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Vote-rich Luhya now a Tower of Babel

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Two new community spokesmen, a grieving former spokesman, a dethroned party leader, a de-whipped chief whip and a boisterous schemer.

This surmises the situation unfolding in Western, following a chain of events in the last few days, which has upset the region’s political order and invoked a new wave of political soul searching.

It is a multi-pronged fight; different leaders fighting for different causes, but all carrying with them the destiny of the vote-rich Luhya basket. Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi is staking his all to reclaim his fast slipping community spokesman role.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa are sticking their necks to give their fresh coronations as spokesmen, a meaning. Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula is firing on all cylinders to save his dear Ford-Kenya from take-over by Eseli Simiyu team.

And while Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli is regaling in his new “kingmaker” status, having triggered recent events, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali is staring at a bleak political future, following his demotion by Jubilee. The region is wailing in every direction as President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s shadows loom large.

“Luhyas are not like other communities like Luo, Kalenjin or Kikuyu that follow their kingpins blindly. For them, they determine what they want and the leaders have to follow them and articulate their wishes,” Prof Egara Kabaji told The Standard yesterday on the new wave of fight for the soul of Western. Disappointed by Monday’s coup in Wetang’ula’s Ford-Kenya, a group of 22 MPs from the region, together with Mudavadi, told Raila to forget the region from his political considerations. They said he has consistently taken their support for granted.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Atwoli brags about his prowess in bedroom matters with his latest wife Mary Kilobi

The coup was preceded by a luncheon hosted by Atwoli last week, where about 40 regional leaders endorsed Oparanya and Atwoli as co-spokesmen of the community to replace Mudavadi.

“We state categorically that Oparanya, Atwoli and Eugene can’t speak for the Luhya community. Our issues can’t be canvassed outside our native land. Nobody is to organise us or presume to speak for us,” the leaders allied to Mudavadi and Wetang’ula said. They later said they the two were the community’s spokespeople.

No support at home

However, Oparanya and Atwoli responded immediately, dismissing the Mudavadi/Wetang’ula axis, saying some of them do not have support at home.

Oparanya, who is also the chairman of the Council of Governors (CoG), maintained that he has always worked together with Luhya leaders and was amazed at the accusations levelled against him.

“We have been supporting other candidates for presidency for years. Now is not the time for noise. Our opportunity is with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) where review of the law will allow the winner of a presidential contest not to take it all,” Oparanya said.

He faulted Mudavadi and Wetang’ula for putting roadblocks on the path for Luhya unity and always behaving as if they own the community.

“I am a governor who runs the county from Kakamega. I am always on the ground. No one can accuse me of not knowing what is happening with our people. Show me the supporters of the two leaders. Western has four counties. Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has three governors. Ford Kenya has one. Can Mudavadi and Wetang’ula claim to have support in Western?” Oparanya posed.

READ ALSO:   Atwoli ecstatic after son Lukoye lands plum job at top varsity

He said the two leaders were at first reluctant to attend the BBI meeting hosted in Kakamega. “When they realised that is what people wanted, they dashed there at the last minute. Mudavadi is always addressing media alone at his centre in Nairobi. He can’t claim to be speaking for Luhyas,” Oparanya said.

Atwoli was more scathing, dismissing the duo and their allies as sell-outs working for Ruto.

Popular leader

“I used my own resources to carry out research done by the University of Nairobi to find out a popular leader among the Luhyas. I used the same resources to make Mudavadi our Luhya spokesperson prior to the 2017 General Election. He can’t turn round and accuse me,” he said. At that time, Atwoli said, Wetang’ula was furious about naming Mudavadi the Luhya spokesperson.

“He called me names but I want to assure them that I have nothing to do with what is happening in Ford-K and ANC. My party is Kanu and I shouldn’t be dragged into local parties belonging to fence-sitters who have no idea of what is happening in Kenya,” he said.

Atwoli said the two do not have the majority support among Luhyas and his wing has the numbers. He is now accusing those who assembled at Wetang’ula’s home as brigades of Ruto, out to use the Luhya community for selfish reasons.

READ ALSO:   Our lives are in danger, Wamalwa’s children say

“Dr Chris Wamalwa and Ben Washiali are Ruto men. That is why they were removed from parliamentary positions. They can’t purport to speak for Luhyas. We will resist them,” he said.

He said he is currently working on issues affecting workers and has no time for failures. According to Mudavadi, Western leaders need to own their space and not be intimidated into taking positions.

He likened the quick succession of events in the region to people being forced to make choices at gun point: “We are being cocooned into a corner of loyalty for pledges. Today it is Wetang’ula, tomorrow it will be me and when you continue laughing at this unfortunate scenario, tomorrow it will be you and we will watch you suffer,” Mudavadi said.

On the Jubilee side of things, the battle between Ruto and Kenyatta has split the Jubilee pointmen in the region down in the middle. Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Washiali can hardly see eye to eye.

Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe was made the National Assembly Chief Whip, replacing Washiali at yesterday’s Jubilee coalition PG. Others like former CS Rashid Echesa and former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale are lying low for now.

By Standard.co.ke

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Rich men the target of violent robberies in fake online love affairs

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On November 28 last year, American Philipe Chiliade landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to meet his gay lovers whom he had fallen in love with after a brief encounter on Facebook.

Chiliade was chauffeured out of the airport in a cab and taken to a single room in Pipeline estate in Nairobi, where his life would turn into misery, in the hands of the purported lovers.

He was extensively tortured and robbed of everything by men who had promised romance but left him nursing serious injuries while slowly accepting the reality that he had lost everything to lust.

He was rescued by members of the public who intercepted a car he was being driven in back to the JKIA – where he was to be dumped.

The man driving the car – Fredrick Mutua – was handed over to officers at Embakasi Police Station.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

During interrogation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Mutua claimed he had been invited by his cousins to cook for ‘friend’, Chiliade, as they attended to some other matters to attend to. He further claimed that he had travelled from Kithyoko in Machakos County to do the errand for a fee.

READ ALSO:   Washiali: I have no regrets losing top House seat

Detectives believed him after they established that Chiliade had been hoodwinked to travel to Nairobi from South Africa and had not communicated to Mutua prior to the incident. They were seemingly wrong.

Mutua was part of the four-man gang. His three accomplices had escaped with Chiliade’s money believed to be more Sh2 million, his travel documents and other personal belongings.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

Chiliade had left his husband after he was hoodwinked by his newfound lovers, unaware that their intention was to rob him.

On December 2, 2019, Inspector Anderson Miriti of Embakasi DCI offices presented Mutua at Makadara Law Courts seeking orders to hold him for a week to assist police trace his cousins.

Mr Miriti told Senior Principal Magistrate Stephen Jalang’o that investigators were gathering evidence from JKIA and Kithyoko where the suspects were believed to have taken the loot, and Mutua would be a prosecution witness.

Catherine Mumbi Kivuva, a suspect in one of the cases.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

Mutua was freed thereafter as DCI continued to pursue his three cousins wanted for the crime.

Things went silent until Sunday, October 11, this year when Mutua was arrested in Ruaka, where he was caught red-handed while torturing and robbing Turkish national Bubak Amrullah.

READ ALSO:   Our lives are in danger, Wamalwa’s children say

Police say Amrullah had been lured into the house by Mutua’s female accomplice, Catherine Mumbi Kivuva, when he (Mutua) and his cousins Bernard Mbunga and Kelvin Nzioki descended on him.

Fredrick Mutiso at Makadara law courts on December 2 last year.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

The DCI detectives from Lang’ata were trailing Mutua and his accomplices in connection with a robbery in Imara Daima, Nairobi, where an Asian businessman was robbed after he went to meet his online lover who invited him to her house for sex.

The businessman had gone to Mutua’s cousin Mary Mukii Kioko’s house when he was attacked.

Online dating

Ms Kioko, an actress with a production outfit in Machakos, was charged with violently robbing the victim of Sh453,000 jointly with others while armed with a knife on September 22 in Lang’ata.

Deelano Kiilu.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

Her cousins, Mr Mutua, Mr Mbunga and Mr Nzioki are all in custody at the Nyayo police station while Ms Kioko is awaiting bail and bond application ruling after Chief Magistrate Abdul Lorot of Kibera Law Courts asked for her social inquiry report before setting the terms.

The four suspects in police custody had escaped DCI’s dragnet in Imara Daima in Embakasi on October 3, where their cousins Ms Kioko and Mr Mutua’s brother Gideon Mbusu were arrested.

Lang’ata police commander Gregory Mutiso said police have identified the online dating-related robbery as a new trend in crime involving criminals who are luring men on the internet.

Mr Mutiso said the gangs are targeting wealthy men who have families and reputations at stake. These cases increased after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic with many people forced to stay and work indoors.

Mr Mutiso said the biggest challenge in bring the culprits to book is the reluctance of the victims to come forward and report after they have been robbed.

For example, the Asian victim allegedly robbed by Ms Kioko and her accomplices claimed he was abducted in Nairobi West although he met the suspects on Mombasa Road.

“We have seen reluctance among some men who don’t want to report because some of them are family men and being exposed. We have a challenge because others don’t even want the cases to proceed. I know many have been robbed but don’t want to come out because for fear of being embarrassed,” Mr Mutiso said.

“In one case, a complainant, who was robbed nearly half a million, has completely declined to record a statement. Even if you take the suspect to court, they will eventually be acquitted.

Some of the items recovered from Catherine Kivuva’s house, according to detectives.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

“I am warning men to be careful. If you are seeking a relationship, date a person that you can see and not online because you don’t know the person you are chatting with. These men are using pictures of beautiful and curvy women to lure you and very few (men) can resist,” he added.

Mr Mutiso is appealing to men who have been robbed in this manner to forward and report to the police.

He says an identification parade will be conducted to pick out the culprits, then cases will be referred to the police jurisdictions where the crimes happened.

The police boss said detectives are ready to help all men who have been robbed in the same way and promised confidentiality.

These criminals not only target foreigners.

A 38-year-old woman who lured her online lover, before four men, including one claiming to be her husband, stormed the house and joined her in allegedly robbing him, was charged with robbery with violence before the Makadara Law Courts on June 24.

Eunice Wambui was charged with robbing Dennis Ntabo of his phone worth Sh23,000, an ATM card, a chain worth Sh1,500 and Sh5,000 in Kahawa West in Nairobi on May 18.

She was also accused of transferring Sh15,946 from Ntabo’s M-Pesa account.

Mr Ntabo, 32, was delivering electronics to a client and decided to contact Ms Wambui – his then Facebook girlfriend – to quarantine in her house because he could not beat the then 7pm curfew deadline.

Ms Wambui took him to her house and, a few minutes later, four men stormed the house and tortured him the whole night.

Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

Protection and Safety Association of Kenya (PROSAK) Secretary-General Deelano Kiilu said the incidents, which are spiking in the country, are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic because people have been forced to stay at home and remain online.

As such, Kiiu explains, men on the internet begin to live in the universe surrounded by galaxies of online activities.

This, combined with psychological pressure and loneliness, especially for single men, Kiilu says, has presented a great opportunity for criminals easily lure their victims into their traps.

Honey traps

“What we are seeing is a trend called the honey trap. A man will stumble on a picture or a video of a very beautiful ‘woman’ online who he will then be tempted to reach out to and to chat with. She will seem very open and willing to talk to him and will slowly entice him into a relationship on the internet,” Kiilu says.

“When a man believes he is going to get value out of that relationship, he is then lured into a trap of physical entanglement with this ‘woman’. But that occurs at either the ‘woman’s’ home or in a secluded location where he can be taken advantage of by ‘her’ collaborators in the activity.”

Mr Kiilu said the women are aware that psychologically men are attracted to beauty so the women are using that allure to draw the man into the honey trap.

The worst scenarios that have been perpetrated are men posing as women online to entice a man into an entanglement.

But when the man reaches the destination, he finds men waiting for him. They will pounce on him, blackmail, torture and even rob him as in the recent cases.

Mr Kiilu said people create personas on various online dating portals.

Sometimes, Mr Kiilu said, the traps can be laid on an innocent Facebook page, Instagram or Snapchat and other dating sites like Tinder and Grindr.

A victim then finds himself lured into an online conversation. The scammers are usually reluctant to have a telephone conversation but are willing to have a lot of online chatting, say all the right things and lure a man, Mr Kiilu said.

“When they use this honey trap to lure a man to get to the particular location, the game is over. He is robbed of what he has and abandoned. In a lot of the cases we have seen, since the victims fear embarrassment, they don’t report to the police. They decide to leave and live very quietly,” Mr Kiilu said.

“In one incident that happened in Ngumo estate, a man woke up and found himself naked in a bed in his hotel room. The hotel management told him that he came in with some women and paid for everything. Apperently, the man woke up three days later without a single cent and his bank accounts cleaned. His ATM cards had been used to wipe clean his banlk accounts.”

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Ruth Matete welcomes bouncing baby girl 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Gospel singer Ruth Matete has finally welcomed a bouncing baby girl, Toluwa, months after her husband’s demise.

Sources have intimated that the Tusker Project Fame (TPF) winner went into about earlier in the week before her due date and delivered through Caesarian Section (CS)

Taking to Instagram, the singer acknowledged the warm wishes sent by fans and friends stating that her bundle of joy had arrived.

“I have not ignored your kind and warm messages of congratulations. Thank you so much glory to God! Ni mimi wenyu, Mchungaji Ruth Matete, ukipenda mama Toluwa, ukipenda Madam big belle,” she wrote.

Last month, the singer opened up on dealing with grief months after her husband died due to sustained injuries from a gas accident at home.

Through an Instagram post, the singer narrated that grief was not an easy thing to deal with as some days are completely hard.

She further indicated that she sometimes gets conflicted about taking too long mourning about her late husband while at the same time she thinks she is being hard on herself.

“Truth is some days are very hard. When death knocks at your door, there’s nothing you can do.

READ ALSO:   Our lives are in danger, Wamalwa’s children say

“Some days, voices in my head tell me am taking too long in this mourning phase. But I have made up my mind not to be hard on myself,” she wrote.

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Sonko gives City tenants six months waiver on rent

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has extended rent waiver for tenants residing in City County Government houses for six more months citing COVID-19 financial challenges.

In a statement, Sonko accused officers of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) of harassing vulnerable city residents over rent arrears despite the current economic crisis occasioned by the pandemic.

“My attention has been drawn to the outcry of a majority of tenants occupying residential houses belonging to the Nairobi City County Government, following persistent harassment by officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over rent arrears

“I do hereby extend the waiver earlier granted for a period of a further six (6) months from the date of this letter, as our residents continue to recover economically from the effects the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sonko said.

The Governor’s move is expected to trigger a standoff with the Major General Mohamed Badi-led Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and tenants

READ ALSO:   Atwoli proposed to me but I said NO due to his advanced age, says Mary Kilobi
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