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Black man who was wrongly convicted released from prison 44 years later

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BY KEVIN KOECH

A Black man was freed from a North Carolina prison on Thursday after serving 44 years for a crime he maintains he didn’t commit.

Ronnie Long, wearing a dark three-piece suit, red tie and a hat, walked out of prison, wheeling his few belongings behind him. He raised his hands to the crowd and threw his arms around a loved one before addressing reporters.

“It’s been a long road,” Long said. “But it’s over with. It’s over with now.”

Wearing a mask that said “Free Ronnie Long,” he credited his advocates and loved ones for persevering through the long legal battle.

Long, now 64, was accused of raping a White woman. An all-White jury found him guilty of rape and burglary in 1976 and him sentenced to life in prison.

His conviction was vacated Thursday after the state of North Carolina filed a motion in federal court seeking to do so.

Since Long was convicted, “a trickle of post-trial disclosures has unearthed a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence,” US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote.

That evidence, which included semen samples and fingerprints from the crime scene that did not match Long, was deliberately withheld by law enforcement, Thacker said in the filing.

“Because of the deceit that occurred at trial, Ronnie and his counsel at the time didn’t have the benefit of that evidence to present to the jury,” Long’s attorney, Jamie Lau, a law professor at Duke University and a faculty adviser for the Duke Law Innocence Project, told CNN. “So he’s been wrongly incarcerated for 44 years.”

The withholding of evidence meant that Long was already facing an unfair trial, Lau said. But the racial dynamics at the time also worked against him.

Long was accused of raping a 54-year old White woman in Concord, North Carolina, on April 25, 1976. She reported that a perpetrator attacked her in her home, assaulted her and fled, according to the court filing.

About two weeks later, officers asked her to come to the courtroom and observe people who were there for other cases to see if anyone resembled her assailant, the court filing said. She ended up identifying Long, who was there on a trespassing charge, according to the filing. (The trespassing charge ended up being dismissed.)

After maintaining his innocence for 44 years, Ronnie Long will finally be freed. Ronnie, a @DukeLaw Wrongful Convictions Clinic client, said he is “overwhelmed” and looking forward to being home with his loved ones at last.

The case was tried by an all-White jury. Every witness for the prosecution was White, while every witness for the defense was Black, Lau said.

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God doesn’t listen to Sheng prayers – DJ Soxxy 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Celebrated gospel disk master DJ Soxxy has called out people who pray in Sheng’ claiming God might not answer such prayers.

The K24 TV host further urged people to use respectful names when talking to God, or He will not answer them.

“When you are praying in sheng’ and call God fathela and Big man Bazu, ati acheze kama yeye… hiyo maombi unaona ni kama itafika?” He posed.

Some netizens agreed with Soxxy, claiming that God deserves to be addressed using respectful names.

“It’s utter nonsense really… First we need to understand the person we’re addressing! the almighty, the great and terrible God. Language is often influenced by the audience you’re addressing. If you were speaking to a mere king, would you speak to them in such language?” one ray posed.

However, some netizens felt that God does not care whichever language you use to communicate with Him.

Some tweeps even went ahead to quote the Bible, acknowledging that when the tower of Babylon fell, people started speaking different languages.

“You are so wrong on this. god wants people who worship him in spirit and truth. he looks at the heart of men. FYI even the original bible was not written in English. Stop demonizing local languages, of which sheng is one of them,” Clayton quipped in.

Sheng’ language is becoming increasingly popular among Nairobi residents with the language evolving day in day out.

Political leaders are also using the language when trying to attract the youth to their side.

Recently, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua accused ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi of copying him using Sheng’.

According to Mutua, Sheng’ is his way of communicating with the youth.

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Court suspends KNH strike

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered striking KNH staff back to work pending the hearing of the case filed by the hospital.

In the Tuesday ruling, Lady Justice Maureen Onyango ruled that the strike was suspended until the case was heard and determined on October 6th.

For two days, beginning Monday, services at the national referral hospital came to a complete standstill. The staffers decried lack of implementation of a 2012 job upgrade agreement.

The health workers accused the Salaries and Remunerations Commission of failing to implement the resolution regarding salary re-categorization, following the job upgrade.

However, the SRC put brakes on the implementation process saying that the re-categorization did not involve a salary review. It was only meant to move to the hospital to a higher category.

The workers, including doctors, nurses and other members of the support staff, all refused to work. This meant that every activity in the hospital came to a halt.

Hospital management had also sent out a statement to the workers on Tuesday. They asked the workers’ unions to join them in the table as they sought an amicable end to the quagmire.

The 2012 agreement saw the advisory committee evaluate all parastatals which included referral hospitals. The evaluation upgraded jobs from level 3B to 7A, which meant that all 7000 KNH staff were subject to different salaries.

The KNH board, then, in 2019, approached the Treasury for funds to implement the new salary figures. The Treasury had set aside Ksh 2.4 billion for the process, handing KNH Ksh 601 million early 2020.

The strike forced many families to sick patients to seek medical attention from other facilities. The distraught families and patients called for a speedy resolution to the stalemate.

KNH is Kenya’s biggest referral hospital and serves up to 2000 patients daily.

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Louis Otieno announces TV comeback

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Former KTN news anchor, Louis Otieno, has finally announced his comeback after a long illness.

The TV Icon is set to launch his comeback with a brand new show dubbed ‘The Second Act’.

From the foregoing, it is clear that Louis Otieno is keen on reviving his media career.

Speaking to his fans through a video which surfaced online on 29th September, the TV icon revealed that he will soon return to their screens.

“For those who i am familiar to, I have missed you. I hope to see you soon. I plan to be back with a program called, The Second Act,” Louis Otieno said in the video.

“This has taken a lot of work. It is happening because certain people have put together time, money and efforts and want to see me back,” he added.

Louis Otieno revealed that since the country was facing a difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he wants to engage decision makers on various issues.

Additionally, he revealed that a few former Nation Media Group staffers had put together the show.

The TV icon has successfully battled a long illness.

At some point, the illness left him with a hearing impairment.

He could no longer hear properly and totally depended on reading peoples lips to understand what they were saying.

Louis developed Acute Pancreatitis in 2012 which impaired his hearing.

He appealed to Kenyans to help him raise money for hi surgery which would help him regain his hearing.

Louis thanked Kenyans for helping him raise the 4 million shillings which he needed for treatment.

“I reached out to the country and you came out. There are those who came out big and I am thankful to them,” he said.

Speaking on the same issue, the TV icon also revealed that the Cochlear Group of Kenya (COGK) hearing aids allowed him to regain his hearing.

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