Edwin Chiloba: Friend denies murder of ‘loved’ Kenyan LGBTQ+ activist

Edwin Chiloba

Jacktone Odhiambo, a long-time friend of Edwin Chiloba, has denied murdering the Kenyan LGBTQ+ activist. 

Odhiambo – who was reportedly Chiloba’s housemate – remains in custody, South African online newspaper TimesLIVE reported. 

It was announced on 31 January that Odhiambo, 24, would be charged in connection with the killing.

According to the TimesLIVE, police believe Odhiambo had been in a relationship with Chiloba, who was 25.

Police in Kenya reported Chiloba’s body was found on 4 January 2023 in a metal box by the side of the road in Uasin Gishu County, after a motorcycle taxi driver reported seeing a car without licence plates dump the box. 

Preliminary investigations showed his eyes had been gouged out and, according to Nation, he died from strangulation. 

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Chiloba was buried on 17 January in his parents’ village, Sergoit. 

Who was Edwin Chiloba?

Chiloba, whose full name was Edwin Kiprotich Kipruto, attended the University of Eldoret in Kenya, beginning a fashion design course in 2019 and later building his own brand as a clothing designer. 

Chiloba made a name for himself as an LGBTQ+ activist, regularly speaking out about the discriminatory laws in place against the community in Kenya. 

Under British colonial-era law, it is illegal for men to engage in gay sex in Kenya. Those found guilty can face up to 14 years in prison. 

Several attempts to decriminalise gay sex have failed, and president William Ruto has branded LGBTQ+ rights in Kenya a “non-issue”.

Edwin Chiloba smiles at the camera while wearing round framed glasses and a dark top
LGBTQ+ activist, Edwin Chiloba. (Facebook)

Chiloba’s death has been met with global mourning as those who knew who remember him as a “loved and valued” activist.

Tributes from friends and family described him as “an amazing human” and an “iconic fashion designer”.

His cousin, Gaudensia Tanui, said: “Our child has been murdered, we only want justice and nothing more, and kindly let his soul rest in peace.”

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said: “Edwin was a loved and valued member of his community who used the platforms available to him to fight for what was right.

“Edwin’s death reminds us that queer bodies continue to be under attack all over the country.”

Chris Makena, a fellow activist and friend, said: “He spread love wherever he went, was bold about his existence as a queer man and encouraged many others to do the same”.

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