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Amnesty International Kenya statement on Court of Appeal decision upholding LGBTI Rights organisation’s right to register

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Amnesty International Kenya is pleased with the 5-judge bench decision (3:2) that upheld Justice Isaac Lenaola’s 2015 Hight Court decision compelling the NGO Coordination Board to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) – an organisation that promotes and protects lesbian, gay and bisexual people’s rights.

In a statement, Irũngũ Houghton, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director says the right to freedom of association, which is closely linked to the right to freedom of expression and human dignity, is a right conferred to all persons.

“This landmark decision is a key step towards respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all Kenyans regardless of gender identity”

Before this decision, individuals and groups interested in, or working to protect the dignity of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons could not come together and formally register to champion and advocate for their rights and interests. This landmark decision progressively expands Article 27 of the constitution to include gender identity as a constitutionally protected group” added, Irũngũ Houghton

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Nyawawa:The dreaded ghosts that ensured curfew in Kisumu at the weekend

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While police elsewhere in the country were patrolling streets from dusk to dawn to enforce a curfew at the weekend, Kenyans in most parts of Kisumu city did not require a cop. So police work that night was an overnight stay in the cold for no good course. Reason? Something mysterious kept residents indoors – Nyawawa.

Kolwa East chief Ms Jennifer Kosowe confirmed to the 47 Reporters that the dreaded spirits of the dead were experienced in her location on Friday night from around 10:30pm. “Yes, they passed here. Our people were beating debes to keep them away,” she confirmed.

Nyawawa is Dholuo word for spirits of the dead (ghosts) that oftentimes come maneuvering and tormenting the peace of Luo people, especially over the surface of ‘Luo Nation’. They give no notice whenever they decide to invade a place. They invade anytime between twilight and dawn. Thus, Nyawawa are known for their ambush. A Luo might be going about their business as usual, but upon detection of the approaching ‘procession of ghosts’, they better run for their dear life to the nearest homestead, until when the ghosts have passed. Alternatively, Luo folklore has it that anyone who can not make it to the nearest house during such an ambush should lie flat over a heap of sand. Failure to do either is a sad story for later.

The sojourning ghosts are believed to come from the lake. In this case, Nam Lolwe (Lake Victoria). According to the leader of a faction of the Luo Council of Elders Ker Nyandiko Ongadi, Nyawawa do come inform of ‘yamo’ (wind). Oftenly, Nyawawa have the ability to speak words that can be heard by the living. “Sentiments like ‘weya uru’ (stop bothering me) and ‘nyathina dong’, rita uru’ (my child has remained behind, wait for me) are very common of them. Nobody knows who they are,” says Ker Ongadi.

Besides, “the wind”, do grasp and chant all manner of sounds that they get to hear as they travel. Not sounds of barking dogs, croaking frogs, cluttering iron sheets, sirens, hooting vehicles, and throbbing rivers and waterfalls and the hahahahaaaaas of human beings.

According to Mr Ongadi, Nyawawa are dead people who never “rested in peace”. That they are family members who were aggrieved of their death, especially those whose deaths did not occur naturally.

Here is a brief story as narrated by Ker Ongadi:

“During the days of yore, a certain family conspired and killed wife to one of their sons, for no apparent reason. It was a family of all manner of riches – posho mill, a fleet of busses, etc. Soon after the woman was burried, the posho mill started to produce a unique sound anytime it was being operated – ululations of the deceased woman. As such, everyone in the homestead was scared. A witch doctor was called to cleanse the posho mill and the homestead in general. Upon arrival, it’s the ghost woman who warmly welcomed him with a calabash of porridge. The witch doctor later reported that the woman offered him porridge. But he proceeded to slaughter a goat for sacrifice anyway. After the blood had been smeared everywhere, an in-law who carried the goat’s meat on his head got it stuck their….”

“So this bewilderment started long time ago,” Mr Ongadi concluded, adding that, “that is why during their sojourn, they often take a bit longer to leave a home where a lot of people have died (where there are many tombs). And while at such a home, they utter bitter words like ‘stop destroying my homestead. Can you all leave now. I am not going…stop bothering me!’.”

There is no perfect English or Kiswahili equivalent of Nyawawa. However, in Bukusu language it is called Nababa.

Besides lying flat over a heap of sand or squatting in the house, something more must be done to keep the unwelcomed visitors at bay. Residents should beat metallic containers. Consequently, sufurias and lowly-placed iron-sheet roofs have been the usual casualties. Luos in villages are known to buy new sufurias soon after the misery is gone and peace restored, following the crushing of the old ones. One must avoid objects that produce booming sounds like drums. Reason? In so doing, you are most likely to entertain them for a dance, night unending. Every homestead must beat a sufuria (metallic objects). Wherever their is silence, the ghosts are likely to settle in and the repercussions dire.

A story is told: In the early 2000s in the faraway land of Nyatike, there live da middle-aged woman who only bore one child. The son lived in town. Nyawawa invaded her village at around 8:00pm. She had left the door to her main house open and was preparing ugali for supper in her kitchen, just besides her main house. It’s then that she heard people murmuring inside her main house and carried with her a small source of light made of a can filled with kerosene to find out what was a miss. She reportedly went shouting: “un ng’a gini? Uwacho nang’o” (who are you? What are you saying?). The first to be slapped was the flickering source of light. Then it was pitch dark! Next was her. She was slapped to a pulp by the ghosts. And just before the Nyawawa could vacate the woman’s house, the ghosts entered her kitchen and ate all the ugali. And there they went, rejuvenated and ready for their ‘next patient’. The woman fell ill instant but was only found at sunrise by neighbors. They rushed the now dumb and deaf woman to an unknown shrine where she was cleansed by a witch doctor. So, the woman suffered because her house was calm when everywhere else people were beating objects to scare Nyawawa.

Nyawawa invasion was, since time immemorial, a sign of bad luck for a people. Mr Ongadi says that people are likely to die en masse following their passing. To avert the calamity, traditionally, Luos would offer burnt sacrifices to their ancestors at mountain tops of Got Ramogi and God Umma, for example. However, lately, people resort to prayers – which is a white-man’s culture.

Some people have asked why Nyawawa has never made it to the list of “wonders of the world”. Because, this is one of the the most dreaded invaders since the beginning of time, at least for the River Lake Nilotes.

Following the Friday night invasion of Kisumu by Nyawawa, a conversation ensued on a Luo dominated Facebook group. Majority claimed that they have never experienced Nyawawa in urban setups like Nairobi.

But on his part, Ker Ongadi says Nyawawa inversion happens anywhere. “The only difference is that urban dwellers will most likely not hear of the wind of ghosts pass by. But the aftermath has always been doom! It could manifest itself in freak matatu accidents, for example.”

Ker Ongadi has likened the Nyawawa incident in Kisumu to the Corona-virus pandemic. However, he is upbeat that the recent State House prayer event will scatter the gathering clouds of doom.

“Our people in Kisumu must stay steadfast in prayer and obey government directives like wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and maintaining social distancing. The coming of Nyawawa has never meant good for the future. Nyawawa is misery, it is death!”

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Ohangla artistes teaching masses to let go failed love relationships, embrace arbitration and God

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When you look into a mirror, the resultant image is exactly that of the object before it. Literature, they say, is the mirror of the society.

The society is currently grappling with socio-economic challenges especially when talking of love-relationships and marriage. And deaths by suicide have become rampant.It seems that someone is breaking the heart of another every minute of our lives.

Some commentators opine that there are no more shred of love in relationships and that marriages are formations of convenience.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one person is committing suicide every 40 seconds and love matters have been largely blamed for the trend, amongst youth in their 20s.

The current crop of Luo-Ohangla musicians have waded into this subject matter, great lessons abound.

Interestingly, they are awake to the realities and are basically embracing arbitration and divine interventions for collapsing relationships.

Most importantly, they are out to remind the masses that no collapsing relationship is worth a kidney of either party. The mantra is, ukiwachwa, wachika (If you are heartbroken, move on).

The musicians include Prince Indah (Evans Ochieng), Musa Jakadala (Moses Ochieng) and Fredy Jakadongo (Fredrick Odiwuor).

Prince Indah is the CEO of Malaika Ohangla Rhumba band

In his Kwach ogolo koke hit, the young Prince Indah bemoans how his mother is incessantly asking about the whereabouts of her daughter-in-law; a woman that the singer has fallen out with at the moment. As such, the persona can only weep about it.

Mama ne penjo gokinyi ni kare chi wuoda ere? Duoko otama aum a uma pii wang’a emamol (My mother is asking each morning about the whereabouts of her daughter-in-law. I have no solid answer and can only weep about it).”

In the wake of this agonizing relationship, the musician has quick suggestions though. He believes arbitration can help matters.

Aleko nabiro yo gweng’u abiro manyi. Uluong jodongo wabed piny walos weche. Kabura oloyo jathum tiwena aweya nanyuomi diriyi (I dreamt that I came to your parents’ place. You call the elders so that we can sit and align things. If found on the wrong, please forgive me, I will pay dowry a second time),” goes the lyrics.

However, the musician is very much aware of the economic difficulties that would accompany his wish to marry twice.

“If I won’t manage the dowry price, my friend shall bail me out,” he quips.

For Musa Jakadala, his relationship with his lover has soared badly. All he can do is leave it to God the almighty.

In his latest song release, Sina Shida, he has realized that her girlfriend is in another relationship, with a wedding in the offing.

 

Musa Jakadala

So what action is the poor Jakadala taking? Is he going to cause any drama? No.

Bebi kiyudo hera manyocha imanyo, udag adaga, sina shida na wewe…alamoni nyasaye oriti. An bende lamna maber ayude mara mohera (Baby if you have finally found the kind of love that you have been looking for then just live, I have no problem with you…I am asking God to protect you. Also, pray for me too, so that I find a woman who loves me back).

‘Live the life that you have chosen’ is Fredy Jakadongo’s resolution. His wife has exited his life because he is a poor man. Besides, the ex-wife had listened to gossip and accused him of infidelity.

Negisemi na onge mwandu…nahero chode, iwinjogi toto. Niweya naonge mwandu talemoni nyamara. Alemoni nidage ngima miyiero (They lied to you that I am not rich…that I am a cheat, and you listened to them. You left me because I am poor, lady of my in-laws. I am praying to you to live the life of your own choice).”

Fredy Jakadongo

The song continues, “An agonyi thuolo kalamoni ngima idage ngima miyiero. Ex na ema alemone odage ngima moyiero. To kik iyude jachode kaka jakadongo. Agombo niyude father mosiko mana e kanisa…gi muma (I am letting you free and praying you find a good life. I am praying for my ex-wife to live the life she has chosen. Please do not meet a liar like myself. How I wish you meet a (catholic) father who shall forever stay in church and with a Bible).”

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Tumu Tumu girls administration on the spot for assaulting lesbian suspects

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A letter written by a parent of one of suspected lesbian girls at Tumu Tumu girls in Karatina has found its way to the media.

In the letter, the parent is complaining of how the school management led by the principal is discriminating the girls yet no proof of them involving in such unnatural acts is there.

Here is the full letter

“I am writing on behalf of frustrated parents and guardians of students studying at Tumu Tumu Girls High School in Karatina.

For the past week, 32 girls have been subjected to harassment, assault, bullying, insults and isolation by the administration led by the principal, Mrs Jedidah Mwangi and deputy principal Bibiana Gicheru. The reason being that they are alleged to be lesbians. When we asked the school for evidence, they refused to back up their allegations. The girls were prevented from sitting for their end of term exams, inspite of us having paid school fees.

Some of the girls have been beaten so badly, that they have visible sores on their backs and feet. They were made to walk around the school without shoes for a whole week as part of the punishment and some have since developed painful blisters.

They were called criminals by the deputy principal and told that it’s a privilege for them to be given food. In addition, they were isolated from the rest of the girls, during class and exam time. They were forced to stand in the rain and, as a result, some of them got sick but had no one to call for help. Currently, as I write this, the girls have been sent home and instructed to come back on 7th May (3 days after official re-opening), which means they will miss the opening exams as well. We’ve obtained medical reports for the trauma and physical injuries endured by the girls. When some parents demanded for answers, the school’s security officers threw them out of the compound.

This is so wrong because, even if the allegations are true, why did the administration of Tumu Tumu Girls have to torture these kids? Why would the administration decide to take such inhumane actions against young girls who are under their care? Why not call the parents and talk about this issue? If the principal and deputy principal have evidence, why do parents have to wait for a month to see it? Some girls are traumatized and can’t to go back to the school because of the shame, stigma, and treatment they have gone through. he girls were exposed to humiliation and ridicule by their peers, they were tagged with manila papers on their chest inscribed- “DON’T COME NEAR ME!”

We need justice for our kids and demand answers from the administration. It’s so unfortunate that the principal and her deputy are ruining these young kids’ lives based on mere allegations. T Can the Nyeri County Education Ministry officials please intervene on behalf of the kids? #SemaUkweli”

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