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Archive for June 19th, 2010

Kenyan gets 6-year sentence in $600,000 benefits scheme

Posted by Administrator on June 19, 2010

A Kenyan national who used to live in Worcester was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court to 81 months in prison for being part of a scheme to secure more than $600,000 in unemployment benefits.

From about March 2006 through June 2008, the defendant, Peter Mwangi, 35, formerly of 2 Delldale St., registered 11 fictitious employers with the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance and filed hundreds of fraudulent claims in the names of supposed former employees of these businesses, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra S. Bower. He used his own identity as well as identities of other people, living and dead, to make the claims.

The state mailed benefit checks to numerous addresses that Mr. Mwangi controlled. He cashed the checks or deposited them into bank accounts, receiving $612,913 in bogus unemployment benefits over two years.

In June 2007, the defendant applied for and received a U.S. passport using another man’s name, Social Security number, birth date and other information. The passport bearing Mr. Mwangi’s photo but the other man’s information was seized in September 2008 in a search of Mr. Mwangi’s storage unit in Webster.

Mr. Mwangi, who previously had been ordered removed from the country, was taken into administrative custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in June 2008. Yesterday, he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 36 months of supervision upon release from his sentence of 6 years and 9 months.

Mr. Mwangi was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and full restitution. He pleaded guilty in December to three counts of mail fraud, passport fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Source: http://www.telegram.com/article/20100618/NEWS/6180572/1003/NEWS03

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Resentment in marriage

Posted by Administrator on June 19, 2010

‘Marriage is the only place in the world where enemies sleep in the same bed’. When I first heard this statement, I couldn’t help but marvel at just how true this is.

It’s not hard to imagine considering the number of people today who get married for all the wrong reasons – women for security and social status and men, as one writer put it, for sex, children and food.

The problem with these kinds of ‘out-of-convenience’ marriages is that when the honeymoon is over, all hell breaks loose and the married couple can no longer stand each other.

But other than getting married for all the wrong reasons, there is a legion of other reasons that may cause resentment and hatred to fester between otherwise happily married couples. Some of them include:

Giving up your dreams for marriage

Some people – women especially- give up their dreams and careers for a life of motherhood and housekeeping. This is so especially when an ambitious woman meets a man who wants a submissive housewife.

Giving up your life for someone else may seem romantic until thoughts of what you could have been if you hadn’t gotten married start haunting you.

On the other hand, if you are the reason why your partner is giving up his/her dreams, ask yourself this question.

Do you want to be the person that comes to mind when your partner thinks of how much they have failed in life? Because if you are, your partner sure will one day hate you for it.

Not listening to each other

Listening to your partner is much more than just hearing what they say, it includes acting upon what you hear. Couples with different personalities always suffer the most from this problem.

An introverted husband may, for example, be feeling unheard while his extroverted wife is wondering why her husband does not express himself.

Due to a lack of communication, resentment tends to fester in such a couple. If such is the case, it helps to try and understand your partner’s personality and how they communicate their feelings.

Competing with each other

Two cannot live together in harmony when they are having a power struggle. A writer once said that, for a marriage to work, a man must surrender his balls to his wife, and a wife must learn when to shut up.

What this means is that marriage is about swallowing your pride. Instead of trying to prove who is the boss, treat each other as equals, ask each other’s opinions and  involve each other in decision-making.

Not only will this save you from making mistakes where your partner could have helped but letting your partner feel that their opinion matters will also get rid of any form of competition.

Taking each other for granted

Your partner will resent you if he/she feels taken for granted. Are you always comparing your husband to other people and complaining about what he does not do?

Are you the kind of man who does not feel the need to show some appreciation after your wife has spent hours preparing your favourite meal? Well, you could be making your partner feel taken for granted.

The result is, instead of trying harder to please you; your partner may stop trying altogether.

Infidelity

Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? This rule states that your partner can only give you 80 per cent of what you seek in a relationship.

But then there is always someone out there ready and willing to offer you the remaining 20 per cent and most people lose the 80 per cent chasing this 20per cent.

Forgiveness is not absolution – while your partner may forgive your infidelities, they will never forget. So, before you get tempted by the 20 per cent, think about it, because your partner will always hate you for it.

njokikaigai@hotmail.com

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Mad Dash for Degrees Ruffles Marriage Beds

Posted by Administrator on June 19, 2010

Nairobi — The mad rush for parallel degrees by women is ruffling many marriage beds by heightening a sense of insecurity, especially among men whose spouses are pursuing higher education.

A number of women say their marital problems began as soon as they enrolled for university evening classes.

The real problem, the experts say, comes from marital power games playing out between both parties.

Statistics indicate that money is a major cause of marriage breakdown in Kenya, accounting for 64 per cent of all divorce and separation cases.Interviews with both married women and men indicate that the question of who makes more money is increasingly taking the centre stage in the Kenyan marriage.

As more women begin earning more than their spouses either through better jobs or doing better in business, husbands are increasingly becoming dependant on wives.

And the dependent man — defined by sociologists as one who has no job, or (has) a poor one and who is willing to live off his wife — has to live with the fact that he no longer wields as much power over his partner as the traditional African male.

“My wife got a job after I lost mine; but 10 years later, she still expects me to pay house rent. The other day she called me (a) lazy (man),” said one man who readily admits that his marriage is on the rocks.

But the financially independent married women say their men folk simply have to swallow their pride and admit that whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

“He has no right to stop me from doing what I want to as long as I am the one paying for it,” said one married parallel degree student at the University of Nairobi.

Experts concede that many marriages are breaking up as soon as husbands surrender their financial dominance, either after losing their jobs and businesses, or after their spouses start earning more than them.

This is especially the case if the marriage was never happy in the first place.

“A woman with a good job simply does not need to put up with an unsatisfactory marriage,” writes Prof Edward Mburugu in his book Families in Kenya.

But money is only one of the emerging trends:Married women are putting their MAs and MBAs before domestic chores.

Some 52 per cent of divorced or separated women cited the search for gender equality as the reason why their marriages hit the rocks.

Nothing captures the search for equality better than the mad rush for higher education among the middle class urban wives, who would rather go back to college for their Masters and PhDs, than let marriage “confine” them to a first degree.

Take Lilian* for instance, whose 17-year marriage ended before she finished her masters degree through an evening study programme at the University of Nairobi.

She says her husband, a government official cum businessman, suddenly turned into a jealous control freak as soon as she enrolled for the evening classes.

Prepare dinner

Besides closely monitoring the way she dressed and the new friends she made in college, he also expected her to personally prepare dinner everyday, irrespective of whether she had evening classes lined up for the day or not.

“He would not touch dinner prepared by the house girl,” she recounts.

Three years after divorcing the man, she got married in a colourful ceremony when she was only 23.

The college lecturer says her quest for a second university degree did more damage to her marriage than anything else.

Now, with her 17-year marriage over, she says she feels free, free from the ties that bind many couples together, irrespective of whether they find happiness in each other or not.

“Marriage was tying me down,” she says.

She is now pursuing her PhD, something she says she would not have done if she were still married.

Perhaps, she says, she would still be married if she never had any ambitions and chosen to remain a housewife.

Intense look

Lilian is not alone — at the University of Nairobi’s education building, scores of middle-aged women in the popular parallel degree programmes gather for evening classes at around 5 pm.

Looking at them sip tea in the cafeteria on the first floor as they wait for their lecturers, you immediately notice one thing — the ladies outstrip men by far.

One psychology class for example, has 22 ladies and two men.

One cannot help noticing the intense look on the faces of these evening scholars, looks of people who are carrying more than the ladies’ bags slung on their shoulders and the folders bulging with lecture notes.

Many of them are paying more than Sh500,000 — the bare minimum in tuition fees for parallel degree courses. They pay the fees in banker’s cheques, but to realise their educational ambitions, they are paying with their marriages.

“Some of us defied our husbands to come here; they (the husbands) think they have provided us with everything that we need at home and cannot understand why we are going back to school,” confided a middle aged civil servant, currently pursuing a parallel degree in psychology.

Both married men and women concede that the popular parallel degree programmes and their trademark evening classes are stocking fires of suspicion within thousands of marriages in Kenya.

According to the women that the Saturday Nation spoke to, the men are increasingly feeling insecure with their spouses’ education ambitions, triggering all manner of conflict in marriages.

Concubines and toy boys

Husbands tend to view their spouses’ evening classes as more of evening dates, leading to all manner of accusations and counter-accusations, including alleged affairs with lecturers.Men also fear higher education will turn their wives’ heads. They are no longer sure the spouse will come back to the marital bed after getting her PhD.

“I think it is the fear; fear that the wives will turn big-headed on completing their degrees,” says Urbanus Muthama, an insurance broker who just finished paying for his wife’s first degree in Information Technology at KCA University.

Sociologists concede that the modern day educated woman may not come back to the marriage bed after her PhD. Education, they say, is tilting the balance of power in many middle class Kenyan marriages, upsetting centuries of male dominance.

“Traditionally, power was in the hands of the husband and his male relatives. However, today’s educated Kenyan women are less willing to tolerate this situation,” writes Prof Mburugu.

One intriguing observation from the survey was that love and fidelity are no longer the pedestals upon which marriages in Kenya sit.

Only 26 per cent of married people cited fidelity as the glue that keeps them married.

A closer interview reveals that more marriage partners are increasingly questioning the traditional rules of fidelity.

In focus group discussions for both married men and women, both sides admitted that having a sexual partner outside marriage is no longer unusual.

“Having someone else actually helps my marriage,” said a mother of two, who has been married for more than 15 years now.In short, she believes a married woman can eat her cake and still have it.

The trick, she says, is to carefully chose someone to provide what your partner is no longer able to fulfil.

“Let us be honest, the fact that I loved one man does not stop me from loving another at some point. I can still do that and remain married, in fact, it might even help my marriage,” she says.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the male folk, who said having another relationship beyond their marriage is what has been keeping them going.

Their wives, they say, are no longer a source of sexual intimacy and their conjugal rights are outsourced elsewhere.

“She (the wife) is no more than the mother of my children, and I the father of the children, full stop,” said one married man.

But this bending of marriage rules, sociologists warn, will only see more marriages on the rocks.

She has the looks, she has the money, she has the brains, all she does not need is a bad marriage…she will simply walk out and never come back, no matter how many rings you put on her finger.

The happy-go-lucky lot

Take Liz for example. She walked out of her marriage last month, barely three years after a colourful church wedding.

Yet she is not crying over any spilt milk — when we called her, she was out on some workshop outside Nairobi.

And although she did not want to go into details on why her three-year marriage hit the rocks, she had no doubt in her mind on one thing: It was easier walking out, because she has the money.

“If I did not have my own money, I would probably still be languishing in a bad marriage,” she says.

“I simply walked out, and I am not going back.”

Another intriguing finding was the increasing popularity of “come-we-stay” relationships as a growing number of modern couples now regard marriage as a walk-in-walk-out relationship, where the couple does not have to live together forever.

A quarter of the people interviewed said they are yet to make their marriage official, be it through customary, civil or religious marriage ceremonies.

Interestingly, more couples in such loosely knit relationships said they were much happier than their counterparts married in church weddings.

Only 20 per cent of “come-we-stay” relationships said they were unhappy, compared to 29 per cent of church-weds.

For this group, “happily-ever-more after” is rather too long, and “death” in “until-death-do-us-part” just too far away.

“People and circumstances can change,” says one lady journalist. “I do not see why any two people should pledge to live together forever.”Forever in marriage, some young partners feel, is a nothing more than wishful thinking.

This trend is increasingly picking up among the young people who now want no-strings-attached relationships, with clear exit options for both parties.

“Marriage is good, but I would not advise any young person to put his heart into it,” says one young city contractor.

To this breed of couples, the vow until death do us part, they feel, ought to be changed, to something like ” as long as both of us can.”

Family lawyers like Duncan Mindo say this has to do with the young generations demystifying divorce and separation — two words that were almost a taboo in the traditional marriage.

But, he says, young couples are beginning to realise that ending marriage relationships that are no longer working is no big deal.

*She does not want her name revealed.

-Source: Daily Nation

Posted in Features, Kenya Marriages | 3 Comments »

 
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