From Sharon Otieno to Ivy Wangechi: 2019, a difficult year for Kenyan women

This September marked the first anniversary of Sharon Otieno, who was seven months pregnant and was allegedly kidnapped, raped and then killed. Sharon was having an affair with Migori Governor Okoth Obado and was expecting his child.

Obado’s personal assistant Michael Oyamo was arrested for questioning in connection with the murder.

After five months in custody, he was released alongside Migori county clerk Caspal Obiero by Court of Appeal Judges William Ouko, Mohamed Warsame and Otieno Odeck on cash bail set at Sh1 million each.

The judges stated there were no compelling reasons to continue keeping Oyamo and Obiero in custody as they waited for Sharon and her baby’s murder trial.

The two had previously been denied bail by High Court Judge Jessie Lessit.

Obado, who is still Migori Governor, had been arrested but was released on a Sh5 million bond.

Despite the murder shocking the nation, on social media, Sharon’s death sparked victim-blaming and debate that shifted focus to transactional romantic relations between older men and younger women.

The nation has since witnessed an endless string of crimes of passion.

When Ivy Wangechi was hacked to death by her childhood friend Naftali Kinuthia, a popular local radio station ran a segment mocking her death.

Wangechi was killed while walking to her hostels from school a few days before her 25th birthday and a few months to her December graduation.
In June during Madaraka Day celebrations, Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris walked out of the podium as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko made a speech at Pumwani in protest at his remarks.

Responding to her concerns on why he does not respond to her calls, the governor said he was not her husband to answer her calls all the time. He claimed she wanted to create enmity between him and the women of Nairobi.

Later during an interview with Citizen TV, Sonko alleged Esther had been demanding money from him since she was elected in 2017.

He went on to add she had invited him to her hotel room. The interview was cut short after the governor declined to stop speaking ill of her.

CHILDLESS SHAMING

Sonko was also engaged in a bitter social media spat with Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo, in which he attacked her over her childless condition.

The exchange was sparked by the governor’s remarks over the matrimonial life of the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth.

Sonko criticised the MP for saying he was wrong to have meddled in the late Okoth’s personal life, accusing her of having a ‘weird’ marital life and no moral authority to lecture him on matters of marriage.

He also accused her of hypocrisy for her actions supporting absentee fathers.

After Odhiambo accused Sonko of using Okoth’s memorial service to earn cheap publicity, he said she could not understand the pain of single mothers because she was childless.

“I am longing for the day you will open wide your legs to give birth to a child so that you experience the pain that the mothers I am defending go through,” Sonko posted on his Facebook page.

“You must respect those single mothers who struggle with their kids as men go missing.”

In August, Kwale woman representative Zuleikah Hassan was kicked out of Parliament for bringing her baby to work.

Hassan, 39, said she took her five-month-old baby girl Mwanabaraka to work after failing to get childcare, which would normally have meant she would have to stay at home.

The incident, which happened during World Breastfeeding Week, highlighted a lack of equal representation for women in Parliament.

It also highlighted a lack of workspaces that accommodate breastfeeding or child care needs for women.

ELUSIVE GENDER BILL 

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment Bill), 2019, also known as the Gender Bill, has been to Parliament and failed due to low turnout. It would have facilitated the enactment of the two-thirds gender principle.

Last month, the Senate Legal Affairs and Justice Committee said the Gender Bill is retrogressive and infringes on the political rights of the public.

The Nandi Senator Samson Cherakey-led committee added that the impact of the current crop of women nominated to the two Houses is yet to be felt.

The remarks were made in its annual report tabled to Senate annually. It also added it will be needless to add more women to the two Houses of Parliament.

The committee argued that women have come of age and can compete in elective politics and win as the men do.

It based this on the fact that during the 2017 general election, three women senators and governors were elected.

The bill, which is the fifth one since the promulgation of the new constitution in 2010, is co-sponsored by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo and his nominated counterpart Senator Haji Farhiya Ali.

It proposes to amend Article 97 of the Constitution to give effect to the two-thirds gender principle through the creation of special seats, which will ensure the gender principle is realised in Parliament.

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LEGALISING FGM

In October, a three-judge bench began hearing a case by Dr Tatu Kamau, who is seeking to have Female Genital Mutilation legalised in Kenya.

Kamau also wants the Anti-FGM board to be disbanded and the prohibition of FGM be declared unconstitutional.

She argues women have a right to choose whether they want to go through the process and prohibiting it infringes on their freedom of choice and also prevents them from practising their culture.

The doctor adds banning the practice is imposing Western culture on Kenyans, and that circumcision is different from mutilation. She said mutilation involves completely chopping off a body part.

Her case will be resume before Justice Lydia Achode, Margaret Muigai, and Kanyi Kimondo next Tuesday.

Despite Kenya having progressive laws and policies, a lack of implementation has seen women and girls continue to face discrimination.

According to Equality Measure 2030, the impact of legal and policy frameworks on the lives of girls and women, however, has been undermined by weak implementation and a lack of gender-responsive budgeting.

It adds that pervasive discrimination and cultural norms have influenced women’s land tenure and participation in labour markets, child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, food security and nutrition, and access to finance and technology.

Many girls and women still lack access to basic services, and women remain under-represented in decision-making positions and political leadership.

Njeri Mbugua/The Star

‘Naftali bought an axe and knife and had it sharpened’ Sources reveal

New information has emerged on what transpired on and before the gruesome murder of Ivy Wangechi, a sixth year student at Moi University.

Retrieved phone conversations between Wangechi and Kinuthia show that the two had been in communication all along until she blocked him.

1. Kinuthia met Ivy and her friend after travelling to Eldoret to visit his sweetheart.

2. He took the friends number and started engaging her to gather intelligence.

3. He then traveled to Thika and it is then that Wangechi on  10th April asked Naftali for 14,000 so that she could plan for her birthday.

4. On Sunday, she again asked for 10K which she promptly received from Naftali.

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5. On Monday Ivy asked for a further 10K. Kinuthia informed her to be patient since he was to travel to Eldoret where he would honor her request.

6. On his was to Eldoret he kept in contact with Ivy’s friend as a way of collecting intelligence on where Ivy was and what she was up to.

They met briefly over a cup of coffee and agreed to meet later as Ivy was to do rounds. He gave her an unknown amount of money.

Ivy switched her phone off after that, provoking Naftali. He went and bought an axe and a knife and had it sharpened.

All these while he kept in contact with Ivy’s friend who did not know that her friend was about to be killed.

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Ciku Muiruri’s heart felt message to Ivy Wangechi’s mother

Former media personality Ciku Muiruri penned down a heart felt open letter to Ivy Wangechi’s mum during the tough times that the family is going through,

Ivy, a sixth-year medical student at Moi University was hacked to death by Naftali Kinuthia on the eve of her 25 birthday.

Ciku’s letter read;

 

OPEN LETTER TO WINIFRED WAITHERA (IVY WANGECHI’S MUM).

In this Holy Week, your daughter will be laid to rest. You have had to endure her being killed, twice. First, by the seemingly senseless slaying and the second time by bloggers and even radio presenters – Specifically Didge on Homeboyz radio – Who made jokes about her death and alluded to her deserving what she got. And Jalango who wrote a lengthy post on Instagram about women not accepting gifts from men without being ready to deal with the consequences.
You have had to endure lies being spread about the apple of your eye.

Naftali Kinuthia arraigned in court for Ivy Wangechi’s murder – Photo

She adds that;

Everything from infecting this disturbed young man (that she never even dated) with HIV, to her being a money-grabbing slut. Yes, they have killed your angel twice. Today, there are reports of a 24 year old woman in Nyaribo that has been stabbed and killed by her alleged ex-boyfriend. Another man who stabbed his wife 17 times in Mathira has given himself up to police. Hot on the heels of another stabbing in Pwani University where yet another girl fights for her life. Naomi Chepkemboi’s crime was to send back money to a man whose attentions she did not want. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Mama Wangechi, I’m a mum too. I too have a young, beautiful daughter. She is graduating from University in July, her life ahead of her. I can relate to the horror of what you must be going through.

 

So I will try and hold your hand with my words, with the hope that they will give you just a small piece of comfort. This weekend, I saw a post questioning why God killed innocent Egyptian kids over Passover and saved the ‘right’ kids from death. The meme is sarcastic and alludes to God willing evil by punishing innocent children. I’m sure such thoughts may have crossed your mind. Why Ivy? Why a doctor? Why a God fearing girl? Why a girl so beautiful? Why a life so blessed?
People die in churches worshipping. They die in floods, they die from crazed gun men. And yes, from an axe wielding mad man. God’s choice to no longer will a person to live, is not to will evil.

 

We must ALL die. But it’s never senseless. He gave up His only son to die. We will bury Him this Friday. And look what His death did for the world. Remember when Jesus cured a blind man in the Gospel of John? The disciples wondered whose sin had caused the man’s blindness, his own or his parents. “Neither,” Jesus answered. “Rather, he was made blind that the works of God might be revealed in him.”
Those kids in Egypt were also chosen – that the works of God might be revealed in their deaths. We all have a role in this life, whether it is clear to us or not. So did Ivy. Yes, she needed to be a doctor. God fearing.

ciku muiruri

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She also continues to say;

Beautiful. A wonderful soul with a life so blessed. She needed to be all these things so that we can now SEE the girl in Pwani. So we can SEE the woman in Nyeri. These headlines are not new. But Ivy struck a chord in us all so deep, that we now SEE the other women.
It may not seem like it now, but be sure your daughter did not die in vain. Because of her, we now SEE that mental health issues are REAL and must be taken more seriously. Because of her violence against women and blaming the victim will NOT be tolerated. Didge is serving a suspension from his job because of it. Jalang’o saw the error of his ways and deleted his post. Because of Ivy, we know that not everything you read on the Internet is true. Anyone can do it. Even you. Start a blog right now. Write anything you want. It will be on the Internet.

 

That does not make what you write true. Because of your daughter people will begin to question what they read. They will look at the source. They will wait for a credible media house with the proper facts before they murder another person again with their words. Like they did to your daughter.
Yes, as you lay your precious Ivy to rest, know that it was not in vain. Hundreds of other girls will live, because she died. Thanks mum for your amazing daughter. She was chosen that the works of God might be revealed through her. #RIPIVYWANGECHI

Get well soon to the women fighting for their lives. We SEE you.

***To help contribute to Ivy’s funeral expenses, the family have set up a paybill number 855050 under ‘Ivy Wangechi send-off’.

 

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Slain student Ivy Wangechi’s body moved to Eldoret for burial

The body of butchered Moi University medical student Ivy Wangechi has
been transferred from Eldoret to Kiambu ahead of the burial.

Before it left Eldoret, the body was taken to the nearby medical
anatomy laboratory department for short prayers, viewing by colleagues
and friends and a small prayer service.

Ivy Wangechi’s friend writes emotional letter: ‘Your friends love you’

Her parents Mr and Mrs Kingori were not present as they had remained
in Nairobi to receive the body. It will be taken to Kenyatta Funeral
Home in Kiambu county.

Naftali Njahi Kinuthia, the man who killed Wangechi using an axe and a
knife, was still being held at the hospital yesterday for treatment as
police wait to charge him in court.

Ivy Wangechi’s friend writes emotional letter: ‘Your friends love you’

Kenyan writer and violinist Muthonib has penned a touching letter to the late Ivy Wangeci.

Ivy, a sixth-year medical student at Moi University was hacked to death by Naftali Kinuthia on the eve of her 25 birthday.

Muthonib’s letter read;

Dearest Ivy Wangeci,

I’m so sorry for the systems and failures in our society that allowed this man to exist, the man who hacked your life away. I’m sorry for all the gossip sites and news outlets calling him your lover, elevating him to a status undeserving of a queen like you.

I’m sorry for all the slander, for all the ways people have dragged your name in the dirt. As if there’s a scale somewhere, of acceptable reasons to kill a woman. To kill anyone. And so they come up with all sorts of stories, to justify the crime. How vile and twisted is this country? Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy?

I cannot even imagine what your family and friends are going through right now. To, first, receive this shocking news followed by the ugly stories.

I want to know about you, your hopes and dreams. I want your story and everything you stood for/hoped for/ dreamed to be what lives on. I wouldn’t want your name to only be associated with this murderer.
Your friends love you, Ivy. They’ve told us who you were and it breaks my heart further that you won’t be here to build the world you dreamed of. The one you have worked so hard to be a part of and contribute to.
May your memory always be love.
May your memory also be justice.

Her letter has touched many and below are touching comments from Kenyans on Ivy Wangeci’s death:

Suzanna Owiyo For heaven sake, life has been lost and you are busy talking about kufunga nunu. Kichwa maji wewe. Let us not be reckless on such matters. I can only imagine what the family is going through now. #RIPIVY

Bervelyn Kats So heartbreaking 💔💔💔

Hon Esther Passaris My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Ivy Wangechi. There’s absolutely nothing Ivy did or didn’t do to deserve the inhumane violence meted on her. I pray justice prevails. Over to you @DCI_Kenya #RIPIvy #EndFemicide #SayHerNameKe

Slain Moi University student Ivy Wangechi’s friends celebrate her birthday

Ivy Wangechi’s brutal death has left the nation in shock.

Wangechi, a student at Moi Univesity School of Medicine was hacked to death on Tuesday morning by Naftali Kinuthia, a man said to be well known to her family.

Ivy was killed on the eve of her birthday. She was to turn 25 years old on April 10, but she never lived to see this day.

Ivy Wangechi’s neighbors planned a homecoming surprise for slain student

Yesterday, her friends and classmates at the Moi University in Eldoret celebrated her birthday in the most sorrowful way. She wasn’t there to eat cake and blow candles and make a wish.

ivy wangechi birthday dedicaion
Ivy Wangechi dedication

Muriithi Michael shared the image below on Twitter.

He captioned it:

#RIPIVY HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR. SHINE ON ANGEL.

 

Another close friend of Ivy, Rodgers Abidha also penned a sweet message to her. He wrote:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IVY WANGECI. HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY IVY WANGECI… REST EASY. #RIPIVY #HAPPYBIRTHDAYIVY THIS IS AT THE ENTRANCE OF OUR HOSTEL, IN MOI UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE MAIN HOSTEL.

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Ivy was loved by many and below are birthday wishes from Kenyans:

Alex Mwai Very painful

Geoffrey Osoro #HappyBirthdayIvy
Dance with the Angels.

Deelaboso My heart aches for #IvyWangechi 💔 We’ve lost a beautiful, intelligent, hardworking lady😪 None of the allegations surrounding her demise are true! It’s unfortunate that all those boldly peddling these rumors never once interacted with her.

Muthoni Every month we mourn another woman killed by a man who felt entitled to her. The reaction of the men defending the killers just tells us they would take the same action, they have told us who they are. Killing women is now a debate being normalized & justified. RIP #IvyWangechi

Also read more here

Maina Kageni and Mwalimu weigh in on Ivy Wangechi murder

A debate on the horrific murder of Moi University student Ivy Wangechi has elicted mixed reaction online.

Kenyans are heavily divided on whom to heap blame on, and this debate extended to Classic 105 on the morning conversation.

Ivy Wangechi’s neighbors planned a homecoming surprise for slain student

Maina eulogized Ivy Wangechi saying:

‘her birthday would have been yesterday that is the tragedy of it all’.

‘Here we are, we have a young soon to be doctor lying dead’ 

Guys why do you handle rejection so badly? Why can’t you assist a lady without accepting anything in return? Why must everything have a malipo, you help your male friends, but why is it that you cannot give a woman anything. What makes you think that by virtue of giving her something that you must have a piece of her?

‘My heart aches for Ivy’ Friends eulogize slain student Ivy Wangechi

Mwalimu says ‘pole sane to friends and family’.

He revealed to Maina why perhaps men take rejection so badly saying:

Men take rejection very seriously, when you reject a man you take apart of his heart, malipo ni hapa hapa duniani, even in companies ata ukiandikwa their is something known as return on investment.

Ukiona huyo mtu akikupeleka kwa kibanda its not for free, you know that’s how we show love by giving things?

Akikuletea bajia, nakulipia taxi, he is investing. huyo ni queensway wako anangojea dividends at some point.

This guy is not your father, or your brother..why do you think he is doing that? Mwalimu concluded

‘I was shocked to hear of the murder’ Mother of man who killed Wangechi

Ladies, what do you think of that? That everytime he gives you something he is investing?

One woman called in and asked

‘Maina, this is not your brother he is investing his money on you, waht do you expect at the end of the day? Coz the only person who should not expect anything is your father, for the other men they are not your brothers, be ready for the consequences. It is upon us ladies to work and get your cash, stop depending on men, otherwise we will die all of us’

A male caller from Ungwaro says

‘ile kitu naweza sema hata kijana hao, afadhali umkataze, na kwa wale wanapatiana pesa, usiexpect kitu kubwa, ukiachwa achika, kama hiyo stori tunaelezewa walijuana wakiwa wadodo so no kitu imekuwa kutoka kitambo.’

Photos of the Moi University medical student killed by her boyfriend

Kahara Kamau..
Tell them again,the truth is that men are not hurt by being disposed nor dumped but pained by coins they dump or inject

charles maina…
I advise all slayqueen to keep off money from sponsors and stick on their hustling boyfriends #mainaandkingangi
Felix Otieno Agola..

No any amount of wealth a man can spend on a lady can make the lady the man’s possession not until the lady has some Emotional feelings for you….best things in life are free

Ciru Waitiki💋..
Maina I grew up knowing thrs nothing for free from a man unless his ma dad,I avoid free things from men,for the ladies if u don’t love a man don’t love his money..period!!

Also read more here

Ivy Wangechi’s neighbors planned a homecoming surprise for slain student

 Friends say Nafatali Kinuthia (the killer) had stalked her for a year after failed attempts to date her.

Residents of Makongeni Phase 10 Estate in Thika town are mourning Ivy Wangechi, a quiet, respectful and disciplined neighbour who was brutally murdered on Tuesday.

They are yet to come to terms with the death of the final year student at the School Health Sciences at Moi University, Eldoret.

Ivy Wangeci's home in Makongeni Phase 10 Estate, Thika town

‘WE HAD PLANNED TO RECEIVE HER’: Ivy Wangeci’s home in Makongeni Phase 10 Estate, Thika town 
Image: John Kamau

They were eagerly waiting for Wangechi’s graduation in December. “We had planned how we’d receive her during the ceremony and even had a surprise for her. We are now in pain that her life has been cut short,” a resident who sought anonymity said.

She has known Wangechi for many years. They worshipped together at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa church in Makongeni. “Whenever she was at home she never missed Sunday service. She was a very good friend of mine.”

A kiosk operator near Wangechi’s home sobbed uncontrollably as she recalled the moments she had with the young girl. To her, Wangeci was “a blissful and respectful neighbour and customer”.

“We are saddened by the incident that was perpetrated by a man who couldn’t accept a No for an answer. Ivy was a promising young lady full of life and we expected a lot from her as a community,” she said.

The neighbour said the Phase 10 Estate community had been boasting that they would soon have a qualified doctor whom they would always consult.

Estate chairman Justus Muthiani said Wangechi has been relating well with other residents and that she had never been in an altercation with anyone.

Muthiani termed as false and “junk the information that is being peddled and circulated in social media platforms regarding Wangechi”.

He said it’s untrue she was in a relationship with the killer identified as Naftali Kinuthia. “People should desist from smearing the name of our beloved girl on social media. She was a disciplined lady and all the allegations levelled against her are false.”

The chairman denied that Kinuthia lived in the same area as his victim. He is not known in the estate, he said, adding, “We’ve only heard reports indicating that he hailed from Thika. We don’t know him and have never seen him here.”

The chairman called on the youth to engage their parents or community elders in settling their differences.

One of the residents claimed that Kinuthia was in the estate two weeks ago. “When I saw his photos online I remembered I saw him prowling here like two weeks ago. I believe he is the one,” she said.

According to Wangechi’s friends, Kinuthia had made persistent moves to win her love. “He has been stalking her for one year” until Tuesday when he waylaid her at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret and struck her with an axe, killing her on the spot.

John Kamau