By DAVID LOMURIA - Daily Nation - A 66-year-old former Member of Parliament on Tuesday shot his wife dead and then turned the gun on himself in a shocking case of violence in the home.
Mr Francis Achukwa Ewaton was the MP for Turkana South from 1992 to 2007 when he lost to the sitting MP, Mr Josephat Nanok.
|FILE | NATION Former Turkana South MP Francis Ewaton (right) at a past meeting.|
There was speculation that Mr Ewaton was angry with his wife, Mrs Lydia Ewaton, 45, for being away from home the whole day.
A person close to the family said a third individual may have been involved and that it was that individual Mr Ewaton meant to shoot but accidentally hit his wife. None of this could be authoritatively established.
Police said Mr Ewaton shot his wife in the head then tried to hang himself.
After failing, the officer said, he took the gun, put it to his head and pulled the trigger.
A police officer said that the incident was witnessed by a “young girl,” because there was nobody else at the home.
The killings took place at the couple’s Lokichar home in Turkana County.
Rift Valley provincial police officer, Mr John Mbijjiwe, put the time of the shooting at around 9.30 in the morning.
“It is still early to tell the motive of the former MP’s action, but we are waiting for the crime officers to arrive from Kitale for investigations,” said Mr Mbijjiwe.
He, however, said that there were no children or relatives at the scene of crime at the time police arrived.
Lokichar chief Josephine Akiru said Mr Ewaton had been ill for a long time and was under treatment for ulcers and high blood pressure.
The bodies were found in their home with a gun, believed to be the former MP’s personal weapon, and spent cartridges next to the bodies in the living room.
On Tuesday, the MP’s son Mr Pius Atok said he believed his father could not have used his own gun to shoot dead his step-mother and then turn the gun on himself.
“My father was a military person, who retired without any incidents of lawlessness,” said the son, a businessman who also runs an NGO in Nairobi.
“The cause of death has not yet been ascertained and the scene is yet to be dusted and we need to allow the investigation team to go deeper to establish who the last person with the gun was,” said Mr Atok.
He speculated that his parents may have been shot by an intruder because doors are normally left open due to the scorching heat in the day.
Mr Atok said he could not imagine anything that could have raised his father’s temper to the level of shooting someone and then killing himself, adding that the couple had enjoyed a cordial marriage.
His first wife, Mrs Mary Ewaton, 60, lives in Lodwar town.
According to the son, the bodies will be taken to a mortuary in Kitale as the family makes plans to visit the scene on Wednesday.
Mr Atok said he had not travelled home since the flights from Nairobi to Lodwar are usually in the morning.
The former MP ran a business in Kitale town and would fly to Lodwar frequently to be with his family, according to Mr Atok.
The family said the MP had been a peaceful man and except for a stressful spell before he entered parliament, he is said to have enjoyed a quiet life even after losing his parliamentary seat in the 2007 election.
Neighbours and close friends said Mr Ewaton was lonely and bitter about his wife’s day-long absence from home.
Ruth Atieng, a neighbour, however, said there was no signs of any problem in the couple’s home the previous night until in the morning when the wife was preparing to attend to her business at Lokichar trading centre.
“We were shocked when we learnt of the deaths in the morning, Mr Ewaton was a kind hearted man who loved helping others,” said Ruth.
Area MP Mr Josephat Nanok said the nation had lost a patriot and a good leader who placed the interest of his community first. Mr Nanok, however, asked the public to refrain from speculating about the incident until investigations are complete.