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VIDEO: Raila cheered on as he addresses mourners in Zimbabwe

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Thousands of Zimbabweans gathered yesterday to bid a final farewell to opposition veteran Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr Tsvangirai was one of Africa’s most globally admired politicians and lived to see the fall of his political nemesis, Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai, the country’s fiercest opponent of former president Mugabe’s tyrannical 37-year rule, died last Wednesday aged 65 at a hospital in South Africa, where he had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

His body was flown to the burial ceremony aboard a military helicopter, accompanied by his mother, Mbuya Tsvangirai. Thousands of mourners gathered for the burial at Tsvangirai’s Buhera rural home, 220km (135 miles) south of Harare.

Many people in the crowd blew whistles and wore red shirts emblazoned with Tsvangirai’s portrait, some weeping openly. Tsvangirai’s dreams of unseating Mugabe through the ballot box were dashed at several elections.

Political oppression Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, attending the event, condemned political oppression in Africa as he addressed backers of Tsvangirai whose electoral ambitions, like Raila’s, were thwarted at controversial polls.

“Africa is littered with elections which are rigged,” Raila told the crowds. Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of presidential polls in 2008 but narrowly fell short of the total required to defeat Mugabe outright, according to the official vote count.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila did not withdraw from Oct 26th Presidential election - Supreme Court

Tsvangirai pulled out of an election run-off following violence which, he said, claimed the lives of at least 200 of his supporters. Raila insists he was the rightful winner of general elections in Kenya in August which extended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rule. “We need to have clear and proper transparent elections in Africa.

 

 

Rigged elections will not help Africa,” Raila told mourners. “Morgan’s election victory was stolen a year after mine was stolen in Kenya,” Raila said, referring to the 2007 elections which Raila alleges were rigged to ensure Kenyatta’s victory.

Tsvangirai was a tenacious opponent of ruling ZANU-PF party’s four-decade hold on power. Following the 2008 election violence, he was forced into a power-sharing government with Mugabe, who was ousted last year following a military takeover. “He agreed to sacrifice his victory in order to save Zimbabwe. He became one of the leading icons of the second liberation of Africa,” Raila said, describing Tsvangirai as ‘my dear brother’ and a ‘hero’. ALSO READ: Raila: I have full confidence in Ndii, Magaya Yesterday, Siaya Senator James Orengo and businessman Jimi Wanjigi finally flew to Zimbabwe after 18 hours of drama at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), where they had been blocked from travelling.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila's 41 year daughter speaks about losing her eye sight

The two flew out of JKIA yesterday at 1.45pm after the Immigration Department returned their passports. “We are on board, we are on the way. Harare here we come,” they said via video as their plane took off. The two had booked tickets to fly to Harare to attend Tsvangirai’s burial when they were blocked at the airport on Monday night.

They had gone to the airport armed with a court order restoring their passports that had been suspended. Director of Immigration Services Gordon Kihalangwa, who had suspended the travel documents, said he had not been served with the order to enable his officers to allow the two to leave. He later tweeted saying he had been served yesterday at around 11am. Court orders “We were served with court orders this morning as requested in regard to the travelling of Hon James Orengo and Mr Jimi Wanjigi.

They have been cleared and allowed to travel.”  Orengo and Wanjigi later said they were to go to their residences for refreshments and return.  “We are not criminals. I am a State officer. If you can deal with me this way it means the authority of Parliament is emasculated,” said Orengo. Zimbabwe is due to hold crucial general elections by July and the country’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has pledged they will be free, fair, and credible – in honour of Tsvangirai.

READ ALSO:   Raila breaks silence on Ruto's 'deep state', 'system' claims 

After being repeatedly beaten and jailed by the regime, Tsvangirai became a symbol of resistance to the ruling ZANU-PF’s authoritarianism, entrenched since Zimbabwe broke from its colonial master Britain in 1980. “We want to thank Morgan Tsvangirai for fighting for our rights.

He was a humble man – a man who was loved by people,” said Christopher Chikwati, a 70-year-old resident of Tsvangirai’s village. “We will remember him forever.” Former opposition leader Arthur Mutambara, who served as Tsvangirai’s deputy in the power-sharing government, said Tsvangirai was Zimbabwe’s rightful president. “We are here to mourn the president of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai – a great Zimbabwean, a great African,” he said.  “He was arrested. He was beaten. The people of ZANU-PF are also here, they are the people who killed Morgan Tsvangirai.”

-Standard


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Business

VIDEO: Optiven CEO opens up about growing up in abject poverty, doing laundry for fellow students

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George Wachiuri, the CEO of Optiven Limited, has opened up about a side of him few people know about. Despite having built a multi-billion Shilling Real Estate Company and becoming one of the most recognisable names in the field, Wachiuri has remained a humble servant, who says he views his customers as associates and greatly respects and values his work mates. 

In an interview with Jeremy Damaris of Kenya Diaspora Media, he tells of how he struggled, lost money and friends, before rebounding “by the grace of God.”

A Certified Public Accountant – CPA (K) and is a former Lecturer at Daystar University, his entrepreneurial spirit developed early, and was awarded the Entreprenuer of the year 1997 by the University of Nairobi.

He is currently a PhD candidate at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

He holds a Masters’s degree in Business Administration (University of Nairobi), and a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing option) Degree from University of Nairobi.

Watch as he tells his amazing story in Gīkūyū


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READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila did not withdraw from Oct 26th Presidential election - Supreme Court
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Lifestyle

‘Kikambala hotel bombing in 2002 changed our lives’

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The scars on Mercy Neema Mwagambo’s body are a stark reminder of what happened at Paradise Beach Hotel in Kikambala 18 years ago.

On November 28, 2002, a two-pronged terrorist attack hit an Israeli-owned hotel but missed a plane belonging to Arkia Airlines.

A vehicle crashed through a barrier outside the hotel on the Kilifi-Mombasa highway and blew up, killing 17 people and injuring 80 others.

Every year today, Neema and 13 victims of the attack and their families converge at the deserted hotel to pray for the souls of their departed relatives.

However, today could be the last annual ritual as the owner has put the hotel for sale.

Annual ritual

For Neema and other victims, it’s not clear if the prospective buyer would allow them to continue with this annual ritual.

It is an attack that left villages of Musumarini in Kilifi County destitute, negatively affected Israelis’ investments at the Coast and damaged the tourism sector.

“I am trying to sell this property even at a throwaway price,” said Yehuda Sulami, an Israeli, on phone from Tel Aviv, although he did not reveal the price.

Sulami claims that after the attack, there were efforts to push him out of business.

The former special forces officer said he had no money to compensate victims of the attack.

“I’ve faced an avalanche of litigation on compensation. There was no insurance cover on terrorism,” said Sulami.

It is the first time has spoken publicly on the matter.

He said while he sympathised with those who lost their loved ones or suffered injuries, he lost his lifetime investment and close friends and “there was no one to comfort me.”

READ ALSO:   Raila pushes for new govt structure

Among the 17 who perished were 14 Kenyans and three Israelis. The deserted hotel is arguably the only remaining mark of Israel investment in Coast.

Prior to the attack, over 100,000 tourists from Israel had made Mombasa and Kenyan Coast their second home away from home.

“Arkia Airline used to bring in between 250-270 guests per flight. It had operated Mombasa route for close to seven years before the attempted missile attack,” said Sulami.

After the attack, the airline stopped flying the route and Israel investments at the Coast started dwindling.

Sulami claimed that what followed was a number of litigation and attempts to force them to close down the hotel.

“We became the target yet the Kenyan government had promised to assist the affected persons,” said Sulami, without providing any evidence of the alleged persecution.

The victims of the attack narrated to the Saturday Standard on how they were neglected by the Government and the owner of the hotel.

For instance, Neema cannot walk as her legs were seriously injured. She was working at the front office at the hotel.

On that fateful day, she was helping a guest check in as her colleagues were overwhelmed by the number of tourists.

“Had I remained inside the hotel at my work station, may be I would not have been injured this way,” said Neema.

November is a peak season for the tourism sector in Coast. On that day, as a group of 230 guests were leaving the hotel, another 250 tourists were checking in. All the guests were Israelis.

READ ALSO:   Raila tested for Covid-19

“I reported early for duty on that fateful day and was looking forward to a rather busy day since we had huge check in and check out for guests,” she said in an interview.

At the gate, a troupe of Girima dancers were doing their jig to bid goodbye to outgoing guests and welcome the incoming ones.

Most of the incoming tourists had already been ushered in to the waiting lounge at the reception but a small group had joined the traditional dancers.

“What followed was a huge bang followed by fire all over the Makuti-thatched hotel,” Neema said, adding that she found herself on the ground.

Neema could not walk so she crawled to the swimming pool. She had suffered serious burns allover her body and decided to jump into the swimming pool to cool herself.

“I was taken to hospital in Mombasa and later airlifted by a military aircraft to Israel for specialised treatment at Jerusalem Hospital. I spent four weeks receiving treatment for my broken legs and burnt face and back,” she said.

The Kikambala bombing incident also robbed the family of Mufidha Mohamed of its breadwinner, Wildred Oyaro Owuor, who used to operate a taxi business at the hotel.

“My husband suffered a ruptured stomach. He died 21 days after he was admitted at Pandya Hospital,” Mufidha says. She was breastfeeding Zaki, their last born now 18 years, when the attack happened.

She said with the death of her husband, she was left as the sole breadwinner to fend for her five children.

“It has not been easy for us all. I have tried to venture into business with very little success,” she said.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila's 41 year daughter speaks about losing her eye sight

Today Mufidha, her children and a few other survivors will converge at the blast site to hold prayers and commemorate those who died.

“Today we shall go to the hotel which has now closed down to hold prayers. It is a ritual I’ll do until I meet him in the next life,” says Mufidha.

Dr Sam Ikwaye, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch executive officer, says the events of the fateful day have had a long impact on Kenyan tourism.

Travel advisories

Dr Ikwaye says it is after the Kikambala bombing that key foreign tourists source markets started issuing travel advisories against Mombasa and the Coast region.

“This was the start of a very bad beginning for Kenyan tourism,” Ikwaye said.

He explained the Kikambala bombing marked the first time the industry experienced serious external shocks and has never fully recovered.

“Neighbouring nations too and the world experienced our pain years after we had suffered and today terrorism has been recognised as a threat not just synonmous with Kenya, but the world over,” he said.

Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo said it is unfortunate that no compensation was made to those who suffered the brunt of the terror attack.

“Both the national and county governments should be compelled to assist surviving families. This will not take away completely the suffering they have endured but will offer some sort of comfort to those affected,” said Justice (rtd) Madzayo.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Entertainment

‘We had invested…’ Churchill reveals how the pandemic has hit him

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Comedian Churchill says just like any other business, coronavirus has hit him too.

Churchill, real name Daniel Ndambuki has been doing ‘The Journey Series’ on his TV show which is originally a stand-up comedy show that attracts thousands of viewers.

Speaking to Mpasho, Churchill revealed;

“We had invested quite some amount in the production of the show. And now, you can’t use that gear, you have to put all that aside. You cannot set up something so big for like 200 people, that is loss-making. It almost takes us to where we began. We remain positive though”

Adding;

“I am happy with all that is happening from all other comedians.”

Churchill said this after the launch of TuKo App, which he is the brand ambassador.

Churchill Photo By Charlene Malwa

by Mpasho.co.ke


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READ ALSO:   Stop being petty, Raila tells Kenyan legislators over Mwende Mwinzi standoff
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