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A pregnant wife‘s tearful memories of husband who died mysteriously in Saudi Arabia

When Margaret Nyakeru kissed her husband Josephat Kamau Karanja goodbye as he prepared to catch a Saudi Arabia-bound flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on June 14, she did not know that was the last time she would see him alive.

She vividly recalls the unforgettable partying moments, the feel-good laughter and the intimate wife-husband jokes as they chatted in a jovial mood in the sitting room.

And as the clock ticked away and other family members who had joined her in a brief farewell ceremony watched from a distance suddenly her voice dropped to a whisper.

“Please sweetheart remember to bring the boxes of goodies to our firstborn who will be arriving in this world in February next year,” recalls the 25-year-old Ms Nyakeru who is six months pregnant.

“For the first time, he gathered courage and lifted his head and looked at my eyes and when our eyes met he whispered back to me and said, ‘My love, God willing I will keep my words. I will work hard and save enough money. You know I have never disappointed you… Please let me be the first person to know the arrival of our first child’.”


These parting words will haunt Ms Nyakeru as she receives the cold body of her husband at the airport Saturday at 1.30pm.

Mr Kamau, 29, a truck driver in the Saudi capital Riyadh died under mysterious circumstances reportedly while swimming on October 2.

However, the family which came to learn about his death on October 28, disputes this version of his death and suspects that their kin was pushed into the swimming pool and drowned.

Ms Nyakeru is yet to come to terms with the mysterious death of her husband who has joined the growing death list of Kenyans who have so far died in Saudi Arabia in search for a greener pasture.

“I was eagerly looking forward to receive the boxes of gifts for our first born child as he had promised to come early next year but instead I will receive his cold body in a coffin,” said a tearful Ms Nyakeru fighting back tears.

“Every second, minute, hour, day, week and month counted a lot to me. I am still not yet convinced that he is gone. We talked last month prior to his death and although he sounded tired, he was in good health.”


According to Mr Kamau’s elder brother, Mr Sammy Karanja, his younger sibling was a truck driver with a Saudi Arabian Oil company for two years and when his contract ended he came back to Kenya in April.

“He came in April and in June he started the Kikuyu traditional process of marrying his wife by paying his first installment of dowry and in September he left for Saudi Arabia after his contract was renewed,” said Mr Karanja.

He said the Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh was informed about his death by a Kenyan colleague who was working with Mr Kamau almost immediately but kept quiet for two weeks.

“Until when will our brothers and sisters continue to die in Saudi Arabia? Our government must do something about these deaths,” said Mr Karanja.

He said several Kenyans have died in Saudi but their relatives were unable to bring back their bodies.