A Sh20 million jackpot winner sent away his estranged wife who returned to him after she heard of his luck.
Mr Joseph Onywera, 62, a farmer in Kapiyo in Kano, Kisumu county, won the colossal amount early June from Betway Company after he correctly predicted the outcome of 13 football matches in the English Premier League.
The gambling addict has been living with his son. His first wife, Truphena, died in 1996. The second wife, Ms Anyango, left him in 2010 following a disagreement over money.
[i]But hardly a month after he hit the jackpot, she came back knocking.
“I saw her come into my compound and I wondered. She had told me to my face that she would only return after I die. So I told her to go away since I am still alive,” said Mr Onywera.[/i]
The Arsenal and Gor Mahia fan believes the woman, who is said to be married to a Tanzanian in Isebania, must have come back just because fortune had knocked at his door.
“Ever since she left, several incidences have happened that would attract her attention. My mother died but she did not turn up for her burial. My father also died and I had an accident, but she did not bother to check on us,” said the composed gambler.
He is looking forward to marrying another woman, who he said, stuck with him during his days of hardship.
“I am a humble rice and tomato farmer. A certain woman who respected and loved me when all I had was farming will be the one to live with me in this permanent house,” he said with a tone of finality.
Visiting his newly fenced off and gated compound, over 10 construction workers are busy, some putting up a three bedroomed house while others are constructing pit latrines.
The mud-walled house from where he spoke to Nation was also freshly built to keep him from the old one whose walls had begun to fall off.
There is total transformation, almost overnight, for a man who could hardly imagine he would afford a car any time soon.
Mr Onywere is not only the latest millionaire in the vicinity but practically a “private developer” as some of his village mates call him.
He has bought two plots and is planning to develop another one located at the heart of the Lakeside city, Kisumu.
He has also ordered for a pick-up and a canter lorry which will help him deliver farm produce to the market as well as run other businesses on the side.
He said friends and relatives who had long forgotten him in his simple life have retuned in full swing.
A number of people queued up with all sorts of pleas in his house, ranging from school fees to invitation to aid in the construction of a church.
“I am a good man. I have helped in several constructions in the church and assisted a number of my relatives and friends to build good houses and pay fees for their children,” he said.
But how come the father of nine, who dropped out of school in Standard Three in 1967, did not jump for joy when he received that envied call that he had hit the jack pot for that week?
“This is not the first price that would make my heart stop with joy. I started gambling over 15 years ago and although the amounts were not as huge as this, I have gotten over the excitement,” he said.
He said at one time when he was a driver, delivering fish to Nairobi from Kisumu, he would visit Casinos where he realized he had a silver spoon at it.
He at one time in 1998 borrowed Sh30 for fare, but ended up using it to bet in the streets. After earning the first Sh2, 200 from his first attempt, he could not go home. He tried it 10 more times in different outlets until he went home with Sh15, 000. He could not believe his eyes.
In fact at the time when the good news about Betway jackpot came, he said, he was so sick and hardly had any money left for treatment because he had used up Sh25, 000 in his M-Shwari account to bet that week.
Mr Onywera keeps records of his betting like an accountant.
In a square ruled exercise book, he writes dates, the type of bets and the company, whether Betway, Sportpesa, Betin or M-Cheza, and his prediction. When his guess is right, he ticks it and crosses it if the game does not end as he predicted.
He uses not less than Sh2,000 daily from which he makes small wins and earns bonuses.
Of the Sh20 million he won in June, Sh200,000 was left in his Betway account so he can continue betting.
But he cannot use the amount to gamble with other betting outlets.
“A times I am too tired or sick to watch a game but I still predict. In fact with the jackpot, I did not make it to watch most matches,” he said.
There has been a national craze for betting that although has made some people like Mr Onywera millionaires, it has also led to family break ups and deaths due to lose of money.
University students are known to use their fee to plough into the gamble, most of who lose and end up miserable.
The trend has caught the eyes of lawmakers who now want the practice regulated.
Already, MPs have formed a committee to investigate the phenomenal growth in gambling in the country, co-chaired by Majority Leader Aden Duale and Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo.
The 11-member team is expected to table a report on its findings and recommendations on how to regulate the gambling industry in 14 days