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I won’t pay dowry – vows defiant man

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By GERALD BWISA
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A man who was ordered by a court to pay dowry to his in-laws has vowed he won’t pay and wants the case to begin afresh because he was not involved.

Mr Isaac Sifuna Mukhebi and his father Patrick Bulima were ordered last Thursday by a Kitale court to pay up within seven days. The deadline ended on Wednesday.

In a dramatic twist, Mr Mukhebi told the Sunday Nation that he will not pay the dowry since he no longer stays with his wife Branice Naliaka.

Nevertheless, a Bukusu elder said he was obliged to pay up since the woman had children with him.

Mr Mukhebi said he was not aware of the case. “They have done things behind my back. I only learnt of the ruling through the media,” he said.

Mr Mukhebi, who works in Nairobi, travelled to Kitale last Monday to get the court documents. He denied claims that there was a written agreement as stated by his father-in-law.

“Everything they are saying is untrue since at no time have we sat down as a family,” he explained.

He said he separated with his wife in 2016 because of irreconcilable differences. He had moved on with his life only to be dragged to court without his knowledge.

Mr Mukhebi has written to the court requesting documents for his lawyer to prepare prayers for setting aside the judgment and to have a fresh case.

His father-in-law, Mr Bernard Simiyu Festo, went to court seeking that his in-laws pay him 10 head of cattle, two goats, Sh10,000 for his wife, two blankets, one coat, a godfather hat and gumboots.

Mr Simiyu told the court that in 2013 his daughter, while still in school, got married to Mr Mukhebi at the age of 18 years.

They are currently staying as husband and wife and blessed with two children.

“My daughter, who is now aged 23, disappeared from home only for us to discover that she was staying at Sifuna’s home. This is after I searched for her everywhere,” Mr Simiyu told the court.

He accused Mr Mukhebi and his father of not honouring an agreement to pay part of the dowry.

In the deal signed on September 2016, he said, they agreed to pay two cows but to date they have not.

Resident Magistrate Mary Nyang’ara Osoro found that the plaintiff had proved his case.

“I hold that the first defendant as the father of the groom is indebted to the plaintiff to pay ‘Bukhwe’ dowry”.

She also issued a seven-day warrant to claim any movable property if the dowry will not have been paid.

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Dr Richard Walukano, the Bukusu Council of Elders chairman, said the issue should have been settled at home.

“You only go to court when the two families have totally disagreed. They should have sat down and agreed on the way forward rather than going to court,” Dr Walukano said.

He noted that many people misunderstand the meaning of dowry.

According to Dr Walukano, Bukusu culture demands that whoever takes someone’s daughter should appreciate.

He said. “You do not pay dowry to buy but you pay dowry in appreciation and strengthen the newfound relationship.”

Dr Walukano took issue with Mr Bulima for not notifying the family of his daughter-in-law about his son’s decision to marry.

“We need to do things in the Bukusu cultural way, which states that when a girl comes to stay with somebody, the responsibility of informing the parents rests with the boy’s parents,” he said.

This is done in a process called “Khuila eebarua” (to deliver a letter) which tells the in-laws not to look for their daughter. This was not observed in this case.

Dr Walukano said Mr Mukhebi was obliged to pay the dowry even if his wife left him.

“The woman bore him two children … even if she left him, she is supposed to stay with the children until the legal age and dowry must be paid,” he said.

He urged young men to always seek advice as early as possible. On October 12, 2017, a Bungoma man sued his son-in-law for failing to pay dowry.

Mr Protus Wanyama Mamati was demanding Sh75,000, 13 cows, two goats, two blankets, two bed sheets, one hat, one pair of gumboots and 20 litres of paraffin.

He accused his son in-law, Mr Patrick Wanjala Marango, and his father, Mr Charles Wanjala Marango, of failing to settle dowry in accordance with Bukusu customary law.

Two days later, another man sued the husband of his niece over unpaid Sh279,000 dowry.

Mr Ferdinand Kukali moved to a court in Kimilili accusing Mr Samson Kisamba of failing to settle the bride price according to Bukusu traditions.

He was demanding 13 cows, two goats, a pair of gumboots, a rain coat, a pair of blankets and bed sheets, a hat, a tin of tobacco, father’s allowance of Sh80,000 and mother’s allowance of Sh50,000, totalling Sh279,000.

He said that his niece, Ms Lydia Nekesa Kukali, married Mr Kisamba in 1998 and sired four children.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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