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Free me, I have cooperated with police: Maribe



TV Journalist Jacque Maribe wants to be freed on bail, saying there are no compelling reasons to continue holding her.

In an affidavit filed in court through lawyer Katwa Kigen, Ms Maribe said she was not involved in the murder of Ms Monica Kimani, was not at the crime scene, and did not know Ms Kimani.

Further, she said, she allowed the police into her house, handed over her mobile phone, and has co-operated with the police during the investigations. She said she has not been in contact with any of the intended prosecution witnesses.

“I have co-operated with investigators and any association against me with the alleged murder, if any, is wholly weak circumstantial association,” she said in the affidavit.

Ms Maribe, 30, was arrested on September 29 over the murder of Ms Kimani, 28. She and her fiancé, Mr Joseph Kuria Irungu, have denied killing Ms Kimani, whose body was found in the bathtub at her Lamuria Gardens apartment on September 19.

Although the prosecution opposes their release on bond, Ms Maribe said she is not a flight risk and willingly availed herself on nine occasions to the police.

“I am a well-known TV journalist. Most Kenyans are conversant with my job and can easily spot me anywhere, making it impossible to jump bail,” she said.

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She added that she is willing to surrender her passport to the court, adding that as single mother she is the sole provider for her child.

But prosecutor Catherine Mwiniki opposes her release on bond through an affidavit, saying several witnesses set to testify against the two need protection, and that the investigations go beyond Kenya.

The two will appear in court today for the hearing of their bail application.

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Visually impaired man with gifted hands sets sights on ‘shoe empire’



They say, disability is not inability. All over the world, there are millions of people who have overcome physical challenges to succeed in life.

Not far from the expansive tea plantations of Kericho, one man has inspired many due to his ability to overcome odds and make the best out of every situation.

Bernard Maina Kipkorir, who lost his eyesight due to meningitis in 2007, is a fighter working his way up the ladder. Perhaps, a millionaire in the making.

Kipkorir, 38, believes in hard work and instead of sitting for hours waiting for alms by the roadside, due to his challenges, he makes shoes and sandals from cow hides.

He’s so good at his job that, without his white cane, you wouldn’t notice his blindness.

Kipkorir’s woes began in February 2007 when he started developing migraines.

When he consulted a doctor at the Kericho District Hospital, all seemed well.

“My head felt as if it was being hammered,” he says.

But after more visits to the doctor, he got admitted to the Kericho Home Nursing Hospital where he spent five months in the intensive care unit, and another two undergoing physiotherapy. It was then that he started losing his eyesight.

READ ALSO:   Jacque Maribe deletes all Jowie's photos on her Instagram page

“I couldn’t comprehend the goings on in my body, and I even lost the sense of time,”

Kipkorir says. Having lost vision in his left eye, he began adjusting to his new life. However, the condition recurred in October 2008 and he was admitted to the Kisii Level 6 Hospital, from where he was diagnosed with meningitis.

Kipkorir was then transferred to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where he also lost vision in his right eye while receiving treatment.

“After I was discharged, my doctor referred me to the social services and protection office for counselling and help. It’s then that I opted to go back to school to learn how to live again.”

With all resources at home depleted, the officers and his family held a fundraiser to raise his college fees. He finally enrolled at the Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind in 2010.

He studied braille and learnt about independent living skills as a blind person.

New shoe designs

In 2011, he joined the shoe making department and from that year up to 2017, he progressed from Grade III to Grade I.

Kipkorir has a national grade test certificate from the National Industrial Training Authority under the Ministry of Labour. While in college, his met his love, Jackline Langat.

READ ALSO:   Monica murder: GSU officer to become witness

They have two children, Joyline Cheptoo and Jayden Kipchirchir.

“I have many challenges,” Kipkorir says. “The main one is capital to expand my business.

I need Sh120,000 to stabilise.” He also plans to go back to college to learn “the new shoe designs. It will help me boost my sales”.

His wife, Jackline, treasures her husband. “My peers ridiculed me when I married him, but I don’t think my life would have been any different or better.

He is a blessing to us; he works hard and provides for us. We never lack,” she says.


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Cancer patients facing even more challenges, starvation



As the social distancing directive takes shape, cancer patients are

confronted with the risk of starvation due to lack of food.

For many patients already struggling with the burden of high treatment costs, access to food is a huge challenge.

Jane Frances Njoki (left), a cancer advocate and survivor says lack of food could weaken the patients’ already compromised immunity leaving them susceptible to coronavirus.

“Most of the patients have been relying on well-wishers to fund their treatment and now getting food is a struggle,” she says.

Grace Wangui, a breast cancer patient from Kawangware, is unsure of where she will get her next meal. It has been two weeks since Wangui underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer Stage 2.

Donor support

The 48-year-old who underwent the surgery with the support of a donor has no job but has been relying on her two sisters who she lives with to put food on the table.

“I don’t have parents nor do I have children. My sisters are all I have got,” she says. But now with the outbreak of the coronavirus, one of her sisters who is the breadwinner is unable to feed the family.

“My sister hawks clothes in Kawangware. Her business has been badly affected by this outbreak,” adds Wangui.

READ ALSO:   Friends say Jacque Maribe’s bumpy ride started with covering Jubilee campaigns

With the little money her sister makes, she has to choose between buying food for the family or purchasing medication for Wangui.

Empty handed

In Kangemi, Rose Wanja has returned home from work empty handed for days on end. The 61-year-old breast cancer patient, hawks tea leaves in Kangemi to earn a living. But business has been low in the past two weeks.

Wanja is under medication but cannot afford to take a balanced diet as advised by the doctor.

Wanja lives by herself since her children are grown up and have their own families to support.

She worries that with the current coronavirus outbreak, life is likely to get even tougher. “Doctors advise that I eat a diet that can boost my blood levels. That has not been possible. Now my body feels weak as if the sickness has aggravated,” she says.

The plight ofWangui and Wanja is similar to that of many other cancer patients across the country. Jane says that they are more than 100 patients in a support group in Kariobangi, Kawangware, Kangemi and Limuru who are in urgent need of food, medication and toiletries.

Looking for well-wishers

“We are looking for well-wishers to provide dry foods such as rice, flour, milk, cooking oil and cereals. To maintain hygiene during this period, we are also requesting for soap and sanitisers donations.

READ ALSO:   Monica murder: GSU officer to become witness

Any support will come in handy in keeping the patients strong even as they take their medication,” says Jane.

She fears that the current situation may end up aggravating the patient’s illness. “Most of the patients even those in critical condition have been advised to go home. She says that for some, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been postponed to a later date.

Given their low immunity, cancer patients are at a high risk of contracting coronavirus.

The much we can do right now is to ensure that they are eating well and taking their medication,” she adds.


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Coming soon in Nairobi — a farmers’ market like no other



Frustrations can push us to think deep as we seek to invent solutions.

This was the case with 29-year-old Jeff Mundia, an architect who was until recently working as a development manager in South Africa.

One day, he set out to Githurai market with a lorry load of cabbages after he had invested three months of his time and resources growing them. He was sure to return home a loaded man.

But unknown to him, the turn of events on reaching the market would brutally disappoint him, making him rethink his future in farming and agribusiness.

“At the market, I was not allowed to offload the cabbages since there were guys who had positioned themselves for the job. They did the job and charged me Sh3,000. I was not allowed sell the cabbages on my own either and after selling on my behalf they charged me Sh5,000,” Mr Mundia recalled.

By the time he was returning home, the cash he had was far less than the expenses he had incurred growing the cabbages. Simply put, he had spent three months doing nothing, but cultivating vegetables for middlemen.

“I went home with Sh13,000 whereas it had cost me Sh16,000 to grow the cabbages, Sh10,000 for transport to the market plus other expenses here and there,” he said.

But going back home, he was certain about one thing, that consumers at local vegetable stalls would buy his cabbages at a price about three or four times what he had sold them.

That someone somewhere, who was just sitting as he toiled hard, would make a killing from his sweat.

He was a bitter man and he wasn’t going to let other people eat from his sweat.

Coupled with other similar previous experiences, the day’s events provided the energy that fired his ambition to create a market that would end constant frustrations among farmers marketing their produce.

READ ALSO:   Jacque Maribe deletes all Jowie's photos on her Instagram page

“Knowing that many other farmers go through the same experience motivated me. I knew there was a big gap that needed to be filled from a business perspective, a major problem that needed solving,” he said.

In less than a month’s time, together with a group of farmers who have experienced similar frustrations, Mr Mundia will be opening a farmers’ market at Runda along Kiambu road, which among other things seeks to eliminate the long value chains that make farm produce in the country costly while keeping the Kenyan farmer earning peanuts.

The Nairobi Farmers’ Market is currently in the final stages of construction and once complete, farmers will be able to have their produce sold there without involvement of middlemen and with an assured ready market and guaranteed prices.

The main idea is creating a centre that shortens the value chain between the farmer and the consumer, in the end reducing cost of goods for the consumer while snuffing out avenues for brokers to eat from where they have not sowed.

“We want to put an end to farmers pocketing just a fraction of what the consumer pays and create a win-win situation for all, more prices for farmers, low costs for consumers, more sale volumes and a guaranteed market,” Mr Mundia said.

The market will further offer clients an assurance on safety of products sold there, by ensuring observance of quality standards both at production and during handling until they get to the market.

This, Mr Mundia says, will be done through an agronomy department that will check on products’ safety before they are put on sale.

“The team of agronomists will do random checks regularly to evaluate farmers’ practices in order to assure on safety of the products sold here. We want to make sure that everything sold here is certified and appropriate according to the local standards,” he said, adding that one of the founders of the market is an agronomist.

READ ALSO:   Friends say Jacque Maribe’s bumpy ride started with covering Jubilee campaigns

Such checks will include the source of water for farmers and farming methods such as the type of fertiliser used, where and when a particular produce was grown.

The move, he said, was bolstered by the fact that Kenyans are now more concerned about safety of food on their tables than before, something that local open-air markets are yet to assure.

To sell in the market, a selection of farmers who pass an evaluation test will sign contracts, promising to keep low prices for products, while at the same time observing quality standards on food production and handling.

The contracted farmers — who will be stall owners at the market — will then deal directly with farmers at the farm level and agree on quantity, prices and time of supplying produce.

“We expect the people running stalls here to contract and schedule farmers in a planned manner. So what happens is that the trader (stall owner) agrees with a farmer on what to plant or rear and the expected quantity and time of supply,” he said.

Even though not an open-air market, farmers can get their produce to the market by liaising with the contracted farmers, and passing the basic test of good farming and handling practices.

But it is the planned fashion of operation, where farmers produce knowing where, when and the prices at which they will sell their produce months in advance that sets The Nairobi Farmers’ Market at the top of any other market.

READ ALSO:   Monica murder: GSU officer to become witness

Among the novel services The Nairobi Farmers’ Market will be offering is home deliveries, a factor its founders argue will help reduce human congestion in the market, as well as offer efficient and convenient services.

Through this service, Mr Mundia says they are certain with time they will be able to supply products to residents of Nairobi, especially through bodaboda operators who mostly rely on few unpredictable customers and logistics firms.

They have also set up a separate logistics firm, run by experts in the sector, to ensure the service is part and parcel of the market features.

“Even now, because there is going to be a need in Nairobi caused by the coronavirus lockdown, we expect to start doing home deliveries as soon as we open, even within a lockdown environment,” he said.

The market will host about 50 stalls that will be different sizes in order to accommodate various farm produce.

Each of the 50 stall owners is expected to network with between 50 and 100 local farmers so as to get their produce to the market.

The market has the capacity to hold between 500 and 1000 buyers at any given moment.

Wide walkways between stalls with flowers planted strategically on the sides, benches along the walkways for buyers to sit on, gardens with soothing grass for families to relax outside and several free spaces within the market are set to enrich customer experience. This is besides an open-plan design for fresh produce stalls.

“Who said markets have to be muddy, noisy and chaotic?” Mr Mundia poses. The market will also offer parking for about 200 cars and a restaurant where buyers can sit and have a bite.

By Nation

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