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Shock as Kenyan woman, Anne Kihagi-Swain, is fined $2.4M by US court



A Kenyan landlady who has been described as notorious by the media , Anne Kihagi, who was sued by the SF city attorney two years ago after numerous reports about her shady eviction tactics and unfair treatment of tenants, has been ordered to pay $2.4 million and has also been sentenced to five days in jail for violating provisions of the Ellis Act at one of her properties in West Hollywood.


The news was received with shock among Kenyans.

“A Kenyan woman has been fined US$2.4 million (Sh247.5 million) by an American court for being an abusive landlord,” reported a Kenya paper.

Ms Anne Kihagi has been accused of harassing 23 tenants and wrongfully evicting 10 others by using unconventional methods to frustrate among them the elderly and a cancer patient.

Ms Kihagi, a landlord with a portfolio of property worth $24 million (Sh2.5 billion) was also sentenced to five days in a San Francisco jail for violating the housing law.

This is after a two-year bruising court battle with her tenants who have christened her the “notorious landlord”.

In fact, Ms Kihagi may end up being fined up to $4 million (Sh412.5 million) since the judge also ruled

Anne Kihagi

that she must foot the costs incurred during the case.

Ms Kihagi’s run-ins with her tenants began two years ago when they complained of harassment and uncouth tactics that their landlord used to evict them so she could renovate the building and rent it out at a higher price.


According to a report by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, the tactics used by Ms Kihagi included: “Fraud, harassment, threats, intimidation, verbal abuse, interrupting gas, electric, water and cable service, failing to cash rent cheques, only to late claim them as untimely rent payment and violating tenants’ privacy by entering their apartments without required notice”.

The tenants also accused Ms Kihagi of installing video surveillance cameras aimed at their front doors.

Ms Kihagi has since garnered a reputation for being a horrible landlord, with Mr Herrera saying, “I’ve gone after a lot of lawless landlords in my time, but Anne Kihagi has a special place reserved for her in San Francisco’s abusive landlord ‘hall of fame’. Her cruelty is stunning.”

In her ruling, Judge Angela Bradstreet noted that Ms Kihagi’s behaviour had serious effects on the lives of several citizens of San Francisco, to the point that one former tenant had to quit her job and move out of the state. In another case, Ms Kihagi forced a tenant suffering from cancer out of his home.

The court case was under investigation for two years and the ruling attracted a lot of media coverage from San Francisco press.

The US based media have reported that Ms Kihagi irked her tenants so much that some housing rights activists took to the streets to protest against her.


US newspapers have reported that Ms Kihagi began buying property in June 2013 in Noe Valley, the Mission and North Beach and the Castro, making her the owner of over 50 units in San Francisco.

It is also reported that Ms Kihagi is working closely with two business associates, Julia Mwangi and Christine Mwangi, known as “The Mwangi sisters” who were jointly sued by the tenants. She also has property in Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Her business model involves buying buildings with long-term, “rent-controlled tenants paying below-market rents and then using a wide range of methods, both legal and illegal, to get rid of the tenants,” a San Francisco newspaper reported.

Once she pushes out the tenants, Ms Kihagi allegedly makes unpermitted improvements in the buildings after which she rents them at a higher price.

Ms Kihagi, who is being represented by her lawyer Karen Uchiyama, blames the case on a tenant activists group that wanted to “make a scapegoat of Anne Kihagi”.

The lawyer further accused the court of scaring landlords from evicting tenants. The lawyer maintained that Ms Kihagi acted within the law even in evicting the tenants. Meanwhile, Ms Kihagi is appealing the ruling.

-Nairobi news

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PHOTOS: Kenyan woman who died in Atlanta buried



Phoebe Silantoi Hickman,  a Kenyan woman who died last week after a short illness was buried on Saturday afternoon, 10th march 2018 at  Liberty Hill Cemetery Acworth, Georgia.

Earlier, a memorial service was held at North Star Church (3413 Blue Springs Rd, Kennesaw, GA 30144) starting at 1pm.

Ms Hickman was the wife to John Hickman, mother to feneitz Somoina and sister to Jonathan Mututua.

Saturday, family and friends braved chilly and rainy weather to pay their last respects and bid farewell to the deceased.

“Thank you KIG for coming out to escort our sister. The rain did not stop us from showing solidarity with one of us. Asanteni sana,” said Ms Christine Muchene in a social media posting shortly after the burial.

See photos below courtesy of Ms Muchene:


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Kenyan-born Professor summoned by ICE, faces deportation from US




Augsburg University’s Dr. Mzenga Wanyama, a Kenyan-born graduate of the University of Minnesota who now teaches post-colonial theory and African American literature, has just been asked to attend a meeting Friday morning at the ICE office in St. Paul to discuss his immigration status and “plans for removal.”

Wanyama arrived in the United States in 1992, at a time when Kenya’s transformation from a one-party state into a multiparty system provoked ethnic violence. Thousands were murdered and many more displaced.

After his wife and two children joined him in America, Wanyama began to write articles for a leading Kenyan newspaper criticizing the government and praising primary opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost a bid for the presidency last summer in an election that also erupted in violent clashes over accusations of election fraud.

Later Wanyama applied for asylum, claiming the Kenyan government had retaliated against his family members in Kenya, harassing his mother about his whereabouts and firing his brother from his job in a public development corporation. In 2009, an immigration judge ruled that although Wanyama had reason to have feared persecution, what he suffered really wasn’t as bad as what other refugees experienced. (Prior court rulings had found that isolated attacks on family members isn’t always enough to admit an asylum applicant, if he himself hasn’t been sufficiently tortured.)

His asylum application officially denied in 2012, Wanyama was marked for possible removal and ordered to check in with ICE every 1-3 months. He’s never missed a visit, and ICE has never tried to actually deport him. Under the Obama Administration, the agency’s orders were to focus on deporting felons. Wanyama has no criminal record.

But in January, Trump signed an executive order that allows ICE to deport anyone without legal residency status, regardless of criminal history. Wanyama’s friends and colleagues at Augsburg fear that he will be arrested when he checks in with ICE on Friday, so they and academics across Minnesota plan to demonstrate at the ICE office at 1 Federal Drive, #1640 in St. Paul at noon.

 “I think he was targeted because the climate is changing, and because they’re going after people who are rooted in the community,” says Professor Sarah Combellick-Bidney. “They’re sending signals that our communities are hostile to immigrants by taking people who are a part of our fabric.”

Nearly 46 million people tuned in to Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in January, when he announced his vision for “merit-based” immigration reform, a system that would welcome only the most educated, wealthy, and English-fluent people from around the world

.Does that mean tenured English professors are in the clear? Evidently not.


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