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PHOTO: Sudan President Al-Bashir steps out clad in regalia similar to Kenyan police uniform?

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Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir is making headlines because of his Uniform. Clad in blue that is reminiscent of the controversial Kenyan uniform, the Sudanese leader has become the subject of Kenyan netizens, many of whom wonder whether he got the idea from Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett.

Jojoken wrote: Aiya…kumbe si polisi wetu tu wametupa mbao.

Josiahnene: Kama marais wanvaa hizo uni, sasa nimekubali polisi wa Kenya wavae.

Martiooko wrote: I told you guys. Blue is good.

For decades, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has kept dissenting voices low and opposition groups in disarray creating a political vacuum that a group of professionals has recently rushed to fill.

Public anger against worsening economic hardship and deteriorating living conditions has pushed doctors, engineers and university professors to come together under the umbrella of the “Sudanese Professionals Association” and lead nationwide calls for Bashir to step down.

Although the association remains unknown to many, its calls have echoed across the country bringing thousands of protesters onto the streets, including in the capital Khartoum.

The protests were initially triggered by the tripling of bread prices. But they have swiftly evolved into deadly confrontations with the security forces.

“The Sudanese scene has been lacking a leader on political, economic, security and social levels,” an SPA spokesman Mohamed Youssef al-Mustafa told AFP, speaking from Khartoum.

THE PEOPLE

Sudan has about 100 political parties, but none have sought to steer the protest movement.

So the association has sought to organise protests. But in the end, Mr Mustafa says, “it’s the people who lead.”

It started when back in 2012, in response to new laws restricting the freedom of political parties, a group of 200 professors at the University of Khartoum formed a group, prompting other professionals in the capital to form similar gatherings, Mr Mustafa says.

Groups of veterinarians, media workers, pharmacists, teachers, lawyers and others were later created making up the main eight separate gatherings of the Sudanese Professionals Association by 2016.

“Now every city in Sudan has a gathering of professionals,” Mr Mustafa said.

NO RECORDS

Unlike political parties, SPA has no organisational structure and holds no records of the number of its members, he added.

“It’s not recognised by the government, but its setup is in line with Article 40 of the constitution,” he said.

The article stipulates “the right of peaceful assembly” as well as the “freedom of association” including forming and belonging to political parties, associations, trade unions and professional federations.

SPA has for years been concerned with resolving the issues of the professionals, gathered under its umbrella.

But last month, it took on a more political role as the protests swelled, strengthening the spirit of revolt, announcing schedules for demonstrations and organising marches on the presidential palace.

It has even proposed a plan to form a transitional government if President Bashir quits.

OPPOSITION

And on Friday, the country’s main opposition leader and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi threw his support behind the demonstrators.

“This regime has to go immediately,” Mahdi, leader of the Umma Party, told hundreds of worshippers at a mosque in Omdurman.

“A period of transition will come soon… we are supporting this (protest) movement,” Mr Mahdi said, adding more than 50 people have been killed in the protests.

Officials say 30 people have died in the protests, while rights groups have put the death toll at more than 40.

“The way protesters follow this group is strange,” said Sudanese journalist Faisal Mohamed Saleh, pointing out that the protests always start exactly at the time designated by the group.

“It’s an achievement for this group, considering that the protesters don’t even know who the main leaders of this association are. Protesters just trust them.”

FUTURE

But Mr Mustafa dismissed plans that SPA would turn into a political party.

“There is no thought of turning the professional entity into a political party,” he said, adding many members already belong to some political parties.

But since December 19, the group has joined forces with Bashir’s main opponents.

Opposition groups including the National Consensus Forces Alliance and Nidaa al-Sudan have signed a document with regime change being the main objective.

It also outlines a post-Bashir plan including rebuilding Sudan’s justice system and halting the country’s dire economic decline.

Mohamed al-Asbat, another SPA spokesman living in Paris, says the association will continue to use peaceful means to bring about political change.

“The reason people are flocking to us it the association’s ability to maintain peacefulness and use of soft communication,” he said.

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News

Body of missing Maranda teacher recovered in River Nzoia

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The body of a teacher at Maranda High School who went missing two weeks ago has been found floating in River Nzoia.

The decomposed body of Kevin Otieno Ongoma was sighted by a resident of Sio Port at Bukoma area on Thursday evening.

The 33-year-old teacher went missing on October 10, 2020.

Siaya county police commander Mr Francis Kooli on Friday told the Nation the deceased’s family members positively identified the body following its discovery.

“Someone spotted a body in the river with similar clothes to the ones the teacher had when he went missing. The school was later informed about the discovery,” Kooli said.

The police commander said they suspect the teacher may have committed suicide.

“It is highly suspected that he might have committed suicide by throwing himself into the river but investigations will however establish what happened,” said Mr Kooli.

Suicide theory

But some family members have dismissed the suicide theory, claiming that the body of the deceased had injuries, an indication that the teacher could have been tortured, killed and dumped in the river.

They asked the police to conduct thorough investigations into the teacher’s death.

The Nation has established that the deceased will be buried on Monday, October 26 at his home village in Mbosie.

A teacher at Maranda High School, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Nation that a burial committee has already been formed at the school.

“We have been meeting to make burial arrangements, including contributing money towards the same ,” he said.

A police report seen earlier by the Nation indicates that the teacher, who headed the head biology department in the school, was last seen leaving the school while driving his car.

The vehicle was found the following day abandoned near River Nzoia in Ugunja Sub-county.

According to detectives investigating the matter, the teacher lived with his family within the school compound.

“He left the school quarters that morning and drove himself to an unknown destination,” said Mr Kooli.

His two mobile phones went off near the banks of river Nzoia where his vehicle was recovered.

Police said the body is being preserved at Ambira Sub-county Hospital mortuary.

by nation.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Alarm as more children are caught up in deadly lovers’ tiffs

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“What wrong did my son do to deserve such a death?”  a father asked as he watched the body of his 11-year-old son wheeled into a mortuary. The boy was a victim of a failed relationship between the mother and an estranged lover.

His death adds to the growing list of children paying the ultimate price due to fights between their parents.

Gideon Kang’ethe, Shanice Maua and Prince Michael are among the victims. And so are Claire Wanjira and Faith Wanjiru, both 10 years old.

On October 22, Mercy Gathoni (35), her daughter Claire Wanjira and Faith Wanjiru her niece, were found strangled in a shop at Jambo in Karatina Town.

Initial investigations by homicide detectives point at yet another case of children caught up in adult fights.

They were found lying on a bed each with a rope around their necks, an indication that they had been strangled to death.  Detectives placed their time of death at between 10am and 1pm.

Commotion

What has baffled both the residents and the police is that no one heard any commotion despite the fact that the scene where the murder was committed usually has heavy human traffic as it is along the busy Karatina-Nairobi highway.

According to residents, Ms Gathoni was last seen at around 9am. It still remains unclear how a man, believed to be known to the victims, walked into the backroom of the shop and strangled them.

After noticing that the shopkeeper was not attending to customers, Ms Gathoni’s niece Faith was sent to check on them. She was also strangled.

The bodies, according to residents were found at around 1pm in a room behind a grocery shop by Gathoni’s sister, Ms Rahab Mugure, who had gone to look for her daughter who had overstayed after being sent to check on her aunt.

Love triangle

In yet another case of a love affair turned sour, an innocent boy’s life was cut short brutally after he was caught up in a love triangle he neither understood nor played part in.

He had been reported missing for a week.  Mr Charles Muriuki was identified as a prime suspect in what was then seen as abduction of the Kirigu School pupil.

For days, detectives interrogated him at the Karatina sub county police headquarters as he denied his involvement. Kangethe’s body was found decomposing in a grave in Mathira, Nyeri County.

Mr Muriuki is now facing murder charges, accused of killing Kang’ethe.

Shanice and Prince Michael were also killed following a bitter spat between their mother and former Kenya Defence Forces soldier Peter Mugure.

by nation.co.ke

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Business

I bought a car from an online bazaar, but it ended in tears

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Buyer beware! The sleek car that you saw on that online bazaar may not be on sale – but a ruse to rip you off.

Three buyers fell for this trap, hoodwinked by a smooth-talking ‘salesman’ who promised to help them upgrade their cars, in a saga that ended in tears.

And the victims had thought that because a lawyer was involved in the transaction, this protected their interests as well. However, the manner in which they lost their cash raises questions about his role.

The address was an office block in the city centre, where the sale agreements would be drafted, buyers would part with their cash and the seller would thereafter vanish into thin air without delivering the vehicle.

Since 2018, when one of the cases was reported, the victim is yet to recover his money, with the lawyer claiming he did not know the seller.

This year, however, two more people have fallen prey to the scam and it’s unclear how many more have been conned.

Wanted to upgrade his car

Earlier this year, Mr Kelvin Ngugi, 23, wanted to upgrade his KBX Toyota Sienta and, while scrolling through the internet one evening, he came across a dealer who identified himself as Mr Ronald Bundi on Jiji.ke, the online classifieds website that acquired OLX.

Mr Bundi was willing to trade in Mr Ngugi’s old vehicle and Mr Ngugi, impressed at the convenience of that possibility, began making arrangements for that to happen.

However, before the deal could be closed, Mr Bundi informed him that the trade-in option was no longer viable.

He was left with the sole option of selling his car to buy the one he wanted, a white Toyota Sienta, registration KCQ.

Mr Ngugi hunted for a buyer, sold it and reached out to Mr Bundi for the car he wanted. He was informed the car was still available at a showroom along Kiambu road at Sh600,000.

“The plan was that I pay a Sh500,000 deposit and remit the balance in instalments of Sh25,000,” recalled Ngugi.

Mr Kelvin Ngugi.

On February 19, when they were to close the deal, Mr Bundi advised Mr Ngugi to meet him at lawyer Wilberforce Mariaria Nyaboga’s office at Uniafric House, along Koinange Street, for the payment and signing of a sale agreement.

“The lawyer finished drafting the agreement at around 3:45pm and asked me to go withdraw the deposit since the banks were about to close and pay in cash. He advised that the payment be done at his office so that in case of anything, he’d be held liable,” Mr Ngugi recounted.

Mr Ngugi says he did as advised, returned with the money and gave it to the lawyer, who, alongside the seller, started counting it.

When they confirmed the amount, the seller offered to go get the car with Mr Ngugi’s father from a garage in Hurlingham.

Mr Bundi explained the car had been taken to Hurlingham to be fitted with an alarm system to ease its tracking in the event Mr Ngugi failed to remit the balance.

Unbeknown to Mr Ngugi, this was the seller’s trick to get away with his money.

The two stepped out to hop onto motorbike taxis to speed them to the garage, but Mr Bundi sped past Mr Ngugi’s father and disappeared.

“Later Dad called to inform me that they had lost him. We tried reaching Bundi on the phone in vain.  That is how I realised I had been conned,” he said.

Mr Ngugi says he recorded a statement with a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer at Central Police Station but that is yet to bear any fruit.

He says the police have been unable to track down both Mr Bundi and the lawyer, even on the occasions the latter is spotted at his office.
On Thursday, the lawyer denied knowing Ngugi and ever having drafted the agreement.
————

Another victim

After giving up hope of ever recovering the Sh900,000 she paid for a Toyota RAV4, Ms Florence Awour (36) decided to share her predicament on a Facebook’s parenting group to expose Mr Bundi, who had conned her too.

Ms Awuor had spotted the car at Jiji.ke and involved her brother in making the purchase. She paid Sh1.1 million through the lawyer’s Equity Bank account but never got the car.

Ms Florence Awour.

Nation Media Group

Her brother had been assured the car was at a yard along Kiambu road. Her brother and a mechanic had checked out and test-driven the car twice before she paid for it.

Mr Bundi asked to meet her brother at the same lawyer’s office, where the sale agreement was signed but when they went for the car at Tito Motors along Kiambu road, her brother was told by the attendants that Mr Bundi wasn’t known to them.

She conducted a search on the car’s registration and realised her brother had also been given a fake logbook.

“I alerted the car’s owner, who in turn filed a report with a DCI officer at Central Police Station under OB number 67/26/02/2020.”

After publicising her tribulations, she said the lawyer refunded Sh200,000 and alleged the balance had been wired to the seller.

Yesterday, the lawyer acknowledged he refunded the money but after realising that the deal had gone sour. He admitted to having recorded a statement at Central police station where the matter has been pending under investigation for months.

“I was acting on behalf of the two because they came to me asking for an agreement to seal their deal. I am therefore not to blame. I am also aware that the police have been hunting the seller who I only know as Robert, who is unknown to me,” he said.

The sale agreement however was with Alice Nancy Momanyi.
—-

Seller disappeared into thin air

Henry Munene Muchiri (35) also gave up after a long wait for justice. He said police were unable to help him recover Sh600,000 paid for a Toyota Sienta bought via OLX but was never delivered to him in 2018.

“After expressing my interest, I was taken to a yard on Ngong Road where I saw the vehicle, inspected it and agreed to make a purchase.”

A Toyota Sienta 2010 model.

File | Nation Media Group

But before the car was released, Mr Munene was asked to accompany the seller to his lawyer’s office in town to sign a sale agreement.

“At some point everything was fine, the car’s logbook and search hinted at no foul play until I was asked to make the payment. Apparently they did not have a bank account so I was requested to pay in cash and I brought the money to the lawyer’s office.”

At some point the seller said he needed to rush downstairs to pick up a laptop for use in the transaction but he never came back.

“The lawyer claimed he didn’t know the seller in person and I reported the matter at Central Police Station under OB number 146/10/7/18 but the investigating officer kept asking for a facilitation fee to speed up investigations. I later gave up and returned to Kirinyaga,” he said.

On Monday, DCI detectives at Central Police Station said the lawyer had already recorded a statement.

Efforts to contact Mr Bundi were futile. His contacts as received from the victims were out of service and others were not being picked.

Cash withdrawn immediately

However, an attempt to send Sh5 to one of Mr Bundi’s contact to get his Mpesa-registered name was successful. The amount was, however, withdrawn from his end as soon as it was received. A text message the Nation sent to this number thereafter requesting his response to the claims by the victims wasn’t responded to.

After placing a call and sending a text message to the lawyer on Tuesday, October 20, requesting his response to the claims by the victims, he called back but declined an interview on phone.

Mr Mariaria told this writer to meet him on Wednesday, October 21, in his office. The meeting was then pushed to Thursday when the lawyer denied claims of acting in collusion with Mr Bundi.

He explained that although he had drafted two agreements in the past for transactions in which the buyers never got the vehicles, he has never been involved in any deal with Mr Bundi.

Mr Mariaria added he could not recall parties to the transactions because he offers legal services to many people.

“People come to me after agreeing to sell and buy cars from each other and all I do is sign the agreement and witness the transaction,” added the lawyer.

Denies culpability

Asked whether he was concerned about his office being used to swindle Kenyans money, he responded he cannot stop people from flocking to his office in search of legal services.

“The only mistake I committed was receiving Florence’s money in my account. Otherwise, there are too many criminals in town and cars are being sold every day. The only thing I can do is to be careful next time,” the lawyer said.

Jiji, a subsidiary of Digital Spring Ventures, acquired OLX from five countries in its efforts to become the leading classified marketplace in the world by traffic.

The transactions made through the platform are virtual, which exposes it to abuse but to cushion its clients from theft, the website advises buyers to only make payments for items bought after successful delivery.

“Avoid anything that appears too good to be true, such as unrealistically low prices and promises of quick money,” further reads the disclaimer.

by nation.co.ke

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