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Archive for February 25th, 2011

Kenyan woman seeks help after accident decapacitates both of her legs

Posted by Administrator on February 25, 2011

A Kenyan woman is seeking help to offset her high medical expenses which she has incurred after being admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa. Beatrice Adhiambo Okoth was run over by a train on January 29th, 2011 and she lost both of her legs.

The train run over her as she was walking on the train tracks at the Kilindini port. People tried to warn her but all in vain as she was wearing headphones listening to her music as she walked along.

She is the sole breadwinner in her family and the family is requesting for help in getting her through this very difficult moment. If you would like to help, you can do so through:

Bank Name: National Bank

Account number: 0124509219900

Account name: Beatrice Adhiambo Okoth

You can also help through MPESA  0701 139 357

To view photos of Beatrice after the accident (EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH) click here

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Where taking a shower is a luxury

Posted by Administrator on February 25, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Most people would cringe at the thought of not having a bath for a whole week. But for the residents of Mathare slum in Nairobi, skipping a bath is, at the moment, not something to lose sleep over. 

They have not had running water for four weeks, meaning bathing has become a luxurious venture.

Water vendors have cashed in on the grim situation, selling a 20-litre jerrycan at 10 shillings. For many households here, the commodity is only enough for cooking.
 
Nite, who has been living in Mathare since she was born, says the ongoing water shortage has become an unbearable financial burden. 

“Life has become very hard because getting that Sh10 is not easy. Even when you manage to buy the water is for cooking, wash dishes and do everything else so we have to shower once per week and the children can go up to two weeks without bathing,” says Nite.

Many residents in the settlement have, therefore, had to revise their budgets. 

Before the shortage took effect, residents would get the precious commodity from water points set up in the slum, with the help of the Water Services Trust Fund, for only two shillings per 20 litre jerrycan.

Nite says that she has also been forced to cut her children’s school attendance in an attempt to deal with the water shortage.

“Sometimes my children don’t go to school because of the lack of water. The schools themselves are in a horrible state because the classrooms and sanitation facilities are not washed so other health risks come up,” explains the 25-year-old.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Timothy runs a water point in the slum’s Kosovo area but he says his water tap has run dry. Timothy has also been forced to close down his business…at least until the situation is resolved.

He explains that his clients have to walk long distances in search of water. Those who want their water delivered at their doorstep have to part with more money. 

“People have to walk for about one-and-a-half kilometers to get water. They walk from here to a place called number 10, near the Moi Forces Airbase on Juja road, where they get the water,” he says. 

Timothy also notes that the shortage has seen an increase in the number of illegal water connections. 

He explains that some individuals drill holes in the main water pipes underground and set up temporary taps above the ground through which they illegally draw water. 

“We can’t live without water so those illegal water connections are, in the mean time, our salvation. Some hand cart pushers who used to bring water have also been forced to close their businesses,” he says.

Last year the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), with the help of the Trust Fund and development partners, commissioned four water kiosks in the area. Thirty four metered water connections were also created. The water kiosks charge Sh2 per 20 litre container.  

The company blames the water shortage on the construction of the super highway on Thika road. 

NWSC Informal Settlements Development Manager Nahashon Muguna says the ongoing construction works have destroyed underground water pipes thereby interrupting water supply. 

Mr Muguna adds that the water company is working towards restoring supply, and that the company has started supplying water to the resident through water bowsers.

“We are working to restore a line which was snapped by the contractor along Utalii area so that they get their supply. And in fact any time there is that interruption of water we normally provide them with water bowsers which power water in the tanks installed in the water kiosks,” he says.  

Nite however refutes this statement saying the council has not provided any water to the residents since the shortage started.

“The water that we get belongs to private individuals and I don’t know how it gets here; we just see water and it costs Sh10 per 20 litre jerrycan. If we had the water from the company life would be better but there’s no such thing,” she quips. 

The Trust Fund’s Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Musyoki also says she is not aware that there has been a water shortage in the slum.

She adds that the Nairobi Water company ensures a steady water supply in the settlement in order to reduce the number of illegal connections.

“If there’s no water, the regulator requires the Nairobi Water company to announce it but we have been assured by the company that the people in Mathare will get their water,” she says.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Where-taking-a-bath-is-a-luxury.html

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Kabogo Claims Cabinet Minister Involved in Drugs Trade

Posted by Administrator on February 25, 2011

JUJA MP William Kabogo yesterday added a new twist to the drug trafficking saga when he told a parliamentary committee that there is a Cabinet minister who is dealing in drugs.

Kabogo revealed that the government blocked spies from the Netherlands from searching the house of the unnamed minister to investigate his involvement in drug trafficking.

The MP who was testifying before the Parliamentary Committee on the Administration of National Security, chaired by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi, also accused the police of massive involvement in drug deals by covering up any move to have the truth known to the public.

The National Security Intelligence Service, the MP said, is part of the conspiracy to keep drug barons away from justice.

The legislator claimed that two administration policemen tasked to guard the 16 billion cocaine haul in 2006 died mysteriously and said that well known barons may have been behind their killings.

“It is clear that the National Security Intelligence Service knows very well the individuals involved in drug trafficking,” Kabogo said

He further claimed that the government had not destroyed the 1.1 tones of cocaine that had been intercepted in 2006.

Kabogo accused Planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth of being behind his recent troubles and the negative publicity he was receiving.

“Peter Kenneth harbours a vendetta against me and is probably behind the bad publicity I have recently faced,” the MP said.

“If you burn one tonne of cocaine or heroine everyone in the vicinity of Kibera will be high after inhaling fumes for two to three days,”Kabogo said.

Kabogo also accused US ambassador Michael Ranneberger of framing him and fabricating drug evidence to justify the establishment of a US Drug Enforcement Agency in Kenya.

He said the envoy has also been struggling to justify allegations he made against certain individuals that led to the closure of Charterhouse Bank.

Garsen MP Danson Mungatana wondered why the MP’s name featured in the drug story if he was innocent as he claimed.

“If you are this innocent then how come, of all the MPs, your name is featuring in this,” Mungatana posed.

On Tuesday the committee met Kisauni MP Hassan Joho who also denied involvement in drug trafficking.

Source: www.nairobistar.com

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Traffic police officer arrested with Sh80,000 in bribes

Posted by Administrator on February 25, 2011

An Embu Court was told yesterday three senior traffic police officers were caught by anti-graft officers with Sh86,650 which they had collected from motorists.

The court was told that the Kacc officers had to fire in the air as the suspects were resisting arrest during the night ambush.

A witness, Lewis Njeru told Embu Chief magistrate Margaret Wachira that a contingent of armed police officers carried out the ambush on former senior sergeant Titus Wambua, Corporal Lemmy Musa Simiyu and Anderson Mutwiri.

He said they laid the trap for the suspects on the night of April 28 last year along Mombasa Road in Athi River at Mto Mawe stretch after receiving information that they were being induced with Sh1,000 from every lorry transporting sand.

Njeru said the three officers in civilian clothes boarded a lorry each after giving their drivers treated Sh1,000 notes each to give to the traffic officers.

Prosecutor Edward Imbwaga said the accused took the treated money each and pocketed it as they waited for more prey lorries.

The witness said after the officer fell for the trap they went back to them and introduced themselves as officers from the anti- corruption commission.

Njeru said they caught up with Wambua and on search found Sh20,000 on him. He further said after further search they recovered Sh66,650 hidden in the dash board of the vehicle they used.

The officers who have already been sacked are out on Sh50,000 bond each.

Source: Nairobi Star

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Maasai warrior hairdressers break taboos

Posted by Administrator on February 25, 2011

Maasai warrior Lempuris Lalasho went to Kenya’s tourist haven Mombasa to find a white woman to marry, but he ended up working as a hairdresser, a profession that is taboo in his culture.

His story opens a window on the strains faced by this ancient tribe as it adjusts to modern life in East Africa’s largest economy, whose Indian Ocean beaches lure thousands of tourists, including women seeking sex.

Maasai warriors, or moran, are a familiar sight on Kenya’s beaches and in its renowned safari parks — dressed in distinctive red robes and wearing beaded jewellery, they often act as guides or work in security.

But sometimes, the eager young men who flock to the coast hoping to make their fortunes — some with dreams of marrying a white tourist — have to go against their traditions.

Lalasho’s status as a moran means he is charged with protecting and providing for his people, and it makes his transgression all the more serious.

Maasai warriors are not allowed to touch a woman’s head: it is regarded as demeaning in the patriarchal culture. Moran who become hairdressers risk a curse from the elders, or could even be expelled from the community.

“If my father finds out what I am doing he will be very mad at me or even chase me from home,” said Lalasho, who comes from Loitoktok, near Mount Kilimanjaro on the border with Tanzania.

“But I have to eat, that’s why I broke my taboo since city life is very expensive,” he said.

An estimated 500 000 to one million Maasai live in scattered and remote villages across northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, eking out a semi-nomadic existence with herds of precious cows.

As drought and hunger bite harder in their rural homes due to climate change and increased competition for resources, hundreds of Maasai men are heading to towns and cities.

Spinning hair
In tourist resorts like Mombasa, these men end up as hotel workers, night guards, herbalists and hairdressers.

Lalasho, who is illiterate and does not know his age, was inspired by the good fortune of a friend, Leishorwa Mesieki.

“My friend Leishorwa is now rich. He married a mzungu [white] woman who took him to … is it New Zealand or Switzerland? I don’t know. He came back to build a big house and bought so many cows. I envy him,” he added, shaking his head.

Lalasho did not have such luck and he was forced to use his skills at spinning hair, which he learnt during his initiation into moranhood in a thicket near Mount Kilimanjaro.

Morans learn to weave hair into thin, rasta-like dreadlocks during the initiation, which takes place when boys are aged between 17 and 20. The warriors’ hair is often dyed red as well, and the red style is popular among women in cities.

For Maasai elder Michael Ole Tiampati, the fate of men like Lalasho threatens the wider Maasai culture.

“It’s an abomination and demeaning for a moran or Maasai man to touch a woman’s head,” said Tiampati, media officer for the Maa Civil Society Forum, which protects Maasai traditions.

“They have gone against the cultural fibre … They have to pay a price to be accepted back into the society,” he said.

Culture under threat
The Maasai are based in the picturesque Great Rift Valley region, home to the famous Maasai Mara game park. But the tribe who gave the park its name earn little from tourism, which is among Kenya’s top three foreign currency earners.

This lack of revenue pushes young Maasai into other activities, but their increasing renown in tourist resorts is also bringing competition.

Men from tribes like the Kikuyu or Samburu are disguising themselves as Maasai on the beaches of Mombasa and elsewhere.

“Foreign tourists love Maasai for their sincerity. We are good-hearted people who do not feel jealous,” Lalasho said.

Tiampati is more explicit.

“[Maasai] warriors are perceived to be erotic, that is why women pensioners from Europe come to look for them. The warriors take a lot of herbs — some known to have Viagra-like contents like the bark of black acacia tree — to re-invigorate their loins.”

The copy-cat trend has angered some Maasai.

“It’s the beginning of an end of Maasai culture,” said tour guide Isac Oramat in Nairobi.

“Soon our tradition will just exist in books … I warn tourists to be aware of these fake Maasais.”

But for the morans in Mombasa, survival for now takes precedence over preserving their traditional ways.

“I have not gone to school. This is the only thing I can do,” said hairdresser Ole Sambweti Ndoika (35).

“The women here love our style. We get good money … I hope to save enough to marry my second wife … by end of the year,” said the father-of-four from Narok in the Rift Valley.

Longishu Nyangusi (25) also works as a hairdresser and like Lalasho came to Mombasa to find a white tourist wife. He says his lack of English has held him back.

“I could have hooked a white woman by now. I regret refusing to go to school. I was fooled by our fat cows and thought life is just fine,” he said near his open-air salon-cum-shop. – Reuters

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