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Mothers’ long and painful quest for court award after sons disappeared



“We are just two strangers who met through the disappearance of our sons. We are now bonded by our pursuit for justice long after the court ruled that the state should pay us Sh5 million each.”

That is how Sarah Muyera (pictured)  and Eunice Kajairo describe their friendship. Every day, they hope someone will give them a clear brief on what happened to the money they were to be awarded, or if they will ever get it.  Their story begins in 2016. They returned to their respective homes and found their sons missing. A witness, Hermaton Idaki, told them their sons Erickson Aluda and Brian Nzenze had been taken by police at Kawangware market at around midday.

Aluda was riding a boda boda and Nenze was his pillion passenger. Policemen in Toyota Land Cruiser registration number GKA 875X stopped them. An altercation ensued. They were then bundled in the police car and that was the last time the duo, in their early 20s were seen. The witness who reported the incident was found dead by the roadside three weeks later, deepening the mystery.

Nobody knows what happened to Nzenze and Aluda. Details on why they were taken by the police are scanty. In a winding court case marked with tears and media publicity, the judge made a ruling in 2018: “The state owed Muyera and Kajairo Sh5 million each for the anguish the family had gone through.”

The High Court ordered Inspector General of Police to pay Muyera and Kajairo Sh5 million each and investigate and prosecute those involved in the disappearance of the Kawangware boys who were presumed dead, making the case one of the few where the state has been charged with extrajudicial killings.

Sense of relief

After the ruling, Kajairo remembers feeling a sense of relief. All the tears she had shed in many courtroom sessions and the energy she had spent trying to trace her son had amounted to something.Although the money was not value for their lost children, the two mothers felt that somehow, someone had listened to their story and felt remorse.

“Being awarded Sh5 million did not replace my son, but I needed that money to start over. To go far away and forget the pain,” she said. Two years later, they are still waiting. They went home and were told they will be guided on how to access the money. Nobody did. “Everything went quiet. The horrible wait started,” says Muyera.

Hanningtone Amol who took the case pro-bono says the state appealed, and a new case is expected to start. For the two women, the feeling of almost getting justice and then having it yanked is too much to bear.

“You become bitter. Everything stops making sense. You start feeling like you do not matter to anyone. It is a bad feeling to have,” says Kajairo, adding that the court case took so much of their time and energy, they abandoned the manual jobs.“We always wonder what it will take for us to get the compensation and why it is taking so long,” she says.

To that, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chairman Nelson Havi says getting the money will be a tall order. He says the society has more than 200 cases of people awarded against the state, and they are still waiting as years go by. “From our records, the state owes people more than Sh10 billion. It is unfair for the government to treat its people like that,” he says.

He adds that the complexity of the law that governs compensation makes it more difficult for the awardees. Lawyer Lucas Kang’oli explains that pursuing such claims gets difficult both for the lawyer and the awardees since there is no specific person to be held to account. “There are no assets to attach and there is no one you can cling on and ask to pay. There are people who have to part with some money for their cases to be processed,” he says.

Havi says the society is planning to file a consolidated petition on behalf of the people still waiting for the government to compensate them. For Muyera and Kajairo, the wait continues and they join the list of many still waiting for compensation from the government.

Duncan Oketch has been following up on his uncle’s compensation for land he lost to the government. He says he has made numerous trips to the AG because his uncle is ailing, and the family is almost giving up.  “They award you the money knowing so well that they will not give it to you. It is meant to soothe you for a few days,” he says.


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Long serving US Supreme court Judge and cultural icon Ruth Ginsburg dies at 87



US Supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the apex Court and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died on Friday. She was 87.

RBG, as she was popularly known, died in Washington DC  Friday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born on March 15, 1933, she served on the court  from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 14, 1993.

Ginsburg became the second of four female justices to be confirmed to the Court after Sandra Day O’Connor, the two others being Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom are still serving in 2020.

Following O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and until Sotomayor joined the Court in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court.

During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia (1996), Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000).

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class.

Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg entered into academia. She was a professor at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field.

Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, winning multiple arguments before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she was dubbed “The Notorious R.B.G.”, a play on the name of the rapper known as “The Notorious B.I.G.“, in reference to her notable dissents.[3]

She died at 87 years of age on September 18, 2020, from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home.\

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Property dispute splits family two decades after inheritance



More than two decades since a family land dispute in Meru -pitting a father, his son and other family members- was resolved, another property dispute has erupted within the same family.

The row has split the family and the younger members are in fear of being disinherited.

At the centre of the first dispute were Josiah M’Turuchiu (now deceased), his wife Charity Karea and his son Peter Kinga (67), who still lives on a seven-acre piece of land at Mbaaria, Buuri.

Turuchiu invited elders from the Oromo in North Imenti and Kinyenjere clans to his home on May 8, 1999 to help resolve the land dispute with his son, Kinga.

Another point of discussion was Charity Karea, Turuchiu’s estranged wife who used to live in a rented house in Isiolo County. The clans listened to all present, including Gerrard Gitonga, assistant chief of Kiirua-Nkando location.

Turuchiu wanted the clans to support his plans to evict Kinga from where he (Kinga) had built his house, and relocate him to a marshy area the elders thought was unsuitable for any building.

The elders also heard that Turuchiu had also evicted Lucy Mukami, his widowed daughter-in-law.

The clans resolved that Kinga should stay on the seven acres where he had built his house because he had developed it.

The clan decreed that land parcel No 48 (10 acres) should be shared between Charity Karea (Turuchiu’s wife) and Lucy Mukami.

The elders said Turuchiu should continue cultivating the rest of the land, measuring nine acres. The clan asked Charity to go back home under the clan’s care.

Turuchiu and his wife have since died, leaving behind a divided family who are now feuding over the land and some fear they could be disinherited.

The area under dispute is a different parcel measuring over 10 acres, and contested by M’Turuchiu’s children and grandchildren. Kinga and a section of the family is pitted against his sister Esther Mwendwa, who is also backed by other family members.

Locals were treated to drama after a section of the family invaded the land, leading to a violent confrontation.

Among them is Agnes Mukuba, who, according to a Will written by her grandmother Charity, should alongside her sisters get a share of a two-acre parcel.

“The land does not have a title deed. “We are appealing to the government to help us and ensure the sub-division is done legally,” Mukuba said.


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‘I will bury father when my siblings respect me’



The eldest son of the late top police officer, Timothy Mwandi Muumbo, now says he is ready to agree to the burial of his father as so long as his rival siblings begin to respect and listen to him.

Mwinzi Muumbo holds the key to the burial of the octogenarian who has been lying at Lee Funeral Home since 2015 when he died.

On August 6, 2018, Justice M Muigai of the High Court’s family division gave Mwinzi special responsibility of leading his quarrelsome family in burying their father in Nzatani, Mwingi, Kitui County, following a three-year dispute over the venue of his burial.

Mwinzi, alongside the children of Muumbo’s second wife, wanted him buried in Mbakani as per his own wishes.

However, Mwinzi’s siblings from the first wife – Johnstone Kassim Mwandi, Alex Munyasia Muumbo and Carolyn Kalunde Muumbo – insisted he had to be interred in Nzatani.

“The 1st born child of the deceased Mwinzi Muumbo, according to Akamba Customary Law, shall lead all the children of Timothy Mwandi Muumbo with patience, inclusivity and consensus and they, with respect to their eldest brother and now head of Muumbo family, to remove the body of the deceased, facilitate settlement of the outstanding mortuary fees with family, clan, well wishers, and identify the place where the deceased shall be buried in Mwingi/Nzeluni/318,” the judge ruled.

She also said Mwinzi shall work “jointly and closely” with his brothers Kassim, Munyasia and Billy Mbuvi. The team would also include a clan member, Alphonce Mutwayo Musyimi and their uncle Wilfred Mwinzi Mbuvi.

“All Muumbo family shall/may participate and attend the funeral.”

Harping onto these provisions, Mwinzi stopped last weekend’s burial, saying he neither led them to Lee nor was he involved in the planning. He said he had long conceded on burying his father in Nzatani but that he must be involved in accordance with the court ruling.

“I will allow my father to be buried when we have all agreed on it. They should listen to what I am telling them since I am their elder brother, not the other way round. They should not dictate what I should do,” he told The Standard.

He said they ought to plan the burial together, including the collection of the body. He said there is no point in making their dad to stay in the mortuary any longer, but complained the other side had caused it.

“They have destroyed my father’s reputation with lies,” said Mwinzi.

He also claimed that the other side never wants to see him but he would give it another shot.

“I want to try and reach out to them again and see if they will respond. We have to all agree on the date. I can’t decide it on my own, as long as we agree and do things the right way, and they should be respectful about it,” he said.

Mwinzi’s lawyer Ann Githogori said his three siblings from the first wife had long abandoned their father by the time he died, and lost the absolute right to bury him.

They had also taken him to court and accused him of spiting them with intent of destroying them.

In turn, according to court documents, their father said they stood “cursed in the eyes of this world effective the date of this communication… you are no longer my children and I have rejected you and barred you both in total to enter or occupy any of my property, including any business premises and farms anywhere in Kenya Republic”.

The three siblings have however contested all this, and denied the allegations. In the burial flyer that was prepared for last week’s event, Kassim, Munyasia, Caroline and three other siblings from the first family wrote that they were proud of their father.


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