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How the end of first love scarred us

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By SIMON MBURU
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The first love is so deep that the majority of those who have experienced it would have sworn that it would last forever. But more often than not, first love and forever do not mix. Yet, the impact of a first love lingers for years and largely influences the way future relationships are approached. But what goes largely unexplored is how the first love affects men and their future approach to relationships.

As the Saturday Magazine found out this week, first love is one of the most momentous occurrences in a man’s life. Take Ian Orwenjo, a financial market analyst based in Nairobi. He says first love is a stage he would wish every man goes through. “It not only opens a young man’s eyes, but also prepares them for the hardships and realities that will inevitably come with future relationships,” he says.

Ian fell in love for the first time at the age of 23 years. He fell in love after meeting a girl that he swore was the most ideal woman on the face of the earth. “She was beautiful and brilliant. All of my heart’s desires and wishes ended with this woman. And I thought that she fell for me too,” he says. Although Ian was completely in love, his girlfriend’s affection did not run as deep as he imagined. “She fell for me, but this only lasted for some time. I was a poor, hustling young man. I had no stable income and my financial support in the relationship was very minimal. Our dates were always simple,” he says.

Ian says the early days of this relationship were the brightest phase of his life. “Whenever I was with her, my heart was always full of beautiful background romantic soundtracks. She was constantly on my mind, and in those days, it seemed that my life would literally lack meaning if she ever departed,” he says. But his bubble burst after she quickly realised that he was far much broke and poor than he portrayed. She decided to dump him and almost immediately started to see someone else. Ian says that getting dumped by his first love is among the hardest things he has ever dealt with in his life. “I was devastated. I was sure that I would never find another woman like her. Life became meaningless. I couldn’t sleep. I hated myself. The pain was just too much. I begged and arm-twisted her to reconsider her decision to break up with me, but she said she was fed up with my poor state,” he says.

After a three-year struggle, Ian finally healed. “I was 26 when I finally healed and put it all behind me. I made peace with her after I realised that she had opened in me chambers of feelings that I never knew existed in my heart,” he says. Ian realised that love is not as blind as he had believed and that the concept of ‘true love’ and acceptance as he had known it maybe does not exist.

Ian, though, is not the only man who has sustained scars from a first love. But among men who have had very intense and unsuccessful first love experiences, only very few are able to ever completely heal. For example, Elias Nderitu, a systems administrator at a Nairobi-based communications firm says that a man who has been previously heartbroken will today love without reservations at his own peril. “It is a man code: never love with your heart again. There is nothing like a guarantee of eternity in a relationship or the total and constant reciprocation of your affection,” says Elias, 37.

quarter life crisis, stressed man

Many men who have had very intense and unsuccessful first love experiences are not able to ever completely heal. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

He recalls that in his early dating years, he would flood the women he met with affection. He says he was under the illusion that each one he went out with was his soul mate and would reciprocate his desires for love in equal measure. “I couldn’t see it, but this made me look vulnerable, desperate and emotionally induced with a romantic hang over,” he says.

Consequently, most of the women he dated played around with him without any of them expressing an actionable willingness to commit for the long term. “I was severally told that sitoshi mboga with undertones such as ‘You’re not a not man enough … You’re cute but weak … I don’t want to henpeck you!’” he says.

The bottom line was clear. While he thought that he was showing affection, his dates thought that he was at their beck and call. The disappointment he sustained from these rejections turned into bouts of depression, desperation and low self-esteem. The case of Elias aptly resonates with the experience of Benson Kigen, an advocate of the High Court based in Nakuru County.

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Although he did not do multiple dates like Elias, Benson says that he learnt the hard way through an emotional and financial breakdown. “Have you ever loved someone so much that you’d lay your life down for them? That was me when I dated Lizzy 10 years ago. I was 28 at the time. I had neither had sex before nor being told that I was an amazing and lovable guy,” he says. His encounter with love turned him into a romantic zealot. He became overly eager and needy to keep Lizzy. And once Lizzy discovered this, she flipped the goalposts and turned the relationship into her advantage. “I literally became an ATM.

Whenever Lizzy wanted, I was there to give. It did not matter how valueless the needs were. It could be a lunch out with her friends, and I would cough up money just to avoid annoying her,” he says. And since his law career had just taken off, Benson would sometimes find himself borrowing money from family and friends to quench his girlfriend’s financial thirst. To make matters worse, Lizzy started cheating on him. “She did not care to hide it. I could see that she was going out with other men, but I always took her back as long as she said sorry and told me I was a good guy who she wanted to spend her life with,” he says.

But why is the first love so impactful and hard for men to get over? Laura Carpenter, a psychologist and the author of Virginity Lost: An intimate Portrait of First sexual Experiences, says that this is largely because the first romantic engagement is the only time that a person is in love without their heart having been previously broken.

This is echoed by Patrick Musau, a psychologist based in Nairobi. “One of the main reasons why the first love has such an immense impact on men is because they never really perish it. Instead, they print it into their psychs with thorough vividness. Ask any man and he will vividly give you a photographic memory of their first love experience,” he says.

Musau is also quick to point out that the experience of a first love does not always negatively influence a man’s future relations. “It can imprint a disclaimer on the man’s attitude towards future romantic endeavours, but it can also provide key lessons on how love and relationships evolve,” he says.

This resonates with Ian. He says that after the bruises of his first love, he learnt to accept people as they are. “I also learnt that love is not only an emotional feeling. Reason should also be applied. I learnt not to get too much attached to the people I love, or to attempt to own them,” he says. He also says that he understood that nothing lasts forever, and even the most committed relationships can go down simply because people and circumstances change. “Over the period that this had not sunk in, I hatred and despised my ex, and held her in very low regard. But eventually, as I matured, I realised that hate should not be employed. Instead, understanding should be,” he says.

Nevertheless, there are men who will not hold back from getting totally smitten again and going on to show their women that they are head over boots in love. Ignatius Wambua, 40, is one of these men. He says the decision to love completely and openly should boil down to the character of the woman in question. “I once gave out my heart and lost bitterly. And like most men, I was afraid of losing again when I loved next. But this did not stop me from falling completely in love with the woman I married from the moment I saw her,” he says.

Interestingly, Ignatius says that while the experience of the first love can never quite match any other romantic experience, future romantic endeavours ought to be approached from the point of emotional maturity. “In all likelihood, our first love occurred in our younger, experimental ages. Most of us were probably immature and far from ready to fully handle the dynamics of a proper relationship. There will be no sense, subsequently, in having these experiences completely overshadowing future relationships,” he says.

Musau concurs. He says after a first love, there will likely be a germination of self-control in the way future relationships are handled. “Falling in love for the first time is hard and unexpected. The break-up hits you with a thud, like a punch to your gut. You don’t know how to react, and so you absorb all the pain and disappointment. But falling in love again can be better informed and guarded with refined self-control, realistic expectations, and emotional stability,” he says.

“In essence, for some men, the first love reshapes their concept and perception of love.” Nonetheless, Alphonse Wafula, a 33-year-old real estate adviser, sees it differently. He says that men are not romantically expressive. “We don’t crave for love as much as we yearn for respect. We love with our eyes, and in most cases, love is just a means to the end. The first love will always fail men because it attempts to flip this order,” he says.



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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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.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

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