Distant Relatives in Kilifi is teeming with millennial backpackers from around Europe, most on a budget that has been stretched thinner than their wardrobes.
The t-shirts here are either faded at the neck or have a hole somewhere in them and the wearer will likely be volunteering at the eco lodge in return for accommodation, and will always either have dreadlocks or a tattoo that represents ‘freedom’ in some way.
If they are Kenyan, they are likely that type of individual that everyone always describe as ‘cool’.
I quite liked the ambiance here. It seemed like the kind of spot where I could come laze away a week or two at the coast under the guise of working on my first novel, perhaps have a holiday fling, gradually sink into alcoholism given that the bar is open at around 10am, and probably get talked into being vegan ‘for the love of animals’.
I would probably learn to love permaculture and trance music if I lived there for just two weeks.
We stopped by for pizza night which is one of the key attractions for guests either staying at the lodge or residents of Kilifi. Walking in with my partner, I couldn’t help feeling like a minority.
The last time I felt that black was walking down the streets of Stockholm, and yet here I was in my country’s very own backyard but there were probably only about six Kenyans at the packed restaurant, including the staff.
Everyone was very friendly so we tried to socialise, quickly realising that after talking to one traveller, you’ve pretty much talked to them all because everyone’s story is the same. “I’m on my gap yaah, or I was tired of my job and decided to quit and go see the world yadda yadda”.
Overestimating how hungry we were, we placed an order for a pizza each and these turned out to be too much for us to finish. One would have sufficed, particularly since the bacon and beef pizza turned out to be the best: perfect ration of bacon, beef and cheese.
My companion got a Hawaiian pizza which was left largely untouched because I hold the strong opinion that adding pineapples to pizza is just retarded.
In true Distant Relatives style, because avocado is now all the rage among cool-hipster-type millennials, they had a pumpkin avocado pizza. I was tempted to try it but couldn’t bring myself to place the order, but only because the mere mention of pumpkins always brings back PTSD of my grandmother’s terrible cooking when it came to pumpkins. They also had the classic margherita, but I always find this to be too vanilla. Why have a pizza with only cheese and tomatoes when you could add other toppings to it?
To round off the wood fired pizzas, there was a Congolese rhumba band playing Lingala and a dance floor riddled with left feet, so we got up to show everyone how it’s really done.
Jane Muthoni hired men, including her co-accused, to kill her husband Solomon Mwangi in November 2016. [File, Standard]
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) wants Jane Muthoni, who was found guilty of her husband’s murder on April 22, sentenced to death. Muthoni, alongside her co-accused Isaac Ng’ang’a, was declared guilty of Solomon Mwangi’s murder, which occurred in November 2016. State Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki told the Nakuru High Court on Tuesday, May 18 that the crime committed by the two; and the manner in which the murder was executed, “deserves a severe punishment such as death sentence”. “This is a case that meets the threshold of a death penalty,” said Mwaniki. “We are looking at the seriousness of the acts that led to Solomon Mwangi’s death. In our conclusion, we pray that this court finds that the element of the statutory premeditation was satisfied in this case,” she submitted. According to the prosecutor, her team proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there was “substantial orchestration and planning” of Mwangi’s execution by Muthoni and Ng’ang’a. “Mwangi’s death was not caused by a spontaneous act of violence, or an act of self-defense by the accused,” said Mwaniki, who proposed Muthoni and Ng’ang’a be sentenced to death. Lawyer Wokabi Mathenge, who represented Solomon Mwangi’s family in the case, reiterated the Prosecution’s recommendation, terming Mwangi’s killing as “Murder Most Foul”.
Take a quick survey and help us improve our website! Take a survey
“He was defenseless while being killed,” said Mathenge. The lawyer said Muthoni was yet to express any remorse to Mwangi’s family over his murder. “The first accused (Muthoni), being a teacher, was expected to impart ethics to learners. In this case, she was the mastermind of her husband’s death. She, therefore, conducted herself in a manner not expected of a person of her stature,” said Mathenge. According to the lawyer, Mwangi’s murder deprived his four children of fatherly love. “We urge the court to find that a death sentence will suffice. Mwangi’s death was premeditated and well-planned,” he emphasised. The accused’s lawyer, Francis Njanja, however defended Muthoni and Ng’ang’a against death sentence, stating the two have cooperated with the courts thus far. Njanja maintained that even though the courts found the duo guilty of murder, they were “still innocent”. Muthoni, who addressed the court via video conferencing, pleaded her innocence, saying her family had suffered throughout the period she’s been in custody. “I’m the only hope and surviving breadwinner in my family. My children are suffering, yet those who killed my husband are out there walking freely,” she said. Ng’ang’a, on his part, pleaded with the court to consider a lenient sentence on him. Justice Joel Ngugi said the two persons will be sentenced on June 3, 2021. How Mwangi’s murder was planned During the trial, the court heard that in early November 2016, Muthoni hired two men to kill her spouse, the principal of Kiru Boys’ High School in Mathioya, Murang’a County. One of the hired killers was Muthoni’s co-accused, Isaac Ng’ang’a. The other, Nelson Njiru, disappeared shortly after learning that Muthoni and Ng’ang’a were being hunted. Muthoni had been directed to Ng’ang’a and Njiru by Joseph Kariuki, who turned into a Prosecution witness following a plea negotiation. Kariuki was, however, sentenced to seven years in jail for manslaughter. Upon arrest in mid-November 2016, Muthoni and Ng’ang’a, alias Gikuyu, were charged with Solomon Mwangi’s murder. The court, through Kariuki, heard that Muthoni engineered her husband’s killing after he allegedly kick-started a relationship with another woman, identified in court as MWK or M-Pesa Lady. The plan was to eliminate Mwangi’s lover and then kill him, the court was told. After four years in court, the case came to a close on Thursday, April 22, 2021, when Muthoni and Ng’ang’a were declared guilty of Mwangi’s murder. “The offence of murder is established against both the first and second accused persons (Muthoni and Ng’ang’a respectively). Consequently, I find and hold that both accused persons are guilty of the murder of the deceased. I hereby convict both of them accordingly,” Justice Ngugi pronounced himself on the case. In the ruling, the judge observed that Muthoni did not physically kill Mwangi, but “evidence demonstrated that she was the author of the plot”. Muthoni reportedly parted with Sh50,000 for Mwangi’s killing, which was conducted by Ng’ang’a and another person not before the court Nelson Njiru. The hired killers strangled Mwangi to death on November 6, 2016, and dumped his body in Karakuta Coffee Estate in Juja, Kiambu County. The court relied on 18 SMSs between Muthoni and Njiru, and 21 Prosecution witnesses to conclude that Muthoni had masterminded her husband’s murder.
Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone
Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.
Judges should be humble and realise that they depend on other arms of government like the police, even as they exercise their authority in court, Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has said.
His sentiments came following last week’s judgment by the High Court, which declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) illegal, null and void.
Speaking on Monday during an interview on NTV, Mr Tuju reminded the judges that they depend on the same government that he claimed they were fighting and frustrating.
“Judges should learn the word ‘interdependence’ because as soon as they finish a ruling, they need policemen to escort them home as guards or drivers. The world is much more complicated. We are a little more humble than the judges who say this is what is, period! If you don’t like it, period!”
His sentiments came a few days after a five-judge bench declared the BBI unconstitutional.
Mr Tuju also called out the judges for allegedly not respecting the President, saying that the “High Court judges were not courteous to the President by referring to him as ‘Mr’”, and also limiting his powers in his role as a symbol of national unity.
“I would call it selective reading of the Constitution. In Article 10 of the Constitution, the President has the responsibility for national unity,” said Mr Tuju.
Justices Teresia Matheka, Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, and Chacha Mwita, in a landmark judgment on Thursday last week, ruled that the BBI was unconstitutional and that President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution by initiating a referendum.
Listening to legal advice
Mr Tuju stated that President Kenyatta is listening to legal advice from his team before speaking. This was after he was asked why the Head of State had not spoken, considering he was the main proponent of the BBI.
“The President is the president of the whole country. It is wise that he listens to his legal advisers before he talks about this. When it comes to the court, we have to navigate very carefully,” said the Jubilee Party boss.
Responding to Mr Tuju’s sentiments, Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi warned him, saying that Kenya is not the Uganda of the 1970s.
“Judges volunteer to serve in an arm of government. Their security is not a privilege, but a right. This is not the Uganda of the 1970s,” Mr Havi said.
In the hard-hitting ruling on the BBI, the High Court judges singled out multiple legal blunders that President Kenyatta committed in his desire for law reforms.
They said the President made a fatal legal mistake in attempting to change the Constitution through a popular initiative, an avenue that is not available to him.
“The President cannot be an initiator of, and an umpire in, amendment of the Constitution,” ruled the judges.
They also ruled that the BBI constitutional committee, created by the President, was illegal, adding that Mr Kenyatta had failed the leadership and integrity test.
The judgment was arguably the most significant ruling by Kenyan courts since Mr Kenyatta’s election win was nullified by the Supreme Court in 2017.
President Kenyatta and his political nemesis-turned-ally, Raila Odinga, unveiled the initiative after a truce following the contentious August 2017 presidential election, which saw violent clashes erupt around the country.
And following the Thursday ruling, Mr Odinga expressed his disappointment with the judgment of the High Court, which declared the entire BBI process illegal, but warned politicians against personalised attacks against the court.
The former Prime Minister likened the judgment to moments of danger and peril that have characterised Kenya’s struggle for constitutional reforms.
“I urge that we refrain from personalised attacks on the court and its members. We may disagree with the court but we must respect its ruling and its freedom to exercise its judgment as it understands the legal and constitutional matters before it,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
The BBI debate has dominated Kenya’s politics for the past two years and is closely linked to the battle to succeed Mr Kenyatta, who is due to retire next year.
A Nakuru Court on Tuesday postponed the sentencing of Jane Muthoni, the former principal of Icaciri Secondary School in Kiambu.
Muthoni was last month found guilty of killing her husband, Solomon Mwangi, who then was the principal of Kiru Boys Secondary, Murang’a County.
The former school head will be sentenced on June 3.
The prosecution asked for the death sentence.
She and her co-accused Isaac Ng’ang’a alias Gikuyu were alleged to have committed the offence on diverse dates between November 6 and November 11, 2016, at Karakuta Coffee Estate in Juja sub-county, Kiambu County.
She claimed it was her husband’s colleagues who orchestrated the murder after he refused to play into their game over transfers.
Muthoni told the court that the principals, who influenced transfers and promotions of teachers in the region, were aggrieved after Mbuthi was posted to the school while she was promoted to head Icaciri Secondary School without going through them.
Muthoni alleged that the cartel had demanded Sh1 million from them to facilitate their transfer to schools of their choice.