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Archive for February 6th, 2011

Lucy comes to the aid of bright girl

Posted by Administrator on February 6, 2011

First Lady Lucy Kibaki has adopted Stella Wanjiku, a top KCPE performer whose plight The Standard on Saturday highlighted.

The First Lady has now secured her a place at Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls’ Secondary School in Karatina, where she will report tomorrow.

While thanking wellwishers, Mrs Kibaki promised to cater for the girl like her own daughter.

Lucy told The Standard through the Presidential Press Service Director Isaiya Kabira that she had made arrangements for the girl’s education.

“I am grateful that a lot of people were touched by the plight of this poor girl but I have decided to adopt her and she will be like one of my children,” added the First Lady.

At the weekend, calls jammed The Standard’s Nyeri offices, with callers, among them former AG Charles Njonjo and the First Lady’s son Jimmy expressing willingness to help.

Wanjiku, a former pupil at Nyeri Town View Primary School, scored 413 marks. Her mother, Eunice Wanjiru, is disabled and relies on casual jobs to raise her two daughters.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/news/InsidePage.php?id=2000028444&cid=159&story=Lucy+comes+to+the+aid+of+bright+girl

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Kenyan immigrant who can serve in the Army but can’t run for the US

Posted by Administrator on February 6, 2011

Joseph Chirlee is an American citizen and a private in the United States Army stationed in Colorado. He is also a world-class marathoner with a shot at qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He had hoped to run in the national cross-country championships Saturday in San Diego.

But Chirlee, who emigrated from Kenya five years ago, will not be permitted to race, not even in the armed forces division, in which military personnel traditionally compete for their own championship within the national race. He is barred because he has been a United States citizen for less than two years, and that has entangled him in a new international eligibility rule that USA Track and Field, which oversees the race, has chosen to enforce.

“I came to America because I was told it was about equality for all,” said Chirlee, 30, who became a citizen in June. “But any average person I pass on the street can run in Saturday’s race, and I can’t. I took an oath as a soldier to serve and defend the country, but I can’t run in the country’s national championship? I don’t understand how that is fair or equal treatment.”

Chirlee’s coach, Lisa Rainsberger, a three-time United States Olympic team alternate and the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon, criticized USA Track and Field’s policy-making.

“He’s caught in a doughnut hole of a rule that our track and field leaders did not have to apply to American athletes,” Rainsberger said. “We understand Joseph can’t compete internationally for two years, but doesn’t he have any rights to run in elite American races before then? He can take a bullet for us someday in Afghanistan, but he can’t run with his American contemporaries? What purpose does that serve?”

USA Track and Field officials insist that their rule is not discriminatory and that it is not directed at Chirlee or several other athletes who are in his situation.

“We have an obligation to make sure competitive opportunities to represent the U.S. internationally go to individuals who are eligible to do so,” said Jill Geer, the chief public affairs officer for the organization.

Chirlee must be kept out of Saturday’s field, including the armed forces subdivision, Geer said, because he could affect the outcome of the overall race. Geer said that based on race tactics — if, for example, Chirlee set an unusually fast early pace — he could cause other runners in the field to try to match his pace, which could negatively influence their strategy or performance, altering the tenor of the race. There is also the matter of prize money, which is awarded only to eligible competitors.

The men’s and women’s winners Saturday will each receive $2,000, and six men and women will qualify to represent the United States in the world cross-country championships next month in Spain.

“Is the rule perfect? No,” said Geer, who added that USA Track and Field officials, acting on Chirlee’s behalf, tried unsuccessfully to get the International Association of Athletics Federations, the sport’s global governing body, to reassess Chirlee’s eligibility.

“We understand that Mr. Chirlee has done no wrong,” Geer said. “We will continue to look at our rules. But this is a rule that applies to every track and field event, not just distance runners. There are a lot of ramifications that have to be considered, from event to event.”

The new international rule, imposed by the I.A.A.F., was meant to inhibit athletes who jump from country to country for better competitive opportunities or because they are paid to do so. Until last year, the I.A.A.F. required any athlete who had competed internationally and then changed citizenship to wait three years before competing for his new country. Athletes who had never competed internationally were exempt and could change citizenship and be immediately eligible internationally.

Chirlee never competed for Kenya, or any other country, and applied to become a United States citizen late in 2009, expecting to be able to run for the United States once his citizenship was granted. He also joined the Army last March and went through basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.

But in April, the I.A.A.F. revised the rule, changing it to require any athlete switching citizenship to be a citizen of the new country for two years before competing in an international competition.

Since the mid-1980s, USA Track and Field has adopted I.A.A.F. eligibility rules as its own, Geer said. So when the international rule changed in April, two months before Chirlee became a citizen, in effect so did the USA Track and Field rule.

“I accepted the two-year wait to represent the country,” Chirlee said. “But I was confused why it applied to races on home soil. I just wanted to be treated like any other U.S. citizen. I went to a race in Connecticut, and they told me I shouldn’t be there. I told them I had worked hard for the race and that in America with hard work you can accomplish anything. So I ran anyway.”

Rainsberger worries that Chirlee is being deprived of a valuable opportunity to compete against American runners he will attempt to defeat for one of three Olympic team spots at the Olympic marathon trials on Jan. 14, 2012. USA Track and Field has said Chirlee will be permitted to compete in the Olympic trials even though he will not have been a citizen for two years because he would be internationally eligible by the London Olympics in July 2012.

“But in the meantime he’s not getting to test himself against his American rivals,” said Rainsberger, who noted that Chirlee did not run in the national half-marathon championships Jan. 29, an event contested on the course where the Olympic trials will be held.

“There’s a lot of knowledge and intuition gained by running side by side with your competitors for 26 miles,” she said. “Joseph is missing all that.”

Chirlee was one of six runners selected to run for the Army on Saturday. Liam Collins, the Army coach, twice petitioned USA Track and Field last month to allow Chirlee to compete. Each petition was denied.

Geer said she believed Chirlee would have “hundreds of quality competitive opportunities” throughout the year to get ready for the Olympic trials. And Chirlee, whose fastest marathon is 2 hours 12 minutes — or about a minute behind the third-place American Olympic qualifying time four years ago — is expected to run in April’s Boston Marathon, an event not under the purview of USA Track and Field.

Chirlee, who originally settled in Georgia and attended Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, has a wife and two small children in Kenya. He said he was working with immigration services to have his family join him in Colorado Springs, where he has been assigned to the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, allowing him to train for the Olympics.

“We all know if we don’t make the Olympics, we go back to regular Army duties,” said Chirlee, who said he received an Army stipend of $1,600 a month. “I know they could call me any time. I am ready. I will defend the country if asked.”

Rainsberger said she had worked with three runners dropped from the Army athlete program who served in Iraq and in Kuwait.

“Joseph runs 100 miles a week,” Rainsberger said. “He’s working hard on his window of opportunity.”

On Wednesday morning, as he prepared for another workout, Chirlee said he once considered immigrating to a European country.

“But I liked the American way where everybody is given the same chance,” he said. “Now I feel like a half citizen. I didn’t think there were half citizens.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/sports/04runner.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

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Misdiagnosis causes girl to lose her kidneys

Posted by Administrator on February 6, 2011

When Rose Kwamboka turns three next month, she will not celebrate her birthday with a cake and blow out three candles. She will also not have her tot friends around to sing her, “Happy Birthday to You”, as she cuts the cake.

Instead, Kwamboka will be in a theater at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) surrounded by a number of medical experts. She will make history by becoming the youngest patient to have a kidney transplant locally, before her; the youngest transplant patient was a five-year-old.

Kwamboka and her mother Janet Omurwa are already at the hospital in readiness for the operation.

Janet Omurwa holding her daughter Rose Kwamboke. Baby Kwamboka needs to get a kidney transplant. Picture: Kenfrey Kiberenge/Standard

Janet Omurwa holding her daughter Rose Kwamboke. Baby Kwamboka needs to get a kidney transplant. Picture: Kenfrey Kiberenge/Standard

Young Kwamboka cannot understand why her mother cannot allow her to get into a washbasin full of water and splash it around like she used to.

Spanish doctors

She is too young to know she was diagnosed with kidney failure last October. She has a catheter (tube) connected to her tummy for dialysis. Being a three-year-old child her blood is too little and she cannot use the dialysis machine for adults.

“Doctors told me if water enters the area where the catheter is connected pus might develop and it could be lethal,” said Janet.

Visiting hours at the hospital have turned a nightmare. As relatives leave, Kwamboka innocently raises her hands to be carried home.

“It pains me because she cannot understand why we cannot leave with other family members,” said Janet tearfully.

However, there is hope as Kwamboka has been selected as a beneficiary of a subsidised kidney transplant in March, where Kenyan and Spanish doctors will operate on ten patients at KNH.

Minimum age

“I am grateful to the hospital management for considering my child and giving her a new lease of life,” says Janet. Were it not for the KNH-Spain partnership, Kwamboka would have been forced to wait for two more years to attain the minimum age of five years, all this time depending on dialysis or take her child abroad for the transplant.

Kwamboka’s trouble started in August last year when she went upcountry in Kisii over the school holidays and was diagnosed with malaria at a private health facility.

Further examinations

“I took her to a private hospital where she was admitted and put on a drip of quinine and water. She was admitted for a week. At home she fell ill again and I took her back there and she was put back on quinine and water drips,” recalled Omurwa.

Kwamboka’s health, however, deteriorated and she was transferred to Kisii General Hospital where she had to use oxygen and feeding tubes. “When a pediatrician analysed her, it emerged that she had excess water in her body and that her sugar level had risen as a result of the drug drip. The liver, kidney and heart were swollen,” said Omurwa.

Further examinations established that her kidneys had failed. On October 17, Kwamboka was referred to KNH for specialised treatment. “They did another test and said her kidneys had failed completely,” she said.

Organ-matching tests

She was immediately put under dialysis, which costs Sh1, 200 per day. In addition, she has to be injected with two drugs every week at a subsidised cost of Sh2, 100.

Janet was disillusioned after doctors at KNH said Kwamboka had to wait for at least two years to attain the minimum age for a transplant.

But last week, a ray of hope appeared when a doctor informed her that her baby would benefit from the KNH-Spain partnership next month.

Janet, who was forced to stop operating her business to keep a 24-hour surveillance on Kwamboka, will be required to pay Sh300, 000 for the operation. She will then manage her at a monthly cost of Sh40, 000 for six months.

But before then, Janet has to foot the cost of organ-matching tests that will cost Sh200, 000. “I am the one who will donate one kidney to her but we are still doing the tests,” she said.

So far, Janet says she has spent up to Sh600, 000 – all from family and friends – to manage little Kwamboka’s health.

“Now we are planning a fundraising that will help me offset her bills. I wish to appeal to well wishers to assist and help me give her back her life,” said Janet. Those wishing to help can make contributions to Family Bank, Account no. 038000020858 or use M-Pesa number 0716 246 328 .

Besides Janet losing her source of livelihood, Kwamboka dropped out of baby day care.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000028371&cid=4&

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Photos of the 2007 Post Election Violence to be in Display in the US

Posted by Administrator on February 6, 2011

I will be having a photo exhibition at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey) at The Center for African Studies (CAS) from 14th February to the 27th Feb. The Exhibition is titled, Never Again, a collection of my work that captures the tragic moment of “ethnic” violence in Kenya in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Presidential Elections. The exhibition includes a screening Heal the Nation,” a 30 minutes documentary providing eyewitness accounts of the tragedy that befell Kenyans in 2007-2008 and discussions. Through photo exhibitions and audiovisual presentations,Picha Mtaani Initiative intends to create a platform for Kenyans in the Diaspora to see the images of the 2007 election violence and an opportunity to get involved in the Kenyan roadmap to reconciliation.

I will engage in conversation with scholars, students and the American public about the subject of the exhibition. The Center for African Studies also plans to have two distinguished speakers at the launching of the exhibition who will make presentation on the theme of “violence and healing.” One is Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. His recently released childhood memoir Dreams in Times of War on memory in the context of a history of violence is particularly pertinent to the theme of this exhibition. The other speaker is Gabriele Schwab, Chancellor’s Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine. A power-house in cultural theory, Professor Scwhab is currently completing Haunting Legacies her latest book on trauma and healing.

During the build-up to 2007 elections many Kenyan politicians travelled to different corners of the World to seek endorsements from political leaders and financial support from international sources and Kenyans in the diaspora for the General Elections held on 27 December 2010. Kenyans in diaspora participated actively in the processes to the General Elections, from shaping public opinion to financial contributions and other material support to the various political parties and candidates. According to a report by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing, approximately $65 million was used in a period of nine (9) months preceding the General Elections by political parties and candidates. These pictures will also serve as a reminder to Kenyans in the Diaspora to be more concerned about the destination of every dollar they contribute to the election process. The World is watching how well Kenya meets this Agenda. This photographic demonstration of how devastated Kenya and Kenyans were in the post-election period forms a baseline on which to appraise Kenya’s progress towards national
healing, reconciliation and cohesion.

Kenyans in Diaspora are concentrated in seven (7) key states. We wish to explore the possibilities of doing more exhibitions in Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and engage with Kenyans in all these states, across the U.S which have high population of Kenyan professionals and students: It is to these cities that politicians will turn in the run up to the 2012 Elections as well.

Thank You
Boniface Mwangi

Some of the photos from Boniface Mwangi

Posted in Diaspora News | 6 Comments »

MPs now want Ruto to take over Premiership

Posted by Administrator on February 6, 2011

Suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto addresses a rally at Muliro Gardens in Webuye

Suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto addresses a rally at Muliro Gardens in Webuye

Two Members of Parliament have called for Parliament’s endorsement of suspended Education Minister William Ruto for the post of Prime Minister.

The legislators, Cyrus Jirongo (Lugari) and Julius Kones (Konoin), argue that Raila Odinga no longer has the mandate to hold the position of Prime Minister since he has lost the support of a significant portion of members of Parliament.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which forms the basis of the coalition government, recognizes the leader of the party with a majority in Parliament as the legitimate candidate for the Premiership. Currently Mr. Odinga holds the post owing to ODM’s numerical supremacy over PNU in Parliament.

The legislators however called for a repeal of the accord to allow “for a leader with a large following of MPs to assume the position of Prime Minister.” The duo spoke duo during a fund raiser in aid of Kimulot Educational Fund in Konoin constituency

Kones said circumstances had changed since the National Accord came into force in 2008 and said most MPs no longer support Mr Odinga.

“Who should be the Prime Minister? Raila with 40 MPs or William Ruto with over 60 MPs,” he asked a crowd in his constituency on Saturday.

The crowd roared back, “Ruto.”

“The spirit of the accord has changed drastically. We call for the repeal of the National Accord and Reconciliation Accord to accommodate these changing circumstances,” Kones said.

He added: “Right now a Prime Minister with a minority following in parliament is blackmailing the government.”

Kones supported calls by legislators from PNU to pull out of the coalition government saying they (ODM rebels) would support them in their quest.

“We are ready to form a government of National Unity with the PNU side even if it means repealing the national accord,” he said.

On his side Jirongo said Mr Odinga no longer enjoys his initial following and should not hold the position of Prime Minister.

“You no longer have the following, why should you insist to be the Prime Minister?” he posed.

Jirongo added: “Raila Odinga got the position of Prime Minister because of the strength of ODM at that time. Now he longer has that strength.”

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/MPs%20now%20want%20Ruto%20to%20take%20over%20Premiership/-/1064/1102382/-/mgfacy/-/index.html

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