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Wedding called off last minute as pastor demands couple undergoes HIV tests

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All indications pointed to a perfect wedding. Everything was set. Cream and maroon had been unanimously settled on as the theme colours.

The couple, Joyce Waithera and Paul Waithaka, their families and friends were all looking forward to a great day.

The wedding was to be held at Mizpah House of Prayer Church in Bahati, Nakuru County, last Saturday.

However, in a shocking turn of events, the wedding did not happen after the officiating pastor cancelled it at the last minute.

It was a heartbreaking decision for Waithera and Waithaka, together with their families and hundreds of guests.

Waithera’s father, Henry Kamau, said they arrived at the church from his home in Gilgil around 10am expecting to have a great day.

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“The family and friends of the groom picked up my daughter early in the morning. By 10am, we were at the church. However, we noticed that nothing much was going on save for the local choir singing,” said Mr Kamau.

Kamau said the preacher demanded that Waithera and Waithaka go for a medical checkup and bring him the results before he could conduct their wedding.

Most churches require couples to undergo pregnancy and HIV tests before they are joined in holy matrimony.

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The couple is said to have returned to the church at noon with the results. However, the preacher kept them waiting for another two hours then demanded that they go for another test. This time, he specified the particular hospital he wanted the test done.

“We knew something was amiss when he directed them to have a second test without giving reasons. My daughter and her fiancé obliged hoping it would end of the torment,” said Kamau.

Prior to the wedding, the couple had gone for another medical test.

The results of the second test were submitted to the preacher at 4pm. He preacher called the couple, their parents and close friends to his office. He was said to have opened the results but said he did not understand everything the doctor had written.

“He said the results were okay but some sections were not legible. He then demanded that a health practitioner be brought to the church to explain what he couldn’t understand in the report,” said Kamau.

As the sun was setting, the congregation was growing impatient. People threatened to break into the preacher’s office but the man of the cloth called in the police, who rounded up several guests and bundled them into their vehicle.

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Those arrested, including the couple’s relatives, were released later without any charges.

A few minutes after 6pm, Apostle Karanja announced that he would not officiate at the wedding as it was too late. The congregation was left speechless and started dispersing.

The Waithera and Waithaka got into separate vehicles and left the church compound.

The reception was at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI), where hundreds of guests were already waiting. Over 300 seats had been arranged.

Daniel Kamau, a brother of the bride, said the budget was over Sh1 million. It took six months to plan the wedding.

“It is a waste. We have wasted money and time, not mentioning the torture the preacher has subjected the couple, their families and friends to. His behaviour clearly shows he was not willing to join the two in marriage,” said Daniel.

The families call in those living around KITI to eat the wedding feast as the couple was driven away in their different cars to an undisclosed location. Kamau lamented that Apostle Karanja had been an obstacle to his daughter’s wedding from the start. “During payment of the pride price, he delayed the delegation at the church compound without any reason.

“We will decide what cause of action to shall take. My daughter is depressed and needs time to comprehend what happened. This is not justifiable.”

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Waithera, who spoke to The Standard on phone, said she had no personal differences with the preacher and did not, therefore, understand why he cancelled her wedding.

“It was very embarrassing and heartbreaking for him to cancel our wedding after taking us through guidance and counselling sessions for five months. We had met all the conditions set by law and church. At no time did he mention we had erred in any way,” said Waithera.

Her fiance, Waithaka, said he was shocked by what happened. “It was painful for me. It was humiliating. We have yet to know the way forward.” Waithaka has been an interpreter at the church for many years.

Speaking during a Sunday service yesterday, Apostle Karanja, without giving details, said the couple did not meet the standards set out by the church for him to officiate at their wedding.

“Our church has set standards that must be met as far as birth, marriage and burial are concerned. The standards are not subject to discussion.”

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Lifestyle

From troubled childhood, Kenyan-American eyes top seat in Minnesota

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Mr Boni Njenga, a Kenyan-American born in Nakuru Town, has risen from a boy with a troubled childhood to a man with an interest in an elective post in the US, come the elections on November 3.

Mr Njenga’s mother sent him to the US in 2003 to keep him away from bad peer influence after his high school education.

The single mother of six was concerned about the future of her troublesome son who attended four secondary schools.

He attended D.N Handa Secondary School in Naivasha for his Form One, moved to Coulson Secondary School in Gilgil the following year and then transferred to Kalou Secondary School in Ol Kalou for Form Two and Form Three.

He returned to D. N Handa where he sat his O’level exams.

He passed his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams but his mother worried about the effects peer pressure would have on him.

“My mother was concerned about my discipline. I was giving her a difficult time due to bad influence from my peers,” he says.

“To save me from engaging in drug abuse and crime, she decided to send me to the United States of America to live with my brothers. I arrived in the US with a near-empty suitcase and $50 as pocket money.”

Today, Mr Njenga, an American citizen with a Master’s degree in Public Administration, is seeking to become the first Kenyan-American to sit as a commissioner in one of the county boards in the US.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Frustrated US Citizen married to Kenyan woman petitions President Trump to stop wife's imminent deportation

He will vie for a position in the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, District 5 (Bloomington, Richfield and Eden Prairie).

“We are facing challenges like the Opioid crisis, homelessness, lack of public safety, racial disparities and tax levy increases with no accountability and transparency on spending,” he says.

Campaign focus

Mr Njenga has lived and worked in Hennepin County for the last nine years.

Being a policy analyst, he says his campaigns are focused on five key areas – creating community wealth, closing achievement gaps, children protective services, safe and affordable housing and improving the quality of life for all residents.

“We can only solve these issues with fresh and bold 21st century governance and by applying evidence-based policy making, which will enable us to curb wasteful spending in Hennepin County, keeping more money in your pocket,” he says.

“I want to advocate for the rights of all residents. Today’s challenges require more than a single approach. They require fresh ideas, action and strong advocacy.”

Mr Njenga is challenging first term incumbent Debbie Goettel, whom he acknowledges as a formidable opponent but adds that he is up to the task.

Hennepin is Minnesota’s largest county with an annual budget of $2.5 billion that is overseen by a seven-member board of commissioners.

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Mr Njenga criticises the county’s dismal record when it comes to contracting minority entrepreneurs and says one of his desires is to create community wealth, informed by the challenges marginalised communities face.

“Hennepin County, with its millions of dollars, spends less than one per cent in contracting the minority groups,” he says.

“I want to bring a 21st century approach to policy making,” adds Mr Njenga who has previously pushed for opportunities for marginalised groups.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Njenga has been forced to run his campaigns on social media platforms.

“I reach out to voters through my Facebook page (Boni Njenga), my website (www.boninjenga.com) and Twitter account(@Boninjenga). It is not easy but the circumstances have forced us to keep social distancing.”

Experience

After moving to the US in 2003, Mr Njenga joined Minnesota State University-Mankato from where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and later a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

He has held supervisory and project management roles with the State before joining the private sector.

He says this background will enable him to offer ideas and innovative approaches for creating sustainable jobs and economic security.

“It will be quite an honour if residents of District 5 give me a chance to serve them and give back to the community that gave me a home and accepted me years ago.

READ ALSO:   FULL VIDEO: Dr. David Wachira Waigwa weds

“I have always had the passion for public service and politics. I value the quote by former US President J.F. Kennedy – ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county’.”

He adds, “I came here as a young confused man, unsure of what the future held for me, but through focus, hard work and mentorship by my lecturers, I can look back and thank my mother for sending me here. I know she is proud of me.

“My mother instilled in me discipline and the value of service to the people. Minnesota gave me an elite education and job experience and I have come to call it home. It will be an honour to serve Minnesota.”

Mr Njenga joins the long list of Africans seeking elective posts in Minnesota since the election of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to the Minnesota Legislature in 2016, and to the US House of Representatives  two years later.

She is the first black person born in Africa to be elected to the US Congress and is the highest ranking elected African immigrant politician in the State.

by nation.co.ke

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Courts

Long serving US Supreme court Judge and cultural icon Ruth Ginsburg dies at 87

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US Supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the apex Court and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died on Friday. She was 87.

RBG, as she was popularly known, died in Washington DC  Friday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born on March 15, 1933, she served on the court  from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 14, 1993.

Ginsburg became the second of four female justices to be confirmed to the Court after Sandra Day O’Connor, the two others being Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom are still serving in 2020.

Following O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and until Sotomayor joined the Court in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court.

During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia (1996), Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000).

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Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class.

Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg entered into academia. She was a professor at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field.

Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, winning multiple arguments before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she was dubbed “The Notorious R.B.G.”, a play on the name of the rapper known as “The Notorious B.I.G.“, in reference to her notable dissents.[3]

READ ALSO:   FULL VIDEO: Dr. David Wachira Waigwa weds

She died at 87 years of age on September 18, 2020, from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home.\

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News

ODM announces plans to reconsider its policies

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BY KEVIN KOECH

A day after ODM party leader’s son Raila Junior made controversial remarks on the conduct of ODM politicians, the party has issued a statement on the same.

Speaking on behalf of ODM, Secretary General Edwin Sifuna announced that the party has plans to reassess its policies and make changes. Mr. Sifuna acknowledged that ODM needs to review its strategy.

He also noted that the party had initiated changes in its top organs. Additionally, he said that the changes are focusing on the 2022 general elections.

“We honestly looked at ourselves and even commissioned a task force to deliberate on internal issues. The team’s report, whose recommendations we have implemented, came with some indictment,” Mr. Sifuna stated.

“We wanted the task force to indicate our problems based on the report tabled before the National Executive Council (NEC) and adopted in its entirety,” he added.

The ODM Secretary-General also said that the party disbanded its National Election Board (NEB). Additionally, they disbanded the National Disciplinary Committee after it failed to discipline rebellious Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa.

Oduor Ong’wen, ODM’s Executive Director, also pointed out that they based the philosophy of ODM on fighting for human rights and devolution.

READ ALSO:   Youthful Kenyan Pastor accused of sexual harassment
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