Main Menu

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

 

Fears of hunger as locusts invade farms in Turkana

By SAMMY LUTTA
More by this Author
By ISABEL GITHAE
More by this Author

Turkana County residents and leaders have raised an alarm over desert locusts that have invaded their farms.

Parts of Turkana East sub-sounty that border Samburu, Baringo and West Pokot counties are swarmed by the voracious insects.

The worst hit villages include, Elelea, Morulem and Kangitit.

The insects are spreading fast to the neighbouring villages of Katilia, Napeitom and Lokori.

ATTACKED VEGETATION

In Elelea village yesterday, the buzzing of the insects could be heard as the swarms attacked vegetation.

Residents now stare at another round of hunger despite the rains that have been pounding the region and have asked for support from the national and county governments.

“We rejoiced when the rains came so everybody planted maize, sorghum, vegetables and other crops,” Elelea resident Aipa Epem told the Nation.

“Other villagers restocked their  livestock since they had lost many animals during the drought. Now the locusts are destroying everything.”

Ms Epem said the village and the surrounding ones would rely heavily on relief food for months to come if the locusts are not controlled.

Mr Dennis Emuron, another resident, said the insects have destroyed his sorghum, maize, pasture and trees.

MULTIPLYING FAST

“The locusts have eaten all our sukuma wiki, mung beans and cow peas. They invaded farms as soon as we finished weeding last month,” Mr Emuron said. 

He added that goats develop diarrhoea and die when they accidentally eat the locusts.

“We ask the authorities to address the problem before it gets out of hand. The insects are multiplying fast,” he added.

In 2013, locusts destroyed crops under irrigation and pasture in several parts of Turkana County.

Turkana North, Loima and Kibish sub-counties were the most hit then and the National Crop Protection Unit spent Sh50 million on aerial spraying that took 109 days.

SH300 MILLION

County Disaster Management executive Charles Lokioto urged agriculture field officers to map out areas invaded by the insects.

Mr Lokioto said food crops at Morulem irrigation scheme were in danger of being destroyed by the swarms.

“Besides locusts, farms in Turkana East Sub-County have also been invaded by the fall army worm. Residents face hunger if these pests are not destroyed now,” he said.

Meanwhile the government has set aside Sh300 million to fight pests in various parts of the country, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.

Speaking at the Meru National fair on Friday, Mr Kiunjuri said the war on pests would ensure the government achieves its food and nutrition security agenda.

WATER PANS

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has committed the amount to stop the spread of the army worm through training and the purchase of pesticides and equipment,” the CS said.

He added that the pest poses a big threat to food security and livelihoods.

“I want to reiterate the government’s commitment to spearhead support and coordinate efforts that will ensure the threat is brought under control,” he said after opening the fair.

Mr Kiunjuri added that his ministry would provide household-based water pans to ensure small-scale farmers move away from rain-fed agriculture.

“We will put 700,000 additional acres under maize, potato, rice, cotton, aquaculture and feeds production through the public-private partnership,” the cabinet secretary added.

He said the government would ensure 100 per cent nutrition security is achieved in five years.

SUBSIDISED FERTILISER

“This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal number two which advocates for hunger eradication, food security, improved nutrition and promotion of sustainable agriculture,” Mr Kiunjuri added.

The minister said the ministry is finalising the Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy major interventions to drive the 100 per cent food and nutrition security agenda.

“We will ensure this by increasing small-scale farmer incomes, agricultural output, value-addition and protecting households against shocks,” he said.

The CS added that agriculture will continue to be a key provider of nutritious food for a healthy growing population and raw materials for industrial production.

“The government will support farmers to access subsidised fertiliser, quality seeds, machines and equipment,” he said.


Innovation central to tackling the challenge of healthcare cost

By DANIELLA MUNENE
More by this Author

Universal health coverage (UHC) and the accompanying concern of healthcare affordability are  tough nuts to crack. Affordability and financing are, perhaps, the two most difficult components that need to come together before we can achieve UHC.

Medicines are the most commonly employed intervention in healthcare. They also make up the costliest component, taking up at least of 40 per cent of total healthcare costs. There are many factors determining the cost of medicines — largely manufacturing, supply chain and marketing costs.

Manufacturing costs include those of inputs, ingredients, personnel and facilities. Supply chain costs comprise the cost of getting the medicine from the manufacturer’s warehouse to the patient.

FREE MARKET

In a free market, pricing of medicines is subject to demand and supply forces just like any other commodity. This means the final price to the patient is not arrived at by a pre-determined markup. The price is determined by the position the medicine brand wishes to occupy in the market.

Innovator products (original brands of a drug) have the convenience of being the first to select their position in the market. As generic products enter the market, they also select their position, often at a lower patient price than the original brand’s. Hence, a variance of even 800 per cent amongst the brands is not uncommon.

A large marketing budget enables a drug company to push higher uptake of its brands amongst many competing ones. In Kenya, competing brands can be as many as 100 for the same medicine.

A common myth is that generic medicines are fake drugs. This is incorrect, and often contributes to unnecessary high spending on medicines. There are quality generics and every country’s medicine regulator controls the quality of the medicines made and imported in their territory, whether innovator brands or generics.

QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Is it possible to achieve cost containment in a free market? This is where innovation comes into play.

First, we need to identify where the costs lie. Secondly, we need to see if we can reduce or collapse some of those cost contributors. For instance, if a product changes hands many times between middlemen before getting to the patient, the more costs are loaded onto the final price.

Further, convolution of any supply chain makes it more difficult to trace the quality journey of the product. Quality management of the pharmaceutical supply chain is a must if we want to reduce cost of medicines without sacrificing quality.

ICT SOLUTIONS

Basic care packages include essential medicines that are reimbursable by the payer. There is a need for coding of medicines and mapping them to diagnoses to promote better oversight of the reimbursement by payers. This will also promote quantification and forecasting of the country’s healthcare needs for planning.

Effective ICT solutions have been demonstrated to reduce overall healthcare costs. From supply chain monitoring and traceability, to electronic medical records, to control of reimbursement fraud, innovative ICT solutions can be used to promote efficiency.

The patient’s health-seeking behaviour also contributes to rising costs. It is encouraged to remain with one primary care provider, who acts as a point of reference. This helps in having a repository of one’s medical records in one place where trends become evident, leading to better care and avoidance of unnecessary use of medicines and other interventions.

PATERNALISTIC TENDENCIES

Another patient factor that affects their healthcare journey and has an impact on costs is lack of involvement in their own care. Patients can question their provider, ask to see certification and demand clarity in matters affecting their health. Paternalistic tendencies amongst healthcare providers lead to passive disempowered patients.

It has been proven that educating patients and involving them in self-care reduces their lifetime healthcare costs.

Dr Munene is the CEO, Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya. [email protected] Twitter: @psofkenya


How we ended up with bad cybercrime law

By CHRISTOPHER ROSANA
More by this Author

Emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union, we thought the growing monster of the internet would be the death of government. Tired of the governments of flesh and steel, we thought this would be our salvation from their exasperating instincts of command and control.

We thought boundaries would be erased, bureaucracies would collapse and life would be as easy as fast download speeds.

As Professor Lawrence Lessig wrote in Code Version 2.0, code would be the new law. But as time has shown, these old instincts of command and control would be integrated in the new order. Our living hells and distant heavens would not be erased leaving us at the very place we have been — Earth.

As such, governments would not collapse, bureaucracies would not disappear and our lives would remain much the same — save for a peculiar misguided assumption in the way governments would exercise control over the new domain.

OWNED CYBERSPACE

A government would seek to control the actions of the citizenry as though it owned cyberspace. In the artificial sense, cyberspace is akin to the skies or the seas — though subject to national boundaries, they cannot be ‘controlled’, or ‘restricted’, in the same manner as citizens.

A lack of understanding of the internet’s structure leads governments to prescribe hefty penalties for ‘crimes’ — as though cyberspace is a certain street corner vulnerable to the boot and shout of the tyrant.

If, for the sake of argument, we would concede that the crimes and hefty penalties are justified, there still exists a misguided reasoning on enforcement and deterrence.

To borrow from Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu, there are limits to the amount of deterrence and punishment we can install to prevent crime.

BANK ROBBERY

If parking illegally and bank robbery both meant 20 years in prison, then “the law would lose its ability to send a message about what citizens should not do and what they really should not do”.

Furthermore, governments prescribe these penalties with the misapprehension that the nature of cyberspace is necessarily immutable and cannot be changed.

In the traditional sense, law is an order backed by sanction. The law seeks to affect behaviour in real space by ensuring citizens know that the State can make good its threat of violence, deprivation of liberty or imposition of fines.

NATURE OF CODE

To regulate behaviour in cyberspace, the law is not necessarily the solution. Among other factors, the law is effective in real space because the nature of real world factors cannot easily be changed — for instance, disguising that you are a child to buy alcohol.

Cyberspace, on its part, does not have a ‘nature’. It assumes the nature of the code baked into it and, thus, use of code is one of the ways we may regulate behaviour online rather than throwing the law at every infraction.

Would you fight sea waves with a sword? Would you fight the winds with a spear? Would you paint with a hammer?

These questions should be at the fore of legislators and courts alike when considering regulation of cyberspace behaviour.

FORCE AND REPRISAL

The law is a tool, but is it the right one? The law is effective at times, but would it match up to the multijurisdictional nature of cyberspace?

To the man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail. To one armed with the law, and the law alone, every problem must seem fitting for force and reprisal. The freedom of the press and free speech are victims of this kind of approach as a result of viewing cyberspace in purely physical terms.

Governments have simply not appreciated the nuances that would be appropriate in addressing this medium.

Mr Rosana is a legal assistant at Nation Media Group (NMG). [email protected] Twitter: @nerdyfication


Overtaking blamed for matatu-truck accident

By JOHN NJOROGE
More by this Author

A failed attempt to overtake another vehicle led to the early morning accident yesterday at Chebiwor,  near Londiani on the Nakuru-Kericho road, in which five people died.

Witnesses say the 14-seater matatu swerved and crashed into a lorry ferrying iron sheets to Kericho.

Seven other people were seriously injured. Those who died were three women and two men.

Londiani OCPD Joseph Odipo said the matatu was heading to Nairobi from Busia. “Drivers of the two vehicles were among those who sustained serious injuries,” he said.

The police boss added that the driver of the matatu belonging to Transline Classic Shuttle was speeding.

“Many accidents have occurred at this area. It is a known black spot, with accidents caused mainly by speeding, overtaking and careless driving,” he said.

Mr Odipo said the road is sloppy, slippery and curved. He urged road users, especially when driving at night, to observe traffic rules.

Eye witnesses said the matatu was overtaking before it collided with the lorry. “It was overtaking another vehicle, but failed. It then collided with the truck,” said Mr Daniel Ngetich.

The extensively damaged wreckages of the two vehicles were towed to Londiani Police Station.

The injured passengers were rushed to Londiani Sub-County Hospital and some transferred to Kericho County Hospital.

Survivor Gerald Onyango said he was asleep when the accident occurred. “I was woken up by a loud bang. That is when l realised we had been involved in an accident. I became unconscious thereafter,” he said from his bed at Londiani Sub-County Hospital. Mr Onyango, who sustained minor head injuries, said he was heading to Nairobi from Busia.

Another passenger, Mr Sun Olola, also sustained minor injuries. “I was talking to a friend in the vehicle when the accident occurred,” he said, adding, “the driver tried to overtake another car. Then I heard a loud bang”.  

The bodies were taken to Molo Sub-County Hospital mortuary. A traffic snarl-up ensued on the busy road.


Probe ‘fake’ county debts, seal loopholes in regions’ borrowing

The claim by a Senate watchdog committee that the nearly Sh100 billion, which county government owe suppliers is a fake debt, is worrying.

The authorities charged with monitoring the use of funds must put in place robust legislation with guidelines and a cap to borrowing by the counties. They should peg debts with financial institutions and suppliers to a reasonable percentage of national government allocation or county revenue (whichever is higher).

County governments that borrow in excess of annual allocation or internally generated revenue should have a caveat placed on them warning potential suppliers. 

A majority of counties have failed to pay suppliers or roll out development programmes, blaming the central government for allegedly withholding allocations. What is of concern to residents, however, is that the same administrations that perennially decry lack of funds never seem to run out of money for roadshows, workshops and travel. The only cure for this cat and mouse game is through public disclosure. 

INDEPENDENT INSTITUTIONS

While opinion polls on the performance of county governments may give subjective pointers on what is happening, Kenyans would like to see more hard facts from credible independent institutions.

Kenyans need to know how many kilometres of roads, for instance, have been graded, turnaround time of payment to suppliers and service delivery, staffing levels of county medical institutions, number of boreholes dug, classrooms built, maternity deliveries.

Numbers, not subjective opinions, will give us a clearer picture of the impact of devolution on the citizenry. 

The public needs to know how much county governments owe utility companies, banks and suppliers through quarterly announcements in the media.

The Central Bank of Kenya and Senate must also demand to know the amount and terms of loans and overdrafts banks have extended to counties to avoid a crisis in the financial sector from unhealthy loans that jeopardise both bank and county cash flows and programmes. 

FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS

The Attorney-General ought to set limits to which county governments can enter into contracts with foreign governments and institutions with a view to protecting the country’s sovereignty and monitoring foreign exposure, commitments, preservation of national assets in form of minerals, rights, access, land, ocean, and so on.

In order for counties to win the confidence of suppliers, financial institutions, investors and the general public, they must agree to be subjected to credit ratings based of their ability to honour their obligations and generate revenue. There is a need for them to work with the Senate to harmonise by-laws, levies and internal processes.

The perennial suspicions, sideshows and personal rivalry between governors and senators have denied our country critical synergy in realising our country’s potential. This missing link is largely to blame for the lack of accountability and loss of billions of shillings in waste or failed or stalled county projects as reported by the Auditor-General.

Joe Musyoki, Kajiado.


Invest in youth academies to develop local football

Football is the greatest sport on earth. It is such big business, with top players earning a lot of money. The nations of origin of star players in the high-profile leagues also get huge revenues from their football. 

This year, the global attention will be on Russia, the venue of the prestigious Fifa World Cup next month, where 32 national teams will battle for the coveted trophy. Besides the trophy, the World Cup offers the players an opportunity to market themselves to top clubs.

Leading clubs send their agents to scout for the best talent at the event. 

FIVE TEAMS

Africa is represented in Russia by five teams. Sadly, North and West Africa have dominated the continent’s representation over the years. Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia have all been on the world stage before. Other teams have come from the same regions. What happened to East and Central Africa?

Kenya has difficulty making the continental Africa Cup of Nations, taking part only four times. There is a need to put more resources in the sport.

AWASH WITH TALENT

Our country is awash with talent, judging from the standard displayed by Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama, one of the best defenders in the highly competitive English Premier League. 

The authorities should invest in youth teams. Football academies are the foundations of competitive football, harnessing and nurturing talent at an early age.

Benard Amaya, Nairobi


Keep politics out of war on corruption

By EDITORIAL
More by this Author

The revamped campaign against corruption was never going to be easy. After all, being such a lucrative illegal undertaking, judging from the mind-boggling sums being mentioned as having been stolen, there are deeply entrenched interests.

And as often happens, these people who have massive, illegally acquired resources at their disposal will, of course, try and use them to protect themselves. In other words, corruption fights back.

So far, the fight against graft has been largely helped by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assurance that there will be no sacred cows.

He has shown a serious commitment to waging the war because his legacy is under threat.

KENYA POWER

The billions looted in the National Youth Service, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Power and National Cereals and Produce Board scandals demonstrate the enormity of the problem.

The pursuit of the suspects in these mega rip-offs resonates with the people, who are frustrated about lack or poor delivery of services as a few profiteer.

They want the government to go the whole hog and finally slay the monster of corruption. Many are calling for harsh penalties, including life imprisonment or even the hanging of those found to have stolen public money. Of course, there are also sceptics, who see the current anti-graft drive as a mere camouflage.

However, the biggest threat to this otherwise commendable effort to root out corruption and punish the lords of impunity are the people trying to politicise it.

Some allies of Deputy President William Ruto, for instance, are crying foul, alleging that this is nothing but an attempt to scupper his bid to succeed President Kenyatta.

We do not know whether there is any truth in this claim or not. However, what is important is that due process is strictly followed.

Those who have been charged over the scandals will have an opportunity to clear their names.

The suspects who have been arraigned, and even those targeted for investigation, are innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law.

To win against graft, we must shun the sideshows.


Billions made from tainted fertiliser says PS

By DAVID MWERE
More by this Author

Details have emerged on how traders and National Cereals and Produce Board officials made billions of shillings selling adulterated fertiliser to farmers.

Crops Development Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee that the traders sold the fake fertiliser at Sh3,500 per 50kg bag.

“We had challenges distributing the fertiliser. Traders have been repackaging it with glass and rock,” Dr Lesiyampe said, adding that arrests had been made in the past.

The fertiliser was to be sold to  farmers at Sh1,500 per bag.

The revelations come as the country grapples with news of the loss of more than Sh2.5 billion in 2014 in a fertiliser import scandal.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko, in his 2014/15 and 2015/16 reports, raises doubts over whether the Agriculture ministry imported 260,905 tonnes of fertiliser.

REPACKAGE FERTILISER

During his appearance at the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the PS failed to inform the lawmakers how much was delivered and distributed. 

Dr Lesiyampe said traders colluded with managers at NCPB stores to repackage the fertiliser with foreign materials and later sold it to farmers in the North Rift, Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet and other parts of the country.

The NCPB is also at the centre of a Sh2 billion scandal in which eight traders reportedly pocketed the cash for making huge deliveries to its depots in Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru, Bungoma and Uasin Gishu counties. 

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri recently told the MPs that an audit into the delivery of six million bags to the board at Sh12 billion had been launched.

STEALING FROM GOVERNMENT

Dr Lesiyampe said traders had been coming up with new ways of stealing from the government every year. 

Mr Wandayi blamed the ministry for failing to cushion farmers against exploitation by influential people in the government and their cronies.

He said the ministry should supervise the NCPB, “which has been left at the mercy of cartels”.

The MP added: “There is definitely the influence of power peddlers in government in this matter.”


Boost for the elderly as State releases Sh1.67 billion

By OUMA WANZALA
More by this Author

The government has released Sh1.67 billion for senior citizens aged 70 and above.

The cash transfer programme was launched last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The money will be paid to 411,013 beneficiaries, who opened their bank accounts last month.

Each of the beneficiaries will receive Sh4, 000 for January and February, according to documents released by the State Department of Social Protection, Pensions and Senior Citizens.

Further disbursements will be made to cover the rest of the period until this month from the Sh6.5 billion allocated in this financial year’s budget.

In all, the government expects to pay all the 523,129 senior citizens who registered under the programme last year.

OPEN ACCOUNTS

However, about 100,000 old people are yet to open accounts into which the money will be wired.

When launching the programme last week in Meru, President Kenyatta said it would ensure that senior citizens live in dignity by being able to afford some level of financial independence 

“This programme will ensure that our senior citizens get a Sh4,000 stipend (every two months) to live a dignified  life,” he said.

Last year, President Kenyatta announced the expansion of the  programme into one  that provides cash transfers to all the vulnerable persons of 70 years and above, which was to start at the beginning of this year. 

BENEFICIARIES

The Ministry of Labour,  through the State Department of Social Protection, Pensions and Senior Citizens Affairs, undertook the registration of persons above 70 between July and August last year. A total of 523,129 new beneficiaries were successfully registered 

In April and May this year, the ministry validated and enrolled 411,013 new beneficiaries through the electronic bank account opening countrywide. 

To ensure timely, accessible, transparent and accountable payments to the beneficiaries, the State Department recruited four payment service providers (Equity Bank, Postbank, Co-operative Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank).

BANK ACCOUNTS

They have opened bank accounts for the 411,013 beneficiaries.

From October, the current 710,000 beneficiaries of the three cash transfer programmes (orphans and vulnerable children cash transfer, older persons cash transfer and persons with severe disability), will also be electronically enrolled by the four banks and their accounts opened.


Mother’s grief for her missing children, weeks after rent fight

By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
More by this Author

In the sprawling semi-formal settlement of Eastleigh in Nairobi County, a simple tenancy dispute has mutated into an ugly feud, with accusations of kidnap, murder and tribally-inspired revenge. 

Ms Rahama Alio Harrow has had a rough 2018. In January, she says her landlord, Mr Warsame Abdi Yussuf, ordered her out of the house she had occupied since November 2017, giving her just five minutes to pack up and go.

She resisted and fought him in court, winning an extension on the eviction. A month later, her two teenage daughters went missing, and two months after that her first-born son, in his 20s, also went missing, together with the family’s car, a dark grey Toyota Wish.

How did this happen and who is to blame? When landlord Yussuf attempted to evict Harrow, he cited non-payment of rent and termed her problematic.

Harrow, on the other hand, said she was singled out because she is Borana, while Yussuf wanted only his Somali kin to occupy the apartments.

RENT TRIBUNAL

The two argued their cases at the Rent Restriction Tribunal in Nairobi and Harrow was awarded an extension. The court said she should vacate the premises on June 30, this year.

The matter would have ended there but a week later Harrow’s teenage daughters — Mulki Abdullahi, 17, and Imran Abdullahi, 14 — went missing.

Harrow says Mulki and Imran were kidnapped from her house by a knife-wielding gang that bundled them into a Pajero vehicle and drove off. She says the two have not been seen again, and adds that the gang is the infamous Super Power that wreaks havoc on Eastleigh and the neighbouring estates.

Super Power is reportedly infamous for unprovoked killings and abductions.

Ms Rahama Alio HarrowMs Rahama Alio Harrow displays window panes allegedly broken by the outlawed Super Power militia when they raided the compound recently. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“On coming home and finding my children missing, I looking for them everywhere. I have been to hospitals, mortuaries and prisons. I have even travelled upcountry to Mandera, Isiolo and Moyale in case the girls travelled there to visit relatives, but I came back empty handed. That is when I decided to report the matter to the police,” says the single mother of seven.

PANGANI POLICE STATION

She reported the incident at Pangani Police Station on March 29 and was given an OB (occurrence book) number. But she says the police were slow to investigate the matter.

After two months, she went to Vigilance House to seek answers. She made an official complaint against the Officer Commanding Station at Pangani, accusing him of letting the case go cold.

In a referral letter seen by the Nation, Harrow is instructed to go back to Pangani Police Station for investigation. The matter was booked at Vigilance House under reference number 72/23/05/2018, and the complaint is: “inaction against a report case of missing children vide OB 057/29/03/2018. Kindly assist to establish the truth”.

But according to Harrow, this letter from the police headquarters only exacerbated the matter. The day she delivered the letter to the Pangani OCS, she says, the landlord instructed his caretaker to lock her out of the house again, in defiance of the rent tribunal ruling.

BIG PADLOCK

“I got back home to find a big padlock at the gate and on my door. I immediately went to alert the chief, who summoned Yusuf, but he refused to show up. I then went to the police who accompanied me to the plot. They broke the padlock on the gate and on my house, allowing me to get in,” she says.

When she stepped out later, however, she found the gate locked again, forcing her son, Abdijabar Billow, to sleep in the family car parked outside. Harrow and her younger children were able to access the house.

“In the middle of the night, we heard a commotion. The gang had come back and they were trying to gain access to our house. They did not manage to do so. When they left, we failed to locate both Abdijabar and the car.

She blames Yusuf for the disappearance of her children and claims they might have been killed and buried in a graveyard within the compound where the rental houses are.

EVICTION NOTICE

“He threatened me and said that because I had beaten him in court on the eviction notice, he would find other ways of dealing with me. He might have decided to take my children away to punish me. I, too, feel that my life is in danger. I have been sleeping in lodgings since the night Abdijabar disappeared,” she says.

She says she is afraid of staying in one place for long lest Yusuf or his goons catch up with her. When the Nation visited the area on Saturday, Harrow was anything but timid. She confidently led us into the house at the centre of the dispute, accompanied by young men. She loudly accused Yussuf of having a role in the disappearance of her children.

Ms Rahama Alio HarrowMs Harrow with her missing 25-year-old son, Abdijabar Billow. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I want to know where my children and my property is. Warsame needs to come clean and say what he did to them,” she said, her voice breaking and tears glistening in her eyes. A large crowd then gathered, and shortly after the local chief and administrative police officers arrived, accompanied by landlord Yussuf.

Yussuf dismissed Harrow’s claims, labelling her a trouble maker and a nuisance. With an incendiary anger, he engaged her in a shouting match.

WOMAN IN PAIN

“I have no idea what happened to her children. I am not responsible for them. This woman is a pain. She owes me five months of rent, which is why I want her out of my property. She has been rejected by everyone in the neighbourhood and I know that she is causing trouble so that she gets an extension on the eviction order. That will not happen,” he shouts. He also denied claims that he had sent goons to attack her and her family.

Tenants at the property, who have watched this drama for months, have conflicting opinions about what happened. For some, Yussuf is blameless, and the trouble is with Harrow.

“Rahama causes trouble for everyone. She is loud and obnoxious. We shall be glad to be rid of her. She and her son have been accused of stealing phones from other tenants,” said a neighbour who declined to give her name.

She disputed Harrow’s allegations that Yussuf had anything to do with the disappearance of Harrow’s children, saying she believes the girls and their brother are out there somewhere and may have fled the home due to their mother’s overbearing nature.

MISSING GIRLS

The area’s Nyumba Kumi chairman, Mr Clive Wanguthi, said the missing girls might have sought refuge at their boyfriends’ residences.

But according to Steve Onyango and Hindia Ahmed, both neighbours of Rahama, her claims are legitimate. They said the landlord should be held to account for attempting to illegally kick her out of the house and for the disappearance of the children.

Local chief Paul Maore said Harrow had not reported the missing children to him, but added that he was aware of the feud with the landlord, while Starehe OCPD Alice Kimeu, under whose jurisdiction Pangani Police Station falls, said the police were still investigating the matter.