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Kenyans abroad: Why some won’t go home for Christmas

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Growing up in Ombeyi village in Kisumu County, Nick Ogutu, a Kenyan resident of New York, always looked forward to the December holidays when long-lost relatives and villagers who lived in big cities returned home for Christmas.

“It was the only time I could  drink a soda at the local market because my cousin who lives in Nairobi was giving me a treat. It was also the time  you’d spot me in either new attire, or a used but decent one given to me by my cousins,” said Mr Ogutu in a recent interview.

He remembers not just his excitement when city dwellers returned to the village for the festivities but also how local shopkeepers experienced booming business.

“The local economy would be boosted by the high-spending ‘watu wa Nairobi’ (city people), who wanted to fix their houses, pay last respects to those buried in their absence, and organise parties for family and friends,” said Mr Ogutu.

MOVED ABROAD

Later, Mr Ogutu and other villagers moved abroad either to study or work in places they now regard as their second homes. A number of them have maintained the ritual of travelling back to Kenya for the festive season. However, the situation is different this year.

Like many other Kenyans living abroad, Mr Ogutu is not planning to travel to Ombeyi to be with his village folks for one simple reason — the prevailing unpredictable political situation in Kenya has not only been discouraging but also scary.

Kenya has just gone through the longest electioneering period in recent memory. Two presidential elections within three months due to the landmark September 1 Supreme Court ruling, which nullified President Kenyatta’s win in the August 8 elections. The street protests and clashes with police have left many people dead and maimed.

From a logistical standpoint, observed Mr David Ogega, a Kenyan resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Kenyans make travel arrangements months in advance.

CHEAPER

“Airline tickets are generally cheaper when booked in advance, especially the months of September and October. Time off and from work is predictable,” said Mr Ogega, who is the Diaspora Conference chairman.

Mr Ogega noted that the protracted electioneering season as a result of the Supreme Court ruling and the subsequent election on October 26 created an unprecedented level of uncertainty in the country and many Kenyans abroad were not sure about their safety when they return home.

“The violence and threat of more violence scared many of them away. In fairness, it appears that normalcy may be returning as we enter the holiday season and there is a chance we will see an uptick in last-minute travellers,” he said.

As for Mr Jacktone Ambuka, a Kenyan resident of New Jersey, the prevailing political situation in Kenya has been fluid and unpredictable.

DISPUTED ELECTION

“In the wake of a disputed election coupled with reluctance by President Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga to jumpstart genuine dialogue that can unite citizens, Kenya’s political stability, which serves as a foundation for economic and social prosperity, remains uncertain,” he said.

Mr Ambuka added that the mood on the ground makes it hard not only for the people to interact without reservations but also complicates matters for visitors who are not sure about their security.

He noted that the Christmas celebrations in Kenya are unlikely to have a traditional excitement that evokes good feelings.

CELEBRATE

“A significant number of people have got nothing to celebrate following the destruction of their property and deaths of loved ones during political protests. The real spirit of Kenyan Christmas was diluted by  political circumstances,” noted the political analyst.

Mr Festus Kasyoka Mbuva, a Kenyan resident of Lowell, Massachusetts, shares this feeling. “I think the disputed elections have really hurt our collective Kenyan identity. You could say there’s deep mistrust and uncertainty floating around,” he said.

Mr Mbuva said many Kenyans living abroad were not making “bold and wide-ranging investments” as usual and are also not eager to fly home to flaunt their Kenyan pride.

“This, in the end, will deeply impact the economy and bruise the Kenyan identity further. It’s the boomerang effect of a dysfunctional leadership,” he said.

-Chris Wamalwa, nation.co.ke

 

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Africa

VIDEO: US Senator angers Kenyans for saying Facebook user-agreement is written in Swahili

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Louisiana Senator, John Kennedy, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee has pricked the ego of many Kenyans – and indeed that of other Swahili speakers – and left them very disappointed over his utterances.

This after he spoke in derogatory terms while answering a question during an interview with Kennedy  on popular Talk Show “Face the Nation” on CBS.

He was speaking about Facebook and its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg who appeared before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday before heading to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

An apparently angry Sen. Kennedy took issue with the tech giant’s end user agreement which he said was written in a language nobody understands.

“The service agreement with Facebook….It is written in Swahili. Nobody understands it,” said the lawmaker.

Below is the verbatim part of the transcript:

KENNEDY: “It may be the case. I would rather do it with Facebook and the other social media platforms. Look, we’ve got to talk about the initial bargain. Is it, is it fair for me to give up all of my personal data to Facebook and apparently everybody else in the Western Hemisphere in exchange for me being able to see what some of my high school buddies had for dinner Saturday night? Who, who owns my data? Do I own it or does Facebook own it? The service agreement with Facebook. It’s written in Swahili. Nobody understands it. Should I have the right to to opt in as opposed to opt out — put the burden on Facebook? Should I have the right to erase my data? Should I have the right to demand that Facebook get my permission before it sells the data? We all know that poison is being spread on social media, not just Facebook. How are we going to stop it? And by the way while we’re talking about that — what’s poison? First Amendment concerns.”

Reaction on social media was swift, most of it on Facebook.

Kinyuajk wrote: Haya ni madharau ya aina gani sasa?

KanyuaRose wrote: “Mr Senator, I do understand Swahili and I am not a nobody. Shape up.

JoeOketch: Kumbe lose mouth pia ziko Marekani. Did he really have to say that?

Maulidi Juma wrote the following on Instagram: Is he serious that nobody understands Swahili. How derogatory?

Wakesho wroite: Of all the languages amechagua Kiswahili kutuchafulia jina not long after Trump reportedly called us sh**holes? Ngoja tu ataonana na Wakenya.

Watch the video below courtesy of CBS:

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Diaspora

Kenyan teens in Atlanta arrested in connection with murder of father of 3

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Police in Acworth, Georgia, say they have arrested three people in connection with the March shooting death of a 25-year-old father of three.

Daniel Perez was shot March 23 as he sat in the passenger side of a pickup truck in a shopping center along Blue Springs Road, not far from North Cobb High School, police said. He was removed from life support last week and succumbed to his injuries.

On Monday, Acworth investigators with the assistance of Cobb County Police searched a home along Memorial Parkway in Kennesaw.

 Police say they have arrested 20-year-old Kennesaw resident Devin Thomas and 18-year-old Maria Mungai, of Acworth, on murder charges. A 15-year-old juvenile from Kennesaw has also been arrested in connection with Perez’ death, but police have not released the name of this third suspect.

Devin Thomas.

Acworth police on Tuesday declined to divulge any additional information, citing their ongoing murder investigation.

“Detectives are finalizing a motive and actively working leads in this case, including forensic evidence recovered from the scene,” Cpl. Youlanda Leverette said previously.

Maria Mungai

Thomas and Mungai are being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, jail records show.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 770-974-1232.

-Marietta Journal

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Diaspora

DEATH ANNOUNCEMENT: Betty Wakini Mitchel of Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

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It is with humble hearts we accept and announce the death of Betty Wakini Mitchel (March 1972- March 2018) of Milton Keynes, UK which occurred on March 28th, 2018 .

She was a wife to Ray Mitchel Ray and mother to Stacey Nyakio. Daughter to Mr Phinias Ndwiga & Nancy Muthoni Ndwiga of Matiru Village, in Kigari, Mayatta Division, Embu County.

Sister to the late Dickson Mureithi, Simon Kariuki Ndwiga of Embu ,  Cousin to Capt.George Njue North Carolina,  USA, Anthony Ireri of NC, Enid Kariuki Minnesota, Gabriel Kivuti, Emily Obwaka, Immanuel Chomba, Patrick Nyaga, Anita Karimi,Wanja Mbogori Mwaniki Mbogori and Muthanje Daina among others. Auntie to Ita, Cliff, Mwathi, Vicky, Debra, Nyaga, Waweru, Kariuki, Mugambi among others.

Family $ Friends are meeting at their home @ 65B Barnaby Boulevard Downs Barn MK14 7LL UK. Others are meeting  at 75 Medoc Close Cheltenham GI50 4SP daily from 6pm for prayer & support. Arrangements are underway to repatriate the body for burial at Matiru, Manyatta in Embu, Kenya. 


-For USA Family & Friends use (USA)$captainnjue @ 9196126893.
-England Family & Friend to direct your contribution use Lloyds BankA/C name Immanuel Njue A/c14454560Sort code 309187
-Nairobi family & Friends will be meeting from tomorrow at All Saints Cathedral
-Embu meetings are taking place at Matiru, Kigari in Embu County.
For info call: George Njue@9196125893 Anthony Ireri @ 9197987898 .Immanuel Chomba @ 447881432052, Gabriel Chomba @254722361133

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