There are stories that remain engraved in the mind long after the events have passed.
This year had its fair share of stories that not only made front page news but also sparked conversations online and off the net. Some were bizarre, others evoked sad emotions, brought smiles to faces, and then there are those that left people with many questions still lingering.
Fake gold saga: In May, a phone conversation leaked in what was said to be a negotiation by Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula to supply gold to a Dubai businessman. The man claimed he lost Sh400 million to scammers. Wetang’ula’s name featured prominently in the investigations, but his response was: “I am not aware of what you are talking about, it is a non-issue to me and I don’t want to engage in it,” when he was confronted by the press on whether it is true that he was part of the ring accused of defrauding the businessmen.
Puzzle of the twins: The story of Sharon Mathias, Melon Lutenyo and Mevies Imbaya rolled out like a movie script. That identical twins separated at birth 19 years ago would meet in the most unexpected circumstances, gripped the nation. The three had been born at Kakamega hospital, but it became apparent that there was a mix-up and Sharon got swapped with Mevies during their stay at the hospital. Their reunion was bittersweet, having connected on Facebook and finally deciding to meet. It is the meeting that prompted a DNA test that revealed the resemblance between Sharon and Melon was beyond sheer coincidence. Days have since passed, and life moved on. Mevies and Sharon went back to their biological parents.
Aflatoxin scare: In November, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) issued a list of maize flour brands that had a high level of aflatoxin; a toxic product that causes cancer. Kebs advised that the brands be withdrawn from the market with immediate effect. Some of the millers disputed the sampling methods used and questioned the validity of the tests. Kebs maintained its stand, saying:
“The affected manufacturers will be required to institute corrective actions whose effectiveness shall be confirmed by Kebs before the suspension of permits is lifted.” A few days later, most of the banned brands were back on the shelf and they got the standardisation mark from the regulator.
Prophet Owuor’s scandal: In March, the family of a Nairobi lawyer, Jane Njagi, accused Prophet David Owuor of brainwashing her and stealing her property. They claimed he had charmed her and made her surrender her house. The accusation caused an uproar and sparked the never ending conversation on whether the people who donate in the name of God are coerced and brainwashed into doing it. The story fizzled out and it is not known if the family reclaimed the wealth or it went to the church.
Huduma Namba: It first started with patriotic songs, followed by adverts and finally threats. The government had introduced a new way of registering people for social services in form of ‘Huduma Namba’.
Politicians rallied behind it and people queued to get the number. About Sh6 billion was spent in the process; with a promise that everyone will be issued with a card bearing their details.
The registration officially ended on March 25 but there is nothing to show of it, despite government’s insistence that the cards are being processed. ?Last month, Parliament asked for a forensic audit of the Huduma Namba budget.