Saturday, May 23, 2015

Joy as nun is declared Blessed Irene Stefani

Up to 100,000 people from across the world on Saturday witnessed as Sister Irene Stefani, “Nyaatha’’ was officially declared 'blessed' during her beatification ceremony in Nyeri county.
The Catholic faithful came from as far as South America, North America and Europe — where her 100-year-old order, Consolata Missionaries, has a presence — for the ceremony, which put Sr Irene just a step away from being named a saint.
Millions more watched the historic event at Kimathi University College live on television.
Sister Irene is now known as Blessed Irene.
The title Blessed in the Catholic Church is a recognition that a person entered heaven on the day of his or her death.
In Sr Irene’s case, her entry into heaven (known as her Feast Day) will be October 31 — the day in 1930 when she succumbed to plague.
As Blessed, Nyaatha, as she was fondly called by the Kikuyu of Gikondi in Nyeri, who benefited from her mercy, can now be invoked by Catholics in prayer to intercede to God on their behalf.
A miracle is required before one is declared Blessed, and it has to be subjected to scientific proof. However, the evidence is usually private, raising scepticism among doubting Thomases.
Fr Daniel Bertea, the priest in charge of the Consolata Shrine in Westlands, Nairobi, said on Thursday that Sr Irene’s first miracle was in Mozambique, a country she never set foot on, although she had a stint as a missionary in neighbouring Tanzania.
MOZAMBIQUE CIVIL WAR
It took place in the parish of Nipepe, in the Diocese of Lichinga in 1989. A group of about 270 people in danger of death, offered their prayers through the intercession of Sr Irene, and the little water in the baptismal font, measuring between four and six litres, was multiplied to enable them to drink and wash for four days, before help arrived from outside.
It was at the height of Mozambique’s civil war between Frelimo government forces and the rebel Renamo movement. Many had been killed and wounded in the surrounding areas as they were caught in the crossfire of the two forces.
The Church was surrounded. Nobody would go out or come in, and the only available water to drink was what was contained in the small baptismal font.
Ordinarily, people would not drink the water in the font, but due to the danger that was surrounding them, they requested the catechist to grant them permission to drink the water. There were children and pregnant women, all of whom were sweating due to the congestion.
One expectant mother even gave birth in the midst of the confusion, delivering a baby girl, who was appropriately named Irene. They used the same water to wash the new-born baby. And for four days, the water continued to multiply to provide for all their needs.
REPORTED MIRACLE
They reported the miracle to the Parish priest, Fr Giuseppe Frizzi, who, incidentally, had been reading and re-reading the story of Sr Irene. It is after this miracle that more and more people came forward to report the extraordinary and supernatural events that had been happening in their lives in the time of civil war.
One catechist, Sebastiao Aranha, even says how he saw in a dream a white lady, dressed like the Consolata Sisters, holding a book in her hands and telling him to read a prayer. But Sebastiao told the visitor that he did not know how to read, and so the lady called a small child, who translated the prayer to the catechist.
In another reported miracle, a couple was led through a path full of land mines to safety.
According to Sr Serafina Sergi, the Regional Superior of the Consolata Sisters in Kenya, even today, Sr Irene “continues her missionary journey of compassion and love by obtaining many favours”.
And now that she has been beatified, many more people will continue to seek her intercession. Officially, she will become a channel of hope and intermediary, and her name will be invoked by the Universal Church throughout history.
Beatification precedes sainthood, which can be as swift as that of Pope John Paul II, who died on April 2, 2005 and was declared Blessed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, on May 1, 2011.
Although a minimum of five years has been the rule between beatification and canonisation, it was waived in John Paul II’s case. He was canonised (declared a saint) alongside Pope John XXIII on April 27, 2014.
MULTIPLE FIRST
It is noteworthy that although John XXIII died on June 3, 1963, he was only beatified on September 3, 2000, before his joint canonisation with John Paul II. While John XXIII waited for nearly 51 years to be canonised, the case of John Paul II, whom mourners demanded to be declared saint at his funeral, was a record.
Saturday’s beatification of Sr Irene is a multiple first not just for Kenya, but for the Universal Church. It is the first time that such a ceremony has taken place on the African continent.
When renowned sports evangelist and Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Elder Solomon Gacece squeezes his way into the packed Dedan Kimathi University of Technology grounds for the ceremony, he will be reaffirming what Nyaatha (‘Merciful Mother’) stood for — oneness of humanity.
The preacher, who is the chairman of the International Ecumenical Movement Kenya Chapter, will be leading his motley band of ecumenists, whose raison d’ĂȘtre is giving resonance to John 17:22: “That all may be one”.
The current issue of The Seed magazine, a Consolata Missionaries publication edited by Fr Daniel Mkado, has rich insights on Sr Irene. It states that Irene was born Aurelia Giocomina Mercede to Giovanni Stefani and Annunziata Massari on August 22, 1891 in Anfo Italy.
CHARITY BEGINS AT GOME
Charity begins at home, and in Mercede’s case, she had to give up school at an early age to nurse her ailing mother. Monsignor John Luciano writes, in his book Blessed Irene, that caring for her mother taught her “how to look after the sick, seeing their needs, and serving them with gentleness and dedication”.
Described as strong-willed and “enthusiastic in doing good to everyone”, her decision to join the religious life at the tender age of 20 was, therefore, no surprise. She left for Turin, Italy, on June 19, 1911, and on January 12, 1912, she became Sr Irene Stefani.
After completing her novitiate on January 29, 1914, she became a full Consolata missionary. With three other young sisters, she left for Kenya on December 28, 1914, arriving in January, during the First World War. She soon joined other missionaries as a Red Cross volunteer in Voi.
She later worked in a similar capacity in the then Tanganyika at Kilwa, Lindi and Dar es Salaam. Monsignor Luciano says she gave herself to all and was not afraid of catching diseases from ill and wounded soldiers.
Inevitably, she succumbed to the plague at only 39. It’s her service in the Red Cross that will see her remains carried to her final resting place by British soldiers today.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kabete MP George Muchai, two bodyguards and a driver shot dead in Nairobi

 Gunmen sprayed Kabete MP George Muchai's car with bullets February 7, 2014 morning at the Kenyatta Avenue roundabout in Nairobi. The MP, his two bodyguards and a driver died in the incident.


Kabete MP George Muchai was shot dead early Saturday morning at Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway roundabout in Nairobi.
Two of the MP's bodyguards and a driver also died in the incident, Nairobi Central Police OCPD Paul Wanjama confirmed.
The incident, according to Mr Wanjama, happened between 3am and 4.30 am. 
The four were in the same car as another one with family members, including the wife and a daughter of the MP, followed from behind. 
Occupants of the second vehicle said the MP stopped at the roundabout when four people with big guns approached his car and started shooting. 
"They just started spraying it with bullets. When we saw that, our driver sped past the other car and when we came back to the scene a few minutes later, all the occupants of the vehicle were dead," the relative told detectives at the scene.
A newspaper vendor who witnessed the shooting told the police that one of the gunmen who led the shooting had a facemask.  
The bodies of the four had bullet wounds in the head and chest. 
They were taken to the Lee Funeral home at 6.30am.

THOROUGH INVESTIGATION
Legislators who arrived at the Lee Funeral Home asked the government to do a thorough investigation into the killing, saying it would be easy to get the murderers as the scene of the crime is under the surveillance of CCTV cameras.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said Mr Muchai had been threatened several times and had reported the threats to the police. 
"The CCTV clips should be handed to the detectives as soon as possible.  There is no way the perpetrators will not be known" he said.
Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, who also arrived at the crime scene, asked the government to take the safety of legislators in the country seriously.  
Other legislators at the Lee Funeral Home include Gatundu North MP Kigwa Njenga, Kipipiri MP Samuel Gichingi, Ruiru MP Esther Gathogo, Juve Njomo, MP for Kiambu and Kiambu Women Representative Anne Gathechu.
They all alleged that Mr Muchai's death was a clear assassination whose execution was planned.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CHAOS IN THE KENYAN PARLIAMENT

Parliament was on Thursday cordoned off from the public following reports that there were plans to disrupt the debate over the contentious security laws.
Anti-riot police drawn from the General Service Unit (GSU), regular and Administration Police kept vigil along all the roads leading to Parliament.
The security personnel, ready with tear gas canisters and police dogs, patrolled Harambee Avenue and Parliament Road to keep away protesters.
Some of the officers formed a wall near the President’s and Deputy President’s offices and directed the public to use alternative routes.
Journalists and those authorised to access the premises were thoroughly screened as MPs opposed to the passage of the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill engaged the ruling coalition.
About seven people who attempted to publicly declare their disapproval of the Bill were arrested as the hawk-eyed security personnel questioned everyone who dared move close to Parliament.
Members of the civil society who had planned to stage protests against the Bill had no option but to watch the unfolding events from a distance.

Cord Members of Parliament protest against the passing of the Security (Amendment) Bill 2014 outside Parliament.
At one time, one person suspected to be a police officer in civilian clothes was arrested near the entrance of Parliament after he was allegedly overheard by his seniors discussing the merits and demerits of the Bill.
Some Cord senators monitored the proceedings on television screens next to the entrance of the chamber before opting to move to the Speaker’s gallery.
However, Speaker Justin Muturi ordered that the five senators be ejected from the gallery when chaos ensued.
Senators Moses Wetang’ula (Senate Minority Leader and Bungoma Ford-K representative), James Orengo (Siaya, ODM), Janet Ong’era (nominated, ODM), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega, UDF) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos, Wiper) declined to leave.
They remained seated in the gallery even as the House was adjourned for 30 minutes in an apparent attempt to allow members who had become rowdy to calm down.


Mr Wetang’ula said the Speaker’s directive to have them thrown out of the gallery was misguided and an abuse of power.
“We are MPs and have a right to sit here and follow the proceedings. If the Jubilee Government is watching the proceedings then it should immediately withdraw this Bill. We do not want anybody to impose anything on Kenyans,” he said.
In reference to the contingent of police on guard around Parliament, he said it was unfortunate that the Jubilee administration was already implementing the proposed law before it was passed.
“That is why they have cordoned off Parliament. If anyone is in doubt of how a police state will look like, you can see the dress rehearsal today around Parliament. The recreation of a police state is way underway under the Jubilee regime,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

MISCHIEVOUS LEGISLATION
He, however, said that Kenyans would not be cowed by the presence of security personnel to keep silent when the Constitution is being mutilated in the guise that the government was fighting terrorism, by sneaking mischievous legislation into the Bill.
“We are not going to watch this happen. We have people who are ready to face bullets. We stand here today ready for whatever consequences because we are on the side of history; we are on the side of Kenyans, fairness, justice and truth,” he said.
Mr Muthama said there was no justifiable reason for the government to deploy such a contingent of police to man Parliament.
“There are no terrorists here. This National Assembly is a public place where members of public can come and listen to what their leaders are saying,” said Mr Muthama.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Moses Wetang'ula Causes A Stand Off At The Airport


A Mombasa-bound Kenya Airways flight on Thursday evening was delayed for several hours after a standoff ensued when the crew insisted that Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula must produce his national identity (ID) card.
All the passengers were told to disembark, with some of them worried that there could be a security issue in the plane.
“The plane was supposed to take off at 8.40pm, but we have been made to wait for several hours as arrangements are made for passengers to board a different plane,” said a Daily Nation reporter, Mr Jeremiah Kiplagat, one of the stranded passengers.
Mr Wetang'ula spoke to his fellow passengers, saying he was at fault for the delay because he was not carrying his ID card, with the KQ crew insisting that it was a required procedure that all passengers identify themselves.
Mr Kiplagat said passengers were moved to a different plane for their flight to Mombasa, ready for take-off from Nairobi some minutes after 11.30pm.
Some of the passengers had started posting on social media that their security might be at risk, before it was clarified that it was Mr Wetang'ula who did not have his identification document.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Uhuru Kenyatta to hand power to William Ruto ahead of ICC case


President Uhuru Kenyatta will appoint William Ruto as Acting President for the duration he will be away attending his case at the International Criminal Court.
President Kenyatta made the unprecedented announcement during an address to a special session of Parliament on Monday.
He said he will revoke Article 147, section 3, to appoint Mr Ruto as Acting President while he attends the ICC status conference next week at the Hague.
The decision means President Kenyatta will attend the status conference in an individual capacity and not as the head of state.
President Kenyatta explained that the decision to hand power to his deputy is meant to ensure that the sovereignty and democratic will of Kenyans will not be subjected to a foreign jurisdiction.
Earlier, the President had met Kenya’s top security organ on Monday morning, before meeting Cabinet secretaries in the afternoon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Four of the six suspects to face trial - ICC





The International Criminal Court pre-trial chamber has confirmed charges against four of six Kenyan suspects for post-election violence crimes.

The judges confirmed the charges against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Journalist Joshua Sang.

The charges against Tindreret MP Henry Kosgey and Post Master General Hussein Ali were not confirmed.
The ruling delivered at the ICC at The Hague by Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova on Monday stated that they were satisfied by evidence by Louis Moreno Ocampo’s team against Ruto and Sang for crimes committed in Turbo, Nandi Hills, Kapsabet and Eldoret.

Judge Trendafilova stated the charges against Ruto and Sang were crimes against humanity, murder, deportation, forcible transfer and persecution that led to death of hundreds of civilians.

The court dropped the charges against Ali and Kosgey saying the evidence adduced in court was not enough to sustain the charges against them.

Crimes Ocampo claims suspects committed

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta

He is facing charges of crimes against humanity relating to post-election violence in Nakuru and Naivasha in January and February 2008. He was accused of mobilising the outlawed Mungiki group to attack ODM supporters. He is jointly charged with Public service chief Francis Muthaura and former police boss Gen Hussein Ali.

Together with Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali, Uhuru is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity. They include murder, deportation or forcible transfer of a population, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and inhumane acts.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo claimed that Kenyatta, as a supporter of President Kibaki, planned, financed, and coordinated the violence perpetrated against the perceived supporters of the President’s rival during post-election violence from 27 December 2007 to 29 February 2008. He is also alleged to have used the Mungiki.

Eldoret North MP William Ruto

He is accused of planning and organizing crimes against PNU supporters. Together with Henry Kosgey, and Joshua Sang, faces charges with three counts of crimes against humanity. They include murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution, all which constitute a crime against humanity in violation of article 7 (1) (a) (d) and (h) of the Rome Statute.

Joshua Arap Sang

He is the head of operations at the radio station Kass FM, was accused of using his radio broadcasts to send messages of assistance to those committing acts of violence against PNU supporters. He is alleged to have had a role in the organisation of crimes against PNU supporters by using his radio show both to gain support and also to communicate by code to the members of the network.

Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura

As the Cabinet secretary and chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee, was accused of authorising the police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against the opposition. Moreno-Ocampo claimed Muthaura and Uhuru hatched a plan to use an ad hoc organisation comprising Mungiki militia and the police to execute retaliatory attacks.

This was planned during meetings that allegedly took place at State House and Nairobi Members’ Club. He added that Muthaura instructed then Police Commissioner Hussein Ali to ensure the police did not intercept Mungiki as they unleashed terror in Nakuru and Naivasha between January 24 and 31, 2008

Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey

He was accused of planning and organizing crimes against supporters of Party of National Unity (PNU). Together with his co-accused former minister William Samoei Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, allegedly established a network with the goal of gaining power in the Rift Valley Province by committing crimes against supporters of the PNU.

It is alleged that after the disputed presidential election of December 2007, members of this network allegedly attached PNU supporters’ homes, killing and torturing civilians, and driving them from their homes. A witness alleged that Kosgey attended planning meetings of the alleged network.

Maj-Gen (rtd) Mohammed Hussein Ali

He is the former Commissioner of Police was accused of facilitating attacks against supporters of the ODM. However, the Chamber ruled that his contribution was not essential to the commission of the crimes and so he was charged with having otherwise contributed to the same crimes.

The ICC Prosecutor alleged that Ali, together with Head of Public Service and Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 elections.

The Prosecutor further alleged that that Ali, in his role as Commissioner of the Kenya Police, personally authorised the use of excessive force in attacks against ODM supporters.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

OIL DRILLING SET TO BEGIN IN KENYA



A UK-based firm will start drilling for oil in the Lake Turkana Basin later this month.

Tullow Oil plc, which discovered more than two billion barrels of oil in the Albertine Basin of Uganda three years ago said surveys in Kenya and Ethiopia are complete and that Ngamia-1 well in Kenya is due to spud (the process of beginning to drill a well).

‘’The Weatherford 804 rig has reached the well site in preparation for a late January 2012 spud of the Ngamia well, which has an anticipated depth of 3,000m,’’ it said in its latest operational update in respect of recent production, development and exploration activities.

The firm acknowledged that the imminent drilling is later than originally expected following delays in the mobilisation of the rig.

It said the rig will then move to drill the 4,500m deep Paipai-1 well in Block 10A in the second quarter of 2012 before moving to Ethiopia to drill a well in the South Omo Block in the third quarter of 2012.

‘’The data quality is excellent and there are similarities with the FTG acquired in Uganda in 2009,’’ the firm said, adding that a 1,000km 2D seismic programme is under way in the South Omo Block in Ethiopia.

In Kenya, a 500 km 2D seismic programme has also started in Block 13T, which would be followed by a 1,350km 2D survey in Block 10BA, it added.

The high-impact Mbawa-1 well also in Kenya’s northwest region will be drilled in the third quarter of this