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How once vibrant Nakuru estates have turned into criminal dens

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By FRANCIS MUREITHI

In the good old days, Kivumbini, Kaloleni, Flamingo, Paul Machanga, Baharini and Ojuka estates in Nakuru town were the most sought after residential areas for low income earners.

This was for a good reason.

Unlike other estates, these had all the amenities including round-the-clock water supply at a subsidised cost and a consistent supply of electricity.

Garbage collection was done weekly, making the estates some of the cleanest in Nakuru town, perhaps one of the reasons why it was regarded the cleanest in the region.

In addition, the houses were repainted at least twice a year and security was guaranteed with massive street lights strategically placed.

Residents of the golden 1980s and early 1990s era also remember well-maintained playgrounds for their children.

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Over time, however, heaps of garbage started to appear and today, they have the areas an eyesore.

The estates are now a case study of poor planning and the social and economic implications have made life more difficult for residents.

Thanks to a booming population that has eaten up all the open spaces once reserved for backdoor gardening, makeshift iron sheet structures are a common sighting as some youths live in cubicles away from the parents they shared bedsitters with.

In the estates have arisen some of the deadliest gangs in Nakuru town, including one known as ‘Confirm’, whose members have turned some of the cubicles into their dens.

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A view of Flamingo Estate, Nakuru town, where one of ‘Confirm’ gang’s hideouts is located. PHOTO|FRANCIS MUREITHI |NATION MEDIA GROUP

INSECURITY

For many residents and visitors to the town, the estates are now no-go zones.

Save for a few cobblers and people roasting maize along roads, the once vibrant shopping centres at Kivumbini and Flamingo estates are lifeless.

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“The more disheartening thing is that no investors can put their money here because of the gangs. They will demand a protection fee and there is nothing you can do about it,” said a resident who operated a kiosk in one of the estates.

Other residents, who also refused to be named, blamed security agents and politicians for the increase in crime.

“More worrisome is the nonchalant attitude of security agents in dealing with the criminals, who reign supreme,” said a resident of Flamingo.

“Some politicians offer to pay bonds for criminal gangs and storm police stations demanding for their release,” said a resident of Kivumbini.

“Some bad elements in the police service have turned the gang into A cash cow. Once they arrest them they demand bribes and later release them,’ said a resident of Bondeni.

Nakuru County Commissioner Erustus Mbui Mwenda absolved security agents from blame and cited frustration in their efforts to nail politicians and the criminals involved.

“There is a case in court against a politician who wanted to burn a petrol station. The matter is still pending even though police did their work. You can’t blame police for justice delayed or denied,” said Mr Mbui.

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Kaloleni ‘C’ and Flamingo Phase Two estates in Nakuru twon, which stand next opposite each other and are barricaded with iron sheets due to a surge in crime in the area. PHOTO |FRANCIS MUREITHI |NATION MEDIA GROUP

NEW TACTICS

During a recent county engagement forum organised by Midrift Human Rights Network, to discuss how to prevent and counter violent extremism among the youth, Mr Mbui said the government was aware of all of the gangs’ tricks.

The administrator said members of the “Confirm” gang were using drones to disrupt law enforcement but noted that security agencies were taking the matter seriously.

As authorities seek solutions, residents continue to live in fear that their children will join the gangs.

“You can imagine the mental and psychological trauma most parents face, seeing their children being recruited into these gangs,” said Mr James Kanyotu, a resident of Flamingo Estate.

He said that with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the suspension of learning and other activities, many pupils were being targeted.

“This is a trying time for parents. With the reopening of schools pushed to next year, many are bound to join the gangs,” said Ms Jennifer Achieng’.

Authorities have expressed concerns that primary schools neighbouring the estates, such as Bondeni, St Theresa, Kisulisuli, Flamingo, Kimathi, St Paul’s, Bondeni and Baharini, are easy targets for radicalisation.

A boy in Kaloleni, who identified himself only as Tony, said the inconsistency in county and national government policies surrounding the matter and lack of political goodwill contribute to increased crime in the region.

“Nearly all these estates were constructed before independence and have outlived their usefulness due to a bursting population, but you only hear the government talking big from a distance about expanding affordable housing for the poor. On the ground things are different,” he said.

Another youth said, “These ‘Confirm’ gangsters are smart and well educated youth who cannot even access the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative because of corruption. This forces them to look for alternative means of survival. The only readily available ones are through criminal gangs.”

Midrift Executive Director Joseph Omondi said that to make Nakuru safe and tame crime, the county must implement the action plan for preventing and countering violent extremism.

“These criminal gangs whose membership increases by the day is a ticking time bomb that will explode if no action is taken, particularly as we hit the homestretch to the 2022 General Election,” he said.

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Spurs leave it late to beat Arsenal, Bournemouth boost survival bid

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Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld (R) scored the winner against Arsenal © POOL/AFP / Tim Goode

London, United Kingdom, Jul 12 – Toby Alderweireld gave Tottenham a late 2-1 win over Arsenal as Jose Mourinho’s men climbed above their north London rivals, while Bournemouth kept their survival hopes alive with a chaotic 4-1 victory against Leicester on Sunday.

Mourinho had endured a barrage of criticism as Tottenham slipped out of the race to qualify for the Champions League with just one win in three games.

But thanks to Alderweireld’s winner with nine minutes left, Tottenham took the local bragging rights and got back in contention for a place in next season’s Europa League.

Tottenham are eighth, two points above ninth placed Arsenal and two behind Sheffield United as they try to avoid missing out on European action for the first time since 2009-10.

“We are happy because we made the fans happy, we are happy because we are still in the fight to win a Europa League position,” Mourinho said.

“To be honest, Mikel (Arteta) found a way for them to play, to be stable and to improve. We felt that we should adapt slightly to them and we did it very well.”

In the first north London derby at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead in the 16th minute with a stunning long-range strike.

Arsenal’s lead lasted just three minutes as Sead Kolasinac’s sloppy pass was intercepted by Son Heung-min, who eluded David Luiz before chipping over Emiliano Martinez.

In the 82nd minute, Belgian defender Alderweireld rose above a cluster of Arsenal players to meet Son’s corner and plant his header past Martinez.

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Arsenal could miss out on Europe entirely and boss Arteta said: “We give them a goal again and we concede a set-piece and at this level, you cannot do it.”

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Junior Stanislas started Bournemouth’s fightback against Leicester © POOL/AFP / Glyn KIRK

At Dean Court, Leicester scored after 23 minutes as Jamie Vardy bagged his 23rd league goal of the season to extend his lead in the Golden Boot race.

But Bournemouth were handed a lifeline when Leicester imploded during two minutes of mayhem.

In the 66th minute, Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel booted a goal-kick into Wilfred Ndidi’s back, forcing his team-mate to trip Callum Wilson.

Junior Stanislas stepped up to score the resulting penalty and 101 seconds later Dominic Solanke’s weak shot trickled under Schmeichel’s woeful attempt to save.

Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu sent off for kicking Wilson as he attempted to retrieve the ball from the net after Solanke’s goal.

Bournemouth’s luck was in and Stanislas’s strike went in off Leicester’s Jonny Evans for an 83rd minute own goal before Solanke’s composed finish made it four in the 87th minute.

Bournemouth’s first win in 10 games, a drought stretching back to February 1, moved them to within three points of 17th placed Watford, with three games left for all the teams in the relegation fight.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: “The situation was as bleak as it could be at half-time. But goals always change games.

“It was probably the first time in a long time where we’ve had some luck. We can still survive.”

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Fourth placed Leicester will drop to fifth if Manchester United beat Southampton on Monday, leaving their hopes of Champions League qualification in danger.

“I didn’t see that coming but we are not good enough to get too comfortable. We will finish where we deserve to,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said.

Second bottom Aston Villa also boosted their survival bid with a vital 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.

Dean Smith’s side kicked off at Villa Park languishing seven points from safety, but Egypt winger Trezeguet scored twice to keep them in with a chance of staying up.

Palace striker Christian Benteke was sent off for violent conduct after the final whistle.

Villa’s first win in 11 league games left them four points behind Watford.

Wolves stayed in the Champions League hunt, climbing to sixth place after a 3-0 win against Everton.

Raul Jimenez’s penalty and Leander Dendoncker’s header out Wolves two up before Diogo Jota was gifted the third by keeper Jordan Pickford’s blunder.

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‘Unicorn’ Hamilton bows head, raises fist to celebrate Styrian triumph

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SPIELBERG, Austria, Jul 12Lewis Hamilton raised a podium fist to salute the global anti-racism protests on Sunday as he celebrated his first win this season and the 85th of his career at the Styrian Grand Prix in a performance so dazzling that his Mercedes team boss described him as a “unicorn”.

In a gesture that recalled the action of Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games, Hamilton delivered an image and message that transcended the pre-race muddle offered by his sport when at least four drivers remained standing while others took a knee and some were absent.

For the second consecutive weekend, Hamilton had taken a knee wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt accompanied by others in ‘End Racism’ t-shirts.

However, television coverage of the drivers’ symbolic act of support for his sport’s anti-racism stance lasted only two seconds.

Instead of showing the drivers, the direction switched broadcast attention to a pre-planned aerial demonstration while, with a global audience tuning in, confusion reigned.

Hamilton, the sport’s only black race winner and champion, who had drawn attention to F1’s need for a smarter and more unified demonstration as with football and other sports, was not surprised or perturbed.

Instead, he heaped praise on his Mercedes team –Valtteri Bottas had finished second behind him in a solid one-two – for their on- and off-track excellence as they seek to add to their six-year dominance as champions and focus on developing diversity.

“The easiest thing is to lose focus, to ease up and lose determination,” he said after the race.

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“I don’t see this happening with this team. We are so united.

“You can see this on grid when all the team took a knee. I didn’t see it. I was told just before the race that they were going to do it.

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“It’s not something I asked for, but it was a beautiful thing. It doesn’t take a lot to do and maybe its not changing the world, but it is hopefully changing perceptions and shifting ideals.”

After his masterful demonstration of wet weather driving in Saturday’s rain-hit qualifying session, Hamilton delivered a measured message on Sunday to drive within six wins of Michael Schumacher’s record and make his wider point.

“When he is in that space, he is just unbeatable,” said his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in top-class motor racing. It’s like seeing a unicorn.”

Wolff added that the Mercedes team had all taken a knee, but none wished to judge others who did not.

“The team did it, but I think we have to be non-judgmental. None of the drivers standing are racist. We have to respect each point of view and I don’t want to judge what other people do.”

Hamilton attributed his victory to the team and hard work in preparation following the previous week’s disappointments at the Austrian Grand Prix.

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“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.

“Last weekend was psychologically challenging. To have the penalties and be called to the stewards on the Sunday morning, just before the race, and to get a penalty there and then another one in the race. Its never easy.”

“But there’s nothing you can do about the past. All you can do is focus and channel your energy to the future.”

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Spurs leave it late to beat Arsenal, Villa boost survival bid

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LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 12Toby Alderweireld gave Tottenham a late 2-1 win over Arsenal as Jose Mourinho’s men climbed above their north London rivals, while Aston Villa boosted their Premier League survival hopes with a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Mourinho had endured a barrage of criticism as Tottenham slipped out of the race to qualify for the Champions League with just one win in three games.

But thanks to Alderweireld’s winner with nine minutes left, Tottenham took the local bragging rights and got back in contention for a place in next season’s Europa League.

Tottenham are eighth, two points above ninth placed Arsenal and two behind Sheffield United as they try to avoid missing out on European action for the first time since 2009-10.

“We are happy because we made the fans happy, we are happy because we are still in the fight to win a Europa League position,” Mourinho said.

“To be honest, Mikel (Arteta) found a way for them to play, to be stable and to improve. We felt that we should adapt slightly to them and we did it very well.

“Arsenal had 48 hours more than us to rest, so it was hard but it came from their hearts, this effort, this battle.”

In the first north London derby at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead in the 16th minute with a stunning strike.

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The French striker dispossessed Serge Aurier outside the Spurs area before unleashing an unstoppable effort inside the top near corner of the goal.

Arsenal’s lead lasted just three minutes as Sead Kolasinac’s sloppy pass gifted Son Heung-min the ball.

Son easily eluded David Luiz before chipping over onrushing keeper Emiliano Martinez.

It was the South Korean forward’s 17th goal of the season and his first since the coronavirus hiatus.

In the 82nd minute, Belgian defender Alderweireld rose above a cluster of Arsenal players to meet Son’s corner and plant his header past Martinez.

Aston Villa’s Trezeguet (C) scored twice against Crystal Palace © POOL/AFP / Tim Keeton

At Villa Park, Dean Smith’s side kicked off languishing seven points from safety, but Egypt winger Trezeguet scored twice to keep them in with a chance of avoiding relegation.

Villa’s first win in 11 league games lifted them into 18th, within four points of fourth-from-bottom Watford with three games left.

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Second-bottom Bournemouth will go one point above Villa if they beat Leicester later on Sunday.

“We said to the players, ‘It’s like a semi-final today’. It was the first leg of the semi-final we needed to go and win and we have done that with a good performance,” Smith said.

“We need to give ourselves a big chance. Watford and West Ham play each other next so they both can’t take three points but we have to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully get a result at Everton.”

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Smith’s men got an early stroke of luck when Palace defender Mamadou Sakho had a goal ruled out by VAR for handball

Villa snatched the lead in first half stoppage-time when Conor Hourihane’s free-kick picked out Trezeguet, who side-footed home at the far post.

– Violent conduct –

Trezeguet got Villa’s crucial second goal in the 58th minute, finishing clinically after Hourihane nodded the ball forward.

Palace striker Christian Benteke was sent off for violent conduct after the final whistle.

At Molineux, Wolves stayed in the Champions League hunt with a 3-0 win against woeful Everton.

Raul Jimenez’s penalty and Leander Dendoncker’s header a minute either side of half-time put the game out of Everton’s reach.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had another difficult afternoon, conceding three times at Wolves, including the final goal by Diogo Jota © POOL/AFP / Ben STANSALL

Diogo Jota beat Jordan Pickford at his near post 16 minutes from time to round off another performance that will see the England number one scrutinised.

Victory lifts Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves back ahead of Sheffield United into sixth and within four points of fourth-placed Leicester.

Fifth could also be good enough for the riches of Champions League football next season should Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions fail when the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict is revealed on Monday.

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