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Obado gets VIP treatment in cell as he awaits bail

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Goodness and mercy have surely followed  Governor Zachary Okoth Obado to his remand cell at Industrial Area GK Prison.

Sources say the Migori county chief, who is spending his sixth day in remand after being arrested and charged with the murder of university student Sharon Otieno is no ordinary prisoner. He is savouring VIP treatment.

Sources within the remand facility intimated to People Daily that other than missing his bodyguards, drivers, secretaries and family members, Obado is accorded treatment described as “worth his status” as he awaits his bail application.

High Court judge Jessie Lessit is set to deliver her verdict on the plea even as it emerged that Obado is likely to face another murder charge — that of Sharon’s seven-month-old foetus.

The governor has reportedly been allocated a special room with a bed, a mattress, three blankets and  bedsheets.

He is also allowed to receive guests, has access to newspapers and television and uses toilet facilities far superior to the buckets used by ordinary remandees.

By last evening, at least three governors and a dozen high-ranking national and county officials had been allowed to visit him.

Unlike other remandees, Obado is enjoying catering services through the voucher system, in which he presents vouchers of amounts ranging from Sh1, 000 upwards in exchange for  food of his choice.

Through the voucher, Obado has escaped the harsh reality of being subjected to the indignity of half-cooked ugali and algae-coloured water in the name of stew and sukuma wiki, which other remandees and inmates make do with.

To beat boredom, Obado is allowed access sports facilities including table tennis, athletics and football field, basketball court, darts, pool table and chess, among others.

Although it is far from the lifestyle he is used to, Obado is living, within prison cells, a life that many ordinary Kenyans would consider a luxury.

The governor has spent the better part of this week behind bars, specifically at the Industrial Area GK Prison.

After pleading not guilty to the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno, he was  escorted to Industrial Area Remand prison.

He was reportedly  taken to an area where “high profile” personalities are held.

As curtains were drawn on Tuesday night, Obado was escorted to his special cell.

Though worlds away from a cozy bed, stuffed pillows and clean linen, he did not sleep in the biting cold as the room had a bed,  a mattress and even new beddings.

Sources told us Obado was placed in a different cell from the one he was  remanded in on Monday.

Wednesday menu

Unlike his first day when he was booked at a not-so-crowded-cell commonly referred as B4, Tuesday was different.

He was put in the same block that former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo and Ex-PS Sammy Kirui were held in until a few days ago.

On Wednesday, remandees are served beef, beans and rice with ugali for dinner.

Brought in

For breakfast, they are served porridge but since money is not allowed, they have the privilege of “trading” with vouchers.

The receipt is issued at the duty office and the amount varies – Sh1,000 or Sh5,000 or more  depending on one’s ability.

The receipt is the ticket to the canteen where the bearer opts for say, milk and bread for breakfast.

The ticket can be used during any time of day. Dinner is served at 4pm.

Cleaners are also brought in to tidy up things every morning. The governor has the choice of basking in the sun all day.

Our source informed us the governor is free to dress as he pleases, whether suits, track suits or shorts.

He is also allowed visitors between 8am and 12.45pm and then  from 2pm to 5pm.

He is allowed to directly talk to visitors as opposed to the usual glass barrier separating inmates and visitors.

VIP visitors

Although his room has no television, he is at liberty to walk round the facility to a block where there is one with a remote control for him to sample stations of his choice.

“Obado was allowed visitors. Other than his family members, I could see he had quite some visitors. I saw some VIP vehicles though I could not make out who they were,” said the source.

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