|Thursday, 30th September, 2010||
|NAIROBI-Kenya’s justice minister said the transfer of Kenyans to Uganda to face charges of involvement in bomb attacks in Kampala should not have occurred and that parts of the judicial system had failed.Mutula Kilonzo made the comments in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.
He supported the view of two Kenyan High Court judges who have criticised the transfer of several suspects to Uganda.
Kenya High Court judge Mohamed Wasarme said on Tuesday the transfers flouted the rights of the Kenyan citizens.
Yesterday, another Kenya High Court judge labelled the arrest, detention and removal of one of the Kenyan suspects as illegal.
A total of 38 people, including Ugandans, Somalis and Kenyans, have been charged with terrorism over the twin bomb blasts in Kampala that ripped through crowds watching the World Cup final in July.
The minister said he was not aware of any requests to transfer suspects to Uganda.
“It is possible that Uganda may have requested for these people. The issue has not arisen anywhere I could have commented,” Kilonzo said.
Kenya drew fierce criticism in 2007 for the transfer of scores of Somalis to Ethiopia after a US-backed invasion of the anarchic Horn of Africa nation that routed an Islamist administration deemed a regional security.
Meanwhile, Kenya High Court judge Aggrey Muchelule yesterday termed the detention and extradition of Kenyans suspected to have been involved in the Uganda bombings as illegal and a breach of their fundamental rights.
He made the declaration as he ruled on a petition regarding Mohamed Hamid Suleiman, one of the suspects held in Uganda over the terror bombings. However, Muchelule said the court could not order for the suspect’s repatriation since he was out of Kenya’s jurisdiction.
A witchdoctor who misled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s entire Cabinet into believing that petroleum was oozing from a rock has been jailed for 27 months.
President Mugabe went to the extent of setting up a Cabinet committee to investigate how the country could benefit from the “discovery” after Rottina Mavhunga claimed to have discovered refined diesel at a mountainous area.
Mavhunga hosted several ministerial delegations at her shrine and was paid thousands of dollars as she sent the government on a wild goose chase. She cleverly exploited a fuel shortage that had gripped Zimbabwe for more than five years.
A magistrate in Chinhoyi, about 100km from Harare, said the witchdoctor deserved a custodial sentence as the government had channelled money to her fake project and which was now lost.
“The court cannot be faulted for saying that the offences were premeditated and diligently executed.
“Many people became gullible owing to the crisis the country was under and accepted an unknown phenomenon.
“The accused lied to the nation for self-actualisation and personal benefit. Your trickery brought despondency in the nation during a dry period,” the magistrate said while passing sentence.
Mavhunga blamed the diesel claim on spirit possession. She said she does not know if the diesel exists.
The government later discovered that Mavhunga and her accomplices were drawing diesel from tanks left by a white commercial farmer who lost his farm during President Mugabe’s controversial land reforms.
Mugabe’s close ally and Zimbabwe’s registrar-general, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, who allegedly sheltered Mavhunga when she was being sought by police, was also criticised.
Mavhunga faces another charge after she allegedly exchanged a stone weighing 18kg, claiming it was gold, for a cow.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. â€“ A priest with ties to the Ohio Valley pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually battering a young girl in Virginia.
Prosecutors said the Rev. Felix Owino was drinking the night he inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl.
“I did what they said,” Owino told a Fairfax County, Va., judge in a soft-spoken voice.
If the judge approves the plea agreement, Owino won’t serve more than five years in prison. Officials said Owino also faces deportation back to his home country of Kenya.
Owino most recently served as an associate pastor at St. Paul’s parish in Weirton. Until June, he was also a faculty member in the philosophy department of Wheeling Jesuit University.
He was charged with one count of aggravated sexual battery stemming from a July 7 incident involving a child in Herndon, Va. Police said they were called to a home after a family reported Owino â€” their house guest and longtime friend â€” inappropriately touched a girl in their home.
Prosecutors said Owino was watching a movie at the family’s home when he moved to the back of the room next to the victim and rubbed the girl’s hands and feet. He then touched her in inappropriate places and told the girl, “Do not tell.”
The child told her mother, and the mother kicked Owino out of the house and ordered him to stay on the steps until police arrived. Prosecutors said Owino admitted he touched the girl and told police he’d not done anything like that before.
Prosecutors said the victim’s family accepted the plea deal, and victims’ advocates said families usually do that to protect their child from going to court.
Although Owino made a plea deal with prosecutors for a maximum of 5 years, the judge made it clear the decision is ultimately up to him. He could reject the plea bargain out and give Owino the maximum sentence of 20 years.
Owino could also be deported because he’s not an American citizen. Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Owino was ordained in 1992 and is a member of the Religious Missionary Institute of the Apostles of Jesus, headquartered in Philadelphia. He joined the faculty of Wheeling Jesuit in the fall of 2008 and taught for two consecutive terms, most recently instructed an online class. Prior to that, he worked at Magdalen College in New Hampshire and before that at Alvernia College in Reading, Pa.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place in December.
- Nubians in Kenya often cannot get officially recognized as Kenyan citizens
- They were given land near Nairobi as a reward for fighting with the British in both world wars
- They arrived in Kenya from Sudan after signing up with the British Army
Kibera, Kenya (CNN) — Sixty-eight year old Naima Shaban can’t access health care, open a bank account, or even get a death certificate in Kenya. Like thousands of Nubians living in Kenya, she is effectively stateless.
Shaban lost her national identity card 10 years ago. For most Kenyans it takes a few weeks to get a new one; she is still waiting. She has a faded copy that she has kept all this time.
“I don’t know why they don’t just give me my I.D.,” Shaban told me, “I filled out the forms, I am angry.”
She can’t even improve her mud house. Most Nubians can’t get land title to their plots. If they build a formal structure it will be torn down.
Nubians came to Kenya as an accident of history. The British Army began recruiting them out of modern day Sudan at the turn of the last century. They formed part of the King’s African Rifles, a regiment raised from the British territories in Africa.
Nubians helped expand the empire and fought in both world wars. To reward veterans, the British government gave families land in a forest near Nairobi. They called it Kibr, now it is Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum.
A recent photographic exhibition by Greg Constantine highlights their long history in Kenya.
Since Kenyan independence in 1964, Nubians have struggled to find a formal place in Kenyan society. Despite living in Kenya for three, sometimes four, generations, Nubian families often struggle to get recognized by the state as Kenyan citizens.
“Obtaining a passport or identity card as a Nubian,” says Adam Hussein, a leading Nubian Advocate, “requires that you go through a different process than the rest of Kenyans.”
Hussein should know. It took him ten years of struggle to get a passport. He was a member of a rugby team – he couldn’t travel. He was a trained chemist – he couldn’t get a job with the government.
According to the Open Society Foundations, there are some 15 million stateless globally. From Thailand’s hill tribes to Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Caribbean, stateless people are not recognized by any country.
While some Nubians have become true Kenyans by virtue of luck or patience, in recent years the situation seems to be getting worse, not better.
A senior immigration official told me that the Kenyan government vets many Nubians, regardless of how long their families have been in the country. Immigration, home affairs, and even intelligence gets involved, I was told.
Nubians are even asked for their grandparents’ birth certificates to get official I.D.
“Stringent measures aren’t aimed at any particular community,” the official said. “They have to prove they are Kenyan. Stringent measures need to be put in place to ensure that people are Kenyan.”
Nubians do live in other countries in East Africa, but Kenya’s Nubians are, in many ways, the first Africans settled in Nairobi. Still, many can’t truly feel it is home.
Hussein said: “When a Nubian begins to say we have been here for four generations, this is almost a century plus we have been in this land. [And] the first question that comes from authority is ‘are you a Kenyan’”?
September 29, 2010
Many questions remain to be answered about the death in February of Ghanaian citizen Allan Koomson. He was arrested by police in December 2009 for being an illegal immigrant in the Netherlands and ended up in hospital.
Although the Dutch authorities are refusing to go public on the cause of death, his family was offered damages. The cash, however, has never been paid. News of his case has only just surfaced following an article in The Chronicle, a Ghanaian newspaper.
Mr Koomson’s body has now been buried in Ghana but his family are still determined to find out what happened to him. They are calling on the Ghanaian government to help get the Dutch authorities to release the autopsy report.
Ghanaian lawyer John Opoku says as well as the cause of death, the family want to know why they were offered damages by the Dutch authorities and why the amount was never discussed.
The Dutch foreign ministry confirms that a damages payment was offered because errors were made in communicating with the family in Ghana. The ministry declines to give further details, citing privacy considerations.
Mr Koomson had been living in the Netherlands for a decade when he was arrested on 9 December 2009 in Amsterdam for working without a permit. On 14 February, he phoned his sister, Cecilia Ankrah, in Leeds in Great Britain, to tell her of his detention and that he was going to be deported back to Ghana.
One week later, she was informed that he was on life support in a Dutch hospital. The message that he had died followed the next day.
In March, the Dutch authorities were preparing to transport Mr Koomson’s body to Ghana. Ms Ankrah was not granted a visa to travel from the UK to the Netherlands, making it impossible for her to see the autopsy report covering her brother’s death. It also meant she was unable to arrange for his personal effects to be sent on to Ghana.
In April, the Dutch embassy in Accra made contact with Mr Koopson’s 80-year-old mother. She was told a representative of the Dutch government would be sent to Ghana to apologise and offer damages.
She was phoned on 17 May and told to come to Accra the next morning to receive the money. If she failed to turn up for the appointment, the damages would not be paid.
Her daughters explained that such a journey at short notice was too difficult for their mother. They asked the Dutch representative to come instead to Mrs Koomson’s home in eastern Ghana. The representative, named as Mr De Koning by the Ghanaian sources, agreed to phone at a later date to make an appointment. That was the last that they heard of him.
Two weeks ago, 29-year-old asylum seeker Franklin Othieno from Kenya died in the detention centre at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The postmortem says he died of natural causes but his family want an independent autopsy to be performed before the body is returned to Kenya.
Bertha Puentes Acosta, a 74-year-old woman from Colombia, died after she was arrested for being in the Netherlands illegally. She died two weeks ago at the Ter Apel transit centre. She had been living on Dutch streets for the past two decades, earning cash as a street musician and flamenco dancer. Eduard Nazarski of the Dutch branch of Amnesty International questions whether the detention of such an old woman can be described as decent government policy.
September 29, 2010
Nairobi â€” A man committed suicide in Migori District after his wives thwarted his bid to take a third wife.
They engaged their husband, identified as Mr John Otieno, 44, in a heated argument at their home in Bondo Nyironge and demanded that the “new bride” leaves immediately.
But witnesses said Mr Otieno was adamant, saying nothing would part them.
“The co-wives then went to the local trading centre where their husband had rented a room for the woman and threw out her belongings,” said a neighbour, Mr Joram Onyango.
But on getting news of the new development, Mr Otieno went to a nearby chemist where he bought a pesticide and drank it, on Tuesday.
Foaming at the mouth
Police said his body was found on the roadside, foaming at the mouth. The body was moved to the local hospital mortuary.
Earlier this month, an inheritor, Mr Silvanus Owuor Lwamba, killed his wife and her two children in the same district. However, he was lynched by an angry mob.
Villagers in Magoto caught up with him as he tried to cross the border into Tanzania, stoned him to death and set his body ablaze.
Another wife inheritor in Kisumu’s Nyalenda slums killed his wife and her three children. He has been charged in court.
Source: Daily Nation
September 28, 2010
Lydiah Munene treats every day as a gift.
A year after an attack that killed her friend and left her at death’s door, the Christchurch nurse is smiling and thankful she is still alive to be a mother to her two sons, Michael, 14, and James, 9.
She can even forgive the person who took her friend’s life and nearly her own.
“I don’t think about the past. I’m just thinking about my kids. It’s a gift to be alive,” she told the Herald in her first media interview since the attack.
“And that is why I have become a very positive person â€¦ Once you forgive and forget, you just start getting other good things following you.”
Ms Munene, 35, was found with critical head injuries in her Christchurch flat alongside the slain body of friend Stephen Mwangi Maina, 38, in September last year.
Police say a weapon was used, but will not disclose what it was.
She was taken to Christchurch Hospital’s intensive care unit and placed in an induced coma.
Part of Ms Munene’s skull had to be removed to relieve pressure on her swollen brain, and she now has a titanium plate in her head. She had to re-learn the English language which she lost after the trauma to her brain.
Ms Munene’s estranged husband, Samuel Ngumo Njuguna, is believed to have travelled to his homeland of Kenya a day after the attack.
He is being sought by police in relation to the attack, but police are unable to comment on progress in finding him.
Ms Munene, who moved to New Zealand six years ago with her husband and children, said she had no memory of the attack. “I know what was done to me, but I don’t have any memory of that day.”
Ironically, Ms Munene had started work as a nurse at Christchurch Hospital not long before she was rushed there for surgery following the attack.
Those caring for her and visiting friends would not tell her what had caused her injuries.
She remembers questioning a nursing student taking her to rehabilitation.
“And I asked her â€˜why am I in a wheelchair? Where is my uniform? I work here’. That was the first time [I remember].” After she was told what had happened to her and Mr Maina, Ms Munene went to church and prayed “seriously”.
“I just felt that God told me to relax and to forgive, and that is what I did.”
Ms Munene said she had not known Mr Maina for long, but considered him a friend and “good person” who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She is planning to join an induction programme for new nurses in February.
Her sons were doing well. “They are happy. We operate as a family, and we discuss things. And I ask them if they have any problems. And they don’t seem to have any problems.”
Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: September 29, 2010
It is a dream come true for Khaaliqa as she marks her arrival on the international stage in India, a country about which she knows little but has taken a liking for its food to such an extent that she has not tried the African and the continental dishes since her arrival at the Games Village Sunday.
She is part of a four-member Kenyan squash unit comprising two men and two women.
“I am madly in love with the chicken tikka and the naan. That is all I have been eating since I have come,” she gushes.
Khaaliqa is the number two squash player in Kenya and has defeated the higher ranked compatriot Safina Madhani on more occasions than one.
The young star inherited the sport from her father Sadri Nimji, who played for the country in international events in the 1990′s.
“I started playing when I was five and maybe my dad was also playing at that time,” she guessed.
“I don’t know whether squash is in my blood. All I know is that I love the sport,” she said.
“Khaaliqa started playing tennis at a training center in Nairobi,” her father Nimji revealed.
“But now I have to force her to play that sport. She prefers playing squash all the time. It is so much fun for her.” he said.
The security for the Games scared her at first as the Village has been turned virtually into a fortress.
She almost panicked seeing police officials all around her as she entered the Village.
“It was crazy when I first landed. I was scared of the cops being everywhere but now I feel much better as I have started liking the Village. Everyone is so friendly here,” she said.
The little wonder that she is, Khaaliqa is sad at not being able to meet her father regularly as only players and officials are allowed to live in the village.
“I have met him only once since I came here. I can’t meet him at will, so I talk to him on the phone all the time. I badly miss my mom, brother and cousins and can’t wait to get back home,” she said.
Selah Hennessy | London 28 September 2010–Voice Of America (VOA)
Human rights activist Al-Amin Kimathi, (File).
International human-rights groups have called for Uganda to release a Kenyan human-rights activist held on terrorism charges or provide details of the charges.
Kenyan Al-Amin Kimanthi was arrested on September 15 along with a Kenyan lawyer, who was released three days later. But Kimanthi was held for six days and then charged with terrorism and murder.
Human Rights Watch researcher Ben Rawlence says Kimanthi traveled to Uganda to observe the hearing of six Kenyans facing terrorism charges. “He is a Kenyan human-rights activist who was actually raising questions about due process and about how the Ugandans were handling this case,” Rawlence says. “And it seems as though in the absence of any details of anything that he has done wrong, it seems as though Uganda and Kenya just decided to lock him up as a way of keeping him quiet.”
He says the details of the charges against him have not been made clear. The charges relate to a July bombing in Kampala that killed 79 people. The Somali insurgent group al-Shebaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the night of the World Cup final.
38 people have been charged in connection with the attack, and Rawlence says at least 13 of those are Kenyans who have been transferred to Uganda unfairly.
“No Ugandan court has issued an arrest warrant or a request for extradition for those Kenyan suspects,” Rawlence said. “It seems as though that discussion happened informally and they decided these were people they wanted between them and the Kenyans and they were handed over. So there has been no proper procedure.”
This week Human Rights Watch and London-based Amnesty International sent a letter to the Ugandan and Kenyan governments criticizing the manner of extradition and calling for action to be taken in the case of human-rights activist Kimanthi.
Uganda State Minister for Internal Affairs Matia Kasaija says the human-rights groups have no right to criticize Uganda’s investigation into the bombing. “Who has violated the more human rights, the one has come and killed my 70 Ugandans or someone who we have arrested and kept in jail for two days?” Kasaija said.
He says those charged are being held in a secure prison and will receive a fair trial. He said the full nature of the charges against them will be made public once the investigation is complete.