Activist Who Defended Tea Workers After BBC Exposé Found Dead
Residents of Lanet, Nakuru County, were on Friday, March 24, shocked by the death of Godfrey Onyango, an activist who, until his death, took part in the litigation of public interest cases.
Close family members claimed that Onyango collapsed at around 5 pm in the evening under mysterious circumstances as he had not shown any signs of ill health.
Onyango’s younger brother, Tom Mboya Onyango, stated that the last time they had contact was on Friday, March 24, at 11 am, when he checked on the deceased.
The poster for the investigative documentary by BBC Africa Eye, titled “Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea.”
He left with the assurance that Onyango was doing well only to find his body lying dead in his house.
The activist’s body was taken to a morgue in Nakuru Town, where a postmortem was scheduled to occur as authorities sought to establish the cause of his death.
“I found him, having collapsed and died in the house. He was okay in the morning,” Onyango’s brother told the Nation.
Onyango had reportedly offered to help former employees of two prominent tea-producing firms in their pursuit of justice against the companies accused of subjecting them to sexual harassment as a condition for earning jobs.
His endeavour followed an expose aired by BBC in February 2023 which highlighted the plight of female workers working in tea-producing firms in Kericho County.
The case would have been one of the several cases he helped solve through litigation under his organisation, Justice and Environment Foundation.
BBC’s expose entitled “Sex of Work” became the talking point in Kenya and abroad as people from different quarters reacted to the revelations.
On February 20, Kericho Women representative Beatrice Kemei sought a statement from the Departmental Committee on Labour regarding the harassment claims made in the exposé.
Subsequently, the Speaker directed members of the said Committee to prepare a report on the allegations of sexual harassment meted on female workers in the farms.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Noordin Haji, also acted on the expose with a directive ordering comprehensive investigations into the allegations made.
An image of DPP Noordin Haji at a past press briefing.
dead died harass death probe sex