Kenyans in the diaspora who brought us pride, shame

Several Kenyans living in the diaspora recorded great achievements, especially in sports and politics in 2019. In early September, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed a Kenyan to serve in his government as the new commissioner of Commerce and Insurance.Hodgen Mainda, 42, who first moved to the US in 2008 as a rugby player became the first Kenyan to hold such a position in the State of Tennessee, after working in government relations and business development roles in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.“Mainda joins my cabinet after an outstanding career as a community leader in Chattanooga,” Governor Lee said in the announcement.“He is respected for his ability to build partnerships across multiple sectors and we welcome his leadership to such a multifaceted department like commerce and insurance.”Mainda was born and raised in Nairobi and attended St Mary’s School Nairobi and St. Mary’s Mosocho, before joining Mang’u High School.Mainda is also a member of the Leadership Tennessee Class of 2019 and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program.

In 2014, he was co-recipient of Young Professional Association of Chattanooga’s Young Professional of the Year Award and was recognised by Chatter Magazine as one of the 20 under 40 individuals who are making a mark in the Chattanooga community.In January, Lucy Ndonga was named the Administrator of the Year in Dekalb County, Georgia, US.“I thank God for being the Administrator of the year 2018 in DeKalb County School District in Georgia, the 3rd largest School District in the USA.

Our motto according to our Superintendent Dr Green is to Inspire, Achieve and Excel in every school regardless of social-economic, colour of their skin and diversity of their languages,” said Mrs Ndonga after the award.On the other hand, some Kenyans were involved in crime abroad and brought disrepute to the nation.

Anthony Nyakeo, 53, in August was sentenced to life imprisonment by a US court for sexually assaulting a 74-year-old patient at a medical facility where he was working as a nurse.

He was employed at the Woodridge Health and Rehabilitation Centre, a nursing facility for elderly and disabled people, where the woman was admitted.Nyakeo was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of an elderly or disabled person in January 2018.A Texas court handed him a life sentence on each account.

Evidence filed in court showed that the sexual assault was discovered after other nurses working at the facility found blood in the underwear of the victim.

In September, Kenyan Erick Wanjiku was charged with domestic assault, battery, rape and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend in Oklahoma, US.According to news reports in Oklahoma, Wanjiku invited the woman to his apartment and forced her into sex.

When she refused he allegedly beat her.The woman told police that she tried to escape but Wanjiku strangled and raped her.

In May, Billy Chemirmir, a suspected Kenyan serial killer living in the US, was charged with the murder of 12 elderly women in the state of Texas.Chemirmir, a former health worker, was arrested in 2018 in connection with the murder of one woman.

The 46-year-old now faces the death sentence if found guilty. Texas is one of the few US states that still have the death penalty.He is being held in the Dallas County Jail with bail set at $11.6 million (Sh1.2 billion) and date of trail has not been set.2019 is also the year at least four Kenyans died in the diaspora.

On May 30, police found 34-year-old Jelagat Cheruiyot dead at her apartment in Osbourne Park, Australia, days after her family reported her missing.Also known as Nancy, she was found dead when police went to conduct a welfare check.

It was reported that due to the nature of her injuries, police declared it a homicide and opened an investigation.Jelagat hailed from Cheptiret in Uasin Gishu County.Also, Moses Maima, 50, is reported to have committed suicide in Chicago, US, in March.

He was cremated while the family waited for the body to be brought home for burial.Again in February, 32-year-old Kenyan musician Mercy Muthui was found dead in a ditch near her home in the Netherlands.

Police detained but later released her husband Daniel Erhardt who had reported her missing moments before her death.

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