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22 years later, blast victims still crying for compensation

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Victims and survivors of the 1998 US embassy bomb blast are still waiting for justice and compensation, 22 years after the first terror attack on Kenyan soil.

Duke Rading, who lost his wife, Margaret in the blast that left 224 people dead and 5,000 others injured says they feel shortchanged by the Kenya and US government, who have kept a studious silence since the blast that changed their lives forever.

“We just hear stories that victims and survivors of the blast are going to be paid. We have never received any compensation. When people call you saying that you are lucky that you now have some compensation you feel offended,” Rading says. The only money they got was Sh200,000 to cater for the burial expenses while a petition they had logged with the government seeking compensation was not successful.

“There was a time some American lawyers took our details to file a case in the US courts. We don’t know what happened to the case,” he says. In May this year, the US supreme Court sided with families and victims of the blasts in Kenya and Tanzania, clearing the way for their lawsuit against Sudan government over its alleged support of al-Qaeda and complicity in the attacks. The victims were seeking US$ 4.3 billion in punitive damages. In June, Sudan Foreign Minister Asmaa Abdallah told Al Jazeera that they had sent a delegation to Washington to negotiate with the victims’ lawyers and officials of the US department of State about the compensation.

However, as the nation marks the 22nd anniversary of the blast today, the victims and survivors say they do not hope to benefit from this settlement as it will largely benefit employees or contractors at the US embassy. To them, the events of August 7, 1998 might be blurry and distant footnote in Kenya’s history, but the memories of their loved ones and the horrific manner in which they lost their lives is still fresh in

their minds. Rading’s wife was working as an administration officer at the Egyptian Embassy when the blast happened, marking the end of a young marriage and leaving him with two children who were seven and nine years at the time.

“My children are now grown up. The last 22 years have not been easy for us. My wife and I were complementing each other. We were servicing a mortgage and our children were in a good school. Since then life has changed. It has not been easy playing the role of a mother and a father,” he says. After 22 years, Rading says he has had to accept what happened and count his blessings with the hope that one day they will get compensation for the loss of their loved ones.

“I know families who were worse off than I was so I have learnt to keep going. We stopped pegging our hope on compensation and moved on, but we will never forget the injustice meted against us,” he says.

Same aftermath

Anisa Mwilu, who lost her husband in the blast teamed up with 50 widows and filed a case at the High Court last year to seek compensation.

Anisa Mwilu, lost her husband Abdalla Musyoka Mwilu who was working at the Cooperative Bank, adjacent to the US embassy.
PD/ COURTESY

“We haven’t given up hope for compensation because it is not fair for the government to forget us just like that. This was the first terror attack on Kenyan soil and therefore if the government intends to set aside a fund to cater for victims of such events, then we should be the first to benefit,” she says. Mwilu says the memories of the incident are still etched in her mind.

“When I saw the Beirut explosion on Television this week, it reminded me of that day. I know the events were different but the aftermath was the same,” she says.

Her husband, Abdalla Musyoka Mwilu was working at the Cooperative Bank, which was adjacent to the US embassy.

“It was the first day he was reporting back to work after he suffered a stroke and he was still not able to walk well. I had just dropped him to the office and I was driving back home when I heard the blast. I turned back and went to his office. On reaching there it was so chaotic and everyone was running around confused. I just wanted to get into his office which was on the first floor and get him out. I couldn’t because the building was on fire and police were turning people away,” she narrates. It took her five days to finally trace her husband’s body at City Mortuary after searching for him in all hospitals and mortuaries in the city.

“It was the most painful day of my life. I asked myself so many questions. I was 30 years and I was looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together. We had three children to care of and I was utterly devastated,” she says.

Mwilu says they did not get any compensation, save for the fact the US government paid school fees for her children for three months and then stopped.

For Juma Kwayera, a veteran journalist, a trip to buy a television set for his children aged five and two, turned out to be an experience he will never forget.

“I was supposed to alight at Fig Tree stage. The driver of the Matatu just refused to stop there and brought me all the way to town. I alighted at the Development House and decided to walk into the Teachers Service Commission to sort out an issue first. The first blast went off when I was standing at the traffic lights. I thought it was a robbery attempt because there were so many banks around there. When the second blast went off, I knew it was something more serious and I ran and hid under a matatu that was parked nearby,” he says.

When he emerged, part of his face had been ripped off by glass and debris.

“It was a horrific scene and everyone was running around in a daze. I noticed that flesh was dangling from my face and people were looking at me and running away. I had to compose myself and get help. I remembered that I had a doctor who was a friend working at a hospital nearby. I started running towards there. Coincidentally, I met my wife who was working at the exam council near there and she was also running for her life. The level of hysteria I saw in her eyes scared me. She identified me and walked me to the hospital. The doctors there were so afraid I was going to lose my eyesight so they struggled for six hours to save my face. There were so many people coming in so I left the hospital at midnight,” he says. Juma, who was working at a local media house, says nothing prepared him for his children’s reaction.

“My children were five and two years of age. They were looking forward to me coming home with a TV. They were surprised to see me with bandages on my face. I remember my son vowing to kill the fool who dared do this to his father,” he says. The son is Dennis Juma, a famous rugby player. Juma later underwent reconstructive surgery to restore his face.

“I am grateful that I survived the incident because I later learnt that at least 14 people, who were in a KBS bus near where I was standing, died. It would have been worse so accepted what happened and moved on,” he says.

Kwayera, however, feels sad that the only money he got as compensation from the US government was Sh30,000.

By PD

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Business

MANY PHOTOS of the spectacular retirement home Sarah Kabu gifted her husband on his birthday

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Kenya’s Bonfire adventures MD, Sarah Kabu did the unimaginable for her husband over the weekend, after making a multi-million purchase of a retirement home for her husband, a dream come true on his birthday.

The famous Jabo Jabo couple gave fans a look into their simple yet rich retirement home during the celebrations that went down in Olpajeta, Nanyuki.

Inside Kabus retirement home

The pair gave us a look of the home’s exterior, fitted with large glass windows as walls of the different rooms upstairs, each well furnished with rare exotic African furniture.

The Kabus on baecation

Surrounded with bushes and trees at a distance, the couple did not think much of having a fence around their home, open to all who would pay a visit, with a sign board at the entrance with the words “Welcome to The Kabus retirement home.”

The front yard graced the parking lot while the backyard would be where the couple hosted their social events. With long dining tables and outdoor canvas seats setting the mood for a communal feel, allowing us a view of the large projecting balcony the duo had to enjoy the priceless views of the wild.

Sarah gifts Simon Kabu dream retirement home

In the presence of close friends and family, Mr Kabu was treated to a magnificent birthday event by his wife, Sarah who made his dreams come true with the surprise of his dream retirement home in the wild.

For Simon, as they drove through bushes and thickets, he first thought they were having a bush lunch only to his surprise to discover that his wife had brought to reality, his plans to own a private getaway in the wild when he needed to unwind from the city’s hustling.


The Kabus

Every time the couple would visit the Olpajeta conservancy, Simon would always wishfully admire “ningetaka kuretire hii place” but after Corona happened, his plans stalled. Hardly did he know that his wife was busy taking huge bank loans to give him his dream retirement home. What a love!

Have a look at the Kabu’s rich retirement home.

The Kabus

Kabus

Sarah &Simon Kabu

The Kabus getaway

Simon Kabu birthday

Mr Kabu birthday

Kabus’ retirement home

Inside The Kabus retirement home

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Entertainment

Young journalist who cried while interviewing President Uhuru Kenyatta identified

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The young journalist who was captured on video breaking down while interviewing President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa on Sunday evening has been identified as 20-year-old Dennis Mudi from Kakamega.

A video of Mudi crying went viral and has been shared on the interwebs.

Mudi says he was overwhelmed by the presence of the head of state and could not contain his emotions.

Rare encounter with Uhuru

On Sunday evening, Uhuru broke away from his security team to mingle with small scale traders who are based at Mama Ngina Waterfront Park in Mombasa. Part of the crowd was Mudi. The President exchanged greetings with him and to Mudi’s surprise, Uhuru agreed to give an unscheduled interview for his online MK TV channel.

The interview was held at the park around 6.30pm on Sunday.

Uhuru has been in Mombasa on a low key visit, inspecting projects and his tour has been closed to most journalists.

The video clip shows President Uhuru Kenyatta casually dressed – wearing a cap and a face mask pulled beneath his chin. He attentively follows the tearful ramblings of Mudi, an MK TV channel journalist.

The young journalist had travelled from upcountry to interview small scale traders for his show ‘Hustle mtaani’ which airs on MK TV.

“I was busy interviewing madafu and kachiri sellers when security people suddenly appeared and told people to sit and avoid unnecessary movement,” he says.

Mingling with traders

The President made an appearance without his security and started mingling with the traders; expressing interest in their wares and greeting them, to the surprise of all.

It was then that Uhuru noticed Mudi with his microphone and seeing that he obviously was not one of the traders, he approached him and started a conversation.

“I introduced myself as a journalist from Kakamega [who had come] to interview small scale traders for a show that we run at MK TV,” Mudi told Standard Digital.

Mudi says the President was very amused and genuinely pleased that he was giving the local traders a platform.

“He then surprised me by offering me an interview,” he says.

Dennis Mudi. [Courtesy, Standard]

After an emotionally charged interview which lasted nearly ten minutes, as Mudi was signing off, he became overwhelmed and broke down.

His composure dribbled out of him and he started losing it prompting the President to do his best to encourage the young man with nods and smiles as he patted his back reassuringly.

“I have a guest who is President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, It’s Unbelievable,,,,ooohh My God (sigh), he says repeating unbelievable over and over again.

“I am very thankful …” he says followed by sobs repeatedly before a final wail as he is completely overwhelmed by emotion.

The President offers his shoulder and the young journalist leans on it as he is consoled by Commander of the Armed Forces of the country.

Hoping to meet the President again

Mudi told Standard Digital that after the rare meeting, he was offered transport by an aide.

“I was also invited to meet the president at Statehouse although the call has not come through yet. I am eagerly waiting,” he said.

He says that he cried the way he did because it was unexpected and overwhelming.

“I have been in journalism for only three months, interviewed many people mostly traders but never in my wildest dream did I ever think someday I would interview the president himself. It was so overwhelming at some point I just broke down,” he says.

Mbui who uses his phone to shoot his interviews had to be assisted by a member of the presidential security detail to film the interview for him.

He says that the president offered to give him an exclusive interview and assured him that he would help him develop his station.

He said: “The president was so friendly and down to earth. Like I said, It’s totally unbelievable!”

BY SDE

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Entertainment

Mercy Masika calls out on Gospel artistes who have derailed the quality of gospel music

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Gospel singer Mercy Masika has deemed today’s Kenyan Gospel music as none inspiring and business-oriented, unlike some years back when singing for God was more intentional from a religious perspective.

Taking the matter to her Instagram page recently, the singer poured her heart out, stating today’s Gospel music has declined in quality, which undercuts the sole purpose of ministering to audiences. “The reason much of today’s music lacks inspiration and memorability is that people have blurred the lines and turned it into too much of a business,” she captioned.

The mother of two explained that some Gospel artistes often fail to remain true to their purpose of creating music. “It takes moral courage to remain true to inspire, impact and be true to who you are called to be,” Masika added. She went further to reiterate that music takes time to pay; she advised the younger generation of gospel musicians to remain authentic and avoid being led astray for monetary gains.

“Music often takes time to pay, but when it finally does, it pays very well. There’s a confidence that comes from being true,” she concluded. The award-winning musician could have been passing on a deliberate message to gospel-turned secular artistes who quit gospel music for greener pastures.

A while ago, controversial artiste Bahati defended himself as to why he left the gospel music scene for secular. In an interview, the artiste revealed that the gospel music industry is “rotten” and has always been criticized for being controversial. Bahati said he no longer felt welcomed in the gospel scene. However, the singer made it clear that leaving the gospel industry doesn’t mean his faith and belief in God has been compromised.

Bahati.

“I was fought a lot in the gospel industry, but I knew I was not doing gospel music for the people; I was doing it for God. I have just separated myself from the gospel industry for a while but not from God. Christ and the Lord is my personal saviour,” he said. He added that his songs are meant for his audience who listen to secular music and those who love gospel music.

By SDE

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