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Archive for August 29th, 2011

Kenyan orphan defies all odds to become graduate student at Miami

Posted by Administrator on August 29, 2011

This year, the first-years were welcomed to Miami University with some inspirational words from convocation speaker James Muruthi, one of two keynote speakers.

Muruthi is a Miami graduate student in the department of sociology and gerontology. He earned his Bachelors from Miami in 2010. He is also from Kenya and has come a long way to get to where he is today.

“Like William Kwamkwamba, life has not been a bed of roses for me,” Muruthi said. William Kwamkawaba’s story of bringing electricity to his village in Malawi is told in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which was the summer reading book for the first-years. “I decided to relay, what in my eyes is a miracle, to the freshmen and women in a bid to encourage them to take full advantage of the opportunities that Miami presents to them. In short, the committee and people who knew me thought that my story would encourage people to do well in school and take advantage of opportunities.”

He was orphaned at the age of eight and he and his sister were taken to live with two different aunts in different cities.

According to Muruthi, he was basically treated as a slave by his aunt, being forced to quit school to focus on doing daily chores.

“As you can believe, I was always under a lot of pressure and supervision,” Muruthi said. “One day, I received a thorough smacking because of unclean dishes.”

After experiencing the mistreatment and torture, Muruthi decided he would rather live on the streets, where he stayed away from drugs and stealing and earned money by helping women carry luggage.

Muruthi was lucky enough to find a couple who decided to take him off the streets, educate him and legally adopt him.

“I proved to be good at school and was ranked seventh in national exams that all Kenyans do at eighth grade to allow for their admission into high schools,” Muruthi told first-years in his convocation address. “I went to the best high school in Kenya, where I did well enough to gain admission to Miami of Ohio with help from a personal friend, Dr. Allan Winkler. I have been careful not to disappoint the people who have given me so many opportunities in life. Given this life and the experiences I have been through, I do not take opportunities for granted.”

This year, Miami wanted current students and Miami alums to speak at Convocation. Jennifer Kinney, Muruthi’s undergraduate advisor, knew his background and encouraged Muruthi to submit his bio to the committee.

Muruthi said he was honored but a little anxious to make his speech.

“It was nerve-racking especially at the start but after realizing that it was my moment, I relaxed and had a lot of fun with it,” Muruthi said. “Yes, it was exciting. It is not normal that a grad student is one of the keynote speakers at a Convocation. I felt important because all these new students, professors, some parents, my friends and President Hodge were all sitting waiting for some wise words to spew out of my mouth.”

Miami has changed Muruthi’s life and, therefore, he wanted to encourage the new students to take advantage of everything Miami has to offer. Not only has Muruthi benefitted from the opportunities such as the honors program, being a Resident Assistant, Miami African Students’ Union, coaching peer mentoring and junior scholars, but he has also learned professional etiquette.

In the future, Muruthi hopes to help make a difference in the lives of other Kenyans.

“I am interested in issues of income security for older Kenyans and their families,” Muruthi said. “I intend to graduate and head on to an established PhD program for another degree is gerontology. The ultimate goal is to have enough experience for a policy analyst, researcher position in an aging NGO/government or a teaching position at a university. At the end of the day, I intend to change the lives of older Kenyans and their dependents through changing existing social policies.”

Chris Clark was the other keynote speaker. Clark graduated from Miami in 2008 and went on to found an international company that sells solar power units to communities in developing areas. The Miami Student will profile Clark in an upcoming issue.

Source: http://www.miamistudent.net/news/campus/kenyan-orphan-defies-all-odds-to-become-graduate-student-at-miami-1.2565710

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Kenya’s Corruption Chief Faces Backlash

Posted by Administrator on August 29, 2011

Kenya's Anti-Corruption Commission Director, Patrick Lumumba, (File March 10, 2011)

Kenya's Anti-Corruption Commission Director, Patrick Lumumba, (File March 10, 2011)

Kenya’s anti-corruption czar began his tenure amidst high hopes he would break Kenya’s endemic culture of graft. But just over one year later, PLO Lumumba is set to leave office with little accomplished while new laws threaten to cripple the fight against corruption.

A toothless watchdog

In July of last year, Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, popularly known as PLO took up office as the director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. Then a well known lawyer and television personality, he was seen by many at the time as an energetic pick for the anti-graft body, which had been criticized as a toothless watchdog.

Lumumba himself embraced the challenge, promising a new day in notoriously corrupt Kenya. “You cannot run a country whose creed is greed. And the duty of those of us who have been given the honor and privilege to be the arrow’s head in the fight against corruption is to change that creed,” he said.

During the first half of his tenure, it appeared as though Lumumba would deliver on many of his grand promises. In early 2011, some of Kenya’s major politicians found themselves facing serious charges of corruption and graft.

Allegations of irregularities

Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula was forced to resign his post after the KACC launched investigations into alleged irregularities in land deals linked to Kenya’s foreign embassies.

Industrialization Minister and Orange Democratic Movement party chief Henry Kosgey stepped down after being linked to illegal imports at Kenya’s port. And, powerful Rift Valley politician and presidential hopeful William Ruto was also forced to resign his cabinet post after being charged with benefiting from the illegal sale of government land.

But for all the theatrics and cases launched by the KACC, none of the major investigations over the past year have amounted to any significant convictions. All of the politicians placed under Lumumba’s axe have since returned to government.

Now, recent allegations made by Lumumba have provoked a backlash in Kenya’s parliament.

Bribery investigations

The KACC Director accused Kenyan Member of Parliament Cecily Mbarire of attempting to bribe him with a check for just over $1,000. Mbarire has hit back, saying the money was requested by Lumumba himself as a donation to the director’s charitable foundation. Mbarire has further filed a lawsuit in Kenya’s courts, seeking damages for defamation.

The confrontation has provoked the wrath of Kenya’s parliament. In a recent debate, members of the body such as Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu accused Lumumba of using his office to engage in political attacks. “The kind of a person that we got last year, hoping that he was going to be the right person, really was a big mistake,” Ngilu stated.

Many of the members who spoke out against Lumumba – including Ngilu – have been connected to KACC investigations.

Despite the significant criticism being heaped on the anti-corruption chief, Lumumba is not without supporters. Notably, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka stood up to hit back at those attacking his record. The Vice President said Kenya’s Lawmakers were threatened by Lumumba’s “bold” fight against official corruption.

Anti-corruption, bill threatened

But the recent debates in Kenya’s parliament threaten more than Lumumba’s job. This week, lawmakers passed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Bill in order to transition the KACC into the framework envisioned by the new constitution.

On Friday, a coalition of Kenyans NGO’s gathered Thursday to warn against enacting the bill. The Chairman of the National Council of NGOs, Ken Wafula, said the bill’s passage was a personal attack on PLO Lumumba.

“In the end, Parliament legislated against the Directorate of KACC and not corruption. There was a unity of purpose rarely seen in the House in passing some amendments which in our view will greatly undermine the fight against corruption,” Wafula noted.

The bill calls for Lumumba’s immediate dismissal, leaving the post vacant until a new director is appointed through a political process which could potentially take months. During the debate, the parliament rejected granting the agency prosecutorial powers, an obstacle which observers say has often restricted the KACC.

The coalition of NGOs also took issue with an amendment to remove the power of the graft body to regulate foreign bank accounts of public servants. The new constitution forbids public officials from holding foreign accounts, but Wafula said without oversight, the graft body cannot ensure that public officers are not engaging in graft.

It appears as though the recent actions of Lumumba have prompted Parliament to curtail the powers anti-corruption officials in Kenya. But members of the coalition refused to blame the Bills shortcomings on KACC Director Lumumba.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Bill needs President Mwai Kibaki’s final signature before it becomes law. Kenya’s NGOs have on the president to send the bill back in order to enact changes that give Kenya’s future anti-corruption body a fair chance at fighting the country’s corruption.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Backlash-Against-Kenya-Corruption-Chief-Could-Set-Back-Fight-Against-Graft-128474538.html

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Barack Obama’s uncle has been arrested and held as illegal immigrant

Posted by Administrator on August 29, 2011

President Barack Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, at a closed immigration hearing last year. Onyango, half-sister of Obama's late father, moved to the United States in 2000 and she was ordered deported in 2004. Source: AP

President Barack Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, at a closed immigration hearing last year. Onyango, half-sister of Obama's late father, moved to the United States in 2000 and she was ordered deported in 2004. Source: AP

BARACK Obama’s long-lost “Uncle Omar” has been arrested for alleged drink-driving outside Boston and detained as an illegal immigrant, The Times can reveal.

The arrest ends a mystery over the fate of a relative that the US President wrote in his memoir had moved to America from Kenya in the 1960s, although the circumstances of his discovery may now prove to be an embarrassment for the White House.

Official records say Onyango Obama, 67, was picked up outside the Chicken Bone Saloon in Framingham, Massachusetts, at 7.10pm on August 24. Police say he nearly crashed his Mitsubishi 4×4 into a patrol car, and then insisted that the officer should have given way to him. A report filed with the Framingham District Court said that a breathalyser at the police station registered his blood alcohol at 0.14mg/100ml of blood, above the state limit of 0.08mg.

According to a local newspaper, Mr Obama was charged with driving under the influence and driving to endanger, as well as failing to use a turn signal. He was detained as an illegal immigrant because the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an outstanding warrant for him because he was previously ordered to be deported to Kenya.

This Aug. 24, 2011 black-and-white booking photo provided Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 by the Framingham Police Department shows Onyango Obama, arrested in Framingham, Mass., for several infractions, including operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He is the uncle of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Framingham Police Department)

This Aug. 24, 2011 black-and-white booking photo provided Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 by the Framingham Police Department shows Onyango Obama, arrested in Framingham, Mass., for several infractions, including operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He is the uncle of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Framingham Police Department)

The Times has established from his birthdate that Mr Obama is the Uncle Omar mentioned in President Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father. In the 1995 book, President Obama writes of “the uncle who had left for America 25 years ago and had never come back”.

In 2008, The Times mounted a search for Uncle Omar. Instead of finding him, we discovered his sister, President Obama’s Auntie Zeituni, who was living as an illegal immigrant on a Boston housing estate. Uncle Omar and Auntie Zeituni are the children of President Obama’s grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, by his third wife Sarah, the woman President Obama calls “Granny”, because she raised his father, Barack Sr, who was Hussein Obama’s son by Hussein’s second wife, Akumu.

The 2008 investigation unearthed public records naming an O. Onyango Obama, born on June 3, 1944, living at a house in the Boston suburbs, where he was known as Obama Onyango. Framingham police records list the man arrested last week as Onyango Obama, with the same birth date, June 3, 1944.

According to local reports, Officer Val Krishtal and another driver had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting Mr Obama’s car, which rolled through a stop sign and took a quick left turn. Mr Obama allegedly told the officer he had right of way and said he doubted the officer was forced to brake hard as he did not hear his brakes squeal.

Mr Obama pleaded not guilty at his remand hearing, but was held in custody because of the immigration warrant. He now faces a legal battle. His sister Zeituni eventually won the right to live in America despite an earlier deportation order. Margaret Wong, the Cleveland lawyer who successfully represented Zeituni, confirmed through a representative last night that she has also been retained to defend Mr Obama.

“Before he went to America, we all knew him as Omar. But he dropped that bit, changing it to Obama Onyango, because he said he preferred his African name,” said Nelson Ochieng, a cousin in the Kenyan city of Kisumu.

Mr Obama’s landlady in Boston went to court to evict him in 2000 for non-payment of his dollars 500-a-month rent. He was also a partner in a convenience store that was set up in 1992, and was attacked in a robbery at the shop in 1994 by two men armed with a sawn-off rifle.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/barack-obamas-uncle-has-been-arrested-and-held-as-illegal-immigrant/story-e6frg6so-1226124269032

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Kenyan Man, 27, Charged with Attempted Murder in Domestic

Posted by Administrator on August 29, 2011

Peabody police arrested a Malden man Tuesday evening on charges of attempted murder and aggravated domestic assault and battery after a nurse at Lahey Clinic reported an assault on a woman who was admitted to the hospital.

Police received a call just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday from a nurse, reporting that a female victim was assaulted by her boyfriend earlier that day.

Police then took Joseph Mwangi Kaba, 27, of 22 Cottage Pl., Malden, into custody on the aforementioned charges. An initial arrest report in the police log was unclear on where Kaba was arrested, although it did first give his address as 6 Essex Pl. #2, in Peabody.

No further details were available.

Source: http://peabody.patch.com/articles/malden-man-27-charged-with-attempted-murder-in-domestic

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