October 2015

Kenya Canners Savings And Credit Co-operative Society Limited this morning donated 40 beds, mattresses, bed sheets and blankets to St. Patricks Special School For Mentally Challenged in Thika Sub-County. This was part of their annual corporate social responsibility (CSR)  aimed at giving back to the society. In addition, they gave milk and bread to the pupils and shared light moments with them.

Speaking at the function, SACCO Chairperson Mr. P.K. Njuguna said that the members decided to donate the beds in order to assist the school administration and the Board of Governors in their quest to admit more needy children into the institution. They opted for the metallic type due to their longevity and ease to maitain and repair.

He urged more people to join their SACCO regardless whether they were employees of Del Monte Company, saying that its doors were open to the members of public. He added that the SACCO, formed in 1087, had a membership of 5000 members, 2000 of whom were non-Del Monte workers. He added that they had a very unique package to its members that included a 1% reducing interest on loans as opposed to what the banks were charging its customers.

During the meeting, the children showcased  their skills to grasp various life-survival concepts and in following commands. All those in attendance were amazed at the various performances by the kinds, a prove that disability wasn't really inability.

The kids had also displayed for sale, several very beautiful handicraft that they had made themselves.

On his part, the School Headteacher Mr. Ngugi thanked the donors for their kind gesture adding that it would go a long way in assisting his administration into admitting more students. He said that there was a long list of pupils who had applied to be admitted but had been kept pending due to lack of enough boarding facilities. He was happy that he was now in a position to add on to his flock more pupils courtesy of the kind gesture by the Kenya Canners SACCO. He appealed to more well-wishers to come up and assist the institution in their quest to elevating this special kids in the society.

Present at the function were the host MCA Hon. Mwangi Wamwangi, Kamenu Ward MCA Madam Elizabeth Muthoni, officials from Kenya Canners SACCO Ltd., the school's Board of Governors, parents and teachers.

Hospital Ward MCA leading the demostration to protest the murder of Menja
Hospital Ward MCA Hon. Mwangi Wamwangi today led tens of mourners in a peaceful demonstration to protest the alleged murder and dumping into River Chania of Peter Ng'ang'a alias Mench whose body was found floating in the river, two weeks after the alleged incident.  The mourners, who were drawn from Ofafa, Majengo, Biafra and Ziwani Estates,marched from the General Kago Funeral Home in the Thika Level 5 Hospital to the Thika Police Headquarters where they were met and well attended to by the OCS and his deputy.

The OCS confirmed to the family that his office had received report of the case but in very scanty details and had already opened a file on the same. He promised them that after the new developments, they would take up the matter and investigate further. he pleaded with them to bury their son first then report tomorrow (Sunday, the 1st of November) at 2:00pm so that they can review the file to include the new info that the family had brought forth.
Thika Police Deputy OCS calming down the protesters

After adressing the mourners outside the police station, Wamwangi convinced them to proceed to the Kiandutu Cementry where they had planned to rest the body of the deceased.

It is alleged that the deceased was in the company of other people in a suspected illicit brew den in kasarani area, just a few metres from the Chania River, on the lower part of Majengo Estate. The area chief, his assistant and other people suspected to be either the administration police or NYS service interns, are alleged to have raided the den, on or about the 20th of October in the fight to eradicate the illicit brews. Those who claimed to have this information claim that upon ambushing these boys, the officers beat them up into submission. It is not very clear what transpired next that led to the disapearance of Menja after the raid.

Two of Menja's accomplices were arrested and aligned in court the same week and were sentenced to a 6 month jail term each. The whereabouts of the deceased were unknown until two weeks later when his body was discovered float in the river on Monday this week. It is alleged that the body had some deep scar on the neck and what seemed to be a broken arm, something the family suspect that he might have been murdered and then dumped into the river.
The Deceased's mother Mrs Josephine Wambui

One of the demonstrators carrying the slain man's portrait

"When we went to the mortuary on Thursday, we saw a big scar on his neck and when we inquired about it the hospital pathologist told us that they were the ones who did the cut in order to insert the preservative into his body. Her explanations and actions along with what we saw when we arrived there were suspect. First she asked the family for a medical fee of sh.7000 for her to collect body tissues to do the postmortem. We weren't able to raise that so we asked for some time to do so. Later, we saw the chief come into the mortuary, talk to one of the attendants and then left after less than 5 minutes. Yesterday, we were to meet her with one officer from Thika Police Station, a Mr. Nyongesa, the Pathologist kept on dodging us with flimsy reasons until very late in the evening. When she came, she told us that they had already collected the tissues from my brother's body. Now I ask, who paid for that because it was definitely not us? And what was the chief doing at the mortuary?" asked Laban Gathukia, the brother to the deceased.

On his part, the MCA asked the OCS to liaise with the prison's authorities in order to accord the two who were now serving their jail term, the necessary security since they might be the ones with the crucial evidence that would unravel the puzzle of the death of Menja. He feared that the culprits might use clandestine ways to eliminate them while in custody so as to silence every possible evidence.
Part of the procession moving along General Kago Road on their way to the CBD

 The family is only seeking justice for their son who they believe was murdered and plunged into Chania River in the guise of fighting illicit brews.

For the second day in a row, casual employees of Alliance One Tobacco Ltd, a company contracted by British American Tobacco (B.A.T.) to run its human resource department, held a peaceful demonstration. The approximately 1,800 workers walked all the way to the Thika Labour Office carrying twigs from Makongeni, a distance of about 5km, chanting "Haki Yetu! Tunataka Pesa!".
The bone of contention is a wage dispute arising from the dissolution of the company which is said to be relocating elsewhere.
The workers claim that they were being short-changed by their employer, some of whom have worked for more than 13 years. They told Thika Town Today that the amount of send-off pay they were receiving did not correspond with the length of service they had served this company.Giving the example of the bearer of the payslip below who was to go home with a net pay of Ksh.47. as her terminal dues, after working for the company for over 10 years, the workers wanted an explanation of how the employer came up with this amount.

"I have worked in this company for more than 13 years now. How do you justify them paying me only sh.1700 as my pension? Some of us have worked for only two years but were paid 2500 yet we were doing the same job. What formula was used to arrive at this figure?" asked one of the elderly ladies who claimed that she only persevered due to poverty and for her kids to learn.
Hospital Ward MCA Hon. Mwangi Wamwangi, who is the area representative, joined to stand in solidarity with them. He led their representatives into a meeting with Thika Labour boss Madam Regina W Kiiru. The meeting was a follow up of yesterday's stand-off where the MCA helped them elect two representatives who would face the directors of the company at the Labour Office. The directors failed to appear, giving an excuse that they feared for their lives.

However, their absence did not stop the meeting. The MCA acted as the overseer and ensured that the employees' grievances were heard and booked as a labour dispute. Since one side of the bargain was unavailable, the meeting resolved to meet again, at the request of the company's directors, on Monday next week at 11:00am.

On further interrogation into this matter, Thika Town Today learnt that today's tussle was not the first one. It was alleged that the company in question was notorious of retrenching its casual workers after some years of service in the guise of dissolution. Those who have worked in the company since the year 2002 when BAT outsourced its human resource department claimed that this Stancom Tobacco Ltd won the tender to contract casual labourers on behalf of BAT. They worked under that name until the year 2010 when they faked dissolution. 

The dissolution led to majority of them losing their jobs plus their benefits. The company then came back in the current name Alliance One Tobacco Ltd, hiring new employees in the process. Only a few of the previous employees were lucky to be re-hired.

 This is exactly what these employees are suspecting. They fear that the company wants to retrench them without their dues only for them to re-brand and come out again in a different name.

"This is exactly what happened in 2010. Stancom fired us and came again calling themselves Alliance One. They did not pay us any money. Now see this (Showing us his payslip). I am a loader but they have indicated that I am a clerk so that they can pay me less," said another employee who did not want to be photographed for fear of victimisation. 

We also heard that these employees had their contract terminated on August 23rd this year with a promise that they would have their dues paid by the end of the same month. Up to the time we went to press, none of them had received their pay. Their bank withdrawals were declined by their banks, even though they had payslips that showed that they had received their wages. this they say was against what they had agreed with the employer.

Well, the employees only  left the Thika Labour Offices early in the afternoon after the Labour officer, their representatives and the area MCA assured them that the matter would be dealt with accordingly. This did not go down well with some of them who felt a bit shortchanged. They went bank to Makongeni and started demonstrating again near their company's gates. Some of them even attempted to block both Garissa and Kakuzi Roads with stones, still chanting "Haki Yetu! Pesa Yetu!"

A Thika court has sentenced a middle-aged man to a life imprisonment for defiling his nine-year-old relative. Nelson Muthemba, 28, from Gachororo in Juja Sub-County was accused of defiling his young niece, who was living with him in his house, on diverse dates between February 1 and 21, 2012.

Muthemba is said to have made it a habit to chase the girl’s younger brother every time he did this heinous act.

During the girl’s cross-examination by the Prosecutor Mrs. Nancy Muthuri, the girl said:

 “Whenever he did bad manners to me, he would first spray something on my mother’s bedroom door, then do the same to me and my brother sleep which made us fall asleep. He told me he would kill if I reported what he did to me to my mother.”

It was also alleged that it became a routine to a point that he would do it on a daily basis. Fortunately, one day, her brother caught them.

Several days later, her mother noticed that her daughter was limping and took her for a checkup. On medical examination, the doctor confirmed that she had been raped. She reported the matter to the Juja Police who later arrested the culprit.

He denied the charges, saying the girl’s mother was trying to “frame” him.

In his defence, Muthemba claimed that the whole case was a fabrication saying that the girl’s mother hated him because he introduced her husband to alcohol.

The prosecution dismissed his claim.

“I am satisfied that the complainant told the court the truth. She is too young and innocent to think of framing anyone,” said senior principal magistrate Stephen Mbungi who has been handling the case.

Muthemba has 14 days to appeal the ruling.

The Kenyan government has started the process of de-registering 957 aid organisations for auditing irregularities, amid allegations that $226m (£150m) has gone missing.
The official government watchdog for NGOs said some had embezzled or diverted donor funds, while others were suspected of money-laundering and financing terrorism.
Last December the Kenyan government froze the accounts of 510 NGOs, prompting critics to accuse the government of punishing those who'd opposed a tough new security bill aimed at combating Islamist militancy.

Over half of all children born every year spend all or some of their childhood apart from one of their parents, more so their fathers. In fact, there has been a drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in the latter half of the twentieth century. Since the 90s, teenage pregnancies, which comprise two-thirds of teen mothers, have risen. Part of the reason include lack of close contact with adult role models, peer pressure; family poverty, the perception among many teens that few opportunities for success are available, and inadequate sex education, especially about contraception and family planning. Girls who have a positive self-image, high expectations and aspirations for the future, and good relationships with their parents are much less likely to get pregnant than others.

The other form of parenthood involves single women who choose to bear or adopt and raise children alone. Technological developments allowing insemination without actual inter-course have contributed to women's choices in this regard as in the case of lesbians. Mother-only families also include widows, divorced and separated women, and never-married mothers.

With one parent, the challenges of parenthood get multiplied. This is because of the responsibility overload where only one parent makes all the decisions and provides for all of the family needs. There is also the task over-load, where the demands for work, housework, and parenting start becoming overwhelming for one person. There is also the emotional overload. The single parent must always be available to meet both their own and their children's emotional needs. All these result in problems for the single parent, not to mention the loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Many psychologists argue that this has been the reason why we currently witness so many negative effects in children, families, and society. It is argued that children raised by single parents are more likely to fare worse in school, their social and emotional development, their health and their success in the labour market. In most cases, they are usually at greater risk of parental abuse and neglect, more likely to become teen parents and less likely to graduate from high school or college. Furthermore, teenagers who spend part of their childhood away from their biological father are twice as likely to become parents themselves before age twenty, and one and a half times as likely to be idle in their late teens and early twenties.

The other disadvantage faced by children in single-parent families is inadequate attention and guidance from the parent. Children need more than just economic security to thrive; they require parents who have the time to help them with their homework, read to them, and listen to how their day went in school. They also need parents who can supervise their activities outside of school. One parent alone does not have the time to do these things, whereas two parents working together often do. This as a result of instability in the family structure.

In mother-only families, children tend to experience short-and long-term economic and psychological disadvantages, higher absentee rates at school, lower levels of education, and higher dropout rates (with boys more negatively affected than girls) and more delinquent activity, including alcohol and drug addiction. Adolescents, on the other hand, are more negatively affected by parental discord prior to divorce than by living in single-parent families and actually gain in responsibility as a result of altered family routines.

A common explanation for the problems found among the children of single parents has been the absence of a male adult in the family. The relationship between children and absent fathers is usually difficult and strained and has implications beyond childhood. It is a fact that single mothers are socially ostracized and seen as having inferior status. This works negatively in the physical and psychological growth of their children. Societal views are also expressed in public discourse about women living outside of marriage and family who fail to live up to the ideals of motherhood imposed through legal and public policies. This is the main reason why fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.

It is also a fact that 49% of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers. Fatherless children are also at dramatically greater risk of suicide since they are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, compared to those living in intact families. It has also been identified that boys who grow up in father-absent homes have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.

Growing up in a female-headed household has remained a statistical predictor of behavioral problems in children especially in teens and adolescents. Children reared by a divorced or never-married mother have been found to be less cooperative compared to their peers in two-parent homes. They usually get into trouble more than those from two-parent families. They oftenly show high levels of emotional distress or problem behavior. Father ‘hunger’ often afflicts boys between ages one and two especially those whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. They have trouble falling asleep, get nightmares and night terrors frequently especially within one to three months after the father leaves home. As they grow older, there develops greater levels of aggression especially in boys.

The relationship between family structure and crime is so strong. There has been this theory that children without fathers or living with stepfathers were less likely to have friends who think it's important to behave properly in school. They also exhibit more problems with behaviour and in achieving goals. The absence of a father also increases the risk of harshness from the mother which increases the risk for them developing a criminal behaviour later in life. A study that was done in America showed that 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers, while 60% of America's rapists grew up the same way.

Anyway, not all children raised in single parent families suffer these adverse outcomes; it is simply that the risks are greater for them. It is sometimes true that children of single parents do better than children of married parents, especially 10- to 14-year olds. In their day-to-day lives, single parents are friendlier to their children than married parents. Their children also tend to spend more time with people in their extended families than did the children of married parents.

Sociologists found out that single mothers rarely raised their children single-handedly. They instead have networks of friends and relatives and neighbours who care about them and their children, and have been part of their lives for years.

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