George Kebaso and Douglas Dindi
Deep in Kibagare slums, which is adjacent to the leafy Loresho estate, two women are busy on their mobile phones.
While Angeline Omina looks relaxed, Rosemary Onyango appears more anxious.
The two women are at the centre of the identical girls Sharon Mathias and Melon Lutenyo, whose DNA test results have revealed they are twins.
The outcome of the tests shows that Onyango is the mother of both girls, one — Sharon — who was raised by Omina, and her husband Wilson Lutah, since birth about two decades ago.
Melvis Imbayi, who has been raised up by Onyango, and her husband Richard Olukokho, as a fraternal twin to Melon, has also been confirmed to be Omina’s biological daughter.
Despite being initially reluctant to talk to journalists, after one hour of pleading, the two women finally opened up but would not say much.
“I feel delighted that this matter has finally been resolved. I honestly feel relieved,” Omina said.
The two women have been sleeping in the only bed in Omina’s bedroom since Friday while their three daughters have been out and about the city.
Yesterday, the girls attended a church service in Ruiru, Kiambu county, before proceeding to a relative’s house in Lang’ata, Nairobi.
“We are ready for the family’s decision on this issue. We are at an important moment in the history of our families,” Onyango said in agreement with Omina.
Family members from Kakamega county — where Onyango hails from — travelled yesterday to Nairobi for a meeting today to chart the way forward on the two-month puzzle involving the three girls.
In Kakamega, the family expressed mixed feelings about the report that handed them one girl but took away another who spent her entire 19 years with them.
Shem Abuti, a cleric with Full Gospel Churches of Kenya and grandfather of the identical twins, said he was disappointed that the DNA report “took away” Melvis who is named after his mother.
He said Melvis will remain his granddaughter despite the report.
Abuti said the family was deliberating on the DNA report with the possibility of taking legal action against Kakamega General Hospital — where the three girls were born and Sharon and Melvis supposedly swapped — for the agony it had caused the family.
Speaking to People Daily yesterday, Abuti said none of the girls would spend the night together at the Kakamega home upon arrival as the family had made arrangements that they leave for school immediately.
The trio are in Form Four. Sharon is at Shikoti Girls’ Secondary School, Melon at Kongoni Secondary School and Melvis at St Brigit’s Girls’, Kiminini.
He said the family was not planning an immediate ceremony to welcome Sharon to the family.
“We will organise a ceremony to admit the girls into the family after their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams. Traditionally, a concoction of herbs and slaughtering of a male sheep would sum up the ritual but I’m opting for a simple Christian ceremony,” Abuti said.
On Saturday Lancet laboratory released DNA results for Sharon, Melvis and Melon, which indicated that Sharon and melon share identical DNA profiles. There was 100 per cent perfect match for 23 allelic loci consistent with the two being biologically identical twins.
The results confirmed Onyango as the biological mother of the two girls. The test confirmed that she was not the biological mother of Melvis, who was confirmed as the biological daughter of Omina.
Imbayi exhibits a compatible obligatory maternal and paternal allelic profile of Omina and Lutah, said the report effectively excluding Onyango and husband Olukokho, as the biological parents.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti, following the outcome of the DNA test that confirmed the look-alike Kakamega girls are twins.
The DCI is expected to investigate how it all happened in a Kakamega hospital back in 1999 and hold those culpable to account.
Was it a case of a baby switch? If so, was it intentional and who was involved? These are some of the queries the DCI is expected to find answers to, as he digs deep into a case.
“We believe the forensic investigation will establish if any criminal act was committed or any mitigating circumstances that may have led to the present status. We encourage and appeal to the families concerned to report to DCI office in Kakamega to facilitate investigations,” the DCI said in April after the case went public.
The outcome released on Saturday by Lancet Kenya corrected a two-decade mistake.
According to Lancet Kenya Laboratories chief executive Ahmed Kalebi, this was not an isolated case.
“It is a worrying trend. We have had at least four cases where parents were given a baby that was not theirs,” he said.