When Sylvia Wariara’s mother passed on three years ago, it was the
most devastating phase in her life. Her mother died in a road accident
when Sylvia was in college and her younger sister, Catherine Wanjira,
was in high school.
Soon after their mother was buried, they received a phone call from a stranger informing them of a trust fund she had left for them.
“We got a call from a Mr Michael Ndung’u in 2017 around April. He told
us there was a trust fund our mother had left us and that if we needed
anything we should call him and they would sort us out,” narrates Sylvia
Sylvia recalls that six months before her mother passed away, she had
revealed to them that they would never struggle even if she died as she
had already secured their future. That call confirmed all the best laid
plans that their mother had been telling them.
By definition, a trust fund is set up by a grantor for the benefit of
another individual who is regarded as the beneficiary. It may comprise
of investments, cash, real estate or other assets that can ensure future
financial security of the child or grandchild in some instances. By rule of
the thumb, such funds cater for the immediate needs of the beneficiary
such as education, medical, food and others.
“The beneficiary does not own the trust property, but has the right to
receive the benefit of the property as the trust allows. For example, a
child can receive payments for college fees, upkeep or medical care. The
trustee is responsible for managing the property owned by the trust.
Think of trustees as the corporate officers. A trustee can be an individual
or an organisation,” says David Ngava, Octagon Africa Pension
Accessing the funds
At first, they had to go to the office with their aunty, who was their
guardian since Sylvia had not yet attained the legal age of 18 years.
Kenyan law considers people below 18 years old not capable of making
life changing decisions. A guardian who had been appointed by the
deceased shall act in the best interest of the minor until the minor comes
of age. This request for payments shall be received and reviewed by the
“We were not allowed to access the money anyhow. We had to have a
convincing reason why I needed it. Then we would draft a letter to the
accountant, who would then present it to the CEO. They ask a lot of
questions before the money is approved,” explains Sylvia.
Once Sylvia reached 18 years old, she was given authority to have money
deposited in her account monthly.
According to David, when the funds are in a trust, they are invested by the trustees prudently and at the same time pay-outs are made from the trust depending on the prevailing needs and demands of the beneficiaries. Approval for access of funds is given by the trustee. Sylvia and her younger sister receive a monthly salary to cater for their monthly shopping and all other monthly expenses.
They are glad that the trust fund has saved them from the trouble of
people in the name of guardians coming up to claiming their mother’s
money. They were able to honour their mothers wish of adding extra
rooms to their rental property with the guidance of the trust. They are
also thankful for the invaluable financial lessons they have been taught
by the trust.
“We are able to travel during the holidays as well as learn how to save
and plan for our future, thanks to our late mother. She made sure our
lives continue normally,” she says Her mother had insurance too before
she passed on, which they used to cater for her funeral expenses. Sylvia’s
late mother would tell her about the chamas she was involved in and
what happened in those meetings, so they were able to seamlessly pick
from where she left.
When it comes to investing the funds, the trust has invested in various
asset classes both long and short term from Treasury bonds, Treasury
bills, quoted equities and fixed deposit. This diversification ensures fund
investments are stable and sustainable into the future.
The duration of the trust fund is based on the injections, interest and
withdrawal of funds. When Sylvia finds a job, she plans to request the
trust to stop the monthly payments so that they can cater for their needs
with it as the cash is invested in other projects.
“It’s good to tell your children about investment groups and pension funds you have enrolled in. As much as they are afraid that when they know they will waste it, such information opens their mind and should anything happen to you, they will be taken care of. You child too can start investing in such and make better financial decisions,” she concludes.
Career public servant Mary Wanjira Kimonye, who was swornin last
Friday, has joined the league of super-rich principal secretaries in
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration.
Ms Kimonye, who took over the Public Service and Gender docket, put
her financial worth at Sh273.8 million.
The former principal administrative secretary at the State Department of
Public Service told MPs in the vetting committee that out of her huge
financial fortune, Sh31.1 million comprised liabilities while Sh242.8
million was net wealth.
Ms Kimonye, who has served for 21 years in public service, did not
provide details of the sources of her wealth to the National Assembly’s
Committee on Administration and National Security, which vetted her
suitability for the principal secretary’s position.
She is among six new principal secretaries who were sworn into office
after Parliament approved their nominations last week.
The Public Officer Ethics Act requires all State officers to submit their wealth declaration forms once every two years.
Section 26 of the Act requires the officers to submit their declarations
together with those of their spouses and dependent children under the
age of 18 years.
The full financial disclosure is meant to allow the Ethics and Anti-
Corruption Commission to detect and prevent corruption when top
public servants are serving in office.
Ms Kimonye’s wealth is more than 15 times that of Enosh Onyango
Momanyi, the new principal secretary for Physical Planning, whose
worth is Sh17.8 million.
Until his appointment, Mr Momanyi had served as secretary of Urban
and Metropolitan Development at the Ministry of Transport and
Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development from 2015.
Ms Kimonye’s fortune also dwarfs that of her new peers Julius Jwan and
Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi who took over the Vocational and
Technical Training and University Education and Research dockets
Dr Jwan, who started his teaching career in 1990 and is the former chief executive of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), put his financial net worth at Sh80.3 million.
Documents tabled before Parliament show that Ambassador Nabukwesi,
who served as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada from 2009 to
2013, is worth Sh76 million.
He was the director of the Europe and Commonwealth Directorate at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as director of the Foreign
Service Academy Institute from 2013 to 2019.
Another career diplomat, Johnson Mwangi Weru, who took over as
principal secretary for Trade and Enterprise Development told the
House team that he was worth Sh30 million.
In 2013, the 24 principal secretaries declared a combined wealth of
Sh1.7 billion with the richest being then Transport PS Wilson Irungu
whose net worth was Sh374 million.
At the time, Land PS Aidah Munano had the least wealth at Sh6.2 million.
It is with deep sorrow and humble acceptance of God’s will that we announce the sudden death of Leon Mikwa Ong’ara on 21st February 2020 in St Louis, Missouri, USA.
Son of Euclid Felix Ong’ara and the Late Tabitha Kabui. Loving brother
of Max Ogada Ong’ara.
Step son of Petronila Masila.
Nephew of Chadwick, Apollo, Rose, Oliver, Bildad, the Muchiris, the
Kabuis, the Kinuthias and Nduati. Cousin of Swaleh, Zuwena, Mikwa,
Adrian, Annette, Wayne, Nicole, Nick, Meshack, Maren, Niels, Braedon,
Bella, Leroy, and Nate. Grandson of Jane Muchiri, the late Mr. Meshack
Mikwa Ong’ara and Maren Okal.
Family and friends are meeting at his parents’ residence in Imara Daima
Estate, Siala Lane, Hse No.21.
Burial arrangements will be announced later.
Contributions may be forwarded to Paybill Number 296665. Account
The government’s decision to introduce free primary school education brought with it mixed fortunes for many. For Samuel Irungu Njau, who was the proprietor of a private school in Nyahururu, he was forced to close it down in 2003 as parents moved their children to public schools.
He had to look for a new source of income. As a person who is
passionate about education, he was keen on looking for greener pastures
within and out of the country. An opportunity presented itself in
Rwanda following the government’s decision to introduce English as
language of instruction to increase access to the global economy.
Irungu decided to try his luck there. With only Sh7,500 he had as savings, he left Kenya in 2009 with a lot of uncertainty about how the life in a foreign country would be.
He used Sh3,000 for transport and the rest to cater for his
accommodation. For three months he moved from one place to another
without successfully securing a job and spent all he had. Luckily, a friend
accommodated him, which came as a great reprieve.
In 2010, Irungu landed his first job as an English teacher in Nu Vision Secondary School. He also quickly got a part-time job at Masoro University. His prowess in the language attracted even government officials and landed him another opportunity: the Rwanda National Police Service contracted him.
He had over 600 officers to train, and he was overwhelmed. To fix this,
he invited 16 teachers from Kenya to aid him in conducting the lessons.
More doors opened and World Vision contracted him to teach English to
all teachers in primary and secondary schools from two districts in
Stressed and bedridden
When Mt Kenya University established its branch in Kigali in 2012, Njau
was given a job as a lecturer, but three years later, he was retrenched.
In 2015, Njau moved to Burundi, where he and two of his friends, a
Kenyan and Burundian came up with a plan to establish an institution of
higher learning, which they called International University of Equator.
However, two weeks into the operations, he opted to pullout.
“I realised that my partners were not interested in building the school,
but in making quick money. I had injected about Sh4 million into this
project and I lost it all,” he said.
He says the two friends went behind his back and incited other
stakeholders in the institution to fight him. Due to stress, he developed
“Stress made me develop severe back problems and I was bedridden for
eight months,” he explains.
After recovery, Njau went back to the drawing board, planning how he to start his own university. All this time, he did not have money to either buy food or pay his rent. Fortunately, like the first time, a good friend offered to accommodate him for a couple of months.
The beginning was stormy; Burundi was experiencing political unrest as
the then-president was contesting for the seat for the third time.
“There were protests all over and at one time, I was nearly shot, but I
was lucky to escape unhurt. My family and friends were asking me to
return back home, fearing for my safety,” he recounts.
He started by renting a room in 2015, which he used for his classes, and
as time went by more students came in and he was able to get more
money to rent more rooms.
I had to sell some of my property to get money to facilitate other logistics
to aid in establishing the university.
With the help of Kenyan Ambassador to Burundi, the approval for the
university was expedited and the education officers also helped him in
laying down the structures to run the institution. This is how Summit
International University came about.
To date, the school located in Bujumbura has close to 1,000 students
taking various courses.
Outsource talent Njau takes pride in having one of his architecture
students win an international award for Miss Entrepreneurship East
Africa in December 2019, where she pocketed Shlmillion.
He has also been able to establish partnership with two Japanese
universities to expand the scope of courses in the institution.
“Our main aim is to empower the students by giving them
entrepreneurial skills, which they can use to transform their country,” he
The journey to success has, however, not been smooth sailing. Njau says
due to high poverty levels in the country, many parents are not able to
take their children to school, especially for higher learning. Getting
qualified teachers is also a challenge and he has been forced to outsource
them from Kenya or Uganda, which is expensive.
Njau plans to expand to Gitega, the new capital city for Burundi and later to Congo and Zambia as well.
Samuel Njau was the proprietor of a private school in Nyahururu, which
he had to close down following the introduction of free primary school
With just Sh7,500, he moved to Rwanda to teach English after the
language was introduced in the curriculum.
In 2017, he set up the institute, which has about 1,000 students at the
Traders in Nyeri have resorted to importing tomatoes from Ethiopia in
order to bridge the deficit of the popular commodity.
Prices have shot up 63 per cent per kilogramme from Sh80 last month to
Though the Ethiopian tomato is sold to traders at a low price, households are having to dig deeper into their pockets to buy the produce.
A kilogramme of imported onion costs between Sh100 and Sh120.
Traders say damp weather witnessed in tomato-growing areas in Nyeri
and Kirinyaga have contributed to the scarcity of the produce.
“Too much rain is never good for tomatoes and that is why there is a
shortage. More so, most areas that grow tomatoes are prone to
flooding,” said Ms Jane Kellen Kuria, a trader at the Nyeri open air
For every imported 60-kilogramme crate, traders are parting with
Sh4,000 as compared to Sh11,000 for the local variety.
“We prefer the imported tomato because it is round and firm compared
to the local type, which is small and being sold at a very high price,” she
Did police sergeant Kipyegon Kenei plan his suicide so meticulously that no one heard the gunshot that sent a bullet through his head into the ceiling of his small bedsitter house in Imara Daima, Nairobi?
And how did the cartridge come to rest on his chest, given the violence with which he is said to have taken his life?
These are some of the questions that detectives are seeking answers as they investigate the death of Sgt Kenei, a key witness in the fake arms tender deal involving a former Cabinet secretary.
The deceased was the head of security at Harambee House Annex in
Nairobi, where the office of Deputy President William Ruto is located,
and where documents related to the tender scandal are said to have been
signed. The biggest question in the minds of detectives is whether Sgt
Kenei killed himself, or was executed.
The clues to this riddle so far lie in the small semi-detached house at Twiga Court in Imara Daima, where his body was found on Thursday evening. The houses here are so small and close to each other that if you accidentally broke utensils in your kitchen, your neighbours would most likely know about it.
Yet within the past one week, on a day that we still do not know, a gun is
said to have been discharged once in the servant quarters of one the
houses, killing the police officer.
No one in this small, tightly knit community heard anything, and so life went on at its humdrum pace until last Thursday, when all hell broke loose.
The police would be investigating just another case were it not for the
fact that Sgt Kenei worked at Dr Ruto’s office, which is fighting
accusations of abetting the Sh39 billion fake guns tender scandal.
Sgt Kenei was scheduled to become a high-level witness in the
investigations into the saga. He had been expected to record a statement
with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and detectives are trying
to establish whether there is a connection between his death and the
Mr Ruto said he was saddened by the death and urged the police to get
to the bottom of the matter.
“Kenei was a disciplined young police officer. I urge the relevant
authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain the
circumstances surrounding his death,” said Mr Ruto a few hours after
the body was found.
Those who knew Sgt Kenei, 33, say he liked to lead a good life. He may
have lived in the small bedsitter off Mombasa Road, where his lifeless
body was found, they say, but when he was not in his police uniform, he
was ever neatly shaven and in nice suits. His coat lapel always sported
the Kenyan flag.
He was an ambitious young man as well. In just 13 years he had risen to
be a sergeant within the police force and in charge of security at the DP’s
office. The Saturday Nation understands that his key responsibility was
clearing visitors before they are allowed to access the premises, one of
the most guarded government installations in the country.
Sgt Kenei was on duty on February 13, the day former Sports Cabinet
Secretary Rashid Echesa accessed the DP’s office and allegedly issued a
fake Sh39 billion military arms contract to two foreigners.
Less than 10 days later, he lay dead in his small house, with a single
bullet wound on the head.
An initial observation by the police indicated he had committed suicide,
but yesterday Nairobi County Commander Philip Ndolo was measured
in his assessment of the situation.
“I have not been able to get the facts on the ground,” said Mr Ndolo.
“What will make a difference is what the homicide team, which is still
there, says. Before talking to them – and it is still early to make a
conclusion – I suggest that we wait and hear what they have to say.”
But the homicide detectives combing the house were yesterday
confronting the problem of a crime scene that had been grossly
interfered with by the first responders on Thursday evening. It took the
intervention of the Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti,
who was waiting to catch a flight from the Moi International Airport in
Mombasa when he heard about the macabre discovery, to have the scene
But by the time Mr Kinoti gave the orders, Sgt Kenei’s body had been
removed from the scene of crime by police officers from Embakasi. The
vehicle carrying his body was already heading towards the Nyayo
National Stadium roundabout on the way to City Mortuary when Mr
Kinoti ordered it be returned to Imara Daima for scenes of crime
detectives to do a proper analysis.
So furious was Mr Kinoti that he drove straight to Imara Daima after
landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Mombasa to
personally lead the investigations.
Just hours earlier, he had exuded confidence on the progress of the fake
guns tender investigations, saying his team was building a watertight
case and had covered significant ground.
What the DCI did not know was that he had just lost the one person who
had the answers as to how former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, the
prime suspect in the tender saga, and his friends had accessed the DP’s
Tell-tale signs that something had gone grossly wrong in the investigation first came in the form of communication sent to the Nation from Dr Ruto’s office at about 3pm on Thursday.
“One of the security officers on duty on Thursday, February 13, when
former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and two foreigners visited the
office of the Deputy President, and who was required to record a
statement, among others, has not done so, and neither has he reported
for duty since Wednesday, February 19, the day he was scheduled to
appear before the DCI,” read the statement. “A search for the officer has
been launched. So far five security officers have recorded statements.”
Two officers had informed investigating officers from the DCI that they
were unable to record statements as required on Wednesday.
Sgt Kenei was said to have claimed that he was not feeling well, while the
second officer said his children were returning to school after the mid-
term break and he was escorting them back.
It was after this that Sgt Kenei suddenly became unavailable on his
mobile phone, until a neighbour on Thursday afternoon noticed a foul
smell coming from the officer’s house and alerted the police.
By the time the police arrived later in the evening, neighbours had
already accessed the house and discovered his body. He was in his
pyjamas when he died, a spent cartridge lying on the left side of his chest
and a Jericho pistol on the floor.
No one had heard any commotion or gunshot from the house and there
were no records to show that strangers had accessed the house in the
past few days. A woman and her two children lived in the main house on
the same compound with the sergeant. They, too, did not hear anything
To get to Sgt Kenei’s house, one has to pass through two manned gates.
The first one is the main entry to Villa Franca Estate and the second is
the gate to Twiga Court.
Security guards in these first two gates only ask visitors where they are
going but do not note down their names or take details of the cars that
pass through. Without any records, anyone could have walked in, shot
the sergeant, and left, but Kenei could also have killed himself, as the
police initially said.
If he indeed killed himself, a gunshot from a Jericho pistol is louder than
a tyre burst at close range.
This means neighbours would have heard something because the gun
found beside the sergeant did not have a silencer.
And if someone had killed him at the scene, there would at least have
been a scuffle, which, again, neighbours would have heard.
So what, really, happened to Sgt Kenei, and for how long had he lain in
his bedsitter before he was discovered? The odour associated with a
dead body starts spreading after two or three days as a result of gas
being expelled by the bacteria consuming the body. Sgt Kenei is said to
have claimed that he was unwell on Wednesday while neighbours said
they caught a whiff of the foul smell from his house on Thursday.
Detectives were last evening working to unravel that puzzle.
They will also rely on a ballistics test on residue found on the ceiling and
the spent cartridge in order to see if they match with the gun.
The part of the ceiling with the bullet hole was removed yesterday
afternoon, even though the bullet also tore through the roof.
On top of that, detectives will also analyse the phone records of the
sergeant in order to ascertain his final movements and the last people he
talked to before he died.
In Nakuru, Sgt Kenei’s family also appealed to the DCI to expedite
investigations into the officer’s death, even as a close confidant of the
deceased recounted his last moments with him.
Sgt Kenei’s father, John Chesang, speaking at Chamasisi Village in
Nakuru County, refuted claims that the officer had committed suicide.
“It is a great loss to me. I just want a thorough investigation into my
son’s death. Kenei was my fourth child and I am sad we only received
the news of his death through radio. We were not formally informed
about his death yet he was a public servant,” he said.
“He was here on Friday to see off his son, who was joining Form One at Baringo High School. He stayed with the family for the weekend and left
for Nairobi on Sunday. When he arrived, he called us and said he was
fine and that he had arrived safely. I did not see any signs of him being
disturbed or worried.
If there was anything bothering him, he would have told me, or I would
have sensed it from his demeanor.”
The family spoke as one of Sgt Kenei’s close friends narrated his last
moments with him, about the visit to Harambee House by former Sports
CS Rashid Echesa and other suspects moments before they were
“During the burial of retired President Daniel Moi last week, he told me
that he would come to Nakuru but he did not manage to come the same
day. However, the following morning, he came to Nakuru and we met at
our usual joint as he claimed to be hungry,” he said.
The confidant said another colleague joined them for lunch, and that as
they chatted, there was a ‘Breaking News’ flash on TV on the arrests of
people who had visited the Deputy President’s office.
“He moved closer to watch the news, and when he came back he
informed us that the arrested people had visited the Annex before he left
for Nakuru. He then called his colleague in Nairobi and enquired about
what had happened.”
The confidant said Sgt Kenei told them that he had ushered Mr Echesa
and his colleagues in to the Annex office after they requested to meet DP
“He said the suspects asked him if the DP was in his office, but he told
them that he wasn’t. The suspects then went to the waiting room, sat
and waited for some minutes before leaving,” he said.
But on Sunday, after Sgt Kenei drove back to Nairobi, he called the
friend at around 7pm and told him that things were getting out of hand.
“He said the Echesa issue was getting tough because he had been informed that some detectives were going to the office on Monday. I told him not to worry because that was going to be investigated and that he should say whatever he saw,” the friend, whom the Saturday Nation is not naming for security reasons, said.
“He said he would brief me on the outcome on Monday but didn’t, and I
forgot to call him. When I tried to reach him on Tuesday, his phone was
off,” said the confidant.
Mary Waitherero Claudio was going about her business as a young energetic woman with big dreams for her family. She had just turned 30, had two adorable children and was four months pregnant with her third child.
Life was good and her union with husband Joseph Tharuma was a
blissful romantic adventure. But in December 2013, in an
unprecedented turn of events, the tide turned.
“I found myself immersed in a private and personal journey of
unanticipated grief,” she narrates how she found herself in uncharted
Her husband of four years laid on the gurney, critically ill after accidentally falling off a storey building in Westlands, Nairobi. Doctors were unable to stabilise him and he succumbed eight days later while in the intensive care unit at Nairobi Hospital.
As a young woman and mother, Claudio was suddenly faced with
learning how to handle constant sadness, fear, lack of concentration,
loneliness and grieving.
Tharuma’s abrupt and unanticipated demise had jolted her senses,
thrusted her into autopilot as she figured out how to bring up her
children without their father.
But instead of going on an overdrive-grieving mode, the 36-year-old’s
maternal instinct kicked in to save her unborn baby despite the
whirlwind of emotions.
“My mind went into a protective mode and I shelved grieving. I knew I
had to save the baby I was carrying. Here I’m four and half months
pregnant, I have a one and a three-year-old who needed me,” she
It is after the birth of her daughter that she unexpectedly descended into
grieving having suppressed the process for months. “My new born baby
also looked exactly like her father and I drowned even further into
grieving. I went from anger to questioning God,” she shares, adding that
you can never be prepared enough for death and when it happens, only
At the time of mourning her husband, Claudio had an upcoming exam
that she needed to pass in order to become an advocate, a test she had
failed the previous year. “I sat that exam a month after I gave birth to my
last born. I was grieving and did not have any care in the world. I did not
care if I failed the exam…and surprisingly I passed,” she gleans.
Passing the Kenya School of Law exam was important to fulfill a promise
she had made to her late husband that she would become an advocate of
the High Court of Kenya.
Claudio started talking about her husband’s death to her children after two years of mourning and when they were old enough to comprehend things better. “After I had come to terms with their father’s death and they were a bit older, I was finally able to have a conversation with them. They had started asking ‘where is daddy? Is he in heaven? Can we go
visit him?’ My children had to learn about death while they were so
young,” she shares.
And it wasn’t an easy task, she first demystified the entire topic of death
through stories that they could relate to, such as Jesus being crucified on
the cross. This is a story they learnt in scripture and Sunday school. Also
where Jesus went after he died. “I used to tell them that just like Jesus,
their daddy also went to heaven. And as they grow older, I find myself
retelling the story according to their level of maturity. One thing I can
say is that children are very resilient and need to be told the truth in the
right manner that suits their maturity level,” she explains.
Despite a myriad of challenges that would confront her in months
following her husband’s death, Claudio was above all odds like the
proverbial phoenix to become an advocate.
After becoming an advocate in 2016, she entered into practice and
ventured into Environmental law, specialising in Mining and Extractive
(oil and gas) as well as water and sanitation, consequently becoming a
member of the Kenya Chambers of Mines.
In sheer display of determination, the mother of three went on to prove
the naysayers wrong by setting up her firm, Tharuma Trevisan
Advocates, partly named after her late husband, at a time when most
young lawyers were seeking employment in established firms.
Legal practice, she notes has not been easy as the profession is highly
patriachial. “Although more women than men are getting admitted to
the bar, in practice it still remains a male dominated profession,” she
says pointing out that just like any other business, it takes a lot hard
work, determination and strategic planning to run a law firm. The
business development aspect needs a direct focus because without a
client base there would be no work. She feels that specialisation is key to
creating a niche for Lawyers today. I am very passionate on
Environmental Law issues and would like to focus on several areas such
as the extractive industry, oil and gas, waste management and water and
Things have been weaving up and Claudio who describes her grind as “from gumboots to heels” now wears many hats.
She is a director at Power and Solar Limited, a firm specialising in
irrigation, infrastructure, sewerage, dams and pans and has been
fortunate to win bids from the Agriculture ministry. She holds the same
position at Lelo Investments Ltd, which engages in real estate projects as
well as mining and mineral extraction.
In her endless list, the young lawyer is also the chair of the Human Capital and Governance committee at Pioneer International University and sits on the board of various companies in East Africa.
The late president Daniel Moi was fondly referred to as ‘professor of politics’ by his admirers given his genius and sometimes ruthless methods of neutralising the opposition, and his unpredictability.
But away from that larger than life imagine, he like any other mortal had his fair share of struggles in social life and politics.
Broken Family: Moi told British author Andrew Morton in his 1998 biography, The Making of an African Statesman, that he felt disappointed and let down by his own children.
In the book, Moi said he was frustrated that apart from Gideon and June — his adopted daughter and niece to his estranged wife Lena — his other children did not appear in public when he was president to give him moral support.
With Lena absent, and Moi taking the country’s presidency in 1978, the teenage children lacked a mentor. Andrew Morton wrote as much: “This combination of absence and sternness produced the inevitable backlash, and as adolescents, the boys rebelled against their father’s austere moral code.”
In many occasions, it was the presidential guards who would discipline the children, according to Moi’s biographer.
Separation: The fact that there was no first lady throughout his presidency sometimes meant odd moments whenever visiting heads of state were accompanied by their wives.
Those close to Moi said while he downplayed it, the separation affected his life and relationship with the children who sometimes blamed him for causing their mother’s departure.
Robert Ouko’s death: The assassination of the Foreign Affairs minister in 1990 blighted Moi’s image at home and abroad. And claims that he may have personally supervised the killing is said to have hindered conclusive investigations until the time of his demise.
Being Jomo Kenyatta’s vice-president: Accounts are abound of Moi having to endure mistreatment from Jomo’s handlers with a former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner said to have even slapped him in one of the occasions.
He is said to have attended many ‘cabinet meetings’ conducted in Kikuyu.
Then came change the Constitution when a cabal around Jomo after he started showing signs of illness plotted to repeal the laws which made it automatic that a vice president would succeed his boss in the event a president dies in office.
It took the intervention of the Attorney-General Charles Njonjo to stop the march when he declared that it was treasonable to imagine death of a president.
Julie Ward’ death: Despite numerous contestations, the Mois never got over claims that Jonathan Moi (now deceased) killed Julie Ward while in a tour of Maasai Mara in 1988.
In 2012, Mr John Ward, Julie’s father, accused Jonathan of plotting the murder of the photographer.
“Our government sensing that Moi didn’t want this to be a murder decided to help him in the cover up. He (Jonathan) raped and killed my daughter. That’s why the government covered up the matter,” Mr Ward said.
Attempted Coup: A push by mutinous soldiers to seize power from him in August 1982 was another low moment for the second president of the republic.
Analysts believe that a defining moment, Moi adopted dictatorial tendencies after the attempt which was thwarted at formative stage.
Struggling economy: The country’s economy almost came to its knees under Moi’s watch.
While this is largely attributed to poor management on his side, the numerous sanctions by international players such as the IMF also had a crippling effect.
Insecurity: Said to be almost paranoid, Moi was overly concerned about his security and almost believed that someone was always after his life.
Cataract operation: Failing eyesight saw him disappear from the public for about one week in 1995.
As the public speculated on his whereabouts, Moi was in Israel for the operation.
Bomb blast 1998: Coming towards the tail of his presidency, the US embassy bombings not only shook the country but the region.
It fundamentally changed Kenya’s diplomatic position and relationship with the West for good.
At Kwa Wanjau, a sleepy village in Subukia, Nakuru County, Lucy Kibuika weeds the area around the grave of her third-born Peter Kabera.
It is a fresh grave, complete with wreaths, where Kabera’s remains were
interred just last month, after he committed suicide at the tender age of
The teenager had great promise and his mother was working to ensure
his dreams came true.
Kabera scored 352 marks in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary
Education exam at Kabazi Primary School and the mother was
frantically looking for a secondary school for him after realising she
could not afford the fees at Mama Ngina Kenyatta Secondary School, to
which he had been admitted.
The reason for the suicide still baffles Ms Kibuika, a mother of three. She
says that on the fateful day her son did not show any signs of stress. And
so it was with great pain when his lifeless body was found dangling in
“I decided to seek his admission to Kieni Secondary School because I
was unable to pay for his fees. But I still did not have enough funds for
his fees. When I told him that, he took his life,” says the mother amid
sobs. “I was shocked because he remained calm after I told him that I
was unable to afford the fees. I went to the our MP Samuel Gachobe to
seek his assistance, but he did not even wait. He committed suicide the
That Thursday the family had breakfast then the parents headed for
Kieni to secure a place for the boy in Form One only to return to the
tragic news of his death.
Ms Kibuika is devastated by the death of her son.
“I would not want any parent to go through what I went through,” she
This was not the only tragedy in the village. About half a kilometre from
the Kibiuka home, another family is also in mourning.
Samuel Kihoro also committed suicide around that time and the burial also took place the same week. He was 34.
Joan Wanjiku, Kihoro’s elder sister, says whatever led him to take his
life remains a mystery.
“He never picked quarrels. When he committed suicide in his house, we
were shocked. We don’t know what happened,” she says.
The deceased’s father John Muitha is the one who found the body in the
house after discovering a missing plank in his house. He peeped through
the gap and was shocked at the sight of his son’s body dangling inside.
“It was terrible. We are still in the dark as to what led to him to commit
suicide,” he says.
Mr Kihoro was single and is described as a social and hard-working man
who was loved by many.
The two deaths have puzzled the villagers.
“We don’t know why young people are taking their own lives. We are
baffled as a community because they have been on the increase,” says
In the past four years, four people have committed suicide in the village
for reasons still unknown.
Near Kabazi town, Martha Njeri lost his seventh-born son, through
suicide in unclear circumstances.
The other suicide victim, George Waweru, was 16 when he took his life.
He was a Standard Six pupil at Oldonyomara Primary School.
Now Kabazi Member of County Assembly Peter Mbae says the problem
could be rooted in alcohol and drug use.
“We are organising a meeting with young people to talk about life
because getting a D does not mean the end of life,” he says.
According to Halimu Shauri, a sociology professor at Pwani University,
the increased cases of teen suicides can be blamed on parental
“The kind of suicides we are witnessing is a called anomic, which are caused by a breakdown in social values, with parents spending less time with their children,” said Prof Shauri.
The don said that parents are too busy nowadays, leaving children at the
mercy of the internet and TV.
Two sons of a Mombasa politician and businessman Mohammed Bajaber are among suspects in the disappearance of Sh50 million of charity funds meant for the poor and people living with disabilities in Kilifi County while in transit from Uganda.
Sheikh Ali Yassir Bajaber and Mr Abdalla Salim Bajaber have been
charged in a Mombasa court with diverting the money for personal use
after collecting it from a donor in Uganda.
The money was meant for children with disabilities and other needy
families at the Sahajanad Special School and Premji Farm Feeding
Centre in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.
The donor visited the institutions last year and promised to support
them by sending money to Bamburi Cement, which runs them.
Yassir and Salim and another suspect, Mr Joseph Munyao, were on
Wednesday charged in a Shanzu court with the theft of the money.
The charge sheet states that the suspects, jointly with others not before
the court, being agents of the Mombasa Cement Company, stole
$500,000 (Sh50,150,000), which they were supposed to deliver to a Mr
Yassir and Salim were further charged with trafficking in 234.6
grammes of bhang valued at Sh46,920.
The suspects, who appeared before Shanzu Resident Magistrate David
Odhiambo, denied committing the offences in Mombasa and Nairobi on
December 19, 2019 and January 23, 2020 respectively.
The court heard that after stealing the money, the suspects switched off
their phones for a whole month, from December 19, last year to January
22, 2020 The suspects were arrested at Emilia Apartments in
Kileleshwa, Nairobi, where they had rented a serviced apartment at
Mr Salim was allegedly found with a rifle and 44 bullets.
Police are investigating if the gun has been used in criminal activities.
The court heard that Mr Yassir and Mr Salim had been sent to collect the money but after receiving it, they switched off their phones and disappeared.
In an affidavit opposing their release on bond, the police claimed that
the suspects confirmed to Mr Amir via a phone call that they had
received the money and would be making their way back into the
“Later on the same day, their mobile phones were switched off.
Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful for some days and they never
delivered the donation,” Mr Amir told the police.
Police said that after stealing the money, the suspects went on a
spending marathon and bought a Toyota Axio at a cost of Sh1.2 million,
all paid in cash.
According to the prosecution, the vehicle was bought on January 21, at
Trade AT (K) Ltd in Mombasa.
“The theft was carefully planned and executed by all the accused
persons, as the evidence in our possession connects each of them to the
offence,” said prosecutor Eric Masila.
The prosecutor also informed the court that the suspects are under
investigation for a motor vehicle theft syndicate, running across
several countries, including South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
The probe followed the seizure of several unregistered motor vehicles
linked to the suspects.
After the theft of the money, the prosecutor said the two suspects had
planned to flee the country to Mecca and Medina.
“On January 8, the accused persons deposited their passports at
Shimasy Travel Company Ltd to secure visas with the intention to leave
the jurisdiction of this country in order to evade arrest,” Mr Masila said.
The prosecutor said the police are yet to explore some 20 sim cards
recovered from the suspects, which are expected to lead to the arrest of
the suspects’ accomplices.
The police are also investigating whether Mr Salim has a firearm
The suspects, through their advocate Boaz Adalla, successfully applied for bond, terming the allegations by the prosecution baseless and unfounded.
Mr Salim and Mr Yassir were each released on Sh15 million bond with
an alternative cash bail of Sh10 million while Mr Munyao was granted
Sh10 million bond with an alternative cash bail of Sh7 million.
The court further directed that the securities deposited be fixed assets
accompanied by a valuation report from a government officer.
After finding a supermarket smartcard belonging to Mary Mwikali Kavuu inside the room where German Herman Detering was killed at Moriama Cottages, detectives from Malindi listed her as a person of interest.
They later tracked her movements using her phone signals, which pointed that she was in Ukunda, Kwale County, about 150 kilometres from Malindi, where the crime was committed.
On the day of her arrest, Ms Kavuu was located inside a bar in Ukunda drinking alcohol in the company of friends.
Sources told the Sunday Nation that detectives had to trick the suspect by using a person known to her, to call her outside to avoid creating a scene inside the highly crowded bar, before arresting her.
“Immediately she came outside the bar, detectives arrested her,” said the source, adding, “she was later taken to the nearby police station for interrogation before proceeding to her home for a search.”
Yesterday, detectives from the scene of crime, homicide, forensic unit and government chemist sealed off Moriema Cottages in Malindi, where the 78-year-old was brutally murdered inside his hotel room last week.
The team toured the scene to collect more evidence on the murder of Detering a day after the prime suspect, Ms Kavuu, was arrested.
Ms Kavuu is alleged to have been a lover to the slain tourist and hotel workers said that the two had spent time at the hotel until late at night, drinking alcohol and chewing miraa, near the swimming pool before
retiring to Mr Deterings’ room together.
The body of the German was later found lying in a pool of blood on Tuesday evening around 6pm. The room attendant became suspicious when he failed to open the door the whole day, prompting him to peep through the window.
Police are pursuing a number of theories, including allegations of self- defence.
However, detectives are yet to recover the weapon used to kill the tourist that left him with deep cuts in his body.
Police suspect the killer might have hidden or escaped with the murder weapon after they failed to find it at the crime scene and around the hotel.
Mr Ken Kazungu, the Moriema Cottages manager and night receptionist said: “We discovered the lifeless body on Monday evening after the guest failed to open his room for cleaning as usual,” he said, adding: “he has been waking up at around 8am daily to swim before doing anything else.”
On the fateful day when Detering met his death, Mr Kazungu said he spent the day with a young woman who was said to be his girlfriend, drinking beer until around 1pm.
“The two seemed happy,” he said, adding “we never suspected anything fishy until in the following evening when one of the workers peeped through the window after he failed to show up and saw him lying in a pool of blood.”
Interestingly, Mr Kazungu who was at the reception and the security guard at the gate said they never heard any commotion or noise and did not even see the woman leaving the hotel.
Mr Kazungu said a room steward had knocked on the door at 10am with the aim of cleaning it but it was locked and he became suspicious after the guest failed to open the door during the day.
Police used a spare key to open the door because the other key could not be traced.
Mr Detering is said to have been running a string of businesses in South Coast and also Malindi, where he operated a bar between 2012 and 2015.
The bar has since closed, and the deceased then moved to Ukunda.
Nairobi’s Runda, Karen and Lavington suburbs registered the highest number of properties placed in the market in 2019, indicating a change in preferences among Kenya’s high net worth individuals.
Realtor, HassConsult’s latest survey shows Karen — revered with lush
greenery and vast chunks of land — reported a 31.2 per cent share,
mainly blamed on recent infrastructural developments, especially roads
that have opened up the area to commercial development of malls,
hotels and academic institutions.
The firm’s head of development consulting and research, Sakina
Hassanali, yesterday said Runda, with a high expatriate community, had
a 13.3 per cent share of properties on sale, indicating a changing on
housing preferences from standalone properties to living in serviced
“Standalone houses are expensive to run with gardeners, cooks, security
guards and utilities. They now prefer shared facilities that give them a
benefit of shared costs and a sense of community,” she said in Nairobi.
The Hass Property Index (HPI) found Kitengela township reported the
highest increase in land prices at 19.4 per cent, owing to ongoing
investments in infrastructure and private industrial investments that
have seen Kenyans move there in droves in search of jobs and less noisy
Nondescript Limuru and Ngong towns enjoyed hyped interest due to
ongoing road construction that has opened up the region for major
Limuru saw a 9.5 per cent rise in house prices while Ngong reported the
highest rise in rental charges at 18.6 per cent.
Medical facilities While Upper Hill remained the most expensive
location at Sh539 million an acre, it experienced a 2.3 per cent drop,
mainly blamed on poor access to the area that has in the past witnessed
major multinationals relocate their regional offices to other Nairobi
“Lang’ata is a mixed bag, where demand for rental properties propelled
a 15.9 per cent rise in rental prices in the fourth quarter but a hushed
need to dispose which reported a 3.9 per cent drop in property prices,”
Karen, which now accommodates several high-end malls, elite schools, new five star hotels and a host of medical facilities, saw an acre selling at Sh62.4 million, while Lang’ata asked Sh65.7 million for an acre.
The realtor said Kenya’s capital is witnessing a resurgence of demand
from global investors eyeing bargains in select high-end properties.
The investors, mainly from the Middle East, were salivating at
handsome returns, unlike property prices in their countries now living
in fear of an all-out war across the region.
“Kenya remains a favourite investment spot for foreign direct
investments and the reduced property prices blamed on price
corrections gives buyers a reason to smile. They are sure it is a good time
to buy and wait for prices to rise for them to sell at a premium” she said.
Ms Cecilia Mbugua sat pensively in the Ombudsman’s office. Her flashy pink suit portrayed a woman of means but her facial expressions betrayed her inner feelings.
Ordinarily, many would think that after a triumph over a county bully
would make her rejoice but that was not the case for the widow. And as
the Commission on Administrative Justice chairperson Florence Kajuju
rose to hand over title deeds, Ms Mbugua made one request: Keep my
After winning two land cases against two Kiambu County
administrations, Ms Mbugua seems sure that more people will go after
her Sh100 million plots located in the heart of Thika town.
This is the widow who brought down one of the country’s most powerful
During the impeachment of Mr Waititu, ward reps accused the governor
of unlawfully acquiring and occupying Ms Mbugua’s prime plots.
MCAs argued that Mr Waititu promptly facilitated the irregular transfer
of the land totalling 0.135 hectares in January 2018 to Ms Esther
Wamuyu Nyatu, who they claimed is his “common law wife”.
Ms Mbugua was forced to transfer her land to Esther Nyatu. An
investigation and interrogation of the governor by the Ombudsman
revealed how he threatened and manipulated Ms Mbugua into handing
over her land.
The widow owns five plots in Thika town, and in 2013 sought approval
of the county to develop the land. The approval was granted but later
rejected after county officials claimed the land belonged to the Thika Jua
Kali Association, even though Ms Mbugua was in possession of title
She went to court challenging the county and she won the case in 2016.
In a December 2017 meeting with the newly elected Mr Waititu, Ms
Mbugua was told she would be granted permission to develop her
property on condition that she gave up two plots. Ms Mbugua was forced
to accept the deal.
The plots — Thika Municipality/BlockXI /877 and Thika Municipality/ BlockXI/878 — were transferred to Ms Nyatu and the investigation by the Ombudsman showed no bank slip or land sale agreement had been drawn to show how the land came to be in Ms Nyatu’s possession.
Mr Waititu, when interrogated by the commission, admitted that he was
the one who facilitated the transfer.
“Our investigators interviewed a number of county land officials who
participated in the transfer of the plots. The officers indicated that Ms
Esther Nyatu’s details, including copies of ID, KRA pin and passport
photograph were given to them by the governor and that the transfer of
the properties to her name was directed by the governor,” Ms Kajuju
She added that the governor personally paid for the transfer of the
Following the investigation, the Thika Land Registrar issued a 30-day
notice to all interested parties with a claim to the land.
No objection was made and the land reverted to Ms Mbugua.
“I am not willing to ask for compensation at the moment. I still live in Kiambu County and I just want to live in peace. I do not want any more problems in the future. “But I would like to ask the commission to keep my file open in case I find more challenges along the way,” said an emotional Ms Mbugua, who was accompanied by her son and daughter.
BY Agewa Magut and Elizabeth & Elizabeth Kamurungi