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UK firm pays £4.6million to settle 85 claims of human rights abuses including ‘rape and murder’ at Kenyan avocado farm which supplied British supermarkets

Guards at Kenyan avocado farm Kakuzi faced claims of human rights abuses

The Kent-based owner of a massive Kenyan avocado farm which supplied British supermarkets until last year has settled claims of human rights abuses with 85 alleged victims for up to £4.6million. Armed security guards working at Kakuzi, a 54-square mile farm north of Nairobi, are accused of committing abuses between 2009 and January 2020. The allegations include that farm guards beat a 28-year-old man accused of stealing avocados to death, raped 10 women and committed dozens of brutal attacks on people in nearby villages. Camellia, which is valued at £180million and has a majority stake in Kakuzi, will spend up to £4.6million on the settlement, including compensation, legal costs and funding schemes for the community. The original claim, lodged in the High Court in London by British law firm Leigh Day, was for 79 alleged victims of human rights abuses. However, Camellia expanded the payout to include those who came forward after the initial lawsuit, including a man maimed by guards.

One of the barristers instructed in the case was Amal Clooney, the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney. Leigh Day believe that guards intentionally and systematically mistreated members of the surrounding communities and physically punished local community members for crossing Kakuzi property. Thirty-four men and women involved in a protest on September 2, 2014 were allegedly violently attacked by Kakuzi’s security guards, including with a rungu (wooden club). A journalist and cameraman reporting on a protest led by children at Gitutu Secondary School in September 2016 were allegedly violently assaulted by Kakuzi’s security guards. The agriculture and engineering firm opened talks with Leigh Day after British supermarkets stopped selling Kakuzi’s avocados following an investigation by the Sunday Times. Swaleth Githinji, who runs human rights organisation Ndula Resource Centre, told the paper: ‘For the victims of human rights abuses this is a big win.’

But he added: ‘The lack of a public apology shows that Camellia and Kakuzi are not committed to the long-term resolution of these issues.’ Daniel Leader, a partner at Leigh Day, told MailOnline: ‘The settlement the parties have reached provides individual compensation for the claimants, who have claimed damages as victims of human rights abuses, but also guarantees a substantial package of additional measures which will help the numerous communities which surround the Kakuzi farm. ‘Most importantly, Kakuzi has agreed to construct three new roads which will significantly improve the ability of local residents to access local public services and amenities. ‘Kakuzi has also agreed to put in place a comprehensive grievance mechanism which will deal with any other human rights complaints in the future and will be subject to independent oversight. ‘The Claimants hope and anticipate that this settlement will lay the foundation for an improved dialogue and relationship between Kakuzi and their communities in the future.’ Camellia pointed to a statement made by Kakuzi last year where it said it was apologising ‘to all the stakeholders about the current circumstances’.

A spokesperson told MailOnline that Kakuzi guards are armed with sticks, not guns – as original reports said. They also said that security guards in that part of Africa are frequently killed as they go about their job. The company added that Leigh Day has agreed ‘not to begin or support’ any other claims over Camellia’s Kenya operations ‘for a substantial period’. In a statement, Camellia said: ‘The settlement is intended not only to resolve the claims themselves, but also to help Kakuzi to strengthen its relations with the local communities and to continue to support the thousands of smallholder farmers who rely on Kakuzi to get their avocados to market. ‘In particular, Kakuzi’s Operational-level Grievance Mechanism (‘OGM’) (which was announced in October 2020) will be developed and implemented, with wide-ranging stakeholder consultation. ‘The companies have reached this resolution because it is the best way of supporting Kakuzi in continuing its long-standing and important work with the communities on and around the Kakuzi farm, which includes comprehensive outreach, CSR and engagement initiatives such as maintaining and supporting local schools, and providing medical facilities for employees and their families, and medical outreach programmes to the local communities.’ – dailymail, London.

Bitcoin hits record as US financial giants embrace cryptocurrency

The bitcoin price hit a record high on Thursday after two major US financial institutions announced new cryptocurrency projects, edging digital assets closer to mainstream use in ordinary purchases and as an investment. Mastercard said on Wednesday that later this year it would begin moving cryptocurrencies directly across its card payments network. Previously, the company had only worked with crypto wallets and exchanges to move funds after they had been converted from digital coins into fiat currency. And on Thursday, BNY Mellon, the custody bank, announced that by the end of the year it would provide custody services for digital assets on the same platform that clients use for traditional securities and cash. The announcements helped to push the price of a single bitcoin above $48,000 for the first time. “Whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies . . . the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world,” Raj Dhamodharan, who leads Mastercard’s digital assets business, wrote on a company blog. Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, may not be moving across Mastercard’s network anytime soon, however. The company said that it would only handle currencies that are stable enough to be a “vehicle for spending” and that as such it would be “focused on fiat-backed stablecoins which we believe have the potential to have greater payment utility”. Blockchain is not pegged to any fiat currency.

Last month Alfred Kelly, chief executive of Mastercard’s rival Visa, said that “as stablecoins or any form of cryptocurrency becomes a real means of exchange, there really should be no reason why we can’t add it to our network”, but that “consumers who have bitcoin are much more interested in holding it than using it to pay for goods and services”. Roman Regelman, chief executive of BNY’s asset servicing business, said an increasing number of institutional investors were interested in cryptocurrency and there was growing regulatory clarity on how these digital assets should be treated. “Imagine a hedge fund that has 10 per cent of its assets in cryptocurrency,” he said. “Today, effectively, they live in two parallel worlds” for purposes of reporting, accounting and analysis, as well as financing their portfolio. “These two worlds do not cross. Our aim is to bring them together for our clients,” he said. Marc Bernegger, a board member at digital asset manager and broker Crypto Finance, said of BNY’s announcement: “I think it is a significant news when the oldest US bank moves into the digital assets space. Having more established banks involved in bitcoin helps the whole industry and lowers the entry barriers” for investors. In November Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said bitcoin could eventually replace gold in investors’ portfolios. – ft.com

Letter from Africa: How the Nairobi Expressway is changing Kenya’s capital

In our series of letters from African journalists, Ismail Einashe considers Kenya’s transport problems, while caught in traffic in the capital. On another hot sticky afternoon in Nairobi, I find myself stuck in yet another hours-long jam in the city’s famously traffic-clogged roads.

But in recent months this situation has become even worse because of the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, injecting a new level of chaos into the capital.

When finished, it will be a 27km (17-mile) highway, some of it elevated, that will connect Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the east of the city to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in the west.

The $550m (£410m) project is set to dramatically change the city’s skyline and is meant to ease traffic flows in and out of the centre of East Africa’s main commercial hub.

Kenyan officials described the expressway as an essential infrastructure project that will spur modernisation. The partially elevated highway was proposed about 10 years ago, but delays meant it was only launched in October by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Yet the speed of its construction is leaving many Nairobians surprised. It already looks like a giant gash through the city and the constant hum of construction noise, lorries whipping up dust and beeping car horns all add to the confusion.

It is being financed and constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – and the Chinese firm will operate the highway under a public-private partnership. This means the four- and six-lane dual carriageway, with 10 interchanges along the route, will not be free to use – drivers will have to reportedly pay a toll of between $2 and $3.

The aim of improving Nairobi’s roads seems like a laudable cause, but some argue it could actually exacerbate the city’s traffic problems and the huge social and economic divide. Most residents use matatus – the private pimped-up minibuses – or boda boda motorbike taxis to travel to and from work.

But questions remain over whether these forms of transport will be able to afford the toll fees to use the highway. It could mean they are left in the jams below the highway as the elite zoom past them above.

Another bone of contention is the environmental impact of the project. Focus internationally has been on Nairobi’s famous fig tree, saved by the president after an outcry. Yet hundreds of other trees are being felled to make way for the new road, and campaigners have little faith that any will be replanted – and it will also mean the permanent loss of some green areas and destruction of bird habitats.

Many see it as a destruction of the legacy of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai , who famously stood up to major government-backed developments in Nairobi.

This highway project is the latest in Kenya’s China-backed infrastructure splurge in recent years. In 2019 I took the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa – a six-hour journey in comfort, though the ticket price and check-in made it feel more akin to a taking a flight.

The $3.2bn Chinese-built and financed railway project was meant to link the coast to the town of Naivasha, 76km north-west of Nairobi, and then on to Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

But this has now been suspended because Kenya failed to secure funding from the Chinese to complete the line. For now construction work is on hold until the finances are sorted out.

Because of the SGR, Kenya is now massively in debt to China, with Chinese loans compromising 21% of its external debts.

It has left some wondering about the wisdom of the Nairobi Expressway. However, no matter the cost to Nairobians, it seems this project will get finished – in fact the Chinese company building it announced it would open six months ahead of schedule – just in time for Kenya’s next presidential elections in 2022. – bbc, London

A KENYAN LADY SURPRISES BITCOIN TRADERS AS SHE BUY A $500,000 (KSHS. 50 MILLION) PACKAGE OF BITCOIN TRADING

Surprises in the Kenyan Bitcoin Traders as Kenyan lady buys a $500,000 (KShs. 50 million) package in Bitcoin Trading in Dubai. The lady was introduced by the Bitcoin Trading Company CEO in an international meeting currently going on in Dubai. The lady will be earning 1 per cent $5,000 (KShs. 500,000) a day for the next 200 days accumulating twice her investment to $1 million. The company’s headquarters is located in USA and has now registered in UK and Kenya. Kenya takes 7th position of Bitcoin investors after UK, Iraq, United States, Nigeria, Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast taking 10th position. Following closely behind is another Kenyan lady who has invested $4,000 in the business. Full story coming up. – Mr. Seed, London

Married At First Sight Australia’s Ning Surat labelled ‘hottest grandmother’ as she welcomes grandchild at 35

Married At First Sight Australia star becomes grandmother at 35 (Picture: Instagram/Nine) Married At First Sight Australia star Ning Surat has become a grandmother at 35 years old. The reality star found fame on season six of MAFS Australia in 2019, which is currently airing on E4 in the UK, and was seen sharing a pretty huge life update with fans on Instagram on Tuesday. Ning revealed she had become a grandmother as her oldest daughter Kia, 17, gave birth to a little girl, prompting her co-star Cyrell Paul to label her the ‘hottest grandma’ as she sent over her well wishes. Alongside a black and white snap of her daughter holding her newborn baby moments after giving birth, Ning announced her family’s exciting news and shared how proud she was of Kia. ‘So very proud of my oldest daughter, who did something I wasn’t able to ever do. Thank you for having me with you to witness the most incredible, beautiful and raw experience called childbirth,’ Ning wrote.

Bitcoin consumes ‘more electricity than Argentina’

Bitcoin uses more electricity annually than the whole of

Argentina, analysis by Cambridge University suggests.

“Mining” for the cryptocurrency is power-hungry, involving heavy computer calculations to verify transactions. Cambridge researchers say it consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year – and is unlikely to fall unless the value of the currency slumps. Critics say electric-car firm Tesla’s decision to invest heavily in Bitcoin undermines its environmental image. The currency’s value hit a record $48,000 (£34,820) this week. following Tesla’s announcement that it had bought about $1.5bn bitcoin and planned to accept it as payment in future. But the rising price offers even more incentive to Bitcoin miners to run more and more machines. And as the price increases, so does the energy consumption, according to Michel Rauchs, researcher at The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, who co-created the online tool that generates these estimates. “It is really by design that Bitcoin consumes that much electricity,” Mr Rauchs told BBC’s Tech Tent podcast. “This is not something that will change in the future unless the Bitcoin price is going to significantly go down.”

Graph of countries and electricity consumption

The online tool has ranked Bitcoin’s electricity consumption above Argentina (121 TWh), the Netherlands (108.8 TWh) and the United Arab Emirates (113.20 TWh) – and it is gradually creeping up on Norway (122.20 TWh). The energy it uses could power all kettles used in the UK for 27 years, it said. However, it also suggests the amount of electricity consumed every year by always-on but inactive home devices in the US alone could power the entire Bitcoin network for a year.

Mining Bitcoin

In order to “mine” Bitcoin, computers – often specialised ones – are connected to the cryptocurrency network. They have the job of verifying transactions made by people who send or receive Bitcoin. This process involves solving puzzles, which, while not integral to verifying movements of the currency, provide a hurdle to ensure no-one fraudulently edits the global record of all transactions. As a reward, miners occasionally receive small amounts of Bitcoin in what is often likened to a lottery.

How do crypto-currencies work?

To increase profits, people often connect large numbers of miners to the network – even entire warehouses full of them. That uses lots of electricity because the computers are more or less constantly working to complete the puzzles. The University of Cambridge tool models the economic lifetime of the world’s Bitcoin miners and assumes that all the Bitcoin mining machines worldwide are working with various efficiencies. Using an average electricity price per kilowatt hour ($0.05) and the energy demands of the Bitcoin network, it is then possible to estimate how much electricity is being consumed at any one time.

Environmental conundrum

“Bitcoin is literally anti-efficient,” David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, explained. “So more efficient mining hardware won’t help – it’ll just be competing against other efficient mining hardware. “This means that Bitcoin’s energy use, and hence its CO2 production, only spirals outwards. “It’s very bad that all this energy is being literally wasted in a lottery. The price of Bitcoin rose rapidly on Monday after Tesla announced its investment. But commentators say the investment clashes with the electric car firm’s previous environmental stance. “Elon Musk has thrown away a lot of Tesla’s good work promoting energy transition,” Mr Gerard said. “This is very bad… I don’t know how he can walk this back effectively. “Tesla got $1.5bn in environmental subsidies in 2020, funded by the taxpayer. “It turned around and spent $1.5bn on Bitcoin, which is mostly mined with electricity from coal. Their subsidy needs to be examined.” A carbon tax on cryptocurrencies could be introduced to balance out some of the negative consumption, Mr Gerard suggested.

Nairobi’s ‘ganja babies’: In Kenya, a puff a day keeps the doctor away

From downtown Kingston to Nairobi’s Eastlands, reggae musicians are unrivalled in their push for legalisation of cannabis. In Jamaica, where reggae music is associated with Rastafarian faith, cannabis, or ganja, is considered sacred and is often referred to as the wisdom weed or holy herb. For decades, top reggae artists have promoted ganja’s medicinal value in their lyrics. In his 1976 title track, Legalise It, the late Peter Tosh said: “We ought to legalise marijuana, yeah… Right here in Jamaica, dem say it cures glaucoma, I man a de bush doctor… Only cure for asthma, I man a de minister (of the herb)…”

‘International herb’

Almost half-a-century later, millions of people around the world are still pushing for legalisation of cannabis, largely due to its healing properties. “Give your children marijuana. Just stop listening to them and pass some smoke to your newborn baby. This is the best advice I have ever received,” says *Sara Majani, 26, a staunch defender of the ‘international herb’. A mother of two, Sara is among a growing community of young women who introduce their children to marijuana as a way of preventing and treating certain illnesses, and to ward off evil spirits.

Where others may shun her advice and would never let her touch their children with a bargepole, Sara only stopped giving her first-born son the herb when he was three years old, now 11. Now, she administers it regularly to her youngest child, who will be turning two this April. Our first encounter with Sara, who sells cosmetics and jewellery in Nairobi’s Eastlands, was by chance. A colleague had visited a friend in an apartment in Nyayo Estate, where she lives.

Sara had an altercation with the caretaker of the block over the holy herb. “I’m sorry, I can’t ignore this anymore,” he told her. It was the second time that the caretaker, a Mr Mwangi, had spied the marijuana smoke coming from her flat. “You need to either call someone to come and pick up that stash (bhang) or I will ask the police to deal with it,” Mwangi warned.

Sara freaked out. “I can’t tell my mum about this. She’ll kill me. Could you tell the police?” she posed, before returning to her smoke-filled house with her children as the caretaker sauntered away, perhaps to call the police. Eight months later, we are in Sara’s apartment. Not for pot, just a chat. Her 10-month old baby clambers to my lap as we settle on a sofa inside the one-bedroom flat that she shares with her sister, husband and her two children.

Medical benefits of bhang

She lights a joint and passes another to one of her friends, who has joined us. The conversation is not about whether or not Sara is addicted to the ‘holy herb’. It isn’t about why she smokes in the presence of an infant. No. It’s about something else. An unconventional treatment and prevention method that, though unproven, shows that marijuana has certain medical benefits to newborn babies.

As the white smoke continues to thicken around the room, Sara hoists her youngest son to her lap. She then blows puffs of marijuana smoke into his nostrils. We fear for the worst. We are concerned that the baby may choke to death, in our presence. My head is spinning, but when I am about to ask her to stop, she loosens the grip around the baby and puts the joint back in her mouth for another drag. The baby falls back onto the couch, choking, genuinely at first but rather playfully afterwards. “Why do you do that?” I ask.

“First-born ‘ndio nilimpulizia sana’. This one hasn’t had as much smoke as the first one because I’ve been quite busy. I used to do this regularly for the first-born. It made him active, increased his appetite and made him sleep easily. You won’t believe this, but my first-born son could walk by the time he was eight months old! He never cried at night like other infants. Everybody loved him; it was easy to leave him with a babysitter when I needed to go to the market,” Sara offers. Sara is a smartly dressed, voluptuous woman who cuts the figure of a person who has risen from the ashes and is trying to establish herself as a productive member of the society. She is struggling to get her jewellery business back on track after she closed it in 2020 following the birth of her son, *Marley. Her makeup and jewelry are what the current generation would refer to as “on fleek”. No, she is not a drug addict and neither is she a pauper.

‘Healing powers’

“I have never seen any negative effects of marijuana since I started using it on my children. Marley is 10 months old, while the first-born is 11 years,” she offers. So, how did she learn about ganja’s healing ‘powers’? The conscious reggae lyrics, or peers?

“I learnt about it by chance. I had my first child when I was 16, so I used to leave him with my mother most of the time. But whenever my mother needed to leave the house, she would leave my baby with my elder brother, who used to spend time with his friends at the shopping centre. That is where the baby was first exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke,” says Sara.

Research into marijuana use is ongoing, but it has proven to be a complex issue with many facets, especially regarding its potential impacts on pregnancy and newborns. Studies of the effects and possible pitfalls of cannabis are available, but the findings are so conflicting that it is impossible to ascertain its safety for children.

But these contradictions haven’t stopped patients from accessing the drug at their own risk. And not young mothers either. According to a report published in January 2019 by Chelsea Burke on the Harvard University website, three large-scale longitudinal studies tracked how maternal cannabis use affected their child’s development.

The Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study surveyed 700 pregnant women who used marijuana in 1978 and has followed about 200 of those children into adulthood. The US-based Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Study has studied 580 children of marijuana users from pregnancy through age 14.

All these studies showed that children of marijuana users were more impulsive and hyperactive, and exhibited behavioral issues, lower IQ scores, and memory problems when compared to children of non-users. These mental health problems persisted through their teenage years, where they were significantly more likely to have attention problems and depression.

Marijuana-exposed children were also almost twice as likely to display delinquent behavior, such as drug use, by the age of 14 and were more than twice as likely to regularly use marijuana and tobacco as adults. But this view runs counter to more recent advice published in journal Pediatrics, which found no problems with use of the drug in pregnancy, while breastfeeding.

An American scientist, Dr Melanie Dreher, is perhaps one of the most prominent researchers who has published findings that show that marijuana use among children and infants is, in fact, good. Dr Dreher, 53, who has studied marijuana use for the last three decades, is the Dean of the University of Iowa’s College of Nursing, and also holds the post of Associate Director for the University’s Department of Nursing and Patient Services.

The Jamaican-American researcher, who spent almost a decade in Jamaica studying how people there used cannabis, makes no claim that cannabis is good for babies, nor does she encourage pregnant women to use it. Though the cannabis-exposed babies scored higher on some measures in her study, it didn’t show that cannabis caused these better scores.

In fact, the mothers who used the most cannabis also had more education, more financial independence, and fewer other children to care for, which likely allowed them to provide a more nourishing environment for their newborns. She says that while it is reassuring that their cannabis use didn’t seem to compromise infant development, it is also possible that subtle effects of cannabis were masked by these advantages.

Dr Dreher has stated several times in public, and including in podcasts like Drug Truth Network and The Medical Pot Guide, that her study findings were being fought by the National Institute on Drug Abuse who allegedly cut off her funding when her results didn’t show problems with cannabis use. “That speaks volumes,” says Dr Wambora Mwangi, a practicing gynecologist and obstetrician. She says the local medical community has not done adequate research on marijuana and its effects.

“Those mothers who expose their babies to marijuana smoke are not discussing it with their obstetric providers or midwives or obstetricians because they know how they will be judged. Yet they are acting based on facts they get anecdotally from friends, relatives and the internet because we have failed to put the facts on the table. Do we even have the facts?” he says. To find out just how prevalent marijuana use by parents on their newborn babies is, we ask Sara to link us up with her supplier. The peddler, *Jemo, lives in South B Estate, Nairobi. Sara convinces him we are “good people out to promote the holy herb”.

“Have a seat please,” he offers as he ushers us into a room full of young men smoking weed. “We want people who can highlight the good things about the herb, not just the bad stuff. Women come here with babies. I call them ganja babies, because their mothers always get them high. I have never seen any side effects. Just wait here. You will soon meet them.”

True to his word, a few minutes later, three young women enter the room with two toddlers in tow. The joint that was making a round across the room gets to one of them, who picks it, then blows marijuana smoke into one of the children’s faces. We take that as our cue.

“How often do you do this?” I pose.

“All the time when I am smoking,” another woman says, lighting a fresh spliff. She hasn’t had any marijuana yet, but her eyes are already bloodshot. As she takes one drag after the other, her pupils transform into slits.

Jemo encourages them to speak freely in a bid “to debunk fake news about the herb”. “I hear it cures measles and if you want the baby to sleep, bhang is the best piriton?” Laughter. A joint that was making a circle across the room gets to a colleague. He takes it and urges the women to tell us more. “That’s what I know. I’m not sure about improving one’s appetite. Maybe it was hard for me to notice but what I am sure about is that it makes babies active and sleep well,” one of the women volunteers. “And funny!” her friend shouts from another corner, before collapsing into her chair in a fit of laughter. She’s in her own world. Almost everyone in the room is high. The conversation gets more interesting.

“I am always around bhang smokers, so it was almost a given that my baby would be exposed to the smoke. We just found it being done. This thing wards off evil spirits. Rastafarians in Jamaica consider the plant holy. They take it as they pray. It is natural, not man-made. So how is it a bad thing? Who controls nature?” the youngest girl in the room poses. Then she continues: “The only negative effects I have witnessed ‘ni kurukaruka tu, kukuwa’ hyper and doing funny things that make everyone in the room laugh. I am yet to see any negative effect of the smoke. As you can see, she is healthy, now at 10 months. She is my first born.”

Next, we move to Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums for a session with a family that believes in ganja’s healing properties. They are all in dreadlocks, including the children. “We are not Rastafarians,” the eldest member of the family, *Maggy, kicks off the meeting. She is the first-born and lives with her two sons, two younger sisters and younger brother. Their mother died in December 2020.

“I mostly used to do it in Mombasa because that is where they believe there are evil spirits hovering about everywhere. Sometimes I administer it to my son by steaming. I’ve been doing it since he was a month old. “To prepare the concoction, you boil the herbs, then pour the water in a basin for steam inhalation. It helps with measles. Whether or not you take the baby for vaccination, there is a chance that he or she will develop measles. But when you give him this, his immunity is strengthened. I have never immunised my son and he has never had any major illness,” says Maggy.

“I was introduced to it by a lady I met in Mombasa. One day, my son was ill and I didn’t have the cash to take him to hospital. He was just a year old and had symptoms of measles; spots on his skin, a fever and his eyes were red. Marijuana smoke worked wonders as the symptoms disappeared immediately. That night, his fever went down, he slept soundly and woke up full of energy.

“The steam inhalation boosts the appetite and immunity. I advise all women to try it. My son was never fussy; always had a good time with babysitters,” she offers. “Right now I can’t give it to him. He will tell his father and that could give him grounds to take him away from me. I can’t try. But my brother’s son is here. He can give you a demonstration.” His brother calls his son to the living room, then gives us an elaborate demonstration. The women say their use of marijuana isn’t based on any scientific research, but on anecdotal evidence from friends and family.

While the effects of other drugs have been studied extensively, the effects of marijuana – especially on babies – are not widely publicised. This relative silence from the scientific community has affected the public’s opinion on the safety of marijuana, as more young people think there is “slight or no risk of harm” to the baby from using marijuana.

Children sometimes start using marijuana even before they are born, as it passes from their mother’s bloodstreams through the placenta and into their bodies. Many expectant mothers get tempted to use marijuana rather than prescription drugs during pregnancy to relieve pain because they feel “natural” or home remedies are a safer option than prescription drugs. Their argument is that if something is “natural”, it is any safer or a better alternative to well-studied prescription drugs.

*Abby, another mother of a ‘marijuana baby’, attributes her son’s good health to the sacred herb. “I used to do it when the baby was three months old. First of all, I like smoking it, so I don’t know why the government keeps saying it is a bad thing. It is only that some people misuse it, but it isn’t a bad thing. It should be legalised.

“It’s a holy herb. I started exposing him to the herb as a way of preventing some of the diseases common with newborns and infants, such as measles. I have spent very little money on medical bills since he was born and I believe the weed really helped him.” – nation.co.ke

Stowaway recovers after flying Kenya to Holland via Stansted in wheel bay

The teenager is thought to have climbed into the Turkish Airlines cargo

flight as it waited to leave Jomo Kenyatta International airport last week

A teenage stowaway has made a “miraculous” recovery after surviving hours in sub-zero temperatures on a 4,800-mile journey inside a jet’s landing gear. The 16-year-old’s extraordinary passage from Kenya to Holland, with stops in Turkey and Britain, was discovered after he fell from the cargo plane on to the runway at Maastricht Aachen airport in Limburg. He was taken to hospital with extreme hypothermia but within days was declared fit and well. “For us, it is a miracle,” Marvin Engh, a spokesman for the Dutch police, said. “Usually when someone stows away like this, they die because of the cold or a lack of oxygen.” An investigation found that the youngster concealed himself on a Turkish Airlines A330 aircraft at Nairobi’s international airport last Wednesday.

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The Times

The Times says the penalty for lying about where one arrived in the UK from

could be up to 10 years in jail or for avoiding quarantine, a £10,000 fine.