A Forgetful Nation: The major scandals in Kenya that have just been forgotten and remain unsolved.

The main discussion in the country over the past few weeks has been about the “uncaring government” that seems to have just turned a blind eye to residents dying of severe hunger in Turkana.

As expected, Kenyans have been quick and ruthless on social media; calling out the government for being so irresponsible; venting on corruption that is literally bleeding our nation to death.

What Kenyans may or may not know is that this venting will only last just a few days. Before long we will move on to something new. Unfortunately, this just seems like a pattern Kenyans have become accustomed to.

We talk about Topic A for a week or two and when Topic B comes up, we quickly move on to Topic B, leaving the previous topic completely unsolved and forgotten.

Here are some of the scandals that rocked the nation and we just don’t talk about them anymore.

The Solai Dam Tragedy

solai dam tragedy. Residents crying

All the television cameras have left. All the dignitaries and public figures have stopped landing in their helicopters. The convoys of vehicles that would race to the area have left; life seems to have simply moved on for everyone; everyone except the survivors of the tragedy.

On the night of May 9, 2018, a private dam that belonged to Mr. Perry Mansukhlal burst its banks claiming 48 lives and washing away homes, businesses, power lines, water pipes, schools, and churches as well.

The private dam, located inside the Patel farm owned and managed by Patel Coffee Estates Managing Director Perry Kansagara and the General Manager Vinoj Kumar Kansagara and Mr. Kumar killed 48 people and left over 5,000 residents homeless.

solai dam tragedy funeral
Thousands gather to bury victims of Patel Dam tragedy

Today, visitors are welcomed into the area by deep gullies that represent what was once a rich agricultural area, flourishing with all kinds of crops.

A total of Sh35 million was provided by the Patels to the survivors of the tragedy. The survivors, however, accuse local administration and government officials of taking advantage of their plight and enriching themselves with the money.

A woman who requested anonymity said that government officials and local politicians sneaked in the names of people not affected by the tragedy so that they could get access to the funds.

Administrators and officials also convinced a number of victims and survivors to sign some documents. Desperate for cash, they did not study the forms keenly.

Consequently, the survivors became aware that what they had signed were discharge and indemnity forms intended cushion and protect the dam owner, Mr. Perry Mansukhlal.

solai dam floods residents walking

No one has been charged or fined. The administrators and politicians have gone scot-free and so have the dam owners; while the survivors of the dam tragedy are still bearing the scars of the tragedy, slowly trying to pick up the pieces.

The NYS Scandal

The National Youth Service (NYS) was rebranded by the government of H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 2014. The rebranded NYS’ main aim is to translate the raw energy and dreams of the youth into Nation Building agendas.

Some of the great operations included training the youth in fields of agriculture, engineering, and hospitality. A slum upgrade program, construction, traffic control, and public security.

nys scandal 1

Since then, NYS has been at the center stage of major scandals.

In 2015, Ksh.791 million disappeared under former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ms. Anne Waiguru and another Ksh.609 million was fraudulently paid out for the alleged supply of goods and services.

In 2017, over Ksh.9 Billion was stolen from NYS.

The missing billions were allegedly wired from the NYS officials to ghost companies linked to powerful people in government.

DCI officials reportedly combed through payments made to suppliers over the past years, and it emerged that some of the companies that received NYS funds did not even exist.

For a couple of weeks, the dramatic arrests of the suspects were featured in every news station. The newspapers repeatedly printed out their photos.

A number of suspects who were summoned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) admitted they received millions of cash from the youth empowerment program for supplying nothing.

nys suspcts
NYS Scandal prime suspects appear in court

At the time, Kenyans continuously brought up the topic demanding that the suspects face the full wrath of the law.

The president as well talked tough; warning that each government official named in graft would carry his/her own cross.

Today, however, all the accused have been set free.

10 billion nic

It seems that Kenyans have simply moved on from the graft scandal that saw over Ksh. 10 Billion of taxpayers money simply disappear.

Jacob Juma’s Murder

The killing of Jacob Juma was highly publicized in the media.  

Before his untimely death, the 42-year-old businessman had always been vocal on political issues constantly bashing the Jubilee Government, on corruption issues.

Jacob-Juma

The self-made billionaire had an intuition of his death. In his Facebook posts and Twitter updates, he claimed that top government officials were planning to execute him because he was deeply investigating the Eurobond scandal  

In a Facebook update on the evening of January 26th, 2016, he said:

“High voltage intelligence reports reaching me is (sic) that Jubilee leaders have hatched a plot to assassinate me over my stand on corruption. The leaders are so worried about Eurobond revelations and the confidential details that I have on the heist and corruption perpetrated by the Jubilee gov’t”

Earlier on the morning of December 17th, 2015, he had tweeted President Uhuru Kenyatta in what appeared to be fears over his life. He said in the tweet @Ukenyatta. Am not a coward. I have reached the pinnacle of my life and am not scared of death. I will not run away from Kenya, my country.”

Juma was eventually killed on 5th May 2016 at around 9:30pm while heading to his Karen home. His Mercedes Benz was allegedly found in a ditch along Ngong Road. Inside the car was his lifeless body in a pool of fresh blood.

jacob juma murder

Juma’s autopsy report indicated that he was shot five times in the neck and his right hand was severely bruised. According to security experts, that was an indication that Juma had either struggled or was begging his attackers for mercy.

The impact of the news of Jacob Juma’s death was tremendous.

The political nature of Jacob Juma’s death was undeniable and Kenyans were quick to associate his death with various individuals in both the government and opposition

Since 2016, the only real evidence that has been found are two cartridges at the scene where the businessman’s body was found. 

All the suspects have been released and Investigations into his murder has stalled. 

Detectives have quickly moved on to probe other cases. The killers of Jacob Juma may never be caught and his case will just be another unsolved crime in the country.

Baby Pendo’s Death

The six-month-old infant Baby Samantha Pendo quickly became the image of police brutality in the August 2017 post-election chaos.

baby pendo

Her mother, Ms. Lencer Achieng broke down into tears as she narrated how eight heavily armed police officers tossed teargas into her one-bedroom house in Nyalenda Estate, Kisumu.

The officers forced their way into her home and immediately descended on her husband with blows.

“I tried to get out of the house because it was full of tear gas and we were choking. I was carrying my baby girl in my arms but just when I got to the door, the officers started hitting me too.”

One officer hit her on the left side, another struck her backside, forcing her to look back at her assailant. Then the truncheon struck her left side again.

baby pendo's mum
Ms. Lencer Achieng breaks down into tears while recalling events.

Ms. Achieng’ said she pleaded with the police, to have mercy on her as she was carrying her baby but they wouldn’t hear, hitting her repeatedly with blows and kicks.

She looked over her left shoulder at her baby, only to see that she was foaming at the mouth, unresponsive and her head was swelling.

According to Joseph Abanja, Baby Pendo’s father, once the officer realized that he had hurt the infant, he callously ordered Jose to perform first aid.

“Fanyia mtoto first aid, hujui kufanya first aid? Vutia mtoto makamasi” (“Give the baby first aid, don’t you know how to do first aid? Suck the mucus out.”)

Abanja did what the policeman told him and handed Pendo over to his brother Morris Abanja. He went in search of his other daughter, Moesha Akinyi who had run away from the police, escaping into the night.

Thomas Abanja (her older brother-in-law) and a neighbor quickly took Baby Pendo and raced to the nearest medical facility.

But, when they arrived, the gate to this health facility was locked. They got to the second upmarket hospital in Milimani, its gate, too, was locked.

Thomas then got his bicycle out. With the neighbor riding the pillion while carrying the injured baby, he rode a few kilometers to the next medical facility.

Achieng, followed them, on foot, from a distance.

The third upmarket medical center was open. The medics on duty, however, demanded Ksh1,500, consultation fee, upfront, in order to attend to the injured Baby Pendo.

Once again, Thomas got on his bicycle, to go back and get the money for medical consultation from Kilo Junction.

However, as Achieng and the neighbor waited for Thomas to return, a medic on duty at the facility looked at the baby and told them that they couldn’t handle this case.

He directed them to try the Agha Khan Hospital, a few kilometers away.

Again, the two women set off, on foot, for the Agha Khan Hospital, Kisumu. The Aga Khan administered first aid and finally admitted Baby Pendo.

Samantha had a severe head injury. The officers had struck the infant with a baton resulting in the cracking of her skull.

She immediately slipped into a coma and was taken into the Intensive Care Unit.

baby pendo hospital
Six-month-old baby Samantha Pendo been attended to at the Agha Khan Hospital- Kisumu- Intensive Care Unit

She remained in a coma for three days before she finally succumbed to her injuries and died.

The news of Baby Pendo’s death broke Kenyans’ hearts provoking national outrage.

Back then, Twitter was ablaze demanding for a full investigation into the matter. They wanted the officers involved to be arrested and charged with murder.

baby samantha pendo
Baby Samantha Pendo’s funeral service

Since the 2017 incident, the court has only managed to indict five police commanders for overseeing brutality and, specifically, for the bludgeoning to death of the infant.

It is not certain that the officers will be formally found guilty of the charges. The police commanders have not yet served any jail time for the crime of killing of Baby Pendo.

Other minors killed in the aftermath of the August election include 10-year-old Stephanie Moraa.

The death of Chris Msando.

It is almost two years since the murder of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ICT manager Chris Msando.

14 months down the line, his death has just been added onto the growing list of people who have been killed, and whose murders have remained unresolved.

Before his death, Mr. Msando was quite vocal on his tough stance against plans to rig the general election.

chris msando

Mr. Msando was in charge of Kenya’s computerized voting system and it was alleged that he had a number of passwords that could be used to access the servers.

His recent appearances on national television to explain how the system works, including safeguards against vote rigging, had helped inspire a measure of public confidence in IEBC.

However, only a week to the general elections, Mr. Msando’s was found murdered and his body dumped in a thicket in Kikuyu, Kiambu County.

mr msando thicket

His body had visible injuries in the back and the left side of his head and on his belly as well.  Both wrists had been slit and the right forearm was broken.

His face had no injury but fresh blood was oozing from the nose. The neck also had many injuries, pointing to possible strangling and bludgeoning.

It was quite evident that Mr. Msando had a struggle with people who overpowered him, tortured him and finally killed him.

Former Bungoma Senator, Moses Wetangula spoke to the press, saying,

“I was among the first people who viewed Msando’s body at the City Mortuary and I want to say that no human being can brutally murder on like they did to Msando. Msando’s murderers are not worthy of being called human beings.”

On Twitter, his name and #RIPMsando was trending, with Kenyans expressing shock and disgust at what looked like a targeted elimination.

The heinous murder of Msando was a really testing time for all Kenyans, that emerged at a really politically tense season.

chris msando funeral
Mr. Chris Msando’s funeral service held at Lifunga Kobiero in Ugenya, Siaya county.

At about 12:37 pm on August 8, 2017, a week after Mr. Msando’s demise, hackers gained entry into the election database through the identity of Chris Msando.

Nairobi Women’s representative, Ms. Passaris, speaking shortly afterward, added: “I think nobody in Kenya now doubts why Chris Msando died. We understand why. It was because of that manipulation.”

14 months down the line, the police, the court, and the government are yet to charge and convict anyone. Hardly any evidence has been collected and the investigation has grown cold.

Mr. Msando left behind his wife and three young children.

chris msando family
Mr. Chris Msando’s young family grieve during his funeral

Just like many other crimes, the investigation into Mr. Msando’s death has grown cold and his killers still roam freely.

The above are just a few examples of some of the stories and scandals that rocked the nation but hardly anybody mentions them today.

Kenyans should make an effort in following up these stories to ensure that they don’t fizzle out. Proper follow ups should be conducted placing criminals and government officials who embezzle our taxes in prison. 

At the moment, investigations have stalled, billions of taxpayers money has been looted and, the criminals still walk freely amongst us every day. 

About Candid Conversations-Kenya

Candid Conversations – Kenya makes it a priority to share different stories and discuss different opinions which often go unreported. We are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences, and solutions based on facts and not political prejudice or business interests. 

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Author:

#ChokoraCulture is a movement created to raise awareness on the issues affecting street kids in Kenya. What many people do not understand is that we have children getting tied up and raped as they sleep. Young girls are forced into relationships, in an attempt to remain unharmed while others are getting pregnant and going into labor right on the streets. #ChokoraCulture unpacks a lot of their vulnerabilities and their lifestyle as we seek to join a number of Organizations, and Friends who can honestly help us do something. You can join the movement by simply sharing some of their stories on your social media platforms, using the Hashtag #ChokoraCulture. Let us raise awareness and help in any way that we can

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