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Daily Nation : February 15th 2014
8 | National News MYTHICAL WATER MASS | Lake Simbi Nyaima came to be as punishment for lack of hospitality Tiny lake that is now home to flamingoes Birds that left the ‘submerged village’ more than three decades ago have returned, attracting more tourists BY ELVIS ONDIEKI @ondiekimogere firstname.lastname@example.org town in Homa Bay County, lies a tiny, smelly lake. Lake Simbi Nyaima or S “the submerged village” has a two-kilometre perimeter. Its sulphur odour will hit your nostrils from miles away. Stinky as it may be, its water is said to work magic on skin infections. “Bathe with it and let it dry up without wiping it off. Your skin will be rid of any disease in a matter of days,” says 62-year-old Samuel Odongo, a resident. That is one of the myths associated with the lake. The water’s medicinal power, Mr Odongo adds, has seen several people visit the lake. “It is very popular especially with the Legio Maria followers. They often come in their tens to fetch the water and take it with them.” But that is not the only thing that attracts people to the lake that has no river flowing into or from it. The myth behind its formation draws curious tourists to the lake believed to have arisen from omewhere between Lake Victoria’s Obari beach and Kendu Bay a downpour that consumed people who chased away an old, shaggy-looking woman. And recently, there came an even bigger tourist attraction—flamingoes. After a hiatus of more than three decades, flamingoes have re-discovered Lake Simbi. Mr Odongo said the birds had deserted the lake for a very long time. Hundreds have now flocked the lake. 6,000 JACOB OWITI | NATION Flamingoes at Lake Simbi Nyaima in Homa Bay County. The birds are said to have migrated from Rift Valley lakes to the region. Onditi, 31. Mrs Emily Okoth, a resi- Number of flamingoes scholars say the tiny lake can host. “Around 1962, there was a sizeable number of them here. But by 1970 they had all left. Only until late last year did they start showing up again,” he said. Mr Erick Onditi, who runs a food kiosk by the lakeside, said the birds attract visitors to the area. “The sound produced as they fly together can only be compared to a helicopter’s. They are beautiful birds in all aspects; I love them,” said Mr Ex-councillor gets 20 years for raping minor A former councillor in Kwale County was yesterday sentenced to 20 years in prison for defiling a 14year-old girl. Nassir Rashid Kilanga who once the civic leader for Ng’ombeni Ward, was found guilty of rape by principal magistrate Elizabeth Usui Macharia. Kilanga was accused of defiling the teenager on November 21, 2010, at Kombani village in Waa location. The prosecution led by inspector Peter Muiruri told the court that the then councillor defiled the girl when she went to his house to watch a movie with his children. The court was also told that Kilanga later called the minor into his bedroom where he defiled her after giving her some money. However, one of his children caught him in the act and raised the alarm after which he was arrested and charged with the offence. Delivering her judgment, the magistrate said the offence was serious and a deterrent sentence was called for. She said the evidence adduced in court had proved the case against beyond any reasonable doubt. The accused was given 14 days to appeal the sentence. (KNA) dent, described them as birds with a most humble way of life. “They are very shy birds that avoid confrontation as much as possible. It is a pity that some people throw stones at them so they can see them fly,” the 27-yearold said. Residents said the popula- tion currently at the lake is a fraction of the birds that were there in November last year. “The ones left are mostly young ones,” Mr Onditi said, adding that the birds in the region leave for a nearby pond around 7am each day before trooping back as the day progresses. A zoologist at the Maseno University explained that flamingoes are very good at detecting where to migrate. “Like most animals, they are guided by a system which humans haven’t fully comprehended. That’s what makes them traverse an over 200- kilometre distance from Rift Valley lakes to this small lake,” explained Mr Philip Ochieng, the university’s chief zoology technologist. Mr Ochieng said the algae found in the salty waters of the lake are the main attraction for the birds, and that they migrate for various reasons. “They fly as far as Tanzania especially when they are in pursuit of a good breeding ground,” he said, adding that a slight change in the acidity of water due to pollution is enough to send the birds away. A study conducted by three scholars from the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology and a Swedish professor indicated that the lake could host several birds under optimal conditions. “It hosts up to 700 white storks in a good year and occasionally up to 6,000 flamingoes,” they said in a paper published online in January on the Journal of Arts and Humanities. The four observed that Lake Simbi Nyaima had a tourism potential that has not been harnessed yet. “There is a great potential for revenue collection if infrastructure and facilities can be improved,” said Dr Patrick Hayombe, Dr Fredrick Odede, Prof Stephen Agong’ and Prof Lena Mossberg. The lake was declared a national sanctuary by the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act that came into effect in January. Despite it having been un- tapped, the Homa Bay County government says it is keen on exploiting its revenue earning potential. “We are coming up with the most viable way of making the lake an income earner and a source of employment for residents,” said Mrs Dorothy Otieno, the county’s Tourism executive secretary. Mother to serve probation for killing baby with sleeping pill BY NATION CORRESPONDENT A woman who killed her month-old baby by giving her a sleeping pill was yesterday placed on probation for three years. Grace Wambui Wangui, 27, Wangui (right) admitted that she gave her baby girl the pill so she can have time to go out on the night of January 11, 2012 at Tipis Maasai Trading Centre. Ms Wangui, a mother of Evidence adduced in court has proved the case against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.” Principal magistrate Elizabeth Usui Macharia three other children, told the court that on that night she breastfed the baby first. She then gave the child a sleeping pill and went out to have fun at around 10pm but when she came back at 4am she found the child dead. “I attempted to wake her up for breastfeeding but she did not. There was no response. I decided to alert my neighbours who confirmed my fears that the baby was indeed dead,” she told a hushed court. She had been charged with murder but the charges were reduced to manslaughter after State Counsel Andrew Omutelema and the defence counsel Wambeyi Makomere consented to the substitution, saying evidence adduced showed the accused did not intend to kill. Nakuru High Court judge, Justice Anyara Emukule said Wangui’s release was necessitated by the need to have her take care of her three other children aged 13, 10 and five. She was told she was free to go home but be under supervision for three years during which she would be counselled on family planning. The court also warned Wangui that she risked being sent to jail if she committed another offence. The judge told Wangui that she must agree to be counselled on the need to plan her family as well as the importance of family planning so she can take care of her mother and her children. SATURDAY NATION February 15, 2014 BRIEFLY KISUMU Legio Maria case splits two courts The Court of Appeal has re- ferred a man claiming to have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to lead the Legio Maria Church to the High Court to pursue his bid to be the Church’s pope. Mr Romanus Ong’ombe and five of his supporters have been in a leadership dispute with three others since 2009. The case has left the High Court and the Court of Appeal split on how it should be handled and concluded. MOMBASA Hawkers owe county Sh40m, says lawyer Mombasa hawkers owe the county government Sh40 million accrued from 2012, a court heard on Thursday. Lawyer William Mogaka for the county government told Mr Justice Edward Muriithi that hawkers have refused to pay the county since 2012, forcing it to evict them. The hawkers, through Micro and Small Enterprise Association of Kenya, have moved to court seeking orders to stop their eviction. NAKURU Three jailed for being in the country illegally Three Ugandan nationals who admitted being in Kenya illegally were jailed for three months each yesterday. Chief Magistrate Samuel Mungai said Edward Sanyu, Julius Musanyi and Richard Asamba were a security threat. The court heard that the three, said to be shoe vendors, were arrested by at the Nakuru CBD on Wednesday without valid documents from the Immigration Department. MACHAKOS Passengers stab driver and take his vehicle Three gangsters yesterday robbed a driver of a car after stabbing him. Confirming the 8.30am robbery, Makindu police chief, Mr Francis Sang, said the driver was delivering the vehicle from Mombasa port to a client in Uganda. He had picked the two women and a man at Manyani. Mr Sang said they attacked the driver after Makindu. He said the hunt for the gang had begun. LAIKIPIA Members vote to move seat of power Laikipia county headquarters will be shifted from Nanyuki to Rumuruti town. This comes after county assembly members adopted a motion seeking to move the seat of county government after a heated debate. Rumuruti is 78km away. Emotions ran high as six members mainly from Laikipia East opposed the motion but 17, including some from Laikipia East, Laikipia West and Laikipia North supported it.
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