Tecra Muigai’s family has spoken for the first time about her love affair with Omar Lali. The family gave an account of their tumultuous love affair in the first episode of John Allan Namu’s The Last Door documentary.
In 2017, Tecra moved to Venice, Italy for two years to set up a coffee trading business and her high school best friend Max Richiedei visited her to help her set it up but it didn’t go well. In 2019 she returned to Kenya to work for the family company Keroche Breweries as the company’s head of strategy and innovation. She asked Max to help but before they started rolling out the project, she wanted to take a holiday, “She told me she needed to take a two-week break to relax and I suggested Lamu but two weeks turned to five weeks,” said Max.
According to her sister Anerlisa, Tecra stayed away from the family for months and on a random Saturday she introduced Lali to the family through WhatsApp, “She stayed away from us for around three to four months when we tried to call her we couldn’t get her even if we sent her a massage. Then one day she sent a picture of a guy in the family WhatsApp group and said he is the guy she is with. Everyone was shocked and we started side-chatting each other. She told us his name is Omar Lali.”
As a mother, I told her, ‘stop lying
Her mother Tabitha Karanja, Thought Tecra was joking about the relationship, “I was seated on the couch in the sitting room watching TV. Then I got a WhatsApp notification, Tecra had posted a picture of a man and I asked, ‘what is this?’ She told me, ‘the person that I love.’ As a mother, I told her, ‘stop lying.’ She told me she was not lying she was serious so I tried to call her but she was not picking up. I texted her, ‘I know this is a joke.’ She replied back saying, ‘you know mum you better know it is a serious thing.’ I told her, ‘unless you want to kill me?’ She said, ‘I know you understand love has no boundaries.’ I decided not to share it with her dad ‘the chairman’. I said if somebody sees something like this they will collapse.”
She decided to go and visit her the following Monday, “On Sunday, I told her I was going to church to pray for her because I couldn’t believe it. I thought she was joking with me. I dedicated that mass to her. I told her I will visit her on Monday but she told me not to come to the house. The next day we went and we found the gate locked. The security was protecting her rights and privacy, even when I said I was her parent. The G4S headquarters was the one preventing us from entering.”
Her boyfriend Lali fled into hiding, “Tecra started panicking and I decided to run in the bush and stayed there until 6 pm and later came back home,” said Omar. Tecra later decided to meet her parents at Naivasha Hotel, “She told us she would meet us at a hotel, we went to Naivasha Hotel and she came. She told us she had left him,” added Tabitha.
Massive age difference
The following day Tecra and Omar took a bus back to Lamu. Her best friend and workmate Max was among the first people to meet Omar, “It had not occurred to me, it would have been that different based on other relationships she had before. Obviously, I was taken aback, there was a massive age difference. There was a look that was not typically her type.”
Anerlisa said her sister had always dated smart guys and Lali was the opposite of her type, “Tecra was always dating smart people, guys who were smarter than her. Even when the guy came to meet us we used to tell her, ‘this guy is so smart where did you get him?’ She always used to joke, ‘you know me I’m smart so I have to date someone who is smart.’
Max also noticed the first red flag when he could not reach Tecra, “To me the was already an abnormal codependency that I couldn’t fully understand. What exasperated that is the fact that I couldn’t get time with her because he and his community were taking every slot of time that she had. The red flags began when I realized her communication was completely vanishing. Her own sense of self and willpower had disappeared and she was doing a lot of what he said.” “Someone was controlling her, she had completely changed,” noted Anerlisa.
Worst moment as a family
The family decided to send her sibling to talk to her but she refused to come home, “It was our worst moment as a family. The brothers went to Lamu to plead with her but told us something is wrong. We went to see her and she asked us if we wanted her to introduce us to the person. Of course, we couldn’t say no, the person came and he talked all the time. We decided not to accept the relationship but we were not going to lose our child,” said Tabitha.
The family agreed to tolerate her relationship and she came back to work at Keroche Breweries but shortly after Tecra and Lali jetted to Ethiopia for one month, “We flew to Addis Ababa and stayed for one month, she wanted us to get married at the Haile Selassie Church.” Lali said. Tabitha also confirmed those were Tecra’s plans.
February 2020, Anerlisa planned a get-together with Tecra and her friends and she was surprised when she saw her sister was in bad condition, “We were supposed to have a get-together but I decided to go with my friends and have a party at her place. We organized everything but she suggested that we could have guys from Lamu to come and cook and I told her we can get a caterer. We got there at lunchtime and when she came downstairs she was a totally different person. Omar followed her but I didn’t say hi to him. I told her I wanted to talk to her and we went upstairs. She showed me a mark on her body from a hot iron box
When Anerlisa asked her how her sister was living with Omar, she said, “They are always quarreling. They couldn’t go two days without breaking up then they would make up. Tecra would tell Omar she wants to look for a job for him but he told her he didn’t want to work.”
On her last day In Lamu on April 22, she organized a party for her friends, “She invited her friends to come for a drink. She sent me to buy a box of vodka but I only bought three bottles because I thought it was going to be too much. I was also not feeling well, I had a toothache so I went and bought some antibiotics. She told me to make vodka cocktails we drink but I told her I was on medication. She said, ‘I can’t be with a man who doesn’t drink’ so I drank but not much that night,” added Omar.
That same evening Tecra spoke to her family for the last time, “I sent her a funny video on WhatsApp and she called me and we laughed about it. We talked about life and we prayed on the phone. She said mum was calling when she finishes with her she will call me back.” Anerlisa said.
“She told me she was waiting for the curfew to be lifted then she will come home. She told me to take care of daddy because of his age and the call ended.” Added Tabitha.
According to Omar, he went to sleep early that night and left Tecra drinking, he was woken up in the morning by Tecra’s screams. He called his brother who came and did a fast aid and told him to take her to the hospital. She was later airlifted to Nairobi Hospital the same day and passed nine days later. After her death, the family turned their home office into her memorial wall.