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Deprived innocence: Cries of Busia minors defiled by fathers

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Nabwire, 22, lets out a deep sigh, her face wet, and her eyes dull and sad as if she has never known happiness her entire life.

Her mother gently wipes her wet face as Nabwire leans forward, grabbing a piece of plain cloth, which she wraps around her neck, maybe to keep herself warm against the cold on a chilly morning.

Nabwire feels embarrassed thinking about the evening her own father defiled her after she returned from school. She was just 12. She looks shy and won’t turn to face the crew during the interview, as she begins narrating her ordeal, her back turned to the journalists. Her body shakes as she speaks of the evening that still haunted her.

Threat to kill

“I was a Class Four pupil when it happened. My father grabbed me, removed my panties and defiled me. He threatened to kill me if I told my mother or anyone else,” says Nabwire.

“I was left devastated, in fact, I contemplated suicide because I felt unworthy. I couldn’t believe my own father would do such a beastly act.” Things were even harder when three days later, it was discovered she had contracted HIV. To add salt to injury, she was thrown out of the home together with her mother for being “a disgrace” to the family just because her plight had been reported to authorities.

The matter had been reported to Adongosi Police Station, where the suspect was held and released in controversial circumstances before he ran to Uganda.Nabwire’s mother escaped with her and the siblings from their home one night.

“I received a call from my co-wife warning me that thugs had been sent to kill us at night. On opening the door, we saw some strangers arrive on motorcycles. We were lucky to escape unhurt,” explained Nabwire’s mother. Nabwire could not stand stigma from her peers and drop out of school.

“I do menial jobs to support my siblings and our mother.” Alima, another victim of defilement, recounted how her father sneaked into her bedroom and defiled her for many hours one night.

“My mother had just left to attend a funeral and my father came where I was sleeping and forcibly undressed me. A couple of weeks later, it was discovered I was pregnant,” narrates Alima. On sensing danger, the father vowed to kill Alima to avoid the embarrassment.  “I was sneaked out of the home and taken to Nairobi, where I lived with a relative until I gave birth.”

However, Alima’s baby was stolen from her, never to be found again. She has never known who stole it and where it was taken. Alima’s father was arrested by police from Bumala in Busia but later released in unclear circumstances.

“He escaped into Uganda and we only learnt of his return recently,” she says. Alima fails to understand why the suspect was left to go scot-free. Nereya was defiled by her trusted uncle when she was three. “I later started developing health complications only to learn that I was infected with HIV,” says Nereya.

Survives on ARVs

Currently, Nereya survives on anti-retroviral drugs that have kept her going. Several times she finds the drugs too strong to bear, particularly when her mother fails to get food. “On many occasions, I have collapsed because I would swallow the drugs on an empty stomach, which is not recommended.”

Another victim, Biliha, narrated how she was deceived to accompany her father into a shop to buy a gift. “He dragged me into a nearby thicket, tore my panties and defiled me several times before dumping me at the entrance to our home.”

Biliha has become a laughing stock in the village and at school.

“My colleagues always make fun of me. They accuse me of being ill-mannered because my father slept with me.” The father would later escape into Uganda moments after he was released by officers at Bumala police station. On June 17, last year, Sheila was defiled by her grandfather inside the latter’s bedroom. “He asked me to go into the house to collect some food but followed me and threw me into his bed.”

The victim narrated how the grandfather tied her hands, causing the grievous body injuries that have left her maimed. Bilha’s mother caught the old man red-handed defiling her daughter.

Scars on Bilha’s hands and legs are a stark reminder of the beastly act.

The old man allegedly planned a second attack, where Bilha was accosted by some men on her way to school one morning. The men dragged her into a thicket and gang-raped her. “He (grandfather) had vowed to teach me a lesson after we reported the first incident,” she says. Like in the earlier cases, the suspect went scot-free. Many such cases have been reported in Busia County.

Mary Makokha, who is in charge of Rural Education and Economic Programme, said at least 13,638 cases of defilement have been reported to her office so far. “No day ends without a case being reported here. Communities here appear to have normalised defilement, incest and gender-based violence,” says Makokha. She says perpetrators of defilement and incest always buy their freedom at police stations and even in courts. “We had a case where we were waiting in one court as the suspect was being set free in a different court. When they come back to the village, they will always brag.”

“We have cases that have been dragging in court for over seven years. Files going missing is rampant. Perpetrators are let off the hook at the expense of the victims,” says Makokha. Sometimes victims are duped into writing a second statement after some time over claims that the original file went missing only for the crucial information to be left out. One family whose four-year-old daughter was defiled got justice after the case file was traced at Korinda prison, yet the perpetrator was roaming free. He was later rearrested and jailed.

NB: Names of victims have been changed to conceal their identities.

By Standard.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Ministers’ Baringo trips elicits discussions on Senator Gideon Moi’s political ambitions

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It might have largely gone unnoticed but for keen observers, a tour of Baringo County by three Cabinet Secretaries, separately in less than two weeks, could provide a significant bearing on the evolving political landscape.

First to arrive was Agriculture’s Peter Munya and his assistant Linah Jebii Kilimo on June 26 followed by Sicily Kariuki of Water three days later to inspect ongoing works at Chemususu Dam in Eldama Ravine subcounty.

Munya, who was also accompanied by Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai, launched a livestock vaccination exercise in Loruk (Tiaty) and later at Emining in Mogotio sub- county. In both instances, Munya delivered “greetings” from Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Significantly, it was also the week that the senator represented President Uhuru Kenyatta during the inauguration of new Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera in Lilongwe.

It is noteworthy that Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) share the same colours with Kanu in red, black and green as we as the cockerel.

“As we celebrate this victory, I wish to express our gratitude to him on behalf of the Moi family for having stood with us when we lost Mzee in early February and having attended the funeral at Kabarak,” Senator said in a message posted on his Facebook page.

“We shall forever remember that very humbling gesture of goodwill at our lowest,” he added.

Fascinating week
Thereafter, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru capped off a fascinating week when he launched 4G Internet connectivity courtesy of Google Loon and Telkom Kenya at Radat in Mogotio subcounty.

Mucheru excited residents when he linked them with President Kenyatta via video interaction and conversation that lasted for about five minutes. The visit also took him to Eldama Ravine where he had a session at the Rift Valley Innovation Centre (RVIC).

During the call, Uhuru urged residents of Baringo to push the sales of their honey and other products through online platforms describing it as ‘probably the best in the world.”

Kibet Cheruiyot alias Amkich Karanja, a youth who spoke to Uhuru on behalf of the residents assured him that they are going to put the 4G internet into good use. “It is a life opportunity to speak to the President,” he said later on.

Clear of politics

The Loon service will initially cover a region spanning about 50,000 sq kms, including Elgeyo-Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho and Narok counties.

“I want to see you making online sales of honey in Baringo. It is probably the best in the world,” the President said.

Although Mucheru steered clear of politics, opting instead to focus on the day’s agenda; the ongoing political realignments in the country and the brutal purge meted out on Deputy President William Ruto’s allies may give a clue.

“Senator Moi who is the chairman of ICT Committee in the Senate has been on my case to make sure that we have the connectivity, so I am very happy that today I can actually report to him that we have full connectivity here in Baringo,” said Mucheru.

“I know wherever he is now he is extremely happy he has seen that actually we have been able to fulfill some of the promises we made; that we actually connect the whole country, 100 per cent with 4G,” he stated.

Gideon is trying to carve out a niche for himself in the vote-rich Rift Valley and at

the national arena where he recently guided Kanu into signing a post-election coalition agreement with Jubilee.

While it was previously thought that Uhuru would hand over the baton to Ruto in 2022, recent political tremors have seen the latter pushed to the periphery and out of succession plans.

According to Kiptum Binott, a political analyst and a former civic leader, Uhuru is sending early signals that Moi is his preferred successor. He said this was the first time residents have witnessed three ministers visit the region within a week.

“As a keen political observer and commentator on socio-economic events in the country, I am seeing Uhuru sending signals that he prefers Senator Moi to take over from him,” he said, adding: “The people of Baringo should be prepared to receive more visitors and goodies ahead of the 2022 presidential election,” he said.

THE PUZZLE

• First to arrive was Agriculture CS Peter Munya and CAS Linah Jebii Kilimo on June 26 followed by Water CS Sicily Kariuki three days later inspecting ongoing works at Chemususu Dam, Eldama Ravine

• Thereafter, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) CS Joe Mucheru capped off a fascinating week when he launched 4G Internet connectivity courtesy of Google Loon and Telkom, Kenya at Radat in Mogotio

By PD

 

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Health

Mediamax employee tests positive for Covid-19, colleagues asked to self-isolate

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Several employees of the Mediamax Network Limited have been ordered to self-isolate after an employee from the finance department tested positive for Covid-19.

An internal memo sent to the Mediamax employees and seen by Nairobi Newsrevealed that the affected employee had already self-isolated at his home.

“Please be informed that one employee in the Finance Department has tested positive for Covid-19 after exhibiting mild symptoms. The employee has already self-isolated in accordance with home-based care guidelines,” the memo signed by CEO Ken Ngaruiya reads in part.

The company, which owns and runs K24 TV and Milele FM, on Monday locked down its third floor offices until Tuesday and it is expected to be fumigated.

Mr Ngaruiya also said that plans were underway to decongestant the office in a bid to control the spread of the novel disease.

He further indicated that already the company had started to trace people who came into contacts with the said employee.

Last week, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation also announced that two members of its staff had tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Monday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced that 189 more people had tested positive for Covid-19 with 12 fresh deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.

The infections annonced on Monday raised the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kenya to 10,294.

BY NN

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Diaspora

Our love story

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Chami is from Indiana in the US. She visited Kenya for the first time in 2011 when she was 17 on a charity mission with her church. After she returned home two weeks later, she could not stop thinking about Kenya, sure that this was where her destiny lay, even though she could not explain why.

“We stayed at a guest house around Yaya (Centre in Nairobi), close to the orphanage our church had assigned us to. We would hold the babies and help feed and clean them. On our last day, we visited Kibera slums courtesy of one of our members who had made numerous trips to Kenya in the past,” she says.

That visit left a lasting impression on her.

“I was yanked out of my little bubble and awoken to a new reality. By then, I’d fallen in love with the culture and the warmth of the Kenyan people I’d met, and on my flight back home, I felt in my gut that I’d to return, but never did I imagine that meant a permanent immigration,” she adds.

Her yearning to return was so pronounced that her elder brother once teased her, saying, “Chami, you keep making reference to Kenya, did you score a boyfriend there on your last trip?”

Two years later, in 2013, she informed her parents that she wanted to return indefinitely. To her surprise, they gave her their blessings.

PACKED BAGS

“I was brought up amongst four brothers, which toughened me up and made me independent [and] which perhaps explains why I packed my bags and decided to move to a foreign country, thousands of miles away, where I barely knew anyone,” she says.

She dropped the bombshell over breakfast.

“I said, ‘Mom, dad, there’s something you need to know, I want to relocate to Kenya.’ They simply looked at each other and smiled, then mom placed her palm over my sweaty fist and said, ‘it’s been a long time coming, we have been waiting.”

She adds: “I’d been prepared for a contest because my three elder brothers had joined university straight from high school and I had shown interest in wanting to become a nurse,” she explains.

For a year before their relocation to Kenya, Chami and her best friend Holly Peters tirelessly fund-raised for the trip from family and friends. As the trip neared, they made accommodation plans with their Kenyan contact, Moses Wafula, whom they had met on their first trip.

Come 2013, they were ready to make the big leap. They bought baby toys and clothes, packed their bags, and after an emotional farewell party thrown by their families, they set out for Kenya.

WATCHING MOVIES

“I slept through most of the flight while Holly stayed awake watching movies. At 11.30 pm after check out, we spotted our contact Moses at the exit standing next to the white van that would take us to our new home in Olympic, Kibera.”

Moses and his friends, including John, who ran a feeding programme in Kibera, had got the two a place at their married friends’ three-bedroom house, where they lived for a month until they got their own one-bedroom flat in the same area.

The first six months of their stay were dedicated to learning Swahili. With no source of income and fully dependent on the fund-raised money, the two friends had to learn to work with a tight budget.

Their apartment almost always had children coming in and out to play with the toys, which hastened their grasp of Swahili.

Chami and Holly also began helping out with the feeding programme, which would be the beginning of a love story she and John cherish. Says John: “Once a week, my friends and I, who were raised in Kibera, would gather children from the neighbourhood and serve them a meal, but the number of children kept swelling every week and we began to get overwhelmed in terms of money as well as a helping hand.”

It was, therefore, a relief when Chami and Holly joined them on a voluntary basis, and before long, the six of them had formed a formidable team.

BIBLE LESSONS

“Feeding took place at a community hall in Olympic, close to where we lived. We would wake up around 4am to get the fire started, while the girls would join us at around 6am to help cook,” recalls John.

“The first child would walk into the hall around 9am carrying a plate, and after their meal, we’d engage them in singing and bible lessons. Within months, the children had grown to hundreds, and Holly and I decided to help finance the project,” says Chami.

There was also a shift in age group attendance, with teenagers thronging the hall as well, prompting the group to expand the initiative and start offering guidance and counselling.

This is how Born To Shine, BTS, came about.

couple

John Mwatu Oyoo and his wife Chami Lu Anne Oyoo and their children Brielle Praise and Jasmine Rose during the interview in Nairobi on May 30, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At the moment, BTS brings together about 30 teenagers who learn life lessons on Fridays, Bible study on Wednesdays, and prayer sessions every Monday. Once in a while when money allows, the group goes on hikes and camping, which is a good bonding experience for all of them.

I was awed by her patience

Onto the lover story…

“On several occasions, I caught John looking at me in a certain way; I even once caught him absent-mindedly staring at me while I took some girls through a Bible class but I thought nothing of it,” says Chami.

John smiles and says: “I was awed by her patience towards the children and how dedicated she was to this project. I was getting attracted to her.”

A few months later, Chami and Holly decided to move to a bigger house, a two-bedroom apartment, and on this day, their friends, including John, came to help them move. Chami noticed that John was more attentive to her than he usually was, and would not allow her to carry heavy luggage, besides repeatedly asking whether she was fine.

A few days later, as they were going about serving the children at the community hall, a small boy fell and broke a thumb. John and Chami went to his rescue and rushed him to hospital where he had to undergo surgery. The two ended up spending the rest of the day at the hospital’s waiting room waiting for the boy’s guardian to arrive.

“We had no option but to bond. I picked up that John was very keen on current affairs, which I found attractive and still do.”

Says John: “As unexpected as that day was, it turned out to be our first date. Before then, Chami and I had never been alone together. We were always in the presence of other people. Besides her being beautiful, I was won over by how humble and modest she was.”

By the time the boy’s guardian arrived at 5pm, the two had developed a connection which emboldened John to ask Chami out on a date.

“But she wouldn’t agree to a date until I called her parents to seek their permission. She gave me her dad’s number, and out of fear, it took me a week to make that call. Mobile network was poor and our accents were a barrier, but I eventually got his approval to date his daughter,” says John, amused at the memory.

“Our courtship was humble because we directed most of our money to our community project. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful courtship. We took nature walks, went hiking and shared jokes that only the two of us could understand, besides serving our community together,” says Chami.

They also found out that besides their love for serving, both of them were brought up in Christian homes where church was introduced at an early age and encouraged through their younger years. Also, both came from happy homes characterised by a lot of laughter and support from their parents.

In 2014, sure that she was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, John proposed.

“I bought Chami a ring, and on her birthday, I wore an orange, floral shirt (which used to be my lucky shirt until she threw it out after we got married) and took her to a modest Chinese cake shop and proposed. She said ‘yes’.”

Both their parents, John says, were happy about their upcoming marriage, and being the parent nearest them, John’s father took time to counsel them before their wedding in 2015.

In April of that year, on a cold rainy day, the couple held a small church wedding with 30 guests. Unfortunately, Chami’s family was not able to attend, and followed the ceremony via Skype.

“We would have wanted them to be there, but had to make peace with [their absence]. The wedding was beautiful! I especially enjoyed the photo session and the dancing,” she says.

John describes his first visit to Indiana as “very surprising”.

THREE MONTHS

“I expected the usual official treatment in-laws receive in my culture, but was pleasantly surprised by how laid back their culture is. My father-in-law welcomed me with a hug and even let me stay in his home during the duration of our visit.”

They visit Chami’s family once a year for three months. Recently, the couple, who have two daughters, celebrated their fifth anniversary. Their marriage has not been without challenges, especially due to the glaring cultural differences.

“Fish was a recurring subject at the beginning of our marriage because Chami could not bring herself to eat tilapia with the “head staring” at her, as she put it.

“However, where I come from, tilapia is a delicacy eaten whole. We only leave the bones. We feast on everything else,” says John eliciting laughter from Chami, who adds that to date, she cannot bring herself to eat omena, which John loves.

Cook Kenyan foods

Another challenge is Chami’s skin colour, which John says has exposed the couple to some level of bias. Some place her on a pedestal, while many more assume that she has lots of money due to her skin colour.

Chami says that besides these, the other challenges have been easier to navigate with technology, including learning how to cook Kenyan foods.

“I learnt to cook most Kenyan dishes by watching YouTube videos. I especially love cooking chapatis and samosas. I also learnt to care for my daughters’ beautiful curly hair through YouTube. The trick is to minimise shampooing, keeping it moisturised and using certain oils.”

GOOGLE MAPS

And when travelling on her own, Google Maps has ensured that she gets home every time she visits new places. Over time, she says, they have found a way to navigate the challenges. They currently live in Kajiado North, Kajiado County.

Meanwhile, they continue with their community projects in Kibera. As they carried out their BTS programme, they noticed that there was a gap between the time a teenager left high school and joined college, a gap they decided to fill by forming what they call ‘ex-candidate programme’.

They teach life lessons and skills such as cooking, baking, driving lessons and computer classes, skills they believe will, to a large extent, prepare their young charges for the real world.

In 2016, the couple and their friends officially registered Endless Frontier Foundation.

“Our vision is to reach the youth of Kibera while still young and offer discipleship and leadership skills,” says John, who works full time for the organisation as a director.

The group gets most of its funding from Endless Frontier Foundation-US in form of grants, as well as from individual donors. However, the needs surmount the money they manage to raise, but despite this, they trudge on, determined to make a positive impact on the lives of youth in their community.

Covid-19 has exposed many poor families in the slum to abject poverty, forcing them to divert more money to the feeding programme and food donations.

So far, they have provided food relief to 189 families and are calling upon well-wishers to donate to help feed more families.

At the moment, the initiative feeds over 1,000 children every year and has seen great transformation in the lives of many. For instance, this year, three girls that they support were admitted at Moi Girls High School on sponsorship basis while one boy was admitted at Sunshine Secondary School.

Though 2020 has been the most challenging year for the group’s charitable initiatives, they are hopeful that the future holds better prospects.

Would you want to help?

Send your contribution to:

Account Number

0382218002

Endless Frontier Foundation

Diamond Trust Bank

By Nation

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