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Backlash, pity for those claiming stake in Wanjiru

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – News of the emergence of an ex-military man who claims to be Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru\’s biological father has received mixed reactions from many of our online readers.

While many said Elijah Kipng\’etich Chebon perfectly resembles the Olympic marathon champion, there are those who told him off, saying he neglected his son in life and only identified himself after the hero died.

On Thursday, 50-year-old Chebon claimed he is the one who sired the late Wanjiru who died in a fall from the balcony of his home in Nyahururu on Sunday night.

Mr Chebon who formerly worked at the Kenya Air Force base in Nanyuki told Capital News that he is the one who sired the athletics hero 24 years ago, at a small village near the William Woods Conservancy.

"Whoever wants to claim that he is the biological father of the late Wanjiru is a liar. I am Wanjiru\’s dad, even his mother can attest to that," Mr Chebon told Capital News in an interview from Sumeiyon village, Temwai Location-some six kilometres from Kabarnet town.

Readers of Capital News have posted various comments online.

Gavana Kamau Gatwechi of Sacho High School said "Look at wanjiru critically and you see Chebon in him, hata hiyo genes za mbio mzee ndiye aliyempa (he even inherited the athletic genes from the old man).

Frank Mwangi who identifies himself as a student commented that "Wanjiru had a dad anyway and I could tell he is from the Rift Valley. The bottom line is we need to nurture young men!!! money and fame ruining."

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Another reader George Kipla said "This [emergence of Mr Chebon) explains Wanjiru had Kalenjin blood, that is where he got the talent."

While Milu Muyanga of East Lansing, Michigan wrote that "Wanjiru\’s death is a mystery just as his death," Wakamuri took issue with Mr Chebon\’s negligence for failing to participate in raising up Wanjiru, only to resurface when he has starred to fame.

"Mzee lipa child support first for 17 years (Old man, pay child support first for 17 years). The saga continues," Muyanga wrote.

Mr Chebon said he has two sons and three daughters "but when you count Wanjiru, then they are actually three sons. I am very proud of him and that is why I made my family and all my other relatives and friends here aware about him long before he died."

"They all know about it… my wife know it too well and they have no problem with it. In fact we have been watching him whenever he is running or when he is being given a heroic homecoming ceremony in Nairobi and Nyahururu," he said, confessing that he had made unsuccessful efforts "to meet my son for several years since 2009."

On Tuesday, another man emerged in Kiambu and claimed that he is the one who brought up Wanjiru, although he was not his biological father.

"I have no problem with this man from Kiambu who is saying he brought my son up because he admitted publicly that he is not his biological father. I want the world to know that I am Wanjiru\’s biological father," he said, recalling how he dated Wanjiru\’s mother between December 1985 and January 1986.

"We were only together for a short period of time, because she was residing at a village near the camp but they were displaced before our relationship would prosper, but she was already pregnant," he added.

Recalling vividly, how he tried to reach Wanjiru\’s mother through a landline telephone number for several months thereafter, Mr Chebon said he failed to reach her even after learning that she had moved to Naromoru.

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Asked how then he came to learn that Wanjiru was his son, having lost touch with the mother even before the Olympic marathon champion was born, Mr Chebon said: "I was so delighted when one day soon after the Olympic marathon of 2008, I saw the boy being welcomed back home and I saw his mother hugging him. That is when I knew that he was the son I sired because when you look at him, he just looks like me. There is no doubt about that."

Since then, Mr Chebon said he sought his contacts from athletes in Rift Valley and tried unsuccessfully to reach his son but he only promised to call him back whenever he called or left a text message on his phone.

(Court halts Wanjiru\’s burial)

"I think it is because I used to call between 8 and 9 pm, I have now come to know that that was the time he used to enjoy himself with friends in the bar. After trying to call him severally, at one point he barred my calls and I never managed to speak to him, but I did send him messages to make him aware that I am his biological father," he said.

"I have never even managed to talk to his mother, I have her number but whenever I call her phone is either off or busy," he said.

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