Daddy Owen: I sank into depression after she left, I wish her well

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Singer Owen Mwita (Daddy Owen) and Farida Wambui's wedding reception at Radisson Blue hotel, Nairobi, on April 4, 2016. [Elvis Ogina]

As he turned 40 last week, MTV-Mama awards winner Owen Mwatia alias Daddy Owen penned a moving post on the pain he had undergone in the past few years.

The long Instagram post was part of a series of messages the Vanity singer has been sharing with his followers since he opened up about his troubled life that saw him slip into depression for three years and the eventual reports that his marriage was on the rocks.

“In totality, as I step into my 40th year, I step in as an empty vessel and undone before God, seeking more grace, fresh anointing and a deeper walk with my source. I pray for more grace to be able to reflect the peace, love and joy of the Lord,” the post read.

“I have felt like Paul when he pleaded with God to remove the thorn from his flesh and I have seen God manifest in my life the answer that he gave Paul that… my grace is sufficient in weakness…”

The singer likened his tribulations to those of Job, and Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, when they were pushed to the limit.

Following reports that his wife of four years, Faridah Wambui, left in December last year, the System Ya Kapungala singer has been a haunted man.

We met Daddy Owen in a Nairobi coffee joint. He walked in dressed in a white T-shirt, fitting pants and matching white sneakers. For almost 10 minutes, the singer was on phone before he hang up and apologised. He then pulled a seat.

“Sorry, you know how engaging my ‘sister’ Emmy Kosgei can be. I couldn’t stop her. She is one of the few people who have stood with me over the years and she is just worried that I might not be well. She has invited me to Nigeria, something I am highly considering,” Daddy Owen said, adding: “I am now here for you”.

It had been almost two years since we had such a sitting. The last interview was in 2019, when he released the Sitadanganya single after about three years’ break. His wife, who he wedded in a star studded ceremony in Nairobi in 2016, had just delivered their second son. Faridah and Daddy Owen dated for four years before tying the knot. I reflect about the big day before I interrogate the man of God about the broken marriage.

“Take it easy. The truth will always come out. Nothing remains a secret forever. So, feel free to ask me anything. I know people (readers) are itching to hear it all coming from you,” he chided as if to unnerve us into the discussion.

“Whatever we discuss here, I want you to know that I would like to protect my children, who should not in any way be affected by this saga. I also want you to know that even in this pain, I am also here to protect her (Faridah), regardless,” the singer said.

Daddy Owen was quick to say that he was not out to blame Faridah for their break-up. He, instead, described her as a friend he had been with for eight years, and who he had entrusted his life with before they hit rock bottom.

He revealed that the marital woes, which started three years ago, affected his showbiz and religious life, sending him into solitude and depression.

The singer said washing dirty linen in public was not his cup of tea.

“When the story came out, I was like…oh! I wouldn’t be the person to confirm it after all. But the fact is that whether I talk about it or not, the truth will eventually come out. I wouldn’t be the one to come out and tarnish her (Faridah’s) name and if I wanted to discuss our family issues, I would have done that a long time ago. The truth is out there. It’s hard to fight it. I wish her all the best,” he said.

“I am a very private person and my privacy is mostly about my children. As for me, I am a public personality and the public has a right to follow up on what is going on in my marriage, but I don’t want this to touch on our children at all. I don’t want them to grow up and find that we made some bad decisions for them,” Daddy Owen emphasised.

Asked how he felt about harsh public judgement and the fact that despite being a man of God the marriage did not withstand trouble, Daddy Owen was quick to say God had taken him through the fire, and that the same God still had a great plan for him.

“We have been discussing our issues as a couple and consulting when things don’t go right. We haven’t been agreeing on everything and that is human. However, when one wrong leads to another, you really have to get concerned and start thinking hard. When it came to that, I fell into depression and could lock myself in the house and cry, asking God why this was going on. I stopped writing and releasing songs, as my creativity wasn’t working. I could not pray, as I felt weak inside. I contemplated doing everything wrong, even death. Nothing in life makes sense. The worst bit is that everyone out there thinks you have it all put together and life is progressive,” he said, adding that his biggest burden had been how to explain all this to the church and the society that he owes a lot. 

Daddy Owen says if he does not handle the matter well, it can ruin his life.

Having been in the music industry for 18 years, the singer admitted that this was the lowest point of his career and he never saw it coming.

Pair in court

He said his doctor had since helped him to overcome depression and that he was back on his feet, ready to produce his comeback single before the end of the week, a song he described as a testimony of the triumph over challenges he has been through.

Daddy Owen said he had begun to change the perspective he had developed of himself – a failed star and man of God – adding that he had to retrace his vision and purpose and start afresh.

It is this experience that has pushed him to start a ministry in prisons to restore hope among convicts. “There is only one main ground for divorce in the Bible,” he explained when asked if divorce was on the cards. “Go read Mathew 19. It is all explained there and so that is all I can say about that for now,” he concludes.

Mathew 19:8 Reads: “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery’.”

The couple is in court over the differences. In one of the matters dated January 8, Faridah’s lawyers Amadi and Associates issued a demand letter to Daddy Owen asking him to delete her photos from social media and return her academic certificates. 

Faridah declined to speak about the separation despite many attempts by The Standard to get her side of the story.

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