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Legal position on Mwinzi’s nomination hazy

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Mwende Mwinzi, the ambassadorial nominee for South Korea, may be waiting for the spinning coin to land so that she can know whether she will get the job, or be forced to renounce her US citizenship.

In the past, she campaigned for Kenya’s positive image abroad behind the scenes. The philanthropist, famed for her Twana Twitu Children’s Orphanage, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of Kenyan parents.

Though born in the US, she is also a Kenyan citizen as her parents were born here.

Usually, citizenship by birth cannot be revoked, but only renounced through a lengthy procedure.

But the question as to whether she should be ambassador or not may be negated by her past efforts on behalf of Kenya. Shortly after Kenya returned to normalcy after the 2007/2008 post-election violence, government bureaucrats suggested that an image-cleaning mission was needed to assure the US and other Western allies that Kenya had turned over a new leaf.

Multiple accounts by Kenyan diplomats show that part of the programme involved showing the world that Kenya was adopting a new Constitution, widening civil liberties, fronting reconciliation and that it needed tourists, as well as approval for direct flights to turn around its economy.

But it was also facing the issue of the International Criminal Court, where some prominent politicians had been indicted for crimes against humanity.

READ ALSO:   MPs move to quash approval of Mwende posting

The first decision was to hire Washington PR firm Chlopak, Leonard, Schelchter Associates (CLS Strategies) to portray a positive image and demonstrate to the world that there was domestic legal backing to complement the ICC.

A diplomat at the Foreign ministry said Ms Mwinzi introduced the CLS group to government officials and served as the link person between Nairobi and the lobbyists.

Shadow diplomacy

CLS had signed a contract with the government in 2009, which was renewed in 2011 for it to continue lobbying, during the ICC period.

The group, in partnership with Moffet Group, a lobby founded by a former Congressman, and which focused on US-Africa policies, worked their phones to fix appointments with senior politicians in Congress to try and shift that perception.

Whether they were successful or not is debatable, but Nairobi paid about Sh400 million for their services, which included business-class travel, according to documents on the US Department of Justice website as part of legal requirement to declare foreign agents served by local firms. The documents do not list Ms Mwinzi as an associate.

In international relations circles, this type of lobbying, where embassies are bypassed in favour of image firms, is known as shadow diplomacy.

She had good contacts and could link up US officials with Kenyan policy deciders. The problem was that it seemed as if she was doing embassy work, which is to advance Kenya’s interests, said another official who worked at the Kenyan mission in Washington at the time but has since been transferred.

READ ALSO:   Stop being petty, Raila tells Kenyan legislators over Mwende Mwinzi standoff

At one point, the idea of lobbyists seemed to render embassy officials redundant.

Now, with her formal nomination as an envoy, she seems to be meeting legal hurdles that escaped her before.

In 2017, she unsuccessfully ran for the Mwingi West parliamentary seat. As MPs are also State officers, the question of her dual nationality would have arisen, had she won. Part of the problem, experts say, is that the framing of the law is contradictory.

“The real problem we have is the question of Kenyans holding dual nationality. On one hand, we love their contribution through remittances while on the other, we don’t want them to hold public or State offices,” said Mr George Mucee, an immigration consultant and practice leader at Fragomen Kenya in Nairobi.

“Think about the fact that they have a right to vote, yet they cant vie for elective (or appointive) positions. We need to have a robust discussion on this issue and probably amend the Constitution, “he told the Nation.

During her vetting, Ms Mwinzi, 48, argued that dual nationality does not affect ambassadors, even though they may be considered State officers. She also defended her loyalty to Kenya.

“From my adulthood, everything about my life has been Kenya-bound, she said. “Every envoy is first a national, a defender, so your first mandate and only mandate is to serve the country.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Diaspora returnee who holds dual Citizenship (US & Kenya) grilled by Parliament after Uhuru nominates her as ambassador

Source:Daily Nation.

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Lifestyle

Shock as mother plunges children, herself into river

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Luyekhe village on the border of Kakamega and Bungoma counties is still in shock after an expectant mother threw her three children in to a river and then jumped in.

Winny Kulangwa, 24, threw the children into River Nzoia at Mikua area about 9pm on Sunday. Luckily, one of the children survived to tell the story.

By last evening, search for bodies of Ms Kulangwa and her two children aged one and four, was still going on.

Villagers joined divers deployed by Kakamega County to look for the bodies in the swollen river. The woman is said to have to have taken the children to the nearby Nzoia Bridge and threw them into the water, one after the other, starting with the eldest, a seven-year-old girl, who survived.

The woman lived with her elder sister Alice Matende at their parents’ home. The girl who survived is a pupil at Mbaya Primary  in Kakamega. Locals described her survival as a miracle. Kulangwa’s relatives said she returned to Luyekhe a week ago from her matrimonial home in Mautuma, Kakamega and showed no signs she was disturbed.

The girl said her mother asked them to accompany her to the shop.

However, when they got to a certain shop, she insisted that they proceed to a different one.

READ ALSO:   MPs move to quash approval of Mwende posting

“It was dark and when we reached the bridge, my mother asked us to close our eyes for a surprise. She then grabbed me and threw me into the river. I was swept away by the water. I clutched onto some roots on the edge of the river,” the traumatised girl said.

She continued: “I struggled and got myself out of the river. I walked back to the bridge and I found no one. I broke down. Moments later, a man picked me up and took me to his house.”

Mr Joseph Chom, a resident of Mautuma who found the girl, said he had seen light from a spotlight coming from the bridge before he heard a child cry.

“She later explained to me what had happened,” he said. “I called my village elder and area chief before reporting the matter to the police.”

Residents said Kulangwa’s spotlight and a handbag were found at the bridge. Matende said she left Kulangwa and her children in the house but did not find them when she returned.

At first, I thought she had gone to a neighbour’s house only to learn later that her children were also missing.

“I had left her with my daughter. When I returned, I asked my daughter where she had gone, and she said she left with her children. We were later informed that she had drowned her children and herself,” she said.

READ ALSO:   Renounce US citizenship or kiss Ambassadorial job goodbye, Mwende Mwinzi told

Kulangwa’s grandfather Moina Omutoko,73, said she never complained about anything. Mr Martin Anyonge, a local Kenya Red Cross officer, said it has been a challenge retrieving the bodies because the river is swollen.

By STandard.co.ke

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Lifestyle

I rose after my many falls

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Betty Muthoni had her life well planned out; get educated to the highest level, have a job, get married and have children. Just like in fairy tales. But life is not a fairly tail— a few months after she joined college, she got pregnant.

“My mother was disappointed, but was still warm and loving. I gave birth in 2001 to my now 19-year-old daughter. After delivering, my mother and brother supported my return to college. It was a hard one, but we made it through,” shares the last born of six.

In 2003 she got her first job through the help of Visions Institute of Professionals’ career programme, which went a long way in providing for her little daughter. Soon after, she was to meet her “Mr Right” in 2006.

“Towards the end of 2007, we agreed to try marriage and see what would become of our lives. That was the beginning of a painful journey. God did bless us with two children in 2008 and 2009. But there was a lot of drama and betrayals. I cannot even comprehend how I stayed in that relationship. I was cheated on, hardly taken care of, physically abused and completely mentally tormented. He was hardly home. His whereabouts was shared to me scantly as and when he wanted,” says the mother of three about her marriage.

Betty says her second and third children came when there was not much hope to hold on to. In fact, she went into depression when she learned of her third pregnancy.

READ ALSO:   Renounce US citizenship or kiss Ambassadorial job goodbye, Mwende Mwinzi told

Walking out

“When I was about to deliver my third child, we had an ugly disagreement and a bad fight that I walked out. My brothers rescued me and took me to my mother’s house in the village. With two children and another on the way, my life was shattered. There was a lot of darkness glaring at my future. But the fighting spirit in me didn’t give up; I got out of the shell of darkness and made my way back to the city a few months after delivery. I was jobless for a long time and with an unsupportive partner, it was hard to imagine how the future would look like for me and my little ones. I walked out of the relationship, but with hopes of regaining our future for the sake of our kids and love. They say love is blind; well I did witness the blindness here. I now say, it could be blind, but it needs to have brains at least,” she intimates.

Were it not for a well-wisher who provided her with a two-roomed house, Betty and her children would have been homeless. She became Mama Fua to make ends meet.

“The job was not sustainable. I borrowed money from everyone who I knew until they got tired. One day I was at home after trying everything when an alumni from my former primary school called me. He knew my plight. During his errands hawking clothes, he had met a woman who was making customised calligraphy cards. They needed someone who could write. He recalled how my mother, a teacher, was strict in handwriting during his old primary school days and he imagined that I would never have missed a mark in that too. And he was right. A call and a meeting and an opportunity was born for me. I made Sh1,000 and this was to be my source of income for some time. I moved to hawking these cards and even making them,” shares Betty.

Betty with her children Dean Mwasere, BrownAngel Nyawira and Naldine Sere.

Turning point

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Diaspora returnee who holds dual Citizenship (US & Kenya) grilled by Parliament after Uhuru nominates her as ambassador

In 2014, she got a part-time sales job at Boderless Company, a tracking company. It required her to travel to the western region every week while travelling back to be with her children during weekends. It was not easy, but on the third month she was making quite enough. On the fifth month, she was promoted to sales and customer care manager. Six months later she was appointed business development manager, given a company car and a lot of other privileges.

In October 2016, she was appointed general manager, Track and Trace Limited, a vehicle tracking, fleet management, fuel monitoring company. The challenge was that she was to start a division from scratch. The only thing she was given was a license. “I took up the challenge prayerfully. I was the only employee to start this off, but I had been given two co-workers who were supposed to support me as and when I needed them. In 2017, we set a plan, did ground breaking and hired a number of employees. I closed the year with about 15 colleagues,” narrates Betty.

Fast forward in January this year, she was appointed Managing Director of the company. Under her are more than 50 coworkers. “My job entails overall revenue generation management, staff motivation, management of annual goals, laying our strategy for growth and expansion of the business, overall policies and procedures implementations and stakeholders’ management. This requires a lot attention to details, discipline, consistency, accountability and good knowledge of my employees to allow them work freely to their full capacity for us to achieve our full productivity,” she says.

READ ALSO:   Stop being petty, Raila tells Kenyan legislators over Mwende Mwinzi standoff

AT A GLANCE

• Betty Muthoni pursued Certified Public Accountants (CPA) at Visions Institute of Professionals.

• She walked out of her marriage with three children after being neglected, and physically and mentally abused.

• Her never-say- die attitude and faith in God saw her through difficult moments.

• Having been brought up by a single mum after her father passed on while she was still a child, also went a long way in strengthening her resolve into adulthood.

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Business

I quit computers for my passion in beauty industry

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Beauty and matters skincare are mainly associated with women with most men shying away from the fast-growing sector.

Mwangi Kamau has, however, gone against the grain and made a name in the female-dominated field.

Mr Kamau, who is the proprietor of Blush On Skincare Limited, a Nairobi-based company dealing with cosmetics, has been in the field for 10 years offering solutions to skin problems.

“I always wanted to be in the medical field dealing with human beings or animals, but along the way I found myself doing computer science. But I realised I did not have passion for computers. I really wanted to help for better health and wellbeing,” says the 37-year old cosmetologist and a skincare consultant.

In 2006, he joined a cosmetology college where he graduated with a diploma, enabling him to secure a job as a beauty consultant for eight years. This made him develop more interest. In 2015, he went to Italy to do a two-year course, specialising in skincare.

“After doing computer science I realised that I still wanted to be a health practitioner.”

Having sharpened his skills and knowledge in Italy, he returned home with a dream of stating a business.

“I started the business in 2017 August after getting disappointed by my employer and also realising that I would actually achieve my dream better if I had freedom to work round the clock and engage with clients who have issues in different parts of the world,” he says.

READ ALSO:   Stop being petty, Raila tells Kenyan legislators over Mwende Mwinzi standoff

Starting out, he tells Enterprise, was a big challenge as he didn’t have enough capital to run an office. This made him to start off online which was very tough. However, this was by no means easy.

“Online marketing also demanded money to be effective.”

His work as a skincare expert entails consultation, training and products. He also offers consultation to pharmacies and beauty clinics as well as training in makeup and basic skin knowledge.

“I also have a cosmetics line that I recommend to my clients,” adds Mr Kamau.

The entrepreneur says cosmetology is a well-paying career but depends on how one ventures into it; as a side job or full time occupation.

He makes between Sh80,000 and Sh120,000 monthly and has two permanent employees and four on temporary terms.

“For me, it’s the main deal and I get good amount that caters for my needs and also to save and invest for my family,” he notes.

Some of the charges for his services include skincare consultation at Sh1,000, facial treatments at Sh3,500, face makeovers from Sh3,000, depending on the event, personal make-up classes at Sh5,000 and professional types go for Sh5,000 per session.

He said his plan is to come up with better platforms to enlighten people on the best skincare to get when they are purchasing products and what ingredients to watch out for by also coming up with his line. This should be based on the safest but effective ingredients.

READ ALSO:   Renounce US citizenship or kiss Ambassadorial job goodbye, Mwende Mwinzi told

“My advice to anyone with this kind of passion but lacks confidence is to always have integrity and honesty. Then the rest will play in line and follow suit.”

Mr Kamau also trains young people, mainly in makeup.

“It’s always good to work with the community; so, I have empowered a few young people by training them mainly in make up as we work together and in return they get a retainer,” he told Enterprise.

By Business Daily

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