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Domestic violence deaths on the rise in diaspora

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Zachary Moitui, a Kenyan-born resident of Jersey City, New Jersey, thought he had seen the worst of human brutality when he found himself at the centre of a gruesome murder in America that made headlines around the world.

On October 2010, Evans Kebabe bludgeoned his wife and their two children to death in their Vadnais Heights apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The bodies of his wife Bilha Omare, 32, and their two children then aged 12 and 9 were found on October 14 in their apartment.

Kebabe, who is now serving a jail term handed down to him on January 2011, was arrested after his car ran out of gas while trying to flee.

Mr Moitui, a respected elder of the Kenyan community in Jersey, led plans to move the bodies from Minneapolis to Jersey City for burial.

“It was a heartbreaking time for our diaspora community because in all honesty, we had never witnessed such brutality and never imagined we had such people among us.

“That was until of course recently, when something eerily similar happened right here in Jersey City,” said Mr Moitui.

MURDER/SUICIDE
Mr Moitui was referring to the news early in the week that another Kenyan couple had been found dead in their home and that the husband was suspected to have shot his wife before turning the gun on himself.

The local press reported that authorities in Jersey City were investigating a murder-suicide after police discovered bodies of a man and woman dead from gunshot wounds.

It turns out that the couple — Henry Okong’o and Lydiah Okong’o — were in fact people Mr Moitui was not only familiar with but also related to one of them.

“The late Lydia was my niece. Fourteen years ago when they started having domestic issues, Lydia moved out and lived with me for five months.

“She went back after we helped them to reconcile. Little did I know it would turn out as it did on Monday,” Mr Moitui said.

RECONCILIATION
He added: “I’m not only feeling devastated by her death, I’m also wondering whether reconciling them was the best thing to do.

“What I did then to reconcile them was what any parent would do for the good of the family, especially the children but, here we are!”

The couple has been living in the 2 Mina Drive property for over a decade and neighbours are still confounded by the incident.

“Three children have been left without parents. This is so sad,” one neighbour was quoted by the local press as saying.

Dr George Omburo, one of the Seventh day Adventists church elders, said the couple “had a tough marriage”.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
This incident and many others that seem to have escalated in the recent past involving the Kenyan Diaspora have left many wondering what exactly is going on within the community that is usually reluctant to discuss issues of domestic violence openly.

“Having lived in the US for more than 10 years, and having witnessed a lot of these cases, I can confidently say that the major cause of domestic disagreements among Kenyans is the reversal of gender roles as we know them,” Mr Chris Majani, a Kenyan-born resident of Dallas, Texas, said.

Saturday Nation

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Africa

American who survived 9/11 dies in Riverside attack

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An American who survived the 9/11 terror attack is among those who were killed in Tuesday’s terror attack at Nairobi’s 14 Riverside Drive.

Jason Spindler’s mother Sarah Sandler told NBC News that her son “was trying to make positive change in the third world in emerging markets.”

Jason’s brother, Jonathan, also confirmed the family’s tragic loss via Facebook.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother, Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Jason was a survivor of 9-11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!” Jonathan’s post read.

HAVING LUNCH

The US State department confirmed that an American citizen was killed in the Tuesday attack.

Spindler, who was the CEO and Global Managing Director of I-DEV International, was, according to colleagues, having lunch at the Dusit Hotel when the attack happened.

I-DEV is based at Metta, a space for entrepreneurs that is located at the 14 Riverside office complex in the Belgravia building’s sixth floor.

The Metta Africa Head of Community, memberships and operations Essie Mwikali said there were 45 people at the space when the attack happened and accounted for everyone and confirmed the death of Spindler.

Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru eulogized Spindler as “a strong supporter of the Kenyan Tech Ecosystem.”

By Agencies

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Africa

Why Java House will not open again on Westgate Mall: Founder speaks out on what happened during Westgate attack

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Java House founder has said the coffee house does not have plans of going back to Westgate Mall which was attacked by terrorists five years ago.

Recounting what happened, the coffee house’s chairman and founder Mr Kevin Ashley, said they will not open another Java Coffee House in the mall because he would not anybody’s children as much as his own, to go back to the mall.

“My view is that if I don’t want my own kids to go there, why would I want someone else’s kid to work there?” said Mr Ashley.

Recounting the terrorist attack, the Java founder said he was in California when terrorists stormed in the high end mall and he was scared for his children.

“My kids were in Nairobi. First I didn’t know where they were…they could have been in the mall. When I heard the news, I was on the phone with our yoghurt shop manager who was on the floor hiding. I could hear the gunshots,” he explains in an interview with GainExperience.

He told the manger to make sure she had nothing in her hands and to keep her uniform on.

“Don’t move because a security guard might walk in and shoot you, thinking you’re a terrorist. Stay calm, relax, keep your uniform”.

He then got on a plane and 36 hours later, he was in Nairobi.

When he arrived in Nairobi there were still things going on at the mall, rescue missions which took upto three days.

“They were still unsure about killing all the terrorists, I met with all the staff, no one was hurt.”

The chairman has also faulted the mall’s management for going on about the business without putting up a memorial plaque to remember the souls that were lost in the premises.

“People died there. There’s no plaque, no memorial, no park, there’s nothing there! We don’t need to go back in there with a profit motive and try to make a point. It’s karma…” he adds

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Africa

University expels female student for hugging male friend

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A university on Sunday said it had expelled a female student after she appeared in a video hugging a male colleague, accusing her of undermining the school’s reputation.

The video, which went viral earlier this month, showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.

The video was apparently not filmed at Al-Azhar University— a branch of Egypt’s highest Sunni Muslim authority — but at another establishment, Mansoura University in the country’s north.

Nevertheless the disciplinary council of the Al-Azhar University campus in Mansoura on Saturday “decided to expel the young girl definitively”, university spokesman Ahmed Zarie told AFP.

He said the video had caused a “public outcry” and that the university’s decision to expel her was because she had presented a “bad image” of Al-Azhar University, which strictly segregates the genders.

He said hugging between unmarried men and women violates “the values and principles of society”.

The woman, however, can appeal the expulsion decision, Zarie said.

The young man who appeared in the video could also face sanctions, a spokesman for Mansoura University said, adding that the school’s disciplinary council will meet on Monday to decide his “punishment”.

Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, is a largely conservative society.

Last year, prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for “incitement to debauchery” after an online video clip which included sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.

And in 2017 another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.​

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