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Stuck with the kids? It need not be the horror it feels like



When the government closed down all schools and sent learners home, it was deemed the best move to tame the spread of Covid-19.

To many parents, however, it has turned out to be a veritable nightmare! For those living in flats, children wake up asking to go out and play with their friends.

They have all manner of ideas about the games that they want to play that day. So, how do you explain to a three-year-old that they cannot

mingle with other children because of an unseen disease? They will ask questions and even after you have offered an explanation, they will still beg and cry to go out and play.

“The situation is even worse in the informal settlements. Picture a family of four living in a single room. The parents run small businesses and cannot afford to stay away from work. Do they lock the children in the house? No, they cannot. Further, the children are used to expansive playgrounds at school. It will be difficult to have them stay in the house. These are the gaps the government did not foresee and has failed to address,” says Daystar University School of Human and Social Sciences Dean Kennedy Ongaro.

Mr Gibson Anduvate, a sociologist and senior pastor at ICC in Nairobi, says parents need to find ways to keep their children busy and entertained.

“Being stuck indoors with no contact with their friends may trigger rebellion, meltdowns, anxiety and frustrations. Children are energetic and the experience can be daunting. As such, parents need to find common experiences that they can share with the children.

This could be games that they can play around the house together such as board games,” he says.

He suggests that parents allocate household chores to ensure that children are involved in the daily running of their homes.

With many parents working from home, there is the temptation to allow children to watch TV all day to ensure less distraction.

Parents can substitute normal TV programmes for channels that broadcast learning materials.

They can also buy videos with educational content. If you are working from home, Mr Anduvate suggests that this is a good opportunity to have conversations on various issues with your children.

For a lot of parents, children do not know the stories of how they grew up or what they went through. This will be a good time to walk children through their personal stories and speak to them on issues of faith to instil a spiritual foundation.

Ms Ann Wanjeru, a mother of two, says the fact that she is working from home and the children are also around has allowed her to learn more about their unique personalities.

“They are both in boarding school and, during the holidays, I do not get to spend as much time as I would like with them. Now, I am getting to understand them better. How they process conflicts and getting to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.

A few days ago, I realised that one of them actually sings very well. I will enrol her in a musical school when our lives are back to normal,” she says.

Another parent, Ms Roseline Amboko, is a banker. At the moment, she cannot to work from home, which means she is not able to supervise her three children.

“Before we go to bed every day, I ensure that we come up with a list of schedules of what they are to do the next day. My first-born is 15 years and she understands the reasoning behind avoiding physical contact. We have had days that they have gone against my instructions but the more I explain to them about the pandemic, the more cautious they become,” she explains.

Across the world, parents who are stuck indoors with their children are coming out on social media to share how they are keeping their little ones learning and entertained.

By Daily Nation

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Keroche heiress’ lover to face murder charge, says police as families disagree



Out on bond, fisherman says the memories of the time he spent with Tecra Muigai keep him going and that he misses her terribly

Omar Lali Omar, the man now accused of killing the daughter of billionaire Tabitha Karanja, is not angry with those behind his woes even as police confirmed they will press murder charges against him.

He says while in remand, his love for Tecra Muigai and the memories they shared together kept him going. “Although it hurts that I was not there to send her to heaven, I know she is well and she knows I miss her,” Omar told The Standard in an exclusive interview from his home in the island’s Shela village.
He was arrested on May 2 and released on May 29, 13 days after the burial of Tecra in Naivasha. This is what Omar — a 51-year-old fisherman, father of five girls and a boy, three-time divorcee — says of the events of the night of April 23.
He got to the luxury rental house he was sharing with Tecra at around 6pm, had dinner, took some vodka, ate some more and then slept at a couch stretched out on the second floor. The last thing he remembers about the moments before he fell asleep were the plans they had been brooding of a future together.
He is not sure if any dreams visited him that night. But he is sure of a few facts — the loud thud that woke him up, the discovery of her at the bottom of the stairs, a mad dash to a dispensary and later a referral hospital to get Tecra medical attention. However, law enforcement say Omar — a nearly illiterate school drop-out, beach boy, mysterious boat operator with no known stable source of income — has a case to answer.
After a night of drinking and merry making, an argument ensued between him and his lover Tecra. The argument later turned physical and he hit her so hard she fell down a flight of stairs, badly injuring the left side of her face.
“We have enough evidence to prove that it was murder,” DCI boss George Kinoti told The Standard yesterday.
According to the post-mortem, the actual cause of her death was not just inconclusive: Omar and Tecra’s families would not agree on the report. While they agreed on a cause of death — trauma to the left side of the face as a result of a fall down a flight of stairs — they could not agree on what caused the fall. Was it accidental or intentional? Named the only suspect in the death of Tecra going on two months, Omar is yet to be charged with murder but spent 27 days behind prison bars. On the day of his release, all indications were that he would spend another night behind bars.
His mother had all but given up. Tecra’s family, led by lawyer James Orengo, and the prosecution were intent on getting another seven days to continue with their investigations, but the magistrate issued a bond order that shone a light on Omar’s wish to spend the night with his family.
More evidence
The bond was set at Sh300,000 by the courts. The family didn’t have the money so they put up collateral. Title deeds to two pieces of land were submitted. One, for the house that Omar grew up in, the other belonging to his mother’s family.
And the surrender of Omar’s passport. At around 5:30pm, the doors opened and Omar stepped out into the narrow corridor of the cell block. Dreadlocks held back by a colourful hairband, a tri-colour vest and a kikoy trouser, he faced east, knelt down and murmured a prayer to Allah.
A speedboat waited at the main Lamu jetty to take him to the other side of the Island. “Lakini sina amani bado moyoni (I have no peace),” he says. “I know they are missing their daughter too.”
The prosecution indicated that the state was still gathering evidence that would help them piece together events that led to the death. Investigators have made multiple visits to Jaha House, where the two spent most of their times. Multiple statements have been taken from the doctors who attended to her. Omar has been questioned many times.
He had no alibi. He admitted to being in the company of Tecra. To taking her to Shela Dispensary first for first aid, then to King Fahd Referral Hospital for further checks. To calling Tecra’s mother who was away in Nairobi and informing her of her daughter’s deteriorating situation.
He admitted being among those who flew with Tecra to Nairobi aboard an air rescue ambulance. By every account, Tecra was a rare person. Born in May of 1990 in Naivasha, she was the fourth and last born child of Joseph and Tabitha Karanja. On the day she was buried she was eulogised as someone who had created a distinct identity that set her apart from her peers. As an enthusiastic individual full of curiosity.
A curiosity that perhaps led her to Omar’s path on June 6, 2019 when the two met. Now, from the breeze kissed shores of Shela, Omar awaits the wheels of justice to turn. He says he only hopes for two things.
Private burial
“That the wheels turn in my favour and that I never stop seeing her face or hearing her voice every time I close my eyes to dive into the ocean.”
For now, both the Karanjas and the Lalis have only the memories of someone who was central in their lives. Someone who was the glue in their relationship.
“She has left indelible footprints in the hearts of those who knew her,” read her eulogy at the private burial.
by the Standard

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Danger online as traffickers target helpless children



International organisations have raised a red flag over the spike in online human trafficking and child exploitation as people spend more time at home.

With Covid-19 restrictions and more children spending more time online, human traffickers are using the opportunity to recruit, groom and exploit children and lure adults feeling the pinch of the emaciated economy as a result of the coronavirus.

The concern is even more real after a German was arrested on May 4 in Nairobi in the company of a 13-year-old boy alleged to have been trafficked from Nyalenda in Kisumu.

Thomas Scheller, 71, who is in Kenya illegally, beat all the travel restrictions to travel from Kwale to Kisumu and back to Nairobi.

The boy — one of his victims — was defiled between April 30 and May 4. It took the combined efforts and intelligence of Interpol and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to nab the alleged trafficker classified as a serial offender. Scheller faces six counts of trafficking in persons, child pornography and defilement of five boys aged between 10 and 13.

Local and international organisations attribute the surge in online exploitation of children to the interruption of their physical learning and a change in their daily lives due to confinement affecting many parts of the world.United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Regional Advisor Rachel Harvey estimates that a third of internet users are children, with internet usage increasing by half, following the stay-home orders adopted by most countries to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

Whereas the increase is positive for continuity of education and social life, Harvey warns that it has put children at risk of online sexual exploitation.

“Before Covid-19, it was estimated that there were 750,000 people looking to connect with children for sexual purposes online at any one time. Opportunity and triggers for offending created by containment are likely to have pushed up that number, as well as demand for child sexual abuse materials,” Harvey says.

With limited physical interaction, global trends further single out increased and growing demand for child abuse material. This has given traffickers opportunities to devise new avenues of animating the ‘lucrative’ business of sex tourism by leveraging on the online space to prey on susceptible and unwitting users.

Lawrence Okoth, Internet Crimes against Children Investigator, confirms the nerve-racking trend in Kenya, with the unit based in Nairobi receiving about 300 cases per month of child abuse material and messages meant to lure and recruit victims. “The numbers are quite high and many more actually are not being reported,” Okoth says.

The traffickers are tactical in their approach, hence the big and growing number of victims. Okoth says traffickers stalk their victims. First, they identify their vulnerabilities and then offer a shoulder to lean on and camouflaging as ‘good friends’ with ‘common interests’ such that sharing of nudes becomes easy.Inadvertently, victims find themselves entangled in a compromising and perilous situation.

“Traffickers build confidence with their victims online by sharing conversations that lead to connection and consequently detach their victims from their parents/guardians.

This connection paves way for physical connection offline. With the new-found ‘friendship’ as a stepping stone to invade the victim’s life, traffickers manipulate their victims and whenever their missions are not accomplished, the shared nudes and erotic videos become weapons of blackmail used to force them to comply with any sort of demands, which also include substance abuse.

“In most cases, the traffickers order the victim to recruit other students or their friends and with time, the chain grows and the number of victims multiplies,” Okoth says.

It has further been discovered that traffickers employ other tactics of observing current trends and creating links with names that children identify and relate with indubitably. “We have come across groups such as Class Eight Revision, KCPE 2020 Class and other names that children easily join without questioning their genuineness,” he says.

The bigger concern, Okoth says, is that children and youth are being recruited and exposed online without the knowledge of their custodians. Valiant Richey, Special Representative for Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), describes the scale as unimaginable and growing, with “traffickers recruiting children through many online venues, including social media, game platforms, and chat rooms. They will typically befriend the children, grooming them for sexual activity and then gradually exploit them in various ways.”

In Kenya, detectives have identified different locations in slums in Nairobi and Mombasa where traffickers congregate relatives (mostly children) in sneaky rooms and entice them into sex orgies for purposes of live streaming.

[The writer is a fellow of the 2020 Resilience Fund of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime]

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Size 8: miscarriage nearly broke my marriage



Gospel singer Size 8 has revealed how her miscarriage in 2018 almost ended her marriage with DJ Mo.

In an interview with Parents magazine, the singer admitted that the experience taught her the value of life, family and friends.

“The miscarriage really affected us. We fought a lot and we blamed each other since we did not know how to deal with it. It was very bad; but with our son, we were able to come together and support each other,” she said.

Despite the tragic nature of the miscarriage, in the end, she says, it brought them closer as they leaned on each other for support during the difficult time.

“It has actually brought us closer as a couple, which is something we realised later,” she said.

Size 8 said that she opened up about the miscarriage, but her husband was very quiet and did not talk about the topic at all but inside, the experience was hurting him too.

Their marriage was not perfect

“When you lose a baby, things change. It was very hard on me but I knew I had to be strong for Linet (Size 8) and Wambo. If we let our grieving take over, it would have affected Wambo because we wouldn’t be able to give her attention,” explained the seasoned gospel DJ.

The couple said their marriage was not perfect. What made it work was their relationship with God.

“Even before you try to resolve issues, the fear of God helps you see where you have gone wrong and it makes solving things easier. We’ve also learnt to see our mistakes first before pointing out the speck,” the mother of two said.

She also admitted that after the marriage, she did not want to submit to her husband.

The couple got married in their twenties and submission was one problem she was struggling with, Size 8 said.

“I’m an alpha female and I had the wrong concept of submission so we had a couple of fights over it. To me, it sounded like slavery,” she said.

However, after talking to JCC pastor Rev. Kathy Kiuna, she understood submission was about recognising the power and importance of her husband’s role in marriage.

“Reverend Kathy Kiuna explained to me that it was simply about recognizing the authority of my husband as the head of the home. I think I just lacked the wisdom on how to handle things,” said the Mateke hit-maker.

On the other hand, DJ Mo was also having issues while trying to adapt to marriage life. He had to learn to share his thoughts with his wife without holding back.

“I never used to open up, even when we had issues. I was not mature enough to realise that the wall I had put up also affected my partner. There are just some things you learn when you are in the marriage,” the DJ said.

Size 8 said the marriage was easier when they did not have children but now that they do, they are happier as a family.

“They bring us joy but it has also been a tough balancing act to be able to have time for them and also for themselves as a couple. It needs a lot of wisdom from God to crack it,” said the gospel artiste.


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