Former female world boxing champion Conjestina Achieng’s continued illness psychologically ‘tortured’ her father to the grave, family members now reveal.
Conje, as the boxer is fondly known, was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder/paranoid schizophrenia and admitted at Mathari Teaching and Referral Hospital in September 2012, before being released from the facility in October 2014. She was then living in Nairobi, but later relocated to her rural home.
Conje has been intermittently unwell ever since. The family now says her continued sickness took a toll on her dad, leading to his death. Clement Adala, Conje’s father, succumbed to heart failure last December at Kisumu’s Jalaram Hospital.
Conje’s brother, William Ochieng recalled his father’s last words before he died: “My son,” he reportedly said, “I am worried about how you people are going to make it.
I have been in this world long enough, and I have suffered enough because of my daughter. I have nothing left and I cannot stand it any longer.”
This was corroborated by Conje’s mother, Gertrude Adala when The Nairobian visited their Umiru village in Yala, Siaya County. She recalled that her late husband was worried about what will become of his daughter and his grandchild whose school fee was already hitting Sh80,000 in arrears.
Gertrude said her husband sold a lot of family property to fund Conje’s treatment and that his death was so sudden. “He died talking to us. Before that, he had lamented about the plight of her daughter,” she recalls, adding that on the fateful day, her hubby contacted her and they talked for a while.
Ochieng adds that after their father sold some family land to cater for Conje’s treatment, his efforts did not bear fruit as former star pugilist’s condition continued to deteriorate. The father had not expected Conje’s sickness to last that long.
According to Ochieng, the old man was saddened by the state of affairs: “He used to look at Conje and could not believe that she was the same heroine who flew the Kenyan flag high.” Ochieng’ added that his sister’s illness was not easy on other family members, including himself.
Conje’s mother lashed out at those claiming the family was using their famous daughter’s condition as a get-rich-quick scheme. “I buried my husband last December. In March, I buried my eldest son. I have so many problems, but I am a mother.
I cannot be so inhuman to use my daughter’s plight to make money,” she explained, adding that it is other people who have on several occasions taken advantage of Conje to swindle well-wishers who offere to help the former boxer. The mother claimed that some of the money collected for her treatment ended up in the wrong hands.