines because the hospital he was admitted to did not have enough doses. He asked me to send the medication to him by bus to Kampala, so I went to the Nairobi hospital in the morning and picked up the medication. Before I went into town to send him the package, I came back to the house for a moment, ”Prof. Ogolla told Saturday Nation .
When his wife noticed that he went on his way, she asked him where he was going and he told her about the package.
“She joked, ‘Honey, you are not going anywhere’. I asked her: ‘How are you going to stop me?’ Then she said ‘Let me show you’ as she romantically pushed me into bed, “he says.
At this playful moment, Prof. Ogolla says his wife shouted ‘Aha’ and fell on the edge of the bed.
“I assumed she was still playing and escaped temptation in the bedroom,” he said.
After sending the letter, he said he communicated with the housekeeper, who told him Becky was lying on the floor, struggling to get up.
“I was getting nervous. I hurried back to the house, even though it was impossible to get home quickly in the city traffic. When I got there, I found her on the floor and immediately called the neighbors, who came and helped me get her in the car and take her to the hospital.
“I suspected it was something the post office had to do. Birth problems as she had given birth a few weeks earlier, so I took her to the hospital where she had given birth earlier – Aga Khan Hospital. I called her mother and sister to inform them about the matter, “he explained.
They arrived at the Aga Khan Hospital just before 6:00 pm. Becky was put through emergency screening. All vital functions were in place and their oxygen content was 96 percent.
All the while, Prof. Ogolla carried her six-week-old baby, prayed and hoped that his wife would get better soon.
“Around 9 p.m. the nurses told me that she might not be able to breastfeed her son anytime soon and that I should consider alternatives. I was concerned about who would be staying at my son’s home while I stayed with Becky to oversee her treatment. I called Becky’s mother and sister again and told them the situation was serious and needed their help. Since they couldn’t get the funds from Voi to Nairobi that night, her sister promised that they would come to Nairobi the next day, ”he said.
Prof Ogolla says after all the tests on his wife had been carried out, he rushed home with their child and found some milk in the refrigerator, which he gave him and put to sleep. The doctor called at around 1:30 am, as the New Year’s fireworks lit the night sky.
“I was urgently needed at the Aga Khan Hospital. In a panic, I shared the news with family and friends on a WhatsApp group and asked them to pray for Becky. When I got to Aga Khan, I found Becky had heart failure and the doctors were resuscitating her, ”he said.
His wife, the doctors said, had fluid in her lungs and blood clots in her lungs Heart and brain that had caused a stroke on the left side of the body. Prof. Ogolla requested permission to move her to the intensive care unit before she went home.
At around 4am the doctor called again and told him Becky had her second heart failure when she did were transferred to the intensive care unit.
“I rushed back to the hospital. When I arrived they had managed to revive her the second time. I called our pastor, Fr. George Wambua of St. Austin’s, to come and pray for them. He came and offered the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. “
Shortly after 9 o’clock, on New Year’s Day 2018, Becky suffered a third heart failure and the doctors were unfortunately unable to resuscitate her.
” At 10:30 am, the love of my life, Becky, left me and all family and friends in a pain too deep to endure. I felt hollow. I couldn’t easily accept that she was gone. I didn’t even know how to take care of our six week old baby, ”he recalls.
Prof. Ogolla also had the difficult and painful task of informing family members, friends and those in need to find out about the death and arrange for her body to be transferred to the morgue.
So that a body can be transferred to the morgue an obituary notice required. Aga Khan Hospital gave us a letter, which we took to Parklands Police Station and obtained the obituary notice. I noticed that both the Aga Khan’s letter and the obituary notice indicated that she died of natural causes.
The next day, at 6:45 am, Prof. Ogolla found six police officers at his door. They told him to make a statement at the police station.
Detained for 21 days
“They said it wouldn’t take long and I didn’t even have to have breakfast first. I followed them to the Muthangari Police Station, where I was told that I could not go without permission from the Criminal Police Department. I spent the next three weeks in the police cells: from Muthangari to Kabete to Capital Hill and so on. During the 21 days of my detention, I was transferred to more than 10 police stations.
“Nairobi Police Commander Mr. Japheth Koome called a press conference and declared me the murderer. Then the media, friends, relatives, colleagues and others took different positions. Since some sentenced me to death, others who really knew me stood by me. For almost two weeks the headlines turned around me. My family was scared, ”he said.
Prof. Ogolla’s phone and his wife’s phone were taken for forensic examinations and autopsies were performed.
There were three on the 21st day of his detention Becky had been autopsied. The government pathologist Johansen Oduor and Prof. Emily Rugena carried out the three autopsies separately.
All results showed that Becky died of natural causes and that there was not a single physical injury to the body, which the domestic rumor baseless . At this point the police had completed their investigation and they too could not find any evidence linking Prof. Ogolla to the death of his wife through the media, friends, relatives and colleagues. One of the lies was that a woman allegedly called me, which led to an argument that resulted in my wife’s death. Another lie was that I didn’t inform my in-laws of the death and intended to bury my wife as soon as possible, “said Prof. Ogolla.
Justice Luka Kimaru released the Don on Sh100,000 free bail and stated that the prosecutor is free to arrest him if evidence emerges within three months. However, he said that if there was no evidence after three months, the case would be closed.
“I was allowed to go home to mourn and bury my beloved wife. I put her to rest at my home at K’Ogola K’Ongira Farm in Kateg Jera, Ugenya, Siaya County, ”he said, adding that to date there is no evidence that he was in with her death And that he was never accused.
“When we realized they had falsely accused me, my in-laws apologized, we buried the hatchet, and I forgave them for the pain it caused had. Together we let Becky’s soul rest, “he said, adding that his relationship with his in-laws has since become warm again.
” We visit, share meals and exchange gifts and other things, “revealed he.
Prof. Ogolla says that the death of his wife under these circumstances was the most challenging and taught him several lessons.
“I had to accept the bitter truth that I would raise my son on my own. Since many people asked me to give them my son to raise, I couldn’t take the offer as I felt and still felt that this was the most precious gift Becky had left me. So I have to be there for and with him. “
His other lesson, he says, was about people’s ability to misrepresent facts.
” Some media outlets reported that I was a 60 year old man who was married to a young lady. Little did they know that I did my PhD before I was 30 and then married Becky. Our relationship started when we were both college students, not even a house, and all of the possessions we had were acquired during our relationship.
“There was also a claim that Becky had a baby with one Another man had a fight, but the police DNA test showed that Matisse was my son. Others claimed there was an argument over a phone call from a woman. Forensic evidence showed there was one such a call. “
His brothers and sisters, he said, were at his side the entire time.
” My wife was a precious gift. She was a planner, one Organizer, a focused and very loving woman. She organized my work, my trips, our family. I’ve lost all of that. Before that, we had talked about how to raise our son. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was had documented all of this. It’s her notes that I used to raise Matisse to be the son she’ll be proud of when we meet in heaven. “
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