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No laughing matter: Intrigues that marked Othuol Othuol’s death, send off

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“Othuol was not operated on. He passed on before the operation happened. So where is the money that was collected for the operation, and where did it all go, considering how high his send-off bill was?” a comedian seeking anonymity posed the question to Pulse, in trying to point us to the crux of the matter.

This was last, week as the funeral arrangements for the late comedian, real name Ben Maurice Onyango, were being finalised. The comedian was raising the query after Comedians in Kenya Society Chairman Ken Waudo was quoted as saying, “Plans are underway to inter his body at his ancestral home in Ndere, Alego, Siaya County scheduled for 24th October 2020, and we are looking at Othuol funeral budget ranging between Sh700,000 to Sh1 million.”

We reached out to Ken, the man in the middle of it all.

“We are really mad about the shared screenshots because they are not true,” he says, referring to numerous screenshots said to capture different conversations that involved the late comedian.

“There was some money that was raised when he was sick… about Sh100,000. We paid for his MRI and some of it went to pay his rent and buy food and other stuff for his house, and by the time he passed, we had already paid for the second MRI as the doctors had suggested,” said Ken, who is the director of Churchill Show.

“Mind you, from the time he has been sick to his death, we have kept on receiving contributions, and we had about Sh47,000 by the time of his passing that we used to clear bills at Kenyatta National Hospital, hire an ambulance and take Othuol to Chiromo mortuary.”

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

Ken explained that they raised about Sh560,000 at a fundraising event at the National Theatre and that more monies kept coming in, which facilitated the burial ceremony.

“We can account for every bob.”

Comedians have come under intense scrutiny, especially after Othuol’s sickness became mainstream news. Claims of negligence and underpayment from showrunners, peer pressure and substance abuse amongst the ranks, and a non-supportive fraternity, especially in times of sickness were rife, comedians taking sides to lambast or stand with the accused.

Some comedians, who became household names after appearing on Churchill Live have disappeared in obscurity after short stints in the hugely popular show, only to reappear sick, or suffering from substance abuse.

Zeddy, who also passed through the show, went against the grain, making claims against Churchill and the showrunners, as manipulative and not caring for the welfare of the comedians, especially budding talent.

Some, like Jalang’o, were accused of not helping Othuol in his time of need, a claim which led to Captain Otoyo making a case in support of comedians, explaining on radio that Othuol was fully supported from the time he was diagnosed with TB a year or so ago, and that the late made things difficult by  stopping his medication and going back to alcohol.

Othuol succumbed to a brain tumour on October 11th at the Kenyatta National Hospital, an operation he was to undergo was delayed by a doctors’ strike that struck the capital city. More unfortunate events were to follow, as his only uncle, his father’s brother, collapsed and died upon being informed of Othuol’s passing.

“They are burying him this weekend,” explained Ken.

At the sides of Othuol’s burial, an angry Churchill was captured publicly schooling a group of comedians on why they needed to invest in themselves and stop relying on bloggers.

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

“Don’t wake up every morning and you’re telling them what you are eating, what you are wearing, you have a life. Stop calling people your family because the moment you stop cracking jokes, they stop being your family. Leave the bloggers, they earn money through your stories,” Churchill said, singling out Zeddy.

Actor, comedian, and singer Aliwah, who appears on the revamped Vioja Mahakamani agrees, saying many do things to please people who are not part of their daily lives.

“It is an industry that unfortunately, has no good structures and mentors to advice talents on how to plan their future,” he said.

Churchill’s advice, however, was not convincing to others.

“That tongue lashing by Churchill was useless since he was feasting too,” controversial blogger Robert Alai posted on his Facebook page, captioning a photo of the comedians having a hearty feast at Jalang’o’s homestead. “He should have called them to a private session and gave them the talk instead of pretending that he thinks differently.”

A country laughing at its comedians’ expense

The sorry state of the comedy industry has been well documented. The country has lost many talents to depression, long-term sickness, and substance abuse. Many celebrated comedians have died depressed, frustrated by their inability to monetise their talents in a society that is quick to praise them and laugh at their expense, but not happy enough to see them prosper and head into their twilight with satisfied souls.

This week, we have lost Mzee Makanyaga, real name Mohamed Tajiri, who was part of the Vitimbi cast, among other popular programmes that made KCB a bit palatable. He passed on at 85, at his Pumwani home.

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan tweeted, ‘Mourning the loss of the renown comedian Mohamed Tajiri – Mzee Makanyaga – who left us yesterday (Tuesday). The last of that extraordinary talented generation out of Kamukunji, which included Mama Toffi, Mzee Pembe & Athumani Kipanga at the venerable VOK. My condolences to the family.’

His death follows that of veteran actor Mzee Kihara, who appeared on Vitimbi and Jungu Kuu. He passed on in July, the same month that Joseph Musyoki Kivindu, better known as Kasee, died from poisoning. Kasee appeared on the Churchill Show.

“The stress of maintaining a certain lifestyle has driven many into depression and drug abuse, especially when shows or events run dry,” explained Aliwah, on why most comedians resort to the bottle.

But are we as a society really appreciative of our heroes, especially those whom we run to when we are stressed or when seeking a bit of a light moment to make life more meaningful?

“I don’t think we appreciate our actors, comedians and the likes,” Ken Waudo boldly said. “It’s an attitude that was picked on even after we gained independence as a country. We looked at entertainers as people we can easily get wherever there is entertainment to be done. Just people you can call easily call to do something.”

According to Ken, we don’t look at entertainers as people with family and other needs, even when recognising them with state commendations.

“It’s a ‘by the way’ relationship. By the way we need an MC. By the way we need to be entertained. By the way where is the entertainment coming from?” he posed.

by SDE


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Health

PS Kibicho reveals he contracted coronavirus

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Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed that he contracted coronavirus and recovered after undergoing treatment.

While addressing mourners in Kirinyaga County on Friday Dr Kibicho said Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

“I tested positive for coronavirus, but I was treated and discharged from hospital,” he said at Gathuthuini Primary School during the funeral service of a local church leader.

“I am a living example. Those who are suffering from the disease should not worry because they will get well,” he said, adding that out of 100 people who contract the disease in Kenya only two succumb to it.

Dr Kibicho advised Kenyans to be tested for the disease because it is curable.

“Kenyans should be tested to know their status so that they can be treated,” he said.

The PS also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise people who have contracted the virus.

“Covid-19 patients should be showed love and not rejection. When the patients are abandoned, they become depressed and may take longer to recover,” he said.

He also underscored the need for everyone to continue observing protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of Covid-19.

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

“People should wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash their hands and avoid crowded places,” he said.

The PS further said that city residents should avoid travel during the holidays.

“If I had power, I would lock Nairobi during the festive season to curb spread of the dis-ease to rural areas,” Dr Kibicho said.


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Business

Carpenter hopes payday in sight in 27-year fight over presidential seats

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For the past 27 years, Solomon Njoroge Kiore has battled with the government over a debt that was initially Sh195 million but has now ballooned to more than Sh500 million in an unpaid bill for presidential furniture he delivered.

Tomorrow (Monday), Mr Kiore will go to the High Court in Milimani hoping that the end is in sight as he is supposed to get a hearing date for a case that has had many twists and turns.

In 1992, Mr Kiore, the proprietor of Furncon, a furniture company, won a government tender to supply presidential furniture but down the line, the deal went sour when the military officials returned the chairs a year after President Daniel arap Moi had used them — allegedly without payment.

The chairs had been acquired through the Ministry of Defence and approved by State House, according to court documents.

The government has denied failing to make the payment and he went to court to seek redress in 2007.

Although Mr Moi used the chairs for a year, Furncon says the military returned them to his workshop.

But the parties could not agree on the amount to be paid, with the businessman citing lack of goodwill on the side of the state.

Sh527 million

That year, Mr Kiore was seeking Sh527 million, being the price, court costs and storage charges.

He told the court he did not receive any invitation to negotiate a settlement.

Then last year, Symon Yator Cheberek, a military colonel, took over the case after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki appointed him to represent the state in all civil matters in which the Ministry of Defence is a party.

High Court judge Joseph Sergon allowed Col Cheberek to act for the state, but Mr Kiore objected this saying allowing a military officer to take up the matter was tantamount to court-martialling him.

“There can never be a situation where a civilian can be in court one on one with a distinctive disciplined and uniformed force,” he stated in an affidavit on March 25, 2019.

Col Cheberek said he is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Attorney General was in order to appoint him.

Justice Sergon has declined the recusal plea, saying the claims of bias could not be proved.

 Now, Mr Kiore says his business has died, as he can no longer use the premises where he has kept the chair as it is an instrument of power.

“It was used by a President for a year. It is treasured and therefore no one is supposed to touch it. My business has suffered immensely because of this seat,” he says in his court documents.

In a letter dated May 10, 2001, the Attorney General informed Mr Kiore that the Department of Defence had extended a without-prejudice offer purely out of honour and respect for presidential instruments.

“However, having realised that your claims include other items worth millions of shillings reflective of your other financial issues not related to the chair in question, it has not been possible to formally make the offer to you,” states the letter signed by V Onyango, a deputy litigation officer at the State Law Office.

Admission of liability

The offer, the officer states, is not the government’s admission of liability, because “the said chairs were ordered by the Agricultural Society of Kenya”.

He says the seat was made under strict supervision of the military and State House staff.

The firm says it was asked to make more furniture for presidential lounges at the Eldoret Moi Airbase and Kahawa Garrison and deliver the chairs to the Agricultural Society of Kenya offices in Nairobi for a three-day presidential function.

But the President ordered that the furniture remain at the ASK offices, according to a letter by the ASK dated August 5, 1999.

Now, Furncon wants a declaration that the ownership of the items was passed on to the government in September 1992, under the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act and as such they are instruments of power.

by nation africa


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Business

Go Green na Optiven

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It is the responsibility of everyone to tender and care for the planet for better and healthier future generations.

 

We call upon you to join any of these categories:

 

1. Those who are more environmentally friendly

 

2. Those who are ecologically responsible in both their decision making and lifestyles

 

3. Those who protect environment

 

4. Those who protect and sustain the natural resources in their area of business

 

5. Those who help to conserve resources like water, air and vegetation

 

6. Those who produce eco-friendly products, thus preventing pollution of our air, water and land

 

7. Those who can prove that they have been using Green Energy/clean energy such as solar power or if using conventional energy; they are using eco-friendly bulbs and that save energy.

 

How can each play a role this is a highlight of just but a few but you can  put your   role that  you are doing  to promote the  green agenda

 

1. Builders/Engineers/Architects/Interiors designers

i. Use of solar energy/ Use of solar panels

ii. Use of Energy saving bulbs, florescent tubes

iii. Use of organic paints, light friendly windows

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

iv. Use of Eco-friendly toilets

v. Harvesting of rain water from roof tops, use roofs that are Eco-friendly, ensure that water does not go to waste

vi. Proof of reduction of water bills as a result of going green

vii. Water recycling technologies like Bio digester

viii. Those whose provide green buildings, Eco-friendly homes

 

2. Farming, gardening, landscaping experts

i. Use of drip or sprinkler on not flooding water while gardening or farming

ii. Use of organic pesticides

iii. Use of organic manure

iv. Those who increase forests cover

 

3. Health businesses, Schools, Hospitals

i. Those providing natural skin care products & not petroleum or synthetic ingredients on the products

ii. Those offering advice on going green, creating awareness of going green

iii. Those who teach children on being a friend of the earth

iv. Those who buy from ethical farmers who are known to produce organic products

 

4. Transport industry, drivers, delivery companies and logistics firms/organizations

i. Those who reduce carbon emissions directly or indirectly

ii. Any Awareness of climate change

iii. Any knowledge of carbon emissions and how to reduce?

 

5. Property Owners within Optiven Projects

i. Planting of trees in their plots

ii. Adoption of water recycling technology

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

iii. Establishment of Green Spaces

iv. Proper waste disposal

 

6. SMEs

i. Those who recycle waste

ii. Those manufacturing from the recycled materials

iii. Those who take proper care of electronic wastes

iv. Tech companies that have a green policy on disposal of electric waste

v. SMEs that can prove awareness of global warming

 

7. Families

i. Those who adopt any of the going green initiative say family tree planting, planting a tree during birthday instead of having a birthday cake or doing both

ii. With children who are aware of climate change and also alive to ways of preventing in preventing it

iii. Families that are involved in separation of different form of waste and or engaged in any form of recycling

 

8. Hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, entertainment joins

i. Provision of organic food to customers

ii. Support of local farmers who do organic farming

iii. Awareness of climate change and its risks to humanity

 

9. Decision makers- checking the green component in your venture

i. Any policy decisions on going green

ii. Awareness on global warming

iii. Any knowledge of implementation of United Nations Development Goals

 

10. Children: If you are a child who is school going or otherwise and you have started being sensitive to the planet by doing conservation activities

READ ALSO:   Othuol Othuol’s final journey commences at KNT

 

11. Others: If you  believe that you are a friend of the planet, let us know

 

https://youtu.be/45nfQZYQeKU

 

#SaveTheEarth

#SaveOurPlanet

#GoingGreen=Healthy Families

 

George Wachiuri

Trustee

Optiven Foundation

www.optivenfoundation.org


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