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VIDEO: Wails, muffled screams and prayers as families of the victims visit crash scene

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Wails, muffled screams and prayers rent the air in Tulu Fera, the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash which killed all 157 people on board, 32 of them Kenyans, as families of the victims came face to face with the magnitude of the tragedy yesterday.

In Tulu Fera in Ejere District on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the tears of victims’ kin drenched the fresh soil that was being scooped by those trying to retrieve the bodies, some of which were buried six metres deep as the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane nose-dived.

So far, the retrieval of bodies has yielded little: strands of hair, a hand, a toe…all piling up the pain of not just the loss, but also of never having anything for the final ritual, for burial, for closure.

Last respects

In the mass grave of some sorts are buried, not just lives, but careers and dreams, families robbed of a father, a mother, a sibling, a child, a spouse, a neighbour, a friend…

Some family members began to pay their last respects to their kin by lighting candles and laying flowers on a table covered in white roses.

Screen grab of some family members paying their last respects to their kin by lighting candles and laying flowers on a table covered in white roses.

It was on this table that their pain was laid bare —it might be the only thing close to a coffin that would symbolise the death of their kin.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Ethiopian plane crash report out

It is the reality that nearly every family which suffered a loss in the tragedy is confronting. A British forensic expert told People Daily that the largest body part recovered was a piece of hand.

Grieving families, he said, might have to wait for weeks before all human remains are collected from the scene for DNA analysis.

“Let us be honest. You are here and you have seen the impact of the crash. What can you fetch from that?” posed the source.

Amos Mbicha, who lost his sister Stella with her son in the crash, walked to the table and was overwhelmed with emotion as he laid flowers in honour of his sister.

He had earlier told People Daily that his sister, who was married to a Polish, was coming home to see them during a brief vacation when she met her death.

Counselling session

“It is like the entire family is gone,” he said.

People Daily has also learned that a session has been organised between families and counsellors, the objective being to divulge the painful news that they may not have anything to bury.

The session will include forensic experts who will try to convince the families that the nature of crash left nothing to salvage for burial, the source said.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Ethiopia can't read black boxes, 'might' send them abroad: airline

A Chinese family, as if having come to terms with this reality, picked sand and debris from the crash site, put it in a box and left. An Asian journalist told us that is what would be used in the burial rituals.

Black boxes

Shredded remains of the plane were covered before family members arrived to shield them from the horror of the tragedy.

At the same time, Ethiopian authorities have said they do not have the equipment to analyse the black boxes from the accident and are considering sending them abroad.

“It could be sent abroad because there is no equipment to read it here,” said spokesman Biniyam Demssie.

The airline’s chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam earlier told CNN the black boxes would have to be examined outside the country, in a destination to be chosen by investigators — possibly the United States or “a closer country in Europe in the interest of proximity and in the interest of speed.”

Numerous countries have banned Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 jet from their airspace after the crash.

The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew. Some experts have detected similarities between the two accidents.

READ ALSO:   Tears, anxiety and anger as kin wait hours for plane crash updates

Tewolde said Ethiopian Airlines pilots had been retrained on the MAX 8 following the Lion Air crash.

“There is very significant similarities on the two accidents. There are a lot of questions to be answered on the airplane,” he told CNN.

Source: mediamax.co.ke

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Africa

University of Botswana to offer Brexit course

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A course about Brexit, the UK’s plan to leave the European Union, is to be offered as an option by the University of Botswana’s history department.

The course, called Modern Britain, will “study the crisis” as it happens, a notice shared on Twitter said.

Students will, however, not sit for an exam.

Bruce Bennett from the university confirmed to the BBC that the course will be offered.

“[It] is intended to link the present crisis, which is of interest to many people, to the historical background,” he said.

He said that as an elective course students from other departments would be able to take it.

“There has been interest from students from across the university, including of course political science but not limited to them.”

He added that other major events in British history would also be covered.

“This semester the British history course will focus on the Brexit crisis, as it happens, in combination with relevant British history. This historical background includes both relatively recent events such as the Northern Irish Troubles and the Good Friday agreement, and the deeper background.”

READ ALSO:   8 Kenyan families to sue Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines crash
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Igathe ditches Equity Bank and Kenyans wonder whether he can ever keep a job for long

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Equity Bank Managing Director Polycarp Igathe has rejoined Vivo Energy as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Igathe will assume his new role from September 1, barely a year after joining the lender.

“I am pleased to announce that Polycarp Igathe will rejoin Vivo Energy as the Executive vice president Sales and Marketing, a newly created role that is being added to the Vivo Executive Management (VEM),” Vivo Energy CEO Christian Chammas said in a statement.

In his new role, Igathe will be responsible for sales and marketing across the group.

Igathe was first named as Equity Bank’s Chief Commercial Officer in May 2018. The appointment came four months after he quit as Nairobi Deputy Governor citing lack of trust with his boss Mike Sonko.

He was promoted to the Equity MD position in September.

Igathe was the Vivo Energy Kenya MD before resigning to join politics.

His latest move sent Kenyans on Twitter into a frenzy, with many terming him a lucky guy whom “employment looks for.”

jeff_Elvtwin@JElvtwin

Some of us are seeking employment whereas employment is seeking Polycarp Igathe.

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just STEVE !!!@just_STEVE___

I pray to be as fortunate as one of these guys. Polycarp Igathe, Julius Kipngetich
Able to resign at breakfast and have another job by lunch time

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44 people are talking about this

A.F. Abbott@MrPhyc

Alafu Polycarp Igathe aanze story za “create employment, don’t just wait to be employed..”

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@nicky🇰🇪@Dennoh0

Next year time like now,Nairobi governor Sonko reappoints polycarp igathe as Nairobi county deputy governor

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JOE MUHAHAMI@Muhahami

Polycarp Igathe has left Equity Bank and rejoined Vivo Energy.

Damn this guy change jobs like baby diapers 🙊

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Kevoh Alexis@kevinkarobia1

The rate at which Polycarp Igathe is switching jobs makes us wonder what he studied at school@polycarpigathe

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17 people are talking about this

Lazooj@Lazooj

Polycarp Igathe can switch employers at will, you try switching employers yearly, and in your next job interview utaskia “You don’t seem loyal to your employers, 4 jobs in 2 years? why should we hire you? What guarantee can you give that you won’t leave before the year closes”.

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erick odhis@erickodhis

“Polycarp Igathe” somebody once told me up there the top of the pyramid they are very few and lonely never be surprised when an individual heads multiple organizations and grace all events invited

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John Muse@John__muse

Kwani Polycarp Igathe anakuanga na Rocket science degree?

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READ ALSO:   NARROW ESCAPE: Greek man arrived two minutes late for the flight, escaped death in Ethiopia crash
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VIDEO: Hope for Stateless Shona Community in Kenya as they are set to be given Birth Certificates

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Imagine living all your adult life as a stateless person. This is the case with at least 4,000 members of the Shona community who live in Kenya. Originally from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, they came to Kenya in the 1960s to spread the Gospel and although recognized by Kenya’s founding fathers, they were never granted citizenship. This situation has continued todate denying them basic rights including education and employment.

88 year old Mofat Ngwabi, sits comfortably in his chair in his home in Kinoo in the ouskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Mofat is one of the few still alive who remembers when the Shona people of Zimbabwe arrived in Kenya in the 1960s.

He was part of a group of around 100 missionaries, who came to establish the Gospel of God Church. When they arrived they were met and welcomed by the first post-independence President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. Mofat looks on proudly at a photo of the encounter with the President that hangs on the wall in the church office.

Despite the meeting, and receiving the blessing of the President to establish a church, the Shona could not be registered because under the first post-independence constitution, there was no provision for people not of Kenyan descent to be registered as citizens.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy.”

It has rendered them stateless today, meaning without Kenyan citizenship or nationality.

As a result, Mofat, his seven children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren who were all born in Kenya, have never had the right to become citizens. Though they speak the national language, Swahili, and local Kikuyu dialect spoken where they live. Though they are deeply ingrained in Kenya culture, from food to music. Though none of them has ever left Kenya to travel abroad, the fact that they are not recognized as Kenyans has left the family feeling a deep sense of despair.

It’s a problem affecting over 4000 Shona people in Kenya who descended from the church.

Mike Moyo, a Carpenter in nearby Kiambu County just outside the capital, is in the same situation as Mofat. All of Mike’s 10 children and 7 grandchildren were born in Kenya but are stateless.

“We are like dead men walking.”

“All my 10 children do not have birth certificates, and the older ones do not have identity cards. It’s awful,” says Mike.

Ramik, Mike’s eldest son says the effects have been dreadful.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy. We don’t have mobile banking and going to the hospital is also a challenge. Birth certificate are needed for class 8 registration for our children who are in primary school so sometimes we are forced to ‘buy’ parents so that our children can continue with education. We cannot even save money.”

And so the vicious cycle of statelessness continues to the next generation in the Moyo family.

Some Shona people have married Kenyans which has helped their children acquire documents such as birth certificates. But the Shona say marrying nationals is not the solution. They say they deserve to be recognized as Kenyans.

The situation has meant that thousands of Shona people can’t be employed formally, and so survive doing informal work.

Many Shona women  weave baskets and do bead work to put food on the table they say. A lack of documents has forced them to sell their products for far less than they are worth through middle men.

Ben Kapota, a stateless father of eight who also lives in Kiambu says;

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card. My community members had to bail me out. We are like dead men walking. If anything happens to us far from home, people will not be able to identify you just because you do not have an identity card.”

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card.”

“If I got an ID card today, the first thing I will do is to get a driver’s license, then get a passport and start doing business.” Says Ben.

Kenya. The stateless Shona community still waiting for citizenshipShona women weave baskets on the floor of their home in the town of Githurai on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. It’s their only source of income. UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign is committed to ending statelessness for an estimated 10 million people worldwide. UNHCR/T.Jones

Despite the situation, many Shona are however hopeful that the Kenyan government will give them citizenship soon.

Shona community leaders and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Kenya, have met with the government to try and find a solution for Shona people.

The Makonde community, originally from Mozambique were recently recognized by the government as Kenyans and given nationality, as the 43rd tribe of Kenya. This act has revived hopes that there will be a speedy solution for the Shona.

Read our statelessness report, “This is our home”: Stateless minorities and their search for citizenship” here. The report was released to mark the third year of the #IBelong campaign to end statelessness.

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