The killing of the powerful commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is certain to reignite a debate over presidential war powers.

WASHINGTON — The killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in a drone strike on Friday sharply divided congressional leaders along party lines and reignited a debate over whether Congress should curtail the president’s war powers.

The strike, which the Pentagon said President Trump ordered and was “aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” was a significant escalation in the administration’s pressure campaign against Tehran.

“This particular scenario is one that I’ve thought about for many years and it is one that could very well lead to the type of violence and chaos that we’ve been so desperately trying to keep ourselves out of,” said Representative Andy Kim, Democrat of New Jersey and the former director for Iraq on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council “The coming hours and days will be very important.”

“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement. “But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.”

Republican lawmakers praised the president for the strike, saying that Mr. Trump had brought justice to scores of American military families. United States officials considered General Suleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq war as well as for hostile Iranian activities throughout the Middle East.

“His death presents an opportunity for Iraq to determine its own future free from Iranian control,” said Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “As I have previously warned the Iranian government, they should not mistake our reasonable restraint in response to their previous attacks as a weakness.”

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump had “exercised admirable restraint while setting clear red lines & the consequences for crossing them.”

The Quds, Mr. Rubio tweeted, “are entirely to blame for bringing about the dangerous moment now before us.”

But Democrats worried about the consequences of the strike.

Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, called General Suleimani an “enemy of the United States with American blood on his hands.”

“But the question we’ve grappled with for years in Iraq was how to kill more terrorists than we create,” Mr. Moulton said in a statement. “That’s an open question tonight as we await Iran’s reaction to Donald Trump’s escalation, which could ignite a regional war, with still no strategy from the administration.”

Other lawmakers, like Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, accused Mr. Trump of bringing the nation “to the brink of an illegal war with Iran.”

“Such a reckless escalation of hostilities is likely a violation of Congress’s war-making authority — as well as our basing agreement with Iraq — putting U.S. forces and citizens in danger,” Mr. Udall said in a statement, “and very possibly sinking us into another disastrous war in the Middle East that the American people are not asking for and do not support.”

Mr. Udall, as part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, had fought last year to pass a measure that would have required Mr. Trump to get Congress’s permission before striking Iran. But the resolution, which would have needed Mr. Trump’s signature, was jettisoned by the Senate in June. Another attempt to squeeze the amendment into the National Defense Authorization Act, the must-pass annual defense bill, was stripped out of the final version of the legislation.

Our Kenyan artistes this 2019 have really worked hard to give us amazing music.

This was the year Gengetone came in and the Kenyan youths fell in love with that type of music instantly. In fact, the joke out there is that Gengetone has created more employment than the government.

Now that the year is at the stage of parte after parte, a lot of artistes have been booked for concerts both local and international. KOT have been questioning how many days December has because there are too many concerts.

With that said, a list of what a few popular Kenyan artistes’s are paid has been leaked. What surprised me is that artistes who have been in the game for so many years are getting less pay than all Gengetone artistes.

#Nyokayashaba! Christmas comes early courtesy of Kamene, Kibe, Xtian and Kenyan artistes

Sauti Sol and Nyashinski I must say are a rare kind. Sauti Sol are the highest-paid, almost hitting the million mark and Nyashinski ranks as the highest-paid solo artiste but this does not surprise us. At least we know his wife, Zia Bett will be living it large.

Here is the leaked information on their pay:

Diamond Platnumz has said he will marry Kenyan singer and model Tanasha Donna in 2020.

“We should pray that next year to be my time to get married, Inshallah. All my siblings have already married and I don’t have a reason to keep on postponing,” he told Wasafi media at the weekend.

“I have all the reasons to marry. I have a beautiful wife who has given me a good child. I eat and I have good friends.”

The couple postponed their wedding date from February 14, 2019, to accommodate family members.

‘The wedding was supposed to be on February the 14th but I told Diamond that I can’t do it until my mom is here, and she can’t leave work at the moment,” Tanasha said

The singer gave birth to Diamond’s fourth child, Naseeb Jnr, in October.

Image result for Diamond tells Tanasha

Diamond had also promised to marry Zari Hassan when he was dating her and said theirs would be the best wedding in East Africa.

But on Valentine’s Day 2018, Zari dumped the singer in a long post that was accompanied by a black rose, symbolising dead love.

Taxi-hailing app Bolt has added seven towns to its network as the festive season gains momentum, stepping up competition for its rivals Uber and Little Cab.

 Ola Akinnusi

Bolt, formerly Taxify, is now available in Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Nanyuki, Karatina, Kilifi and Malindi, adding to its earlier network of nine towns.

The company first launched its services in Nairobi in 2016 before entering Mombasa a year later. In June this year, it launched in Thika, Kisumu, and Kakamega and later entered Naivasha, Nakuru, Kitale and Eldoret regions in October.

“We continue to scale up our operations for the benefit of our customers,” said Bolt Kenya Country Manager, Ola Akinnusi.

“Our core business is to provide reliable, safe and affordable transportation services to everyone and we are excited to make travel easier and quicker across the country during this festive season.”

Bolt customers can hail a variety of transport services including taxi, tuk-tuk, and Boda Boda riders. Bolt said its expansion bid is geared towards making urban transportation convenient and affordable to everyone while offering an array of ride-hailing options.

“We continue to serve our customers better and provide viable economic opportunity across the locations we are in. We are humbled to offer Kenyans more choices to move smartly in cities across the country,” said Akinnusi.

Earlier in June, the firm introduced a service that enables company employees to take rides at the expense of the employer, as it moved to diversify its product offering and grow its revenue streams.

The product dubbed Bolt for Business is already available in more than 25 countries and rivals Uber4Business.

It replaces the need for companies to enroll in the services of taxi companies.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha released KCSE results on Wednesday.

A total of 627 students scored A plain up from 315 last year.

Here is a list of the schools with the highest number of As:

  • Kenya High School – 76
  • Kapsebt High School – 49
  • Alliance High School – 48
  • Moi Kabarak – 30
  • Alliance Girls – 27
  • Mary Hill – 25
  • Maseno School – 25
  • Nairobi School – 23
  • Mang’u High School – 23
  • Moi Girls Eldoret – 21

The best student was Tony Waluko, from Kapsabet High School, who scored an A plain of 87.159 points.

Barasa Njeri of Kenya High School scored an A of 87.087 points.

Kaboge Odhiambo from Kapsabet High School got an A of 87.080 points; Anthony Owuor got an A of 87  points; while Natasha Wawira of Kenya High School got an A of 86.9 points.

“The results show massive improvement compared to what has been witnessed in three years. Our teachers are engaging the candidates better. I can, therefore, say there was no leakage,” Magoha said.

Students with A- were 5,796, up from 3,318 in 2018.

The results were announced three days earlier than was the case last year.

A total of  125, 746 students got C+. In 2018, a total of 96,377 students got C+.

A total of 699,745 students sat for this year’s examinations, which were concluded on November 27.

The 14-day marking process started on November 28 and came to an end on December 12.

The marking process was disrupted by protests as markers demanded better pay.

The 2019 KCSE results come three days earlier than 2018 where results were released on December 21.

Last year, Juliet Otieno from Pangani Girls topped KCSE list scoring 87.6 points, closely followed Kaluna James of Maseno School with 87.3 points.

In 2018, male candidates dominated the list of top 100 exam performers.
A total of 26,597 teachers marked this year’s KCSE examination in 20 stations in Nairobi and its environs.
The examination was done in 10,287 centers across the country with a total of 21 cases of examination malpractices being reported and 90 mobile phones being confiscated from candidates during the examination.

Last year, 90,000 candidates scored C+ and above.

 

NASA scientists just discovered a vast region of Mars where water ice sits just an inch below the surface.

It could be the perfect place for astronauts to land , since any crew that touches down on the red planet would have to mine resources there, and water is the most important one. Mars astronauts will need to dig up ice to make drinking water and to create rocket fuel for the journey back to Earth when you break down water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter can be used to make fuel.

“Bringing your own water from Earth would be incredibly expensive,” Sylvain Piqueux, the NASA planetary scientist who led the research, told Business Insider. “Everything that you don’t have to bring with you leaves more room for a science experiment or additional engineering capabilities.”

‘If you bring a rake or a shovel, you could access it’

Piqueux and his team discovered the ice field when they examined data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Odyssey orbiter.

To their surprise, this ice appears to be as little as an inch below the planet’s surface.

“If you bring a rake or a shovel, you could access it. You wouldn’t need to bring heavy equipment to access it,” Piqueux said. “In this case, the surprise was that ice was right there, so shallow.”

Planning for a serious digging operation as part of any space mission requires heavy equipment, which means additional fuel would be needed to for a launch. Plus, digging on Mars isn’t easy, as the InSight lander ‘s heat probe discovered when it started trying to do that in February. The so-called “mole” instrument is supposed to dig 16 feet down, but it only made a few inches of progress before getting stuck.

Then the mole mysteriously popped out of its hole in October. It’s been unable to dig deeper ever since.

NASA found water ice in an unexpected place

Mars has lots of surface water ice at its poles. But those poles aren’t a great place to send astronauts, since they’re freezing cold and shrouded in darkness for half the year.

mars ice capmars ice cap

NASA doesn’t want to land astronauts to a spot near the planet’s equator, either, because it’s too warm for ice to exist. Unlike Earth, Mars doesn’t have a thick enough atmosphere to host liquid water. When ice gets too warm, the water skips the liquid stage altogether and simply evaporates.

But the subsurface ice that Piqueux discovered is in a temperate area that’s just right for astronauts to land.

“Part of the excitement of this work is that we found ice in mid-latitudes,” Piqueux said. “We knew that there was ice potentially at those latitudes from other instruments, but we also thought that it would be located much deeper.”

mars water ice region

Piqueux thinks this ice may have come from an ancient snowfall that was followed by a dust storm, which quickly blanketed the snow. That thin layer of dust could have preserved the frozen water for billions of years.

mars insight mole

Now that NASA researchers have pinpointed this area with plentiful water resources, they can start investigating potential landing sites there. They’ll search for a more specific place that’s safe for humans to land and also offers new opportunities for studying Mars’ surface and potential to host alien life.

“It’s the beginning of putting together those parts of the puzzle for Mars,” Piqueux said.

Your iPhone uses information from your cell service, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS to pinpoint its location, and since you almost always have your phone on you, your location as well. That information can be useful for a lot of things, such as letting others know where you are or finding your phone when it’s lost. Other times, it’s just more information that services and companies collect about you, creating privacy concerns.

The good news is you can tighten your controls so that apps are only accessing your location when it’s necessary.

Toggling your location settings differs from phone to phone, depending on what model of iPhone you have and what version of iOS it’s running. For example, there have been issues with restricting the iPhone 11’s location access, and you’ll need to use the Find My Friends app instead of the Find My app if you’re running iOS 8 through 12. We’ve addressed how to deal with all of that below.

TURNING OFF LOCATION ACCESS FOR SPECIFIC APPS

Location data is useful for some apps (for example, if you want to order food) and necessary for others, like maps or ride-shares. However, if an app asks for your location and you don’t feel it needs the data, you can disable location services for that app. Here’s how to do that.

  • Open Settings
  • Go to “Privacy” > “Location Services”
  • Make sure “Location Services” is switched on
  • Scroll down to find a list of all the apps that enable location services. If you want to limit a specific app’s access to your location data, click on the name of the app.
  • You’ll be able to select between Always, While Using the App, Ask Next Time, and Never. (Some apps may not have all of these choices.)

If you click “While Using the App,” then that app will have access to your location either when it’s open or when it’s in use in the background (denoted by a blue bar at the top of your screen).

For more ways to limit location access, click on “System Services” at the bottom of the “Location Services” screen. Here, you can toggle location access for a number of things, including Wi-Fi, time zone, emergency calls, and Apple News and App Store ads that are relevant to your location.

To check whether your phone is still collecting location data, go down to the very bottom of the “System Services” screen and toggle the switch for “Status Bar Icon.” This will display an arrow at the top of your screen when an app on your phone is accessing your location.

If you want to truly go off the grid, you can disable location services to prevent your phone from collecting any location data at all:

  • Open Settings
  • Go to “Privacy” > “Location Services”
  • Toggle the “Location Services” switch to off

IF YOU HAVE AN IPHONE 11

If you have an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro and have disabled location services for specific apps, you may find that you still sometimes see the arrow. According to Apple, this is because these models use ultra wideband technology, which Apple says is regulated, so the phones use location services to determine if they’re in an area where ultra wideband use is restricted.

The iPhone 11 requests location data when location preferences are set on an app-per-app basis, so switching off location services for your phone overall will stop these location requests since your phone won’t be able to collect any location data.

SHARE YOUR LOCATION WITH INDIVIDUALS (IOS 13)

If you’re walking alone at night or you’re in an Uber by yourself, you might want a friend or family member to know your location in real time. If you have iOS 13 or later, you can use the Find My app to share your location with family and friends.

  • Open “Settings”
  • Go into “Privacy,” and make sure “Location Services” is switched on
  • In the main “Settings” menu, tap on your name at the top
  • Select “Find My”
  • Toggle “Share My Location” so that it’s on
  • Then go to the Find My app. If this is your first time using the app, it will ask you whether you want it to access your location. Choose either to “Allow While Using App,” “Allow Once,” or “Don’t Allow.”
  • Select “People” (you may need to pull the tab up in order to view the window properly)
  • Click the button that says either “Share My Location” or “Start Sharing Location”
  • In the “To:” field, type in either the phone number or name of your friend or family member
  • Tap “Send,” then select either “Share for One Hour,” “Share Until End of Day,” or “Share Indefinitely”

It will then start sharing your location. In order to switch it off, click on your contact’s name in the “Find My” app under “People,” then pull up the tab, scroll down, and click “Stop Sharing My Location” at the bottom. Confirm by clicking on the “Stop Sharing Location” button that pops up.

You can share your location through Messages as well:

  • Open a conversation in Messages
  • Tap on the contact name and then click “Info”
  • This will give you the option to “Send My Location” or to “Share My Location.” If you choose “Send My Location,” it’ll drop a pin on your location and send a link to your contact to view it in Apple’s Maps app. If you click on “Share My Location,” it will give you the option to “Share for One Hour,” “Share Until End of Day,” or “Share Indefinitely.” Click one of those to start sharing.
  • If you want to stop sharing, click “Stop Sharing My Location” where “Share My Location” was. A button labeled “Stop Sharing My Location” will pop up. Click on that.

SHARE YOUR LOCATION USING IOS 12 OR EARLIER

Although you won’t have the Find My app if you’re not using iOS 13, you can still share your location with others by using the Find My Friends app. Find My Friends is automatically installed on iOS 9 through 12, but if you’re running iOS 8, you can download it for free from the App Store. In order to share your location with another person through Find My Friends, that person needs to have Find My Friends set up as well. To share your location:

  • In the Find My Friends app, click “Add Friends.” (If you can’t see the “Add Friends” button, you may need to click on the arrow in the top left corner.)
  • Select which friends you want to add or type their names or email addresses into the “To:” bar
  • Click “Send” or “Done”

To stop sharing your location, click on that person’s name, and then click “Stop Sharing My Location.” Click on “Stop Sharing My Location” when it pops up again.

With 2020 just around the corner, Google is the latest company to take a look back at what was trending over the past year. From Tony Stark to Simone Biles, Google’s 2019 Year in Search video is all about heroes, both imaginary and real — and so many women are highlighted. Get ready to relive Biles’ triple-double, Megan Rapinoe’s winning performance during the World Cup, and more in the inspiring video.

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, the tech giant gave its users a peek at the people, events, and phrases they were searching most in 2019. In this year’s edition of their annual Year in Search video, the focus is on heroes of all shapes and sizes. The video starts with the text: “Throughout history, in times of uncertainty, the world looks for heroes,” before highlighting some of the search phrases that people used to look them up. Unsurprisingly, several film superheroes are highlighted, including Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel from the Avengers franchise, but the real magic of the year came from the real-life heroes who’ve captivated people all over the world — and, inspiringly enough, quite a few of them are women.

Sports lovers might remember 2019 as a year of athletic achievement, and the video recognizes that by showcasing Simone Biles’ history-making triple-double during the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in August (You can see it at the 1:25 mark in the video). The vid also highlights Megan Rapinoe, who co-captained the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to their second consecutive World Cup victory and was recognized as Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsperson of the Year. In addition, the video features Coco Gauff, who beat out her idol Venus Williams at just 15 years old to qualify for Wimbledon. The feat cemented her status as the youngest player ever to do so.

In addition to all of this year’s athletic achievement, 2019’s Year in Search video also applauds the women who captured the world’s attention in the fields of literature, music, and science.

One notable figure is Katie Bouman, the 29-year-old scientist who helped capture the world’s first image of a black hole back in April by developing a ground-breaking algorithm. In addition, author Toni Morrison, who died on Aug. 5, was remembered for her award-winning work, and body-positive, empowering singer Lizzo — who is up for eight Grammy Awards — was searched for by fans more in 2019 than in any other year.

In addition to the amazing women who ruled the year, the video also features heroes who came together during hard times like Hurricane Dorian and the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. Looking back at all the figures who lived up to the word “hero,” 2019 was undoubtedly a year for the books, and it’ll be interesting to see how 2020 will top its predecessor.

Democrats warned that US President Donald Trump was on the verge of dictatorship while Republicans fiercely defended his record at the opening of a stormy, historic debate on impeachment charges Wednesday.

The parties held tightly to diametrically opposed views of Trump as they weighed articles of impeachment at the beginning of a two-day debate. Trump is alleged to have wielded the power of the presidency for personal and political gain by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 US election.

There is little question about the outcome in the House Judiciary Committee: by the end of the week, the majority-Democrat panel is expected to approve the charges and send them to the entire House of Representatives for passage next week.

But lawmakers in the televised hearing appeared focused on speaking to voters, whose sentiment will be crucial if, as expected, Trump goes on trial in the US Senate in January. In a grave voice, Democratic committee chairman Jerry Nadler opened the hearing.”Today we begin consideration of two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump,” he said.

“Taken together, the two articles charge President Trump with placing his private political interests above our national security, above our free and fair elections, and above our ability to hold public officials accountable,” he said.”If the president can first abuse his power and then stonewall all congressional requests for information, Congress cannot fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance against the Executive — and the president becomes a dictator.”

President Donald Trump told a political rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania that the charges against him were “impeachment light”. [AFP]

Doug Collins, the senior Republican on the committee, argued that Democrats have been seeking to impeach Trump ever since he came into office in January 2017, and have no clear cause beyond “abuse of power.”It’s just generic vague statements,” Collins said.”You go home and pick something you don’t like about the president, and there’s your abuse of power.

“This is as much about political expediency as it is anything else, and that should never be an article of impeachment.”

Trump faces becoming only the third president in US history to be impeached and placed on trial in the Senate.
He is accused of pressuring Ukraine for help against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of next year’s national elections, and holding up military aid to the country which it needed to face Russian aggression, unless it did his bidding.

Republicans stick behind Trump

With the committee’s 40 members speaking one by one, alternating by party, Republicans were united in claiming there was no evidence to support the charges.
Jim Jordan said Democrats were simply refighting their 2016 election loss and hated Trump.

“This is about one basic fact: the Democrats have never accepted the will of the American people,” he said. “They don’t like the 63 million people who voted for this president.”But Democrats clung to statements of principles, warning not to let Trump get away with inviting foreign interference in a US election.”Will we hold the president accountable, or will we serve as his accomplices?” asked Hank Johnson.

Most indications are that the Republican majority in the Senate will ultimately protect Trump from conviction and removal. But impeachment could mar his record as president and affect his reelection chances in November 2020. At a political rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, he ridiculed the charges.”Everybody said, ‘This is impeachment light,'” Trump said.”They’re impeaching me and there are no crimes. This has to be a first in history. They’re impeaching me. You know why? Because they want to win an election. And that’s the only way they can do it.”

 

Steven Lacchin grew up a fatherless boy, but he knew some very basic facts about the man who was his father. He knew Lachin, the name on his Kenyan birth certificate, was his dad’s name. He knew that Mario Lacchin abandoned him and his mother.

When he was older, he learned that his father was an Italian missionary priest – and that in leaving, he had chosen the church over his child. What he did not know is that less than 10 kilometers away, another man was on a quest to prove that Mario Lacchin was his father, too.

These two men would find each other thanks to an Associated Press story that appeared on the front page of Kenya’s The Standard. All agreed that they bore a marked resemblance, but they underwent genetic testing to be certain.

Were they indeed half-brothers – sons of the same Father?

The Vatican only publicly admitted this year that it had a problem: Priests were fathering children. And it only acknowledged the problem by revealing that it had crafted internal guidelines to deal with it.

“I don’t know how many children of priests there are in the world, but I know that they are all over the planet,” said Anne-Marie Jarzac, who heads the French group Enfants du Silence (Children of Silence), which recently opened negotiations with French bishops to access church archives so these children of priests can learn their true identities.

Just as clergy sex abuse victims have long suffered the indifference of the Catholic hierarchy, many of these children of priests endure rejection multiple times over: abandoned by their fathers, deprived of their identities and ignored by church superiors when they seek answers or help.

Mario Lacchin presides over a mass at the Restoration Centre Catholic Church in Nairobi [Photo: AP Photo/Brian Inganga]

Steven Lacchin’s lineage was no secret. Members of Mario Lacchin’s order were well aware of it and exerted pressure on him to choose the church over his young family, according to his letters.

His mother, Madeleine, kept a decade worth of correspondence with the priest, as well as meticulous records of her efforts to seek child support from the Consolata leadership and regional bishops after Steven was born June 21, 1980. (Steven Lacchin asked that his mother be identified only by her first name.)

The two had met two years earlier in Nanyuki, about 200 kilometres north of Nairobi, where Madeleine was a school teacher at an all-girls school and Lacchin would celebrate Mass. Madeleine would later tell the Consolata regional superior that she first went to Lacchin with “a spiritual problem,” but that they then eased into a “friendly pastor-parishioner” relationship that grew into love.

On July 28, 1979, Mario Lacchin wrote a birthday card to Madeleine in his neat cursive, promising to spend more time with her and her young daughter from a previous relationship, Josephine, despite the risks their union posed.

“I do really love you with all my heart and body,” he wrote. “You are the only one who is giving me, not only physical satisfaction but a lot more. You are telling me and teaching me how beautiful it is to love and be together no matter the sacrifices we have to make for it.” n

 

Soon after, Madeleine became pregnant. A few months before Steven was born, Lacchin wrote from Rome about meetings he held with the Consolata leadership at the order’s headquarters about his impending fatherhood.

“I had a little trouble in Rome with my superiors,” he wrote Madeleine on March 4, 1980. “It is my impression that nobody is going to help me in the way I would like to go,” he wrote, adding: “How is the baby?”

Steven Lacchin, 39, left, and Gerald Erebon, 30, right, holding Steven’s daughter [Photo: AP Photo/Brian Inganga]

By the end of 1981 – with Steven Lacchin a year old – the priest seemed determined to end his “double life” and devote himself to his family.

“I took courage to meet with my provincial superior about you, about Steven, about my readiness to leave the priesthood,” he wrote. “I want you, and I will fight until I will be with you, Steven and Josephine forever.”

But in that same letter, Lacchin told Madeleine that his superior wasn’t at all on board with the plan. “He told me that he wants to save my priesthood, but I told him that I will never be able to continue in such a life knowing I had a child belong to me,” he wrote.

Lacchin never left the Consolatas. His letters over the following years speak of his order’s “pressure” to remain a priest, as well as his own feelings of “failure” and his apologies for having promised Madeleine “a future which will never come.”

 

While the Vatican was loath in those years to let a priest abandon his vocation, the Consolata’s deputy superior, the Rev James Lengarin, insists that if a priest formally requested to be released from his vows because he had fathered a child, he would have been allowed to go.

By 1985, Madeleine was increasingly unable to care for the children. She was ill and shunned by her devout Catholic family because of her liaison with Lacchin.

Steven Lacchin, 39, shows a copy of his birth certificate [Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis]

Lacchin, then stationed in Uganda, had left 1.7 million Ugandan shillings for her in the Ugandan diocese of Tororo that year (the equivalent at the time of Sh254,250), but in the midst of a civil war, Madeleine couldn’t access the money. Due to the upheaval, the money lost nearly all its value.

Two years later, Madeleine wrote to Lacchin’s superiors seeking financial and bureaucratic help as she increasingly feared for Steven’s future. Who would pay for his education? And the child couldn’t get Kenyan citizenship because his father wasn’t Kenyan; Steven Lacchin’s birth certificate and other identity papers all bore Mario Lacchin’s name.

 

The Consolata’s then-regional superior, the Rev Mario Barbero, replied that he understood Lacchin had left money for Steven’s care in Uganda.

“With this I think that Mario has given some contribution towards meeting the expenses for Steven’s upbringing, though I know that money is not enough to heal psychological wounds and frustrations you had to go through,” Barbero wrote. A year later, Madeleine took her case directly to Lacchin.

“Even as I write, I find it difficult to believe that you, Mario, could turn me into the helpless beggar I am,” she wrote on Jan. 5, 1988.

“I accepted your decision regarding me, and yet I cannot accept your hiding behind the priesthood to refuse to help a child you helped bring into the world,” she wrote. “I do not know what you think he will think of you and of your priesthood and other priests when he grows up and learns how you treated him.”

 

By then, Mario Lacchin had been transferred north and was working at the Consolata mission in Archer’s Post, a onetime trading station in the Northern Rift Valley. There, he met Sabina Losirkale, a young girl in her final year at Gir Gir Primary School who cleaned the Consolata priests’ quarters after classes.

Steven Lacchin, 39, left, meets for the first time with Gerald Erebon, 30, right [Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis]

Impregnated at 16 – before the age of legal consent in Kenya – she would give birth to a boy, Gerald Erebon, on March 12, 1989. He was pale complexioned, unlike his black mother or siblings or the black man he was told was his father.

When Sabina became pregnant, the Consolatas transferred Lacchin out of Archer’s Post, and he vanished from her life. Shortly before her death in 2012, family members say, Sabina told them Lacchin was Gerald’s father. The priest has denied it, and refused to take a paternity test. The order acknowledged nothing.

The AP told Gerald Erebon’s story in October. That article led Steven Lacchin to reach out to Erebon on Facebook.

“I saw your story and I feel for you,” he wrote. “I am letting you know, you are not alone.” Intrigued, but sceptical, Erebon responded. What did the writer want to share? “He is my dad too,” Lacchin replied.

A few days later, the two met in Nairobi. It turns out they are practically neighbours, living in adjacent neighbourhoods along Nairobi’s main Magadi Road. They marvelled at how much they looked alike: two bi-racial men born to black African mothers, soft-spoken and pensive, though Erebon towers over Steven.

 

Awkwardly, they hugged for the first time and looked over the documentation Steven had brought along detailing the years-long relationship between Lacchin and his mother and her efforts to hold him responsible for Steven’s upkeep.

They shared the stories of their lives. Like Erebon, Steven Lacchin was brought up in the church and attended seminary for a time. Steven said he was kicked out once his bishop discovered that his father was a Catholic priest. Eventually, he was able to put himself through law school and now is married with three children.

“I wouldn’t need a DNA to tell these two are brothers,” said Lacchin’s wife, Ruth. “If you look at Mario, you look at Steven, you look at Gerald, it’s one person. It’s one tree. They are brothers!”

Still, they needed to know. The AP arranged for DNA tests.

Steven Lacchin and Gerald Erebon [Photo: AP Photo/Brian Inganga]

Two weeks later, the results were in: The findings were “entirely consistent with a direct male-line biological relationship,” the lab said.

In other words, the men are almost certainly half-brothers, said Darren Griffin, a geneticist at the University of Kent who reviewed the lab results for AP.

“The only thing I can say is welcome to the family!” Lacchin told Erebon, shaking his hand.

“This is eternal,” Lacchin said. “We can’t run away from this. We may go our separate ways, but one thing, you know you have a brother out there.”
Erebon said he had thought he was alone, and having “a relative, a family, someone you can call your own, makes it a bit easier for me now.”

 

Mario Lacchin, who has taken a leave from his parish work in Nairobi to see his Italian relatives, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lengarin, the deputy Consolata superior, said he searched the order’s Nairobi archives in 2018 after Erebon came forward and turned up no information about Erebon or Steven Lacchin. But he acknowledged that he only looked into the two years surrounding Erebon’s 1989 birth, and that the order doesn’t keep complete personnel files.

Mario Lacchin [Photo: AP Photo/Brian Inganga]

He said AP’s enquiry about Steven Lacchin was the first the order in Rome and Nairobi had heard about a possible second son of Mario Lacchin.

But Steven’s mother was in touch with the Consolata superiors in the 1980s. Steven sent letters to Consolata officials in Nairobi in 2010 and 2014, seeking financial assistance (he wanted to buy land to build a home for his family) along with help sorting out his citizenship status.

Getting no response, starting in 2016 he made the same requests of Mario Lacchin’s bishop, Virgilio Pante – like Mario Lacchin, an Italian member of the Consolata order.

Pante responded with an Oct. 14, 2017, text: “You look for something big. My diocese of Maralal now financially is suffering. True. Can I send you now a Christmas gift 25,000?” (In Kenyan shillings, the equivalent of around $250.)

Steven still wants the church’s help in ironing out his Kenyan and Italian citizenship issues; Erebon wants Mario Lacchin to acknowledge his paternity, so the heritage of his own two children can be recognised and they can obtain Italian citizenship.

“It started a very long time ago and our father has to do the right thing, at least once,” Erebon said. “He needs to make it right. And the church should not continue with the cover-up. They should just make this right.”