KABARNET, Kenya, May 19 – A retired military man has now emerged to claim he is the biological father of the late Samuel Wanjiru, the Olympic marathon champion who died in a fall from the balcony of his home in Nyahururu on Sunday night.
Elijah Kipng’etich Chebon, 50, 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.
Mr Chebon told Capital News that he has a family with five other children back in the village and that he had informed all of them about the "other son who became a famous athletics star in the world."
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.
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.
"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.
Displaying what could pass as a good leadership attribute from an elderly man of his calibre; Mr Chebon told Capital News that he had been sending Wanjiru text messages to advise him on how to solve the wrangles between him and his wife Trizah Njeri.
"I used to see them on TV and hear stories that there is a court case about a gun, and that they had separated with his wife, and I took it upon myself to send him messages to advise him," he said, "but Wanjiru has never called me back or replied my text messages."
Regarding Wanjiru\’s death, Mr Chebon said he was planning to travel to Nyahururu to meet Wanjiru\’s mother and other relatives so as to participate in the burial arrangements, although the plans were temporarily halted by a Nakuru court for two weeks.
"It is so difficult here in the village because I don\’t have money, but I have been able to speak to some of my friends here who have vehicles, and there one who has agreed to facilitate my travel arrangements so that I can convey my condolence to the family in Nyahururu. I should be going there next week," he said.
Asked if he is also eyeing Wanjiru\’s millions which have become a subject of controversy between the deceased\’s widow, his mother and three other women who claim to have cohabited with him, Mr Chebon said "it is a taboo in our [Kalenjin] community to talk about one\’s wealth even before he is buried."
"When I travel to Nyahururu to console the family, those are some of the issues I intend to raise with Wanjiru\’s mother so that I can offer fatherly advice," he said.
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