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Archive for December 4th, 2011

I Was Paid Sh5 Million to Be Silent – Karume’s ‘Son’

Posted by Administrator on December 4, 2011

Njenga Karume’s alleged illegitimate son yesterday admitted that the former minister paid him and his mother Sh5 million three years ago “to silence them”. While urging the court to allow his case to proceed to full hearing, Edwin Thuo told Justice David Majanja to ignore the consent signed for the withdrawal of the suit.

Through his lawyer Irungu Kang’ata, Thuo said the said consent, signed in December 2008, was marred with undue influence and therefore cannot be enforced by the court. “Even if we benefitted by taking some money, the agreement is null and void because it curtails a right,” said Kang’ata.

He added that Sh5 million was nothing compared with the rights he was forced to forego then. The lawyer added that there was a difference between the current case and the earlier one filed by Thuo’s mother Lucy Muthoni in 2007. He said the suit was different because in the earlier one, the case was filed in private capacity but in the current one, he has filed it in public law because there were “millions of illegitimate children” who would wish to come to court seeking similar prayers.

The point was objected by Karume’s lawyer Fred Ngatia who said he had been instructed to oppose the suit by “one father and not millions”. On his part, Karume, through Ngatia, said that the case should be dismissed because Thuo did not disclose the fact the case had been settled in 2008.

He said the court cannot vary consent order unless it is established it was signed under duress, there was a mistake or fraud. Ngatia added that in the consent, recorded before the Registrar of the High Court, Thuo and his mother wholly withdrew, and discontinued the matter and abandoned all the claims against Karume.

Terming the case as the height of absurdity, Karume added that the petition was identical to the one filed in 2007 only that Thuo had chosen to drop his surname of Kigera. The lawyer added that Thuo was above 18 years and he was not seeking parental support from Karume. Thuo, 45, is seeking a DNA test to confirm whether Karume is his biological father.

His mother – Muthoni – has filed an affidavit in support of Thuo’s case. Other than the DNA test, Thuo is seeking compensation of Sh101 million for alleged suffering he has suffered over the years as a result of Karume’s rejection. Justice Majanja will give his ruling on January 27, 2012.



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The tragedies that remind us to make time for each other

Posted by Administrator on December 4, 2011

It just occurred to me that for the past couple of years, the only occasion I get to meet most of my relatives is during funerals.

A few days ago, I lost a cousin, who we buried yesterday. When I heard about his death, I was filled with regret.

You see, I hadn’t seen or talked to him for almost two years, yet when we were children, we – the cousins, that is – would meet several times a year.

The tradition was to spend holidays, especially Christmas, at our grandparents’ home. We’d slaughter a goat, eat chapati, and have a good time, reluctantly leaving after dark.

As we grew up, however, the get-togethers became fewer and fewer, and we grew further and further apart. Even though this cousin had been married for several years and had three children, I’d only met his family just once. Even worse, I had no idea where he lived.

When something like this happens, which isn’t often thank God, we always contact each other to agree on how to assist the affected family.

This time was no different; however, as I handed over my contribution to the appointed treasurer, I couldn’t help wishing that the money was to facilitate the long-forgotten get-togethers we used to have.

It pained me that the only thing bringing us together was the death of one of us.

What changed? No matter how much I searched within myself, I couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer, probably because there isn’t one.

Extended families

Curious, I asked a couple of friends and colleagues how often they met with their extended families. While there were several who described their families as close, there are some who confessed that they hadn’t visited one another in years.

When I asked why, they were hard-pressed to come up with an answer, eventually settling on the scapegoat we all reach for – work. But if we’re honest, work has nothing to do with why we’re estranged from our relatives. You and I don’t work 365 days a year, do we?

Some time back, someone told me about a cousin of his who attempted to commit suicide after realising that the man she planned to get married to was her brother.

Turned out that her father had had a child with another woman, a child that he’d never bothered to tell anyone about.

Such stories convince me that this big world is really not that big. It convinces me that the possibility of my son meeting and falling in love with a pretty cousin he’s never met, several years from now, is not far-fetched.

That is why I plan to initiate a family get-together this December, which, hopefully, will be the beginning of many more to come.

Two days ago, someone forwarded me an email that prompted me to re-examine my priorities.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and began to fill an empty jar with golf balls. When he could no longer fit any more golf balls, he asked his students if the jar was full. They said it was.

Box of pebbles

He then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar and shook it so that they settled into the open spaces between the golf balls.

Once again, he asked the students if the jar was full. They said it was. He picked up a box of sand and emptied it into the jar. This time round, there was no doubt that the snug-looking jar was full, and the students told him so.

“This jar represents your life,” he informed them. The golf balls, he said, were the important things – God, family,children, health and friends, things that if everything else was lost but they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles stood for the things that matter, such as your job, house, and car, while the sand represents everything else, basically the inconsequential stuff in your life.

“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that should be important to you,” he summarised.


Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/lifestyle/The+tragedies+that+remind+us++to+make+time+for+each+other+/-/1214/1283404/-/2lobdb/-/index.html

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Rapists warned: 33 bad women on the prowl

Posted by Administrator on December 4, 2011

Trainees with the No Means No Worldwide self-defence skills programme go through a drill at a hall in Korogocho slums in Nairobi. Photo/ROSEMARY QUIPP

Trainees with the No Means No Worldwide self-defence skills programme go through a drill at a hall in Korogocho slums in Nairobi. Photo/ROSEMARY QUIPP

Thirty-three dangerous women have been unleashed on the streets of Nairobi.

For three weeks in October, they met daily in a training hall in Korogocho, arriving every morning in colourful exercise clothes: workout shorts and nylon jogging pants, cotton T-shirts and baggy sweatshirts.

They kicked off their muddy shoes at the door and settled onto foam mats on the concrete floor.

The women chatted and joked as they limbered up, and then the real action got under way: rolling around on the mats, the class learned how to break knees, crush windpipes, and burst eardrums.

The room echoed with the slapping of fists on punching bags, and screams of what has become their battle cry: “No! No! No!”

These 33 women are the first graduating class of No Means No Worldwide (NMNW, nomeansnoworldwide.org), a US-based organisation that trains vulnerable women and girls to defend themselves against attackers — and how to teach those skills to others.

“In the slums that we are living in, we have robbers, we have thugs, we have thieves. We have even mad people or drug addicts who like to bump up against women, and don’t value women,” says Ms Everlyne Odhiambo, 29, a social worker in Huruma.

“I’m here to learn these skills so I can defend myself when I’m in my field work, and also defend young girls and women.”

Ms Lee Sinclair, 54, is a self-defence trainer and the founder of NMNW.

A slight blonde with big brown eyes, she stands at just over five feet tall. But she knows how to use her petite frame to inflict maximum pain on an attacker – proof that self-defence is about technique, not strength or size.

“I was working in microloans in the slums, and I was hearing these stories of rape,” she says. “More than anything, No Means No Worldwide is an effort – it’s an effort to use prevention in the war on rape, instead of after-care and trauma relief. We really focus on using self-defence techniques that have been developed ‘by women for women’ since the 1970s.”

She says the official rape rate in Nairobi is pegged at 2 per cent, based on police reports and hospital treatment records.

But Ms Sinclair says many rapes in Nairobi go unreported and untreated. Many of the women taking the NMNW course say that families often discourage victims from going to the police, treating it instead as a family issue.

Using anonymous surveys, NMNW research indicates that Nairobi’s rape rate is closer to 24 per cent.

“I was 11 years old and my cousin tried to abuse me. It has even affected my relationship with men [today],” says Ms Elizabeth Muoti, now 22, from Mukuru. “It really took me a long time to accept. If I had known even a little self-defence, I could have got away freely.”

Dressed in stretchy yoga pants and a black tank top proclaiming “NO!”, Ms Sinclair leads the class through a variety of modules during the three-week course. Her first focus is discussing women’s rights and assumptions about gender-based violence.

She says the most important part is to understand exactly what rape is — that it is not about lust or promiscuous women, but instead about violence and control. This idea is illustrated by a poster on the classroom wall in Korogocho, asking: What causes rape?

The answer is a single word: Rapists.

Rape is a focus of the course because many women say they have been (or know) victims of the crime, but the techniques studied in the course are meant to allow women to defend themselves against any kind of threat, such as robbery or domestic violence.

Demographic and health surveys indicate that 43 per cent of Kenyan women aged 15-49 will experience some kind of gender-based violence in their lifetime, according to the Population Council, a US-based research institute.

Ms Sinclair’s second step is to teach the class how to defend themselves both verbally and physically, even against multiple attackers or assailants brandishing weapons.

She says courses in North America tend to focus on physical fighting, but the curriculum she designed puts more emphasis on ending confrontations with verbal skills, such as negotiation, reasoning, or screaming.

“We really focus on verbal, because the research says that 85 per cent of assaults could be stopped using voice,” she says.

However, students are also taught physical techniques to fight their attacker, including discussions on when it is appropriate to become violent.

Ms Sinclair says the key is to match the level of the aggressor’s violence. She mentioned at least one instance in which an elderly woman used self-defence techniques to kill her attacker.

The graduates of the course are now in the process of setting up their own self-defence training courses in five slums in Nairobi.

Working in groups, the women need to find space to teach classes and offices to store their course equipment, such as training manuals and punching bags.

The classes will also be taken into schools, where girls are taught self-defence while boys learn about sexual health.

Aside from assault prevention, Ms Sinclair says NMNW also conducts research.

The organisation is working with Dr Munyae Mulinge, the Dean of the Department of Sociology at the United States International University, Nairobi, to understand how self-defence training affects a community.

Ms Sinclair says that after six months, the initial findings indicate that 52 per cent of the students who study self-defence have used the techniques to stop a sexual assault, and 92 per cent have used the strategies to stop harassment or other attacks.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Rapists+warned+33+bad+women+on+the+prowl/-/1056/1283780/-/ld47ccz/-/index.html

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Electoral team works so Kenyans living abroad can vote next year

Posted by Administrator on December 4, 2011

The electoral commission is drawing up legislation to enable an estimated three million Kenyans living abroad to vote in the 2012 General Election.

Acting Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Officer James Oswago confirmed that the commission was developing guidelines on how these Kenyans living abroad will participate in the 2012 polls.

Among other things, the proposed legislation will determine whether they would vote only for president or would also vote for governors, senators, MPs and ward representatives.

“The Constitution talks about the progressive registration of Kenyans living abroad as voters and the progressive realisation of their right to vote. What this means is that we will have to start from somewhere. We are working on legislation to determine whether they will have to travel to Kenya to vote or if they will vote from wherever they are,” Mr Oswago said.

Outside the country

“The legislation will also determine … how many years one will have had to live outside the country to qualify to vote. So what is clear is that not all Kenyans living abroad will be able to vote in the next elections,” he said.

The IEBC is also expected to conduct a voter registration exercise that will include Kenyans living abroad.

Speaking when the former  Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) was handing over its exit report to the IEBC last week, elections boss Ahmed Isaack Hassan said the new electoral body’s priority is  to register eight million new voters and create 80 new constituencies.

This is the clearest indication that the more than three million Kenyans living abroad will be able to vote in the 2012 elections.

The anticipated move has jolted some presidential aspirants into action, with some already setting up secretariats to map out ways to market their policies to this voting bloc.

Three of the presidential aspirants, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth, have spent the better part of last month meeting with and pushing their platforms to Kenyans living abroad.

Mr Odinga and Mr Kenneth have established a diaspora desk in their secretariats fully dedicated to listening to and addressing the concerns of Kenyans living abroad.

Mr Musyoka was in the UK last month where he opened a PNU office in London to coordinate the party’s connections with Kenyans living in Europe.

Speaking to Kenyans gathered at the Krystel Hall, Hillford, East London, the VP announced he would be seeking the presidential nomination from PNU’s affiliate parties.

Official visit

Mid last month, Mr Kenneth, while on an official visit to Japan, held two meetings with Kenyans based there.

Mr Kenneth first met Kenyans living in Kyoto at the Rhiga Royal Hotel before holding another meeting at Nishitetsu Grand Hotel with Kenyans living in Fukuoka city a day later.

He has also visited the United States twice this year and held several meetings with Kenyans.

“The huge diaspora vote bank of millions is a vital constituency for candidates, and if effective arrangements are made by the IEBC for most of them to vote easily, they will play an important role in electing the next President,” said Mr Odinga’s advisor Salim Lone.

“Diasporans are also important sources of campaign finance, and of course their high level of education and standing within their Kenyan communities makes them influential opinion moulders.  These attributes also make them less subject to the political and ethnic divisions at home … we should not underestimate the diasporan voting impact,” he added.

He noted that Mr Odinga’s international and pan-African orientation has seen him develop links with foreign pro-democracy leaders that have enabled him to establish an unrivalled diaspora network and to rely on Kenyans in various countries to facilitate the organisation of his trips.

“During the 2007 campaign and much more so afterwards, he received numerous proposals from supporters overseas keen to have him set up a diaspora affairs office that would better mobilise and channel their remittances home as a way of bolstering the national economy,” Mr Lone said.

In London, the Vice-President called on the diaspora to support his bid for the presidency, saying he had the right credentials to lead the country to the next level after President Kibaki completes his term.

Seeking nomination

“I will be seeking the nomination of my party and its affiliates to run for president in the forthcoming general elections. In so doing, I will be seeking to secure the achievements we have attained so far under President Kibaki’s leadership, and beyond that, to open new vistas, new horizons, and reach higher goals in the pursuit of democratic ideals, social and economic prosperity,” he said.

Mr Musyoka also suggested that legislation be enacted to allow for the representation of Kenyans in the diaspora at Parliament and Senate level.

Speakers at the function called for the appointment of Cabinet secretaries from the diaspora.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Electoral+team+works+so+Kenyans+living+abroad+can+vote+next+year/-/1064/1283810/-/qija7s/-/

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Kenyan police disbands squad after international outcry

Posted by Administrator on December 4, 2011

A Kenyan police squad previously accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings as it sought to demobilize a notorious semi-religious sect was disbanded and its officers have left the force, a police spokesman said on Saturday.

Kenya police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the Kwe Kwe squad, a unit formed for a short-term objective of dealing with the Mungiki menace, was disbanded and that its officers left the force in search of better jobs elsewhere while others have died.

Reacting to claims by former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga that members of the force were trailing him with the intent of assassinating him, police said most squadron members left the force or died through “natural attrition.”

“The Kwe Kwe squad was formed for a short-term operation and was disbanded. Some of the officers have left, some are outside Nairobi, others left for greener pastures and some died,” Kiraithe told a news conference Saturday.

Kiraithe said most officers serving in the various units were known and would be punished if it was true any of them were involved. “We ask him to provide us with additional information,” Kiraithe said.

The former Mungiki leader said those trailing him were intent of assassinating him. But police said the claims could not be verified as the number plates of the cars provided could not be ascertained to belong to the government after a search.

police said, however, that further investigations would continue to ascertain if a local parliamentarian was involved in the plot.

Police sources said the case was related to the ongoing case at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the investigators have been concentrating on the role played by the police during Kenya’s post-election violence.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo claims in evidence linking top officials in Kenya that the Mungiki, a group best known for its deadly beheading of victims, was responsible for some forms of violence, much like the Janjaweed in Darfur.

Former UN rapporteur on extra-judicial killings Philip Alston accused the Kwe Kwe squad, which he called a police death squad, of arbitrarily killing hundreds of people. Alston claimed to have documented 24 occasions on which the Kwe Kwe squad undertook 58 executions of suspects.

Kiraithe termed the report a “baseless fabrication devoid of an iota of fact.” Kiraithe said the report was full of generalities and wild allegations.

The accusations of police involvement in the extra-judicial killings landed Kenya at the UN Human Rights Council, where authorities were asked to defend the allegations in the past.

Source- http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-12/04/c_131286532.htm

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