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VIDEO: Eugene Wamalwa’s relative to be deported from US after court rejects appeal




A relative of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa is to be deported from the US after his appeal for political asylum was denied.

Dr Mzenga Aggrey Wanyama, who teaches at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his wife Mary Namalwa Mzenga, have attracted huge support as they face deportation from a country they have lived in for 25 years.

“Well, what can I do? If they want me to buy my own ticket, I will do that,” he told the Minneapolis-based StarTribune newspaper on Thursday. Dr Wanyama told the publication that he had resigned himself to the deportation at a time when US President Donald Trump is increasingly taking a hard-line stance on immigration.

On Friday, Dr Wanyama and his wife met in the Twin Cities (Saint Paul and Minneapolis) with officials of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to review their case and discuss plans for deportation.


Dr Wanyama was ordered to report back to the immigration officials next month to plan for his repatriation to Kenya, even as his university and the community of Minneapolis-Saint Paul put pressure on immigration authorities to spare him.


Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that Dr Wanyama was a pillar in the community and the region was better for his work.

“No president, no federal agency will deport Dr Wanyama without a fight from me, from our partners in the state and federal delegations, and from the thousands of people in Minneapolis who share our values,” said Mr Frey.


Dr Wanyama first entered the US in 1992 as a non-immigrant exchange visitor.

He was followed in 1995 by his wife and children Billy Levin Mzenga, 30, and Billy Masibai Mzenga, 26.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Hundreds of Kenyans, friends, mourn Mike Mulwa who was killed in robbery

The two children are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.

A third son, a 19-year-old attending the University of Minnesota, was born in the US and is a citizen.


Upon expiration of his visa in 2005, Dr Wanyama applied for asylum.

He claimed he will be persecuted in Kenya primarily on account of an article he wrote in The Standard newspaper in 2004 criticising the government of President Mwai Kibaki and praising his opponent Raila Odinga.

Dr Wanyama told a US immigration judge that the Kenyan government began harassing his family members in Kenya after the article was published.

He claimed that his brother was fired as managing director of a parastatal, and an MP made “suspicious remarks” to Dr Wanyama’s mother, questioning her about his activities and whereabouts. Several other family members sent emails to Dr Wanyama telling him he should not return to Kenya for safety reasons, he testified before the judge.


Additionally, as his removal proceedings progressed, Dr Wanyama wrote two more articles in The Standard newspaper supporting Mr Odinga’s candidacy in the 2007 General Election.

After the articles were published, Dr Wanyama claimed the Kenyan government intensified its focus on him as a political opponent based on his involvement with an American political group that supported Mr Odinga.

“To illustrate the danger of being identified as a political opponent, he testified about two of Kibaki’s opponents that he believes suffered persecution at the hands of the government,” United Courts of Appeal for the Eight Circuit heard in 2012.

He told the court that his cousin Vice-President Kijana Wamalwa’s death in a London Hospital in 2003 after a long illness, was under “suspicious circumstances”.

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“Wanyama theorised that Kibaki’s government was responsible because Wamalwa was slated to succeed Kibaki as president pursuant to a memorandum of understanding,” the court heard.


He also testified about a professor from the University of Nairobi whom he believed was murdered for proposing the transfer of some power from the presidency to a new prime minister’s position, the court further heard.

The professor in question is likely to be Dr Crispin Odhiambo Mbai who was gunned down in his Nairobi home by unknown assailants in September 2003.

At the time of his death, Dr Mbai was a delegate and the chairman of the sub-committee on devolution of power at the National Constitutional Conference of Kenya.

After a hearing in April 2008, the immigration judge closed the proceedings, but asked the parties to submit additional documentation.

In December 2009, the judge reopened Dr Wanyama’s case to allow the parties to submit additional evidence, which included evidence of improved country conditions as a result of the formation of the grand coalition government in Kenya in 2008.


Although it was found Wanyama’s testimony was credible to establish a subjective fear of persecution, the judge determined that Dr Wanyama failed to show an objectively reasonable fear of future persecution.

Dr Wanyama appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals, where he also claimed the judge violated his due process rights by delaying his decision and reopening the case sua sponte(without formal prompting from another party) in December 2009, thereby allowing the US government to present evidence of recently improved country conditions in Kenya.

The board affirmed the immigration judge’s decision because it found that the lecturer’s testimony could not support an objectively reasonable fear of future persecution, and it denied his due process claim.

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Dr Wanyama then took his case to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit which also ruled against him in November 2012.

“In summary, after reviewing the record, we affirm the denial of Wanyama’s petition for asylum on behalf of himself and his family,” the court ruled.

The Wanyamas case, like many others in the US, has gained a sense of urgency in the wake of President Trump administration’s pledges to tighten border security and step up efforts to deport those who are in the country illegally.

The president of Augsburg University Paul Pribbenow on Thursday joined supporters who fear that a professor is being unfairly targeted for deportation despite his many years as a higher education instructor and crime-free life in the US.


“Dr Wanyama is a role model for the professional aspirations and accomplishments of future leaders in our city and country,” Mr Pribbenow told the StarTribune. “We strongly stand behind him and believe he should be able to stay in the US.”

Ms Sarah Wairimu Brooks, a Kenyan lawyer based in Dallas, Texas, cautions Kenyans living in the US who find themselves in similar circumstances to be wary of signing documents from immigration officers in the absence of a credible immigration lawyer.

“Wanyama’s and other similar cases, which by the way run into thousands if not millions, were previously deemed as low priority by immigration during the Obama administration, in part because he is a full-time professor and has no criminal record. But, in the Trump administration, these are some of the people that are considered to be taking away jobs from Americans,” she said.

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Immigration News

VIDEO: Uhuru posts 13 new ambassadors to different countries



President Uhuru Kenyatta today urged 13 newly appointed envoys to promote friendly, broad and solid partnerships with all the countries they have been accredited to.

He told the new ambassadors and High Commissioners to go beyond the routine diplomatic relations and seek greater opportunities that create jobs and training opportunities for the youth and greater markets for value-added agricultural commodities from Kenya.

President Kenyatta told the new diplomats to leverage on their knowledge and understanding of our country to promote the Big Four agenda that focuses on manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security.

The Head of State spoke at State House, Nairobi where he hosted the new envoys to a luncheon before bidding them farewell to their new stations.

“I expect a great deal from you to achieve our agenda. We expect much more than the routine diplomatic relations. I expect results that are better,” the President told the new ambassadors.

He added: ‘You are the voice of our country through engagements that promote good partnerships in trade, investment and the blue economy,”

The President told the new ambassador-designate to Belgium Prof, Jacob Kaimenyi to ensure Kenya retains the big market it enjoys within the European Union.

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Watch Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma:

Turning to Cuba whose 100 specialist doctors have already arrived in the country, the President told ambassador-designate Anthony Muchiri to continue the ongoing partnership to enable training of more Kenyan doctors in the Island nation.

The President told the new envoys to Netherlands and France , Lawrence Lenayapa and Prof Judy Wakhungu respectively to seek greater partnerships with their respective countries of accreditation over the blue economy initiative and which Kenya will be host an international conference later in the year.

The President said France also remains Kenya’s great partner in the green Energy sector and told Prof. Wakhungu to pursue further partnerships with the same zeal she used to eradicate the menace on plastics when she served as Cabinet Secretary for Environment.

He told the new High Commissioner to New Delhi Willy Bett to use his huge knowledge and skills in Agriculture to open the Indian market for Kenya’s products, training for the youth and value addition for our agricultural commodities.

On her part, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Monica Juma noted that the new ambassadors had been taken through vetting and training and she was confident they would deliver on the objectives and pursue national interests expected of them.

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“We expect you to promote, project and protect Kenya’s national interest all the time. In your endeavor to build mutually beneficial ties and strategic partnerships, you are expected to preserve the dignity and honour of your homeland,” the CS told the diplomats.

The other High Commissioners were Kiema Kilonzo ( Uganda), Dr. Willy Machage (Nigeria) ,Mohammed Shidiye ( Botswana) and Dan Kazungu (Tanzania).

Former Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu will represent Kenya at the UN-Geneva as a Permanent Representative, Dr.Hassan Wario at UN-Vienna as the ambassador designate and Richard Ekai as the new ambassador to Russia.

Ambassador Phyllis Kandie proceeds to Paris as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO.

PCSU contributed to this story

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Kenyan woman in US put on suicide watch after writing disturbing death-wish note



Two years ago, a young Kenyan woman, a private investigator, left a cushy job and went to the US, the land of opportunities, to build a better life. But her two years there have been wrought with depression, racism and a spell on suicide watch.   “If I die, just call my cousins and tell them I want my body cremated. I don’t want to live to see people laughing at my mum because I never graduated liked the others…this is the end of the road for me. I am mentally, emotionally and physically drained.”

Her suicide note/email was short and simple. And it was addressed to the school faculty. She was a week away from clocking 30, and Janet Njeri was feeling a desolation that seemed inescapable. Barely two years prior to this moment, Janet had a thriving career. She had worked as a private investigator for a local NGO and had been part of the team that worked on the Akasha brothers’ case and extradition to the US for trial.

She had felt accomplished then, but on this particular day, she felt like a complete failure. And nothing short of death would offer reprieve. And so she sat in the little bathroom. A small space in her dorm room that she shared with another student in the vast Lower Columbia College in Washington State. She was hundreds of thousands of miles away from home. And as she popped one pain pill after the other, she felt at peace. “I wasn’t thinking about anything.

I was just so tired,” she says. ‘Aha’ moment The events leading up to this moment had been gradual, and though we are doing this interview over the phone, I can hear the sharp intake of breath before the story begins pouring out in quick bursts. One fine Sunday in 2014, Janet and her mother were getting ready to go to church. They lived in Nairobi’s Umoja estate. “Mum mentioned that she had felt a swelling under her armpit, and it wasn’t a lymph node. So we decided that we would go to the hospital after church.” Four days later, the worst was confirmed. Her mother had breast cancer. “It was a horrible time for us.

The first two weeks of her recovery were so hard as she was in so much pain.” Watching her mother struggle was an ‘aha’ moment for Janet. “My mum’s health condition made me start thinking about changing my career completely. I wanted to be the one buying medicines for her. During her medical checks and follow ups, I wanted to understand what doctors were saying because I felt Kenyan hospitals didn’t offer good patient education.” Janet Njeri with her daughter and mother. [Courtesy] Threats on her life This revelation prompted some life changes. But a separate incident cemented it.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: New song Warns Kenyan women who disrespect their husbands in the Diaspora

ALSO READ: ‘Mast climbing’ man pleads guilty to attempted suicide “Working on the Akasha case involved flying every morning to Mombasa to testify in court. On some occasions, I had to spend nights there when the court was adjourned.” During the course of the proceedings, a friend of the Akashas traced the hotel she was staying in and decided to visit her. “I recognised him, but he didn’t know it was me because I was wearing a bui bui. By fate, I happened to be at the front desk when he walked in. He asked for the room next to mine. He was brazenly carrying a gun in the back pocket of his trousers.

I quickly informed the office of the Director of Public Prosecution and was transferred immediately to another hotel. I had security around me from the the DPP’s office.” Several threats on her life were made, and this incident scared her to the core. “I figured out that it was time to make my move. And so I applied for a nursing degree at Lower Columbia College in Washington State. ” She soon received an acceptance letter to the university and this, she felt was a sign that the fates were in her corner. “I was so excited. I thanked God repeatedly as I started making arrangements. My visa interview happened on August 2, 2016, and I left Kenya full of dreams less than two weeks later.”

Expectations versus reality Her first shock came in the form of weather. “The characteristic fall long nights and short days confused me so much. I expected a warm enthusiastic welcome but even as the only black student in my class, I was completely ignored.”  What followed next was the blatant racism. One instructor casually told her that she was not going to pass her class because she was using British English. ALSO READ: Man commits suicide over Sh300 “This was my first semester and true to her words, I failed the class. I also didn’t know that assignments were posted online and even though I passed the class tests, I lost 30 per cent of my grades.

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And so I have had to redistribute and retake those 15 credits as I carried on with the course in the two years,” she says. The blatant racism was becoming more real. “They don’t even hide it. They always made fun of my accent; saying they couldn’t hear what I was saying. They made crude jokes about Kenyans keeping lions as pets.” In spite of this, she consistently appeared on the Dean’s list. “I have slept hungry many times because this isn’t like Kenya – you can’t talk nicely to the Mama Mboga when things are tough.

Sometimes when I calculate the money I have and the bills that must be sorted out like fees, I end up with nothing for food. You could be locked out of a class over an unpaid Sh5,000 and I couldn’t afford to take such a chance. I would rather drink water.” Janet had also been struggling with homesickness, “but you know I can’t call my mum crying when she is dealing with her condition and she is taking care of my baby too.” The breaking point… And so we are back to the grey day not so long. The day she thought that the world of the dead was better than another day in the world of the living.

Shortly before the finish line, her commencement date, what we call graduation date in Kenya; Janet was informed that she wouldn’t graduate. “I was told that because I hadn’t taken vaccination shots for Hepatitis B, I would not proceed with my classmates. Before this, I had paid for other vaccinations that had cost me about Sh60,000 in March. I couldn’t pay more. I could not understand what this had to do with my graduation and all my questions were met with a flat response –you won’t graduate. Everything I had been through washed over me. I couldn’t imagine having to extend even for one more month.” That was when she decided to end her life. She felt like she was failing her mother. Graduating was what she had worked for the entire period. It was what had driven her through the struggle to raise her tuition fee and bear other struggles of being away from home.

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The aftermath… And so she lay on the bathroom floor. The pain pills were kicking in. She was weak, dizzy and vomiting. And that is how her roommate found her. She had also clicked send on her suicidal email. And luckily for her, the faculty was swift in response to her email. In less than 20 minutes, the campus security team was in her room. She was stabilised and rushed to the emergency room. “I woke up after some time thirsty and with a splitting headache.

I stayed on suicide watch for around four hours before they transferred me to psychiatric section.” Jane is still in America, finishing up on her degree. She has since been attending therapy sessions to sort through her depression. She also found a Kenyan women support group online who enveloped her in support. “Every time I feel like I want to go back to that dark place, I call them and they do everything to help me through. It feels like an uphill climb and sometimes you lose your footing. If I hadn’t reached out to this community I don’t think I would be sharing this story with you.” And does her family back home know of her struggles? I prod.

She pauses before responding.  “I haven’t told my mum yet… I thought I was coming to a country of honey and milk but honestly it is hard. So many times, I’ve wished I never came over. I have packed my bags with the intention of going to the airport and demanding that they deport me. But what am I coming home to? My daughter needs me to finish school. I am doing this for them.” Janet will complete school on June 22, 2018 and will begin her internship in September.  “I wanted other people to know the reality of being here. In my recovery, I am trying to avoid negativity and focusing on my journey with the end in sight.” “Hang in there,” I say as I wish her the best of luck. She chuckles and clicks off. Just another log on my call list, but still a brave voice that lingers on, another one in a sea of many, in  pursuit of a better life.

The standard

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I’d never live in US again even if they gave me $1M a year – Koinange



Kenyan media personality Jeff Koinange and his co-host Jalang’o on Hot 96 FM took time on Tuesday to discuss how Kenyans in the US live in their new home and how they act when they go back home to Kenya for holidays.

In a discussion that began with Jeff saying that he had met an old friend who has been living in New Jersey for 30 years, the conversation turned to why he would never return to America and slowly veering into the tribulations faced by Kenyans in the US.

“I will never go back to stay in America even if they gave me a million dollars a year,” Jeff proclaimed. “Nowhere be like Africa”

The duo also discussed what they thought were the reasons that Kenyans get “stuck” in the US. They at one point speculated that many in the US go back home only to find that their peers are doing pretty well and feel like they are no match.

Listen to the whole conversation here.


READ ALSO:   Let Kenyans in Diaspora support one another and not be quick to share stories of their misfortune
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