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Trainee doctor who vanished from university 13 years ago

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The year 2007 is a painful reminder of a lost daughter; one that would be a doctor on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic, if she were here today.

A family in Githunguri, Kiambu County has spent the last 13 years and four months in agony, after the disappearance of their then third year student at the Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret.

Ruth Karugi Kaigua was last heard of and seen on the evening of April 13 when, as was the family tradition, her father called to check on her at 8pm.

Ruth informed her parents that she was with friends taking supper, watching TV before moving to her room for the night.

Her mother had been planning to send her some money for upkeep, but Ruth informed her that she was expecting her HELB disbursement the following Monday, after which she would be fine.

Those were her last words. Her phone, the only direct link to her that they had at the time, went into a loud silence.

According to the family, her phone had never gone off, and she was always responsible and available.

“That money is still in that account. No one has ever withdrawn it, neither has it been returned,” Nelly Kaigua, Ruth’s mother said during the interview at their home in Kiambururu, Githunguri.

Ruth, the second born of four girls, was a shining star in the family.

She had just started living her dream of becoming a doctor one day, before her journey was mysteriously cut short with no explanation to date.

Her mother, a teacher in Machakos County, has neatly packed all documents that illustrate the life of her missing daughter in a green box file.

She said it reminds her of the time Ruth was among a few Kenyan students representing the country in Latvia at the 13th International Biology Olympiad in 2002.

She recalls how for four months they stayed home unable to do anything else. Food had become bland and only after it had gone bad did they realize that they had not been eating at all.

For the four month, the family remained pensive, praying and hoping that their daughter, fondly referred to by her middle name Karugi would walk in and assure them that all was well.

“My school performed poorly that year, they got the lowest mean score of 174 marks. One time I went to the school’s morning assembly and it’s like the learners wanted to cry with me.” She recalls.

The trail of her daughter’s life from birth, baptism, all her certificates of merit from her outstanding performance in school to the newspaper pages where her name appeared at Position 71 of the top 100 students in Central Province are perhaps some of the family’s dearest reminders of her.

This trail, however, grows cold at the very first day of her campus life when she was filling forms to open a bank account.

Everything else after that they say was left behind at the Moi University, Eldoret.

“We could not go for her items,” her mother says. “How do we go back to pick books and clothes yet we took a child to university?” she poses, the pain in her voice palpable.

Soon after her disappearance on the 5th day, Mr Ngugi Kaigua, Ruth’s father made the trip to Eldoret in search of her daughter.

A missing person report had been filed at the police for investigations to commence but that file is still open. “When the Post-election Violence happened, there was nothing much that could go on,” he says.

“After that, the police stopped picking my calls but we are not yet giving up,” he says.

At the time, Kaigua could not muster the courage to look for his daughter in neither hospitals nor mortuaries. But one of Ruth’s uncles who was a lecturer at the same University opened every hospital door and body cabinets with the hope that they might find an answer to her whereabouts, whether dead or alive.

“You cannot hide a human corpse,” her mother remarks. “But we want the truth to come out. Let it burn and burn until it bursts out.” Ruth should now be a 35-year-old doctor or a consultant going by her classmates’ career growth so far.

Her mother, teary and overwhelmed by emotions at this point, envisions her daughter as beautiful bold woman living her dream of a doctor.

“I don’t know if it is denial, but all we want is closure. It is painful, but God will give us the strength,” she says, even as her father remains hopeful that the cold case will one day be reopened for the family to get an answer to this 13 year old question.

By Standard.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Mutula Kilonzo:The Last Moments

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Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo woke up in high spirits on Thursday April 26, 2013.

According to his wife Cyrose Nduku, the senator had a shower, took breakfast and bid her bye.

The lawmaker called around 6pm to inform her that he had arrived at his Kwa Kyelu Ranch.

 “He sounded well and even joked,” said Nduku, who got married to Mr Kilonzo in 1982 after his divorce.

She was called the following day and informed that her husband had fallen ill.

Mr Kilonzo’s personal assistant Stella Mutheu said the senator passed by the office that day and that he went through paperwork and signed some letters before leaving between 10 and 11am.

She went home, only to receive the news of his death the following day.

Ms Mutheu, who had been Mr Kilonzo’s PA for 10 years, said he had on several occasions complained of tiredness, attributing it to the gruelling political campaigns. Elections had been held the previous month.

Election victory

Mr Kilonzo’s cook – Kelly Mutua – prepared a meal of maize, beans and meat mixed with vegetables, peas and potatoes.

The senator’s son Mutula Kilonzo Jr said his father sent him a text that night over a petition contesting his election victory.

At 11am the following day, the lawmaker was found dead in his bed by his workers.

A government report later showed he died of massive bleeding caused by high blood pressure.

A report conducted by several experts said the senator had taken the drug Ephedrine (pseudoephedrine) with Pepsi drink.

Doctors told Senior Resident Magistrate B Bartoo that the drug is a decongestant and is also used as an anaesthesia during surgery.

The drug, the inquest was told, is used by a person with low blood pressure to stimulate heartbeat.

The effects can, however, be fatal as it can cause high blood pressure, especially if combined with caffeine.

The news of the senator’s death sparked suspicion, with many saying he had been killed.

Mr Kilonzo Jr, who became senator, said his father had received threatening messages countless times.

Some of the messages were from a woman identified as Nduku, he said.

But Ms Nduku told the inquest that her relation with Mr Kilonzo’s other children was not good.

She admitted that her husband feared for his life and had received three threatening messages, but he never reported the matter to police.

She also talked of a threatening letter sent to a school in Mbooni.

The letter reportedly contained some powder and some writing in red stating: “Mutula, breathe your last”.

Samples collected from Mr Kilonzo Sr’s home were taken for analysis.

The samples were from the leftover food, half a pack of Del Monte juice, an empty can of Pepsi and several water bottles.

Also taken for sampling were vomit found in the bathroom and pellets in a drawer.

Drank water

Though the results confirmed that he drank water and the beverage, the juice was consumed by another person.

The body was taken to Lee Funeral Home, where a postmortem was carried out by Dr Andrew Gachie, Dr Johansen Oduor, Prof Ian Calder from UK, Dr Emily Rogena, Dr Luke Musau and Dr Symon Mwangi Watene.

Drs Oduor, Rogena and Gachie dismissed reports of a cover-up, maintaining that the drug taken with Pepsi triggered the death.

The Pepsi drink, they said, enhances the stimulation effect of pseudoephedrine.

Prof Calder said he would do a toxicology test. In November of the same year, he sent Mr Kilonzo Jr an email described by the latter as disturbing.

According to the lawmaker, the pathologist said he would only sign his final report if he received sealed samples for analysis.

Mr Kilonzo Jr said he suspected foul play because there was no explanation as to why the samples remained at Nairobi Hospital for nine days.

He added that his father received a threat in February 2013 and withdrew a case against “Nduku”.

He said the woman sent a message, saying she would eliminate him and his children. But he added that the phone might have been used by persons other than Nduku.

The magistrate dismissed claims of a cover-up, especially because Prof Calder did not testify or send a report alluding to interference with the samples.

Dedicated public servant

 “It is sad that we lost a dedicated public servant in the manner as it may. I have evaluated the evidence and I am in agreement with the State that there is no evidence pointing to any person (s) having a hand in the death of Senator Mutula Kilonzo,” the court ruled.

Mwangi, who was the first doctor to arrive at the ranch, said he was attending a conference at Maanzoni Lodge when he was called to an emergency.

Dr Mwangi said a bloody discharge was flowing from the senator’s mouth and nose.

He found that he was not breathing and there was no pulse. He then broke the news to the family and workers. He said the senator died around 9.50am.

He added that there was no evidence of a struggle and he immediately organised collection of the food samples.

By Nation.co.ke

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Lifestyle

From troubled childhood, Kenyan-American eyes top seat in Minnesota

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Mr Boni Njenga, a Kenyan-American born in Nakuru Town, has risen from a boy with a troubled childhood to a man with an interest in an elective post in the US, come the elections on November 3.

Mr Njenga’s mother sent him to the US in 2003 to keep him away from bad peer influence after his high school education.

The single mother of six was concerned about the future of her troublesome son who attended four secondary schools.

He attended D.N Handa Secondary School in Naivasha for his Form One, moved to Coulson Secondary School in Gilgil the following year and then transferred to Kalou Secondary School in Ol Kalou for Form Two and Form Three.

He returned to D. N Handa where he sat his O’level exams.

He passed his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams but his mother worried about the effects peer pressure would have on him.

“My mother was concerned about my discipline. I was giving her a difficult time due to bad influence from my peers,” he says.

“To save me from engaging in drug abuse and crime, she decided to send me to the United States of America to live with my brothers. I arrived in the US with a near-empty suitcase and $50 as pocket money.”

Today, Mr Njenga, an American citizen with a Master’s degree in Public Administration, is seeking to become the first Kenyan-American to sit as a commissioner in one of the county boards in the US.

He will vie for a position in the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, District 5 (Bloomington, Richfield and Eden Prairie).

“We are facing challenges like the Opioid crisis, homelessness, lack of public safety, racial disparities and tax levy increases with no accountability and transparency on spending,” he says.

Campaign focus

Mr Njenga has lived and worked in Hennepin County for the last nine years.

Being a policy analyst, he says his campaigns are focused on five key areas – creating community wealth, closing achievement gaps, children protective services, safe and affordable housing and improving the quality of life for all residents.

“We can only solve these issues with fresh and bold 21st century governance and by applying evidence-based policy making, which will enable us to curb wasteful spending in Hennepin County, keeping more money in your pocket,” he says.

“I want to advocate for the rights of all residents. Today’s challenges require more than a single approach. They require fresh ideas, action and strong advocacy.”

Mr Njenga is challenging first term incumbent Debbie Goettel, whom he acknowledges as a formidable opponent but adds that he is up to the task.

Hennepin is Minnesota’s largest county with an annual budget of $2.5 billion that is overseen by a seven-member board of commissioners.

Mr Njenga criticises the county’s dismal record when it comes to contracting minority entrepreneurs and says one of his desires is to create community wealth, informed by the challenges marginalised communities face.

“Hennepin County, with its millions of dollars, spends less than one per cent in contracting the minority groups,” he says.

“I want to bring a 21st century approach to policy making,” adds Mr Njenga who has previously pushed for opportunities for marginalised groups.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Njenga has been forced to run his campaigns on social media platforms.

“I reach out to voters through my Facebook page (Boni Njenga), my website (www.boninjenga.com) and Twitter account(@Boninjenga). It is not easy but the circumstances have forced us to keep social distancing.”

Experience

After moving to the US in 2003, Mr Njenga joined Minnesota State University-Mankato from where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and later a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

He has held supervisory and project management roles with the State before joining the private sector.

He says this background will enable him to offer ideas and innovative approaches for creating sustainable jobs and economic security.

“It will be quite an honour if residents of District 5 give me a chance to serve them and give back to the community that gave me a home and accepted me years ago.

“I have always had the passion for public service and politics. I value the quote by former US President J.F. Kennedy – ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county’.”

He adds, “I came here as a young confused man, unsure of what the future held for me, but through focus, hard work and mentorship by my lecturers, I can look back and thank my mother for sending me here. I know she is proud of me.

“My mother instilled in me discipline and the value of service to the people. Minnesota gave me an elite education and job experience and I have come to call it home. It will be an honour to serve Minnesota.”

Mr Njenga joins the long list of Africans seeking elective posts in Minnesota since the election of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to the Minnesota Legislature in 2016, and to the US House of Representatives  two years later.

She is the first black person born in Africa to be elected to the US Congress and is the highest ranking elected African immigrant politician in the State.

by nation.co.ke

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Entertainment

Here is why people think I am gay, Kenyan woman opens up

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The Kenyan woman had been rumored to be a lesbian for a long time but no one was quite sure whether that was indeed true.

Not that being gay ia an unusual or a new thing. However, a lot of eyebrows are still being raised when it comes to the issue perhaps because homosexuality is considered an illegal activity in Kenya

Sometime in October 2017 Patricia Kihoro was rumored to have been caught pants down in a lesbian threesome with some other Kenyan women.

But now the Popular Vlogger, actress and singer says her efforts to keep her love life private was the sole reason that led to speculations that she was lesbian.

At the time, it was reported that Kihoro was in a relationship with a well-known female Kenyan rapper and as well as another female media personality.

But the 34-year-old says she has always dated men but kept her relationships low key, which explains why people started speculating she was playing for the other ‘team’.

DATING MEN

“For the longest time, I was dating men. If you go through my Instagram over the years I didn’t even hide. I would post people but it wasn’t like lovey-dovey stuff, if you were keen you would see who I was dating at the time. I would post them in the context that this is somebody in my life but I wouldn’t reveal in what way they are in my life. I think of how private I kept that side of my life, people then speculate, start to make up things,” Kihoro said.

Kihoro shot into the limelight back in 2009 when she took part in the singing competition Tusker Project Fame 3 where she was among the finalists.

She later landed a job as a presenter for Homeboyz Radio and also ventured into acting. Over the years she has also been a very active YouTube vlogger and brand influencer.

“I have been accused of being a lesbian but first of all, it is not an accusation, because calling me a lesbian is not an insult as I have met wonderful human beings who are homosexual and are far better than people who have stood in certain standards of judging others.

So that is why I never speak about it. I am who I am, you know! I know what I stand for and my family knows what I stand for,” said Patricia.

Patricia further revealed that her mother has been very supportive of her work and opinion. She reveals that her first interaction with gay people was courtesy of her mother.

“My mother has supported my work from the start and she always respects my opinion. The first people I ever met who were openly gay were friends of my mum. I was probably 16 years and she didn’t make a big deal about it, and therefore I also did not learn that was a big deal,” revealed Patricia.

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