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Is this the most cruel man in Kenya?



It was supposed to be an affectionate reunion for a Tharaka Nithi couple after nearly two months of being apart. But this was never to be.

The two are now worlds apart; the traumatised woman evacuated by her relatives to safety in Nyandarua while the man she once loved is on the run after allegedly ‘sealing’ her genitals.

The man, identified as James Kifo, is said to have returned home after a long sojourn in Nairobi and attacked his wife by first inserting pepper, salt and onions in her private parts using a sharp knife, before applying superglue mixed with sand to ‘seal’ it up.

Residents in shock

In an incident that has left residents of Kamatungu village in shock, Kifo, who has been described as troublesome, did the macabre acts as their three-year-old son watched.

It is the cries of the boy that alerted the neighbours about the gruesome attack on his mother that has seen the woman nursing serious injuries. In what reads like a scene from a horror movie, the suspect inexplicably escaped the blockade placed around the Nairobi Metropolitan Area to travel upcountry.

Tharaka South Police Commander Kiprop Rutto said the suspect is still at large. Mr Rutto said the suspect reportedly returned home from Nairobi on Saturday night and told his wife that they had to shift from their home to another location to avoid being arrested for leaving Nairobi area, which is under lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.

He said they left home but on reaching Kathita River, the man, who threatened to kill the woman, ordered her to undress. The suspect is said to have ordered the woman to name all the men she had slept with while he was in Nairobi.

After sexually assaulting her, he also sealed her ears and mouth with the mixture of glue and sand and left her for dead. Rutto, describing the attack as dehumanising, and said the police were on the suspect’s trail. “The guy did very bad things,” said Rutto.

Kifo told locals he worked as a watchman in Nairobi, but the police suspect he was involved in crime in the city.

When The Standard visited the area yesterday, locals were not willing to openly talk about the man, who another police source revealed had been on their list of wanted criminals. Recounting the incident, a man only identified as Murimi claimed the suspect had told the woman’s parents he would kill her.

Though she sustained injuries after being abused, the police said she was treated and discharged yesterday morning.

Sh2,000 fare

“On hearing about the ordeal, her parents sent Sh2,000 as fare for her to return home, as she feared for her life. But somehow the daughter did not run away as instructed,” said another villager privy to the rocky marriage between the two.

The police said the couple had a history of violence. The woman had run away a number of times to escape the abuse, but the man would woo her back, another villager said.

Stern warning “He arrived home in darkness and found the wife and child, and warned her against alerting anyone that he was around. He said he had managed to sneak out of Nairobi and that local police would arrest him if they knew,” said the source.

The man, the source said, had been on their radar as he had pending court cases after allegedly committing robberies locally and running away to Nairobi’s Utawala. “He managed to deceive the wife to leave the house with him and the son. He told her it was safer for them to go to his cousin’s home, not far away, because he feared the police might know he was around,” said the source.

The three of them left their home around 10pm but on reaching a secluded dark area, the man stopped her and ordered her to address. Not knowing why, she resisted but the man descended on her with slaps, rocking her body. It was at that point that he menacingly asked her to count how many men had slept with her while he was away. “She obliged and undressed.

From a bag he had carried, the man removed salt, pepper, onions and superglue and proceeded to assault her. As he did so, he instructed his son to hold the spotlight for him,” police said. It was the son’s cries that attracted locals in the vicinity, who ran to the woman’s rescue.

The attacker vanished in the darkness. “We are following strong leads. We are hot on his trail,” said the source, who revealed that the victim’s mother had picked her and left for Nyahururu. An official at Marimanti Sub-county Hospital said the woman was treated and discharged.


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2 Schools in Mombasa shut down as 15 teachers test positive for COVID-19 




Two schools at the Coastal region have suspended learning after 15 teachers tested positive for the drwaddd dreaded COVID-19 disease.

Eleven teachers at Tononoka High School and four teachers at the Star of the Sea Primary School including the headteacher tested positive for the covid-19 virus.

The teachers said they decided to take private tests after they began showing covid-19 symptoms.

Mombasa Education County Commissioner confirmed the two schools would resume learning after two weeks.

However, learners from both schools are yet to undergo testing for the virus.

The news comes at a time when standard eight and grade four pupils are to begin their assessment tests.

Students from the affected schools won’t sit for the assessment tests administered by the Kenya National Examination Council.

A Wednesday morning spot check raised concerns because some schools had missed out on the exams.

At Nyali school Mombasa, the headteacher said exams were on the way. At Moi Avenue Primary School in Nairobi, it was a quiet morning as students sat for exams one week after reopening schools.

Some teachers have raised concern after learning that some of their colleagues tested positive for the deadly virus.

In Uasin Gishu county, teachers said they had not received the examination papers.

The assessment tests were postponed because of Tuesday Mashujaa day celebrations.

KNEC has said grade four pupils exams will last from 10 minutes to two hours. The timetable also shows that class eight exams will last between 40 minutes and three hours.

The partial reopening of schools for form fours, standard eight, and grade four students signals second term session that will go for 11 weeks.

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Tweeting chief Francis Kariuki is dead



Nakuru’s Lanet Umoja location Chief Francis Kariuki, popularly known as the ‘tweeting chief’, is dead.

His family said he died at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, where he was rushed to for emergency treatment after experiencing breathing difficulties.

The tweeting chief died at the age of 55 years.

“My father fell ill on Tuesday and we first took him to Evans Sunrise Hospital in Nakuru before he was referred to the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, where he passed on, while receiving treatment,” his son, Ken Kariuki, told the Nation on phone.

His daughter revealed that Chief Kariuki has been ailing from diabetes for a long time.

The tech-savvy village chief of Lanet Umoja was known for using Twitter and other social media platforms to discharge his duties.

He received global attention in 2014 for using Twitter to fight crime.

Mr Kariuki led a community of more than 30,000 residents.

Via text message

His Twitter account shows he has about 60,000 followers and those who receive his tweets via text message are said to be in the thousands.

Subscribers get his tweets in real-time via free text messages and don’t need to have a Twitter account or an internet connection.

The chief could send them at any time of the day or night using his smartphone.

By the time of his death,

‘s tweeting had reduced the crime rate in Lanet Umoja.

He also used Twitter to encourage unemployed youth through messages of hope.

Early life

He was born and raised in Nakuru and attended Mereroni Primary School. He later joined Lanet Secondary School and Kigari Teachers Training College later.

He taught for 21 years in different schools as a teacher, four years as a deputy head teacher and six years as a head teacher at Lords School, Kambi Moto in Rongai Sub-County.

In 2009, he became the first chief of Lanet Umoja.

In 2015, he graduated with a degree in Counseling Psychology from Mount Kenya University, which he had been pursuing through virtual learning.


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Keeping our family coffee business picking



When 41 -year-old Gitau Waweru Karanja was a boy, he recalls spending his school holidays in his grandfather’s coffee farm with his cousins. His late grandmother would push them to pick berries to earn pocket money. Though he took up his parents’ passion in interior design and studied Interior Design in Kwa Zulu Natal University in South Africa, he did he know that one day he would wake up and smell the coffee and participate in running his grandfather’s coffee farm.

Gitau is the third generation of his family to manage Karunguru Farm, which belonged to his late grandfather Geoffrey Kareithi. Kareithi had bought the 300-acre farm in Ruiru, from a white settler in 1972. Gitau is married to Wangeci Gitau who grew up in Maragwa, in Murang’a where they also had a coffee farm.

Values instilled

For Wangeci, despite growing up in the coffee fields, she was more passionate about tourism and was a travel consultant before becoming a tour manager at a local company.

In 2012, she got an ectopic pregnancy, which put her on bed rest and thus was compelled to quit her job. When she recovered, she began assisting her husband. “By that time, my husband was selling modern house doors, but the business took a while to pick. Then we began selling milk from Karunguru Farm, but the milk production went down in 2016. The management, comprising of family members, told us to address the issue by becoming dairy managers. But when we joined the management of Karunguru Farm, we saw an opportunity in coffee tours,” she says.

Taking cue from South Africa where they do wine tourism and also export wine, Gitau and his wife sought to use that knowledge in their coffee farm. “We started Karunguru Coffee and Tours after we found out that despite it being our main export, it was being underutilised when it comes to tourism. So, here we take visitors through the journey that coffee has to go through before getting to your cup,” explains Gitau. Everything is done in Karunguru Farm— including value addition such as processing coffee, drying and even roasting. “We have our very own packaged Karunguru Coffee, which is available in the market,” he adds.

Their late grandfather instilled in them a love for each other and every holiday it is the family culture to meet and bond as a family. The grandpa also ensured that the farm management is shared amongst all his seven children who meet every week to discuss the business of the farm. Once they come to an unanimous decision, it is then passed on to their children, who implements their decision.

Before one is given any role, you have _ . to be qualified for the position. “It’s not about being favoured, but your qualification. I am in tourism, so I handle the tourism aspect, my husband is in operations. In fact, one applies for the position and then you are interviewed. If you qualify, you are placed on probation until the management is satisfied that you can handle the role well,” says Wangeci.

No entitlement

What makes family business go down is the fact that people who are less qualified are employed. Other people have to cover up for their messes and this creates bitterness and conflict. Gitau sometimes watches his nephews and nieces in the farm, giving them roles to check out whether they have interest in the farm or not before beginning to mentor them. Everyone begins from the lowest level and must know how to roast, pack, as well as prepare a cup of Karunguru coffee. This is to en inculcate the spirit of appreciation and value for the workers employed to do the role.

“My uncles always tell us that we didn’t come in the business because we are their children, but because of the passion we had in the business. With that, entitlement is killed and we ensure that we do our best to take the farm to higher levels,” says Gitau

They don’t entertain gossip,  ‘‘ but if someone has an issue, I then the person is invited ‘ to a meeting where one is confronted and told in love where they have missed the mark.


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