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The evening before our wedding, my husband was arrested – Beth Mugo

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Senator Beth Mugo and her ex-diplomat husband Nicholas have been married for 61 years. The years started out with two love-struck youngsters who hardly dated, hoping for a happily ever after.

She was 19; vivacious and totally besotted with a 22-year-old lad. And when he asked for her hand in marriage, she didn’t have to think twice about it.

“He just told me that he loved me and that I was the only girl that he had ever loved. That was enough for me. He is also a gentleman. He was gentle then and he has been gentle till today,” she says coyly, a naughty glint in her eyes.

Beth Mugo is as beautiful now as she was then, and Nicholas Mugo holds on to her hand as they greet their guests. He smiles at her, a man totally at ease with staying back and watching his woman in her element as a social butterfly. Beth is animated and cheery, never letting his hand go, even as her eyes roam the expanse. She carries herself with an elegant poise that is set off in a warm manner as she embraces her guests.

We are at Villa Lalibela. The venue is ablaze with warm lights, tables draped in white, chefs and waiters walking up and down to cater to the guests milling about. We are here to celebrate the couple‘s 61-year union.

The who-is-who of Kenyan high society are in attendance. Her cousin, President Uhuru Kenyatta, is expected later on, but already milling about and mingling with other guests are the Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Justice Njoki Ndung’u and former MP for Othaya, Mary Wambui.

Guests are seated in a tent adjacent to the main one where the feasting will take place, waiting for the celebratory service to begin. The couple looks regal as they finally walk down the red carpet. The guests rise to welcome them as they beam with smiles. They are in matching outfits of black and gold. Beth Mugo is 81 but hardly looks a day over 60. She is in a black skirt suit embroidered with gold patterns, while her husband Nicholas, 83, dons a tuxedo with a gold band across the waist. He uses a crutch to walk, which I later learn is as a result of a slipped disc he suffered last year; the reason they are having a big do at 61-year mark instead of the 60th.

The couple has four children and five grandchildren.

A union that long has definitely had its share of highs and lows too. Their vows especially the “In sickness and in health” has been truly tested.

In November 2011, Beth was diagnosed with breast cancer after undergoing a mammogram. Luckily, the tumour had been discovered early and after undergoing treatment, today she is cancer-free.

Her experience turned her into a cancer warrior, and it was part and parcel of the celebration of her 61st anniversary. Instead of bringing gifts, guests were asked through the invitation card to donate to the Beth Mugo Cancer Foundation. “We use the foundation to do free screening for breast, cervical and prostate cancer. We have screened more than 12,000 people. Out of that, many lives have been saved. We have helped people to know their status early, to seek treatment early and God has healed them. We also create awareness. So this celebration also includes cancer awareness,” she says.

Beth and Nicholas are a contrast of personalities. She is outspoken and a career politician who has always been at ease with the limelight. He, on the other hand, is a soft-spoken and unassuming man who has largely avoided the media for most of his life. Even after such a long time together, they still sneak glances at each other despite being pulled into different conversations.

They didn‘t really date. At least not in the conventional sense.

“Those days we did not do much dating. Our parents were very strict. We were not allowed to go out with boys to stay out there. My father was very strict. He would say he doesn’t want the neighbours to say, ‘I saw Muigai’s daughter standing by road somewhere.’ He always encouraged us to bring them home. He always told us, ‘If a young man is interested in you or you like him, invite him home.’ My father always welcomed them home. All my sisters will tell you the same.“

So any courtship that was to be had in the Muigai household was done in the family home. Essentially, their few ‘dates’ were chaperoned.

“Maybe that is the reason we married young,” she says, laughing.

Unfortunately, their wedding wasn‘t quite as hitchless.

“It was during the State of Emergency time. The evening before our wedding, Nicholas was arrested at Gathage Township. He told the European arresting him that he had a wedding the next day. He mentioned my father, Muigai, who was the District Officer of Gatundu then. And that is how he was released,” she says.

But even after the wedding, the young couple had to fight some odds.

“After the wedding, Nicholas had to go to Nairobi for work and I was left in the village with my mother-in-law. I had no passbook. Everyone, especially the Kikuyus, had to have a passbook to stay in Nairobi. So we had to wait until I could get a passbook,” she says.

But the next time Nicholas came home, she insisted she had to go back with him to Nairobi. She wasn‘t taking no for an answer, damned the strict rules governing the city.

“That first night in the city, we were almost arrested. They came knocking at our door. My husband told the man arresting us that we were newly-weds and even though I had no passbook, I had refused to stay in the village. The man relented and instructed him to take me to the offices the next morning and I get a passbook which we did.“

Under the circumstances, a honeymoon was out of the question because the young couple did not have the money, and thanks to the emergency, there was nowhere to go.

Thankfully, a reprieve came in the form of an opportunity for the couple to go to the US for further studies. And here they are now, ageing together and still happy walking hand in hand through life.

Their eldest granddaughter, Wangu Nyachae flits by. She sports long faux locs and her big almond-shaped eyes are trained on her grandparents. She is obviously in awe of them. She instinctively notes my interest and mentions that she is thoroughly impressed that they have been together twice as long as she has lived.

“I think it is amazing. I have always admired their marriage. They are very close. They have definitely set an example for us when it comes to the types of relationships we want to have. They are very supportive and have been consistent that God comes first in everything,” she says.

So what does she think is the best thing about their union? I prod.

“They pray together. They dance together and take long walks together. They spend lots of quality time together. They may not be together 24/7 but they know how to spend quality time together.“

She points out that her granny is still quite the fox.

“I am hoping it’s genetic!” she says, laughing. “They have always taken care of their health and been very conscious of the things that they eat and have always been young at heart, and I think that has made them stay young-looking.”

What she would tell the young in love…

God takes centre-stage in their lives and she credits him for everything.

“In our 61 years of marriage, we have seen God. He has been our guide. What I have learned is that things change over time and you have to keep on changing with the times. You can’t remain where you were when you began. You have to accept the changes. But by and large, our marriage has been a happy one, full of respect for each other, communicating, because what we found is that no matter how big a problem is, if you discuss it, you can sort just about everything that comes your way,” she says.

She describes her husband as very caring, understanding and accepting of whatever career she chose. It probably helped that she has always considered being a wife and a mother as her first duty, and she says that her political and public life has never stopped her from fulfilling it.

“He himself also served as an ambassador and we have supported each other throughout. So there has never been a time where there was a question on whether I should do this; whether I should go into politics or I should give up. He always encouraged me and said, ‘If that is where your calling is, then go and I will support you,” she says.

Respect; what every parent should teach their child

Having nine descendants, she has some wise words on parenting too.

“Bringing up children is just like anything else in life. You will run into difficulty, so you have to keep on trying to educate them and yourself too. Not education as we know it, but social education on how to interact with other people. How to respect other people and especially the older generation. “We have always told our children, ‘Your parents are not just us, your biological parents. You should treat all older people with the respect you accord us.’

And she believes that respectful people make for a great country.

“I think that is what makes a good nation; respect for the older people by the younger ones.”

SDE

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Moi back in hospital

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Former president Daniel Moi was re-admitted at the Nairobi Hospital barely two days after he was discharged.

Family spokesperson Lee Njiru says the former head of state has been undergoing routine checkup since Saturday, November 9.

Mr Njiru said that Mzee Moi is admitted at the VIP wing, a homely setup, to facilitate continual checkups and necessary treatment.

“I appeal to the press fraternity not to cause unwarranted alarm by exploiting the credulity of the masses,” he said, adding that medical bulletins will be issued as and if necessary.

Mr Njiru sought to assure Kenyans that Mzee Moi’s health was stable, adding that the former president was “alert and being attended to by a professional medical team led by his personal physician Dr David Silverstein,”

Mr Moi who celebrated his 95th birthday last month had on Thursday last week left hospital where he had been admitted for close to two weeks, following chest complications.

by nation.co.ke

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Inside terror machine that stunned Ruto men in Kibra

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The Orange Democratic Movement is on the spot over its links to a team that terrorised individuals suspected of voter bribery in the Kibra by-election last week.

The rowdy group of youth unleashed fear by harassing, intimidating and beating up political opponents suspected of bribing voters at polling stations.Some MPs were also attacked by the group. Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale were some of the victims of the group that claimed to be protecting ODM votes from manipulation.

Dagoretti South MP Simba Arati was captured in a video recorded at one of the polling stations asking a terrified Mr Barasa if he wanted to “run again”. Barasa had been attacked and chased from Mashimoni Polling Centre alongside his Kapsaret counterpart Oscar Sudi.

Barasa is heard in the clip pleading with Mr Arati, and telling him that “we are colleagues; we are friends” before the youth descended on him.

Further beatings

Arati has, however, denied unleashing the group on his colleague, saying he is the one who protected the Kimilili MP from further beatings.

At Old Kibera Primary School, an unidentified man was descended on by the group after he declined to identify himself on the day of the by-election last Thursday.The rowdy youth claimed that they had spotted him at three other polling centres, and demanded he identifies himself. The swelling group of young people soon landed on him with kicks and blows.

The beating went on for close to three minutes before the police at the centre rescued him and drove him away.At Ayany Primary School, a Jubilee agent lost his phone after he was beaten up by the youth before officers at the polling station intervened.And at DC grounds, another group spotted two men and claimed they had been sent to bribe voters.

The two were roughed up before they ran into a polling station for police protection.At the same centre, Jubilee Party candidate McDonald Mariga was chased away by the same group when he visited to monitor the exercise. One of the youths shouted at Mr Mariga to “now leave”, before the others joined in.The police were forced to shoot in the air as the group charged towards the ex-footballer, who dashed into his car and fled the scene.

The Jubilee candidate was also confronted at Ayany Primary School in the evening by rowdy youths who stoned his car. The police had to shoot in the air, again, to save Mariga.In yet another polling station, the gang engaged Dr Khalwale in a stone-throwing battle. At one point, he found himself cornered and the visibly-shaken Khalwale was forced to drop the stones he was carrying. The police later ordered him to leave the area to avoid provoking the youths further.

Over the weekend, Deputy President William Ruto demanded that ODM leader Raila Odinga apologise for the chaos created by the group, which he described as a militia.“As Kenyans, we demand that Tinga, his party unconditionally, unequivocally and publicly renounce the culture of violence, chaos, terror and gangsterism that is their signature modus operandi as witnessed in Kibra, and unreservedly apologise to victims past and present for the hurt and loss,” said the DP.

Court charges

But ODM has dismissed claims it deployed militia to intimidate those who had turned up to cast their votes in the by-election, and said it did not owe anybody an apology.ODM Chairman John Mbadi said it was ironic that Ruto was demanding an apology when he has not condemned the chaos in Ganda Ward, Kilifi County, where one person was shot dead on the eve of the by-election.Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, a close Ruto ally, was linked to the chaos and is facing court charges.

Mr Mbadi maintained there was no violence, and that ODM supporters were only protecting the party’s candidate Imran Okoth, who won the by-election.The ODM chair, who was speaking at a funds drive in Busia County yesterday, said the party would use its die-hard supporters in the future to protect votes in elections or referendum.“After losing the seat, they said their percentage had gone up, but that did not sell. They then shifted to the imaginary narrative that there was violence in the Kibra mini-polls,” said Mbadi.

“Only those who were caught on camera were violent. Us we carried brains to Kibra and remained peaceful to the end.”MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Christine Ombaka (Siaya), Walter Owino (Awendo) and Florence Mutua (Busia) echoed his sentiments. Mr Amollo said Kibra residents exercised citizens’ arrests by confronting and arresting those who engaged in voter bribery.And in another statement signed by ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed, the party accused the Deputy President of being behind the chaos in Ganda and Kibra.

“In both elections, Deputy President William Ruto, who is leading a splinter group in Jubilee, built a trap against himself, vowing to use the polls to teach a lesson to ODM and its leader, Raila Odinga,” said Mr Mohammed.He added that Khalwale was photographed armed with stones and trying to cause mayhem.

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Shame of FKF’s ‘joyriders’ to Afcon and Sh240m scandal

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Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa ferried dozens of his staff, including his personal assistant, to watch the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, gobbling up millions of shillings of taxpayers’ money in travel and allowances, the Nation has established.

The continental football tournament was staged in Egypt between June 21 and July 19 and Mwendwa — by virtue of his position — was the man tasked with preparing the men’s national football team Harambee Stars to compete in this tourney.

The government paid FKF Sh244 million to prepare Stars following the nation’s excitement after the team qualified to play in the tournament for the first time in 15 years.

But there is no way the federation employees would be left out of the travelling party, it has emerged.

Documents in our possession show Mwendwa received the highest allowances — he pocketed Sh50,000 daily, an amount that is more than what senior government officials receive while on duty.

His deputy, Doris Petra, was paid Sh45,000 daily, while each of the eight National Executive Committee (NEC) members who travelled was rewarded with Sh40,000 for every night spent in Cairo.

FKF’s then chief executive Robert Muthomi, who has since been sacked, was paid Sh35,000 each day, with the lowest-paid federation member, named “support staff” on the accountability checklist, pocketing Sh10,000 every day.

Harambee Stars camped in Cairo for 13 days and featured three group stage matches against Algeria, Tanzania and Senegal.

This implies FKF might have spent upwards of Sh5 million to pay its staff, most of whom had no role to play in Egypt.

Other officials who made the four-and-a-half-hour trip from Nairobi to Cairo are NEC members Chris Amimo, Joseph Andere, Muriithi Nabea and Tony Kweya.

Others are powerful Nairobi branch member Michael Ouma, Mwendwa’s personal assistant (PA) Sylvia Mumbua, Muthomi’s PA Juliet Nyambura, Frank Ogolla, the federation’s head of competitions, and finance director Christine Ojode and Kimani Njoroge, whose roles we could not immediately establish.

The Nation is yet to verify whether Mwendwa consulted the government on this pay check or if these rates are in tandem with those earned by government officials as per the rates set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

“It is a policy of the federation that it caters for accommodation for the branch officials who can pay their air tickets to attend a major tournament. The NEC is the highest decision-making organ of the federation so they had to attend especially given Kenya was making a return to the tournament after a 15-year absence,” explained Barry Otieno, who has since replaced Muthomi as CEO.

Besides these allowances, a statement of accountability prepared by FKF erroneously states that this championship was held in Cameroon.

The tournament was played in six cities across Egypt.

Another inconsistency in FKF’s accountability is its claim that Sh18 million was channelled towards preparing the U23 men’s national team for an Olympic qualifier.

This amount had earlier been allocated towards preparing Stars to compete in a friendly match against Togo. But that match never took place.

“We were supposed to play Togo as part of our preparations, but they cancelled at the last minute and we couldn’t find an alternative. We ended up using the money to prepare and cater for the junior national team’s travel and accommodation expenses as they faced Sudan at home and away in the Olympics qualifiers,” added Otieno.

It is not clear whether the government gave Mwendwa the nod to divert funds meant for preparing Harambee Stars for the Nations Cup towards preparing another football team competing in a separate tournament.

The two-leg U23 game versus Sudan was played on March 20 and 26, a month before the government had approved the Sh244 million budget request that had been tabled by FKF, which implies that the federation might have placed it in this accountability note as an afterthought.

Meanwhile, FKF paid OneGoal Pro agency Sh104 million to prepare the Harambee Stars camp in France. OneGoalPro is owned by one Joe Kamga, who doubles up as then Stars coach Sebastien Migne’s agent.

This raises the question whether it was appropriate for FKF to use Migne’s agent to help the team prepare for this tournament. Secondly, how did FKF, Migne and Kamga specifically settle for France as the camp site? FKF also says in its report that Stars played three friendly matches that gobbled up a whopping Sh63 million.

This is not entirely factual as the team only played against DR Congo and Madagascar. Why was the third match not played but still accounted for?

“We had budgeted for three friendly matches, but only played two. We indicated that there were three friendly matches played so that our documents would match with the ones we had tabled during the budget-requesting process. Flying the team to play DRC in Spain and back to France significantly raised the costs, so the money we had budgeted for three friendlies was used on those two matches,” said Otieno.

As part of their preparations, Stars entered a three-week residential training camp at the French Rugby Federation grounds in Marcoussis on May 31.

During that time, the team would play Madagascar on June 7 at the Stade Robert Robin Paris, 14 kilometres away from the Marcousis centre where captain Victor Wanyama and company were based.

Notably, Madagascar was also camping in France at Montdidier, just a two-and-a-half hour drive to the match venue.

The second friendly against DR Congo was played on June 15 in Madrid, where the team spent two nights, having flown out on June 14 and returned to its France base on June 16.

A separate entry under the title Training Camp in France has a Sh42.5 million amount attached to it. Assuming that this amount was inclusive of travel and accommodation in Paris, could it be that the national team spent Sh63 million in the three days they spent in Madrid? Whatever the case, the documents in our possession indicate that for the 18 days the national team was in residential training in France, they spent a whopping Sh106 million.

This was spent on “travel and accommodation in France” (Sh51.3m), “Training Camp in France” (Sh42.5m), technical bench allowances (Sh3m), and purchase of kits (Sh8.7m).

Who organised the two matches, was there external funding accorded to FKF for either or both of them? Who booked and paid for the air tickets to Madrid and back to France? Who paid for the match venues for the two friendlies? How much was spent on the Madagascar match, since the Barea of Madagascar were already camping in France and the match was played a stone’s throw away from Stars’ Marcousis base? How much was spent to fly Harambee Stars to Madrid and back?

Asked whether there was any appearance fee payable to Madagascar and DR or any extra costs that would justify the use of Sh63 million on two matches, Otieno introduced a new character.
In one of the documents seen by the Nation, the FKF procurement committee, chaired by Otieno, awarded Kamga the job/tender on November 9, 2018, citing that he was “relatively fair and competitive”.

During the interview, Otieno admitted that Kamga, a Cameroonian national, was selected at the recommendation of coach Migne in October last year, and that he was selected through single sourcing, which is a gross violation of government policy and procedure.

Curiously, none of the documents tabled in Parliament and at the Ministry of Sports bear any indication that the federation received upwards of Sh77 million from the Confederation of African Football and online betting firm Betin for use during Afcon.

Nation Sport has reliably established that while FKF president Mwendwa was putting pressure on the government to release the Sh244 million early this year, he was already assured of Sh26 million from the tournament organisers Caf, and a further Sh20 million as sponsorship from betting firm Betin.

“The partnership with Betin will see the Stars funded to a tune of Sh20 million for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, with Sh5 million set to go into the purchase of the National Team’s kits and fans’ replica jerseys,” reads a statement dated March 12, 2019 on the official FKF website.

But on the documents in our possession, FKF indicates that it spent Sh8.7 million of taxpayers’ money on the “purchase of kits”.

Otieno clarified this contradiction: “We did not spend any money given to us by Betin on Afcon. We channelled the entire amount to administrative costs.”

And regarding the Sh57.5 million that the federation is entitled to for finishing third in their group, Otieno said: “We are still waiting for that money. Caf is yet to send us the money.”

The documents indicate that by the time the national team was setting foot in Cairo on June 19 in readiness for their opening match against Algeria, FKF had spent Sh211,867,928. Of the entire budget, only Sh33,930,770 remained for use at the month-long competition.

This amount is entered as the last item in the final document under the subheading AFCON TOURNAMENT (CAMEROON), though the tournament was played in Egypt.

Nation Sport has established that FKF spent Sh5,210,400 on air tickets to ferry the team from France to Cairo, and that Caf footed all local travel and accommodation bills for all teams for the duration of their stay in Cairo.

So, what expenses did the federation use the remaining Sh28 million on for the 14 days? Was this money used to host delegates and the federation’s secretariat in Egypt?

by Nation Sport

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