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Why young people must conserve the environment right now

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For 19 year-olds ‘Mama Wanyama’ as she is known, there is no force more powerful than a woman who is determined to make a sweeping change. Backward stereotypes, patriarchy, age bias, capitalist policies, and a host of other challenges stand to dot her path to success. But it is in her inner strength that she draws on to power through the odds in the conservation world.

Not yet 20, Maureen Some is the founder of Wildnow, a foundation dedicated to addressing and reversing environmental degradation in Kenya.

Her love goes way back. As a little girl, her heart has always gone to the animals, the trees, and any natural matter. “At some point I had almost 30 stray cats and dogs living in our compound, driving my mother crazy,” she says.

Maureen Some, 19, at Maasai Mara Park, Narok county, earlier this year during a community research project on wildlife and tourism status in the area. POOL| NATION

Growing up in the wild

Maureen grew up in an unincorporated community in Rumukuti, Laikipia for most of her childhood, something she says played a big part in her love for animals. “I’ve rescued animals since I was about six. I grew up in a place where wild animals, were numerous. When I found sick birds or stray animals I would always feed and nurse them back to health. I also had a special animal orphanage that I would skip school to attend to,” she says.

After graduating from an environmental course in Brookhouse School, Nairobi, Maureen briefly battled with the idea of traveling to Canada for her undergraduate before ultimately deciding to devote her time and life to saving animals and their environment through her NGO Wildnow Foundation “with the help of her team and youth volunteers.”

The subject of environment rescue was emerging as a popular cause in Kenya with afforestation and the encroachment of the Nairobi National Park making headlines. “Wildnow meant just that, let’s ALL save the Wild NOW!”

Partnering with youngins

After stepping into action the young high school graduate with little experience in operating a Non-Profit foundation discovered the climb was steeper than most. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and I often wondered if I had made a huge mistake in starting Wildnow,” Maureen says.

But she felt convinced that young people needed to be at the heart of the cause. “The largest contributors to the destruction of the environment were stereotypes that excluded young people from the conversation and even worse, involved them in degrading it,” Maureen divulges. She then started a free-for-all Arts and Talents page on their public website for youths in the creative industry.

For her, the inclusion of creative youth in the cause is the first and most important step to change. A youngin herself, Maureen understood it would take the collaboration of a younger following who would benefit from the conservation information. “In our culture, if I told an adult to pick their litter they would think I am crazy. It is easier and far more beneficial to help younger Kenyans understand the problem, enlist their participation and come with solutions together,” she says.

Her solution is two-pronged. While encouraging young people to conserve nature, she also helps them come with better ways of relaxation away from drugs and alcohol.

“I encourage them to do outdoor meditation, forest walks, and game drives to ease their anxieties,” she says.

She also wanted to demystify the idea that conservation as that for ‘old white people’. “It’s our future we are speaking about. Young people need to know that the SGR situation in the Nairobi National Park or deforestation in the Mau affects them greatly,” Maureen emphasis.

Her greatest achievements

Maureen prides herself on being at the forefront in stopping the building of a large hotel inside the Nairobi National Park. “After many attempts to get the Kenya Wildlife Service to review the project and even pushing the agenda through social media failed, we were forced to petition. Soon we finally caught the government’s attention. There isn’t any more construction in the park –but it is only a matter of time before it happens again so we have to constantly be on the lookout,” Maureen cautions. Her organisation also represented the youth in the Ripoff Campaign under the Office of the First Lady, Ministry of Tourism, and other Foundations in the Citrus conference. “We are proud that there is a rise in the elephant population in Kenya,” she beams.

What now?

Maureen would like their advocacy to go beyond just young people. “We require more support. 2022 is not far, and we haven’t reached the 10 per cent forest cover we require to avert a climate crisis,” she says, solemnly.

She is not giving up though. “I will strive despite the risks because, at the end of the day, nobody will do my job if I don’t,” she says.

What can everyone else do to help? “Spread the word. If we can all do something, it makes our sweat, blood, and tears worthwhile,” she says.

by Nation.co.ke

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Entertainment

‘Our marriage is currently in a tough space’ Says Vivianne, Sam West responds

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Motivational speaker-cum music manager Sam West has responded after his wife Vivianne hinted that they are going through marital problems.

According to a social media post by Vivianne, people always assume they are a perfect couple but they are not.

Speaking exclusively to Mpasho, Sam West said he hopes things will work out for them.

‘We just have a few domestic challenges but we are working on them. We juts need prayers.’

Asked if this is just clout chasing considering his wife just released a new jam, he responded

‘No it’s not kiki, it’s just a coincidence.’

Sam Was responding to the post below by his wife Vivianne

‘Today I want to be very candid.. nataka niongee wazi.. The world first met  when he decided to propose on the biggest TV show in the country.

I was shocked and this was unexpected for me.

I couldn’t say yes or no so I sat there in front of 40mill Kenyans hoping the world would swallow me but it didn’t, so I smiled.

First forward I have worked with Sam West and been his woman for 4 years.

So to get to the point this post is for you who understands that what society has labeled as marriage is one of the hardest things to exist in.

We are two humans who have learnt the hard way. We are friends and we will always care about one another. Our union has however taken a kick to the stomach.’

Vivianne added

‘ IG in-laws can attest to the fact that I haven’t posted Sam on my feed for the past one month or so.

We felt it would be important to share the truth that marriage can get difficult..

Social media couples have created illusions of perfect marriages which we feel are quite misleading.

To be honest we have ignored each other’s needs in our union . Expectations and control took over our relationship. We are in a tough space and to be honest we are hoping we will overcome the current challenge.

Hii sio Kiki. For those who love even one of us remember us in your prayers. May God’s will be done.

In the meantime ukipata unayemdhamini never take them for granted., #najua

by Mpasho.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Alarm as more children are caught up in deadly lovers’ tiffs

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“What wrong did my son do to deserve such a death?”  a father asked as he watched the body of his 11-year-old son wheeled into a mortuary. The boy was a victim of a failed relationship between the mother and an estranged lover.

His death adds to the growing list of children paying the ultimate price due to fights between their parents.

Gideon Kang’ethe, Shanice Maua and Prince Michael are among the victims. And so are Claire Wanjira and Faith Wanjiru, both 10 years old.

On October 22, Mercy Gathoni (35), her daughter Claire Wanjira and Faith Wanjiru her niece, were found strangled in a shop at Jambo in Karatina Town.

Initial investigations by homicide detectives point at yet another case of children caught up in adult fights.

They were found lying on a bed each with a rope around their necks, an indication that they had been strangled to death.  Detectives placed their time of death at between 10am and 1pm.

Commotion

What has baffled both the residents and the police is that no one heard any commotion despite the fact that the scene where the murder was committed usually has heavy human traffic as it is along the busy Karatina-Nairobi highway.

According to residents, Ms Gathoni was last seen at around 9am. It still remains unclear how a man, believed to be known to the victims, walked into the backroom of the shop and strangled them.

After noticing that the shopkeeper was not attending to customers, Ms Gathoni’s niece Faith was sent to check on them. She was also strangled.

The bodies, according to residents were found at around 1pm in a room behind a grocery shop by Gathoni’s sister, Ms Rahab Mugure, who had gone to look for her daughter who had overstayed after being sent to check on her aunt.

Love triangle

In yet another case of a love affair turned sour, an innocent boy’s life was cut short brutally after he was caught up in a love triangle he neither understood nor played part in.

He had been reported missing for a week.  Mr Charles Muriuki was identified as a prime suspect in what was then seen as abduction of the Kirigu School pupil.

For days, detectives interrogated him at the Karatina sub county police headquarters as he denied his involvement. Kangethe’s body was found decomposing in a grave in Mathira, Nyeri County.

Mr Muriuki is now facing murder charges, accused of killing Kang’ethe.

Shanice and Prince Michael were also killed following a bitter spat between their mother and former Kenya Defence Forces soldier Peter Mugure.

by nation.co.ke

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Business

I bought a car from an online bazaar, but it ended in tears

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Buyer beware! The sleek car that you saw on that online bazaar may not be on sale – but a ruse to rip you off.

Three buyers fell for this trap, hoodwinked by a smooth-talking ‘salesman’ who promised to help them upgrade their cars, in a saga that ended in tears.

And the victims had thought that because a lawyer was involved in the transaction, this protected their interests as well. However, the manner in which they lost their cash raises questions about his role.

The address was an office block in the city centre, where the sale agreements would be drafted, buyers would part with their cash and the seller would thereafter vanish into thin air without delivering the vehicle.

Since 2018, when one of the cases was reported, the victim is yet to recover his money, with the lawyer claiming he did not know the seller.

This year, however, two more people have fallen prey to the scam and it’s unclear how many more have been conned.

Wanted to upgrade his car

Earlier this year, Mr Kelvin Ngugi, 23, wanted to upgrade his KBX Toyota Sienta and, while scrolling through the internet one evening, he came across a dealer who identified himself as Mr Ronald Bundi on Jiji.ke, the online classifieds website that acquired OLX.

Mr Bundi was willing to trade in Mr Ngugi’s old vehicle and Mr Ngugi, impressed at the convenience of that possibility, began making arrangements for that to happen.

However, before the deal could be closed, Mr Bundi informed him that the trade-in option was no longer viable.

He was left with the sole option of selling his car to buy the one he wanted, a white Toyota Sienta, registration KCQ.

Mr Ngugi hunted for a buyer, sold it and reached out to Mr Bundi for the car he wanted. He was informed the car was still available at a showroom along Kiambu road at Sh600,000.

“The plan was that I pay a Sh500,000 deposit and remit the balance in instalments of Sh25,000,” recalled Ngugi.

Mr Kelvin Ngugi.

On February 19, when they were to close the deal, Mr Bundi advised Mr Ngugi to meet him at lawyer Wilberforce Mariaria Nyaboga’s office at Uniafric House, along Koinange Street, for the payment and signing of a sale agreement.

“The lawyer finished drafting the agreement at around 3:45pm and asked me to go withdraw the deposit since the banks were about to close and pay in cash. He advised that the payment be done at his office so that in case of anything, he’d be held liable,” Mr Ngugi recounted.

Mr Ngugi says he did as advised, returned with the money and gave it to the lawyer, who, alongside the seller, started counting it.

When they confirmed the amount, the seller offered to go get the car with Mr Ngugi’s father from a garage in Hurlingham.

Mr Bundi explained the car had been taken to Hurlingham to be fitted with an alarm system to ease its tracking in the event Mr Ngugi failed to remit the balance.

Unbeknown to Mr Ngugi, this was the seller’s trick to get away with his money.

The two stepped out to hop onto motorbike taxis to speed them to the garage, but Mr Bundi sped past Mr Ngugi’s father and disappeared.

“Later Dad called to inform me that they had lost him. We tried reaching Bundi on the phone in vain.  That is how I realised I had been conned,” he said.

Mr Ngugi says he recorded a statement with a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer at Central Police Station but that is yet to bear any fruit.

He says the police have been unable to track down both Mr Bundi and the lawyer, even on the occasions the latter is spotted at his office.
On Thursday, the lawyer denied knowing Ngugi and ever having drafted the agreement.
————

Another victim

After giving up hope of ever recovering the Sh900,000 she paid for a Toyota RAV4, Ms Florence Awour (36) decided to share her predicament on a Facebook’s parenting group to expose Mr Bundi, who had conned her too.

Ms Awuor had spotted the car at Jiji.ke and involved her brother in making the purchase. She paid Sh1.1 million through the lawyer’s Equity Bank account but never got the car.

Ms Florence Awour.

Nation Media Group

Her brother had been assured the car was at a yard along Kiambu road. Her brother and a mechanic had checked out and test-driven the car twice before she paid for it.

Mr Bundi asked to meet her brother at the same lawyer’s office, where the sale agreement was signed but when they went for the car at Tito Motors along Kiambu road, her brother was told by the attendants that Mr Bundi wasn’t known to them.

She conducted a search on the car’s registration and realised her brother had also been given a fake logbook.

“I alerted the car’s owner, who in turn filed a report with a DCI officer at Central Police Station under OB number 67/26/02/2020.”

After publicising her tribulations, she said the lawyer refunded Sh200,000 and alleged the balance had been wired to the seller.

Yesterday, the lawyer acknowledged he refunded the money but after realising that the deal had gone sour. He admitted to having recorded a statement at Central police station where the matter has been pending under investigation for months.

“I was acting on behalf of the two because they came to me asking for an agreement to seal their deal. I am therefore not to blame. I am also aware that the police have been hunting the seller who I only know as Robert, who is unknown to me,” he said.

The sale agreement however was with Alice Nancy Momanyi.
—-

Seller disappeared into thin air

Henry Munene Muchiri (35) also gave up after a long wait for justice. He said police were unable to help him recover Sh600,000 paid for a Toyota Sienta bought via OLX but was never delivered to him in 2018.

“After expressing my interest, I was taken to a yard on Ngong Road where I saw the vehicle, inspected it and agreed to make a purchase.”

A Toyota Sienta 2010 model.

File | Nation Media Group

But before the car was released, Mr Munene was asked to accompany the seller to his lawyer’s office in town to sign a sale agreement.

“At some point everything was fine, the car’s logbook and search hinted at no foul play until I was asked to make the payment. Apparently they did not have a bank account so I was requested to pay in cash and I brought the money to the lawyer’s office.”

At some point the seller said he needed to rush downstairs to pick up a laptop for use in the transaction but he never came back.

“The lawyer claimed he didn’t know the seller in person and I reported the matter at Central Police Station under OB number 146/10/7/18 but the investigating officer kept asking for a facilitation fee to speed up investigations. I later gave up and returned to Kirinyaga,” he said.

On Monday, DCI detectives at Central Police Station said the lawyer had already recorded a statement.

Efforts to contact Mr Bundi were futile. His contacts as received from the victims were out of service and others were not being picked.

Cash withdrawn immediately

However, an attempt to send Sh5 to one of Mr Bundi’s contact to get his Mpesa-registered name was successful. The amount was, however, withdrawn from his end as soon as it was received. A text message the Nation sent to this number thereafter requesting his response to the claims by the victims wasn’t responded to.

After placing a call and sending a text message to the lawyer on Tuesday, October 20, requesting his response to the claims by the victims, he called back but declined an interview on phone.

Mr Mariaria told this writer to meet him on Wednesday, October 21, in his office. The meeting was then pushed to Thursday when the lawyer denied claims of acting in collusion with Mr Bundi.

He explained that although he had drafted two agreements in the past for transactions in which the buyers never got the vehicles, he has never been involved in any deal with Mr Bundi.

Mr Mariaria added he could not recall parties to the transactions because he offers legal services to many people.

“People come to me after agreeing to sell and buy cars from each other and all I do is sign the agreement and witness the transaction,” added the lawyer.

Denies culpability

Asked whether he was concerned about his office being used to swindle Kenyans money, he responded he cannot stop people from flocking to his office in search of legal services.

“The only mistake I committed was receiving Florence’s money in my account. Otherwise, there are too many criminals in town and cars are being sold every day. The only thing I can do is to be careful next time,” the lawyer said.

Jiji, a subsidiary of Digital Spring Ventures, acquired OLX from five countries in its efforts to become the leading classified marketplace in the world by traffic.

The transactions made through the platform are virtual, which exposes it to abuse but to cushion its clients from theft, the website advises buyers to only make payments for items bought after successful delivery.

“Avoid anything that appears too good to be true, such as unrealistically low prices and promises of quick money,” further reads the disclaimer.

by nation.co.ke

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