Two women who say they were molested in the Netherlands by a convicted Dutch serial paedophile facing similar charges in Kenya confronted their abuser on the streets of Nairobi after flying in this week.
The duo — Eustacia and her cousin Suzana, both 35 (surnames withheld) — arrived on Monday night with the aim of testifying against Hans Vriens Egon Dieter, 66, at the Milimani Law Courts.
But that did not happen, as the case was postponed from Friday this week to April 23, when a decision will be made on defilement charges facing Dieter.
The paedophile was convicted and jailed for two and a half years in the Netherlands after he was found guilty of molesting six minors. At the time, at least 182 complaints were filed against him. Dieter later relocated to Kenya and opened a series of orphanages, where investigators say he continued defiling minors.
“We still have interest in being enjoined in the case so we can testify against him, he should not be free because that is endangering more lives,” Eustacia said.
On Thursday, the duo confronted Mr Diter in Nairobi’s Roysambu estate.
The confrontation was witnessed by this writer and Dutch journalists John Van den Heuvel and Koen Nederhof, who work for Telegraaf.
As soon as the case was highlighted in the Netherlands on Thursday this week, the Netherlands Legal Protection Minister Sander Dekker regretted that Dieter was allowed to run an orphanage in Kenya.
During the confrontation, at first, the suspect dismissed them, saying that he did not know them, but later agreed that he knew them after the women insisted that he had messed up their lives by sexually assaulting them when they were underage girls.
“You messed up our lives and ran away from the Netherlands to come to Kenya and go on with the nasty things that you did to us,” Eustacia told the suspect. Eustacia and her cousin wondered how Dieter is a free man while his victims are still traumatised by his actions.
When he was confronted by the victims, Diter said the current complaints about him were made up, but added that only his lawyer could comment further.
“Let me share with my lawyer about the matter and he will get back to you,” he said as he crossed Thika Road. At Dieter’s Kitui home, the two Dutch women were shocked to see the minors’ “hard life” at Dieter’s orphanage. They said they would do everything to ensure that the children change their lives.
A woman who identified herself as Rachael during the visit to the Kitui home said that she knows Diter as a good man and that it was hard to believe that he had ever molested minors.
“Is it true that he ever did that? He might have done mistakes in the past but all I can say now is that he is a changed man,” she said, adding that the suspect visits the home twice every month. However, she said visitors were not allowed to see the children without permission from Diter.
It is not clear how he left the Netherlands for Kenya, but police say he could have been using a fake passport.
In February this year, after a joint investigation by the Nation and Nairobi News exposed his life in Kenya, the Netherlands House of Representatives asked the Legal Protection minister to temporarily confiscate passports from paedophiles in the country. His first arrest in Kenya on sex-related charges was in 2002, when he was arraigned in court for allegedly defiling three minors aged between 12 and 15 years in Donholm Estate in Nairobi.
He was released on a bond of Sh200,000 but we were unable to obtain details of the determination of the case. The two victims said they tried to closely follow the case with the aim of pinning him down by providing evidence to the Kenyan government but lost track of it.
“We did not hear about him until in November 2018, when we saw an article about his arrest and since then we hatched a plan to ensure that we be part of the case,” said Eustacia.
Diter was later released on a police bond but still faced accusations of defiling three minors aged eight, nine and 10 years in 2016. He would later disappear until November 1, 2018, when the police arrested him at his house in Roysambu estate.
The following day, he was arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts and, according to lead investigator Pazul Aboge who is attached to the Transnational Organised Crime and Child Protection Unit, the suspect duped the children’s mothers that he would sponsor their education in his “school”. The victims said that they immediately started fundraising as soon as they learnt of his arrest.
The Sunday Nation and Nairobi News have also established that Diter on November 21, 2013 fraudulently tried to get money from a Kenyan using a fake US passport and the name Donald McDaniel. But he did not succeed, as the hotel manager reported him to the police, leading to his arrest.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
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.
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.
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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.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
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.
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Drastic life changes affecting mental health
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.
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.
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.