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Kenyan-born journalist honoured in US for exemplary reporting

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BY STEVE JOHNSON

A Kenyan-born US based journalist was feted on Thursday for exemplary service during the coverage of the 2017 Kenyan general election.

BMJ Muriithi – who is a multimedia specialist – received the award at a ceremony held at the Voice America headquarters on Independence Avenue in Washington DC.

While presenting the Superior Achievement Award, the agency’s Africa Division Chief, Negussie Mengesha, praised the journalist for “outstanding reporting and going beyond the call of duty” while covering the polls in the East African nation for radio, TV and online platforms.

Muriithi was among thousands of journalists representing international media organizations who traversed the country and extensively covered the events relating to the much publicized exercise in August – including the campaigns, interviews,l the voting, vote tallying, transmission process, the announcement of the results and the aftereffects.

“I am elated for this recognition but must hasten to add that it was team work that made the reportage have the desired effect and impact. I thank our audience across the globe as well as  all my colleagues who made it possible,” said Muriithi who wore a big smile.

“These stories must be told as objectively as possible especially now that we live in the era of Fake News. It is a phenomenon that compels us to be extra vigilant while trying to be as prompt as possible in disseminating our content.  We have to check and recheck our content before hitting the publish button,” he told this reporter.

The presidential poll is set to be repeated on October 26th after the results were overturned by the Supreme court owing to what the majority judges on the petition panel called “irregularities and illegalities” during the exercise.

Kenyan-born journalist BMJ Muriithi (left) displays his certificate at a ceremony held at the VOA headquarters on Independence Avenue in Washington DC. The award was presented by the Director of VOA’s African Division, Negussie Mengesha (right).

On 28 August, the Kenyan Supreme Court heard Mr Odinga’s arguments for the first time. Permission was granted to allow two agents of both the ruling party and Odinga’s NASA party to audit the IEBC results,  though Odinga’s lawyer James Orengo, alleged afterwards that the IEBC was denying his team full access to the servers and other equipment that transmitted results from polling stations to the tallying centre despite the court allowing “read-only” access.

Closing arguments then concluded on 29 August and it was announced that the court would make a decision on 1 September surrounding the results of the presidential election. It was later announced on 30 August that the IEBC had submitted all result forms for scrutiny to give the Supreme Court a clear picture on how Kenyans voted during the elections.

On 1 September, the Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s election victory and ordered that a new presidential election take place within 60 days.

On 5 September the IEBC set the next presidential election to be held on 17 October. However, Odinga announced  he would not participate in a new presidential election without “legal and constitutional guarantees” against alleged electoral fraud.  However, It was later announced on 21 September that the election would be delayed until 26 October after the IEBC sought more time to prepare for the voting processes. The same day, IEBC Legal Affairs officer Praxedes Tororey succumbed to sustained pressure from NASA and resigned from her post.

Following several aborted meetings between IEBC and representatives of the political parties, NASA annonced that its supporters would be holding demonstrations every Monday and Friday, until the electoral body addresses the following ‘irreducible minimum’ demands:

  • Appoint and gazette returning officers  in consultations with political parties and candidates.
  • Establish a technical monitoring committee with representatives of the main political parties, coalitions or candidates to oversee implementation of the technology in use.
  • Stop use of Al-Ghurair to print ballot papers and results declaration forms as well as engage an electoral technology company other than OT Morpho (a French multinational company specializing in security and identity solutions and which has since changed its name to IDEMIA.)
  • All Forms 34Bs should be pre-printed indicating the names of polling stations in the constituency and names of candidates
  • Elections results to be announced at the Constituency level. Results sent electronically must be accompanied by corresponding statutory result declaration forms
  • Candidates’ agents should be part of receiving teams at the constituency and national tallying centers, and be allowed to confirm entries before transmission
  • Establish defined roles of the security agencies and eliminate undue influence by the provincial administration and other public officials

In the meantime, Jubilee members of parliament introduced a bill in parliament seeking to change some of the electoral laws preferably before the date of the repeat poll.

“The journalist has reported on all these issues with dedication and exemplary professionalism,” read part of the message on the certificate.

Muriithi has been covering stories from around the world with special emphasis on East and Central Africa.

 

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Africa

SA-based Kenyan journalist Christine Esipisu speaks to VOA on the unrest in the country

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BY BMJ MURIITHI
The situation in North West province of South Africa escalated Friday as violence mounted on the third day of riots that paralyzed the city of Mahikeng as the locals protested against corruption, lack of jobs, hospitals and better living conditions, among other things.
It got so volatile that it forced the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to cancel his engagements at this year’s Commonwealth Summit in London, where he was also pitching to multinational investors with a message that “S Africa is open for business.” He had to hurriedly return home to try and contain the situation in the town that is about 300 km West  of Johannesburg.
For three days in a row, crowds had taken to the streets in and around the capital of the province  calling for the resignation of the territory’s premier Supra Mahumapeloa.
In recent weeks, unions and businessmen in the region have been calling for Mahumapelo to resign over allegations of corruption in the award of state tenders but he has denied any wrongdoing.
Speaking to Voice of America’s Harrison Kamau Friday, Ms Christine Esipisu, a South Africa-based journalist said the premier was being accused of corrupt tendencies.
She said that upon arrival from London, Mr Ramaphosa went straight into meetings with the local leaders in an attempt to quell the situation.
“Soon after arrival in the Northwest Province, to try and quell an outbreak of violent protests that forced him to cut short a visit to a Commonwealth summit,” She said. “
“He is holding meetings with officials to discuss the demonstrations against corruption, poor public services and the local government which is led by a member of his ruling African National Congress (ANC),” she added.
Listen to VOA’s Harrison Kamau as he  interviews South Africa-based Christine Esipisu on the radio show, “Indepth:

“We want the president to tell Supra he must go. That man is full of corruption,” 25-year-old Oratile Seadira, a construction worker who lives in a shack on the outskirts of Mahikeng, was quoted  as saying.

Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma as president in February, has staked his reputation on rooting out the corruption and mismanagement associated with Zuma’s nine scandal-plagued years in power. His critics have however accused him of abetting the vice by “appointing people who have been accused of corruption into his cabinet.”

“We have nothing. No houses. No good schools. No hospital. People are saying they will burn the city if he doesn’t go.” The streets around him were quiet as Ramaphosa arrived.

 

Miriam Visage, 52, told the media that she and other South Africans in the region had been neglected.

“We have been neglected. We want Cyril Ramaphosa to come and see how we live, to scramble in the mud like us,” She said.

She added that she lives in a two room township house with her six children and seven grandchildren.

“The ANC is full of empty promises,” said Visage, accusing the police of firing live rounds during the protests. “We were very peaceful. Do they think we are wild animals to be shot?”

South Africa-based Kenyan-born journalist, Christine Esipisu. She spoke to VOA’s Harrison Kamau about the escalating situation in Nort West Province. PHOTO/COURTESY

 

 

 

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Africa

Drama as 80-year-old man demands divorce, share of millet and pans

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A jilted old man, 80, and wife, 79, are locked in an unusual divorce case and property wrangle that has bounced back and forth between village and sub-county authorities without resolution.
The Ugandan man, Paul Osinge, filed the case before the Akaramai village committee, seeking separation from his 79-year-old wife, who he claims has ejected him and has moved on with another fairly young man of 60 years.
The estranged couple accept they have lived peacefully for the last 18 years in Akaramai Village, Labori Sub-county, Serere District, but disagree whether it was as husband and wife.
The frail looking Osinge said his decision to seek separation from Norah Iningoi, 79, is a painful one.

“I felt a sense of both rejection and dejection as my wife has for the last two months moved on with another fairly young man,” he lamented.
But Ms Iningoi, a mother of six, with multiple grandchildren, dismisses Mr Osinge’s claims that they have been living as wife and husband.
Speaking from her home at Akaramai Village, Labori Sub-county, Ms Iningoi said: “I hosted him here since 2000 as a gesture of humility and hospitality, not as my husband. His claims of being my husband are lies. At my advanced age! Do I look like a young woman with feelings?”
But Mr Osinge, a father of five children and nine grandchildren, said he understands they have not married officially but seeks fairness in the split.

He said Ms Iningoi has stayed with him and wasted his productive years at her home.
“My going to the area village committee is to help us divide the five bags of dried potato chips, chicken we have raised together, a bag of sorghum, a bag of millet, saucepans, and one goat we equally worked for, and I will leave her home,” Mr Osinge said.
Official stuck with case

But the divorce case is stuck before the Labori Sub-county community development officer, Mr Mathias Elau, who said the case is unusual.
“I received the cries of that 80-year-old man, but I couldn’t handle the case. I referred him to his area village committee to handle,” he added.
Mr Osinge told Daily Monitor that until February, they had lived amicably as husband and wife, but his wife’s attitude suddenly changed.
“I got to learn later that in my absence there was a fairly young man in his 60s, who has been filling my space,” he said.
To his surprise, he said, he discovered it was the wife of one of his sons, who was a matchmaker for her mother-in-law.

Mr Osinge said his companion has thrown him out of their house and tossed his beddings to the kitchen to officially create room for her new love.
But Ms Iningoi said she made up her mind to kick out Mr Osinge because he was much of a liability, only eating food she toils for.
“I told him that now that you have aged, kindly look for the whereabouts of your clansmen, in case of any sickness, I may not be of help because I am also now frail,” she added.

She said this did not go well with Mr Osinge. “It’s here that he started to frame me as being in love with another man.”
Ms Iningoi said out of goodwill, she offered Mr Osinge a bag of dried potato chips, but he reportedly sold off the entire bag, and has now placed additional claims for her property before the village committee.
But Mr Samuel Okello, one of the grandsons of Mr Osinge, received the news of his grandfather’s ejection with joy.

“It is a wakeup call for him to go and resettle with his clansmen in Kyere Sub-county, Serere District, where he deserted 56 years ago.
Mr Peter Aisu, the area village chairman, together with his committee members, said their attempts to mediate a peaceful separation between the two have not yielded any fruit after Ms Iningoi refused to share any property.
“As the village committee, we looked into the contested property, and thought they would divide, but the old woman has not bought the idea,” he said, adding that they will refer the matter to the sub-county.

-monitor

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Africa

I truly love my 54 year old American boyfriend, says 21 year old Kenyan woman

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A Kenyan student in the United States is the subject of discussion after her relationship with her American boyfriend became a trending topic over their age-gap.

Speaking to Mail Online, Rehab Kimani, 21, said she met Joe Singiser, 54, through work at a nursing home in New Jersey.

 A student and home health aide, Rehab said that her friends got disgusted by her choice of boyfriend. They even stopped her from talking about her man whenever she was around them

“I thought he was very attractive and immediately wanted him,” she revealed. “I really liked his big muscles and that everyone at work was afraid of him.”

Rehab with Joe [Courtesy]

Rehab also reveals that despite being very comfortable on their first date, it was hard for her to deal with the way her family reacted as they did not take it positively.

“I just see him as my boyfriend and my best friend. If anything, the difference is that I take this relationship as more serious than previous ones. It took everyone a long time, but they are finally understanding of us being together.” She said.

Mr Singiser is a father of four and Rehab’s supervisor at work. He says he was ‘startled’ when he got interested in his younger employee but opted to press on with the relationship because he knew it was true love.

He says he noticed her beautiful smile from the across the room and would find excuses to come out of his office just to see her.

[Courtesy]

Rehab says that she no longer sees the age difference. However, they do draw looks from strangers on the streets.

“We get looks while in public all the time,” she said. “Someone even came up to me once and said I should be ashamed of myself because I just want his money. I did get sensitive, but I just walked away.”

The couple, who have been together for a year now, lives together and are planning on starting a family together having started discussing the possibility of marriage and having children.

-Standard

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