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How Moi thwarted scheme to replace Lee Njiru

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Former President Daniel arap Moi tried to intervene in a power struggle between his press secretary Lee Njiru and private secretary John Lokorio in his last days, it has now emerged.

Moi died on February 4 and was laid to rest at his Kabarak home last Wednesday.

According to insiders, only a few people knew about the intense power struggle to control Moi’s diary.

The running divisions that characterised the relationship between the two confidants was so intense that each wing used to release separate press statements on the health status of Moi.

And when he was admitted to Nairobi Hospital, the confusion of conflicting press statements intensified, confirming the deep division in the communication unit.

The two, who were constantly in touch with Moi during his 24-year reign and after his retirement in 2002, have for the past three years been embroiled in a power struggle that spilt over to the public domain last year.

The sour relationship became so acrimonious that at one time Mr Njiru accused Mr Lokorio of sending his two drivers with a spare key to “steal” his official car on July 5, 2017.

The car was later recovered by police and returned to Mr Njiru. The matter was the subject of discussion by the Nakuru County Security Committee that was chaired by the then County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha on October 12, 2017.

After deliberations, the committee studied Mr Njiru’s documents and consulted the national government, which confirmed that he was in the office legally.

READ ALSO:   Why State won't redeploy Moi staff soon

Mr Lokorio did not attend the meeting. But what is the bone of contention between the two?

Interestingly, the two are neighbours at Ngata Farm, where they own huge chunks of land, and both operate hotels in the former Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) land.

According to documents seen by the Sunday Nation, and which were filed in court, Mr Lokorio claims Mr Njiru retired on July 1, 2017 and should have vacated his position.

Mr Lokorio further claims that Mr Njiru was replaced by Mr Alex Kiprotich Chepkoit, who was recruited as deputy personal assistant in the Office of retired President Moi with effect from September 1, 2016.

Immediately after Mr Kiprotich’s appointment, Mr Lokorio sent a text message to Mr Njiru, saying: “I want to know when Alex Kiprotich can report on duty as your deputy. You are also aware that he has to work on His Excellency archives.”

Mr Njiru wrote to the Comptroller of State House and sought the extension of the contract for a further period of three years from July 1, 2017.

“My current appointment as personal assistant-cum-secretary in the Office of the Retired President expires on June 30, 2017. As per the terms of engagement, I wish to continue in the same position for a further period of three years from July 1, 2017,” wrote Mr Njiru.

His extension was approved by Moi. The then Comptroller of State House, Lawrence Lenayapa, conveyed the extension of Mr Njiru’s appointment as approved by the Public Service Commission via a letter dated May 3, 2017.

READ ALSO:   I am not Moi’s Son, Lee Njiru says after Kenyans claim they resemble

“I am pleased to convey to you the decision of the Public Service Commission vide letter Ref No PSC/SH/1/VII (24) dated May 3, 2017 that your appointment as a Personal Assistant-cum-Secretary, Job Group ‘S’ on local agreement terms of service in the Office of the First Retired President be renewed for a further period of three years with effect from July 1, 2017 up to and including June 20, 2020,” wrote Mr Lenayapa on June 5, 2017.

However, Mr Lokorio wrote back. The letter copied to Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said: “The named officer (Njiru) is someone in his retirement and his services in an office of this nature are not in demand.”

He added: “If the government needs the energies of this officer, it is in a position to find him another posting, but definitely not this office.”

According to clause 8 of the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, public officers should not be appointed or posted to serve on such staff except with the concurrence of the retired president.

Mr Njiru holds official documents showing that he is in the office legally.

But in a quick rejoinder, Mr Lokorio, seeking to exercise his powers, asked Mr Njiru on July 3, 2017 to proceed on retirement.

“The Public Service Commission has advised that I apply for your commutation of leave for cash in lieu of the contract,” wrote Mr Lokorio.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Why was Lee Njiru not on list of people thanked by Moi family, Kenyans ask

He further told Mr Njiru that he had applied for him 38 months outstanding leave.

The two top civil servants are subject to redeployment now that the Office of the First Retired President of Kenya, which was constitutional, has ceased to exist.

According to insiders at Kabarak, Mr Lokorio was resolute that Mr Njiru, who was considered an outsider in Moi’s private office among the administrative cadre staff, was to be replaced.

However, reliable sources told the Sunday Nation that when Moi learnt of Mr Lokorio’s schemes to replace Mr Njiru, he thwarted the move.

“Mzee Moi was not happy with Mr Lokorio’s underhand scheme and would not let go Mr Njiru, who was considered to be a foreigner in the clique surrounding former President Moi,” said a source.

The source added that even in his advanced age, Moi was cautious on who to work with and was not amused by hatred and tribal tendencies in his private office.

In a past interview, when asked how he managed to weather all these battles, Mr Njiru replied: “When you work under Moi for such a long time, you learn how to not to get ulcers. I do not get ulcers. I distribute them. In fact, I am the chief distributor.”

Mr Lokorio did not respond to our telephone calls seeking comment.

By Sunday Nation


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Lifestyle

My cruel marriage to politician’s son

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Like any other woman about to get married, Esther Kisaghu was eager to tie the knot with her soulmate. When she finally settled down with the son of a prominent politician, who retired in 1988, it was all bliss. In her mind, the Cinderella life was a reality.

But she was wrong. She soon realised that marriage life wasn’t the bed of roses she had envisioned.

“I started like any other girl who is happy to get married. But soon, things changed. I started experiencing domestic violence,” reveals Ms Kisaghu, who studied at Alliance Girls’ High School, before going abroad for further studies.

She joined Boston University in the United States for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

“When I was in the middle of my studies, my fiancé requested me to come back for us to get married…

“I didn’t complete my studies. Two years after we got married, however, he changed. He started strangling me, but I kept quiet,” she says.

Ms Kisaghu, who got married at 27, later completed her Bachelor’s at African Nazarene University in Kenya.

“It does not matter what the victim does, as long as the perpetrator wants to beat his victim, it will happen. Nothing the victim does, will stop the violence — only if the abuser changes. He chose to beat me, emotionally and psychological tortured me — it was his choice. At the heart of abuse is power and control — the twisted behaviour to control and abuse the victim,” says Ms Kisaghu, who has since founded The Rose Foundation, which assists women undergoing abuse in marriage.

“His family was powerful when he was abusing me. He also abused substance. However, as an expert in domestic violence, I later realised that drunkenness does not cause violence. It merely exacerbates it. There is no causal link between being a drunk and violence. Violence is a choice,” she says.

When the mother of one realised she was going through suffering with her son, she thought of means to get out of the marriage after nine years of painful experience.

Wanted to stab me

However, it was hard to escape and she had to devise ways out.

“I was married to a powerful politician’s son. So, escaping to the US via the studies route was not easy at all, especially because I left with my son — a no, no, in African culture,” narrates Ms Kisaghu, who was born in Taita-Taveta County.

Nevertheless, she joined Boston University, again, to study Public Health – International Health at Master’s degree level. Her going for further studies in 2004, she says, was just an escape.

“My life was in danger. I used the opportunity… to keep safe in another country with my son.”

It was at the university that it dawned on her that domestic violence is preventable.

“During the four years of studies, I decided that I should come and assist people back at home.”

Indeed, when she was done, she returned to Kenya and opened a new chapter in her life by establishing The Rose Foundation in 2015.

Gender-Based Violence

Prior to that, she volunteered her services at the Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centre at Nairobi Women’s Hospital for six months.

“Many women in Kenya get killed when the husband follows them to their new life. It’s true that victims face death every day in violent marriages, but when leaving, a safety plan must be put in place.

At The Rose Foundation, we do domestic violence training, which includes safety planning,” says Ms Kisaghu, who spent 11 years trying to get a divorce because her husband kept interfering with the case.

Children are affected

Ms Kisaghu notes that many children are affected psychologically when they witness domestic violence in their homes.

She says that victims ought to realise that leaving a violent home is possible, “no matter how difficult it is.

“What is important is to do a safety plan,” says Ms Kisaghu who is also the author of The Triumph of My Life: Domestic Violence and Society’s Thundering Silence.

by nation


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Lifestyle

Peter Gwengi: ‘Accepting I had HIV saved my life’

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“Can you imagine for the many years since I signed a memorandum of understanding with my virus, I have lived a happy and peaceful life. We have been faithful to each other,” this was Peter Gwengi’s opening statement when we visited him at his home in Migori County.

It was his wife’s poor health that made him test for the virus. He learnt about his wife’s status, and eventually his own, in a cruel manner.

“She was seriously ill and admitted to hospital in Migori, but when there was no change, and her health deteriorating, I requested to move her to a better hospital. A nurse called me on the side and whispered, ‘why are you wasting your money treating her and she is going to die anyway. She is HIV positive’,” said Mr Gwengi.

He did not believe it. He called the family doctor, who confirmed that his wife was HIV positive and had been taking drugs for six years. She had kept the news away from him, perhaps due to fear of stigma and rejection. “For six years, living with someone and not knowing she is HIV positive, and many people, including some of my family members, knew her status. I was the only one who had been in the dark all along. It took a toll on me,” he said.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Why was Lee Njiru not on list of people thanked by Moi family, Kenyans ask

Opportunistic infection

Fearing the worst, but determined to get it over with, Mr Gwengi got tested for the virus. Even though he had prepared himself for the worst, when the test came back positive, he was devastated. Nine months later, his wife died. He lived in denial for two years, not talking about the disease to anyone — not even close relatives and friends — and refusing to take medication.

The two years were not easy for him. It was one opportunistic infection after another, but he would not accept that he had the virus. He thought of committing suicide.

He could not get out of his house or face his family or friends because of the stigma that came with the disease.

“One thing that I kept on asking myself — and I did not have an answer — is, where the disease came from. But thinking deeply, I believe I contracted HIV when I worked as a field officer in the early 1990s, a job that kept me away from home for long periods,” he said .

One day in 2001, he got seriously ill and was rushed to hospital unconscious. It was after several counselling sessions and being told that he was going to die and leave his three daughters orphans that made him accept his status. He then did everything he could to prolong his life.

READ ALSO:   MUST WATCH VIDEO: Lee Njiru reveals tightly guarded details about Moi, Jomo Kenyatta

 Telling his inner circle of friends about his HIV status was easier than he had expected, because he had accepted it.

He was placed on drugs, and thanks to his employer, Mr Gwengi was fully insured and would get his drugs using his medical card. Having seen how his wife suffered, he vowed to keep to the drugs regimen.

“One day, I woke up and told my virus now that we are partners and they are going to be part of me forever, they should not put me down and I will not disturb them. I would obey and follow all the requirements. And that’s how I have been living with my virus,” he narrated to the Nation.

Mr Gwengi said he maintains a well-balanced lifestyle, healthy diet, taking antiretroviral drugs on time, exercising, having adequate rest, and dropping bad habits such as taking excessive alcohol.

“HIV is a very jealous virus. If you are to take your drugs, for instance at 9pm, and you skip, it will eventually notice that something is not right and it will attack with several diseases until you adhere to the rules,” said Mr Gwengi.

Stress, he points out, is also dangerous and can undermine your health.

“This is one of the most faithful viruses. It does not want to be disturbed and it will not disturb you. All you need to do is just to accept that you have it and it will respond positively. Get yourself good friends and family members who encourage you positively.”

READ ALSO:   I am not Moi’s Son, Lee Njiru says after Kenyans claim they resemble

Mr Gwengi founded an advocacy organisation, where he runs campaigns to promote positive living and acceptance of people with HIV.

by nation.africa


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Courts

Fraud case opens lid into the sophisticated art of con game

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When seven suspects took to the dock to plead to fraud charges, they looked ordinary. Like any Tom, Dick and Harry – plain. But underneath the veneer of simplicity lay a suave and sophisticated lot that has opened the door to the world of conmanship.

The seven, who had purported to be officials from the Office of the Deputy President, were yesterday charged a fresh over a Sh180 million fake tender scam.

Allan Kiprotich Chesang, Teddy Awiti, Kevin Mutundura Nyongesa, Augustine Wambua Matata, Joy Wangari Kamau, James William Makokha alias MrWanyonyi and Johan Ochieng Osore appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku and denied the charges.

They were charged afresh after the prosecution consolidated their files.

They appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku after the prosecution consolidated their files.

The suspects, who duped the victim into supplying 2,800 pieces of laptops in August 2018, had forged a Local Purchase Order (LPO) purported to have been issued by a Mr Mulinge, an assistant procurement officer at the DP’s office.

Their case is a classic example of the tremendous transformation fraud – originally associated with dingy downtown areas, and targeting the naive and less educated people – has undergone in the last few years.

Lately, the majority of the victims – as the recent case of a high-ranking diplomat – are well exposed people.

But what has baffled detectives is the fact that some of the serious fraud cases are executed in high-level government and security offices.

READ ALSO:   Why State won't redeploy Moi staff soon

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the State House, Harambee House, Harambee House Annex, the United Nations, the Department of Defence (DoD), Jogoo House police offices and Afya House, are among places where fraudsters have either pitched tent, or purported to operate from.

The Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit of the DCI is currently investigating a case of fraud involving millions of shillings by suspects posing as UN staff.

The gang, including a man and a woman who the DCI a fortnight ago listed as wanted persons, are also wanted for bank fraud offences.

The DCI, in a notice in the newspapers, indicated that Gerald Gatheru Mwai and Gladys Mwara Kamau, were wanted following a warrant of arrest issued by a Milimani court in Nairobi, on October 16.

Apart from the case before court in which a warrant of arrest was issued against the duo, the two are also said to have been duping unsuspecting businessmen over nonexisting tenders at the UN.

The victims are issued with fake Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) after parting with some money, and would be directed to specific companies to purchase tendered goods, especially drugs and rice, but told to pay and wait for the goods to be delivered, because the UN complex is a security zone.

Some of the victims told detectives that since access to the UN compound was restricted, they were convinced to surrender the goods to a team of ‘UN staff’ to deliver. The fraudsters would then disappear with the goods.

The gullibility has been baffling, a clear proof that no one is immune to fraud.

READ ALSO:   I am not Moi’s Son, Lee Njiru says after Kenyans claim they resemble

In the latest fraud case involving Sh300 million that was in court on Wednesday last week, the victim, Haile Menkerios, is said to have served in different senior positions within the UN.

The suspect, businessman and former Embakasi East parliamentary aspirant

Francis Mureithi, is alleged to have defrauded Menkerios under the pretext that he could help the diplomat secure a food supply tender at the DoD.

Menkerios, 74, has served as the Head of UN office to the African Union (UNOAU) and as a Special Representative to the African Union.

He has also served as the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan.

According to Psychology professor Robert Cialdini, people fall for scams due to a number of reasons, including the principle of reciprocity or enforced indebtedness used to elicit unwise action from the targeted victims.

“Not all fraud victims are risk-taking and greedy individuals seeking to make a quick shilling. They come from a variety of socio-economic, educational, age and gender backgrounds,” a senior detective at DCI headquarters said.

And the fraudsters are not the ordinary slinky characters who operate covertly. Some of them are ubiquitous characters who use their community and professional credibility and respectability to con.

In most of the cases, fraudsters disguise themselves as employees of certain institutions and forge LPOs and letterheads to send fake tender bids to unsuspecting companies or businessmen with requests to supply goods.

DoD In another case at DoD in August this year, the once high flying former assistant minister Danston Mungatana was arrested by detectives from Kilimani DCI together with Collins Paul Waweru for the offence of obtaining money by pretences, forgery and making of a false document.

READ ALSO:   MUST WATCH VIDEO: Lee Njiru reveals tightly guarded details about Moi, Jomo Kenyatta

The two had obtained Sh1 million by pretending they were in a position to help a business person to secure a non-existent Sh70 million tender, purportedly to supply cereals and building materials to the DOD. After the complainant parted with Sh1 million, she was called to a Nairobi hotel to meet “a senior officer who would help push the alleged business opportunity”.

AFYA HOUSE

In March this year, detectives arrested Mercy Waihiga Wanjiku alias Linda Masake Mugundu for obtaining goods valued at Sh37 million from a businessman in another fake tender at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Afya House.

Wanjiku, together with other suspects, posed as senior MoH Health officials and lured Eastleigh businessman Ibrahim Adan to deliver 20,000 boxes of hand gloves, 1000 pieces of non-contact infrared thermometers and 579 boxes of face masks worth Sh37 million.

The meetings -to award the fake tender MOH/DPPH/DNMP/001/GFONT/2019- 2020 dated May 4 to Rocketway Construction Ltd -were held at the boardroom used by the Human Resources department. According to the businessman, every time he visited Afya House, he would find the ‘officials’ waiting for him and they would quickly whisk him past the security officers at the reception.

by Zadock Angira, PD.co.ke


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