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Beauty queen speaks out on ‘rape ordeal’ by ex-President

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A 23-year-old former beauty queen in The Gambia, Toufah Jallow, has said she was raped in 2015 by ex-President Yahya Jammeh when he was in office.

Her testimony is part of a Human Rights Watch and Trial International report that details another alleged rape and sexual assault by Mr Jammeh.

The BBC tried to contact Mr Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea, about the allegations.

A spokesman for his APRC party denied the accusations made against Mr Jammeh.

“We as a party and The Gambian people are tired of the steady stream of unfounded allegations that have been reported against our ex-President,” said Ousman Rambo Jatta, in a written statement to the BBC.

“The ex-president has no time to react to lies and smear campaigns. He is a very respectable God fearing and pious leader who has nothing but respect for our Gambian women,” the deputy APRC leader said.

Ms Jallow told the BBC she wanted to meet Mr Jammeh, 54, in court so he could face justice.

“I’ve really tried to hide the story and erase it and make sure it’s not part of me.

“Realistically I couldn’t so I decided to speak now because it is time to tell the story and to make sure that Yayha Jammeh hears what he has done.”

She said she also wanted to testify before The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which has been set up by President Adama Barrow, who won elections in December 2016.

The TTRC is investigating human rights violations alleged to have been committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule, including reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.

He was forced from office in January 2017 after regional powers sent in troops when he refused to give up power.

‘MARRIAGE REFUSAL’

Ms Jallow said she was 18 when she met Mr Jammeh after winning a beauty pageant in 2014 in the capital, Banjul.

In the months following her coronation, she said the former president acted as a father figure when they met, offering her advice, gifts and money, and also organising for running water to be installed in her family home.

Then at a dinner organised by an aide to thePpresident, she says he asked her to marry him. She refused and rebuffed other enticements from the aide to agree to the offer.

Ms Jallow said the aide then insisted she attend a religious ceremony at State House in her role as beauty queen in June 2015. But when she arrived, she was taken to the President’s private residence.

“It was clear what this was going to be,” she said, describing Mr Jammeh’s anger at her for rejecting him.

Ms Jallow says he slapped her and injected her in her arm with a needle.

“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me.”

‘PROTOCOL GIRLS’

The young woman says afterwards she locked herself at home for three days and then decided to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Once in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Ms Jallow sought the assistance of various human rights organisations. Weeks later, she was approved protection status and moved to Canada, where she has been living since.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International say Mr Jammeh had a system in place to abuse women, where some were put on the state payroll and worked at State House as so-called “protocol girls”, who had some clerical duties but were mainly on call to have sex with the President.

The BBC could not verify the allegation, but a former Gambian official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said he was aware of “inappropriate things” happening at the presidency: “Protocol staff were mostly women and they were hired to satisfy the President’s fantasies.”

He remembered seeing Ms Jallow at State House, sometimes at “odd hours”.

Another woman, hired as a protocol officer at the age of 23, told HRW she was forced to have sex with Mr Jammeh in 2015.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that one day the president called her into his room: “He started undressing me and saying that he was in love with me, that he will do anything for me and my family, that I should not tell anyone because if I do I will face the consequences.

“I felt I had no choice. That day he slept with me without protection.”

‘HONOUR’

Another woman who worked as a protocol officer said that they knew if one of them was called it was for sex.

“Some wanted it. They felt honoured or wanted the money,” she told HRW on condition of anonymity.

She described how she was sexually assaulted by the President at his summer house, Kanilai, in 2013 when she was 22: “One evening, a presidential aide called me and told me to come with her to the president’s private apartment. He asked me to undress.

“He told me that I was young and needed protection so he wanted to apply spiritual water on me.”

In an encounter the next day, she started crying as Mr Jammeh began to touch her body. He became angry and sent her away.

She says she was later sacked and a promised scholarship cancelled.

TRRC’S FOCUS

The TRRC’s mission is to establish a record of abuses committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule when it is alleged there were arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and torture against critics

Its 11 independent commissioners can grant reparations to victims.

Backed by the UN and funded by international donors, it began hearing testimonies in November 2018. Its motto is “Never again”.

TRRC’s Executive Secretary Baba Jallow has told the BBC that the commission, launched eight months ago, will focus on sexual violence in September.

“We are aware of allegations involving Jammeh but we have not heard victims on the record yet. Investigations have already started but at this stage we can’t say who is involved and how many victims there are,” he said.

Ms Jallow wants to create an atmosphere where women will feel safer to talk about rape and sexual assault: “It’s a step-by-step thing and the first part is to acknowledge it happened.

“When many other women speak up and it becomes safer and safer,” she told the BBC.

President Barrow has said he will await the report of the TRRC before considering whether to pursue Mr Jammeh’s extradition from Equatorial Guinea.

Source:nairobinews

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Africa

Invitation to the African Girls Hope Foundation Annual Gala happening this Saturday in Atlanta

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BY BEN KAROMO

African Girls Hope Foundation (AGHF) annual Gala is happening this Saturday at the Kenyan American Community Church in Marietta, Georgia, USA. AGHF  is a non-profit founded by Grace Faraja, a former refugee from the 1990s civil war that ravaged the DRC. She started the foundation to help educate girls in rural Congo caught in the ongoing civil unrest, poverty and disease.

As a former beneficiary of a full scholarship that changed her life, Grace believes providing an education to orphaned and less privileged girls can open a world of opportunities to them and help then end the cycle of poverty and early marriages.

This year, AGHF’s aim is to provide full-year scholarships to 120 girls at a cost of $29 per month per girl. We are seeking your help to raise funds to meet the overall goal of $34,000 for the year 2019-2020.

We ask you to help us meet this goal by donating on our website at https://africangirlshopefoundation.com/.

We prayerfully desire to support the education of 120 girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. With hope that God will open doors to other African countries in the near future. We have partnered with a local pastor running a school in the village of Mulenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our partner has identified numerous girls in the village who are orphans of father and mother. Girls selected as AGHF beneficiaries are 65% of orphans of both parents.

Atlanta residents, please join us for our Annual Fundraising Gala dinner, to be held on November 9th at the Kenyan American Community Church KICC in Marietta, Georgia. Dinner and parking will be provided.

Below are some of the girls who need our help:

 

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Africa

Kenya’s Filthy Rich and Politically Connected running Govt Agencies

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Kenya has become the butt of jokes (no pun intended!) as the country wastes away due to corruption overseen by those in the highest office in the land.

Despite the billions being wasted daily repaying loans that have benefited a few individuals, Kenyans, on the other hand, are languishing as those entrusted with making their lives better continue looting. The country has become a gangsters’ paradise.

Wambui Kibaki and Her Millions

The first agency that was established by an act of parliament to empower youth is the National Employment Authority which has become a fresh wound for job seekers who never seem to meet the criteria for securing a government job.

On Tuesday, Kenyans were up in arms after it became public that President Uhuru Kenyatta had appointed President Kibaki’s wife, Mary Wambui, as the Authority’s Chairperson.

For a term of three years, Wambui is expected to ensure that jobless Kenyans get opportunities and jobs that can alleviate their suffering.

Ironically, Wambui, a conservative and controversial millionaire does not need the job in the sense that she already has more than enough. But why would she take such a position? That is for the appointee and the appointing authority to explain to Kenyans.

 

 

Most other authorities are led by people whose only merit is being politically connected.

These include the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) whose leadership comprises of Eng Joseph Nakodony Nkadayo as the Chairman with Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe as the Director-General. Nkadayo succeeded a political reject, Samuel Poghisio, who left the entity in 2017 after serving for 2 years.

The other is Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) whose disappointing performance could only go to show the incompetence of those appointed.

Interestingly, the former long-serving head of civil service Francis Muthaura is the chairman of the tax collector. He was appointed for the position last year.

The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) non-executive chairman is John Mati Munuve.

An interesting political reject serving on the SASRA board is former North Imenti MP Silas Muriuki Ruteere.

Muriuki is a teacher by profession with specialized training in Special Education.

Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) is chaired by Halima Abdillahi Shaiya who was fired from the Kenya Meat Commission in 2014.

A suspension letter presented in court showed that the KMC board was fired for breaching procurement rules, poor performance and failing to implement directors’ resolutions.

The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) is chaired by a relative to President Uhuru Kenyatta Victor R. Pratt. Pratt is the husband to Christine Wambui Kenyatta, now Kristina Pratt, who is Uhuru’s older sister.

A politician on the board of directors going by the information on the Authority’s website is politician Sammy Koech who is the MP for Konoin.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is chaired by Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Ndungu Waweru. He was appointed in 2016.

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is chaired by Eng Erastus Mwongera whose appointment was challenged in court. In the petition by Peter Tana, Mwongera’s appointment was in gross violation of the rule of law.

Tana said that is not suitable to serve in the capacity since he had already served two terms. The tenure at KeNHA is to end in March 2021.

Mwongera cannot discharge any official duties as KeNHA Chairperson until the hearing and determination of the petition.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is chaired by John Konchellah but the interesting twist is the political connections in the authority’s op management.

Rejects serving at NEMA include Agostinho Neto who was the Ndhiwa MP in a by-election in 2012 and re-elected in 2013.

The immediate former Tana River woman representative Halima Ware Duri also serves as a board member.

In March this year, the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) board appointments caused an uproar since the maximum number of 10 appointees was surpassed by 3 members.

The board is chaired by former MP Jackson Kiptanui.

And the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is chaired by another political appointee Retired Joseph R.E Kibwana.

Kibwana, who was the first Navy officer to occupy the office of the Chief of General Staff, oversaw the transition of power from President Daniel Moi to President Mwai Kibaki after the 2002 election.

The General has a chequered career having been among the first of 10 African officers and servicemen recruited to the Navy in 1964.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is chaired by Isaac Awuondo.

In August, KAA announced the departure of its Managing Director/CEO Jonny Andersen, effective September 30, 2019.

“Jonny has been with the KAA since November 2016 opted not to renew his contract which was due to expire on November 21st 2019,” said a statement from the Authority.

James P.M. Ndegwa is the Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). Coming from among Kenya’s wealthiest families, his seat at the table is reserved.

Interestingly, Muthaura’s son Paul Murithi is the CEO. He was appointed on April 22, 2016 with the call backdated to January 2, 2016.

He is expected to leave CMA at the end of this year after serving for seven-and-a-half years.

Out of the 14 Authorities in Kenya, most of them have politicians who have lost in elections appointed as board members or chairs.

In a country where a majority of the youth are wasting away despite their academic qualifications, consecutive governments have consistently sidelined the youth in favour of the politically connected.

Only President Kibaki gave the youths a considerate treatment when he opened the system for youth self-employment. Kibaki’s time saw the country register the highest number of the motorbike industry jobs.

It is at this time that boda bodas became part and parcel of the Kenyan society.

-businesstoday.co.ke

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Africa

Remains of victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash flown home

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The remains of thirty-two Kenyans who perished in the tragic Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash on March 10, 2019, have been flown to Nairobi today.

An Ethiopian Airline plane carrying the fragments of the deceased landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday morning.

The remains arrived in specialised caskets and a brief function was held after arrival. Only close family members are to be given the caskets bearing the fragments.

The bodies were severely damaged beyond recognition prompting Ethiopian Airlines to consider DNA analysis to identify their remains.The 32 victims are among 157 people who were killed in the plane crash at Bishoftu town, shortly after taking off to Nairobi.

It is after the International Police through its Incident Response Team revealed on September 12, 2019, that it had successfully identified the 157 passengers who boarded the plane.The team declared the exercise a success saying “six months on after the plane crash, every single victim has been successfully identified.”

Family members of the victims of the Ethiopian Plane crash that killed 157 people from different nationalities visited the crash site to give their last respect and prayers to their departed one at Tulu Fera in Ejera. [ Maxwell Agwanda, Standard]

“The INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) deployed following the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane in March has completed its task, assisting with the successful identification of all victims of the deadly disaster,” the Interpol noted on its website.It noted that the identification exercise was prompted by a request from the airlines’ company.

It stated: “At the request of the Ethiopian authorities, two days after the accident INTERPOL sent an IRT to assist with the operation. The team’s role was to coordinate the international police disaster victim identification (DVI) response and coordinating the antemortem data supplied by member countries.

”Interpol further revealed that the process was aided by a team of 100 DVI experts drawn from 14 countries in Africa, Europe and America. The exercise took 50 days.

Fingerprints and DNA samples were extracted from 48 people, Interpol noted.Also in September, the US-based Boeing planes manufacturer had announced that it had set aside USD2 billion as Financial Assistance Fund for assisting families of victims of the plane crash, which involves the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 nosedived just six minutes after leaving Bole International Airport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport killing all on board.In the incident, Kenya was the worst-hit country losing 32 victims in the crash.

By Standard

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