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A father’s anguish over court decision to set son’s killer free

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A father’s fury may know no bounds when the courts cuts loose the neck of his son’s murderer from the gallows.   For former Gatundu MP North Patrick Muiruri, the nightmare has began all over again, but he is not about to forgive and embrace the man who shot his son dead.

“I have talked to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and he has told me to write to him so that he can appeal. I cannot let this man be released after what he did to my son. I am prepared to fight all the way,” the former MP told Sunday Standard.

Muiruri is bitter that Dickson Munene, who had initially been found guilty of murdering his son James Ng’ang’a in 2011 is set to walk to freedom after his death sentence was commuted to life sentence and recently reduced to 20 years.

Sentence reduction “I intend to appeal against the reduction of his sentence. This should not be happening. When somebody is convicted of murder and is sentenced to die, he should not be released,” Muiruri said.Muiruri said he had tried to convince the court that his family was still suffering from the killing.

“I was shocked to learn that the court had disregarded our pain and taken into consideration the convict’s persuasive mitigation of how he was the sole bread winner for his family.

He told the court he was a changed man who had not only furthered his education but also become a good prisoner who was now a role model,” the MP said.On September 25, Justice Kimaru set aside the life imprisonment, substituting it with a 20-year-jail term which is supposed to take effect from October 12, 2011.

Muiruri further argues that the law ought to be changed such that once a court finds an accused person guilty of murder and orders that he suffer death as prescribed by law, the President should not commute the same to life sentence.

“For so long, murderers have escaped the gallows because the current and past presidents have not been giving their consent for the convicts to be hanged.

The last criminals to be hanged were the coup plotters of 1982, “he said.According to the former MP, capital offences are on the rise because murderers and armed robbers were not paying for their sins thanks to lenient laws that make it possible for suspects to get bail. “Capital offences should not be granted bail. Human life should count for something. We cannot have a situation where a criminal is afforded more rights than the victim,” he said.

But even as the former MP was venting his frustrations about recent happenings in the Judiciary, the Supreme Court directed the Attorney General’s office to file a situation report of all the 4,800 death row convicts supposed to be re-sentenced in 30 days.Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave the directions during the mention of an application of re-sentencing filed by Francis Kariuko Muruatetu and Wilson Mwangi Thiribu.

Capital offence

The two had in 2017 won a landmark case when the Supreme Court found that the mandatory death sentence handed to all capital offence convicts was unconstitutional.In their judgement, the Supreme Court judges had directed that Muruatetu and Thiribu be taken back to the High Court for re-sentencing on priority basis and that all the other capital cases be re-looked into.

The decision has since seen more than 1,000 convicts resentenced, among them Dickson Munene, and a number set free.Muruatetu and Thiribu’s case could not be re-looked as their file was said to have gone missing at the High Court.

But as the duo waits for their day in court, 11 minors who have collectively been in prison for a total of 104 years have been granted freedom by the constitutional court.The convicts, most of who are now adults, include Peter Gathagwa Migwi who had been found guilty of violently robbing and killing a cleric, Geoffrey Mburu Mbugua, in 2001.

The loot

In the course of the robbery, a gang of robbers had waylaid Mbugua in Githurai where they carjacked and killed him. The cleric’s body was still in the vehicle when the robbers were confronted by police. Migwi, who at the time was 17, was caught inside the deceased car and still had the loot.Other death minors who walked to freedom were Justin Muna Karanja, Martin Kimani Ndung’u, Boniface Mwaura Njoroge, Ali Hassan Wako and Kelvin MUnyua Ndung’u.

Others are Simon Gikundo, Kevin Keagan Dwero, Daniel Omusula and  John Murio Njeri. The convicts were set free by Judge John Mativo after they successfully contested the constitutionality of their being held indefinitely at the President’s pleasure.

The court declared: “The common grievance cited was that all were convicted and sentenced to serve under the presidential pleasure. All the petitioners were below 18, hence the sentence to serve under presidential pleasure”. Mativo observed that the convicts had suffered as their petitions had been pending for several years because their files were never taken to court.Consequently, the court reduced the sentences of 10 of the convicts to the period served and ordered that they be set free.

By Standard.co.ke


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Business

VIDEO: Optiven CEO opens up about growing up in abject poverty, doing laundry for fellow students

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George Wachiuri, the CEO of Optiven Limited, has opened up about a side of him few people know about. Despite having built a multi-billion Shilling Real Estate Company and becoming one of the most recognisable names in the field, Wachiuri has remained a humble servant, who says he views his customers as associates and greatly respects and values his work mates. 

In an interview with Jeremy Damaris of Kenya Diaspora Media, he tells of how he struggled, lost money and friends, before rebounding “by the grace of God.”

A Certified Public Accountant – CPA (K) and is a former Lecturer at Daystar University, his entrepreneurial spirit developed early, and was awarded the Entreprenuer of the year 1997 by the University of Nairobi.

He is currently a PhD candidate at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

He holds a Masters’s degree in Business Administration (University of Nairobi), and a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing option) Degree from University of Nairobi.

Watch as he tells his amazing story in Gīkūyū


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Lifestyle

‘Kikambala hotel bombing in 2002 changed our lives’

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The scars on Mercy Neema Mwagambo’s body are a stark reminder of what happened at Paradise Beach Hotel in Kikambala 18 years ago.

On November 28, 2002, a two-pronged terrorist attack hit an Israeli-owned hotel but missed a plane belonging to Arkia Airlines.

A vehicle crashed through a barrier outside the hotel on the Kilifi-Mombasa highway and blew up, killing 17 people and injuring 80 others.

Every year today, Neema and 13 victims of the attack and their families converge at the deserted hotel to pray for the souls of their departed relatives.

However, today could be the last annual ritual as the owner has put the hotel for sale.

Annual ritual

For Neema and other victims, it’s not clear if the prospective buyer would allow them to continue with this annual ritual.

It is an attack that left villages of Musumarini in Kilifi County destitute, negatively affected Israelis’ investments at the Coast and damaged the tourism sector.

“I am trying to sell this property even at a throwaway price,” said Yehuda Sulami, an Israeli, on phone from Tel Aviv, although he did not reveal the price.

Sulami claims that after the attack, there were efforts to push him out of business.

The former special forces officer said he had no money to compensate victims of the attack.

“I’ve faced an avalanche of litigation on compensation. There was no insurance cover on terrorism,” said Sulami.

It is the first time has spoken publicly on the matter.

He said while he sympathised with those who lost their loved ones or suffered injuries, he lost his lifetime investment and close friends and “there was no one to comfort me.”

Among the 17 who perished were 14 Kenyans and three Israelis. The deserted hotel is arguably the only remaining mark of Israel investment in Coast.

Prior to the attack, over 100,000 tourists from Israel had made Mombasa and Kenyan Coast their second home away from home.

“Arkia Airline used to bring in between 250-270 guests per flight. It had operated Mombasa route for close to seven years before the attempted missile attack,” said Sulami.

After the attack, the airline stopped flying the route and Israel investments at the Coast started dwindling.

Sulami claimed that what followed was a number of litigation and attempts to force them to close down the hotel.

“We became the target yet the Kenyan government had promised to assist the affected persons,” said Sulami, without providing any evidence of the alleged persecution.

The victims of the attack narrated to the Saturday Standard on how they were neglected by the Government and the owner of the hotel.

For instance, Neema cannot walk as her legs were seriously injured. She was working at the front office at the hotel.

On that fateful day, she was helping a guest check in as her colleagues were overwhelmed by the number of tourists.

“Had I remained inside the hotel at my work station, may be I would not have been injured this way,” said Neema.

November is a peak season for the tourism sector in Coast. On that day, as a group of 230 guests were leaving the hotel, another 250 tourists were checking in. All the guests were Israelis.

“I reported early for duty on that fateful day and was looking forward to a rather busy day since we had huge check in and check out for guests,” she said in an interview.

At the gate, a troupe of Girima dancers were doing their jig to bid goodbye to outgoing guests and welcome the incoming ones.

Most of the incoming tourists had already been ushered in to the waiting lounge at the reception but a small group had joined the traditional dancers.

“What followed was a huge bang followed by fire all over the Makuti-thatched hotel,” Neema said, adding that she found herself on the ground.

Neema could not walk so she crawled to the swimming pool. She had suffered serious burns allover her body and decided to jump into the swimming pool to cool herself.

“I was taken to hospital in Mombasa and later airlifted by a military aircraft to Israel for specialised treatment at Jerusalem Hospital. I spent four weeks receiving treatment for my broken legs and burnt face and back,” she said.

The Kikambala bombing incident also robbed the family of Mufidha Mohamed of its breadwinner, Wildred Oyaro Owuor, who used to operate a taxi business at the hotel.

“My husband suffered a ruptured stomach. He died 21 days after he was admitted at Pandya Hospital,” Mufidha says. She was breastfeeding Zaki, their last born now 18 years, when the attack happened.

She said with the death of her husband, she was left as the sole breadwinner to fend for her five children.

“It has not been easy for us all. I have tried to venture into business with very little success,” she said.

Today Mufidha, her children and a few other survivors will converge at the blast site to hold prayers and commemorate those who died.

“Today we shall go to the hotel which has now closed down to hold prayers. It is a ritual I’ll do until I meet him in the next life,” says Mufidha.

Dr Sam Ikwaye, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch executive officer, says the events of the fateful day have had a long impact on Kenyan tourism.

Travel advisories

Dr Ikwaye says it is after the Kikambala bombing that key foreign tourists source markets started issuing travel advisories against Mombasa and the Coast region.

“This was the start of a very bad beginning for Kenyan tourism,” Ikwaye said.

He explained the Kikambala bombing marked the first time the industry experienced serious external shocks and has never fully recovered.

“Neighbouring nations too and the world experienced our pain years after we had suffered and today terrorism has been recognised as a threat not just synonmous with Kenya, but the world over,” he said.

Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo said it is unfortunate that no compensation was made to those who suffered the brunt of the terror attack.

“Both the national and county governments should be compelled to assist surviving families. This will not take away completely the suffering they have endured but will offer some sort of comfort to those affected,” said Justice (rtd) Madzayo.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Entertainment

‘We had invested…’ Churchill reveals how the pandemic has hit him

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Comedian Churchill says just like any other business, coronavirus has hit him too.

Churchill, real name Daniel Ndambuki has been doing ‘The Journey Series’ on his TV show which is originally a stand-up comedy show that attracts thousands of viewers.

Speaking to Mpasho, Churchill revealed;

“We had invested quite some amount in the production of the show. And now, you can’t use that gear, you have to put all that aside. You cannot set up something so big for like 200 people, that is loss-making. It almost takes us to where we began. We remain positive though”

Adding;

“I am happy with all that is happening from all other comedians.”

Churchill said this after the launch of TuKo App, which he is the brand ambassador.

Churchill Photo By Charlene Malwa

by Mpasho.co.ke


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