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Help me find my Kenyan family

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Alexander Bedran, 25, has lived most of his life in Lebanon but he often sees himself as Kenyan as well.

Based on narratives from his Lebanese father and his late mother, Alexander has come to learn of his Kenyan roots. He knows he has Kenyan grandparents, has a Kenyan birth certificate and even spent the first two years of his life here.

The urge to look for his relatives in Kenya has seen him visit the Kenyan Consulate in Beirut and write letters to the Kenyan Embassy in Kuwait (which is accredited Lebanon). None of them were helpful but they advised him to travel to Kenya and apply for his Kenyan citizenship documents.

Last week, he spoke to the Nation, hoping that one day, his grandparents, uncles or aunts will read it and bring him home. Here is his story:

“My name is Alexander Badran. I am Kenyan or Lebanese, actually both. I am 25 years old. I was born in Kenya on March 11, 1995 at the Mombasa Hospital. I have decided to come to you through the Nation because I am trying to find my mother’s relatives, siblings or any of her relatives. I have tried on my own the past couple of years through social media, browsing through names that relate to my mother’s and those I heard my father mention. I have not been lucky.

I don’t know why I want to contact them. I don’t  have a reason, which may sound awkward, really, but I guess I just want to connect with my family as I have never had a sense of family. I never had one from my parents. I never knew relatives from my mother’s side and those from my father’s side as they never stayed in touch. My father had continual family feuds with my grandfather. My entire family tree has always been a mystery to me.

My mother’s name was Jacinta Mueni Kitinga. She was born sometime between 1972 and 1974. She was initially protestant though I don’t know the exact denomination. She had a brother named Alfred who was either a priest or a cleric in a church. Her mother, my grandmother, was called Rachel. Her father was David or Daniel; I am not sure. My mother was living in Mombasa when she met my father. They later relocated to Lebanon.

My mother was of Kikuyu and Kamba descent. I can’t remember exact details but my mother mentioned that my grandfather might have had a house or lived near Lake Victoria.

My father’s name is Ahmad Yousef Badran. He is Lebanese. He was born in November 1952 or 1953. My relationship with my father wasn’t perfect. I viewed him as a strange man because he often lied to people.

A combination of photos of Jacinta Mueni Kitinga, her son Alexander Bedran and his father Ahmad Yousef Badran.

I cannot confirm if whatever he told me about my mother was accurate.  According to him, he met my mother while on leave. He had been working as the captain of a ship for the ICRC. He says he met my mother while on a safari. I am not sure where that was.

I remember my father mentioning that he married my mother only so she could take care of his two other children from a previous marriage after the wife died. Those children were eventually abandoned as they lived in Manilla in the Philippines.

About a year prior to marrying my father, my mother converted to Islam and changed her first name to Iman. However, I am not sure if she legally changed it.

I remember my mother mentioning that she had worked in tea plantations in Kenya when she was younger.

My parents mentioned quite often a man named Paul Kelly, who may or may not have been the boss or contractor where my father worked at the time.

After I was born, we lived for about a year in Mombasa. But I remember Nairobi was mentioned often even though I don’t know if we ever lived there or if my father’s work place was based there.

My parents then moved to Cyprus for about a year. A year later, when my grandfather (father’s side) was about to die, they relocated to Lebanon as my father and his siblings were seeking their inheritance.

While in Lebanon, my mother was never allowed to communicate with her family back in Kenya. She was not allowed to learn Arabic or go out to meet anyone or see anything.

My mother, however, secretly made friends with a union of international women in Lebanon who were her only friends and source of companionship. My father still forbade her from ever seeing or talking to them.

As the years went by, she became more miserable and lost all hope. Fast forward to 2005 and my parents fought physically almost daily, sometimes every 15 minutes. My memory of this time is of running to the neighbours to ask for help to separate them. Each day my father  returned home, he unleashed his rage from work on her and beat her senseless.

My father claimed my mother was insane when people asked about her.

In August 2007, or perhaps 2008, she committed suicide through electrocution. The neighbours saw her intentionally hold onto an electric wire until she died. That same day my father had threatened to send my mother to a mental asylum, saying she would be locked up. Weeks before her death, she asked for a divorce but my father laughed it off and beat her whenever she mentioned it.

When the police arrived to investigate her death, he portrayed himself as the victim and described himself as a loving father and husband.

My father took me out of school multiple times until Grade Seven when he stopped my education for unknown reasons.

Years later in 2016, I ran away from home. I packed everything I had and never looked back. However, my mother’s legal papers from Kenya are all missing. I did menial jobs and saved enough to study digital marketing in a vocational school. I got my degree recently.

In my attempt to reconcile and forgive my father, I met him in July 2020 for the first time since leaving home.

I put grudges and hatred aside and asked for my mother’s Kenyan ID, marriage certificate or any legal document of hers. He claimed to have lost them all or to have forgotten to collect them from a local Mukhtar (title for a village chief in Lebanon).

He also claimed they were left in the morgue where my mother’s body was kept. Both the Muktar and the morgue deny retaining any papers.

My father still stays with my younger sister. He often locks her up, which causes me to worry about her mental health.

I believe I have been denied my right to acquire my Kenyan nationality because of the chaos in my immediate family. I once reached out to the Kenyan Consulate in Lebanon and was advised to be physically present in Kenya while applying.

I have been so desperate in the past. I had never met a Kenyan so when I met a Ugandan hairdresser, I asked if she knew my relatives.

I figured that since the two countries neighbour each other, he might know someone in Kenya who might connect me to my relatives.

The only Kenyan document I have is a birth certificate. My mother gave it to me years back and told me to guard it jealously. She said it could one day help me. I hope it does.

By Nation.co.ke

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Africa

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father

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Thabani Nhlengethwa, a South African man, has shared a touching story on Facebook about the man who raised him.

Thabani Nhlengethwa praised his stepdad for making him the man he is today. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa

Thabani Nhlengethwa owes every success he will experience in the future to his stepdad. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

In a post written on #ImStaying group, the young man praised his stepdad for being an outstanding man and amazing human being.

He said he owes every success that he enjoys in the future to his dad, Jita.

According to Thabani, Jita met his mom back in 1996. He was only four years old at that time.

Jita accepted Thabani and his siblings who were all sired in previous relationships.

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

Thabani hopes to give his stepdad the world one day. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

The kind man schooled them, fed them and protected them as if they were his own flesh and blood.

The netizen owed everything he knew to the man who raised him and hoped that one day fortune would knock on his door and enable him to treat Jita like a king.

He added that at the moment, the fanciest thing he can do is take his stepdad out for breakfast, but soon things will change.

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

The man said his stepfather was the breadwinner and did not mind providing for them. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

“I love and owe every success I might have in the future to this amazing gent right here. Jita met my mom in 1996, I was only four-years old by then and my mom already had 4 kids from her previous relationships.”

“Jita took all of us under his wing, took us as his kids and loved us. He took us to school and we all were able to finish matric because of him. My mom was not working and so Jita was the breadwinner,” he said.

In a related story by TUKO.co.ke, a young lady took to Facebook on Monday, June 15, and shared a beautiful story about the hero of her life.

At the age of three, Portia Thabisile’s biological father decided to leave her and her mother.

Thankfully, her mother met a wonderful man who raised Portia as his own daughter.

She shared her inspirational post via the I’m Staying Facebook group.

“I am staying because of my daddy, he took me in when I was three years, after my biological father left me and my mum, he gave me love till today,” the lady wrote.

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Africa

Uhuru names Amb. Martin Kimani new envoy to NY as he moves to cement his legacy in foreign affairs

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has either moved or nominated envoys to fill 12 positions globally. In the new line-up, Uhuru  has settled on a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Amb Martin Kimani as the new Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations who will be based in New York.

The position fell vacant when Amb Lazarus Amayo moved to Washington DC as the envoy to US.

But who is Ambassador Martin Kimani? He was the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and Special Envoy CVE, and once served as the Permanent Representative and Head of Mission to the United Nations at Nairobi and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kimani holds an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College of the University of London and is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Program.

He was also the 2013 Distinguished African Visiting Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Learn more here:

 

Kenyatta has also nominated three former IEBC commissioners for deputy head of mission positions in the latest appointments.

Connie Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya have been picked as deputy heads of mission in the latest changes made by the Head of State.

The list of nominees features 25 people who are expected to fill up the positions of high commissioner, permanent representative, ambassadors and deputy heads of missions.

According to an Executive Order signed by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, and released on Thursday evening; the group will join the country’s foreign service in various capacities.

The order states partly, “His Excellency the President has on this fifteenth day of October 2020, caused nominations and appointments to the senior ranks of the public service for persons to serve the nation as Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives in Kenya’s Embassies/High Commissions/Missions abroad. The persons who by dint of the Presidential action will join our nation’s esteemed foreign service…”

Former IEBC vice chair Consolata Nkatha has been picked as the deputy head of mission in Rome, Italy. Her colleagues, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya will occupy similar positions in Moscow (Russia) and Islamabad (Pakistan) respectively.

Below is the list of individuals nominated for the positions of deputy heads of missions:

In the order, Amb John Tipis who headed the Directorate of the African Union heads to Canberra as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia. Immaculate Wambua has been picked as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada, and she will be based in Ottawa. Closing the list is Amb Catherine Mwangi who will be Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa. She will be based in Pretoria.

 

In the list of appointments are 12 people who have been picked for ambassadorial positions. They include Amb Jean Kamau (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Linday Kiptiness (Bangkok, Thailand), Amb Tom Amolo (Berlin, Germany), Amb Lemarron Kaanto (Brasilia, Brazil), Amb Daniel Wambura (Bujumbura, Burundi), Stella Munyi (Harare, Zimbabwe), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Ngewa Mukala ) Khartoum, Sudan), Amb Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Joshua Gatimu (Tehran, Iran), Amb Tabu Irina (Tokyo, Japan) and Amb Jean Kimani (UNHABITAT).

Resignation from IEBC

The three former IEBC officials announced resigned from the commission on April 16, 2018, claiming that their boss Wafula Chebukati was incapable of running the IEBC affairs.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement.

They added: “Instead under Chebukati’s leadership, the commission boardroom has become a venue for peddling misinformation, grounds for brewing mistrust and a space for scrambling and chasing individual glory and credit”.

But on August 12, 2018, Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the commissioners did not legally tender their resignation and were still adjudged to be in office. The court ruled that the trio ought to have resigned in writing rather than in the press conference.

“As I have already found in this judgement, the issue of the alleged resignation of the four commissioners was a matter that was neither here nor there and was not proved by any tangible evidence,” said Okwany.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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Africa

Kenyan entrepreneur among top 10 finalists of Jack Ma Foundation competition

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Kenyan entrepreneur Chebet Lesan is among the 10 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes, a competition organized by the Jack Ma Foundation to identify and recognize the continent’s top entrepreneurs.

Chebet is the founder of Bright Green Renewable Energy, a social enterprise that turns urban waste into clean burning charcoal for households, schools, farmers, hospitals and many others.

She is now among the 10 finalists who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

Speaking to Nairobi News, Chebet said being among the top 10 is a humbling experience for her as they were up against strong competition.

For Chebet and the team at Bright Green Renewable Energy, a win in the competition will be a win for more than 800 million people in Africa who cannot access clean energy.

“It will mean that the problem we are solving of energy poverty across Africa, that the voices of 800 million people in Africa who still don’t have access to clean cooking fuel have been heard and are going to get the support they need to be able to improve their situation,” Chebet said.

For Chebet to win, As Kenyans you can support her by sharing your first Ugali experience using the hashtag #ugaliyanguyakwanza

https://twitter.com/lesanerick/status/1316076593492701185

The finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 22,000 applications across all 54 African states and key sectors, including agriculture, fashion, education, financial services, healthcare and renewable energy.

The top 10, an even split of female and male entrepreneurs whose average age is 34, represent eight African countries: Kenya, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

On November 13 and 14, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14.

During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group, Ibukun Awosika – Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group, Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group and Joe Tsai – Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show due to air in five episodes from November 21-December 19 across Africa.

BY NN

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