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Too close for comfort: Mothers hiding dark secrets of incest in Kilifi



Behind the doors of village huts in Kilifi, lie dark family secrets of incest and child abuse.

Disturbing cases of fathers defiling their daughters at will have gone unreported for ages due to a code of silence aimed at protecting the sex pests.

Kangaroo courts

For too long, women in the north Coast have carried the burden of shame and secrecy just to keep their families together whenever their husbands or close relatives engage in incest. When the pressure comes from gender activists, they opt for kangaroo courts.

With such village sittings, justice metamorphoses into the worst kind of injustice – a paradox of the most baffling nature.

“In most cases, the father is the breadwinner and when he is jailed, the family suffers. As a result, most families do not report cases of sexual abuse to the police. They go to kangaroo courts,” says Judith Uchi of Sauti ya Wanawake, a women’s movement in Coast.

She calls upon the government to economically empower girls who have been sexually abused by relatives.

“Victims of sexual gender-based violence are at risk due to the economic challenges facing their families. A majority risk being abused again since they end up in child labour to support their families,” offers Ms Uchi.

“Most abused girls suffer in silence in the villages. There is no one giving them a helping hand and many are defiled repeatedly because of their vulnerability.”

Husband jailed, left with 13 children

In the remote Masemo village in Ganze constituency, lives *Susan Kazungu and her 13 children.

Sitting under a tree, Ms Kazungu ponders her fate after a string of misfortunes. Her husband is in prison for defiling their 16-year-old daughter.

The second-born, *Mathew Kazungu, is nursing spinal cord injuries after he fell from a tree in February. He was chasing a monkey for dinner (yes, a monkey) in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, when it happened.

“I was working at a coconut orchard as a wine tapper. They paid according to the amount of palm wine you harvested. It was not enough to feed me and my family in Kilifi,” he says.

“My mother is going through hard times, so I looked for a job to help feed the family.”

He used to harvest wine from 25 coconut trees per day for Sh1,000. Now he can barely move his legs and arms. Well-wishers raised about Sh50,000 for his medication, which has already been exhausted.

Ostracised by relatives, Ms Kazungu is a desperate woman who needs Sh250,000 for his son to undergo spinal code surgery.

“My husband’s family declined to help because they blame me for his predicament. They told me not to bother them,” she offers.

The same relatives are now planning to sell her family’s only piece of land to bail out the husband. Her house is in a sorry state, with the roof almost falling, but there’s nobody to help.

According to Giriama culture, it is taboo for a woman to fix the roof. Jobless and penniless, she only stays at home to look after her son.

“The drought has made things tough because there are no jobs. I used to work in the farms around here,” she says.

Her daughter works in the mines at Kadzandani to support the family.

“A relative introduced me to one of the mine owners, who offered me a job. I have the put the past behind me to support my siblings,” she says, adding that she leaves home at 4am to get to work on time.

On average, she makes Sh400 a day. Masemo village elder Janet Kadzo says Ms Kazungu is going through a challenging time following the incarceration of her husband.

“She must go out every morning to look for casual jobs. Sometimes her children just cry because they are hungry and have gone for days without food,” says Ms Kadzo.

Sentenced to life imprisonment

In Kasava village, *Lorna Kahindi is taking care of her grandchildren after her daughter separated from her husband after he defiled their 10-year-old child.

The husband, a man of God, was later sentenced to life imprisonment. Ms Kahindi weaves makuti for sale to feed her five grandchildren while her daughter works in Mombasa.

“My son-in-law was a good man, a pastor. He used to take care of his family and me, giving me money to buy food and clothes. Now we are all suffering because there is no one to support us,” she says.

Sauti ya Wanawake’s mission is to see all the survivors living a normal life like any other children. Not long ago, Ms Uchi enrolled one of the survivors at a secondary school after her primary exam.

“If the girl had not joined the secondary school and left to suffer at home, she could not understand why her father was jailed for defiling her. I could be the one to be blamed for acting against him. That’s why I support the suffering children,” she offers.

Shockingly, victims’ families sometimes turn against her “for pushing for justice against their wishes”.

“Sometimes after the bad guys are convicted, close family members of the girl and the community gang up against me,” says Ms Uchi.

Covid-19 played a role

Kilifi County coordinator of children services George Migosi says there is poor reporting of incest cases as families hide them to protect their relatives.

“Many cases that involve non-family members are always reported on time and the witnesses cooperate until justice is done, unlike incest where the relatives will use all means to defeat justice,” he says.

The Covid-19 pandemic also made matters worse for girls as children stayed at home for too long. In most parts of the country, there were reports of under-age pregnancy, gender-based violence and rape.

“Poor reporting of incest cases in Kilifi has always been cited as one of the many hindrances that affect the fight against gender-based violence. About 70 per cent of families in Kilifi are poor and must hustle every day to put food on the table,” offers Mr Migosi.

By the time of reporting there were six incest cases at the children’s department this year.


Eric Omondi denies Jacque Maribe’s son in new pregnancy reveal



By Wanja Waweru

Eric Omondi, an award-winning comedian and creator of digital entertainment, and Lynne, a social media influencer and commercial model, have revealed they are expecting a child.

The pair enthusiastically announced the news in a combined Instagram post. Lynne can be seen donning a yellow two-piece costume in the images that have been released, proudly displaying her growing baby belly.

Eric, who was completely covered in black, stands protectively behind her and gently strokes the lump.

In her third trimester, Lynne undoubtedly looks pregnant. Eric expressed his excitement at having his own flesh and blood in the caption of the photo, which is odd given that he shares a child with Jackie Maribe, a former media celebrity.

Eric continued by equating himself with Sarah from the Bible, who’d It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

He went on to add, “The Fruit of my loins! I feel like Sarah of Abraham of the Bible, she waited all her life for a child of her own.

Thank you baby for making me a father❤❤🙏🙏🥰🥰. And to God thank you for returning our baby to us,” the last of his post read.

It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

Seven months ago, Lynne tragically miscarried at barely eight weeks of pregnancy, and Eric and his girlfriend announced they had lost their first child.

The medical professionals there did everything they could to save the little angel, but it was in vain, as Eric refers to the night as the longest night of his life.

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Mwalimu Rachel: Managing Sailors Gang my biggest regret!



By Wanja Waweru

The long-running feud between oppular radio host Rachel Muthoni Njeru, often known as Mwalimu and the gengetone boy band Sailors Gang has been being brought up again, with Rachel stating that managing the group is one of her greatest regrets.

The social media influencer shared this in an interesting conversation she had on her official YouTube channel with a friend named Monicah Wairimu Mwariri.

“What is your biggest regret? Like the one thing you say if I could have done differently I would have gotten different/ better results as Mwalimu Rachel?”

Monicah who was acting as the moderator of that specific episode posed the question to Rachel.

“Managing… managing Sailors Gang!” replied the NRG radio presenter without a second thought.

She continued by saying that interacting with the group had been such a challenge that it had put her in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

“Wueh! Wewe ushawahi lala cell (have you ever spent a night in jail)?” Rachel asked the host to which she replied she’d never and doesn’t even ever wish to encounter such a moment.

Mwalimu Rachel said that while she was in charge of the gengetone male group, she had spent a night in a police cell.

Mimi nililala cell, like wueh…” Rachel revealed.

Sharing a snippet of the interview with her over 403k Instagram followers Rachel wrote, “Cell nayo nililala ni ukweli… wueh! That was a DAAARK time for me. It’s okay though… Time for EVERYONE to hear my story from ME.”

She stated in another post that the reason she was finally speaking about it was so that the suffering she had endured would not be in vain.

“Hopefully my experience will educate other managers as well as caution artists against some things,” Mwalimu Rachel’s post read.

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US announces changes to student visa application process



US State Department has revealed changes in policy that will impact foreign students entering the US.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during the National Association of other Student Advisers (NAFSA) in Washington that they had streamlined the visa application process for students from other nations, including Kenya, who want to pursue higher education overseas.

According to him, applicants won’t need to participate in an interview to complete their application.

This adjustment is a significant deviation from the standard procedures, which at first required an interview.

The Department also extended the window in which a Visa application may be submitted, bringing it from 120 days to a full year.

Blinken stressed the significance of forging alliances with other nations when discussing visa reforms in order to provide students with additional opportunities  options to study abroad.

He applauded organizations like NAFSA for helping students seize opportunities and for organizing student exchanges.

“At the State Department, we are working to expand international education. After the acute phase of the pandemic ended, more and more international students began applying to study in the US again. We took steps to streamline our visa process and make it easier for students to apply,” he said.

M Square Media’s CEO, Raghwa Gopal, applauded the US government for taking action to expand international study programs. Gopal asserted that by giving students the skills they would need for future international engagements, the short-term educational courses would be advantageous to the students.

Foreign students can enter a recognized college, university, high school, or other educational program in the US under the academic student program.

Foreign students must be admitted by a school that has received formal US government recognition, and the program must result in a certification, certificate, or degree.

After a popular outcry, the deadline for the hike in worldwide visa fees was postponed from the originally announced date of May 30 to June 17; some applicants will now have to pay up to Sh42,000 to obtain the travel document.

Business and tourist visas (category B1/B2S), student visas (F), and exchange visitor visas (J) are the categories that would see a rise, going from Sh21,800 ($160) to Sh25,206 ($185) visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will cost Sh27,941 ($205) from Sh25,897 ($190).

The US Embassy in Nairobi stated that they acknowledge the critical role that international travel plays in the US economy and pointed out that President Joe Biden’s foreign policy places a high priority on granting visas, particularly for work and tourism. They insisted that the fees are only intended to cover the costs of providing the consular services.

The cost of non-immigrant visas hasn’t gone up since 2014, so this is a big deal.

Following the suspension of the process in 2020 as part of the safety measures established at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, the embassy has been dealing with a massive backlog of visa interviews.

The Embassy shortened the wait time for visa interviews for Kenyan visitors last month and permitted renewal of some categories without going through an interview physical appointments.

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