Cause of death revealed for activist involved in petition by sexually exploited workers against Kericho tea farms

for Tv47 Digital March 27, 2023, 06:52 PM
Dr Godfrey Otieno Onyango was the chairperson of the Justice and Environment Foundation. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Dr. Onyango, the chairperson of the Justice and Environment Foundation, was found dead on Friday, March 24 evening at his house in Lanet, Nakuru County.

  • His younger brother had said that Dr. Onyango did not complain of any sickness prior to collapsing in the sitting room of his house at around 5:30 pm.

Dr. Godfrey Otieno Onyango, an activist who was involved in the petition by current and former workers who were exploited sexually by supervisors of multination tea companies, died by suicide.

A post-mortem conducted on Monday, March 27 have revealed that Dr. Otieno died from asphyxiation, caused by a sliding noose neck compression. 

The autopsy was conducted by Government Pathologist Titus Ngulungu, in the presence of the deceased's family members.

The activist was found found dead at his home on Friday, March 24 evening at his house in Lanet, Nakuru County.

Dr. Onyango is the chairperson of the Justice and Environment Foundation. 

Sexual exploitation exposé

In late February this year, Kenya - one of the largest exporters of tea globally - was on the spotlight over allegations of sexual harassment at local tea farms.

According to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), more than 70 women reported several occasions of sexual abuse by their bosses over the years.

"Another woman said a divisional manager stopped her job until she agreed to have sex with him.

"It is just torture; he wants to sleep with you, then you get a job," she told BBC.

The undercover investigation aired on February 20, allegedly revealed that heads of these companies brokering in the tea sector are managed by the British, some of who are perpetrators of these acts.

One of the undercover reporters- a female- visited one of the companies on pretense of seeking a job, only to be directed for an interview at a hotel room with one of the managers, a John Chebochok.

Chebochok allegedly promised to give her some money and a job if she would undress and have intercourse with her.

"I was so scared, and so shocked. It must be really difficult for the women who work under Chebochok," said Katy (not her real name).

BBC would then make contact with James Finlay & Co where Chebochok worked, leading to his immediate suspension.

"The company said it also reported him to the police and was now investigating whether its Kenyan operation has "an endemic issue with sexual violence"," BBC added.

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