200 officers rescued boy Eugene Ochieng from abductors
Even when police knocked the door for Eugene Ochieng’ to open, the 15-year-old boy declined to do so and instead hid in vegetable sacks. Probably because his abductors had earlier on ordered him to sleep until Friday morning when they would come for him, and, again, he was hungry and tired. The police had to break the door to rescue him. Eugene was rescued by the police from a house in Nairobi’s Dandora estate, three days after gunmen took him captive and demanded Sh1 million ransom from his father. He was found locked in a room full of sacks of vegetables where, he said, he had been relocated minutes before police arrived. “That was the third house they had taken me to and it seems they knew police were looking for me. They really tortured me for the period I was in their hands,” he said after his rescue. The joyous boy urged police to rescue other individuals in the hands of kidnappers because “it is torturous”. “I pray that all those out there in the hands of kidnappers are rescued. Police need to catch up with the remaining kidnappers because they are many,” he said outside Buru Buru Police Station. At the station he got counselling from experts. When police found the boy in the house, could not trust them even after they identified themselves. He could not trust anyone, anymore. He said some of his abductors were armed with AK47 rifles and police walkie-talkies. It was after he heard the commander of the squad brief his bosses on phone that he looked relieved and hugged the commander.”He hugged our commander and thanked him for rescuing him saying his abductors had threatened to kill him and his family,” said one of the officers.
Eugene Ochieng’ with Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe after security officers rescued him, Friday
Eugene told the officers he had been surviving on a loaf of bread and soda. To make sure his identity would not be known, the thugs gave Eugene their clothes and took away the uniforms he wore when he was abducted. And even though the criminals got his father’s phone number from him, they did not make more demands from him (father). More than 200 police officers were involved in the operation. Some officers had sealed off the area after being informed the abductors, who may have had information that detectives were looking for them, had shifted the boy to the house. In the three-storey residential building, police said they only found women and children, as all men tenants had taken cover on getting wind of the operation. It was a 10-year-old girl who told the police of a ‘stranger’ locked in one of the rooms. Eugene was later rushed to Nairobi West Hospital where doctors gave him a clean bill of health and later joined his family. Police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe linked the abduction to eight suspects who were arrested in the area and Githurai 44 area. “Four of them have been linked to a series of robberies and murder incidents in the city and Athi River. We are building up a case against them,” he said. He said two of the suspects are women who occupied the room where the boy was hidden. Also found in the Githurai house were 40 mobile phone SIM cards, including two belonging to Eugene’s father. Kiraithe said preliminary investigations reveal that one of the suspects — known as OCS — is a commander of Mungiki in Dandora and a matatu driver in Nairobi.
Kidnappers demand Sh1m as they seize schoolboy
By DOMINIC WABALA
Tuesday, June 30 2009
No longer the preserve of movies, Tuesday’s kidnap of Eastleigh student Eugene Nelson Mandela Ochieng’ is the latest in a new wave of crime taking root in Kenya.
The 15-year-old St Teresa Secondary School student was in a car with his father, a cousin and driver when four AK 47 assault rifle-wielding gangsters driving from the opposite side at Saika estate off Kangundo road blocked the road at 5:45am.
The teenager would have been dropped in town where his father planned to give him Sh500 for lunch and fare.
His father’s greatest concern when he was leaving the house for the city centre was to make it in time for his doctor’s appointment at the Upper Hill Medical Centre for dialysis.
That, however, changed. Initially, Eugene’s father says, he thought the occupants of the car were police officers and told his driver to unwind his window.
However, led by one of them holding an AK 47 assault rifle, the gangsters ordered them to lie down while others frisked them for valuables.
Eugene Nelson Mandela Ochieng’ — Form Two student at the school in Eastleigh — his cousin Calvin and the driver, lied down as his father pleaded with the gangsters.
“We had just left the compound. The car blocked us and three people jumped out and ordered us to lie down. They frisked us and took Sh13,000,” the abducted teenager’s father Nelson Odhok Ochieng’ explained.
While they were being robbed, a neighbour who was driving out of the estate was shot and injured by the gangsters.
“They threatened to shoot us too before they dragged Eugene to their car.” As they were driving away, the gangsters demanded Sh1 million and drove off with the teenager without telling Mr Odhok how they wanted the ransom delivered.
Mr Odhok joined neighbours in helping the neighbour who had been shot. The injured man was driven to Nairobi Hospital while others reported the matter to the nearby Kayole police station.
|By Naira Ruiz – WI Contributing Writer|
|Thursday, 28 May 2009|
The African Growth and Opportunity Act was created to increase the number of goods, like those farmed by Margaret Wanjiku in the village of Kawangware in Nairobi, traded between Kenya and the U.S. Courtesy Photo
The skies will soon become a lot friendlier towards an East African country, as a major U.S. airline prepares to shave 18-hours off of commercial flights to the economic hub bolstering not only the country’s tourism but its trade with the United States.
Next month, Delta Air Lines Inc. will offer direct flights to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga. The new service will cut the 30-hour flight down to 12-hours. Reuters reported earlier this month that Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is currently touring the United States, said the shorter flight time should boost Kenya’s trade with the U.S.
Isaac Kariuki, the moderator for Diaspora Messenger, a resource center for Kenyans who live abroad, said Kenyan businesses are forced to send their goods through Europe to get products into the United States. For some businesses, the process has been a deterrent for trade.
Kenya’s tourism industry is also expected to get a jolt. Tourism Minister, Najib Balala, said the direct flight service coupled with the election of President Barack Obama, who is half-Kenyan, is “the best opportunity we have ever had to reach the huge potential of the American tourism market.”
While the launch of Delta’s direct flight service appears promising, concerns remain over trade relations between the U.S. and Kenya. Some of them will be addressed at the Eighth Annual African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Nairobi on Aug. 4-6.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act expires in 2015 and was enacted by Congress to boost trade and investment between the United States and countries in sub-Saharan Africa that meet “eligibility criteria” related to good governance, economic openness, and democracy.
Nefeterius Akeli McPherson, a U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson said, while many African countries are making the most of the AGOA, “much work is needed to maximize AGOA benefits and trade.” This year’s AGOA Forum theme, “Realizing the Full Potential of AGOA through Expansion of Trade and Investment,” reflects the current sentiment.
The AGOA has been successful in increasing the number of goods Kenya exports to the United States. However, introducing more diverse products to the U.S. market has been a challenge, said James Kiiru, Kenya’s commercial attaché to the U.S. While the AGOA has helped Kenya’s textile industry, the exportation of Kenya’s horticulture products has been daunting due to the long approval process mandated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program (PPQ), Kiiru said. The P.P.Q. maintains strict import guidelines to safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources from the risk of contamination by plant insects and harmful weeds.
From the standpoint of the United States, corruption and political instability have hindered trade relations with Kenya. McPherson said corruption is frequently cited by U.S. businesses as the No. 1 obstacle to conducting business with Kenya. The U.S. government remains wary about the political situation in the country.
Widespread violence erupted in Kenya after a 2007 election dispute between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki. Some fear that a gridlock within Kenya’s coalition government will undermine Kenya’s political stability.
“The Kenyan government needs to move the reform process forward and work towards preventing a resurgence of political violence which would threaten Kenya’s economy and trade,” McPherson said.
Good trade relations are not only important for Kenya, they are equally important for the U.S. Trade between the United States and Kenya was valued at $818 million in 2008. McPherson said the reason Kenya is an important trading partner for the United States is because it’s the “economic, commercial and logistical hub of East Africa.”
The first-ever doctoral dissertation in a Kenyan African language has been submitted to the Department of Plant Sciences and the Graduate School of the University of Wyoming (UW) ; interestingly by a man who worked as a GSU constable and later as a croupier at the International Casino.
Gatua wa Mbugwa, an instructor in UW’s African American Studies Programme, wrote the historic PhD work in Gikuyu. He has translated an English copy which has been combined and submitted with the original Gikuyu version.
Wa Mbugwa, was once stationed at State House, Nakuru and worked with the paramilitary unit for three years until 1980 when he quit after he failed to get a promotion. Frustrated, he turned to small-scale farming to survive.
“I did it because I had no job”, he told Business Daily. “It was out of determination to make ends meet that I started organic farming.”
“I wanted to learn more about the soils, the farming and why I was not making ends meet”, he says.
Today, wa Mbugwa, teaches the Global Impact of African Cultures and Agriculture Rooted in Diversity courses and describes his dissertation as a body of extensive research focusing on a self-regenerating winter annual plant species called ‘Laramie’ medic.
“This medic is an annual pasture legume that enriches agricultural soils and improves livestock nutrition and productivity,” he says.
His PhD supervisor was James M. Krall, professor of plant sciences and director of research at UW’s James Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Centre.
Krall introduced the “ley” farming system into Wyoming and the US Central High Plains region. The introduced ley farming system uses the Laramie medic to enrich soils and improve agricultural productivity. Wa Mbugwa says he plans to introduce the system in Kenya.
Renowned author, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, says wa Mbugwa’s dissertation was written in excellent and standard Gikuyu and that it is the first of its kind in Africa, and certainly in Kenya. He says wa Mbugwa has “almost single-handedly invented scientific Gikuyu language, thus proving that scientific research can be reported in an African language without loss of scientific content and value. It should prove an inspiring model for other African languages.”
Prof Ngugi is a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature and director of the International Centre for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. Wa Mbugwa says that it was Prof Ngugi who motivated him to do the work in Gikuyu language.
“When I was doing my masters of professional studies in international agriculture, I met Prof Ngugi in Asmara (Eritrea) and told him I had written my first chapter in Gikuyu language. He told me it would be historic if I wrote the entire piece”, says wa Mbugwa. That was in the year 2000 when he was at Cornell University.
“It was difficult selling the idea but I am glad they accepted it,” he says of Cornell University’s professors.
Wa Mbugwa hails from Mutunguru village in Gatundu, and received dual BA degrees in environmental studies and politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz and earned Master’s degrees in professional studies in agriculture and in crop and soil sciences from Cornell University. He completed his PhD in agronomy at UW in four years.
He Master’s thesis, which he also wrote originally in his Gikuyu language, was about impacts of biointensive cropping with a focus on Kenyan collard greens (Sukuma Wiki).
He says he plans to publish the first-ever Gikuyu language scientific text books. He has produced two Gikuyu language poetry CDs, and is a regular contributor in Mutiiri, a journal of culture written in Gikuyu language.
The Late Eunice Ngarega
Gema makes a comeback
The first is the return of the blood union of Mount Kenya communities — Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association. After two-and-half decades of silence, the political and religious class from the Gema community converge today at the Kenya Methodist University, Meru, to discuss the Central region’s future and leadership. The instrumental union during Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s reign was among the tribal organisations former President Moi outlawed in 1980.
Raila factor in Obama contest
Story by KEVIN J KELLEY
(SUNDAY NATION Correspondent in NEW YORK )
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga arrive at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi where the President launched a two day bonding seminar for the grand coalition government
Kibaki reiterates commitment to grand coalition govt
200 officers rescued boy Eugene Ochieng from abductors