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TALES OF COURAGE: A horrific crash shattered my basketball dreams

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By DIANA MUTHEU
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Kennedy Oyando,35,reaped rich rewards from his basketball talent throughout his childhood and his star was on the rise when tragedy struck.

From the time he was in high school at Shimo la Tewa Boys, through to his university years at Makerere , he was on full scholarships courtesy of his exceptional basketball skills.

Kennedy began playing basketball at the age of seven at the Kenya Ports Authority Youth Academy. He continued to play well into his teen years and by the time he was completing Form Four, he was an undisputed basketball champion in the entire coast region.

When he moved to Uganda for his A levels, he played for the Eagles’ Nest, Falcon, Miracle and Najjah basketball clubs as a lead player. He had a promising career in professional basketball.

Unfortunately, his basketball aspiration was cut short by a traumatising road accident that happened in 2006.

Kennedy had just come from basketball practice and decided to board a motorcycle. As they approached a junction, an over speeding truck appeared from nowhere and ran over them.

“The motorbike driver died instantly. My ankles were crashed and I spent 16 months in Mulago hospital, Uganda,” he narrates.

Prior to the accident, Kennedy had applied for a visa to Canada with the hope of playing for one of the basketball clubs there.

The anguish of crushed dreams weighed down on him heavily. He also had to shoulder a hefty bill of about Sh400,000 to cater for his treatment.

Kennedy spent days on end lying on the hospital bills as feelings of anger and helplessness washed over him.

The emotional turmoil and frustration made him quite resentful and he would often hurl insults at the nurses who attended to him at the hospital. He was in a dark hole of hopelessness. He also lost his scholarship at Makerere University since he couldn’t play for the club that had sponsored his education.

“I felt like a loser. I was traumatised and lived in denial for a very long time.”

Once he recovered, his parents urged him to come back home where he would have adequate rest and recuperate fully before going back to the court.

He heeded their advice, packed his bags and returned to Kenya.

“I could not play basketball anymore but my love for the sport did not fade away. After meditating for a while on what to do next, I decided to train other players and nurture their talent in the sport.”

Kennedy began coaching young basketball players from around June 2007. He started with the boys’ basketball team at Shimba Hills High School in Kwale County.

“The boys’ team did well and managed to be number five in the national competitions. I later moved to Mbaraki Girls High School in Mombasa. I introduced basketball to the school, trained the players who managed to clinch position two in their very first competition at the regional level.”

In 2009, Kennedy, formed his first basketball club known as Gorofani Raptures that comprised of players aged below 20.

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During their first Match in Mombasa Basketball League Associations (MBLA), it emerged position three beating 13 other teams that competed in the match. Once again, things were looking up as his career in the sport took a new dimension from a champion player to an award winning basketball coach.

In 2013, Kennedy registered a foundation known as Sports for Education, Entertainment and Development (SEED). This was move was prompted by his desire to give back to the community by nurturing young talents in the field of sports.

Two of his friends joined him in the noble cause and netted sponsors who donated jerseys, balls, cones, bibs and other materials needed by the players.

In addition to nurturing basketball talents, SEED foundation also engages in personal development of the young players and where need arise, sponsors their education.

Since its inception, the foundation has helped 100 students pursue their secondary education and also explore their talent in basketball.

“The students are chosen from various counties in the country. We have managed to provide full scholarship for 80 students. Also, through the programmes children from other countries like Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi have benefitted,” the coach says adding that 18 players were fetched from refugee camps like Kakuma, educated and trained to be professional players.”

“I work closely with coaches in those countries and we have synchronised the programme to be one. We want to help the less fortunate in the society and also inculcate good morals and help young talents get education.”

In 2017, Kennedy, popularly known as coach, formed his second basketball club, Weka Weka warriors which hit the ground running by managing to scoop position 9 out of 22 in the MBLA games in their very first game.

“We are awaiting play-offs starting September 22 which will be happening at KPA gymnasium, Makande,” Kennedy says enthusiastically.

In 2017, a talent scout from USA attended the regional match played by St Georges basketball team at Kenyatta high school, Taita-Taveta and awarded scholarships to four players in the team.

“Currently, six scouts, three from Europe, two from USA and one from Canada are willing to support some of our players.”

CHALLENGES
“Financial constraints are among the major challenge we are facing. We are helping the youth to shun away from bad habits. Both the county and national governments should support us. They should also believe in us because people from other countries are doing so,” points out Kennedy.

Kennedy says that the accident was an opportunity, a closed door that opened a window for many young basketball players.

“It was God’s plan. Maybe I could not have achieved what I have achieved now. We hope to start sports clinic and also start training players as early as four years. The earlier they start training, the better they become.”



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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

Won’t bear fruit

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