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From Grace to grass: Kijana Wamalwa’s daughter drops out of school for lack of fees, as she battles depression



Michelle Nafuna Wamalwa, popularly known as Chichi, was only three years old when her father, Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, died in August 2003, barely a year after assuming office.

She became famous because her father used to carry her to press conferences and she would sing and hit the microphone, oblivious to what her father was saying.

Despite the loss of the family’s main breadwinner, Chichi, grew up to become bubbly and ambitious.

She had big dreams of walking in the footsteps of her eloquent and generous father who had gone to Ivy League schools and was one of Kenya’s most polished English speakers.

Sadly, 14 years after the demise of Kenya’s eighth Vice President, Chichi’s mother, Yvonne Nambia Wamalwa, also died last year after a long battle with a brain tumour that wiped out the family resources.

Today Chichi is 18.

Her once-animated face is strained with pain and uncertainty and her hopes are shattered. Her smile is gone, she’s anxious about her future education and her family’s survival.

She’s on anti-depressants.

Chichi says people falsely believe being a Wamalwa makes her life better.

“Uncle Eugene (Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa) told me I should prepare to leave for Australia on a government scholarship,” she told the Star on Friday at her run-down Karen home. “That was on March 13, 2018. I was only left with two weeks to graduate from high school. Since that time I have been waiting.”

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In her first media interview, Chichi opened up to the Star about the family’s protracted property dispute with her step siblings that have left them impoverished.

Reached for a comment on Friday, Eugene said he could only discuss Chichi’s education on Saturday. “Call me tomorrow. Am with her at her late mother’s first anniversary memorial service at Karen,” he said in a text message.

“When you go and look for help, you’re told there are people in your family who can take care of you, why don’t you go to them? These same people are the one’s ruining your life,” Chichi told the Star at her family’s overgrown, rundown, unguarded Karen home.

“I’ve been on anti-depressants, my anxiety is a time bomb and we are no longer able to afford medicine,” Chichi said.

At the burial of Chichi’s mother Yvonne, Deputy President William Ruto promised the government would educate Wamalwa’s children. He also promised Yvonne’s sister, Nangami, a job to enable her to take care of the children.

It hasn’t happened.

Wamalwa’s Karen home sticks out like a sore thumb in the leafy neighbourhood of imposing homes. It looks deserted, ghostly.

Today, the family can hardly afford basics.

“It has been difficult,” Chichi said. “If it were not for friends and well-wishers, we would not be surviving.”

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

She has been out of Gems Cambridge International School for nearly a year for lack of funds.

They say their extended family, including their uncles, have abandoned them and one is clandestinely behind the family property feud.

Derek Mboya, Chichi’s elder brother, told the Star yesterday there were family feuds before Wamalwa’s death but they never thought they would turn so toxic. He returned from Australia to help the family.

“Mzee [Wamalwa] and the extended family always had some ups and downs, but they never extended the problems to us. They treated us well until his death,” Derek told the Star.

He says his family story is one of grace to grass. When he was 10 he went with his father to political events.

One minute they had it all — bodyguards, shopping in high-end stores and holidays in exotic destinations.

Today, that’s gone and some family members have made comments that are a threat to their life, Derek claims. He says visiting their Kitale home is almost impossible.

Derek said his father was generous, educated all his siblings and helped “all and sundry”.

This may explain why unlike politicians of his time, Mike, did not accumulate massive wealth.

Things turned sour when he died.

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

First, it was communication breakdown, long meetings and sleepless nights for his mother. “We started seeing our mother having longer nights, a lot more meetings, we assumed it was normal. Later we understood she was under a lot of pressure,” Derek said.

Yvonne died at her sister’s place in Nanyuki. Her children claim she was in debt and there was no money to take her to hospital.

“Mum never got to enjoy dad’s retirement benefits, including health insurance. If my mum had medical care, she would probably be alive today,” Chichi said.

Her aunt Jacqueleen Nangami Nyangweso, who has been providing for the family, has exhausted her savings.

Fifteen years after Wamalwa’s death, his pension has never been processed. An injunction was issued after a suit by Wamalwa’s eldest daughter, Alice Muthoni Wamalwa.

Retirement benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers Act) are generous for former Vice Presidents. These include health insurance for the beneficiaries’ spouse.

Source: The Star

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Death of festivals dims Lamu hope to revive ailing tourism



Maulid. Food and Expo. Art, yoga and kite festivals. These are just a few of a slew of art and culture experiences that Lamu County used to dish out to the world and which boosted its tourism profile.

Lamu Old Town, also known as “the island of festivals”, had a splendid array of events and festivals ranging from Eid-Ul-Adhar to the Lamu Fishing Competition, Lamu Art Festival, The Lamu Cultural Festival, Lamu Yoga Festival, the Kite Festival, Shella Hat Contest and the Lamu Painters Festival.

But these events were put on the back burner as the tourism sector took a nosedive.

Coming on the backdrop of the Mpeketoni terror attacks in 2014 that also hit tourism hard, hospitality industry players say the vital sector is in the doldrums and want the festivals reinstated. Speaking during a forum in Lamu at the weekend, hoteliers and other players questioned why the county government has not been keen in reviving the events.

Hotelier Salim Abubakar said the county’s tourism sector was on the decline after the festivals were lifted. He urged Governor Fahim Twaha to restore the events and revive the sector.

“All the festivals that were introduced in the calendar of events are crucial. They served to attract visitors, both domestic and international, to Lamu. We need them back so that the tourism sector can be improved,” he said.

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

Marketing strategy

Former Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) deputy chairman Ghalib Alwy said the body, in partnership with the county tourism office started the festivals to attract more tourists. Mr Alwy said it is important that the events are retained.

“We launched those events as a marketing strategy for Lamu tourism. Through them, we were able to attract tourists from Kenya, East Africa and the world. This is after the terrorism attacks led to an almost 90 percent decline of the sector. It’s only through the festivals that tourists got the confidence to visit Lamu again. The events must be reinstated,” said Mr Alwy. Mr Mohamed Hassan noted that local tourism was still doing badly, attributing the situation to a section of foreign countries that are still having active travel advisories against their citizens visiting Lamu.

“The travel advisories still play a big role in scaring away tourists. We want as many festivals as possible as they have the ability to ensure the tourism climbs back on its feet,” said Mr Hassan.

Some of the festivals known and which are still being celebrated by many in Lamu includes the annual Lamu Cultural Festival that is marked between November and December, the Maulid Festival marked every January, New Year’s Dhow Race marked on January 1 and Eid Ul-Fitr marked every July.

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

The festivals are said to attract more than 30,000 visitors from around the world.


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Drama as delegates heckle DP Ruto during BBI launch 




Delegates heckled Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report at the Bomas of Kenya over his remarks on the report

The DP was forced to pause his speech after the delegates started booing him after he appeared to express his dissatisfaction at the Youth leader Trans Nzoia County Alex Matere’s remarks about his wheelbarrow donations.

Ruto said by saying that Kenyans should not adopt 16th-century technology, Matere was referring to the wheelbarrows he has been supplying to Kenyans.

However, Ruto noted that the discussions Kenyans should have is why a 16th-century tool has millions of citizens still dependent on it in the 21st-century.

The DP’s remarks didn’t sit well with most of the delegates, which resulted in them openly expressing their displeasure and forcing him to stop talking.

Mbita Member of Parliament Millie Odhiambo appeared mainly pissed by Ruto’s remarks as he stood and jeering Ruto, drowning his speech.

He went on to ask for a minute to conclude his speech but the crowd couldn’t hear of it as they continued to jeer him after he appeared to hit out at the former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

Ruto concluded his speech by calling on leaders to refrain from contests pitting the rich and the poor by quoting former US President Abraham Lincoln.

DP Ruto then proceeded to welcome his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta to make his remarks with the delegates still shouting “respect the president,” as he took his seat.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also hit on the DP for engaging in early campaigns instead of supporting the President in delivering the Big-4 Agenda.

Raila said that Kenyans expect to be united for now but not campaigns of who will be the President in 2022 as they will handle that when the time comes.

The ODM Party leader noted that Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta should be working as a pair to bring a difference in the country.

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Uhuru maintains Raila is not government




President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday 26 October 2020 made it clear that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga is not in the government.

Speaking at the Bomas of Kenya during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, the Head of State explained that when he decided to come into an agreement with Raila, the mission was to find a way to healing this country.

“When we sat down to talk, something that was very difficult, for him and also for me and my team, very difficult. But when we got through to it and we spoke and we spoke again, we agreed that we are not here to share positions and we should put our various positions aside,” he said.

He mentioned that the two agreed to come together with a common agenda of ensuring that what the people of Kenyan have witnessed in 1992, 2005, 2007, and 2017 Kenyans shall never witness again.

He went on to make it clear that Raila Odinga never made any demands from the government.

“We did not talk about sharing government and as we stand today, he (Raila) is not in government. He is not in government; he never made any demands for the government. He never made any demands for a share of government,” he added.

READ ALSO:   The family property thorn in Eugene Wamalwa's flesh

The President pointed out that Raila Odinga asked for the two opposing sides to come together and fix what has been ailing the country.

He explained that this would allow the country in the future to be able to compete without the need for the innocent Kenyans blood being shed.

He went on to that the ODM leader for showing his patriotism and looking for a solution because he did not have to do it.

Uhuru also gave special thanks to his Deputy William Ruto for being part and parcel of the handshake and making the BBI report.

He revealed the three agreed that they would never talk about elective posts as they aimed to unite Kenyans.

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