Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
Mysterious death of a young Malawian in an Atlanta Jail and the scramble to raise money to repatriate his remains back home
To hear his friends tell his story, a young life full of potential ended tragically in a lonely jail cell in Atlanta, GA sometime around the week end of April 7th 1918.
Young Chikumbutso Madzi met an American young lady Khaliah Crouch who came to Malawi with her Mother on some NGO mission. After getting married the two eventually travelled to US looking forward to a bright future. However according to friends things did not work out as promised. Eventually the two fell apart but continued to live in temporally housing popularly know as extended stays in the USA.
At some point Chikumbutso was jailed for reasons exactly unknown to friends. Some suspect it was to do with Driving while intoxicated. However whatever the reasons the young Chiku was unable to raise funds to post bail and to the best guesses he had been in jail since September of last year.
Friends who had lost touch with Chikumbutso since his incarceration were horrified and shocked to hear of his passing from his ex-wife Khaliah Crouch. His parents were also notified around April 9th of the passing of their son in the United States.
“Hello everyone, this is Chiku’s father. It was on Monday April 9th that we received the sad news about the death of our loved one in the United States. As a father I had never felt so helpless in my life, as you may all know from the reason for forming this forum that our family is going through some financial difficulties at the moment, which have hindered us from being able to bring my son’s body home ourselves. I had no idea of how my son was going to get buried, in fact I had no idea if he was going to get buried at all. But indeed God is not a man that he should fail, and he performs miracles in ways we can’t even imagine.
It has only been 3 days now but so much has been done for him. I on behalf of our entire family in Malawi, I’m truly and sincerely grateful for the love you have shown us as human beings and as a family. Words cannot express how grateful I am for your unlimited assistance and we cannot repay you for what you have done for us, but only God can recompense for this kindness. May he add multiple times where you remove and may he abundantly bless each and every one who has contributed and plans to contribute to this forum whether by the money or by the time they put in? You will forever be in our prayers. God Bless you all, thank you.”
Upon hearing of his death, Malawians in Atlanta organized a fund raiser with the goal of raising enough money to be able to repatriate his remains home. So far about 75% of the funds have been raised but appeals continue to all Malawians in the USA and Diaspora to support the fund raiser effort so that his remains can be sent home to his Family.
For those that want to support the effort contributions can be made using the information below
Wells Fargo, quick pay firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cash App 574-302-4650.
A little, diamond-shaped blue pill that treats impotence might be used to prevent colorectal cancer, a recent study shows.
Although more work needs to be done before researchers know whether Viagra has the same effect in people, initial research in mice suggests that small doses of Viagra (sildenafil) could prevent colorectal cancer.
According to the experts, a small, daily dose of Viagra in the animals’ drinking water significantly reduced their risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Commonly referred to as a wonder drug, Viagra was initially developed to treat high-blood pressure and chest pain, but soon showed that it could also combat erectile dysfunction.
Compared with mice that were not given the drug, the dose in mice that were prone to developing colorectal cancer halved the formation of abnormal clumps of cells that form on the intestinal lining.
“Giving a baby dose of Viagra can reduce the amount of tumours in these animals by half,” Mr Darren D. Browning, a cancer researcher at Augusta University of Georgia Cancer Center, said in a statement earlier this month.
According to the study published this month in a paper titled “Repurposing Drugs in Oncology”, the anti-cancer properties were discovered in 2004, when an 80-year old man suffering from a rare cancer that starts in the white blood cells (Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia) was found to be responding positively to Viagra, which he had been using for erectile dysfunction.
The study reveals that four other patients with the same disease, from the same clinic, also showed signs of improvement after starting treatment with Viagra.
The mice used in the study had an alteration in a gene called adenomatous polyposis coli, or APC.
This mutation is also found in humans and results in the formation of hundreds of tumours (polyps) starting in the teenage years, which can lead to colorectal cancer, Mr Browning said.
But polyps do not always turn cancerous.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, accounting for more than one million cases globally each year.
Current treatment involves complex combinations of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Repurposed drugs are medications that have already been proven to be safe, but are used to treat a different condition from what they were made for.
They sometimes provide a cheaper alternative treatment.
Since developing a new drug from scratch is not only hard work but also costly, drugs that are already in use are being studied to determine whether they can be used to treat, or manage, other diseases, especially chronic illness such as cancer.
“Cancer drugs, in particular, are very resource-intensive to develop, hence the need for cancer specialists to look into repurposing existing medications that may also be useful for patients battling cancer,” Mr David Makumi, the Chairman of the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations, said.
The idea of repurposing drugs like Viagra, which are already well-known to researchers, can draw from existing and detailed knowledge of their effects and mechanism of action (pharmacodynamics), how the drugs move in the body (pharmacokinetics), and the appropriate doses.
The idea is to identify the most promising, cheapest and accessible medicines with few side effects.
A draft bill by Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina that seeks to take away the powers of the Executive in altering or modifying emoluments due to the deputy president and other designated officers as provided for in the law and ensuring that former prime minister Raila Odinga gets his benefits has been introduced in the Senate.
Mr Ole Kina wants any alteration or modification of benefits due to a public officer to be done through a petition, which will only be done through the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
These proposals are contained in the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was introduced in the Senate Wednesday.
The senator argues that the Executive has in the past used such modification and alteration as a tool to intimidate the entitled public officers and wants such alteration done by a joint parliamentary committee on entitlements.
Three years ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to assent to a bill which could have handed Mr Odinga and former vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka millions of shillings in retirement benefits.
Government officials cited the two leaders’ active involvement in politics as the reason for Mr Kenyatta’s refusal to sign the bill.
The bill had been passed by the National Assembly, setting out the retirement benefits for the two and former Speaker Kenneth Marende.
But President Kenyatta returned the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill, 2013, to Parliament with amendments.
Mr Kenyatta wanted Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka to retire from active politics in order to get the package.
Mr Ole Kina is proposing that such alteration should only be through a committee of entitlements comprising leaders of majority and minority both in the Senate and National Assembly, and majority and minority whips in both Houses.
“Where there is a need to reduce or alter the security arrangements of an entitled person, the Inspector-General of Police shall refer the matter to the joint committee,” the amendment reads.
The committee will comprise five other members, two of whom will be senators, appointed by members of Parliament.
Three of the five members shall be appointed by the party or coalition of parties forming national government while the remaining two will be picked from the minority side.
According to the bill, a petition seeking alteration of benefits due to public officers shall be filed to the committee through the offices of the Speakers and the committee will have 30 days to consider the petition.
The committee will then conduct public hearings and table its report to both Houses for adoption.
The bill also hands a lifeline to former vice-presidents.
Parliament is once again fomenting an unnecessary clash with the Judiciary, this time over the appointment of a Court of Appeal judge to the Judicial Service Commission.
Precisely, Parliament has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta not to appoint Mr Mohammed Warsame to the JSC because he was not vetted by the House.
Appointment of JSC members is stipulated in Article 171 of the Constitution.
The JSC has 11 commissioners, by virtue of their office or professional organisations.
Only two, who are not lawyers and represent the public, are picked by the President and vetted by Parliament.
The thinking behind this is straightforward: Protect the commission and insulate it against external interference.
Neither should it be beholden to the Executive nor the Legislature.
In so doing, it stands on solid ground to protect the Judiciary, per se, from extraneous influences and entrenches its independence, which is critical for the furtherance of justice and good governance.
Justice Warsame is not being appointed for the first time. His term is being renewed after the first one lapsed.
Parliament did not vet him the first term; and so it was with other commissioners who joined the commission by representation.
Trying to create a new pathway for the Legislature and the Executive to have an input in the appointment is, so to speak, acting ultra vires.
But we are cognisant of the unending campaign to clip the wings of the Judiciary.
The political elite and the Executive have on several occasions pronounced themselves on their aversion for an independent Judiciary, which, at times, they typify as “activist” and, in that way, seek to bring it to ridicule.
All these attempts to wrest powers to vet members of JSC arguably fall in the wider scheme of taming the Judiciary.
Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki, who has just assumed office and has long experience in the Judiciary, should give proper advice to Parliament and the Executive.
In this case, Parliament is over-reaching itself and its pronouncement is inconsequential.
We insist that the three arms of government must respect one another and adhere to the law at all times.
By the time I moved to Kenya a few years ago, outspoken Kenyan politician, democracy activist and businessman Kenneth Matiba, who died on Sunday, battling ill health, and swept along by the march of history, was no longer an active political figure.
Perhaps unknown to him, across the border — and probably further — he was an extremely fascinating figure.
The heyday of Matiba’s activism against Daniel arap Moi’s Kanu government in the late 1980s and through ’90s happened in a context when the model of ousting strongmen through multiparty politics was being challenged seriously in East Africa.
Tanzania was shifting to multiparty politics, not so much from outside but from inside, after Julius Nyerere and the ruling CCM walked the road to Damascus.
Among other things, the war against Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin led to the change.
Though the combined Tanzanian and Ugandan exile forces successfully deposed Amin in 1979, the cost of the war — coupled with its commitments to Southern African liberation movements — broke Tanzania’s economy.
Its victorious generals also accumulated wealth as war bounty in Uganda, placing them at odds with Nyerere’s Ujaama (socialism).
Tanzania tasted the forbidden fruit and lost its innocence.
In Ethiopia, change was knocking on the door and the vicious military junta of Mengistu Hailemariam was on the back foot as it lost ground to an armed rebellion led by Meles Zenawi’s Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF).
In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni had made a heady rise to power with his National Resistance Army (NRA) rebels in 1986 as East Africa’s first rebellion to successfully take office.
When Matiba ran his most successful presidential bid in 1992, placing second behind Moi, the Rwanda war was two years in.
So, while in West Africa the multiparty wave was on the rampage, outside of odd cases like Zambia, the whole Horn, East African and Southern Africa swathe was being “liberated”, or had been freed, by armed men and women.
There was, therefore, a lot of romanticism around “revolutionary” figures and, in Kenya itself, there was also the more militant option offered by politicians like Koigi wa Wamwere and the State-fanned hysteria about Mwakenya.
Matiba didn’t come from a historically political and ideological background like Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
A successful, largely conservative businessman, he didn’t fit any established pattern. He was a strange political creature.
Rich men didn’t put their neck on the line forming parties and taking on the president in a virtual one-party State.
They passed money to the more professional opposition through a window in the dark of night, without anyone in power knowing about it.
And so, in Kampala, the regional centre of progressive thinking and gathering of that period, we listened as cleverer men debated how Matiba’s was “an unusual case of committing class suicide, because he was a capitalist”, and “not even middle class, but from the Kenyan bourgeoisie”.
In the eulogies that have followed his death, that bit of the Matiba — and Kenyan — story has not been well illuminated.
But we now know it was part of a wider trend in the continent that has seen rich men — who are not children of famous or wealthy fathers — take setbacks, and sometimes severe knocks, in the quest for the democracy and the presidency.
They come into politics after, not before, making their wealth.
In the case of Matiba, there was another seemingly non-political twist.
His daughter Susan Matiba, with Joy Mboya and Suzanne Gachukia, started up an all-female music group, Musikly Speaking.
Though all-female American music groups — The Supremes, Pointer Sisters, Sister Sledge, The Supremes — were quite the rage in our neck of the woods already, we didn’t have a local answer to them.
And Musikly Speaking was from both the bowels of the Kenyan middle and political class — a first.
Was this a new cultural or political phenomenon, a correspondent for a major Dutch newspaper in Kampala who had a good nose for cultural trends and was a huge Musikly Speaking fan who reviewed everything they dropped liked to ask, setting off lively debate.
But, again, now we understand it as the junction at which the middle class and political children of the region finally began to explore an independent voice and path.
There was, probably, something special in Matiba’s household that also made that possible.
Mr Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africa data journalism site Africapedia.com and explainer Roguechiefs.com Twitter: @cobbo3
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday pressed Kenya’s case in trade and health in a round of events in London on the sidelines of the Commonwealth meeting.
Kenya has had a rocky relationship with key Commonwealth countries and President Kenyatta’s administration says it is keen to recast those relations, and especially with Britain.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is seen in Nairobi as an opportunity to renew trade and investment relations.
After Jubilee won the 2013 election despite threats of “consequences” and “essential contact” by Western capitals, President Kenyatta went round the world courting unlikely allies to spur Jubilee’s economic agenda.
Amid misgivings in the West that the country’s diplomacy has turned East, the President insisted that is not the case, and that his government is looking for friends and partners irrespective of geography and persuasion to confront economic challenges and global threats like terrorism.
Still, the reality belied this as one mega contract after another went East, and western countries and the institutions of capitalism suspended one project after another over governance concerns.
In diplomatic circles, it was clear that something had to give and the West blinked first, hosting him and rewarding Kenya with high profile global meetings.
“We are not looking East or West. We are looking for friends and partners,” he said, a message similar to the one he opened with in his visit to the UK to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The meeting’s theme is ‘Partnerships in building democracy, fighting poverty, promoting trade and confronting extremism’.
At Chatham House on Monday, he recounted Kenya’s economic journey in improving the business environment and surviving two difficult elections last year in the face of a biting drought and vigilance against terror.
Coming from ringing the opening bell for trading at the London Stock Exchange and securing another platform for Kenyan companies to raise capital, President Kenyatta announced investors would be allowed to buy the National Oil Corporation shares next year to raise Sh100 billion for building infrastructure to evacuate oil from the Turkana fields.
He condemned divisive politics and preached reconciliation.
He promised that all Kenyans in the diaspora could vote in the 2022 General Election once sufficient legal framework is in place.
In return, the President got more support from UK for prevention of malaria — Sh14.28 billion — to be channelled through the global fund.
The money is to be matched with equivalent funding from private sector organisations.
At an earlier event, he called for more direct investment in Africa and supported the continental trade agreement signed last month, arguing that Africa’s development will depend on how its people do business with one another.
At a roundtable in London on discussions focused on developing intra-Africa Trade, the President told an audience that Africa’s ability to cushion itself from external economic shocks will depend on how countries open up to improve intra-Africa trade.
“Intra-Africa trade will increase efficiency and competitiveness of Africa’s industrial products through harnessing economies of scale of a large continental market of about one billion people,” he said at the Guildhall on the sidelines of the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit.
The President said the recent Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed last month in Kigali by 44 African nations, including Kenya, will uplift African countries who routinely depend on foreign aid, and help them earn revenues through trade.
But among those in the audience were officials from Nigeria, which did not sign the agreement after President Muhammadu Buhari argued that certain aspects of the deal could kill local industries.
Proponents of the AfCFTA say Africa’s trade with itself need to be lifted.
At 18 per cent, it means Africa trades more with the outside world than within its member countries.
According to the World Economic Forum, Europe has the highest intra-continent trade (69 per cent) followed by Asia (52 per cent) and North America at 50 per cent.
One of the reasons behind Africa’s lagging behind, argues a paper by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, are the restrictive immigration rules, too many tariffs on goods, economies that generally export similar raw materials as well as poor transportation infrastructure.
As a net importer of goods, Africa is largely vulnerable to any mishaps in global economies ranging from currency fluctuations to oil price changes.
According to a paper from the Overseas Development Institute, sub-Saharan African economic growth fell from an average of five per cent in 2011 to three per cent in 2016, mainly affected by global oil prices, rising debt and a huge import bill.
The President admitted that promotion of intra-Africa trade should be accompanied by efforts to make African nations increase the share of foreign direct investments they attract instead of relying on official donor assistance.
“Only one out of every 40 dollars of foreign direct investment since the 1990s has gone to sub-Saharan Africa, which is dwarfed by the one out of every eight dollars that went to Latin America and the Caribbean, or the more impressive one out of every four dollars invested in Asian countries,” he said.
During an investment meeting with UK business leaders, the President was told that UK firm Quantum Power, the owner of 35 megawatt Menengai Geothermal Development, was willing to raise the investment five times, tapping into Kenya’s ambition to generate more power.
The President noted that there have been increasing levels of investor-interest in African countries in the last decade with a notable expansion in the level of foreign direct investment inflows.
“FDI inflows will undoubtedly contribute to the technological development, industrial diversification, and economic growth of host countries,” the President said.
“There should be specific investments targeted at infrastructural development. Africa requires investments to be channelled in expanding and upgrading transportation and other trade-related infrastructure,” he added.
The National Assembly has adopted a protest report by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee blocking the appointment of Court of Appeal judge Mohammed Warsame to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on account that he was not vetted and approved by MPs.
The MPs ignored prohibitory orders served on House Speaker Justin Muturi by the High Court that Justice Warsame should not be vetted, pending the hearing and determination of the case JSC filed in court.
The move is likely to escalate hostilities between the National Assembly and the Judiciary, and may even extend to the Executive since the President Uhuru Kenyatta has been dragged in.
The two government institutions have been on each other’s case, with MPs accusing the Judiciary of interfering with their constitutional mandate.
In retaliation, the National Assembly has been reducing the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary.
Adoption of the protest report comes after the committee chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo failed to vet Justice Warsame within 14 days as required by the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act.
On March 20, President Kenyatta forwarded Mr Warsame’s name to the House for vetting after his election by Court of Appeal judges for the second time to the commission.
Mr Muturi would then submit the name to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
The committee was to conduct approval hearings and table the report within 14 days.
Committee chairman Cheptumo had on Tuesday admitted that his committee was unable to vet the nominee as required since JSC had filed a case in court and obtained prohibitory orders.
The JSC is opposed to vetting of the judge, saying it is unconstitutional. The hearing of the case starts on May 23.
“The committee is not in a position to vet the judge and submit a report as required by the law,” Mr Cheptumo said on Wednesday.
When the report came up for debate on Tuesday, the MPs, through Kirinyaga Central MP Munene Wambugu, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, successfully amended it to remove a provision gagging the House from considering it until the court is done with the case.
But they could not marshal the required numbers to take a vote, pushing it to Wednesday (yesterday).
The commission — which employs judicial officers, among them judges and magistrates — argues that the judge was validly elected by Appeal Court judges to represent their interests and therefore there is no need of being vetted by MPs.
“Approval of Justice Warsame by Parliament is neither provided for in the Constitution nor in the Judicial Service Act 2011,” Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi said in the letter to Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Michael Sialai.
Renewed action and boosted funding to fight malaria could prevent 350 million cases of the disease in the next five years and save 650,000 lives across Commonwealth countries, health experts said on Wednesday.
To achieve this, philanthropists, business leaders and ministers from donor and malaria-affected countries pledged $3.8 billion (Sh381 billion) to drive research and innovation and improve access to malaria prevention and treatments.
The pledge was announced at the Malaria Summit London 2018 on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The initiative will specially be focused on children and pregnant women, who are most at risk being infected with malaria.
Heads of state including President Uhuru Kenyatta and business leaders are convening in London to galvanise the fight against the disease amid resurgence in some regions.
The heads of 16 out of 53 Commonwealth countries attended a summit hosted by the governments of Rwanda, Swaziland and the UK.
Spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, the leaders warned against complacency in fighting the disease, which kills more than one million people, mainly children, every year.
“History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still — we move forward or risk resurgence.
“The commitments made today, from the UK, country leadership, and the private sector, show that the world is ready to beat malaria,” Mr Gates said.
Commonwealth and its citizens account for one-third of the world’s population, but more than half of all malaria cases and deaths globally.
“A commitment by leaders to halve malaria in the Commonwealth would help drive dramatic progress in the next five years, putting the world back on track to end malaria for good,” Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, board chair of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said.
Teachers who are pursuing higher academic qualifications have been dealt a blow following a new directive by their employer which discourages them from studying during holidays.
The Teachers Service Commission on Wednesday said the holiday-based courses were interfering with teaching in schools.
The commission instead asked teachers to take advantage of its study leave policy, which it argued would ensure the quest for further education is granted to those who merit “in a structured and organised manner that does not infringe on the right of learners to access quality basic education”.
However, with a shortage of 155,000 staff across the country, it is not clear how teachers will get study leave and focus on their studies at the expense of teaching.
The development is also a blow to both public and private universities, which have invested in the school-based programmes.
TSC however said the programmes had made teachers abdicate their duties and were spending valuable school time undertaking private studies.
The commission added that the trend had adversely affected curriculum delivery and compromised quality teaching in most public schools.
It has therefore called for an audit of all teachers undertaking studies during school holidays.
“Institutional administrators are directed to compile a comprehensive list and details of teachers undertaking private studies on school-based programmes and submit to their respective sub-county directors for monitoring,” TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said.
In a circular dated April 17 to TSC county directors and head teachers, Ms Macharia said curriculum implementation and delivery remains the core function of the teaching service and must be given priority.
The directive is a setback to thousands of teachers who have taken loans to further their studies with the hope of getting promotions.
At the same time, TSC has said primary school head teachers and principals of secondary schools and colleges must have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, under the new education policy.
Their deputies are also expected to have similar qualifications as school heads take a more prominent role in the performance of their institutions.
However, teachers’ unions accused TSC for issuing unilateral guidelines without proper consultations.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers acting secretary-general Moses Nturima termed the circular “offensive and written in bad faith”.
“They know that we do not have enough teachers in schools and quality has been affected by its failure to staff our schools. They should not pretend that the quality is down because teachers are going to enhance their studies,” Mr Nturima said.
Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general Wilson Sossion asked TSC to focus on its mandate and leave quality assurance to the Education ministry.
“We ask teachers to teach and conclude their syllabus on time. After that they should use their free time to further their studies,” Mr Sossion said.
A dispute between the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and an investor has delayed the construction of the Sh21 billion wind power project in Lamu County.
The ERC and the investor have disagreed on how the project will be implemented.
The project is sponsored by the Baharini Wind Power Project, a consortium of Elicio, a Belgium company working with a Kenyan firm — Kenwind Holdings Limited.
So far, 3,206 acres of land have been acquired at Baharini, in Mpeketoni, where the project is expected to be established to generate 90 megawatts of electricity upon completion.
Despite the project getting support from land owners and approval by the Ministry of Energy and other relevant bodies, it is yet to kick off.
According to the Baharini Wind Power Project Director Susan Nandwa, discussions are ongoing with the ERC in order to have a one Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which will enable the investor to generate the 90MW of electricity as was earlier agreed.
A document seen by the Nation reveals that ERC is proposing to divide the PPA into two, where 50MW of electricity and another 40MW will be generated at the project site.
However, Ms Nandwa said the move will be too expensive for the investor.
“We want to have the 90MW of electricity established in one PPA as was earlier negotiated and agreed.
“We can’t have a 50MW and 40MW of power as proposed by ERC.
“Once we accept the two PPAs, the cost of grid connection will be too high for us since we will be required to have two transformers. The cost will be prohibitive; it is tantamount to killing the entire project,” she said.
Meanwhile, farmers whose land have been acquired for the establishment of the project at Baharini have expressed disappointment over delayed compensation.
The more than 600 land owners said they have been waiting for compensation for the past three years.
But Ms Nandwa attributed the delay to the ongoing discussions with ERC.
“The National Land Commission has already approved the project and even identified the land owners to be compensated.
“However, we cannot proceed with the compensation since we haven’t been given the Commercial Operations Date that can enable us to know when we are supposed to start the project,” Ms Nandwa said.
She said the residents will be compensated once the investor is given the COD.