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Kenyan Diaspora baffled by BBI taskforce for ignored recommendations

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By Lister Nyaringo

There is still room to reconsider factoring some of the proposals presented by the Kenyan diaspora

The much-awaited building bridges initiative (BBI) is finally out.

Kenyans who have read the report and fully dissected the good and the bad in the document are slowly opening up and pointing out the pros and cons of the document.

The Senator Yusuf Haji led team should be commended for putting the document which has set the stage for an intensive debate from Kenyans about how they want their country to run.

The BBI captures many positive aspects which, if implemented will positively impact development in the country.

One notable aspect is the decentralization of development funds.

The kitty proposed for Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) is laudable.

Through the MCAs kitty, MPs CDF kitty, and the County kitty through the governor; this is likely to boost development at the grassroots in addition to other development initiatives by the national government.

Giving graduates a 7-year grace period to repay their student loans through University Education Loans board (HELB) is a brilliant move.

However, to make it more meaningful, the government should be ready to put up mechanisms that will create jobs for the graduates since giving them a payment break merely postponing a problem.

“It’s perplexing that senator Yusuf Haji’s team could not pick even a single recommendation submitted by the diaspora after the team’s mandate was extended in december 2019. This displeasure doesn’t mean the diaspora will reject or campaign against the document.

“Giving graduates a 7-year grace period to repay their student loans through University Education Loans board (HELB) is a brilliant move. However, to make it more meaningful, the government should be ready to put up mechanisms that will create jobs for the graduates since giving them a payment break merely postponing a problem.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru will not hand power to a thief in 2022, says very close ally

Therefore, Kenyans living in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa are appealing to President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to urgently address their concerns as a reflection that they care about inclusivity and democratic participation of all Kenyans irrespective of where they reside.

There is still room to reconsider factoring some of the proposals presented by the Kenyan diaspora.

President Kenyatta is a product of the diaspora and should be the last person to stifle diaspora aspirations in regard to good governance.

On the other hand, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader Raila Odinga, who continues to enjoy the highest percentage of diaspora support, should be at the frontline to defend their aspirations.

“Our voices must be heard; our challenges and aspirations must be captured in the process of governance of our country. This is the surest way to feel a sense of belonging as Kenyans.” Said Samuel Ondicho of Minnesota.

Ms Mary Jacinta, a Kenya living in Germany expressed outrage after realizing that no single recommendation from the diaspora was included in the final report even after submitting the proposals in time.

“We matter as Kenyans; relegating us to the periphery when we contribute massively to the country’s economy is a travesty to democracy, inclusivity, and fair play. We are Kenya’s frontline ambassadors and our ideas cannot be trashed as if we don’t exist.” Said Lister Nyaringo who is also the President of the Kenya Patriotic Movement, a diaspora lobby based in The US.

The Kenyan diaspora cherishes good governance, freedom, justice, and fairness.

In this spirit, they feel sugar-coated by politicians who only reach out to them during elections for strategic support.

Inclusivity in a country means that all segments of the population must be heard and directly involved in their country’s affairs.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru reveals that a lot of money was "poured" in Kibra during the by-election, Tangatanga members look embarrassed

How do you ignore a section of the population who are the fourth highest contributor of the funds that run the country?

According to statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya, the Diaspora sent home through inter-bank transfers $209 million (Ksh20.94 billion) and $245 million (Ksh24.55 billion) in January 2018 and January 2019 respectively.

These figures could be higher if remittances through MoneyGram, Wave, and other online platforms were factored in the estimates.

Kenyans will always remain Kenyans before and after settling abroad. Ignoring their voice in the just-released BBI report is demeaning their intelligence and know-how.

The Kenya Patriotic Movement and other affiliated groups which represent the diaspora interests proposed the creation of a Diaspora Constituency to address issues faced by Kenyans living abroad in our legislature.

Is this asking for too much when other interest groups continue to be listened to?

The diaspora also proposed that a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs are created and headed by one of them, similar to that of Israel and India.

Both India and Israel have a well-established and organized diaspora that significantly contributes to the development of their nations. In fact, medical tourism in India is a product of the country’s Diaspora.

In order to fully avail themselves in the service of their motherland, the diaspora proposed the removal of the Clause in 2010 Constitution that bars holders of dual citizenship from holding and running for public office in the level of State officer.

The clause is archaic, discriminatory, and a violation of one’s birthright.

The diaspora also raised concerns about over-representation given the shrinking financial resources caused by over-borrowing by the current government.

The general perspective of Kenyans living abroad is that Kenya has a bloated legislature.

What is the logic in a nation of about 50 million people having 425 elected representatives in the two legislative chambers?

READ ALSO:   WATCH LIVE: BBI launched at Bomas

If the current BBI document is implemented, it will further strain taxpayers who will pay for the increased number of Senators and MPs.

The Diaspora also suggested the fusing of small constituencies and counties to cut costs.

Kenyans will be strained in funding the expanded executive-the President, vice president, Prime Minister and two deputies plus a fully funded office of the leader of the opposition.

Diaspora voting rights despite vividly captured in Section 38 (3) (a) of the constitution, continues to be a mirage despite assurances in every election cycle. The same is not addressed in the BBI.

The say, when the deal is too good, think twice. Kenya has faced great challenges related to historical injustices.

This is perhaps the reason for disharmony amongst the Kenyan communities especially during and after a general election.

Key commissions like the famous Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), The Ndungu Land Report (NLR) continue to gather dust, yet the BBI report failed to capture any of this.

Leaving the issue of land in the new BBI report is postponing the challenges Kenyans have experienced for many years.

Piecemeal interventions through changing the books without looking at the core reasons for our present predicaments won’t heal Kenya.

The diaspora suggested the establishment of a Justice fund to offer reparations to victims and families who have suffered electoral injustices since 1992.

The same could have enabled these victims to put to closure their agony.

It’s imperative that the diaspora issues are reconsidered as the country enters into a rigorous debate about the BBI.

It’s not too late.

If it fails, the diaspora will conclude that the government has completely ignored the critical role they play in nation-building.


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Man’s burial inside his house baffles Kirinyaga residents

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Residents of Mucagara Village in Kirinyaga County were on Wednesday evening treated to a rare funeral after a man was buried inside his house.

They watched in astonishment as the coffin containing the remains of the 65-year-old retired coffee factory manager, Simon Muriithi Mwaniki, was lowered into the grave that had been dug in the living room.

Some whispered to each other during the dramatic send-off which left many in awe.

According to the man’s relative, prior to his death, he had expressed his wish to be buried in the house.

Emotions ran high as the funeral ceremony went on in the village in Gichugu Constituency.

“We had to act according to his wishes to avoid a curse and being haunted by his spirits,” said Mr James Njuki, the man’s eldest son.

Mwaniki was hurriedly buried in a brief ceremony conducted by an African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa priest, Jackson Muchiri.

Committed suicide

When Mwaniki committed suicide, no one mourned his death as he had asked family members not to do so when he was alive.

“Before he took his life he had told us that there should be no mourning when he dies. Therefore, we ensured that we never gathered at any time within the homestead to mourn him,” added Mr Njuki.

READ ALSO:   How Aukot outwitted Uhuru, Ruto and Raila on referendum

Mr Njuki recalled how on November 18 they found their father dangling from the roof of his house with a rope around his neck.

It was then that the matter was reported to the local police officers who drove to the scene and took the body to Kibugi Funeral Home.

His children suspected that their father took his life due to the depression he suffered after his wife, Juliana Muthoni, died.

“My father started drinking heavily after his wife died. He loved my mother so much and we think he was so much affected by her death and became depressed,” said Mr Njuki.

Rev Muchiri described the funeral as unique.

“For the 38 years that I have been conducting funerals, this is the first time to bury someone inside a house,” he said.

The residents said they were taken aback when they arrived at the homestead and saw the grave inside Mwaniki’s house.

“We were baffled. We have never witnessed such a funeral in this village. This is a funeral of its own kind which shocked all of us,” Mr Eliud Muriithi said.

by nation.africa


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Where were the authorities? residents ask as Kenyan man is buried inside his living room

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Residents of Mucagara Village in Kirinyaga County were on Wednesday evening treated to a rare funeral after a man was buried inside his house.

They watched in astonishment as the coffin containing the remains of the 65-year-old retired coffee factory manager, Simon Muriithi Mwaniki, was lowered into the grave that had been dug in the living room.

Some whispered to each other during the dramatic send-off which left many in awe.

According to the man’s relative, prior to his death, he had expressed his wish to be buried in the house.

Emotions ran high as the funeral ceremony went on in the village in Gichugu Constituency.

“We had to act according to his wishes to avoid a curse and being haunted by his spirits,” said Mr James Njuki, the man’s eldest son.

Mwaniki was hurriedly buried in a brief ceremony conducted by an African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa priest, Jackson Muchiri.

Committed suicide

When Mwaniki committed suicide, no one mourned his death as he had asked family members not to do so when he was alive.

“Before he took his life he had told us that there should be no mourning when he dies. Therefore, we ensured that we never gathered at any time within the homestead to mourn him,” added Mr Njuki.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru reveals that a lot of money was "poured" in Kibra during the by-election, Tangatanga members look embarrassed

Mr Njuki recalled how on November 18 they found their father dangling from the roof of his house with a rope around his neck.

It was then that the matter was reported to the local police officers who drove to the scene and took the body to Kibugi Funeral Home.

His children suspected that their father took his life due to the depression he suffered after his wife, Juliana Muthoni, died.

“My father started drinking heavily after his wife died. He loved my mother so much and we think he was so much affected by her death and became depressed,” said Mr Njuki.

Rev Muchiri described the funeral as unique.

“For the 38 years that I have been conducting funerals, this is the first time to bury someone inside a house,” he said.

The residents said they were taken aback when they arrived at the homestead and saw the grave inside Mwaniki’s house.

“We were baffled. We have never witnessed such a funeral in this village. This is a funeral of its own kind which shocked all of us,” Mr Eliud Muriithi said.

-Nation.co.ke


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Tales of old widows of Dundori raped by ‘grandchildren’

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It was only 9pm, a relatively safe hour or so, the 60-year-old thought. She was home alone when a man forced his way in, tore her clothes and repeatedly raped her.

She did not recognize him through a glance on his face, but from how he hankered, he was tall.

That was on July 5, this year, and the memories of that night are still fresh in the mind of the victim – whose name we have concealed to protect her privacy.

Before the ordeal, the victim had only heard rumours of widows being raped in her Dundori neighbourhood in Nakuru County – a place now well known for the crimes.

Here, sunset years are a traumatising period for women – especially widows. In the dead of the night, they live in constant fear that young men will pounce on them and rape them.

“I live with my granddaughter in a two bedroomed house. On the fateful day, I heard a commotion outside and thought my two cows had fled the pen and I stepped out to check what was happening,” she says.

She tells the Nation that the attacker covered her mouth, dragged her into a dark sidewalk within the compound and raped her.

“I was rushed to Dundori Health Centre. I was treated and obtained a P3 form. Thereafter, I recorded a statement at Dundori Police Post, but the offender is yet to be arrested to date,” she says, adding that her self-esteem is fading away at the thought of not knowing who did that to her and why.

Living in fear

“I live in fear, because my attacker can strike again,” says the mother of five adult children.

Kilometres away in a neighbouring village, 62-year-old Wambui, (not her real name) also a widow, is living in fear months after she went through a similar ordeal.

“I was attacked at home by a gang of three men who raped me in turns in the presence of my granddaughter. They are yet to be arrested,” she says.

Wambui reveals that the assailants stormed her home where she lives with her granddaughter and tied them up before committing the heinous act.

“We had just taken supper around 8pm when they pushed their way into the compound. I reported the matter to the police, but they are yet to act,” she notes.

Another victim, a 90-year-old granny, says she lives alone after her husband died decades ago.

The Nation encountered at least 16 elderly women claiming to have been raped in Dundori in the past three months. Among them is a 90-year-old granny, whom a Nyumba Kumi official reveals has been raped five times.

Residents who spoke to the Nation point a finger at young men who indulge in drugs in the area.

“They peddle drugs and commit all sorts of crime including house break-ins, without interference of the police,” says the resident of Kaburini Village.

He claims that police from Dundori Police Post collude with the criminals to defeat justice.

“We do not even have police patrols in Dundori and criminals enjoy a field day. Peddling of drugs like bhang, sale of illicit brews, house break-ins, rapes and defilements are the order of the day here,” he adds.

Rape survivors suffer trauma, headaches and memory lapses. Worse is the constant fear they live with, that the attackers might strike again.

The most affected villages include Juacali, Kaburini and Tia Wera, where an account of the victims paint a similar pattern in timing and manner.

The perpetrators

Assistant County Commissioner Henry Kirwa, however, says most victims are yet to report the incidents.

He adds: “To help police track down suspects, they must report the incidents promptly.”

Interestingly, only eight victims have reported incidents of rape at the Dundori Police Post.

When reached for comment, Bahati Sub-county police boss Jacinta Mwarania promised to investigate the matter.

A Nyumba Kumi elder who sought anonymity reveals that rape cases among elderly women in the area have become rampant but police officers are doing little to save the situation.

“These cases are on the rise and every time they are reported to the police, victims are asked to produce more evidence to nail the suspects,” the elder says.

Another Nyumba Kumi official says the incidents happen at night between 8pm and 3am and that the perpetrators are sometimes known people.

In a recent incident, a Class Eight pupil was defiled at her home at about 7pm. Sources say the matter was reported to the police, but the assailant is still walking free days after his brief arrest.

by nation.africa


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