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VIDEO: Uhuru asks Putin to help retrieve informational material on Kenya’s freedom struggle

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During a face-to-face meeting with Russian President President Vladmir Putin on Thursday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta requested him to facilitate the collation and retrieval of historic material and information related to Kenya’s freedom struggle which may be in Russia.

“Our forefathers, including my own father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, drew great inspiration from the Soviet Union during the struggle for our independence,” said Kenyatta, adding: “That is why we would like to, at some stage, send some of our officials to work with your historians and archivists to see what we can do to put that history together for posterity.”

At the same time, the Kenyan and Russian delegations resolved to establish a Russia-Kenya business council to oversee the implementation of joint trade and investment programmes.

The delegations led by Presidents Kenyatta and  Putin met on the sidelines of the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. Watch

During the bilateral talks, the two leaders underscored the need for the business council saying it will provide a framework within which Kenya and Russia will pursue partnerships in trade, investment and development.

The Heads of State said entrenching bilateral and multilateral partnerships would help their respective countries in achieving faster progress in trade and security.

“To enhance the shared development and modernization agenda of our two countries, I consider it important to deepen people-to-people contact and our cooperation in security and defence, trade and investment, tourism, energy, culture, science and technology,” President Kenyatta said.

The President said although Kenya is the second largest trading partner of Russia in Africa, the full potential of the economic cooperation remains untapped.

He said there is need to identify ways of improving trade between the two countries, which currently is in favour of Russia, with a trade deficit of 2.3 billion US dollars.

President Kenyatta said Kenya is keen on the establishment of regulatory environment that facilitate trade and investment flows and assured his host of his administration’s agreement to the setting up of the business council.

He said there is need for Kenya and Russia to renegotiate the Bilateral Air Services Agreement so as to establish direct cargo flights between the two countries as a mechanism for boosting commerce between Moscow and Nairobi.

Russia mainly imports cut flowers, coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables from Kenya while cereals, iron and steel, fertilizers and paper, are the top Russian imports into the Kenyan market.

President Kenyatta invited Russians to invest in Kenya’s Big 4 Agenda priority areas of manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health and manufacturing saying direct investments would help “enhance economic cooperation”.

He singled out construction of affordable houses, tourist charter flight services and space technology as some of the opportunities available to Russian investors.

In the sector of energy, the President said Kenya is interested in tapping Russia’s expertise as a leader in the sustainable exploration and development of renewable energy and natural gas resources.

The President asked the Russian government to expand its scholarship programme in engineering, medicine and related sciences to benefit more Kenyans saying the strong historical ties between the two nations will be strengthened further through such exchanges.

“Russia played an unforgettable and highly valued role in Africa’s struggle for liberation and independence.

“Africa’s aspiration for freedom and liberty is enriched by the relationship with Russia. African heroes including Kenya’s founding father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta–drew from the vision of the Soviet Union,” President Kenyatta said.

President Putin recalled the historic friendly ties that exist between Kenya and Russia saying the two nations share similar values and that Russia was among the first nations to establish diplomatic relations with Kenya.

“First of all, I would like to note that the history of friendly ties between Russia and Kenya goes back to the day when Kenya gained independence, which was proclaimed by your father, former President Jomo Kenyatta.

“And a day later, diplomatic ties were established, on December 12 and December 14, 1963, accordingly,” President Putin recalled.

He expressed hope that parliaments of the two countries will continue playing a key role in the development of bilateral ties as they were the first to initiate two Russian-Kenyan meetings in 2011 and 2012.

“I hope that this cooperation between our parliaments will also continue and will create favourable conditions for the development of our relations,” the Russian President said.

To bridge the trade imbalance that exists between Nairobi and Moscow, President Putin said the two nations need to prioritise cooperation in trade and investment.

“Last year it grew only a little, but it was still 1.2 percent growth. We are glad that several Russian companies have gained a foothold in the Kenyan market,” President Putin said as he encouraged more Russian private sector actors to invest in Kenya.

On peace and security, President Putin commended Kenya for her steadfastness in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Eastern and the Horn of Africa region.

The Russia leader cited how Kenya swiftly and firmly dealt with the Dusit Hotel terrorist attack saying it was an indication of how effective the country’s security agencies can become in dealing with emerging security threats in the country and the region.

Kenya State House contributed to this story

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How former judge drew woman’s Will, took over vast estate

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What would unite a Nazi era war criminal, a polio-ravaged unmarried mother and retired Kenya High Court judge running away from the law?

The answer to this question is hidden in personal vaults, archives and files in numerous courts of law and tomes in Britain, Germany, France and Kenya.

Camouflaged by cobwebs of history, legalese and frailty of the human mind are slivers of truths and half-truths spanning over 90 years and intertwined with the second World War, the Mau Mau liberation struggle and events in post-Independent Kenya. It is the story of a World War heroine-turned-villain and a retired judge.

But the central planks in this multi-layered cloak-and-dagger antics are a pioneer medical doctor, Anne Marie-Spoerry, her 68-year-old adopted daughter Rosemary Wamuyu Wachira and a retired High Court Judge, John Philip Ransley.

Spoerry, who died on February 6, 1999, lived in Kenya for most of her adult life. She was known initially for saving the colonial settlers and their workers in the White Highlands and fighting the Mau Mau as a police reservist.Later, she dedicated her resources to saving ailing children in remote parts of Kenya as a flying doctor working under African Medical Research Foundation.

All this time, she was a declared war criminal in Europe, wanted for sending thousands of prisoners to the gas chambers in Ravensbrück, a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.Consequently, she was hunted by veterans in France and was banned from practicing medicine there after being denied a chance to complete her medical studies.

The current saga started a few days after Spoerry’s death which marked the end of a dark era which she had guarded all her life.

A few hours after Spoerry was buried on February 12, 1999 in Shella Beach, Lamu, Rosemary flew back to Nairobi then went to Muringa farm in Subukia where she had spent her life with Spoerry.

Agreement

The following morning, Justice (Rtd) Ransley contacted her and other relatives of Spoerry and announced that there would be a meeting on February 20 and he would disclose the contents of the Will.

That was also to be the day Rosemary was kicked out of Spoerry’s home.It would later emerge that Ransley had drawn a Will on May 23, 1993 which appointed him the trustee and executioner of the estate.

Parts of the Will read: “I revoke all former testamentary dispositions relating to the estate. I appoint Philip John Ransley of Po Box 1021 Nairobi (hereinafter in such capacity called my trustee) to be the executor and trustee thereof. I give all my property whether immovable or movable or personal unto my trustee upon trust to sell the same and having paid all my debts and testamentary expenses and death duties if any.”

In the Will, Spoerry dictated that the residue of her estate be allocated to her brother, Francois Spoerry of France and sisters Therese Pont and Martine Gross all of France in equal shares. Interestingly Francois had already died on January 11, 1999 and in fact Spoerry had attended his burial in France.

The Will also decreed that the executor was entitled to the usual professional fee and would be paid for any time spent administering Spoerry’s estate.In March 1999, when Ransley filed succession case no 544 of 1999, he listed Spoerry’s known assets as 10 pieces of land in Lamu, and a 2.6 acre estate in Muthaiga Nairobi, another estate in Nakuru as well as money in two bank accounts.

Justice (rtd) Philip Ransley. [Amos Kareithii and File, Standard]

Although shortly before her death, Spoerry had renewed her flying licence, curiously missing from the inventory of assets was the beloved aircraft in which she had flown over 8,000 hours some of it over France and Greece.

According to the Certificate of Confirmation of a grant dated November 19, 1999, Ransley was listed as heir with absolute shares to 15 developed plots in Lamu and four other pieces of land in Nairobi and Nakuru.

The inventory also indicated that Ransely had inherited two bank accounts at Credit Agricole Indosuez, two accounts at Barclays Bank and two more at Kenya Commercial  bank.At the same time, the retired judge was the new owner of two vintage vehicles a Volkswagen Beetle and a Vauxhall saloon, two Peugeot 205 saloons and one Nisan Patrol car.

According to some of the court documents, the total value of the assets was given as Sh10 million.Armed with the Will, Ransley went about selling some of the doctor’s assets, touching off a bitter legal battle with Rosemary who insists the Will was forged and has vowed to have it revoked.

On February 21, 2003, Ransley, who by then had been appointed as a judge of the High Court, entered into an agreement to sell to Chui Estates Limited 2.6 acres of land in Nairobi registered in the name of Dr Anne Marie Spoerry for Sh13 million.

Rosemary is bitter that besides being locked out of the Will, Ransley has ended up as a beneficiary of two pieces of land she had bought with her money.In her autobiography: They Call Me Mama Daktari: Anne Spoerry, published in 1994, the doctor explains the circumstances under which she became acquainted with Rosemary in 1963 and how she assisted Rosemary, who was crippled by polio, to acquire the land.

Spoerry wrote: “Today Rosemary is nearly 40. I knew her first as a little girl handicapped by polio. I looked after her and saw her through school where she received her primary leaving certificate. She then attended Young Women Christian Association of Limuru where she learnt dressmaking, First Aid and cookery.”

“Rosemary inherited one of these plots but she had to fight tooth and nail to keep it. I supported her claim of ownership but at that time there were no clear legislation on women’s right to property. In order to make Rosemary feel more secure, I built her a little house. Then Rosemary acquired some more fields of her own with her own money and ended up with a nice five-acre property.”

Ironically, the parcels of land Spoerry fought so hard for her adopted daughter to acquire have been sold after they were included in the inventory of assets presented during Ransley’s succession petition.

“There is something wrong with the Will. It must be revoked. Not only is the signature wrong but the inclusion of my property in the inventory of my adopted mother’s estate  is weird.  One of the plots in Subukia has been sold although I still have the original title deed,” Rosemary adds.

And for 22 years since Spoerry’s death, Rosemary says she has been battling to safeguard her property.Her last hopes were dashed by High Court Judge D O Ohunge on April 30, 2019 when he ruled that the sale of her land through public auction was legal and that she should remove the caveat she had placed on it at the Ministry of Lands to facilitate its transfer to one Michael Kinyanjui.

Ransley retired as a judge in 2007 and started his law firm Ransley McVicker Shaw Advocates. He however fled to England after he was charged for allegedly stealing Sh102.7 million from Angela Scott and Sh152.7 million from Rowland Minns.

The High Court at Milimani also issued a warrant for his arrest on January 21, 2017 and the Director of Public Prosecutions initiated proceedings to have the judge who is now aged 87 extradited from United Kingdom so he could face trial. This matter has since been settled out of court.

By Standard

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Curfew does not mean you cannot take your relative to hospital — Police Spokesperson Charles Owino

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Police Spokesperson Charles Owino has clarified that the 7pm-5am that is set to start today will be carried out in a professional manner and special cases will be considered.

Owino gave an example of those who might want to rush their relatives to hospital saying such people can be allowed to be outside but he urged Kenyans to observe the curfew.

On Thursday, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i gazetted the curfew and that means there shall be no public gatherings, processions or movement either alone or as a group for the period of the curfew.

According to Owino, there are ‘adequate police officers’ to enforce the curfew and they will patrol to see whether Kenyans have complied.

“The Inspector-General last week recalled all police officers who were on leave and with the curfew, we have enough number of police officers who will be moving around the country to ensure that Kenyans remain indoor in the hours directed and also provide security,” he remarked.

Although those who violate the curfew might not be detained, punishment for the offence will be guided by Section 8(6) of the Public Order Act, which provides for the applicable sentence and fine.

“Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of a curfew order or any of the terms or conditions of a permit granted to him under subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding Sh1000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” the section reads.

Earlier this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the National Security Council was forced invoke the Public Order Number One on coronavirus pandemic to restrict movement of people because Kenyans had been reluctant to adhere to behavioural protocols by the Health ministry to tame the virus spread.

He appeared to hint at a total lockdown should Kenyans defy the curfew order.

“If the measures are deemed to be inadequate, we shall, without hesitation, take even further and more drastic measures to ensure that the cardinal duty of the government and of the State which is the protection of life and property is assured,” he said.

By SDE

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Alone in death: Kenya’s first coronavirus victim

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Kenya recorded its first death from coronavirus on Thursday with the passing of a 66-year-old man at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.

The man, now identified as Maurice Khisa Namiinda (pictured), had just returned from a work trip in South Africa.Close family members say the engineer, founder and director of Gibb Consulting Engineers Ltd, flew into the country on Wednesday last week and soon after checked into hospital for a couple of routine checks.He had a history of diabetes that required medical attention from time to time.

Although he had passed all preliminary checks at the various airports he flew through on his way to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the symptoms soon started to present.

On Saturday night, he was again rushed to the Aga Khan hospital.According to doctors familiar with the case, his condition deteriorated and he was taken to the ICU until his passing on on Thursday.

Those who knew him say he was generous to a fault, always jovial. His company, Gibb International, consulted for major government authorities such as Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and several other government parastatals.

By yesterday, it was not clear how his family would handle the death following fresh directives by the government on directions to bury individuals who have died from the virus.

Engineer Khisa becomes the first Kenyan to die from the disease that currently affects more than 30 other patients. Saturday Standard has established that three other patients in different hospitals in the country are also on life support.

Doctors describe the conditions of the others as stable.Currently, different government agencies are tracing people who might have come in contact with the patient. Evidence from countries with a higher death toll shows many of those who die with the virus are infected weeks before any government-led interventions such as quarantine and self-isolation were put into place.This inadvertently exposed the doctors who had been attending to him since he came back from South Africa to the risk of contracting the highly contagious virus.

At least eight medical practitioners who came into close contact with the patient at the Aga Khan University Hospital are under quarantine.While the state was grappling on how to address the death a day after his passing, family members in Nairobi and Bungoma were trying to come to terms with the deaths. For his community, the Bukusu, death often presents an opportunity for an elaborate sending off.

A chance for the living to honour the dead in an extended period of mourning, complete with rites and ceremonies.The current circumstances though are respecters of neither rite nor tradition. The family will be forced to forego all these and bury Khisa according to an existing government directive.All they will be left with is not the memory of a funeral, but a happier one of the time they were last together.

When the engineer breathed his last, medical officers in non-sterile gloves, a long- sleeved fluid resistant gown and a plastic face shield approached the body. Next, they pulled a bed sheet and gently rolled the body in it while simultaneously rolling it into a body bag.One of the three people in attendance then zipped the bag.

The three-person team then disinfected their hands, the outside of the body bag before wheeling it into the hospital mortuary.Finally, Khisa’s body was tagged. His name, age, cause of death and other identification documents were recorded and tagged onto the body bag which was then labelled “infectious substance”.

The burial will be attended by not more than 15 people. One will be a designated government officer to supervise proceedings and ensure all community practices that would result into more infections through contact are limited.Last evening, officials from the Ministry of Health had locked down Khisa’s house.

Not even his brother would be allowed in. Inside, his family waited for more direction from the state that would come as soon as they settled a Sh1.2 million medical bill accrued in the hospital.

His body still lay at the AKUH morgue.The family complained that it is being kept in the dark over the burial arrangements. They say they have had no further communication from ministry officials.

“We want them to do this honourably. They should not disappear with the body. We are in the dark. Why is the ministry playing games with us?” a relative told Saturday Standard.

Although a jovial well-loved man, Khisa’s last moments were lonely, quarantined from the rest of the world and, most importantly, from his family. He walked the final journey alone. The people’s person will walk out without the mourning from the people who made him who he was.

By  Saturday Standard

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