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How Corona stigma killed my son



“I am troubled, traumatised and my heart is bleeding, my family has been isolated by relatives, friends and neighbours. We have been left on our own, yet my son did not die from the coronavirus.”

These are the words of Mzee George Winjira, a resident of Ganjoni area in Mombasa, who claims his son was “condemned to death by medics” who abandoned him at his hour of need, for fear he had contracted Covid-19.

Four days after his son’s death, Winjira says, the National Public Health Laboratories confirmed that Clinton Shilisia, 27, had died of a respiratory infection and not Covid-19.

Winjira says his son died because of the stigma surrounding victims of the disease that is sweeping across the world.

Shilisia, who was a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student at Kenyatta University, was taken to Pandya Memorial Hospital, Mombasa, after he developed fever, chest pains and general body weakness on March 30. He was given antibiotics and told to go back home and isolate himself from his family, an indication that he could have been suffering from coronavirus.

Handle case
However, a day later, his condition deteriorated and he developed breathing difficulties. On April 1, he was taken back to Pandya at around 6pm but medics said they could not handle his case because “the hospital was not fully prepared for his admission”.

“Referring above named patient to your facility as a Covid-19 suspect for testing and possible isolation as our facility is not fully prepared for his admission. In view of his worsening condition despite no comorbidities patient presented with worsening cough, associated with fever, chest pain and general body malaise,” read a referral note from Pandya to the Coast General Hospital.

At Pandya, they had waited for about two hours before the doctor who had treated him could be traced.

“When she saw it was the same case she had treated, she wrote us the

referral note. They said the hospital could not handle the case,” Winjira says.

The distraught family arrived at Coast General hospital at 9pm but doctors there ruled out a Covid-19 infection on Shilisia and instead prescribed a stronger antibiotic.

“He was very ill, but they asked us to go back home. I was left in a dilemma because I had hoped they would test him for coronavirus. I carried my son back into the car and went home feeling helpless. I felt he was really sick and needed close monitoring in hospital but no one wanted to get close to him,” he says.

On April 4, Shilisia’s condition worsened. “He was struggling to breath, at around 6pm, he collapsed as I was cleaning him so that we could go back to Pandya. I grabbed him and drove with him to the hospital.”

However, Pandya referred them back to Coast General hospital.

“We drove to the Covid-19 isolation section and before we could enter we met the same doctor who had attended to him. He asked us to take him to the general emergency wards,” Winjira says.

Know details
Shilisia was declared dead a few minutes later.

Contacted for a comment, Mombasa county Chief Officer for Medical Services, Khadija Shikely, said she could not comment on the case because she did not have all the details.

“I am still inquiring on the case, I will let you know after a while,” said Shikely on the telephone.

Our efforts to get a comment from the management of Pandya Hospital were futile. An employee who picked our phone call told us to wait for the right person who could respond on the issue. However, after calling again, no one responded.

Shilisia’s family has been left distraught by the incident and is demanding answers.

“What followed my son’s death is even more traumatising and we have been stigmatised. People think we have coronavirus. The doctors told us

to go home and self-isolate as we waited for results of Covid-19 test from my son’s body,” said Winjira.

The samples were sent to the National Public Health Laboratories in Nairobi and on April 8, results showed Shilisia had tested negative for the virus.

After his son’s death, Winjira had requested that his family be tested for the virus.

“They said they could not test us until my son’s results were out. We had to wait for four days but this felt like a month. On the second day, my blood pressure shot up, my wife fell sick and she could not eat. I drove to the hospital at 2am together with my first-born and wife. We waited until 9am the next day but they still could not test us for the virus despite my insistence,” said Winjira.

Even in death, stigma continued to haunt Shilisia. His father says he sought help to have a postmortem conducted on the body but the pathologist at Coast General Hospital declined, “for fear he could contract the virus”.

“Even after presenting the Covid-19 test report, the pathologist refused to conduct the postmortem. I wanted to know what killed my son before I could bury the body,” says Winjira.

But he would soon realise that burying even those who have died from other causes has become a difficult task. After getting his son’s Covid-19 results, the family was ordered to bury their kin within 24 hours but the dilemma was how they would transport the body to Lumakanda, his home in Kakamega county.

“We were given the burial permit but we could not transport the body to Kakamega because of the cessation of movement order by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the four counties most affected by Covid-19,” he says.

Exhume body
After consultation with his family, Winjira decided to bury his son at the Mbaraki cemetery, Mombasa, on April 12.

He says doctors, nurses, mortuary attendants and pathologists could not get close to the body, “they condemned him as a Covid-19 case even before tests were done”.

“He died because he was not given the necessary attention,” he says adding: “I plan to exhume my son’s body and give him a decent burial back home. Luhya traditions dictate that I must do so. I suspect my son succumbed to pneumonia. I have to exhume the body after this coronavirus madness is over,” he adds.

At Winjira’s Ganjoni home, neighbours who saw People Daily journalists entering the compound gathered outside, talking in hushed tones.

“They were staring at us as if we were unwanted visitors in their estate,” said journalist Boniface Msangi.

Edith Winjira, the mother of the deceased, says Shilisia was his best friend and his spirit is still haunting her “because we buried his body at a public cemetery”.

She says her son died because of the stigma associated with Covid-19.

“All people have turned away from us. They believe we have coronavirus, though it is not a sin to get sick with the virus,” says Edith.

She believes her son’s life could have been saved were it not for the stigma.

“I have forgiven those who have tortured us with this stigma. My son was condemned as a coronavirus case even before tests were done. The last two weeks have been very difficult for me,” she says.

Dr Salim Mohamed Ahmed, who has come into contact with Covid-19 patients in Mombasa, says medical personnel have not been spared the social stigma associated with the virus.

“People started keeping away from us for fear we could be carrying the virus,” he says.

However, Dr Ahmed feels people are justified to keep distance.

“I believe stigma is good, it helps people to become more cautious. I don’t see this as stigma, health workers are riskier because they are the front line soldiers against the virus.”

The doctor said some specialist doctors had stopped going to hospitals because most of the health facilities are not adequately equipped to deal with the disease.

“There is fear even among doctors, nobody wants to expose themselves,” he said.



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End our anxiety, families of missing Lamu men tell State



Lamu families whose kinsmen disappeared mysteriously are questioning the government’s continued silence on the matter.

The families had hoped the year 2020 would bring to an end all the emotional turmoil they have undergone while wondering whether their relatives are alive or dead. The year is now almost over and there are no signs of their loved ones coming back.

More than 10 families in the region have, for several years, been in the dark concerning the whereabouts of their brothers and uncles who vanished under unclear circumstances, some in the hands of security agencies.

Families, relatives and friends of the victims interviewed by Nation.Africa acknowledged finding it hard to cope with the unanswered questions.

Most of the victims have been missing for as long as eight years.

An example is the family of Makka Mzee living at Mkunumbi in Lamu West.

Mr Mzee, a teacher by profession, has undergone tough times since his son, Imrana Said Makka, 29, went missing on March 31, 2015.

Mr Imrana Said Makka, 29, who went missing since March 31, 2015.

Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

Imrana was abducted by three men who identified themselves as anti-terror officers in Malindi town on that fateful day, never to be found or heard of again.

It is now six years since his mysterious disappearance.

Imrana’s sister Sada Said Makka told the Nation that they have not heard any news concerning his brother who left behind three children.

“Despite our efforts to visit various police stations in Lamu, Malindi and Mombasa for enquiries, nothing has materialised. We’re yet to get any news on Imrana’s whereabouts.

We’re very much unhappy with the way the government has been silent on the matter despite the numerous reports we filed,” said Ms Sada.

The situation is similar in Kwasasi Village in Hindi, Lamu West, where the family of 42-year-old Ali Bunu is yet to come to terms with his mysterious disappearance five years ago.

The father of nine and who owned an estate in Kwasasi Village was said to have been picked up at his farm by unknown people in State-owned police and military vehicles on the night of April 8, 2016.

Mr Ali Bunu, 42, who went missing in April 2016.

Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

During the incident, Mr Bunu’s house and livestock were torched by the ”officers” before he was whisked away with his four workers and a nephew to an unknown destination on that night.

All except Bunu were the next day dumped in the bush near the Bar’goni military camp from where they found their way back home.

Relatives of Mr Bunu believe the State is better placed to answer their questions since the vehicles that picked up their kin bore government number plates.

“My brother’s children are suffering. Their education has been very stressful. Even processing their ID cards has been a problem, all because their father is absent. The piece of land that our brother owns at Kwasasi in Hindi has partially been grabbed since the owner is not around. The government should help us find our brother so that we can be at peace as a family,” said Mrs Hafswa Bunu, a sister.

In Witu town, another family is in agony over the disappearance of 32-year-old Mohamed Abdalla Ali.

Mr Mohamed Abdalla Ali, 32, a resident of Witu in Lamu West who went missing on June 14, 2018.

Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

Mr Ali went missing on the night of June 14, 2018.

He had accompanied his friends to watch a Fifa World Cup tournament in one of the hotels in Witu.

The last born in a family of five had completed his Form Four at Witu Secondary and was yet to join college.

His father Abdalla Basalama is a retired Administration Police Senior Sergeant.

Ali’s eldest sister Amina Abdalla says that for all that time, they have searched for Ali without success.

“We’ve visited all police stations but we haven’t traced Ali. We’re appealing to the police and any other security agencies to help my family track down the whereabouts of Ali whether alive or dead,” said Ms Amina.

The family of 43-year-old Mohamed Avukame Haroun is also yet to come to terms with his mysterious disappearance on August 23, 2017.

Mr Mohamed, a Malindi-based businessman who also deals in property management and land, was taken away by men in a black vehicle (a Toyota Prado) to an unknown destination.

His elder brother, Bwanaheri Avukame Haroun, says the father of two was bundled into the car by two armed men who accosted him within Mombasa High Court precincts.

Mr Mohamed Avukame Haroun, 43, who went missing on August 23, 2017.

Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

Mr Bwanaheri insists that those who took away his brother are police officers since they had handcuffs and were armed with guns.

“His phone has been off since then. The State is aware of the whereabouts of my brother. Let the government assist us in tracing the whereabouts of my brother. His family is suffering,” said Mr Bwanaheri.

At Mpeketoni in Lamu West, the family of 35-year-old Osman Abdi is also in the dark after the man went missing just days after the June 15, 2014, Mpeketoni attacks.

Mr Abdi, a milk vendor, is said to have been arrested by police.

In a recent interview with the Nation, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia asked families whose kinsmen had disappeared to come out and record statements with police and his office for action.

“These people might have crossed into Somalia. So there is a need for families to come out and report such cases to authorities for action,” said Mr Macharia.

In 2018, Haki Africa Organisation listed Lamu as among leading counties in the Coast region with many cases of mysteriously missing persons.

Various activists and religious leaders in the county and across the Coast region have on various occasions pleaded with the State to help the affected families find them.

by nationafrica

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Nairobi woman hopes to give birth, leave bedsitter 4 years after husband kicked her out



Gasherry Bendito has always been on the move. Her life revolves around thinking of the next step.

Nairobi woman hopes to give birth, leave bedsitter 4 years after husband kicked her out

Gasherry and her mother. Photo: Gasherry Bendito
Source: Facebook

As she plots about her next move, the beauty gets caught up in wishful thinking and dreaming of a more permanent way to live.

Four years ago, the struggling woman was kicked out of her marital home by the man she gave her heart and soul to.

When married, Gasherry could not bear children and that drove her partner insane. So, he saw it fit to get rid of her.

That meant she had to recalibrate and start from square A. This squeezed her between a rock and a hard place.

In just four years, the lady’s life proved to be a living hell as she struggled to find a decent job and a place to lay her head.

Nairobi woman hopes to give birth, leave bedsitter 4 years after husband kicked her out

The lady’s tiny room. Photo: Gasherry Bendito
Source: Facebook

“From losing my job, to being thrown out, to becoming a domestic worker, to being hosted by a colleague, and finally living in a hostel,” she narrated in a Facebook post sighted by

All along, Gasherry held onto unused baby clothes she had bought in the past as she waited for the fruit of the womb.

While crushing at her tiny bedsitter sufficiently decorated with a small bed, the hopeful woman still believed that one day she will get to hold her own bundle of joy.

Nairobi woman hopes to give birth, leave bedsitter 4 years after husband kicked her out

Gasherry could not have kids and that irked her estranged husband. Photo: Gasherry Bendito
Source: Facebook

The netizen told social media users she has been unable to get rid of the infant clothes because at the back of her mind, motherhood is her biggest goal in life.

“I have this bag full of baby clothes from 2014 when I was getting ready to have a baby. Almost seven years down the line and I am still holding on to it. I move with it everywhere I go,” she added.

Nairobi woman hopes to give birth, leave bedsitter 4 years after husband kicked her out

She has stored baby clothes for seven years. Photo: Gasherry Bendito
Source: Facebook

In other related news, a woman left many in tears after disclosing the pain she has been through for lack of children in her marriage.

The lady, identified as Margaret Wanjiru, opened up about her torturous 25 years journey on Monday, April 27.

Speaking to Kikuyu Diaspora TV, Wanjiru revealed life was not easy for her even in the first years of her marriage.

According to her, she married the love of her life in 1993 after two years of dating and after a few years in marriage without a child, her mother-in-law started insulting and mistreating her.

“I met the love of my life and after dating for two years, we moved in together in 1993 and this is when things started going south. At home, everyone was on our case since we did not have a child. Fights from my mother-in-law became intense. There is no pain like being married and you have money but no child,” she said.

by Tuko

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‘I have no access to you,’ Frankie pens emotional letter to son, says he’s barred from seeing his kids



Fitness coach Frankie Kiarie has penned a touching letter to his firstborn son Lexi with Maureen Waititu.

The father of two showered his son with love and narrating how he brought so much joy to his life.

To My Son,

When you came into this world, you brought a love so pure I had never before experienced. When you spoke your first word, walked your first steps, I became your biggest fan. With every milestone you reached, I reveled in joy. You taught me the meaning of love — true, unconditional love.

As you continue to grow, you will live your own life. You will have times of happiness and times of disappointment. You will fall in love, and you will have your heart broken. Life has its ups and downs and is not always fair, but I know your strength and resilience will see you through.

May you always know your worth and how incredibly precious you are! As your Papa, it is my privilege to impart these important truths to you.

Frankie went ahead to reveal that he hasn’t seen his kids for a while now because he has no access to them.

‘Since I have no access to you, I’ll pass these words on and hope they find you. Be true to yourself always. Live your own dreams. Don’t take life so seriously. And, last but certainly not least, Know that I love you and will always be there for you. No matter what, I’ve got your back. You are my son and always will be. Happy Birthday Lexi,’ he wrote.

A few weeks ago, reached out to Maureen Waititu to respond to claims that she had barred Frankie from seeing their kids she denied.



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