, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – Kenyans have rallied around former world middleweight champion and Kenya’s most eminent female boxer, Conjestina Achieng following media reports of mental illness and looming eviction from her house.
A social media campaign has started to help Achieng using the hash tag #KOT4Conje and blogger Robert Alai who is collecting the donations tweeted that they had managed to raise Sh55,000 by Wednesday evening.
Members of the public are in unison in their support of the fallen boxing heroine and have called upon the government to make contributions to the donation efforts.
“I don’t think the government is fair because she was very instrumental in promoting boxing among women in Kenya and I think she played a very big role in encouraging women to participate in boxing,” Mount Kenya University Assistant Lecturer Peter Maina said.
“I feel that the government is neglecting her and they should do something about it,” he added.
Conjestina, who took to the ring in 2000 and made her pro debut in 2002 in Nairobi before rising to continental fame and winning numerous awards for Kenya, has been struggling with mental illness that has rendered her incapable of raising money to cater for her rent and basic needs.
Her fortunes plummeted in January last year when she was hospitalised at Nairobi’s Mathari Mental Hospital amid accusations she had sold all her property, destroyed her tools of trade as well as isolating herself from family.
Insurance Agent Rose Wanjiku said that it’s the government’s responsibility to help its citizens.
“The government should help her. She did as proud in the boxing arena and I think the government should step up,” she emphasised.
“It’s our responsibility as a country to take care of our citizens, especially the people making us proud,” she explained.
Conjestina is currently living under the care of her younger sister and is in debt for four months worth of rent in a low-income Nairobi estate.
“I believe that Conjestina is a very strong individual both professionally and on a personal level, so I believe that having been through everything as a boxer, the government should step in and help her recover mentally and going forward,” Actuarial Scientist Vincent Opiyo said.
“I think she should have a career, even if it’s not professional, at least something to keep her busy and keep her going. The situation she is in right now is not worthy of a professional who has represented the country,” he added.