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Archive for October 4th, 2011

NSIS Warned of Mungiki Plot to Kill Raila, Ruto

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

The National Security Intelligence Service warned police that members of the banned Mungiki sect planned to assassinate Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Eldoret North MP William Ruto at the height of the post-election violence in January 2008, the ICC was told yesterday. Gregory Kehoe, who is representing former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, made the disclosure to demonstrate that the intelligence provided to the police by the NSIS during the violence was not necessarily true or infallible.

He said that in this instance, the information the NSIS gave the police was not necessarily true as the assassinations did not happen. Kehoe, in discounting the NSIS intelligence reports, dismissed as “incredible, implausible and ridiculous” the evidence given by some prosecution witnesses which implied that President Kibaki was a Mungiki member. “It never happened (the assassination of Raila and Ruto). As you might know, Mr Odinga is currently the Prime Minister of Kenya and Mr Ruto is a suspect in this court,” said Kehoe while insisting NSIS intelligence briefs are based on gathered information which may or may not be true.

Kehoe rebutted the prosecution’s claims that the Police Commissioner allowed Mungiki members a safe passage to Naivasha. Kehoe said the the crux of these allegations appeared to be based on the evidence of only three witnesses. He described one of the witnesses as a self-confessed member of the Mungiki sect. “He is a man who has been arrested numerous times by the police and who has a severe and an embedded dislike for the Kenya Police, so much so that he could not say any good thing about its boss,” Kehoe said of the witness who is only identified as Witness no 4.

Kehoe said the second witness used by the prosecution to corroborate Witness 4 account is witness number 12 whom Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s defence lawyers had already dismissed as “a criminal extortionist”. Referring to this witness and with a wide grin on his face to indicate incredulity, Kehoe said: “He names everybody in the Kenyan government including President Mwai Kibaki as a Mungiki member!”

Kehoe said Ali never received any orders from the Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura; that he never implemented such orders if they were issued and that Ali acted to contain the violence. Kehoe said that although Witness 4 testified about Mungiki’s meetings with top government leaders including one allegedly held with President Kibaki at State House three weeks before the December 27, 2007 elections, a careful evaluation of his statements made at different times showed that he was not present at those meetings.

Kehoe said the witness kept mixing up the Nairobi Safari Club with Nairobi Members Club, so much so that the defence concluded he did not attend the meetings because they never took place. Moreover in all these meetings, he never mentioned Uhuru’s or Ali’s phone call. “How come the witness does not remember the venue of such a meeting whose effect was to elevate Mungiki into a state security agency? How could he not remember where it took place if indeed it took place?” Kehoe said.

He pointed to other inconsistencies in the witness statements – among them mention of former Juja MP George Thuo as President Kibaki’s personal assistant – to show the witness could not be relied upon. Kehoe said there were call records from the prosecution showing Muthaura’s call giving the alleged instructions to Ali ordering him not to impede the Mungiki members as they went to Naivasha on their retaliatory attacks.

Kehoe described Ali as “an extraordinary man of quiet dignity and honour who has given more than 30 decades of his life to public service” and who had been “thrust into the most difficult period of Kenya’s history” but managed to save the country. “Without his effort there is no saying where the country would be to date hence the question, why are we here? Why is this man here?” Kehoe said.

He accused the prosecution of ignoring all the information which would have exonerated Ali including the evidence of the police response to NSIS warnings about the possibility of violence breaking out.

Kehoe said that when Ali received intelligence reports about the Naivasha attacks he instructed his subordinates to enhance security. The lawyer quoted NSIS director Michael Gichangi whom he said had testified to Ali’s “pathological dislike” for the Mungiki and its ways to show there was no way Ali could have given them passage.

He said contrary to prosecution claims, Ali pursued Mungiki “before, during and after the election.” “All this evidence on Ali’s role in taming the violence is available. It’s just that the prosecution blinked once, twice and continued to blink, and am afraid in life when you blink like that you just do not see again,” Kehoe told the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II.

He said Ocampo failed to prove the organisational policy of the attackers. Kehoe poked holes into the prosecution’s claims that the Mungiki had travelled at night. Kehoe wondered why the sect members would have had to travel at night to launch their attack if they were operating with the knowledge of the police.

Source: NAIROBI STAR

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John is like any other child

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

John Macharia’s mother abandoned him 13 years ago, when he was only two years old - she could not deal with the fact that he had no arms. His father stayed. Photo/NATION

John Macharia’s mother abandoned him 13 years ago, when he was only two years old - she could not deal with the fact that he had no arms. His father stayed. Photo/NATION

Forty-one year old Peter Gichuhi looks at the spot where an imposing mango tree once stood.

As a child, he enjoyed playing with his brothers under the tree or resting in its cool shade after a hot day of tilling his parents’ farm.

It was under this tree 13 years ago that his wife, Mary Mumbi left their toddler son when she walked out of their lives.

Peter cut down the tree three years ago — it was a remainder of a past that he had long put behind him.

When we arrive at Peter’s home in Murang’a, we find him building a new house for his mother, Margaret Wambui, the woman who has been a priceless grandmother to his two children.

It is Peter’s mother who delivered John Macharia, his second child, when his mother went into labour in the middle of the night.

When she handed the baby to his wife, the couple broke down and cried.

He had no arms, and his back was twisted. The couple would later learn that he had scoliosis — an abnormal curvature of the spine.

“I could see the distress on their faces, and told them to be content and accept John with gratitude because he was a gift from God,” Margaret says.

Not everyone was so accommodating, though. The news of the odd baby with an arched back and missing arms spread quickly through their village and beyond, and people came to satisfy their curiosity.

Some said the baby was a curse and should have been killed at birth, while others advised the couple to throw him away. Peter believes that it is at this point that his wife snapped.

“All the negative attention must have been too much to handle,” Peter says with a shrug.

Mary spoke little after this, and a week later, she left her newborn son with Peter’s mother and went back to her parents home, in a neighbouring homestead.

She returned a month later, this time staying for two years, but Peter says it was as though she was not there.

“She would leave John alone for hours and her obvious disinterest  caused many fights between us,” Peter recalls.

Mary finally left when John turned two, and never returned. She also left their older child, Anne Wambui, then five years.

“I worked in Nairobi and would travel  home over the weekend. When my wife left, I knew that I couldn’t afford to keep my job since John needed a lot of care and attention,” he says.
The first three months were not easy.

“It was very difficult, because as a traditional Kikuyu man, I had no idea what to do with a child, especially when he cried, or what to feed him and when,” he says. He thanks his mother for assisting him when he needed help.

Peter, much to his neighbours’ amusement, would strap John on his back and take him along wherever work beckoned.

“John was a gentle, easy-to-please child who did not prevent me from working. When I went to the shamba, I would lay him under a shade and sing to him. That was comfort enough for him” he recalls, giving his son a fond look.

However, Peter admits that it was not easy looking after two young children, one of whom needed constant care.

“I was the laughingstock of the village. After all, which self-respecting man carries a baby on his back?”

But Peter’s love for his children was steadfast and he did not allow such sentiments to sway him. As he points out, if he did not do it, who else would?

And so as mothers lined up with their infants at the district hospital to get immunised, Peter would join the queue, impervious to the curious stares, since men were an oddity there.

Peter admits that there were times when he wished that his wife was there to help him raise their children, but even then, he knew that reconciliation was out of the question.

I will not remarry

“A reunion was not on my mind. I just switched all my attention to my children, since they are all I had,” he says.

Interestingly, Peter did not even consider getting another wife, nor does he have any intention of remarrying even now. His reason is simple.

“I couldn’t risk another disappointment. If John’s own mother could not look past his disability, I doubt that any other woman would. I’d rather raise him alone.”

Besides his mother and daughter, who help to take care of John, Peter’s church, Malewa Catholic Church, has been supportive and even paid for John’s first surgery in 2004 to straighten his back.

It also paid part of his school fees when he joined Joytown Primary School for the Physically Disabled in 2002, when he turned six.

In 2009 however, Peter withdrew John from Joytown because he felt he would do better near the family. He also wanted him to go to a regular school.

“John is just like any other child. The only difference is that he has no arms. I felt that taking him to regular school would help him to adapt better socially and also encourage him to work harder in school, where he could be treated like the normal child he is,” Peter explains, impulsively wrapping his arms around John, who is seated beside him.

He explains that even as he withdrew his son from Joytown, he feared that the school he had in mind would reject him. He need not have worried, though.

John is now a Standard Six pupil at Runo Academy near his home. He says that he loves it there, especially since the children treat him just like one of them.

“They are my neighbours and have known me for years, therefore they don’t treat me any different, or stare at me,” he says.

His favourite pastime, he adds, is playing football.

The only shortcoming at school is the fact that he does not have a special desk that would make it easier for him to read and write.

John uses his feet and can do almost everything that a person with both hands can.

At home, he helps his father and sister to cook, and can, in fact, make a tasty stew and whip up some ugali.

He can also sort rice, weed, and plant, just like any other 15-year-old in his village. He can brush his teeth and oil his body.

However, he relies on his father to bathe and assist him to use the toilet.

John’s mother, who remarried two years after leaving, died in March 2002, due to asthma complications.

John has difficulty talking about her and no amount of coaxing would get him to open up about her.

All he says is: “There are many children who are abandoned by both parents, I went to school with many of them. I am lucky that I still have my father.”

He is happy, though, to talk about his father, whom he clearly looks up to.

“My father taught me to value myself the way I am, he treats me like a normal person, and because of his encouragement and positive attitude, I do not question why I was born like this,” he adds.

He says his sister Anne, who is not there during the interview, is protective of him and whenever his father is not around, she takes over and assists him.

“She helps me with my homework and when it’s my turn to cook, she cuts up the vegetables for me, because I struggle with that, and also fetches the water that I need.”

Although John has not yet decided what he wants to be in future, he believes that he was created for a purpose and that with time, he will find that purpose.

Right now, he is concentrating on his studies.

“Whatever I end up doing, my aim is to be able to help my father and be there for him, like he has been for me.”

Peter says that it is his faith that kept him going, saying that God gave him the confidence he needed to embrace his responsibilities.

“I told myself that I am not the first nor the last parent to have a child who needs a bit of special attention, or the only single parent in the world — this is what kept me going.”

Peter advises parents, especially fathers, whom he says are usually the first to run away when their children are born with disabilities or chronic conditions, to pray for wisdom and courage to deal with the situation.

“My experience has taught me that God doesn’t make a mistake and will give you the strength to accomplish what needs to be done.”

He points out that even though he has been relying on casual jobs for the past 13 years, he has managed to look after his children and educate them, even though his income is sporadic.

This, to him, is proof that there is nothing impossible.

“John is no longer the helpless child he was.  Now I can afford to work the whole day because I know that he is self-sufficient. In fact, many are the days I come home to find that he has prepared food for our small family. What more could I ask for?”

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/Living/John+is+like+any+other+child/-/1218/1247824/-/item/3/-/fu6n48z/-/index.html

Posted in Features, Kenya | 7 Comments »

Kenya’s flying millionaires

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

Peter Kenneth disembarks from his recent purchase, a Bell 407 helicopter registered as PK1.

Peter Kenneth disembarks from his recent purchase, a Bell 407 helicopter registered as PK1.

The people of Mathira are used to seeing their MP Ephraim Maina fly in and out of functions in the constituency and last month was no different.

The flamboyant legislator landed at Tumu Tumu shopping centre in Nyeri for a church function with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

Mr Maina flies a Bell 206B helicopter he bought five years ago at a price he declines to disclose.

But those who have shopped for planes say a new Bell 206B helicopter costs no less than Sh1billion. Mr Maina owns the plane through Solio Ranch, a fully-owned company he founded at around the same time he bought the plane in 2007.

The MP is just one of a growing list of Kenyans who own what has become the ultimate weapon of personal expression for the rich.

For business or pleasure, the plane is fast becoming the new mode of transport for Kenya’s savvy businessmen and top politicians with an eye on the presidency.

Kenya has about 400 privately registered planes according to Colin Davies, the President of the Aero Club of East Africa and, himself, owner of a fleet.

The list of Kenyans, who own the coveted machine, reads like Who Is Who in the business and political landscape.

Today, the majority of Kenyans living in the farthest corners of the country are more likely to see a helicopter land in their backyard with a dignitary than have them arrive in the four-wheel drives that were the status symbols of yesteryears.

The battle for the skies among politicians reached a peak two months ago in Ndhiwa constituency of Homa Bay County during a funeral ceremony for the father of Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojode.

The ceremony, which was attended by President Kibaki, saw an unprecedented 12 helicopters land and take off in quick succession at a local primary school as politicians fought the impression battle.

Who’s who in the air 

The list of Kenyans who dominate the skies includes top businessmen, large scale farmers and corporate executives.

When it comes to control of the Kenyan skies, large scale farmers and ranchers in Nanyuki, Laikipia and Narok, mostly of European descent dominate.

This group of flying Kenyans uses their choppers to travel to Nairobi to run their errands and at the end of the day get back home and cite speed and convenience as reason for taking to the skies.  “The 36 years that I have been in the air have made all alternatives look very unattractive,” says Harro Trempeneau, a resident of Kajiado, who finds it easier to fly to Nairobi than drive. “I just can’t tolerate the thought of getting stuck in traffic anymore,” he says brushing aside proposition that it costs a fortune to keep the plane in the air.

“I also enjoy having a bird’s eye view of the beautiful landscape and human activity on the ground.”

Terry Davidson, the former KCB Managing Director, says a plane costs much less than an average 4X4 vehicle on the roads but are much safer.

“One buys a plane to escape the madness that Kenyan roads have become notorious for,” says Mr Davidson adding that the speed and comfort with which a plane accesses far-flung areas are other reasons to take to the skies.More recently, the scramble for the skies has moved from mere ownership of a plane to the size of fleet.

That has become a straight contest between former Finance minister Simeon Nyachae, his former colleague in the Moi government Nicholas Biwott, Captain Joseph Ririani, Colonel Farah and Musa Guriani, also a businessman.

Biwott, who is the force behind one of Kenya’s best known domestic commercial airlines – Air Kenya – where he is the majority owner with a 63 per cent stake runs a huge fleet that includes Canadian made DHC-6, DHC-7 and a Patrenavia.

A new Dash as they are best known in aviation circles costs Sh300 million easily making the Air Kenya fleet of at least five Dash planes one of the priciest in Kenya.

Aircraft Leasing Services, Mr Nyachae’s fully-owned company, has four Cessna planes, a Beechcraft and two helicopters. The politician also owns two Eurocopters the A 350 B3 priced at Sh300 million which he also uses for his private flights.

Colonel Farah and Musa Gurian are mainly in the miraa export business and have more than a dozen planes, mostly Cessnas and Pipers between them. Gideon Moi is the other high flier, who runs his fleet through Sicham Aviation – a fully-owned company. His fleet is made up of two Eurocopters and a two-seater Schweizer that he flies himself.

Captain Joseph Ririani, the proprietor of the Kenya School of Flying, is another owner of a large fleet of planes.

John Harun Mwau would be no boss without a plane, would he? He is known to fly himself around his expansive Kilome constituency in a chopper he has owned for more than eight years.
William Kabogo, the Juja MP, is another political actor who owns the more advanced and pricier Eurocopter AS350B3. Renowned for its reliability, a variant of this plane is owned and operated by the air forces of many countries the world over.

Mr Trempeneau, says Kenyan skies have increasingly become busy as more indigenous citizens slowly but surely take to flying.
“Of the about 400 locally-registered private planes, only a handful are owned by indigenous Kenyans,” he says. “Ranchers, businesspeople and farmers, all essentially white, are the ones who have seriously taken to flying.”

“With $30,000 (Sh2.7 million), anybody can get a used Cessna 150 in good working condition,” Mr Trempeneau, who owns Kenya Aeronav, said.

To put that into perspective, Sh2.7 million is the price of a used Toyota Harrier, much less than the price of a 2004 Toyota Prado and about a fifth of the price of a brand new Landcruiser VX.

The real costs  

Yet that is not all that one needs to be in the skies. “A plane will have cost you a fortune even before you take off,” says Mr Trempeneau, who was president of the Aero Club of East Africa for 10 years before retiring last year. “It needs a fortune for licenses and insurance and of course, you will not park a fixed wing aircraft in your backyard but at an airport where you pay a daily parking fee.”

It costs Sh600 a day to park a small four-seater Cessna 206 at Wilson Airport, Sh1,840 to land, Sh1,500 navigation fee and  Sh300 for every passenger carried. Add that to the fact that you have to replace an aircraft engine every 1,700 hours for Sh2.7 million, and the reason only a few Kenyans fly begins to emerge.

Colin Davies, director of Pegasus Aviation and East African Skies Charters, however, insists that the cost of fueling an aircraft is the only reason flying remains the preserve of the very rich.

The average consumption per hour of a small Cessna 206 ranges between 60 – 80 litres.

At a price of Sh162 per litre of aircraft fuel, that comes to as much as Sh13,000 for every hour in the air.

For example, a journey to Turkana takes two hours, 10 minutes one way. That adds up to more than Sh50,000 for a roundtrip.
All that, however, has done nothing to stop rich Kenyans from taking to the skies in large numbers.

A campaign necessity 

And as the elections draw nearer, Kenyans are expected to see many more politicians take to flying.

Peter Kenneth, a presidential candidate has recently acquired a Bell 407 registered as PK1, and Eldoret North MP William Ruto did not deny the suggestion that he has been shopping for his own chopper when asked to confirm.

“I have heard that rumour and all I can tell you is to hold your horses. It will not be long before you confirm or disprove that information.”

It was Simeon Nyachae who popularised campaign flights during his 2002 failed presidential bid. That left a culture that has redefined political contest and tightly linked it to the style of the arrival rather than the purpose of the visit.

“The aeroplane is fast becoming the ultimate weapon of mass recognition or humiliation depending on which side you stand,” says David Mulwa, one of Kenya’s most seasoned pilots.

“A fleet of fuel-guzzling 4×4 cars fades to oblivion when a political rival lands from the air in a helicopter.”

Mr Mulwa adds that politicians are emerging as the major buyers of choppers that can land just about anywhere unlike a fixed-wing aircraft.

Helicopters offer massive image builders, especially for politicians. Landing at a function is a lot more than just driving in. It sends an unmistakable message about one’s financial ability, which to most Kenyans still hold sway when it comes to deciding who to vote for. The other benefit is the ability to cover much more ground in a much shorter time.

Two weeks ago, Water Minister Charity Ngilu and Planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth demonstrated what must surely be the convenience of having a chopper at the snap of a finger. At midday, the duo attended the UAP Ndakaini marathon.

By 3 pm, they were in Kitui attending another function and at 6pm, they were back in Nairobi in time for dinner — all without breaking a sweat or sitting through those tortuous roads for hours.

But for all their attractiveness and manoeuvrability, helicopters have range and speed limitations of between 240 to 300 kilometres per hour.

That compares badly with about 1000 kilometres per hour maximum speed for a Cessna Caravan. And because of high fuel consumption, helicopters can only be in the air for a maximum of five hours.

In 2011, Wilson Airport, which has always been the busiest airport in Africa for decades, has become even busier.

On weekends, political actors compete for available helicopters driving the business of air charters to record levels. Wilson Airport now hosts about 600 aircraft for hire from different companies.

It costs anything between Sh40,000 to 150,000  per hour to hire helicopter depending on how far one is going.

This can rise to more than Sh200,000 during peak seasons or at night.

For fixed-wings, it is much cheaper but they are mostly used for tours to the Maasai Mara, the Coast, Turkana, Samburu and to neighbouring countries.

hchege@ke.nationmedia.com

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Kenya+flying+millionaires/-/539444/1246962/-/bd8eso/-/index.html

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Kenyan families being ripped apart by ‘commuter’ marriages

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

The security guard, the high-flying banker, the professional soldier on an overseas peacekeeping mission and the traffic policeman have one thing in common: They haven’t seen their spouses in ages.

For such people who stay away from their spouses and children, it is a painfully emotional affair.

But many Kenyans are reacting to the realities of the harsh economy by selflessly making the ultimate sacrifice — forgoing personal comfort and family for employment to put food on the table.

In the days following independence, most Kenyan men left the comforts of their wives and villages for Nairobi — to seek employment.
Love was via the post office, same as the monthly cash remittance by postal order to add onto the negligible income the wife made by scratching around the vegetable garden.

Although this scenario still exists, in majority of cases, the woman of the house and the husband both hold jobs. But many such couples are increasingly living apart, with couples splitting up not because they no longer want to be married, but because their careers dictate so.

Indeed, many married couples may be engaging in what psychologists call “commuter marriages,” where one spouse lives in a different city, county or even country in order to access gainful employment and augment the family income.

Young wife

Jacob landed a job in the USA recently. He left behind a daughter barely in the teens, a baby boy and a young wife. That took courage. While it may be the ideal career choice, it can lead to trouble at home. The spouse who relocates feels like a stranger in the new country or city, while the one left behind with the children may feel as if he or she bears the greatest responsibility for raising the children and looking after the household.

Unlike the letter by post of our father’s generation, Jacob will make use of technologies such as skype, mobile phones and e-mail to make instant contact and help ease the emotional pains of his economic separation. He will make frequent visits to Kenya whenever opportunity and costs allow. But that cannot substitute for the emotional comforts of living with a spouse — nagging, domestic squabbles over money and all.

At the universities, for instance, commuter marriages are on a steady increase. Many tutorial fellows pursue studies abroad. A female lecturer who preferred to remain anonymous had this to say:

“My hubby was laid off by a leading University because he did not have a doctorate degree. When he successfully wrote a thesis proposal for doctorate studies in New Zealand, as a family, we initially considered a commuter-marriage arrangement, but couldn’t entertain the notion because our daughter was only 4 years old.

“Now we are expecting a second baby,” she continued, “he remains jobless. He is miserable and has started abusing alcohol. I would hate to be apart from my husband. But lately, I have begun to reconsider circumstances under which it might be necessary for him to go abroad for his studies. After all, in this economy, we don’t have the option of turning down opportunities.”

Supervise children

There are many other similar stories. Sunday Wangema lives in Mombasa while his wife lives and works in Saudi Arabia. On a typical weekday in the Wangema’s household, he has to supervise his three children eat all their meals. On some days, Reinson, Shally and Gladys give Wangema a hard time. The children typically dillydally over meals, putting their father in the unfamiliar role of pleading with them to eat.

But his efforts notwithstanding, Wangema’s neighbour’s and in–laws have given him a hard time. Sensing that Wangema may be receiving loads of money from his wife in Saudi Arabia, and probably driven by jealousy, some of his neighbours “consistently peddled lies, about my nonexistent infidelity to break my marriage,” he says. He has had to move house.

When I asked how often he communicates with his wife in Saudi Arabia, he said, “We talk in the morning and around dinner time.”

His life rotates around his When he is not at work, he is at home with his children, meaning he can hardly spend an evening out with friends over a drink like most men.

James Andanje, the Managing Director of Meros Group of Companies with interests that stretch the span of East Africa region, says people want jobs — period.

Second income

“In the previous decade, anyone who wanted a job would plead to be posted near their homes. Now they come in and say that they are ready to work anywhere and move, if necessary, to other countries without the families,” says Andanje.

“We send a lot of people to emerging markets. And if one spouse is working, who wants to give up the second income?” he adds.

Psychologists, however, warn that commuter marriages may not suit people who exhibit certain emotional traits such as delusional jealousy. Such spouses hold unfounded conviction that a spouse or lover is unfaithful. This often causes constant wrangles and can lead to divorce.

Infidelity

Not that fears of infidelity are unfounded. In a report released last year, a study showed that most men who live in cities take on concubines and spend a substantial amount of their income on them — often surpassing that which is remitted back home.

In many cases, such concubines slowly evolve into parallel families. While they may ease the man’s emotional and sexual void, they become a heavy financial burden and defeat the very purpose for which the commuter marriage was set up in the first place. With the wife at home neglected emotionally and financially, her vulnerability rises. It is, therefore, not uncommon for her to engage in an extra-marital affair with a
workmate or member of her church. In the circumstances, either partner could contract and pass on a sexually transmitted disease, or sire children out of wedlock, leading to divorce.

In worst case scenarios, the emotional bond grows cold and one spouse just vanishes into thin air. Stories abound of men who leave for far off countries in such of greener pastures. In the first year, they keep in touch and send money home. But slowly, the trail grows cold, and over time, they quietly fade off the face of the earth. There are women who have not seen their husbands for twenty years because they ‘got lost’ in the
United States.

Runaway husbands

Such women learn quickly and once the heartbreak is over, they take on “acting husbands” and move on with life. Locally, stories are told of rural women who travel to the city and dump dirty babies on the desks of runaway husbands.

Even men suffer similar fates, though. There are wives who have left for college or work, either in distant towns or countries, often with their husband’s financial support, only to pick up new husbands and lovers and dump their former mates. Freshly Mwamburi’s hit song Stella on the tribulations of a man whose wife came back from Japan with a baby and a Japanese husband comes to mind.

But perhaps the worst aspect of commuter marriages is when both husband and wife depart to different countries and leave the children with relatives or hired help.

Is the dollar really worth it?

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/politics/InsidePage.php?id=2000043978&cid=349

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Video: Woman fights for life after serious injuries inflicted by brutal husband

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

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Video: Wangari Maathai to be cremated as per her will

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

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State seeks to take over land from foreigners

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

Lands Minister James Orengo. Foreigners who possess huge chunks of land are likely to lose them as the government moves to enforce land ownership laws. Photo/FILE

Lands Minister James Orengo. Foreigners who possess huge chunks of land are likely to lose them as the government moves to enforce land ownership laws. Photo/FILE

Foreigners owning huge tracts of land, whose lease is about to expire, are likely to lose their prized assets as the government starts to enforce the law on land ownership.

The move will affect multinationals and individuals with tea, sisal and coffee estates in some of the most arable lands in the country on 99-year leases.

Lands Minister James Orengo said they were working on a law that would allow the government to review the expiring leases, especially those held for speculative purposes.

“There are some leases of 99 years, which are expiring, and some more are to expire. We will interrogate them afresh, and if we find that they have been held for speculation purposes, we will not renew them,” he said on phone from his Ugenya constituency.

Article 65 of the Constitution states that a person who is not a citizen or a company with at least one shareholder who is not a citizen may only hold land for a 99-year lease tenure at most.

The Sixth Schedule of the Transitional Clauses says: “On the effective date (promulgation of the new Constitution), any freehold interest in land in Kenya held by a person who is not a citizen shall revert to the Republic of Kenya to be held on behalf of the people of Kenya, and the State shall grant to the person a ninety-nine year lease at a peppercorn rent.”

Pay for the lease

Peppercorn rent is the lowest or minimal fee a person will be required to pay for the lease.

The Constitution also requires that any other leases, which are beyond 99 years, be reduced to the former.

However, foreigners who would have successfully applied for dual citizenship, as allowed under the new Constitution, will be spared.

Mr Orengo said the changes were meant to ensure efficient land use and correct anomalies that saw foreigners being awarded thousands of hectares of land as Kenyans were reduced to squatters.

Between 1900 and the 1940s, most Kenyans living in Rift Valley and parts of Central Province Highlands were kicked out of their fertile land, which was given to white farmers on leases of 999 years by the colonialists.

The locals were settled in what was called reserves — which have bred the present squatter problem in Kenya.

After independence in 1963, the government through the Million Acre Scheme begun to resettle Africans in the former White highlands at the same time reducing most of the leases to 99 years.

On Monday, Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea said the affected parcels include tea and coffee estates in Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Kiambu, Naivasha and Nakuru counties. Others are in Nyandarua and Thika.

This means that some of the tea and coffee companies listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange could be affected by the move.

Mr Mabea said the ministry was compiling a list of land on 999-year leases.

“We aim to complete the exercise in a month,” he said.

Mr Orengo warned that some foreigners had started to subdivide their large tracts of land for sale to beat the new law.

“Over the years, some of them have seen what the law says and have subdivided their land wanting to sell it. They should know that we are not keen on such moves and will not allow them,” he said.

The minister said the public will have a chance to contribute to the law in order to address the perennial disputes over the scarce resource.

“We want issues of land debated publicly so that we can find the solution to it,” he said.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/State+seeks+to+take+over+land+from+foreigners+/-/1056/1247562/-/dw90xs/-/index.html

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KENYA: Kidnappings of foreigners at Kenyan resort raise fears

Posted by Administrator on October 4, 2011

Tourists visit the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu on Monday. Credit: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

Tourists visit the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu on Monday. Credit: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — Kenya’s pristine northern coastal resort of Lamu, hit by kidnappings of foreigners, faces a sharp decline in tourism after the British and French governments issued warnings this past weekend against travel to the region.

The U.S. State Department has had a warning against travel to Lamu since 2009.

Marie Dedieu, 66, a retired French journalist who uses a wheelchair, was kidnapped early Saturday from her house on Manda Island by 10 Somali gunmen, thrown into a boat and taken to Somalia, officials said. Kenyan naval forces exchanged heavy gunfire with the kidnappers but failed to rescue her.

Reuters cited a Somali pirate as saying that Dedieu was being held in Somalia for ransom.

Last month, British tourist Judith Tebbutt, 56, was kidnapped and her husband, David, was killed. Tebbutt was also taken to Somalia by boat.

Kenyan analysts believe that tougher international policing to cut Somali pirate attacks on commercial ships has resulted in pirate groups turning to softer targets, such as poorly guarded hotels and residences in Lamu.

Many tourists left Lamu after Saturday’s kidnapping, and hundreds canceled bookings to Lamu hotels, local businessman Abdalla Fadhil told Agence France-Presse. Travelers writing on the website tripadvisor.com said they had pulled the plug on plans to travel to the region.

“You would have to be silly to go right now. Nobody knows if it is safe, so why risk it?” one posted.

Kenyan officials said the government had contacted local Somali leaders to try to negotiate the release of the foreigners.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula told the Daily Nation newspaper that the government was willing to pursue Somali gangs and destroy them.

“Even if we have to go across and attack them, I think it’s high time for us to teach them a lesson, because they”re destroying our economy, they’re destroying our security,” Tourism Minister Najib Balala agreed on Kenyan television.

Balala tweeted Monday that he was in Lamu with a delegation of government officials, including the police commissioner and internal-security and naval officials.

“Am on top of it and no worries Government is now doing serious security measures,” he tweeted earlier.

Many Lamu residences and hotels are close to the shore, making them easy targets for gunmen in speedboats. Titus Kangangi, the Kenya Hotelkeepers and Caterers Assn. chairman for the coastal region, told the Daily Nation that the organization had urged private cottages in the area to increase their security.

Local tourism business operators said they are angry at the lack of protection from the Kenyan navy and international authorities.

“We want the Kenyan government and international governments to protect us more,” hotel owner Muhidin Athman told Reuters during a protest march by local businesses Monday.

The area is popular with wealthy tourists and celebrities. Princess Caroline of Monaco reportedly owns property there, and Sienna Miller and Jude Law have vacationed in the area. Former “X-Files” actress Gillian Anderson married Julian Ozanne on Lamu in 2004, but they later separated.

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/10/kenya-tourists-kidnapped.html?track=lat-pick

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