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Archive for October, 2010

Kenyan Speaker: Nairobi Seeks to Model on Iran’s Political Statesmanship

Posted by Administrator on October 31, 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Kenyan Parliament Speaker Kenneth Marende underlined that Nairobi is eager to model its political system on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“We are deeply interested in modeling our political ruling and statesmanship on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Marende said at a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here in Tehran on Sunday.

Reminding that Iran and Kenya share a common history of campaign against colonialism, he stressed that his country is keen to use Tehran’s experiences in different fields since Iran is an independent country which can be a role model for the other states.

He pointed to the volume of trade between Iran and Kenya which stands at $800mln, and expressed the hope that the economic relations between the two countries would further expand in the future.

Referring to the last year visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kenya, Marende said the visit yielded fruitful results for his East African state.

Iran has in the past few years shown increasing willingness to expand ties and cooperation with the Africa states and offered to transfer experience and technology to several African countries.

Since taking office in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has striven hard to maximize Tehran’s relations with the African continent.

Ahmadinejad paid a visit to Kenya in early 2009, during which he said that the bilateral ties between Iran and Kenya are improving in various political, cultural and economic arenas, and that the two countries are willing to strengthen and deepen these relations in all the different sectors.

“Iran and Kenya enjoy very good capacities, abilities and opportunities in different sectors and these elements, along with the experiences of the (two) governments and nations, can serve as complementary elements to help each other,” the Iranian president said in a meeting with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki last year.

The Kenyan president also urged accelerated implementation of the major agreements signed by the two countries, including the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) inked by the two countries on the materialization of bilateral and technical cooperation.

Source: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8908091246

Posted in Kenya | 5 Comments »

Seeking asylum, welcomed with violence

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

Eliud Nyenze died at the Oakington detention centre in Cambridgeshire in April.

Eliud Nyenze died at the Oakington detention centre in Cambridgeshire in April.

The recent closure of the Oakington detention centre in Cambridgeshire provoked a mixed response from anti-detention campaigners. Since the death of Kenyan Eliud Nyenze at Oakington in April, the concrete and barbedwire fortress has been anything but an advert for the British immigration system. Nyenze’s inquest declared he died of problems caused by an irregular heartbeat, but allegations suggest that in spite of complaining of chest pain, he was denied access to a doctor.

However, whilst conditions inside Oakington may be unsavoury, closing the centre has meant that applications of those inside were fast-tracked, and quite possibly not dealt with properly. On 12th October, the dark side of UK immigration policy once again hit the headlines. Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker, died on a British Airways flight to Luanda. Having lived in England for 14 years with his family, Jimmy died whilst being forcibly returned to his home country. Witnesses on his flight explain how he struggled for breath, as his head was pushed down by three members of the security agency responsible for his return. He was screaming, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

This kind of violent restraint has become a worryingly familiar part of the deportation process. I spoke to Mr S (whose name has been protected for his safety), a Libyan asylum seeker who underwent a similar experience: “I was woken in the night, they bound my hands and feet and carried me onto the aeroplane. I was bent down. I could hardly breathe. The handcuffs made my hands bleed.”

Private security firm G4S is contracted by the Government to run detention centres and escort asylum seekers back to their home countries. The corporation is notoriously unscrupulous, with an extremely questionable ethical record.

G4S is hardly the ideal first point of contact considering that many of the detainees at Oakington suffered from horrific human rights abuses in their country of origin. I spoke to Mr F (whose name we have also withheld), who was detained there for six months in spite of the fact that his body bore the physical evidence of torture. In Sudan, he had been kept in an underground prison for seven months. For Mr F, conditions at Oakington triggered post-traumatic shock syndrome, which led to him being placed on suicide watch. His application was initially refused, and he was very nearly deported. Fortuitously, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert found out about his case, and stopped the plane at the airport. “I have been a bit lucky,” Mr F admits, “but now I can only think of the other people in there.” He was helped by Medical Justice, an NGO which supports cases such as that of Mr F by providing independent health advice. Medical Justice describe the role of private companies in the detention system as “outsourcing abuse”.

Although centres like Oakington are intended as temporary stop-offs, those with pending applications can be detained for as long as three years. Each asylum seeker kept in detention costs the UK Government £68,000 annually. On first arriving in the UK, many are immediately criminalised because they have no hope of obtaining a passport from a regime from which they are fleeing, and so have been forced to travel on false documents. Farah, an Iranian woman now being supported by Cambridge Migrant Solidarity, escaped Iran after a fatwa was released, condemning her to be stoned to death. Arriving in England, she was sent to Holloway prison. This kind of arbitrary imprisonment only adds to the overcrowding of UK jails.

Even once an asylum seeker has begun the official process, genuine applications are frequently caught in a mire of bureaucracy. Detainees are entitled to just five hours of legal aid, an insufficient amount of time for such a complicated process. Farah was told she needed to produce the official copy of the fatwa against her. It is an offence punishable by death to remove the document from Iran, so she has been unable to procure the original. She is now released on bail, yet although she and her husband have a small baby, they neither have the right to work, nor are they entitled to any kind of social benefits. Her case continues.

In the UK in the past four years, 28 people are known or suspected to have committed suicide when told that their asylum application failed, and even those who want to return to their home country can often still be detained for months on end.

As victims of international bureaucracy, detainees are in limbo, isolated from friends and family, acquiring mental health problems, often highly educated yet unable to work, and costing our cut-ridden Government a vast sum of money. There has got to be a better alternative to a system which is expensive, inefficient and grossly unjust.

Source: http://www.varsity.co.uk/comment/2707

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | Comments Off on Seeking asylum, welcomed with violence

Kenyan widow granted refugee status

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

SEOUL, Oct 30 – A South Korean court ordered the government Friday to grant refugee status to a Kenyan widow who said she was in danger of being “inherited” by her late husband’s brother.

The 42-year-old from the Luo tribe, whose name was withheld, filed suit against the justice ministry for refusing to grant her refugee status.

She said she fled to South Korea in 2006 to avoid continual harassment and threats from her late husband’s relatives, who sought to force her to be “inherited” by another man.

“After her husband’s funeral, his brothers attempted to force her to have sex with another man and remarry under the custom,” the Seoul Administrative Court said in a statement.

When she refused to submit, it said, the brothers denied her access to her late husband’s property. They set fire to her house, putting the lives of her and her children at risk.

“It constitutes a breach of human dignity, and the right to choose one’s own sexual life, to force anyone to have sex with another man or marry him,” the court said.

“Considering that (Kenyan) police failed to act on her plea for help, it is highly likely for her to face the same persecution if she is repatriated.”

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Kenyan-widow-granted-refugee-status-10344.html#ixzz13ruf6CNE

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 2 Comments »

Weekday sins

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

By Billy Muiruri

“Cheating spouses no longer wait for the weekend “to sin”. They are turning week days into their time for extra-marital indulgences when it is less suspicious.”

Both men and women are culprits. Economically, the rich, the middle class and even the poor are players in the game.

With private investigators all over, busting through FM stations and partners being generally hawk eyed, cheating partners are finding new tricks to stay in the game.

A trend has emerged in major towns where cheating spouses are “sinning” during week days. They have discovered that this is the time when they are least likely to be suspected.

A decent working class person will drive into the hotel, lodge or guest house dressed in a suit, with some files in hand, looking like they could be attending a meeting.

They then get back to the office, business premises or head straight home depending on the time. This begins as early as 8am, goes on throughout the day with the last person booking at at about 4pm just before the end of official working hours.

Hotels and lodges that have provision for “day rooms”, the reference for an hour or two of using the room are busier on Wednesdays and Thursdays, according to inquiries done by Saturday Magazine team in Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nakuru and Thika.

Lunch time
Interviews with hotel receptionists, caretakers and some room managers show the odd hours intimate encounters are happening, with both men and women coming from the office being a rising clientele.

The argument, they say, is that weekends have proved inconvenient to hide such affairs as it is difficult to keep coming up with excuses for their spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends.

The other reason is the rising cost of maintaining a steady girlfriend or “the other woman”.

“We are normally full on Wednesdays between 2pm and 6pm,” says a receptionist at a hotel along Muindi Mbingu Street. She says most of their guests are working class people.

How does she know it is working class people? “You can tell a woman who is from an office – the handbag, the formal clothes, the language, all that,” she confides.

Along Kimathi Street, a receptionist says her day is as busy as the night.

“We now have someone assigned to dealing with the rooms during the day. We call it ‘day service’,” she explains and adds, “Initially, a client would come and say he or she wants to rest after an overnight journey.

This has slowly changed as such clients would be joined by a person of the opposite gender.” Some of the major hotels have been forced to respond to day service needs.

“When a client comes at 11am and wants a room and pays for it, we do not really mind what one does there provided it is within room service regulations. We are in business, remember,” says an assistant manager of the hotel that started day services early this year.

The manager who asks not to be named, intimates that more and more women are booking the rooms themselves. “I have particularly noted Wednesdays and Thursday are busier during the day. We can charge upto 75 per cent as we do a night’s stay,” he says. A caretaker at one of the guest houses along Murang’a road says he has seen well-dressed women rushing in during lunchtime, after first getting into a nearby hotel. “Just come after 1pm and you will see,” he challenged us.

We decided to investigate last Tuesday. At around 1:10pm, a brand new model Premio car pulled up near the hotel. A smartly dressed lady came out and could be seen making frantic calls. She then got back into her car.”

A few minutes later, a bigger and newer vehicle pulled up near hers and no sooner had the car pulled up than the lady came out of her car and casually walked towards the guest house.

My colleague followed her and pretended to also seek a room. We kept watch on the bigger car and once the lady settled the bill, she made a call and said, “ I am now ok.”

A dark well built man in a navy blue suit got out of the parked car and followed her to the guest house. In about three minutes, he was inside the guesthouse and the big gate locked behind them.

“The two come at least twice a month. They are regular and I do not think they are husband and wife,” the caretaker confides on condition we do not name the guesthouse.

More enquiries lead us to another hotel along Dubois Road at 2.15pm. We enquire about a day room. “You can have one at Sh800 but if you are not staying for more than two hours, “we can talk”.

As “investigators”, we are more interested in the “we can talk” bit. We charge Sh800 for a whole day but I can get you a room with Sh500 for one hour,” the receptionist tries to make a deal.

“How many rooms can we get? My colleague asks. “We only have two left but more would be available in an hour or two as those occupying them are not residents,” she innocently tells her potential clients. Twenty six out of 28 rooms fully booked at 2.15pm on a Tuesday!

The following day, we move to a higher class hotel to see if we could get a room for two hours. It is 11am when we reach the hotel in the city centre.

Here, all rooms are booked through normal hotel arrangements but we can get a standard room at 75 per cent of the rates if we were to state exactly when we want the room for. According to a businesswoman who is pursuing a divorce case at the High Court in Nairobi, she allegedly caught her husband red handed during the day.

“I did a lot of investigations before I knew what was happening,” she insists from the beginning. She used to call his office shortly after lunch and he wouldn’t be in.

“I always called him on Tuesday or Thursday as I would not be very busy on both days,” she goes on.

Her husband’s colleague secretly called her and asked her to find out why her husband always visited the hotel, near University of Nairobi with another unidentified lady on Tuesdays.

“On the fateful day, I patiently lay in wait at the hotel’s lobby at 1:30pm. I had gathered information that was his time at the hotel,” she says.
She saw it all although she was pretended to read a newspaper.

“He paid for the room and went up the stairs. The lady, whom I knew as his former colleague, followed him. Just as she closed the door, I bust in,” narrates the mother of two whose divorce case is almost over.

According to her, the man had paid Sh2,475, for the day service, 50 per cent of the normal hotel rate.

While some hotels will not charge half rates, most of them seem to have responded to “demand” and hired daytime room staff. It seems the era of keeping girlfriends or mistresses and having to pay their rents, bills and upkeep is threatened by this phenomenon.

Perhaps due to pressure of work and traffic snarl ups, it is easier for the working class or business people to excuse themselves and afford to stay out of office longer than usual or late in the evening during weekdays.


Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

Mother-Baby Packs Introduced in Kenya to Reduce HIV Transmission

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

The Kenyan Government has collaborated with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Maisha MTCT-Free Zone Initiative, which hopes to eliminate paediatric HIV in Kenya by 2015.

One of the initiative’s components is a `mother-baby pack’ containing antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) and antibiotics that women can administer themselves to reduce the risk of infecting their babies with HIV. The drugs are colour-coded so that even illiterate mothers can use it.

The initiative was launched in Kisumu, in the west of the country. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that it “has the potential to save many lives and I believe it is [an important] component towards the realisation of our goal”.

The packs are to be distributed by health workers to HIV-positive pregnant women so do not yet need ARV treatment for their own health. Officials hope that the initiative will reach those women who are unlikely to return to a clinic after their initial diagnosis.

The packs will be made available at antenatal clinics in four districts in the western provinces of Nyanza and Rift Valley, whose populations account for around 50% of all Kenyan children living with HIV/AIDS. Officials estimate that 22,000 Kenyan children are infected through mother-to-child transmission every year. There are currently 81,000 pregnant women living with HIV.

The pack was launched in Lesotho and Zambia earlier this year, and experience showed that the focus must be on strengthening the capacity of health workers and consequently the social acceptability of the packs.

Source: http://topnews.net.nz/content/29446-mother-baby-packs-introduced-kenya-reduce-hiv-transmission

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on Mother-Baby Packs Introduced in Kenya to Reduce HIV Transmission

Miss World Kenya 2010 Natasha Metto Wins Miss World Beauty With A Purpose 2010 Title

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

Miss World Kenya 2010 Natasha Metto has won the coveted Miss World Beauty with a Purpose title and qualified for the finals.

Miss World Kenya 2010 Natasha Metto has won the coveted Miss World Beauty with a Purpose title and qualified for the finals.

Miss World Kenya 2010 Natasha Metto, who is the gorgeous representative of the African nation, has won the coveted Miss World Beauty with a Purpose title at the 2010 Miss World pageant. The finals of the 60th Miss World pageant take place tonight at Sanya, China.

The 20 year-old model is a fresh secondary school pass out, who plans to study Business Administration in college from next year. She personally believes in the motto, “Confidence can take you where you want to go and make you become what you want to be”, and this belief of hers is what landed Miss Kenya in the Top 25 of the Miss World pageant.

Natasha Metto aims at becoming a role model to young girls and wants to be a major role player in the lives of those children who are less fortunate when it comes to their mothers. She covered the case of the treatment of the jigger worm epidemic in Kenya, and that won her the important “Beauty with a Purpose” title. Miss Ghana won the second prize, while Miss EL Salvador won the third.

The Beauty with a Purpose Award is the fifth fast track competition at the 2010 Miss World and Miss Kenya becomes the final contestant to be fast-tracked to the Top 25 at this year’s pageant. The others who got fast-tracked include: Miss Puerto Rico Yara Lasanta Santiago of (Miss World 2010 Beach Beauty), Miss Northern Ireland Lori Moore (Miss World 2010 Sportswoman), Miss Norway Mariann Birkedal (Miss World 2010 Top Model) and Miss Ireland, Emma Waldron (Miss World 2010 Talent).

After making it to the top 25 of the Miss World pageant this year, Miss Kenya World 2010 is set to give her all tonight and hopefully win the Miss World crown for the first time for Kenya.

Source: http://uktodaynews.com/9938/miss-world-kenya-2010-natasha-metto-wins-miss-world-beauty-with-a-purpose-2010-title/

Posted in Kenya | 18 Comments »

Confession, now guilty pleas in killings of wife, 2 kids

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

There was no explanation for why Justus Kebabe killed his two older children at their Vadnais Heights apartment, then fled with his 3-year-old daughter.

Justus Kebabe accused of killing his wife and two kids in MN

Justus Kebabe accused of killing his wife and two kids in MN

Justus Kebabe admitted to killing most of his family in their Vadnais Heights apartment during his first in-custody interview with investigators, and he never changed his story. On Friday afternoon, he pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree intentional murder for the deaths earlier this month of his wife and two of their three children.

The plea came at an omnibus hearing for Kebabe, 43, at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center next door to the jail. He will be sentenced Jan. 14 by District Judge Elena Ostby.

The county attorney’s office said it will ask for three consecutive sentences of 25 years and six months, meaning Kebabe would have to spend at least 50 years in prison before he is eligible for release.

In court Friday, Kebabe admitted that he hit his wife, Bilha Omare, 32, with a golf club, then strangled her with electrical wire in the family’s third-floor apartment in the Willow Ridge Apartments in the 1200 block of County Road D.

He said he gave two of the children cranberry juice laced with Tylenol PM pills before killing 12-year-old Kinley Ogendi by holding his head underwater and 9-year-old Ivyn Ogendi by suffocating her with a pillow and strangling her.

The bodies were discovered early Oct. 14 after a relative, concerned about Kebabe’s erratic behavior, called 911. Kebabe was arrested by a state trooper the previous evening after his vehicle ran out of gas on Interstate 35 near Faribault, Minn.

His 3-year-old daughter was in the car, unharmed. There was no explanation for why the older two children were killed and the youngest was not.

He failed field sobriety tests and was taken to the Rice County Law Enforcement Center, where authorities learned a few hours later about the killings. Kebabe told investigators he was angry because he believed his wife was being unfaithful.

He tried to kill himself at the Ramsey County jail on Oct. 14 by stuffing a wad of toilet paper into his mouth to block his airway. He had been on suicide watch since he was brought to the jail and he was found before he lost consciousness.

The killings came just a few months after Kebabe was discharged from probation after a December 2008 incident of domestic violence. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and was on probation for a year.

In a police report, Omare told a sheriff’s deputy that Kebabe had abused her repeatedly, including knocking her unconscious when they lived in Kenya. Kebabe came to the United States in 1996, she said, and she followed in 2003.

Source: http://www.startribune.com/local/east/106338263.html?elr=KArks8c7PaP3iUMEaPc:E7_ec7PaP3iUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU7DYaGEP7vDEh7P:DiUs

Posted in Crime, Diaspora News | 1 Comment »

Beware the trophy wife

Posted by Administrator on October 30, 2010

By Milly G

A good number of men marry for show. They marry for everyone but themselves and end up with wives who heap misery on them.

Men being men, feel that when the story of their life is told, the credits that roll on the screen must contain flashy women as ‘starring’. Who better than Halle Berry to make a movie a blockbuster?

Eric Benet is a typical male: Marries Halle, the hottest chick, for show, only to sabotage his own marriage. But Eric was the culprit here (Halle disclosed that he cheated on her 27 times). But there is another scenario: That of the trophy wife bitten by the infidelity bug.

Take for instance Comrade Bob. After the demise, no, scratch that: Even before the death of his lovely wife, the First Lady, Sally, he was already hanky-pankying with his secretary, the beautiful but now reviled Grace.

He made the worst mistake of his life, and one that many men make – he married his secretary. Why? Because her face makes heads turn and her brain is, well, missing. Fullstop.

Bob was at the place where he had enough money and power to get any woman he wanted – and Grace married him for the power he wielded as President. Really, they deserved each other.

President Mugabe had it coming all along and should not act surprised that his ndogondogo has gone amok. Welcome to the world of the trophy wife, Bob.

The trophy wife is that kind of wife that was married for her ability to make the man look good by virtue of the fact that he has beaten other men to getting her. The bottom line is: I de man. I won the contest and my wife is what I have to show for it!

The trouble with the trophy wife is that you as a man have to keep polishing her to keep her looking swanky. No wonder Grace drains public coffers with her extravagant shopping trips abroad and her ornate wardrobe.

Also, being an accolade who the husband wears as a medal, a trophy wife must always be on display and is always aware of her power to draw attention with her jingle and her shimmer, even the attention of men other than her husband, and especially of his close friends, thus one Mr Gideon Gono completes the love triangle.

As it is, she is always presenting herself as the reward of contests between men. And this does not end with marriage, unless of course the man gets so insecure that he puts her on lock-down with curfews and rules about hemlines.

There was this madman in Nyeri who recently drafted, passed and promulgated a constitution to govern his home — never mind that he did not consult his ‘difficult’ wife on anything. He called it ‘Katiba ya mucii wakwa’.

Digging a grave

A trophy wife always has a sense of entitlement and her husband always suffers paranoia and insecurity, and with good reason.

As for Mrs Mugabe, Gideon Gono should know that she probably has a replacement for him already. These women just keep going and going, like an Energizer bunny.

Men think with their ego. But marriage is one of those undertakings that a man needs to engage his heart in.

Seriously, marrying a woman so your boys can take off their hats for you is digging a grave for yourself. So is trying to prove to the ex girlfriend who booted you that you can take it a notch higher. You may end up with a pretty-faced blonde who impresses everybody but with whom you cannot hold a decent conversation or be happy.

If you get it all — beauty and brains — in a package that you genuinely love, So much the better!

I know men married to drop-dead gorgeous women, but who are desperately unhappy — the women are either lazy, frigid, nagging, controlling or loose. Marry the girl you love. Your nights will be warm and happy.

 Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/mag/InsidePage.php?id=2000021293&cid=300

Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

A mover and shaker in the world of honeymoons

Posted by Administrator on October 29, 2010

By Billy Muiruri

When my call to Phyllis Marete-Mwai is answered, it takes a few seconds before a soft, apologetic voice comes through. “Sorry, I am in a wedding. I have gone out, can we speak now,” she says.

It is a weekend. As I would later learn in our interview, Phylis is a wedding fanatic and attends weddings every weekend. ‘Gracing my clients’ weddings is part of my job.

On this day, I learn more about a couple’s tastes and preferences. This helps me in the final touches of their honeymoon, she says.

Phyllis is the managing director of Bushblazers Tours, Travel & Safaris, a firm that has curved a notable niche in organising honeymoon expeditions both in Kenya and outside.

“The wedding industry has been growing in leaps and bounds in the recent past and couples are more specific on how they want their honeymoon to be,” she says.

A honeymoon, she asserts, means a lot to the bride. “You can imagine the honeymoon  expectations of a couple that spends more than a million shillings on a wedding,” she points out just to explain how divergent preferences can be.

During a good month, the firm handles about twelve honeymoons and three or four family holidays, according to records at her Arrow House offices along Koinange street.

“There was necessity to follow up holidays after people get married. Holidays create a bond between couples and their children,” she explains how her honeymoon packages gave rise to family holidays.

Cutting a niche in honeymoons just when the wedding industry in Kenya is raking in billions has favoured Bushblazers, making the firm grow threefold since 2007.

Early this month, she earned her latest cap in the honeymoon and family holidays arena. She won a partnership deal to be the sole international marketer for the vintage steam engine launched recently by Mawenzi Gardens and Kenya Railways for leisure rides.

Kenya has become the second country in Africa (after South Africa) to adopt the historical locomotives for family fun days, weddings and honeymoons. It was made in Britain in 1955 and was used in Kenya until 1980 when it was replaced by diesel engines.

Phyllis attributes her success to referrals. “If a good wedding happens, people always ask the couple who their suppliers were and this often includes their honeymoon destination,” she says.

These days, Phyllis says, style and class rule the wedding arena. More perusal of her records show the favourite destinations for her clients locally are Naivasha, Lamu, Maasai Mara, Malindi and Mombasa.

“A new crop of honeymooners wants to split the honeymoon days and visit two or three places,” she says. “This means several couples can decide to spend three days in Kenya and four days in Tanzania,” she adds.

As we are doing the interview, Phyllis receives a ‘special guest’. He is Michael Bush, a Swedish citizen who wedded a Kenyan in 2007.  He took a seven-day honeymoon with the firm and spent three days in Kenya at Lake Nakuru and Mt Kenya and another four days in Tanzania at Ngorongoro and Mt Kilimanjaro.

“It was a wonderful trip around East Africa,” says the soft-spoken Michael. His reason for visiting Phyllis? “I just passed by to say hi. She was very instrumental in wrapping up our wedding escapades,” he complements her.

For a schoolgirl who wanted to be a Chief Executive Officer by the time she clocked 35 years, the mother of one is content that she is able to lead a strong team of young staff to trot the region.

Phyllis’ plunge into tours was by default. Soon after graduating with a Sociology and linguistics degree from Kenyatta University in 1995, Phyllis joined Kenol/ Kobil as an administrative officer in 1997 after a short stint as a freelance Swahili teacher.

Throughout her secondary education at Kaaga Girls and later Moi Forces Academy, Phyllis wanted to be a CEO one day. But she had to start somewhere.

An active young woman, she took up her administrative role with gusto and soon, she was involved in organising public relations events, trainings and conferences for the company.

“I practically knew all the major hotels, their services, offers, and possible discounts,” she remembers.  In 2001, she left to join Care Kenya as a human resources officer, a job that gave her more exposure to hotels and tourist attractions due to the many foreign staff the organisation received.

But it is her wedding when she was at Care Kenya that would open her eyes on the gaps evident in honeymoon packages. “We went to Mauritius and learnt there was scanty information about our destination and many logistical issues could have been handled better,” she says.

She decided to dig in and focus on honeymoons. Over the years, she has discovered what she calls “very romantic and emerging destinations” in Ngorongoro, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Cape town, Egypt and Thailand.

Optimistic about the affordability of honeymoons, Phyllis has designed packages for her clients. A package list seen by Saturday Magazine shows that her lowest offer ranges between Sh100,000-150,000 for five to seven nights within Kenya while one pays about Sh100,000 more for destinations outside the country for the same period.

“It depends on where the client wants to go and the budget. We have worked on a Sh300,000 to 450,000 package for ten nights outside the country,” Phyllis explains.

To encourage more people to take up family holidays, she has introduced an installment arrangement which she has dubbed “Jipange Mapema Family Holiday package”.

“It targets people who would want to pay for their holiday over a period of time. We spread it for six months or one year,” she hints at what is enabling more middle class people to pay for holidays.

Phyllis attributes increased holidays to pressures of work and business that has robbed couples of enough family time. “Health awareness that rest and relaxation make a holistic person has further encouraged people to shop for getaways,” she says.


Posted in Features | 1 Comment »

Young Kenyan rapper aims to conquer US music scene

Posted by Administrator on October 29, 2010

Kenyan rapper Jedidah who wants to conquer the US music market. She moved to the United States for studies in 2007. Photo/COURTESY

Kenyan rapper Jedidah who wants to conquer the US music market. She moved to the United States for studies in 2007. Photo/COURTESY

By Amos Ngaira

Though not much is known of her back at home in Kenya, US-based Kenyan rapper Jedidah continues to draw attention.

Also popularly referred to as ‘Gengegal’, her music prowess has been closely linked to other Kenyan artistes who occasionally visit America for shows.

Speaking to Review recently from the US, Jedidah hinted at her intentions to advance her musical career in her new adopted home.

“I can assure my fans back home that though I may be away, I still keep tabs with them in terms of collaborations,” she said.

Jedidah’s Wape Ngoma, a track produced by Minneapolis-based Kenyan hip-hop producer Ricky “R Deezy” Oyaro, is getting good attention both in Kenya and in the US, earning her several nominations in the Msanii Awards in Kansas City, Missouri.

Earlier this year, Jedidah curtain-raised for Wahu in Kansas City during Wahu’s US tour.

The part time student and professional make-up artist also performed alongside Tanzania’s Professor Jay during his tour of the US earlier this year.

In the Kenyan music circles, Jedidah is not a newcomer. She began her career in 2005 when she met Clemo of Calif records and cut the record Hazi ya Msee.

To most of her fans, this was a female’s lyrical rebuttal to the popular song Under 18 by Jimwat. Similarly, in 2007, while still in Kenya, she was nominated in the Chaguo La Teeniez awards for best up-coming artist.

To her fans, the success of Under 18 gave way to a collaboration with Jua Cali in his single Hehe off the Ngeli ya Genge album.

However, she made her breakthrough in 2007 when, after moving to the US, she met her producer, Jojo, of Kilimanjaro Records, who seconded her to producer Ricky Oyaro of Snowtown Entertainment.

As Jedidah recalls, “It has been through working with Ricky that I have been able to produce Wape Ngoma.”

Similarly, speaking to Review recently, Oyaro pointed out how he had been inspired by working with Jedidah and how the new song was doing well.

“Most of the mid-west clubs in the US with African music audiences have been playing the song,” he said. Notably, the song was recorded at the famed Flyte Time Studios in Minnesota.

As Oyaro also pointed out, the studio was previously owned by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who produced hits for superstars like Janet Jackson, Prince, Usher, and Boyz II Men, among others.

“Working with Ricky and Jojo is like a dream come true. They totally embraced me as an artist and sister and pointed me in the right direction,” Jedidah says.

Ricky has also collaborated in productions with other US-based producers like Trey Songz, Souljah Boy, Aleisa Nicole and Arab. “Wape Ngoma has broken the culture and language barriers in clubs featuring African music,” Oyaro said.

Jedidah, who is this weekend in New Jersey, USA, said she has a major show lined up for November 20 in Kansas City dubbed “Diaspora Sisters”, where she will team up with fellow US-based Kenyan singer Cheptaab.

“We are hoping to give African music fans all the best during the show,” Jedidah added. She looks forward to recording with Kenyan-based Burundian musician Kidum. “I have lately been listening to his songs and they have been very inspiring.”

Source: Daily Nation


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