Sh20m jackpot winner turns away estranged wife
Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2016
ANITA CHEPKOECH -1 | Jumatano, Agosti 3, 2016
A Sh20 million jackpot winner refused to welcome his estranged wife who had returned to him after she heard of his extraordinary luck.
Joseph Onywera, 62, a farmer in Kapiyo in Kano, Kisumu County, won the colossal amount in 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. His second wife, Ms Anyango, left him in 2010 following a disagreement over money.
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.
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 incidents 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, one can see over 10 construction workers busy, some putting up a three-bedroom house while others are constructing pit latrines.
The mad-walled house from where he spoke to the 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 not have imagined he would one day afford a car.
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 an old one in the heart of the lakeside town of Kisumu.
He has also ordered a pickup truck 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 about him in his simple life have retuned in full swing.
A number of people queued up in his house with all sorts of pleas, ranging from requests for school fees to calls for him to give to a church construction project.
“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 jackpot 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 from Kisumu to Nairobi, he would visit casinos, where he realized he had a silver spoon at it.
At one time in 1998 he 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 at different outlets until he went home with Sh15,000. He could not believe his eyes.
In fact, when the good news about the Betway jackpot came, he said, he was very sick and had hardly 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 when the game does not end as he foretells, he crosses it.
He says 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 money to gamble on other betting platforms.
“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 is a growing national craze for betting that, although it has made some people like Mr Onywera millionaires, has also led to family breakups and deaths because of money lost to gambling.
Some university students are known to plough money meant for their education into gambling, and most of them lose it and end up misery.
The trend has caught the eyes of lawmakers, who now want the industry 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 in 14 days on its findings and recommendations on how to regulate the industry.
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