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I was fired for arresting police impostor: Officer

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Joseph Wang’ondu Wamugunda believes he was sacked from the National Police Service for exposing a criminal ring, which was protected by some of his seniors at Buruburu, Nairobi. For the last 20 years, Wang’ondu has been fighting to get back his job, which he lost while serving as a constable based at Jogoo Road Police Station.

He has written several letters to successive police chiefs, National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) explaining his plight and wish to be reinstated, but without success.

Wang’ondu (pictured) and colleagues Frankline Mutegi Kaburu, Joshua Mwanzi Maluki and Charles Mutembei Kimatu were dismissed on August 16, 2000, for allegedly sneaking out of police lines contrary to regulations.

They faced two more charges of unlawful detention of a taxi driver identified as John Karanja and being guilty of an act of prejudice to good order and discipline.

Wang’ondu says the charges were trumped up by his seniors, keen on suppressing information that a police impostor was operating within their jurisdiction. He blamed then Jogoo Police Station OCS a Mr Kyule and Buruburu deputy OCPD one Koome for instigating the cover-up and subsequent dismissal.

This was after the sacked officers arrested one Sammy Agunda, who had been posing as a Flying Squad officer using the identity of Sergeant Lorima.

According to witnesses paraded, Agunda was a common figure within the area where he made ‘arrests of suspects’, especially along Jogoo Road. He frequently charged his police pocket phone at Makongeni Police Station.

He preferred using a cab driven by Karanja. Wang’ondu became suspicious and made an inquiry from Flying Squad officers, who informed him they never had a Sergeant by the name Lorima.

Wang’ondu and his colleagues started trailing Agunda and arrested him at a bar on the night of August 9, 2000. Upon interrogation, Agunda confessed he was a former officer sacked from General Service Unit (GSU).

Agunda and his taxi driver Karanja were immediately arrested a few hours after the impostor had allegedly assaulted corporal Mburu of Muthangari Police Station and the matter was recorded at Jogoo Police Station under OB 42/9/8/2000.

The officers moved around with Agunda in search of the police radio. They first went to Sagana bar in Makadara Hamsa where Agunda claimed he had left it.  The suspect then said the gadget was in Muthurwa estate before changing the story that the pocket phone was in Kaloleni estate.

By the time the operation ended, it was approaching daybreak yet they had not recovered the pocket phone.

“We went back to the station and booked the said Lorima for the offence of impersonating vide OB No. 5/10/8/2000 at 2.40 am. We agreed that Mutembei would brief the OCS regarding our efforts to recover the radio phone,” says Wang’ondu is one of the letters.

That evening, OCS Kyule led a search in the houses of the four officers before they were arrested and taken to Buruburu Police Station. They were informed Agunda had said they took the police pocket phone from him with the impersonator further accusing the officers of extorting money.

The officers were summarily dismissed after orderly room proceedings. The dismal signal was read to them by then OCPD Nemwel Mochache.

Wang’ondu says they were never given a chance to defend themselves, insisting the dismal was a cover-up by superiors protecting Agunda, who was later killed in a botched robbery incident along Kangundo Road.

“This was a way of victimising and silencing us in order not to follow, recover and reveal more about the pocket phone, which we wanted to recover and establish who issued a civilian with government equipment, its origin and for which purpose,” says Wang’ondu.

Two years after their sacking, a court acquitted the four, ruling that there was no sufficient evidence of the alleged improper conduct.

“I have considered the evidence before the court. I note this was a case that was poorly handled. The effect is that the evidence before court is contradictory and lacks corroboration. It is too insufficient to warrant this court to place any of the accused persons on their defence,” ruled Resident Magistrate, madam Gachohi.

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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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Education

Duo gives libraries vital facelift

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Public libraries are vital as storehouse of knowledge; they mould character of cities. Yet, most public libraries are in dilapidated conditions and require a facelift.

At the end of 2018, author Wanjiru Koinange and publisher Angela Wacuka, founders of Book Bunk, conducted a research and found out that contrary to popular opinion that Kenyan’s don’t read, 300 people were walking in and out of public libraries every single day to use them. For this reason, three years ago, they set up Book Bunk to give public libraries a new lease of life after decades of neglect.

“Our mission is to restore public libraries, to convert them not just from a physical perspective but also from a social and experiential perspective. In a sense, what are other people doing in their spaces, what

are they getting access to, what are they reading and what kind of services are in public that we can bring to the libraries,” starts Wanjiru.

They have three projects, with Macmillan Memorial Library as the flagship and others in Makadara and Kaloleni in Nairobi. Two years before the renovations, the duo spent time doing a lot of programming work, events and research, and when the funds came, they began physical restoration, starting with Kaloleni.

However, Covid-19 happened and with it came new rules and regulations on how construction work should continue. At that point, the two had already hired 28 people as casual labourers for the project. Luckily, by the time the new regulations were set, they had already done the bulk of renovation and all that was left was just painting and tiling, which could be done by fewer staff members.

“It didn’t feel right for them to stop because they were relying on the cash to survive. We began looking at how they could space out work, even though it would take longer, but it meant that we could still keep them. They were able to do that and currently they have completed the renovation of first branch,” she says Though risky, they used local people to work on the project to make them feel part and parcel of it. Since land grabbing is prevalent in these areas, most locals look at those who walk in with projects suspiciously, thus educating them on the project’s significance was not a walk in the park.

“It wasn’t a one day or week event to convince people of our intention. We had to go there time and again trying to sell the idea to them that public spaces can be beautiful and functional whether they are in Runda or Kaloleni,” says Wanjiru.

The Kaloleni project is now complete and the community is vigilant in safeguarding it and ensuring that there is no vandalism.

Working with the government has been a challenge and a bonus for the pair. A challenge because bureaucracy in these institutions makes things drag than they would if handled by a private entity. Nevertheless, meeting kind people in offices made it easier for them navigate things that could have take a long time to deal with. The second challenge has been financing their project.

Operational funding “Operational funding is our greatest challenge. It’s shocking to me that in this day and age, people still expect to have their

names on the building when they support a project without even catering for salaries of people who do the work. Wacuka and I struggle to find cash to pay our people’s salaries, to give the people committed to the project good life and not have to worry about anything. It breaks my heart all the time because we don’t struggle to find money for events or research, yer for salaries, it is a struggle,” she explains.

The pandemic has made the two think of future libraries, which is leaning towards being more technological.

“We are currently creating a framework on what digital adoption will look like. The Makadara Library is full of university students and teenagers, which will force us go digital because young people in that age bracket are using technology. This means we must have plans for high speed internet, tablets and we must also have a place where people can experiment with coding; that’s the future of libraries. I think libraries as public spaces needs to evolve into more of community centres instead of rooms full of books. This evolution cannot ignore tech or it’s bound to fail,” she adds.

With Macmillan, they are trying to Africanise the library.

Library and culture “When the Macmillan Library was opened in 1931, black people weren’t allowed in. Presently, if you look at the collection, you’ll realise the content was not meant for Kenyans. On the other hand, the library in Kaloleni is such a significant one in our history, but no one talks about. The building became the unofficial parliament before it was even set up,” she says.

The pair has been trying to reconnect libraries with cultures and to have African literature and art represented.

Understanding the youths are idle during this pandemic and that going to libraries has been prohibited due to health risks at the moment, the organisation has also been trying to take the library to the local’s homes.

“We hired people to find out how many children live in every single estate and in Kaloleni, we found out that they were about 190 children. We appealed to our partners and friends for colouring books, toys and novels and walked around giving the kids in their homes,” she recalls So far, Kaloleni was just a pilot project in as far as the book donation drive was concerned. They plan to do this in Makadara as well.

“The future is more libraries and we want to create a template, which can be replicated in as many libraries as possible. We want to create a team in whatever spaces that we can who can carry out the work and have more libraries than bars,” she says in conclusion.

FACTS
• Wanjiru is a writer and has recently released a book, Havoc of Choice.

• Angela Wacuka was the director of Kwani Trust for around eight years and that’s when she met Wanjiru and the two became friends. Wanjiru started assisting Wacuka manage her events and that’s how their work relationship was borne.

• While Wanjiru is good at management and administration, Wacuka is an incredible networker and communicator.

• They have sessions where they ask each other how they are doing. They have also a small staff who check on them and give their expertise instead of doing it all on their own.

BY PD.CO.KE

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Health

Why I chose to have my breast cut off

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Lucy Njeri vividly recalls the horrors she underwent on the day she received the test results showing she had breast cancer.

“It took me by surprise,” Lucy says. “Emotionally, I went down. I tried to clear my tears, since I was still in the office, but immediately I left the gate, I broke down and cried. I was all by myself. I was not ready for it.”

The result indicated she had ductal carcinoma [cancer that starts in cells that line the milk ducts), grade 1. The news hit her like a ton of bricks. And so she sat at the gate to her workplace, wrapped in colossal agony, struggling to come to terms with her new, sorry predicament. She was still nursing emotional bruises sustained by her mothers lengthy battle with throat cancer. Now here she was, physically sick from a similarly debilitating malady.

Just then, a complete stranger, touched by the sight of a lonesome lady crying her heart out, approached to help.

“This passer-by tapped my back and asked me, ‘is it okay’? I shook my head, and gave her my results. She read and told me it was go ing to be okay. She asked if she could call my mum. I told her no, she cannot call anyone in my family, since everyone was sick emotionally,” she explains.

Thus had begun Lucy’s long battle with breast cancer, a journey which, for many people, is beset with uncertainties and excruciating consequences on a person’s material and emotional well being. For Lucy at least, she had a shoulder to lean on right from the onset, and this assuaged pangs of grief that had belligerently gripped the mother of three on that fateful day.

Lucy’s newly found comforter cut short her journey, offered to buy her a meal and they walked to a nearby restaurant. But Lucy couldn’t eat. She cried her heart out the whole afternoon. She later gave the Samaritan the phone contact of one of her relatives, who came to pick her up.

“At night, I could not digest what I had read”, Lucy narrates, fighting back tears. “The next thing in my mind was committing suicide. I had seen anguish and pain my mum was going through. I was not ready for it.”

As luck would have it, Lucy wouldn’t hang herself that night. She didn’t find a place to hang herself in the house. But she cried the whole night.

On waking up the next morning, her uncle candidly advised her to brace for the new reality. It was time to summon her inner strength, and face her condition head-on.

“My uncle told me to face the lion, and fight it,” she adds. The words served to buoy her through the turmoil. But another calamity lay ahead – nurses were on strike, and her hospital couldn’t take her in. Her doctor advised her to seek surgery elsewhere. After weighing her options, Lucy settled on Kenyatta National Hospital, where she was booked for surgery.

“I had my breast removed,” she says.

Just before the mastectomy, a medic had counselled Lucy to be positive about the consequences. There are people without breasts out there, the medic told her. They are surviving, and they’re okay. So, there is nothing to worry about. Life has to go on.

With these words, Lucy mustered the courage to go through it. And she bubbles with joy, noting hers was a choice between living with one breast or dying to maintain the image. She chose life.

“I have seen people who resist treatment,
who say their breast(s) cannot be removed, and we lose them. I’d rather not have the breast, and be alive. I am lucky to have one. I have seen people who don’t have both, and they’re still there. Since then, I look at life from a different perspective”.

Thankfully, Lucy’s NHIF covered her treatment. This included six chemotherapies, radiotherapy, follow-up treatment and hormonal therapy.

Constant support This was a tough time for Lucy’s three children, who underwent manifold emotional excursions in these trying moments. They wondered at spike in visitors to their home. They’d been told their mother was sick, but couldn’t quite relate with the sickness. Lucy requested help from a friend who broke down the news to her children, while assuring them that mum would be okay. She recalls the news was particularly devastating to her daughter.

Now a fully recovered and ebullient cancer survivor, Lucy recounts her journey through the malaise with appreciation for galaxy of magnanimous supporters who held her hand through the predicament.

Right from the benevolent stranger who took her time to comfort Lucy in her low moments at the gate, to her circle of friends that helped her raise money for biopsy, her relatives, her husband and children, and neighbours, some of who would do her laundry, look after her children and even provided foodstuff and paid house rent in the bleak moments. There was even a matatu crew that would wait for her early in the morning on the days she went for treatment. And of tremendous importance to her journey, have been the healthcare providers who handled her condition.

“There are people you can’t even pay,” Lucy says. “I got a lot of help from neighbours and friends and even strangers.”

Her journey encapsulates the importance of a support network in the healing process of a breast cancer patient. As the world celebrates the Breast Cancer Awareness month, a call is made upon everyone to lend a helping hand and a supportive shoulder for those caught up in the throes of this exacting malady, a malady that deals long-lasting blows on the purses and hearts of hundreds of households it afflicts.

by PD.co.ke

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