On the second day of an inquest into the tragic death of Tecra Muigai, a bodyguard attached to the deceased Keroche heiress took the stand Wednesday revealing details about her relationship with Omar Lali.
Eric Bett Cheruiyot, a former Kenya Defence Force(KDF) Officer, painted the picture of a troubled love affair saying for the nine months he worked for Tecra, she never lived peacefully with her lover.
Cheruiyot, who also worked as Tecra’s driver, said Lali was a jealous, possessive and protective man, who twice threatened him.
The former soldier testified that he often accompanied the pair on various trips and tours to Nyeri, Meru, Nanyuki, Kisumu, Lamu, and Dar es Salaam.
Cheruyoit said most of the time Lali would retreat to a solitary table and stay alone for hours while Tecra would join her friends for business engagements which annoyed her lover.
“Leave Tecra Alone You Are an Old Man”
During a trip to Dar es Salaam for Tecra’s brother’s birthday, a confrontation ensued that saw Lali allegedly threaten the former army man.
At the party held at a hotel in Dar, Cheruiyot said Omar kept to himself and refused to join the rest in the birthday celebrations even after Tecra prodded him.
When Cheruiyot confronted him about being antisocial, he said “he wasn’t pleased with the company”.
The court heard that after the party, the girlfriend of Tecra’s brother James Karanja grabbed Tecra’s handbag from Lali and handed it over to the bodyguard.
“Leave Tecra alone you are an old man and she is a young woman,” James’ girlfriend Victoria reportedly barked at Lali.
This enraged Lali who told Victoria: “You and Cheruiyot are up to sinister motive.”
Lali Hured Unprintable Insults at Tecra
Senior principal magistrate Ms Zainab Abdul heard that Lali also verbally abused Tecra at the party.
“He called her B****, M******, I*****. I couldn’t take it. I told Omar that she was my boss and he couldn’t call her those names,” said the bodyguard.
It is during this confrontation that Lali allegedly threatened: “You do not know me, I will make you disappear and your children will never see you again.”
Cheruiyot said he dared Lali to make good on his threat “here and now not in the future. You cannot abuse my boss in my presence.”
Tecra intervened and cooled down both Lali and Cheruiyot. She reportedly brushed off the threat, telling Cheruiyot to go to sleep.
Lali and Tecra would later that night fly to Zanzibar leaving Cheruiyot in Dar. She called him from Zanzibar to arrange his flight back to Nairobi.
The lovebirds then flew from Zanzibar to Lamu, with Tecra asking Cheruiyot to fly there.
The bodyguard said he was reluctant to join them “due to the Dar incident”.
Second Threat In Lamu
While in Lamu, Cheruiyot said Lali threatened him again, reminding him about their confrontation in Dar es Salaam.
“You’re now in my hometown? I will never forget what you did to me in Dar es Salaam. You don’t know me. Your kids can miss you,” the bodyguard recounted Lali’s threat.
The guard said he reported the alleged threats to Tecra and later quit citing a hostile working environment because of Lali.
Cheruiyot also told the court Tecra had once kicked Lali out of her Naivasha home, leaving the 51-year-old in tears.
He said he had arrived for duty when a house help gossiped to him that she found Lali crying in the morning with his luggage thrown outside.
“I came in the morning and the domestic worker asked me what had happened the night before because she found Omar crying,” he said.
Adding: “I asked the house help why Lali was crying then she told me he had been kicked out of the Naivasha residence of Tecra.”
He said the Keroche heiress directed him to take Lali to the airport but she changed her mind after the lovebirds talked on the balcony for two hours.
Tecra Slapped Omar Lali
Cheruiyot also narrated an incident where Tecra slapped Lali outside a Naivasha hotel. Lali had refused to board her vehicle to proceed to another hotel where she was to meet some friends.
“Tecra grabbed Mr Lali’s shirt and forced him to board their vehicle but he resisted. It’s then I heard Tecra unleash a heavy slap on Mr Lali then he boarded the vehicle,” Mr Cheruiyot narrated.
He said Lali had warned Tecra against meeting some two friends whom he claimed were “not good people.”
“Tecra once asked him (Lali)…how do you want me to work if I cannot meet and discuss business with my friends.”
Cheruiyot said Tecra had vowed to leave Lali but it never came to pass.
Eric Cheruiyot worked for Tecra Muigai between May 2019 and January 2020.
The inquest continues.