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ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

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September 1-16, 2013

ISSUE 089

Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

A bimonthly newspaper by the Media Diversity Centre, a project of African Woman and Child Feature Service

Peace in the community begins with peace at home

…even as cases of Gender Based Violence continue to dominate headlines, at the community level, peace platforms in various informal settlements are ensuring that perpetrators face the full force of the law, writes JOYCE CHIMBI She does not know exactly what has been done to her and why, but she knows that something bad has happened and that someone is helping her dealing with it. People around her converse in low tones, their eyes glued to her. A woman, who is not her mother, is holding her hand trying to comfort her through this painful experience. Peris Awinja* was living with her parents but one day her mother left after a quarrelling with her father, leaving her behind. While many children consider the spaces they call home safe and

secure, an increasing number of children, particularly in Kenya’s informal settlements are most unsafe at home. And this is the fate of 13 year old Awinja who recently delivered a baby out of an incestuous relationship. “Before her case was taken seriously, Awinja had been living with her father alone, a man who had turned her into a wife,” says the Community Health Worker who came to her rescue amidst the glares of the media. In the shanty that she calls home, the young girl had to be covered with a lesso upon being rescued. “She and her father were both na-

ked. It was a very disturbing scene,” says the Community Health Worker. As incidences of child abuse continue to be reported, the journey towards accessing justice for the children is often very difficult. Community Health Workers are particularly concerned over the many loopholes that have made prosecuting such cases very difficult. Some of the hurdles include the requirement that one produces a birth certificate during the legal proceedings. “Here is a father who has abused a Continued on page 4

Peace platform members in a meeting in Nairobi to address challenges emerging in informal settlements in regards to GBV and peace. Below: Kariobangi peace platform members during a meeting where they shared the successes and challenges they faced in the last one year. Pictures: Courtesy FIDA

Read more Reject stories online at w w w. m d c a f r i c a . o r g


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ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Dutch students extend generosity to Njoro schools By MUNENE MAINA It is 9.00 am on a Friday morning. The place is serene apart from time to time shouting of pupils learning in their classrooms and the noise from the construction site of new classrooms. It is at Ndege Primary School located in the sprawling Kiwanja-Ndege slum, Njoro District. In one block are a few classrooms made of timber that were built in 1999 when the school started. Through the gaping spaces in between the wooden plunks, one can see what is taking place inside. Pupils have to put up with the morning cold. The state of the school has not been good. The performance has not been good either. Cases of school drop-outs or absenteeism are common. Majority of pupils come from low income families where parents work as casual labourers in the neighbouring farms. Due to poverty and ignorance some parents force their children to miss school to carry out domestic chores. However, education standards at the school are set to change. The public school has acquired modern classrooms, a library and store, courtesy of funding by The British School in the Netherlands through the Blues Farm Night Gale, in Njoro. The number of students is increasing as the performance improves. In one newly constructed classroom is a group of class five pupils sitting on their new desks. They are holding new pens, pencils and books donated by the British students. “Our school is improving. We have new classrooms and a library. We can now learn more comfortably.

There is less cold in the morning as it used to be in old classrooms,” said Peter, a class five pupil in the school. “We have injected KSh1.3 million to improve infrastructure in the school. Last year we gave KSh1.2 million and hopefully next year we will give out KSh1.5 million towards improving infrastructure in the school,” said Ben Le Heux who is in charge of 11 students and two teachers from the British School. He added: “We are really committed to improving education standards in this area.”

Commit

To show their commitment, the group provides labour in constructing the classrooms. The students who are in their teenage do all the work and the group only hires a mason. “We want to change the perception that the white only come for adventure and leisure. The students want to be role models in helping the pupils change their attitude towards their life,” said Le Heux. He noted that though they will not want to be remembered, their aim is to help children realise their potential through education. “There are amazing possibilities with the pupils here,” Le Heux said. He noted that they expect parents and teachers to develop good attitude for education to help in improving standards. “It is an investment we are making and we are dedicated to see result for our money,” Le Heux reiterated. He added that the money they are using is their students’ sacrifice from casual jobs such as baby-sitting and walking dogs. He observed that the school’s library will benefit both the students

Ben Le Heux together with other students from the British School in Netherlands present books to Njoro District Education Officer Joan Githinji at Ndege Primary School. Below: The students display the books. Pictures: Munene Maina and community. The students from Europe also plan to start a breakfast feeding program next year to encourage more children attend school.

Supplement

Njoro District Education Officer Joan Githinji lauded the British team for supplementing government efforts in providing infrastructure for schools in the area. “This is a step towards improving education standards in our district. The library is rich in all kinds of books with materials even for special need pupils. I will ensure you get value for your money,” said Githinji. She also challenged parents and teachers to help improve performance.

Poor sanitation to blame for the disease burden By OMAR MWALAGO Poor sanitation in the community is to blame for the disease burden in our country, a senior official from the Ministry of Health said. Addressing a press conference during an Inter-agency Coordination Committee meeting on hygiene and sanitation at Kaskazi Beach Hotel in Diani Kwale County, Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Kepha Ombacho said open defecation and poor hygiene are the main challenges that communities have to address. “A big bulk of the disease burden in Kenya is preventable and is mainly caused by poor waste disposal and improper hygiene,” noted Ombacho. He said that although it had been three years since the Ministry had made a declaration on ‘Open Defecation Free Kenya’, it still takes a lot of efforts to convince the public to use toilets or disposal facilities to get rid of faeces as well as hygiene processes like hand washing. “We cannot change the country overnight but through knowledge dissemination we can overcome our challenges and make positive achievements to improve health standards in the country,” he said. Ombacho noted that micro-organisms from human waste contaminate

food or water and in turn cause diarrhoea and other diseases when they get to the human body system. To prevent such, communities have to be convinced to use toilets and practice hand washing. Such measures, he said, could lead to drastic reduction of diarrhoea diseases in areas like Kisumu, Busia and the Western region where cholera was common four years ago. He said while national toilet cover nationally stands at 65 per cent, some regions like North Eastern are still struggling at five per cent. Ombacho added that currently in Kenya, the country population estimates stand at 41.6 million and this increases the number of Kenyans without access to improved sanitation.

Formulate

“With less than three years to go, a final push is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target and this requires providing people with access to sanitation, a daunting task that can only be accomplished through the concerted efforts of all partners and stakeholders,” he said. He also added that World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) led the technical process on the formula-

tion of post-2015 WASH targets that by 2025 no one practices open defecation and inequalities in the practices of open defecation have been progressively eliminated. The world organisations also target that by 2030, everyone should be using a basic drinking water supply and hand washing facilities when at home, schools and health centres. Statistics indicate that in Kwale County only 41 per cent of the population use toilets or disposal facilities while Mombasa County at 47 per cent. Ombacho called on the Government and the private sectors to pull together and help end the practice of open defecation by 2025. Globally open defecation rates declined from 24 per cent in 1990 to 15 per cent in 2011. “About 15 per cent of the world population still practicing open defecation. The majority 71 per cent of those without sanitation live in rural areas, where 90 per cent of all open defecation takes place,” he said. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministries of health, education, and water as well as over 30 partners from United Nations bodies, Non-governmental organisations and community based organisations.

Njoro District has 111 primary and 40 secondary schools. According to Githinji, area Member of the National Assembly Joseph Kiuna and Member of County Assembly Hezekiah Kariuki, non-governmental organisations among other stake-

holders have been at the forefront in improving education standards. Poverty, ignorance and illicit brews among parents are challenges affecting education in the area. Teachers were also blamed for neglecting their duties.

Fear factor in Mombasa County over teachers strike By ANTHONY ZOKA Education stakeholders in coast region are concerned over possibilities of disruption to the national examinations if efforts are not taken to address issues raised by teachers at an early stage. Speaking in Mombasa, they noted that students had lost a lot as a result of the recent teachers’ strike. Speaking to the Reject, Samuel Bisase, proprietor St John Kings Schools noted that the battle between the Government and teachers was affecting parents who have invested a lot in their children’s education. “Those students who are sitting for national exams this year, both in Class Eight and Form Four were affected by the strike as well as the one that took place last year. If things are not kept in order this might have negative impact on the results of the affected students,” Bisase noted. He said many children keep off books at home only to study in schools, a culture that might affect their performance. He observed that poor family background made it difficult for many of them to conduct personal

studies away from school environment.

Break

Speaking separately, Pastor William Chengo, said they were trying to put interventions on gender discrimination. Through the “Breaking gender barrier” group that is fighting for child rights in Kilifi County, Chengo warned that despite concerted campaigns to help girls avoid early pregnancies, sex pests were still on the prowl. The priest accused parents in Kaloleni and other parts of the county of allowing their children to attend night cultural celebrations without care of the consequences. Chengo urged parents to take great care of their children at all times and guide them on how to identify good friends and make informed choices on their future. “It is high time we parents guide our children to be involved more in activities in churches and mosques for spiritual guidance rather that living them to attend cultural practices that have negative impacts on their life,” Chengo reiterated.


ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

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Former teacher abandons the chalk to rescue FGM victims By ODHIAMBO ORLALE The word Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is almost a taboo among the Maasai and Kipsigis community who co-exist in the far flung region of south of the Rift Valley. Politicians, administrators and even religious leaders shy away from mentioning it for fear of being blacklisted as cases of Female Genital Mutilation in Narok County remain emotional and sensitive. However, there are some men and women who have stuck out their heads despite the intimidation and threats by the traditional members of their community who are not ready to change and spare the girls from facing the knife of a traditional circumciser through the rite of passage. Day in day out scores of parents of school going girls are identified by the anti-FGM campaigners like Julius Korir but they are frustrated by the bureaucracy and the code of silence over the controversial practice which has been outlawed by the Government. For the past two years, Korir, who is a trainer of trainers in Mulot Division with PeaceNet under the Peace Initiative Kenya (PIK) Project, says he has felt like a soldier going to war to save the girl-child from being violated, forced out of school and married off to usually elderly men in the name of Maasai and or Kalenjin tradition. A member of the Lamaiyat Community Forest Association, Korir says the war is far from being won because of the secrecy behind FGM among couples and their children, and also between them and the village elders, chiefs and police. However, all is not lost and the struggle goes on. “There was a time I was creating awareness about FGM when a middle-aged woman approached me and confided in me about a serious problem she was facing that was affecting her marriage. When I asked her to elaborate, she said it was about FGM and that her husband was adamant that their two-year-old would have to undergo the cut whether I like it or not.”

Support

The bone of contention according to the retired teacher was that the father of the toddler had not only announced that he supports FGM but that he had already agreed with a friend of his that the man would marry his daughter off to him once she turned 10 years and had undergone the rite of passage. Korir was shocked beyond words and composed himself before gathering enough guts to face the said man after consulting with other opinion leaders in the village. These were leaders who were against gender based violence and Female

Genital Mutilation in the sleepy village along the Narok-Bomet County boundary. Using the training skills acquired at a number of PIK workshops and seminars, Korir confronted the said man and expressed his concern about what he had heard that would affect the girl’s future. He noted that the decision would affect the innocent girl just because of her father’s intention to promote a tradition that will not only leave her with a permanent scar her private parts, but also pose a threat to her health and reproductive organs. This is a state that could lead to her never having children. Among the cases Korir has been able to intervene include that of a girl who was in Standard Two at Kiluso Primary School when the matter was exposed that the father planned to marry her off. He reported the case to the village elder and local chief. Korir also visited the home of the said girl and held a long and very tense discussion with the father. By then, the aggressive anti-FGM public awareness programmes in the area had taken root with most residents, especially married men and women, embracing the anti-GBV campaign and saying ‘no’ to FGM and early marriages which were being promoted in the name of Maasai and or Kalenjin culture. The activist was then assured that the girl’s education would not be affected nor would she be forced to go for FGM, drop out of school and get married to an elderly man by the time she celebrated her 10th birthday. “When we went to their home two days later and raised the issue, the man was very annoyed. He was very difficult as expected so I asked him to accompany me to the chief ’s office and thrash out the issue. He declined and assured me that he would abandon his plans to expose his daughter to the banned practice,” Korir reveals. The activist used all his persuasion skills to convince the man that he should invest in his daughter’s education instead of marrying her off early even before she is able to join secondary school and proceed for further education. “It has not been easy, I have been accused of many things including the fact that I am out to violate our culture but I do not care because of my passion for protecting and pro-

Julius Korir is a peace ambassador under PeaceNet, championing peaceful coexistence and human rights. Below: Participants at a peace platform organised by PeaceNet under Peace Initiative Kenya Project. Pictures: George Ngesa and Sylvaro Ateka moting the girl-child’s health, education and future.” Korir is among the over 14,120 trainers who were trained by PeaceNet to training others in a cascading model. Another 2400 trainers needs to be trained. Initially PeaceNet began by training about 35 trainers from 18 counties in a high level where each implementing partner within the PIK project brought in five trainers. “This cascade to the three day regional training where 40 people were trained. These were paired in tow and they went to do one day community forums,” explains Olga Mutoro, a Programme manager at PeaceNet. She adds: “In the community forums they were just using the curriculum to guide the discussions around gender based violence issues affecting the community which in many instances was carried out in the vernacular.” So far PeaceNet has trained …… PeaceNet targeted women leaders, youth, teachers, government administrators and community health volunteers among others for the Training-of-Trainers to handle conflict and GBV issues as they arise in the community before, during and after the 2013 general elections. These trainers would then imple-

ment the training planned by PIK project. They would also be available to support other local initiatives and actions organized by the community and other NGOs. The trainers would also be available to the community as peace mediators and peace monitors as well as to the Kenyan government mechanisms for peace and peaceful elections. They would also create voices of peace and initiate dialogue around GBV awareness and prevention in the target communities.

Frustration

This is how Korir became a Trainer-of-Trainers and he is happy that though this they have managed to rescue over 100 school girls in the past year despite the odds against

“It has not been easy, I have been accused of many things including the fact that I am out to violate our culture but I do not care because of my passion for protecting and promoting the girl-child’s health, education and future.” — Julius Korir

those targeted for FGM and early marriage in the area. He says the last quarter of the year is the most frustrating for them as activists as they work round the clock to stop the practice during school holidays. “We have succeeded in promoting awareness but our chiefs are reluctant. It is their culture and in order to bend the law, some parents and their daughters cross the border to Bomet claiming they have gone to visit their grandmothers only for FGM to be carried out.” Looking back to the two years since he joined the anti-FGM campaign, Korir is proud to say that cases of FGM in Mulot Division were many but have slowly reduced to a reasonable level. He relates this to the awareness they have created as well as taking action in the best way they can through naming and shaming of the perpetrators. “Cases of FGM have reduced and now are hardly there. People are suffering but are not speaking out. We know how bad FGM is, we should put emphasis on the bad side of it and only threaten perpetrators that they will be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law.”


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Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Peace tent as a referral point for GBV cases By Jane Godia

Once upon a time, there was a group of dreaded militia young men known as the Baghdad boys. In Kisumu town there were known for being goons for hire and would terrorise political rivals with equal measure. Among them was one man known as Audi Ogada. He led the group with vigour. Today Ogada is a changed man. He is no longer violent. He has taken to speaking peace in his actions and speech. The Baghdad boys have also become a peace group and are now known as Baghdad for Peace (BAFOPE). The notorious group has been transformed and is now building the capacity of young people including sponsoring vocational training for the youth. They are also working with PeaceNet, which has supported them in putting up a Peace Tent at the Kisumu Bus Park. “We have targeted hotspots within Kisumu and these include the bus park, Nyalenda and Kondele areas as well as the Central Business District,” explains Ogada. He adds: “We have received support to enable us put up a second tent at Kondele for the purpose of engaging with the youth.” According to Ogada, now a community peace mediator, the biggest challenge is the growing number of idle youths every year. “The numbers keep swelling at the end of every year when Standard Eight and Form Four comes to an end. The situation is compounded by the high number of dropouts,” he explains. This is our biggest problem, Ogada notes. “Poverty and unemployment coupled with bad leadership are putting things in a bad state.” BAFOPE, has been working with PeaceNet and COVAW (Coalition on Violence against women), both implementing partners under the Peace Initiative Kenya (PIK) project in mitigating against conflict and gender based violence.

Focus

Ogada notes that before the elections the focus was on peaceful polls, however, it has now shifted to Gender Based Violence (GBV). BAFOPE, though the Peace Tent has been able to carry out many interventions on GBV. Cases that have been brought to the Peace Tent are referred to the police. The Tent has dealt with cases

of GBV including domestic violence which have been handled conclusively. These cases range from assault, to wife and man beating as well as defilement. The Peace Tent has been handling these cases to conclusion and has seen a reduction in the numbers, though minimal. According to Ogada, they have also been handling cases of school children who have been defiled or abused in any way. These include cases of sexual abuse of students by teachers. Recalling a case of a teacher who went as far as to defile a student in her home in the absence of the parents, Ogada says the man was found by the watchman who realised that the child’s parents were away and wondered why the teacher was taking too long inside the house. Upon checking, the watchman found the teacher in the act. The head teacher decided to cover for the

teacher, but the Peace Tent came out strong and intervened. The Peace Tent has been very keen on cases of students going through sexual abuse in the hands of teachers. There are several such cases which the Peace Tent has taken to the Teachers’ Service Commission directly. Ogada says they have now extended their work to outside of Kisumu into Siaya County as well. According to Ogada, some cases have been dealt with while others are taking too long to be concluded. “Some cases are in court and they are taking too long. This has led to witnesses giving up because the legal procedures are discouraging.” He observes that lack of information becomes a hindrance to the pursuit for justice. “Awareness creation needs to be enhanced especially on matters going to court and when po-

“Some cases are in court and they are taking too long. This has led to witnesses giving up because the legal procedures are discouraging.” — Audi Ogada, Peace Champion

A Peace Tent at the Kisumu bus park. The Peace Tent has been keen on cases of students going through sexual abuse in the hands of teachers. Pictures: Job Ochieng and Courtesy AWC lice are not following up,” says Ogada. He notes: “The cumbersome process of reporting defilement and rape cases also makes things difficult.”

Amend

According to Ogada there is need for amendments in laws related to gender based violence because only then will community activists see the impact of their work. He says that penalty for offences like defilement need to be made stiffer to the extent that anyone thinking of defiling a child will dread the punishment. Ogada says that if someone who has defiled a child is jailed for seven years, for instance, people will learn about the stiffness of the sentences and such cases will reduce. However, he says, they have seen changes since they started engaging with the SASA! initiative because people know that as community activists they take up cases and follow to conclusion. The SASA! (Start, Awareness, Support and Action) initiative is a community mobilization strategy that interrogates power imbalance between men and wom-

en that causes violence against women. SASA! aims to prevent violence against women in the community by thinking about the power within (oneself), the power over (knowledge and information), power with (support from others to change) and power to (action). SASA! aims to create a community where living non-violently with balanced power is the expected (normal) way to live. These kinds of community norms would prevent violence against women and its connection to HIV and Aids. In Kisumu, the community know where the Peace Tent is located and the work it is doing so they are able to report cases there. “We need to take case studies and narrow them down to the police and how the cases have been handled, dismissed and what went wrong at what level,” Ogada advices. He says there is need to follow up in about four counties. Stakeholders have to maintain consistency and follow up on cases. They need to collect data from the police or chief on monthly basis for reported and unreported cases. This should also include cases brought to chiefs for arbitration.

Peace in the community begins with peace at home Continued from page 8 child, the same father is the custodian of the child’s birth certificate, that case will not go anywhere,” says the social worker. Nonetheless, the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya continues to wage intensive legal battles against those who will not let children be.

Report

During the implementation of various peace platforms under the Peace Initiative Kenya project in Kayole, Kariobangi, Kasarani and Kawangware, it emerged that incidences of gender based violence have taken a deep root in the society. “However, working through these platforms and addressing the issue of peace within homes has

made it easier for the communities to understand that conflict cannot be resolved at the community level if there is violence at home,” explains Carol Waiganjo, a programme officer with Fida-Kenya. According to those who have been reached through these platforms, many cases of violence, particularly against the boy child and men, which would have otherwise gone unreported have been solved amicably. “I live in a neighbourhood where women fight men, men fight women and children are defiled every now and then but this has changed significantly since Fida begun reaching out to us at the level of domestic violence,” notes John Kamau, a resident of Kawangware. According to FIDA, in the aftermath of the post-election violence in

2007 that culminated in thousands of women being sexually, physically and mentally abused, it became necessary to create linkages between peace in the homes and peace in the community. “Gender based violence is not just about women, but men and children too. Peace and GBV as a single concept is fairly new but the impact is massive since they go hand in hand,” Waiganjo says. Children who are beaten, defiled and even abandoned are finding justice and practical solutions through Peace Platforms running at grassroots levels in both Nairobi and Mombasa counties. Beyond violence within homes, these platforms have also been able to recognise the emergence and reemergence of outlawed groups. “There is one operating in Kayole

called Gaza. The group has recruited children and youths below the age of 23. Girls carry guns undetected while boys are used to relay information. However, this information is coming to light through the work of Kayole Peace Platform,” says Peter Mathia*, a resident of Kayole.

Platform

“In fact, Gaza is a baby of Mungiki. Since more and more people have found out about Gaza, they are now calling themselves Smarter, to portray that they are too smart to be caught,” he expounds. The issue of bestiality has also been addressed by the platforms within Nairobi and Mombasa. “The platforms have brought the matter of bestiality to the table. If you walk around Kayole, you will see peo-

ple who look like street children walking around with dogs. Kayole Peace Platform members were among the first people who realized that the dogs were being trained to have sexual relations with young boys and girls,” says a resident who cannot be named. The matter has been brought to the attention of relevant authorities. These Peace Platforms, it emerged, have been able to step into people’s homes, address domestic violence as well as in neighbourhoods experiencing various levels of human rights violations. “I have lived in Nairobi for many years, and the kind of things that are happening leave a lot to be desired. Community networks that can help us deal with these social problems are welcome,” says elder Macharia, a resident of Kariobangi.


ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Eunice Cheborgei

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Village peace ambassador takes the fight against gender based violence to the next level By ODHIAMBO ORLALE

Cases of gender-based violence among the pastoralist communities are as diverse as the rainbow colours are to most ordinary people. Most of such cases are reported daily in urban areas and among the farming communities around the country, yet those affecting the pastoralists are treated as their way of life. However, this perception is far from being the truth going by the work that Eunice Cheborgei and her fellow community workers are doing in the far flung regions like Mulot Division in Narok County. Soft spoken Cheborgei is an expert of sorts going by her 21 years’ experience in serving the rich, poor and marginalized with equal measure. In 1989 Cheborgei survived the cut by running away from her home. She was then able to go through school before starting her own family. Today she is a leading anti-FGM activist in Narok County. Other than serving as a community worker, Cheborgei is a politician. She also vied for a civic seat in 2007 and served as a member of the Narok South Constituency Development Fund committee for five years from that same year. Today, Cheborgei is a household name in the entire County, thanks to her passion to lead in the gender-based violence campaign in the County from the front as part of the a community trainer under PeaceNet in the Peace Initiative Kenya (PIK) project. She has been part of a team of activists promoting public awareness in Mulot Division about the adverse effects of gender based violence touching on health, education and family stability. During her field work, Chebor-

gei has helped many women and girls from the anger and hostility of their male relatives, neighbours and friends.

Report

Among those she recently rescued was a mother of six whose husband had turned her into a punching bag whenever he wanted to vent his anger. “Cases of wife-battering in Mulot area used to be very high before we moved in and started to promote public awareness on the importance of peace at home. I heard about this woman from one of her colleagues who she had confided in during a chance encounter where they had gone to fetch water.” The matter was reported to the community workers who had just begun conducting civic education in the area. The response was positive and it made Cheborgei and her team to easily approach the perpetrator and hold him to account. “When the survivor was asked what the cause of the violence was, she said he beat her up with punches and a chair after she refused to allow him to unilaterally sell the family cow and other household items,” explains Cheborgei. She adds: “Wife-battering cases were many in Mulot before we moved in last year and started public awareness programmes. When one of the victim’s neighbours heard about the violence, she immediately got in touch with us for help.” The man was very harsh, as is expected of such perpetrators, but the community workers soldiered on. They counselled the couple separately and then had a special session with the man pleading with him to stop his bad habit. According to Cheborgei, the wom-

an had suffered for the over 10 years she had been married. She recalled that there was a time he hit her with a steel chair on the shoulder. As she was recovering, he hit her again with a chair and then slapped her. She did not go to report to chief or the village elder.

Convince

Cheborgei managed to convince her to go and report to the village elder who said that elders should meet to discuss the issue. When it got too hot, it was referred to the chief who gave them a hearing and advised them to return to their home and resolve the matter amicably. “But the mzee did not cooperate. The wife was worried. She came to me as an activist and said she wanted the matter to go to court. I told her she must go to court and she must have evidence and funds. We talked to a non-governmental organisation in the area to help but in vain,” Cheborgei recalls. However, through intense counselling, the man was convinced to stop wife battering and he has since stopped. Today he is one of the community activists in Mulot who are promoting the campaigns in the fight against gender based violence. The cow and the items were spared from being sold. The couple are now living in peace and constantly thank Cheborgei for making reason prevail among them for their own good and development.

Above: Eunice Cheborgei a trainer under PeaceNet who is at the forefront in the fight against GBV. Below: Participants at a peace platform in Narok organised by PeaceNet under the Peace Initiative Kenya project. Pictures: George Ngesa and Sylvaro Ateka

North Rift yearns for establishment of safe centres By CAROLYNE OYUGI Gender Based Violence activists in Eldoret have come out to strongly condemn the increasing number of children being defiled in the area. Discussing during a peace forum organized by Rural Women Peace Link (RWPL) under Peace Initiative Kenya (PIK) project, the participants expressed their disappointment by the moral decay that is slowly settling in Eldoret. They blamed parents of the affected children for not taking the matters seriously and at times resorting to Kangaroo courts. Other members of the peace platform blamed the police for either being corrupt by not providing a conducive environment to deal with such sensitive issues. Area Assistant District Officer, Jacinta Ogada, confirmed that the public’s fears are true and if nothing

is done immediately then children remain at greatest risk. “We have been receiving more cases than before and this even scares us,” Ogada said giving an example of a case she was handling of a six-yearold girl who was being defiled by different men at different times. “This orphaned girl lives with the grandmother who sells local brews. She is neglected and the patrons take advantage and sleep around with her. This happened for long until her teacher realized that the child was missing school and that is when everything came out,” she said. Ogada stressed that people should not be quick to put blame on other people because that way we miss the link. She also advised parents to ensure they play their role. “You should always know where your child is and what they are doing,” Ogada advised. Even as they discussed, the need

for more safe centres where the survivors of gender based violence can stay was proposed. Esline Chelimo noted that she had seen many survivors go back to the homes they were rescued from and this only worsened the situation. “Most of the survivors undergo stigma and all types of victimization. This is why we need safe centres to keep them until they are psychologically prepared to go back home,” reiterated Chelimo.

GBV rampant

Chief William Tarus of Teses Division noted “we cannot claim to be peaceful while domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence are rampant in the area”. He said: “It is high time we started practicing peace in our houses before going to preach it in the streets.” Shaban Varajab a programme officer with Rural Women Peace Link

all community peace activists should be on the lookout and always share what they have learnt with the people around them. “Now that you have been trained as peace champions it will not help unless you go around sharing with everyone and practice it at the same time,” said Varajab. The Rural Women Peace Link is a network of women’s groups was started to respond to the women specific concerns and issues that were emerging during and after ethnic clashes. It was started in June 1999 by a group of women peace makers. The Rural Women Peace Link is an implementing partner in the PIK project with the International Rescue Committee with support from USAID in implementing the Peace Initiative Kenya Project in the North Rift region. It has been working in the four counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma

(Mt. Elgon). Flora Cheptum Bwazo, a nominated member of the Uasin Gishu County Assembly promised to address these issues by lobbying at the county assembly so that more safe centres can be built. Bwazo stressed on the need for the county governments to put in more efforts in ensuring that issues of gender based violence are a thing of the past. She also promised to fight for inclusion gender based violence in the budget. “As a woman living with disability and a mother, I know how it feels to live in a world that is not safe and you are constantly exposed to gender based violence,” Bwazo said. She noted that even if it is the last thing she will do, she will make sure that more safe centres are built in Eldoret so that survivors of violence can feel safe away from their home until they are ready to go back.


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Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

ICC seeks to reassure Kenyan violence victims

“Let justice run its course,” international prosecutor’s staff tell Kenyans By ROBERT WANJALA Ahead of two trials due to start in The Hague in the coming months, the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has sought to reassure Kenyans about the strength of its case against the country’s leaders. Despite significant challenges surrounding its investigations in Kenya, the Office of the Prosecutor, has said the public “should not read too much into” revelations that certain witnesses who were due to testify before the court have recently been replaced. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy president William Ruto are facing trial at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity for orchestrating the electoral violence that erupted in the aftermath of a disputed General Election in Kenya in December 2007. Proceedings against Ruto, who will be tried alongside former journalist Joshua arap Sang, are set to start in The Hague on September 10. Kenyatta’s separate trial is scheduled for November 12. Several witnesses due to testify in both cases are understood to have retracted their testimony because of security concerns. However, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has repeatedly spoken about “unprecedented” levels of interference experienced by her office in Kenya as it seeks to prosecute the country’s top officials. But this week, the Office of the Prosecutor’s director of jurisdiction, complementarity and cooperation division, Phakiso Mochochoko sought to reassure Kenyans that the prosecution’s case remains on course. “We continue to believe in our witnesses,” Mochochoko told journalists during a conference call with Office of the Prosecutor members in The Hague. “We may have lost some of our witnesses, but at the same time our case is continuing,” reiterated Mochochoko. He added: “On the question of whether the convictions will be secured or not — really, let justice take its course. Let us begin the trial, let us present our case to the judges, and it will be for the judges to decide on the basis of what we give them.”

Investigate

Answering questions about the withdrawal of a number of prosecution witnesses on security grounds, the Office of the Prosecutor’s representatives outlined procedures which allow the prosecutor to seek permission from judges to bring additional witnesses in their place. “The witness list can change, and that need not be a cause for reading too much into a change in the prosecutor’s case,” said Shamiso Mbizvo, associate international cooperation advisor.

The ICC opened an investigation in Kenya after two months of ethnic and political violence in late 2007 and early 2008 brought the country to its knees. More than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and over 600,000 others displaced from their homes by violence that hit six of Kenya’s eight provinces, following a disputed presidential election in December 2007. Despite repeated warnings from the ICC and the wider international community that Kenya should set up its own mechanisms to investigate those behind the unrest, the Kenyan government failed to do so. The ICC launched its own investigation in March 2010. With the two trials fast approaching, those who suffered during the bloodshed have expressed increasing concern at what is seen as a weakening of the prosecution’s case against the three suspects. In March, prosecutor BenA provincial administration officer addresses victims of the post election violence at an IDP souda was forced to drop charges camp in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County. Picture: Robert Wanjala against a fourth suspect, former Kenyan civil service chief Frandetermine before the start of a trial whether a ecution have led many to doubt whether it will cis Muthaura, after a key witness given witness is a prosecution witness or is relibe able to secure convictions against the three dropped out. able,” Mbizvo said. She noted: “The decision on suspects. Subsequent revelations about witness withwhether a witness is credible or reliable will be “The ICC cases are uncertain. It’s a matter of drawals and legal challenges by the defence over taken by independent judges after a very thortime before they collapse,” said 53-year-old Mothe credibility of the prosecution’s remaining ough process.” ses, who lives in Kenya’s Rift Valley, the region witnesses have caused further alarm. Mbizvo pointed out the ICC employs an worst hit by the 2007-2008 violence. “The talk on Last month Ruto’s lawyer, Karim Khan, comadversarial legal process in which prosecution the streets is now the same — these cases are not plained to judges that several witnesses due to witnesses are presented in court and then crossgoing anywhere.” testify for the prosecution had colluded to fabriexamined by the defence. The latter has ample Victims of the 2007-2008 violence are parcate evidence to incriminate his client. opportunity to test witnesses’ credibility and to ticularly aggrieved given that five-and-a-half “Eight witnesses are engaged in a concerted probe any gaps in their testimony. years on, no senior-level perpetrator has yet been process to contaminate prosecution investiga“In every trial, the prosecution puts forbrought to book. tions to a significant extent through the deliberward witnesses and the defence challenges their From what he has heard, Chrispine, a victim ate and organised fabrication of evidence,” Khan credibility — that’s normal,” Mbizvo said. “It is of the violence in Rift Valley, is worried that the wrote in a July 19 submission to the court. something to be expected. What we have seen prosecution’s evidence will not stand up in court. is a lot of speculation and concern when the defence has challenged the reliability of prosecuThis week, the Office of the Prosecutor de“I doubt whether the remaining witnesses tion witnesses. But it is worth reminding everynied all allegations that witnesses had been will be of any value to the prosecutor considone that that is a typical thing. It is something coached, or that other misconduct had occurred ering the coaching and bribing claims levwe expect from the legal process.” during its investigation of cases. elled against Fatou Bensouda by both defence Mbizvo added that her office had every con“We certainly categorically state that the teams,” Chrispine said. He added: “While these fidence in the individuals the Office of the ProsOffice of the Prosecutor adheres to the highclaims may be unfounded, its damage to the ecutor had selected to testify. est standards of collection of evidence and whole case is great.” “The prosecution chooses people whom it handling of witnesses,” Mochochoko said. “It However, speaking on behalf of the Office trusts, who we consider to be reliable to give is not our role or duty, or ever contemplated of the Prosecutor this week, Mbizvo sought to evidence,” she said. “We vet them, we present by the Office of the Prosecutor to coach any challenge the negative perceptions of the prosthem. The defence challenges them and ultiwitnesses.” ecutor’s actions and in particular allegations mately the judges will weigh all the information Coming on top of the withdrawal of the case about the credibility of witnesses. they have heard and take a decision on [their] against Muthaura and on-going security threats “It is not for the media or for observers to credibility and reliability.” to witnesses, such allegations against the pros-

Allege

Perceive

Pastor defies odds to preach peace in Nakuru By ODHIAMBO ORLALE He is driven by the zeal to reach out to perpetrators and victims of Gender Based Violence who have become his friends. For the past six years, Rev Samuel Tanui, has made a name in Central Rift Valley, thanks to his passion in preaching peace. However, some of his kinsmen have refused to discard retrogressive cultural practices including Female Genital Mutilation. The Reformed Church of East Africa priest, who is based in Bomet County, is also a peace-ambassador. He is unrelenting in his peace work despite being shunned by others and has to contend with frequent name calling with elders in his community accusing him of “betraying his people.”

Says the priest who doubles up as the chairman of the PeaceNet in Central Rift: “I joined peace and campaigns against gender based violence on the eve of the 2007 General Elections as a volunteer. Since then I have benefitted from several training programmes on peace and GBV issues. I am now one of the 23 trainer-of-trainers in Bomet County where FGM is a sensitive and emotive issue.”

He says that the leading GBV cases in Bomet County, namely Chepalungu, Bureti, Sotik and Bomet include rape, defilement, sodomy and wifebattering. However, despite the odds, Tanui has soldiered on using his church and the pulpit to promote the anti-FGM campaign in his county and across the entire region. Among the best and most controversial methods he has

“I joined peace and campaigns against gender based violence on the eve of the 2007 General Elections as a volunteer. Since then I have benefitted from several training programmes on peace and GBV issues.” — Rev Samuel Tanui

used to create awareness among his flock is to open up the pulpit during regular Sunday service attended by men, women and children and allowing worshippers to have a question and answer session on the topic considered a taboo in the region. The move has proven to be very popular with women, but unpopular with some men who embrace FGM for personal and selfish reasons de-

spite it being linked high drop our rates among school among girls, early marriages and reproductive health problems. Tanui has since “seen the light” and is leading a team of activists to campaign against the practice which has been outlawed by the Government, though still popular with some members of the Maasai, Kalenjin, Kisii and Kuria communities. The trainer-of-trainers is proud that their efforts in fighting female genital mutilation seen as a form of violence against women have not been in vain. He attributes his success to using peace platforms in the community and involving village elders, chiefs, church leaders as well as youth and women leaders in the forums. “I have always used the skills acquired during the training on gender Continued on page 9


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Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

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Kwale County receives a raw deal in handling GBV cases By FAITH MUIRURI Victims of Gender Based Violence in Kwale County are suffering in silence due to lack of services to support the reporting and treatment of victims. Their efforts to seek help have been rebuffed by service providers who do not understand the meaning and implications of Gender based violence. According to Violet Muthiga, chief executive office, Sauti ya Wanawake Pwani, most providers in the county have rationalized gender based violence as merely a domestic affair that would be better handled at the domestic front or resolved naturally. “This means that there are opportunities for addressing cases of violence but the service providers are not properly sensitised, coordinated and equipped to handle the cases,” explains Muthiga during a Peace Platform organised by Sauti ya Wanawake Pwani. The Police Service which plays a critical role in gender based violence management is ill equipped and most police stations do not have vehicles to facilitate the arrest of offenders. Further, there are no structures to prevent retaliation by the perpetrators and in some instances survivors are asked to pay before they can be issued with P3 forms. “Survivors, therefore, fear that they will be victimized again should they make a report either through insensitive and accusatory questions on the part of service providers,” Muthiga says citing a defilement case involving a rich man in the area. The case has dragged in court over the last three years as the suspects makes frantic efforts to influence its outcome.

Distance

This notwithstanding, health facilities within the county do not have a Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre (GBVRC) and survivors have to go all the way to Mombasa before they can access help. According to Mbeyu Mndungu, a representative of Sauti ya Wanawake Pwani in Msambweni, this is just a mere snapshot of the problems that Gender Based Violence survivors in the county go through on a daily basis before they can access treatment and counselling. Mndungu notes that the centre would help survivors access free ser-

vices at the hospital without necessarily having to pay the KSh1,500 charged by hospitals before they can fill in the P3 form.

Fee waiver

“Survivors who go through GBVRC do not pay the fee charged on the P3 forms at the hospitals and thus the centres are critical to make service delivery more efficient, effective and comprehensive,” notes Mndungu. She says that in instances where survivors are not able to access GBVRC for fee waiver, cases are lost before they can be presented before the court. “In cases where survivors are unable to raise the required fee, victims are unable to access medical care within the 72 hours stipulated in law,” Mndungu affirms adding that evidence which is vital for the prosecution of sexual offenders is destroyed. Currently the proper collection, storage and preservation of evidence is still wanting. “It is essential that measures are put in place to ensure that DNA testing can be used in criminal cases including sexual violence crimes,” reiterates Mndungu. The situation has been aggravated by the flawed judicial system which in most cases has been unable to adduce sufficient evidence to sustain convictions. “Poor levels of conviction of perpetrators due to lack of adequate investigations and prosecution by relevant authorities has stopped victims from pursuing justice,” reiterates Muthiga. She further notes that lack of knowledge amongst survivors on their legal rights and the available protection, stigma, shame and other cultural beliefs continues to discourage victims from speaking about Gender Based Violence. According to Muthiga, the perception that legal authorities were re-

Golini Location Chief Rajabu Massah underscores a point during the meeting organised by Sauti ya Wanawake Pwani in Kwale. Pictures: Faith Muiruri luctant to take appropriate action had also stopped them from reporting the violations. She says that although the existence of gender based recovery centres at Coast General Hospital had helped streamline the provisions of care to survivors of gender based violence by providing comprehensive medical, psychological and legal support in a one stop shop, the same should be replicated in other counties. She says the centres should be established in Kwale, Kinango and Msambweni to ensure that comprehensive treatment and care is available to victims across the country. According to Marcelina Mukala, a programme officer with Sauti ya Wan-

awake Pwani, gender based violence in the country continues to receive little attention due to the low statistical evidence on the number of survivors. She says figures available at the police department are by a large extent misleading and do not reflect the reality on the ground. She says that this is despite the high rates of teenage pregnancies, divorce and abandonment of family, indecent assault and rape. “The community does not talk about sex or incest because it is a closely knit and everybody is related to everyone and, therefore, you cannot sue your relative. There is a bit of disconnect and women and children are disempowered,” Mukala explains.

“The community does not talk about sex or incest because it is a closely knit and everybody is related to everyone and, therefore, you cannot sue your relative. There is a bit of disconnect and women and children are disempowered.” — Marcelina Mukala

During the meeting, those in attendance blamed retrogressive cultural practices and unwanted pregnancies among factors that had continued to derail the fight against gender based violence. At the same time, she called for the establishment of rescue centres for survivors of gender based violence in all the six counties. “At times we get cases involving minors but we do not have safe houses to keep the children. In some cases we are forced to get relatives to stay with them which is challenging because the children have to be retained in the same environment where they have been abused,” Mukala explains. In Mombasa, they take the children to Swolodi but getting an admission remains an uphill task. “Sometimes we are forced to keep the children in village halls, where we provide mattresses but there are no people to man the facilities and thus it is not safe,” notes Mukala. The area chief pledged to set up a committee with representation from school to address gender based violence issues that touch on minors. The committee will bring on board teachers and conduct school forums where boys and girls are involved.

Pastor defies odds to preach peace in Nakuru Continued from page 8 based violence to preach against the practice. I have taken advantage of the Sunday services, at women’s conventions and at public gatherings like funerals and weddings. So far it has been effective and with positive impact,” Tanui reiterates. Originally, the residents and worshippers were hostile and not responsive, but the question and answer session made it become popular as it was a break from the norm by allowing worshippers to raise issues in the middle of the sermon. This was the first time, the response was good. Women were able to speak freely in church, while some of the men defended themselves using Bible. The debate raged on for some time before reason prevailed.

However, despite the efforts and campaigns by activists like Tanui and others, FGM is still a big problem in parts of Bomet County, especially in Sigor where many girls have been denied education and forced into early and forced marriages after going through the rites of passage. According to Tanui, they have identified four cases in Sigor in the past eight months and fear that with the upcoming December holidays, more will be forced to undergo the cut in accordance with Kalenjin tradition. Tanui recalls a recent incident where they were shocked to be told of a case of a chief in Sigor whom they had tipped and was following an FGM case in a home when he was beaten up by the parents and community. The irate crowd did not care about the armed Administration Policemen who had

accompanied the chief. “I have also been harassed and threatened several times by my own people who say ‘You are a Kalenjin and you want to betray us,” the priest says. He notes that during the confrontation, he was forced to turn around and flee for dear life. Despite the challenges, this peaceambassador has not looked back and has been holding sensitization campaigns in Sigor and its environs by inviting the men and women who circumcise to discuss the ills of FGM by quoting scriptures: “Those who have ears will hear and those who have eyes will see!” So far, Tanui is pleased that their efforts have borne fruit by the number of school girls whom they have rescued directly or indirectly from the hands of the traditional circumcisers.

They have held four public awareness forums in Sigor. Before FGM was a taboo subject in that region, nowadays they can talk freely in and outside the church about it. They have cases of parents who have accepted to join the anti-FGM campaign. “So far we have not heard of plans to circumcise girls during these coming holidays. We plan to have one week youth camp to train young girls and women. Invite young people to come for it so they are busy during holidays. We were 16 trainer-of-trainers covering Bomet. We are 35 trainer-of-trainers in central rift.” Tanui says the peace training have changed them because initially they were peace-makers before they included FGM in their programmes. Originally they focused on conflict management and transformation between the

Kalenjins and Kikuyus on eve of 2007 polls and the violence that followed thereafter. Other than FGM, the peace ambassador and his team are also addressing family separation issues because of culture. In one case, the couple was feuding after the wife gave birth when she decided not to sleep with the husband opting to use the kitchen. The husband opted for a store used as a granary. “During our forums, the wazees (elders) said they did not know that FGM was a form of gender based violence. Now we have taught them and they say also know about marital rape and its consequences. Whenever there is a clash in a home, men always blame it on culture, but that is no longer the case, thanks to our awareness programmes,” Tanui says.


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Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Commission moves to restore harmony between warring communities By JOY MONDAY The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has partnered with Peace and Rights Programme, a Kitale based non-governmental organization to launch communal peace dialogues to quell growing animosity between four communities in TransNzoia and Bungoma counties. This follows concerns by members of Kikuyu community in the counties that they are being targeted by other communities namely Bukusu, Sabaot and Teso. There has been steaming tensions over the business and land with members of the Kikuyu community being accused of dominating businesses in major towns in the counties and are beneficiaries of land distribution in Trans-Nzoia County. The NCIC has partnered with Peace and Rights Programme, a Kitale based non-governmental organization to promote peace and reconcile communities after members of the Kikuyu community were accused of taking up prime plots in Kitale through their kins who are in the national government. According to Milly Lwanga, the NCIC vice-chairperson, the Commission is working with peace groups and stakeholders to enhance cohesion and integration to reduce tensions emerging from the communal feuds. “The Commission and Peace and Rights Programme have stepped up peace forums to enhance dialogues in communities feuding over land and resources distribution. We target to reconcile these communities to stop trouble,” she said. Speaking during the opening cer-

Celebrating milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project

ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

emony of a two-day workshop that brought together opinion leaders from four communities in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties, Lwanga emphasised the need for Kenyans to embrace peace for the country to move forward.

Relevance

The forum organized by Peace and Rights Programme brought together leaders were drawn from Bukusu, Teso and Sabaot communities. Lwanga noted the Commission is working with relevant peace actors to strength peace structures in affected counties to tame communal conflicts. “’The Commission is working closely with peace actors and stakeholders to carry peace messages to Kenyans and we urge communities to disregard incitement,” reiterated Lwanga. She expressed the importance of Kenyans to aggressively push for the reconciliation agenda especially after Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) released its report to the country. “We now have the TJRC report that is now complete and we expect the country to aggressively push for the reconciliation agenda especially in this year of jubilee in this country,” said Lwanga. She discouraged any form of political rivalry arguing that most feuds emanate from dominant communities citing the Kikuyu and Luo rivalry that has been in existence since the country’s independence. The Commission will scrutinize the composition of human resource

at both national and county level once these institutions set up their public service boards and conduct recruitment. “The National Cohesion Integration Act states that people from one community should not be more than 30 per cent in a given government institution or department and this must be adhered to,” she said.

Embrace forums

Lwanga reiterated that forums seeking dialogue among communities should be embraced in all counties to enable the country heal after the March 4 General Election that left the From top: Elders from ethnic communities attending a dialogue forum country divided along party and tribal at Kipsongo in Kitale meant to reconcile communities in Trans-Nzoia lines. and Bungoma counties. Trans-Nzoia County commissioner Charity The Peace and Right Programme Chepkong’a speak to journalists after opening the peace dialogue. director Festus Mukoya said comPictures: Joy Monday munal dominance and disagreements over sharing of resources had trig- arms and land conflict,” said Mukoya. The workshop was opened offigered animosity among communities. He cited land grabbing, domi- cially by Trans Nzoia County Com“We are urging leaders to be open nance in businesses, segregation and missioner Charity Chepkonga who on some of the emerging issues ex- lack of support to local leadership appreciated the move by Peace and pected to fuel animosities among the during elections among others that Rights Program and NCIC to work communities. We also want to ad- are labelled against members of the towards cohesion and integration in dress issues such as the influx of small Kikuyu community. the area.

Concerns over bid to amend Rights report Observers criticise bill that would allow legislators to water down measures aimed at bringing justice By ROBERT WANJALA A bill that would allow Kenyan lawmakers to amend a critical human rights report has prompted widespread concern that the document’s recommendations could be significantly diluted. The Truth Justice and Reconciliation (Amendment) Act 2013, drawn up by Kenya’s Attorney General, Githu Muigai, was read in parliament on August 6. It proposes changing the original 2008 law of the same name so that lawmakers would be able to revise the recommendations of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which were released on May 21. It would also mean that the mechanism which the original law said must be put in place to monitor implementation of the report’s provisions would now do so “in accordance with recommendations of the National Assembly”. The TJRC in Kenya was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 following an outbreak of mass vio-

lence after the disputed result of the December 2007 presidential election. More than 1,100 people died and 3,500 others were injured in fighting along ethnic and political lines which brought Kenya’s economy to its knees and forced approximately 600,000 people from their homes.

Peace deal

The Commission was set up as part of a peace deal and eventual coalition agreement between the political foes. It had a mandate to investigate gross human rights violations and other long term injustices in Kenya between December 1963 and February 2008. The final report recommends the investigation and prosecution of some members of Kenya’s elite, including high-profile politicians and senior government officials. However, there are concerns that if the amendment is passed by Parliament, such recommendations could be cast aside. “The proposed amendment to the TJRC Act basically seeks to have

Parliament debate the report, which may essentially give members of the National Assembly an opportunity to edit [or] alter its content or [lead to its] rejection,” said Patricia Nyaundi, secretary of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy president William Ruto are among those the report mentions in relation to the unrest that followed the 2007 election. Both leaders are facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for orchestrating the violence. Other high-profile figures are linked to abuses that include land grabbing, extrajudicial killings, torture and political repression. The report accuses Kenya’s current Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Najib Balala, of inciting and financing violence in the Coast region. The Senate member for Kisii, Chris Obure, is accused of inciting ethnic clashes that hit the Rift Valley region in 1991 and 1992 and the report recommends that his actions should be investigated. Others implicated in the report in-

clude former and current parliamentarians, as well as former provincial commissioners, many of whom are alleged to have acquired land in an irregular or unlawful manner. According to the Commission, long-term grievances over access to land are the principal underlying cause of tension and ethnic conflict in Kenya. Meanwhile, senior members of the Kenyan police and army are accused of human rights violations including massacres, “disappearances”, torture and sexual violence.

Express

The seriousness of the report’s findings and its express recommendations for justice to be delivered on thousands of human rights violations has meant that efforts to dilute its impact have drawn strong opposition. “The route taken by the (Attorney General] creates the possibility of the entire report being rejected by Parliament,” Tom Ojienda, one of the commissioners at the TJRC and a former chairman of the East African Law

Society, told Reject in a telephone interview. “The report deals with a very delicate balancing act between victims and their alleged perpetrators. Hence the need for it to be protected.” Others see the bill as an expression of the fears of those in power rather than of the will of the Kenyan people. “The members of the National Assembly move is ill-motivated and meant to dilute the report completely,” notes Albert Kimutai of the Kerio Centre for Community Development and Human Rights based in the Rift Valley Province. He adds: “It’s an attempt by those adversely mentioned to shield themselves either from prosecution, possible reparations for the victims, or repossession of any property illegally acquired.” Since its release, the report has been the subject of heated political debate. Many high-profile figures named in the document — which extends to more than 2,000 pages — have sought to challenge the Commission’s findings through courts. Meanwhile, those who suffered Continued on page 11


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Services towards maternal health set to improve By VALENTINE ATIENO and MAURICE ALAL Maternal health management has gone a notch higher with nurses being equipped with technology to help improve services. According to Hezron McObewa, Executive Director NGO Coordination Board, an organisation known as OGRA has partnered with the researchers from Harvard University to develop a software for E-Health known as ZiDi. “The pilot project is currently underway at Kasongo and Nyang’oma health centres in Muhoroni where they have provided Samsung Note Book mobile devices to nurses that can enable them give diagnosis and make the facility paperless. The ZiDi software will improve access to clinic care not just for mothers and children but also to the whole community. “In partnership with Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) through the Ministry of Health, we believe that the service will be rolled out in the whole country,” McObewa said. ZiDi captures all lines of service including family planning, antenatal care, maternity, postnatal care, child welfare, HIV and TB care. He nurses will be able to order essential drugs and supplies from KEMSA at the click of a button adding that ZiDi also reduces leakage and waste associated with overstocking of drugs. At the same time the national NGO Coordination Board has embarked on a massive recruitment drive of all expectant women in Kisumu County as part of a wider five-year programme to improve maternal and child health in the region. According to McObewa, they are working closely with health sector civil society organisations within the county to complement government efforts geared towards reducing infant mortality.

Launch

The Board has already launched a project with one of the largest non-governmental organisations in Western Kenya, OGRA Foundation alongside others like Omega Foundation and Port Florence Community Hospital to give free National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards to expectant women. The pilot project was launched in Muhoroni sub-County in Kisumu where over 100 expectant women within health centres and dispensaries’ were recruited.

“The women will be issued with NHIF cards as soon as they arrive for their first ante-natal care clinic all the way through their pregnancy so that they can get enhanced services at delivery as part of our efforts to improve safe deliveries,” explained McObewa. Speaking in Kisumu, he said they were also working closely with such organisations to ensure they provide complimentary delivery kits to health facilities for both levels. McObewa, who is also the OGRA Foundation Founder Trustee and former director, is currently in the process of finalising Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with dispensaries and health centres within Kisumu County to provide them delivery kits to every successful delivery that occur in such facilities. He announced that the Board was also work-

Mothers and children waiting for vaccination services at the Bolemba Health Centre in the Central African Republic. Picture: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF ing with civil society organisations to give incentives to facilities that perform well in safe birth and deliveries to augment the implementation of the Government free maternal services. “We have asked partner organisations to initially set aside KSh6 million per year for the programme to improve maternal and child health care,” noted McObewa. He told the Reject that Ogra had committed itself to set aside KSh6 million for the project annually to ensure the programme covers all expectant women in the county. The project will run for five years alongside partnership with other organisations in order to cover the whole Kisumu County by end of June

Stigma contributing to high numbers of unsafe abortion By VALENTINE ATIENO Experts have noted with concern that some of the five major killers among pregnant women have not been tackled. Among the five is stigma and fear of abortion which is a silent killer. In achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal number five, the experts stated that the five must be addressed and unsafe abortion given prominence because of the silence over its role as the major cause of the stigma. Speaking during a press briefing in Kisumu, Monica Oguttu, Chief Executive Officer Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), said unsafe abortion was the easiest to prevent and manage among the major killers of pregnant women. “Being the most easy to prevent, it is given the least attention because of the perception people have about it,”Oguttu noted. She added: “The stigma around the practice has killed many women silently.” She said the study is out to detect the issues surrounding abortion stigma, underlying causes and people’s perception of what they

think about girls who undertake abortion. “The public are not well informed on unsafe abortion and health practitioners giving the services lack information on the subject. They, instead, end up stigmatising their clients,” she said. Oguttu noted that the number of people seeking post-abortion care from health facilities was on the rise because of the ever-growing number of unqualified health practitioners performing illegal abortions in the country.

Intervene

“When quacks perform abortions, the delayed poor quality services become expensive for those seeking help from them hence resulting in stigma from the community,” explained Oguttu. Her sentiments were echoed by Caroline Nyandat, reproductive health practitioner, who urged women who have undergone unsafe abortion to go for post-abortion care as it was an important emergency intervention to avoid death. Nyandat indicated that the study aimed at reaching communities, health practitioners and phar-

macists who sell the drugs used to procure abortion would be conducted in Siaya, Kisii, Kakamega and Vihiga in western Kenya. The KSh1.7 million collaborative study is being conducted by Kisumu Medical and Educational Trust (KMET) and is funded by the IPAS. “The safety, efficacy and effectiveness of medical treatment of incomplete abortion provided to women by physicians or midwives in Kenya would be incorporated into the study,” Nyandat announced. Reports show that most women and girls were going to quack doctors for the services and not going for post abortion care services to various health care facilities. This was because abortion was illegal in the country. Nyanza is ranked nationally as leading in teenage pregnancy which has resulted in a high rate of unsafe abortion. Preliminary findings by KMET on abortion stigma through a survey conducted for the last six months revealed that the practice was on the rise because most of the health practitioners were not well informed on the subject.

2014 before rolling out the programme in other counties. He confirmed that OGRA had done a needs’ assessment survey in Muhoroni sub-County before starting the pilot project that revealed why health outcomes within Kisumu County and the rest of Nyanza were still dismal compared to the rest of the country. “During the survey, over 100 expectant women were offered incentives like boda-boda (bicycle-taxi) services to antenatal clinics, transport money to travel to health centres through Mpesa (cash money transfer) but nearly two thirds did not deliver at health facilities and preferred home births,” the director says.

IPPF Africa region launches a family planning journalist award By MERCY MUMO The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa region yesterday officially launched the African Journalists Family Planning Reporting Award. The Family Planning Award targets pioneering print, radio and television reports by African journalists from across sub-Saharan Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 53 million women have an unmet need for modern contraceptives, meaning they want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern method. “An estimated 26 per cent of married women in sub-Saharan Africa have an unmet need for contraception. Access to family planning services and supplies is limited. In our Vision 2020 we have committed to reduce the current unmet need for family planning by at least 50 per cent by the year 2020,” said Lucien Kouakou, IPPF Africa Regional Director. Kouakou added “The media is essential if we are to realise this vision. They play a major role in strengthening and expanding coverage of family planning issues. This award celebrates journalists who are passionate about family plan-

ning and are committed to promoting this very important aspect of sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Caroline Kwamboka, IPPF Senior Manager External Relations and Advocacy said, “This is the inaugural African Journalists Family Planning Reporting Award and will recognize print, radio and television journalists. IPPF Africa Region will organize this award with funding from the Packard Foundation. Our desire is that it will motivate improved and increased reporting on family planning issues.” The award will recognize reports that have promoted dialogue on national/ regional family planning policy issues as well as challenged governments on their family planning commitments. It will also spotlight reports on innovative methods of family planning service delivery that aim to increase access to family planning and contraceptive services. Finalists will be invited to a gala awards ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2013 as part of the International Conference on Family Planning auxiliary events. The deadline for entries is 28 September 2013.


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ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

How fishing with mosquito nets is destroying aquatic life By Carolyne Oyugi Homa Bay County is one of the richest in the country as far as the fishing industry is concerned. However, environmentalists are not happy with the way fishermen have resorted to catching the precious product using treated mosquito nets. The County covers over 30 per cent of the Kenyan waters on Lake Victoria, which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and the second largest in the world after Lake Superior in the United States. Homa Bay lies is to the South-West of Nairobi and borders Uganda and Tanzania in the lake where many residents depend on fishing as a way of life. Apart from the receding water levels, the hyacinth menace and constant pollution, the fishermen have now made the situation worse. Instead of protecting their source of livelihood, they have resorted to using of unauthorised fishing gear. The fishermen are using the long lasting insecticide — treated mosquito nets instead of the recommended fishing nets. The practice is getting worse due to increased demand for fish both locally and internationally. “The fishermen most of the time drops the nets in the lake when the fisheries officials approach their boats for fear of being arrested,” says John Maniafu, Deputy County Director for National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). To the fishermen, it is the only way they can get rid of evidence against them if arraigned in court. “Some of them are lost in the storms and strong currents whereby they act as litter in the lake, hence causing threat to aquatic life,” notes Maniafu. When the fishing nets are lost in the lake they affect the

movement of fish as they get entangled which causes stress and death to them. According to Maniafu the use of the illegal nets is rampant in Rakwaro Beach in Rachuonyo North sub-County where fishermen are notorious for using either blue or green mosquito nets to catch the fish. NEMA is working closely with the Fisheries Department to arrest fishermen with illegal fishing gears as they go further to destroy the mosquito nets. The fishermen, however, still sneak back to steal the nets and sow them with needle and thread. Maniafu accuses the errant fishermen of disregarding the long-term environmental effects of the illegal nets they are using at the expense of the ecosystem. “Instinct to survive drives individuals to levels that the environmental state becomes tertiary,’’ observes Maniafu. He says the use of illegal nets is a violation of the environment under the Violation of the Waste Management Regulation Act 35. The illegal fishing gears are treated with insecticides which contains bio- accumulation which when used directly into the lake pollutes it and causes death of fish. The public have expressed concern about fear of eating fish that had been killed using the controversial chemicals used to treat the nets. “If the chemicals stick to the nets for five years even after being washed then I think it is also a health hazard to us,” says Dorsila Ngare as she shops for her family. However, she claims there is nothing she can do because her family needs to eat fish and that is the cheapest commodity available. Studies show that the pesticides reduce oxygen content in the water hence causes death of fish and other aquatic animals, if the usage is uncontrolled.

Fact sheet on Kenya • Population (2013): 44 million; • Population at risk of malaria (2011): 76 per cent; • Estimated annual malaria deaths/100,000 population (2008): 12; • Under-five mortality rate (2009): 74/1,000 live births, or approximately one in 13 children die before their fifth birthday;

Fishmongers using new treated mosquito nets to air fish and sardine at the Homabay pier. Below: Old nets covering a vegetable garden to protect them from chicken. Pictures: Carolyne Oyugi “When fish inhale the chemicals directly, the chemicals accumulate in the body and this can cause health hazards if consumed by human beings,” he reiterates. Maniafu is concerned that when the illegal fishing nets are used, they catch even the smallest fish which should be given more time to grow, hence endangering the species. However, George Okoth, Principal Fisheries Officer, blames high poverty levels in that County that force fishermen to use the illegal nets as fishing gears. Okoth says they have a schedule of arresting and prosecuting those who violate the

Fishing Act, which is once or twice a week. The maximum charges that one individual is charged in court is KSh20,000 which is on the lower side and does not act as a serious deterrent to stop fishermen from breaking the law. The use of mosquito nets in the fishing industry, however, does not end there. A walk at the Homa Bay pier will give one a view of organized fish mongers who have spread their fish and sardine omena in a uniform blue or green material. A closer look is, however, disappointing because they are actually using treated mosquito nets and most of the nets

are the blue ones that are distributed for free by the Government. Everyone here uses the new ones because the old and torn nets cannot hold the omena, meaning they get them from the Government distributors and straight away start using them. The fish mongers, most of them women see nothing wrong with their actions. “We prefer the nets to mats made from water reeds because the nets are easy to clean after use unlike the mats,” explains Jane Ayugi, a fish monger, adding that the controversial nets provide better aeration than the mats which could even hide insects.

Old or new, treated malaria nets prove to be a challenge By CAROLYNE OYUGI They are meant to help curb malaria by keeping away mosquitoes. However, when you take a walk along the shores of Lake Victoria, you will see green and blue either on the farms or with fishermen offloading fish. These are the insecticide treated mosquito nets. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya and it kills an estimated 34,000 children under five in Kenya every year. About 77 per cent of Kenya’s population lives in areas where the disease is transmitted. The disease is responsible for 30 per cent of out-patient visits (requiring more than eight million out-patient treatments at health facilities each year) and 15 per cent of all hospital admissions. About 3.5 million children are at risk of infection and developing severe malaria. Pregnant women also face high risks. There are approximately 1.1 mil-

lion pregnancies per year in malaria endemic areas. During pregnancy, malaria can cause miscarriages and anaemia. Each year, an estimated 6,000 pregnant women suffer from malaria-associated anaemia, and 4,000 babies are born with low birth weight as a result of maternal anaemia. Economically, it is estimated that 170 million working days in Kenya are lost each year because of malaria illness. It because of this that efforts have been put in place to help curb malaria. The move to issue insecticide treated nets and insecticide residual spray was initiated to deal with malaria menace in

high risk areas and among those most at risk of dying from mosquito bites. The government of Kenya as well as non-governmental organisations have been distributing millions of treated mosquito nets for free or at a subsidized rates to pregnant women and children under five years. This is the population that is most at risk within the humid areas such as Coastal and western regions of Kenya. However, even the highland areas of Kisii, Kericho, Eldoret and Mount Kenya have not been spared the seasonal malaria threat. The subsidized nets which are green Continued on page 12

• The epidemiology of malaria in Kenya is quite varied geographically, with high levels of transmission on the coast and around Lake Victoria but little or no transmission in the highlands above 1,500–2,000 metres altitude. • The Government of Kenya tailors its malaria control efforts according to malaria risk to achieve maximum impact. • Recent household surveys show significant progress is being made against malaria in Kenya, with improvements in coverage of malaria prevention and treatment measures and reductions in malaria parasitemia and illness. • The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Kenya is one of 19 focus countries benefiting from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which is led by the US Agency for International Development and implemented together with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. • In line with Kenya’s national malaria control strategy, PMI supports four major malaria prevention and treatment measures: Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs); Indoor residual spraying (IRS); intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP); Diagnosis with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) or microscopy and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy.


ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Religious institutions partner to improve family medical services By GLADYS MORAA Four faith-based health providers are collaborating and targeting medics for specialised training. The collaboration between Kabarak University, which offers various medical programmes through the School of Health Science, and African Inland Church Kijabe, Pentecostal Church of East Africa Chogoria and Tenwek hospitals is biased towards providing a comprehensive training package for family doctors under the Master of Family Medicine. “Kenya is currently in high demand for qualified family doctors who can Nairobi residents join students and staff from Pumwani School of Nursing and Midwifery and Kenyatta serve in remote areas where Medical Training School in a 10 kilometre procession from Nyayo House to Pumwani Maternity Hospital most hospitals do not want to mark the International day of the midwife earlier in the year. Through partnerships with religious to operate in,” said the Mary institutions, medics will be equipped with knowledge on comprehensive healthcare to serve all people. Muchendu, chief executive Picture: Reject correspondent officer at the African Inland “The world is craving for Chris- old of medics capable of providing Church. The four institutions are also imShe added: “Spiritual guidance tian medics who are driven by God’s comprehensive healthcare. plementing a strategic plan on doing Currently, in Kenya, the ratio of research and training in the medical will be one of the principals while love and compassion. Those virtues they undergo the training so that they form part of our training,” noted Prof one doctor serving 1,000 patients as field. may always be yearning to serve the Jacob Kibor, acting Vice-Chancellor recommended by the WHO has not Through the agreement, the inat the university. been attained due to the shortage of stitutions will expand sharing of people selflessly.” “Family medicine is a primary medical personnel. The partners signed a Memoranresearch findings not only among Through the partnership, Kibor themselves but other institutions with dum of Understanding at Kabarak care that provides continuing and University on July 18. The univer- comprehensive health care for the in- noted, they will endeavour to pro- a medical linkage in an effort to prosity is located about 20 kilometres dividual and family across all genders, duce family medics with a craving for vide framework for creating strategies north-west of Nakuru town, Nakuru diseases and parts of the body,” Kibor moral and empirical knowledge. He of combating family related medical said. argued this is a quality that will drive problems in the country. County. them to serve Kenyan citizens with Apart from spiritual nourishment, “We want to bring excellence in humility and selflessness. the medics will be equipped with the medical training and ensure that KeThe training will be based on On the other hand, Franklin Nja- nyans benefit wholly from any advenknowledge on comprehensive healthknowledge of the patient in the con- gi, chief executive officer Chogoria ture we make. Every family has a right care that serves people of all ages. While the students pursuing vari- text of family and the community Hospital, noted the need to undertake of access to quality health services and ous medical specialties under the pro- with an emphasis on disease preven- extensive research in the field in a bid through joint efforts we are contributto meet the demand for family medi- ing to making Kenya a better place in gramme undertake coursework at the tion and health promotion. He said joint efforts were needed cal services including remedies to terms of provision of family medical university, they will be using the hospitals as avenues for learning and ex- in training family doctors to meet the diseases arising from the family and services,” said Geoffrey Langat, Chief posure to clinical and health practice. World Health Organisation’s thresh- society. Executive Officer Tenwek Hospital.

Training

Improving livelihoods in Kisumu County BY MAURICE ALAL African Churches Foundation has embarked on various community projects to improve the livelihoods of people living in extreme poverty. According to Bishop Phoebe Onyango, the organisation’s chairperson, the foundation is undertaking subsistence farming in the seven constituencies of Kisumu County to ensure food sufficient. Onyango disclosed that the Foundation is training the residents on new farming methods after which they provide them with farm inputs.

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Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

“The Foundation also supports education sector by funding the feeding programmes and access to clean water in various schools in the county,” she said. Onyango added: “The Foundation targets the orphans and vulnerable children from the seven constituencies adding that they provide them with food and medical assistance.” She said the county has a population of 968,909 with 226,719 households noting that 45 per cent of the population is living below the poverty line. Onyango noted that the Foundation also empowers women and youth economically to enable

them start up small business activities. Speaking during the church leaders meeting in Kisumu, Onyango said churches have been lagging behind in development agenda. She asked the churches in the county to support agricultural initiatives launched by the foundation to reduce food insecurity among the poor. “Church leaders should also be able to initiate development activities that can change the lives of the poor communities,” Onyango said. The leaders were drawn from Muhoroni, Nyando, Kisumu West, Seme, Kisumu Central, Kisumu East and Nyakach constituencies.

Table banking changing rural women’s lives BY MAURICE ALAL Women in Kisumu County have been urged to embrace the table banking concept to save and be able to access loans. According to Bishop Phoebe Onyango, Executive Director Africa Churches Foundation through table banking women can easily access loans for investment from their contributions. Speaking at a Christian Women Initiative meeting at the Aga Khan Hall in Kisumu, Onyango said that women will benefit from the interest they pay in form of bonus as a group and as individuals. She urged women in the county to form groups and make use of table banking to empower themselves to eradicate poverty that is rampant in the region. “It is time that women rose up and became financially independent. We don’t want our women and youth to depend on handouts from politicians,” Onyango reiterated. She said that women and youth must be empowered economically so that they can eradicate poverty to improve their living standards. Onyango said the Government had launched table banking system through the Poverty Eradication Commission to help women in rural areas access funds to start up small businesses.  Further, she said that income generating activities in various countries has proved that is the best way to help women to prosper in life instead of them relying on handouts. The 1,000 women were drawn from Nyakach, Kisumu Central, Seme, Nyando, Muhoroni, Kisumu East and Kisumu West constituencies. Onyango further called on women to refuse to remain down economically saying that women in Nyanza region have been left behind in empowerment. “As women you must to stand up and initiate income generating projects which can uplift your standards of living,” she noted. Onyango added that churches in the region have set policies to fund various development projects in the seven constituencies. “As church leaders we must come out and help to support our people to fight poverty that has claimed many lives,” she noted. Onyango also asked women to take advantage of the financial innovations like Uwezo Fund initiated by the Jubilee government to uplift their living standards. “The more women prosper, the more they will help many other people in their respective villages,” she said.

Observers criticise bill that would allow legislators to water down access to justice

Continued from page 8 abuses worry that, if they become law, the amendments could curtail efforts to bring justice. “We have had so many commissions come up with reports and recommendations which, if implemented, would have ended the country’s long-standing injustices, but unfortunately it’s never in the interest of our political leaders,” notes 67-year-old John Nderitu, who lives in Eldoret. “I gave my evidence to the Commission on how I was uprooted and dispossessed of a parcel of land at Burnt Forest during the 1992 tribal

clashes, and I have been optimistic that its recommendation would help most of us access justice,” he said. “If parliamentarians have their way in this report, then many of us who have hoped to get justice through its implementation will remain… suffering under the few very wicked individuals.” Land rights remain an emotive issue in Kenya. Marion Wamai has still not returned to the land which she lost in Uasin Gishu County in the Rift Valley during ethnic violence in 1992. “Justice remains elusive as ever. We have been reduced to squatters in

our own country,” she said. The original Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act 2008 laid out clear procedures for implementing the report’s recommendations. The law stated that the minister responsible for justice and constitutional affairs should table the report in Parliament within 21 days of its publication. This is yet to happen, although the report was officially published in the Government gazette on June 7. According to the law, the recommendations made in the report should then be acted on by an imple-

mentation committee, which would publish a quarterly progress report. The steps laid out under the TJRC 2008 Act were specifically designed to prevent the type of interference now envisaged in the amendments. “The TJRC Act anticipated that implementation of the report would not be welcomed by some government forces, and thus set timelines that both the executive and legislature had to comply with,” says Raphael Obonyo, of the United Nations Habitats Youth Advisory Board in Nairobi. The idea behind the setting up of

the TJRC was to identify mass human rights violations as a way of acknowledging past suffering and helping people move forward in a peaceful way. Experts fear that creating ways of bypassing the report’s recommendations would be a huge backward step for work to address ethnic tensions and long-term grievances across Kenya. “It would be dangerous not to implement the report, since some of the historical injustices persist to date and remain fertile ground for future conflicts,” Obonyo notes.


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ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

With a stroke of a pencil, Young artist ekes a living out of ‘mirror images’ By JACK JOSHUA Outside a shop veranda along the busy Digo Road in Mombasa town, tens of passers-by mill around Eric Adams captivating hand produced portraits. Those who stop to stare as Adams starts sketching to the time he finishes a drawing cannot help but marvel at his hand-eye coordination. Many find his skill amazing. Using a special, dark graphite pencil or sharp edged crayon pencil, Adams is capable of producing a replica of a passer-by’s portrait within 45 minutes. “When I was eight years old, I would walk around and make ‘mirror’ images of my observations,” says 18-year old Adams. An orphan, Adams says his father died in a road accident when he was too young to recognise him while his mother died when he was only eight years old. “I only got to see him in a family photograph,” he says. Adams recalls the hardships that followed after his parents’ death and these pushed him out of school when he was in class three. Still this was not enough as tribulations meted by relatives pushed him from his rural home in Entebbe to the streets of Kampala in Uganda. “People ask me why I don’t drink or smoke like many street children and I tell them that the thrill I derive from art cannot allow me to be stressed,” he says. Recently, Adams produced a portrait of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. However, he was unable to deliver it to the politician as he was pushed away by bodyguards before he could hand it over. Adams notes that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s portrait has been selling like hot cakes since his inauguration in April. “The President’s portrait is bought off as soon as it is ready. Kenyans love him,” says Adams. He adds: “I would produce a more candid portrait of the President should I get a chance to draw him from a one-on-one observation.”

Adams charges KSh500 for a single portrait, which takes him about 40 minutes to produce. A coloured portrait costs KSh800. While some stand and wait for their portraits to be completed, those in a hurry may leave their photographs behind to collect their finished images later. “Some days I make KSh400 while on others KSh1000. At times I go without selling a single portrait,” he says. The money he earns enables him live sustain himself. Adams is allergic to dust and his eyes swell whenever he gets exposed to dust, a situation he has had to contend with on a daily basis. He hopes to tour Ghana, South Africa and other African nations to showcase his works and also make money from his talent.

Support

Eric Adams at his work station, outside a shop verandah along Digo Road, Mombasa. Below: a sample of his work. Pictures: Jack Joshua

His burning desire to tour South Africa is informed by a client friend who told him his portraits could fetch a very good price there. “He told me a single portrait can fetch up to R500 (KSh4450) in South Africa,” says Adams. Even as his face lights up in anticipation of better propects, Adams is disturbed by constant harassment by police, to the point of making him contemplate going back to Busia, where he stayed before finding his way into Nairobi and finally to his current station in Mombasa, where he has been in operation since February. “Police harass me whenever I tell them I do not have a Kenyan identity card,” says Adams. In his spare time, he enjoys playing football. He is also an ardent supporter of the English Premier League side Arsenal. His favourite food is

pilau. Florence Ayiecho, who has had Adams draw her portrait on many occasions, says she admires Adams portraits for their authenticity. Ayiecho who has looks resembling those of fallen South African music star, Brenda Fassy, says people at her work place nicknamed her after the star soon after seeing a portrait drawn by Adams. “It is breath-taking to watch him reproduce a mirror image of one’s own face. I wish he gets a

bigger platform to display his art,” says Ayiecho. “With practice anyone can learn but for me it pours out from the heart,” says Adams, with easiness replicated from his mastered skill. May be it is his unshakable faith in people and his art that he has brought his 14-year old sister from his homeland to coach her the art he cherishes so much.

Old or new, treated malaria nets prove to be a challenge Continued from page 10 in colour are socially marketed and distributed through rural retail outlets at a cost of KSh50. In 2011, the Government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation distributed 20 million insecticide treated nets countrywide. According to USAID, in 2012 about 1,299,195 insecticide treated nets were purchased by the US government through the President’s Malaria Initiative. The nets were well received in some areas while in other areas they were rejected. The insecticide treated nets do not last long and after a certain period they suffer from wear and tear. Those who have been given the nets often do not know what to do with them. They have ended up inventing many innovative ways of putting the nets to other uses apart from using them to protect themselves from contracting malaria. Joshua Agola, a resident of Homa Bay County, confesses to using his five-year-old torn nets to cover seedlings and poultry house because he does not know how to dispose them. “The nets are already torn and the holes on them allow mosquitoes to get in and bite people. My wife also

says that she does not have time to sew the holes,” explains Agola. Despite using the old ones for other uses he has a net for all the five beds in his house. Agola is not alone in this dilemma. In many homesteads within Homa Bay County blue nets are being used as “a green-house” on the farms and most of them are happy to say it has really helped them. All the people who were interviewed for this story claimed that they were never told what to do with the nets once they were torn and so instead of just throwing them away they have improvised a way of disposing them off. Josephine Auma, a resident of Ngodhe Island, Mbita sub-County

uses her nets to cover maize after harvesting season. “This is the only way that I can keep off chicken from consuming my cereals,” Auma says. Asked if she worried about the chemical that has been used to treat the net, Auma is quick to explain that the substance will act as pesticide and protect the maize.” For Agola, the chemical does not stay for five years as is said and he thinks that it lasts for a shorter duration. “I think the chemical lasts for around one month because that is when I see mosquitoes dead on the outside of the net. After a while I see mosquitoes inside and yet they don’t die,” he says.

On his part, Kennedy Ochieng, a clinical officer at Tom Mboya Dispensary in Rusinga Island, is disappointed that most malaria patients do not use treated mosquito nets at home. “Even people who are on record of having been given the free mosquito nets still visit the hospital for malaria treatment,” Ochieng says. He notes that on further inquiry they usually discover that the nets were being used for fishing instead of people protecting themselves from the tropical disease that is a leading killer in the region. Fishing is the main economic activity in Ngodhe Island and yet the poverty level is also high due to unreliable fishing seasons.

“Even people who are on record of having been given the free mosquito nets still visit the hospital for malaria treatment.” — Kennedy Ochieng

Many fishermen prefer to use the net for fishing so they can earn money instead of protecting themselves against Malaria. Meanwhile, Joginda Omolo, a fisherman on the island argues that hunger can kill someone in a short while but Malaria is treated for free at the public hospitals. “With the money that I have earned here I can do many things instead of just sleeping under the net,” he argues. According to Dr Ojwang Ayoma, Medical Superintendent at the Homa Bay District Hospital, the number of patients admitted with Malaria has gone down as compared to previous months when there were no nets being distributed. However, he notes that if people used the nets effectively as recommended instead of using the nets for fishing and other activities then the number of patients suffering from malaria would drop drastically. “Indoor residual spraying has also helped in reducing malaria cases in the region,” Ayoma reiterated. According to PSI Kenya, the leading distributor of mosquito nets in the country, ownership of mosquito nets is above 80 per cent and usage is above 70 per cent.


ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

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Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Intellectually challenged children poised to excel in sports By GLADYS MORAA The sky is the limit for children with intellectual disability who have a passion for sports and are ready to undergo rigorous training. According to Susan Masila, Special Olympics Kenya Sports Manager, parents and guardians of such children must believe and nurture confidence in them. “Never say your child cannot do it. This is a vocabulary that should never exist in your dictionary,” Masila explained. She was addressing parents who had converged at Lenana Primary School in Nakuru town for a sensitization drive on a youth athletes’ programme. “These are children who can be heroes and heroines in sports if they are trained well and have the full support of their parents. Never ever discriminate against them,” Masila reiterated. With the Young Athletes’ Programme, children between the ages of two and seven are trained on various sporting activities of their desire. At eight years, those who will have manifested skills in playing or running are registered for local and international competitions. “The ages of zero and eight are the formative years when we can start nurturing their talent. We only allow them to start competing from the age of eight onwards. And since we started participating in the World Games in 1983, we have received several gold,

silver and bronze medals. We have never been disappointed,” said Masila. Their basic interest is to mould confidence in the children and encourage them to translate it into real life so that they can be viable social and economic human resources. “We offer a comprehensive package that not only instils the skills they need to  perform well in their various sporting capacities but also infuse them with courage and confidence that they can do whatever they wish to do. It is all about making them be the best they want to be,” noted Masila. The health component of the children is also factored in the programme as they undergo regular medical check-ups. As they grow up, Masila notes, they are exposed to intensive training on leadership skills in a bid to make them assertive members of society who are able to actively contribute to matters of governance and democracy in the country.

Register

So far, Masila explained, they have 31,924 registered members and 2,676 coaches who work on voluntary basis. This year, the organisation endeavours to train 150 young athletes drawn from Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Bungoma and Kakamega counties. Lack of special training sports facilities in the counties has proven to be a main challenge in nurturing

sports talents in persons with disabilities. “With the county governments in place, we hope that they will establish sports facilities for persons with disabilities. This will be a great boost to developing the talents of both the young athletes and adults,” noted Masila. Having to depend Some of the volunteer coaches with some of the children with intellectual on donors and contribution from well- disabilities during a sporting exercise at Lenana Primary School in Nakuru town. wishers for financial Pictures: Gladys Moraa support, adds up as County director Agnes Oriri lament- persons with disabilities are equal another constraint to ed the stigma attached to the fami- human beings and should be treated their operations. The Ministry of Sports, Culture lies raising persons with disabilities. with love and care as normal people,” and Arts is already giving a KSh2,500 This, she notes, has hindered many Ariri said. monthly stipends to families with of them from registering with the persons with disabilities but living Government to be able to access the money. Meanwhile, Julius Sawe, an officer under extreme poverty. “The society must understand that from the Nakuru County Sports OfHowever, the ministry’s Nakuru fice, said all stakeholders nurturing sports talents in children with special needs are legible to seek financial assistance from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts. “We have allocations in support of all activities relating to nurturing talents in children especially with special needs,” said Sawe. He added: “To be included in the budget you must bring your budgetary estimates before the beginning of the financial year so that — Susan Masila your needs can be factored in.”

Nurture

“Never say your child cannot do it. This is a vocabulary that should never exist in your dictionary.”

Malnourished children set to benefit from nutrition programme By HENRY OWINO In sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition has been noted to be a leading killer of children below the age of five. A new study shows that the continent is losing slightly above 1.5 million children annually due to the problem. This was noted when Glenmark, a global integrated pharmaceutical company, launched an ambitious threeyear programme to address malnutrition in Nairobi’s Kibera to the tune of KSh5 million. This money will be used to address malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation problems within the informal settlement. According to Chinnappa Reddy, Senior Vice President and Head of Glenmark’s Africa, Russia and Asia operations, the first phase of the programme will target 10,000 households in three villages in the informal settlement. These will mainly be from the vulnerable families who are either orphans or too poor to make ends meet for a single meal per day. Before embarking on the project, Glenmark surveyed the area for themselves and also involved community leaders who carried out an independent assessment and received similar results. “The objective of the first phase is to track and recover Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) Children below five years. The thrust of this project is to provide adequate nutrition, complete vaccination and ensure

proper sanitation practices,” Reddy said. Through its Child Health Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, the pharmaceutical company seeks to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged women and children by addressing malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation in the area. Glenmark has adopted child health as its flagship corporate social responsibility and has impacted over 300,000 lives worldwide so far through its various intervention projects. “We are confident that with the support of the Government of Kenya and the local population, Glenmark’s Child Health project in Kibera, Nairobi, will set transformation benchmarks in the years to come,” Reddy said. The Child Health project is guided by Glenmark’s global philosophy of ‘Enriching lives to  create a Healthier and Happier World’. Glenmark has partnered with Carolina for Kibera, an organisation focused on participatory grassroots development to implement the project. Glenmark also has a Nutrition Education Centre in Gatwekera village in Kibera formed with an objective of recovering severe acute malnourished children and educating the local community on adverse effects of malnutrition. Speaking during the launch of the programme, Jessica Mbochi from the Ministry of Health, Division of Nutrition said that about 35 per cent of children below the age of five were malnourished.

Mbochi noted that nutrition is the main backbone of any family regardless of cultural background and taboos related to certain foods. She noted “you are what you eat”, therefor, families that eat well stay healthy but those that do the opposite are malnourished. “Proper nutrition does not mean eating expensive foods from supermarkets but simply a balanced diet, fresh and natural foods rich in nutrients. It is these nutrients that the body needs for its normal functioning,” Mbochi said. The department aims at preventing malnutrition and diet related A community health worker measures the nutrition grade of a child lifestyle diseases by creating awareduring the launch of a Nutrition Education Centre by Glenmark in ness through provision of nutrition Kibera. Picture: Henry Owino education to inpatients, out-patients, relatives, the general public, students the elderly on ways of preventing nu- trition in the community. trition deficiencies. and health workers. Omala noted that malnutrition The nutritionist was happy that the or undernourishment was regarded “The department organises Nutrition Awareness and World Breastfeed- programme was in line with the Unit- as the biggest child-killer in Africa ing weeks annually as fora for promot- ed Nations set Millennium Develop- by the World Health Organisation ing good nutrition and healthy living ment Goals (MDGs) and the Kenyan (WHO) saying that globally about to health care providers and the gen- Governments’ Vision 2030. one third of all child deaths were On his part, Kibra MP, Kennedy linked to it. eral public,” Mbochi stated.   Okoth, said malnutrition was a ma“Save the Children organisation tojor concern in Kibera and thanked day indicates that sub-Saharan Africa The department in collaboration Glenmark for the initiative that will is losing slightly above 1.5 million chilwith the Kenyatta National Hospital address nutritional needs of young dren under the age of five annually due team also participates in outreach oth- children. to malnutrition,” Omala stated. er National events. For example; PubThe MP said many residents were The Child Health project is guided lic Service Week, The Nairobi Interna- poor and could not afford all recom- by Glenmark’s global philosophy of tional Trade Fair (ASK Show) among mended nutritional meals nor afford ‘Enriching lives  to  create a Healthothers,” Mbochi said. to take three meals in day. ier  and Happier World’. Glenmark In addition to the above, the deAccording to Hillary Omala, Exec- is working closely with Carolina for partment also targets and educates utive Director at Carolina for Kibera, Kibera, an organisation focused on vulnerable groups such as ante-natal the project is an innovative initiative participatory grassroots development and postnatal mothers, children and that will increase awareness on malnu- to implement the project.

Collaborate


14

ISSUE 089, September 1-16, 2013

Unfiltered, uninhibited…just the gruesome truth

Court of Appeal devolves as contribution to devolution By ROBERT NYAGAH The Judiciary has emerged to be a success in its reforms despite the earlier teething problems which saw Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza exit rather too early. Today, determination to ensure the back log of cases has been handled has even seen judges agree to partly skip their normal annual holidays. Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga assured that the Judiciary has ruthlessly revised past slow rules of procedure which initially hampered delivery of justice to Kenyans as one way to ease access to justice among all under reforms which he says are just in their initial stages and which are bound to bring a smile to many. Mutunga who is also the President of the Supreme Court noted that in line with the Constitution, more internal reforms would continue to be carried within the Judiciary to ensure that justice was always done without undue regard to technicalities. This and many other assurances were made when he addressed guests at the Malindi High Court Complex just before he inaugurated the High Court of Appeal in the area. Mutunga expressed satisfaction at the pace in which the courts were clearing the earlier backlog of cases which had become almost overwhelming.

Backlog

He said that when he joined the Judiciary slightly over two years ago, the case backlog was one of the “most obstinate problems facing the institution” with the Court of Appeal alone being faced with 6,000 pending cases. “At that time, only half of the maximum 14 allowed by law were available and the rules of procedure in hiring judges were extremely rigid,” he explained. “However, since then the law has been amended to cap the number of judges to the Court of Appeal to 30,” Mutunga noted. After the amendments, the Judicial Service Commission successfully recruited 22 new judges for the court, “but the vetting of judges and magistrates board found four judges who were serving before unsuitable to continue”. He said that while preparing the annual State of the Judiciary report last year, they analysed the figures to understand the situation better and interestingly found that a case filed in the court of appeal would on average take at least eight years and two months to finalise. “At close range, the picture was much more disturbing. Civil applications could be concluded in two years and civil appeals in just under seven years, but criminal appeals could last up to 24 years,” Mutunga noted. However, he assured that efficiency has improved and that between January and May this year, a total of 424 cases were disposed of compared to 304 be-

US donates towards county governments management By OMAR MWALAGO

The entrance to the Nairobi Law Courts. Inset: Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. Currently, there are High Court stations in 20 counties. Pictures: Reject correspondent that the Judiciary was aware of the contween June–December last year. As at last year, only 11 Court of Ap- cerns about transporting prisoners over peal Judges served the entire Kenyan long distance and the inconvenience it number of cases that will emerge from may cause to advocates, but weighing establishing a High Court station in evpopulation of 40 million people. Mutunga noted that there was also a that against the old practice of hearing ery county and a magistrate’s court in regional dimension to the case backlog cases for only two weeks in a year it was every district as required by law.” because areas far from Nairobi, which clear that the lesser evil was to begin was the only permanent seat of the work in Malindi immediately. He added: “Already, there are High In the short term, the Court of Apcourt, only got attention when judges peal now based in Malindi will sit on Court stations in 20 counties, the Judivisited on circuits twice a year. He explained that in that respect, circuit in Mombasa once every month ciary hoped to fully comply with this Mombasa had 923 pending cases, 805 to hear criminal appeals close to Shimo statutory requirement in the next 10 criminal appeals, 105 civil appeals and La Tewa Prison from where many of the years.” However, the Chief Justice noted cases emanated. 13 civil applications. “We have appealed and continue to a number of challenges the Judiciary Explaining that one of the values in the Constitution was devolution and appeal, to county governments to allo- faced in its operations especially in the sharing of power, Mutunga said that the cate land for the construction of courts High Court, a situation which forced Judiciary though a national organ also and other facilities to support the deliv- him to shorten the duration for vacation enjoyed by judges annually. He said that ery of justice.” had devolution imperatives. The Judiciary was decentralising since the hearing of election petitions “The decentralisation of the Court of Appeal is the Judiciary’s contribution to hitherto centralised administrative began, the High Court has been left with devolution. In the recent past, the Court functions so that Nairobi becomes a only 14 judges to deal with the normal of Appeal has been inaugurated in Nyeri fit-for-purpose advisory and coordina- cases. Although the Judiciary anticipated and Kisumu. Today’s ceremony is the tion unit rather than the all-powerful Judiciary’s answer to backlog in Mom- controller of resources and purveyor of that there would be a delay, the situation “official decisions” that has characterised has been compounded by decisions of basa,” said Mutunga. the Vetting Board with regard to the our past. “Within this framework, devolution suitability of a number of judges. “Since I had already announced that Against a background where the in the Judiciary will then realise its true Mombasa Chapter of the Law Society of and proper intent as a people-driven there will be no court vacation this year, Kenya has opposed the relocation of the mechanism in which we are publicly I am now directing that the one week Court of Appeal to Malindi, Mutunga accountable not simply for finances, or when the judges would have held their reiterated that decentralising the Court other resources, but for performance colloquium will be dedicated to inof Appeal requires courtroom space and results that improve the lot of the tense service to reduce case backlog in criminal matters at the High Court and and chambers for judges as well as of- everyday Kenyan,” said Mutunga. He clarified that under the present enhance access to criminal justice,” Mufice space for a complementary team of registrars, researchers, clerks and other Judiciary reforms, decentralization had tunga reiterated. He noted that sitting as two-judge worked in that in the last two months support staff. He noted that unlike in Malindi, that the Court of Appeal has been de- benches, they shall work intensively for those familiar with the court facilities centralized to Nyeri (100), Kisumu (78) five days to relieve the anxieties of those in Mombasa could immediately recog- and Malindi (77), nearly 300 cases have who may have been jailed wrongfully. He directed the registries to prepare for nise that there was no space at present been finalised. He said that in Malindi, some 77 cas- those cases and send out notices to all to house the Court of Appeal function. “The court building in Malindi can es have been finalised and 81 new ones parties. “We are undertaking this exercise in accommodate the High Court as well as filed in the past two months. “Besides the urgent imperative of place of the usual judges’ colloquium as the Court of Appeal while the Judiciary makes the necessary arrangements for a addressing the case backlog, the estab- a way of communicating our commitlishment of the decentralised Court of ment to access to criminal justice,” MuMombasa presence.” He assured Kenyans and lawyers Appeal anticipates an increase in the tunga reiterated.

Station

Appeal

The United States of America has set aside $50 million for Kenya to assist in implementing the devolution process. According to Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Kenya Raymond Stephens, his country is committed at ensuring that devolution in Kenya is understood and successfully realised. Speaking during a courtesy call to Kwale County Governor Salim Mvurya’s office, Stephens said that the money will be used in a five-year term programme in Kenya to build the capacity of county representatives on devolution. “We know devolution is something new in Kenya and that is why our Government has set aside the money to facilitate understanding of the devolution and also to try to help where possible,” he explained. Stephens disclosed that the US Government was also going to bring in specialists to Kenya who will be helping the government on issues of devolution. He added that since it was expensive to sponsor all county governments from Kenya to learn about devolution in the US, the specialists will be brought in and they will move from county to county training. Request “Every county in this country has requested for exchange visits to US but it is impossible because there are not enough funds to sponsor all county governments,” Stephens noted. He said that apart from devolution, the US Government also has another programme on wildlife conservation. Mvurya, on the other hand, asked the embassy to consider Kwale County in the wildlife conservation programme so that they could help them put an end to the human-wildlife conflict by constructing an electric fence around Shimba Hills Park. He said human wildlife conflict in the area has been on the rise due to lack of a good fence making it difficult for locals living next to the Park to participate in their day-to-day activities for fear of being attacked. “We need to partner so that we can see how to end the problem once and for all,” he pleaded. Mvurya noted the need for the community to be sensitised on devolution so that they can understand their roles in the county government and community at large. “Citizens need to understand what is expected of them in devolution so that we can together work to develop our regions and not only sensitization on legislature and the executive.” The meeting was also attended by Kwale County women representative Zainab Chidzuga and Lunga Lunga Member of the National Assembly Khatib Abdallah Mwashetani.

Executive Director: Arthur Okwemba Editor: Jane Godia

Write to: info@mdcafrica.org

Programme Officer: Mercy Mumo Sub-Editors: Joyce Chimbi and Odhiambo Orlale Designer: Noel Lumbama

www.mdcafrica.org

Contributors: Munene Maina, Omar Mwalago, Anthony Zoka, Caolyne Oyugi, Robert Wanjala, Faith Muiruri, Joy Monday, Valentine Atieno, Maurice Alal, Gladys Moraa, Jack Joshua, Henry Owino and Robert Nyagah

The paper is supported by:

Reject Issue 89: Celebrating Milestones in Peace Initiative Kenya Project  

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