Touched Kenyans heed Conjestina’s call


NAIROBI, Kenya, September 6- Kenyans came forth in aid of stricken former world middleweight female boxing champion, Conjestina Achieng as the country’s Sports Minister, Dr. Paul Otuoma, absolved Government from blame on Thursday.

The plight of Achieng who is admitted at the Maximum Security Unit ward of Nairobi’s Mathari Mental Hospital mobilised her compatriots from social networks, political circles and entertainment among others to heed her call for help through monetary and material donations.

“She’s in that ward which is meant for patients who are physically violent since she is making too much movement before we move her depending on her progress.

“A consultant doctor saw her this morning (Wednesday) but we are not able to confirm her present condition since he is the only one who has had access to her for now,” a nurse at the institution who declined to be identified told Capital Sport.

This comes as Otuoma, claimed his Ministry could not be held accountable for the downslide of the revered fighter stating the Government had a limit to the extent that they could accord further support to the eminent female pugilist.

“We went out of our way to offer her a job either at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani or Nyayo stadiums besides paying for her earlier medical bill.

“At that time she didn’t take up the job and said she was doing well and could get back to the ring but unfortunately her condition has relapsed,” the minister added having pledged to assist her in January last year when her condition first became critical.

The decision to take ‘Hands of Stone’ for treatment at the facility where she was hospitalised last year was spearheaded by the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga’s spouse Ida and diplomat Yvonne Khamati after her story broke in mainstream and social media.

Kenyans on Twitter (KoT) launched a drive dubbed #ConjeWillBeOk and #KOT4Conje to push for contributions to offset her accumulated rent arrears besides assisting her cater for her daily expenses.

Blogger Robert Alai who is one of the brains behind the effort told Capital Sport that their envisaged target of Sh55,000 had been surpassed as more continued to bring in their contribution to the kitty.

“We have collected about Sh61,000 through the mobile transfer service and still have many pledges from Kenyans who were touched by the condition of the sporting hero.

“At this moment, we are planning to open a bank account that will ease the management of the funds even in the future since she still needs support until she is back on her feet,” he disclosed.

Popular musician, Herbert Nakitare famed as Nonini is reported to have offset her four-month rent arrears while renowned comedian, Daniel Ndambuki also known as Churchill pledged to pay her landlord dues for a whole year as the country’s celebrities joined the campaign.

“Nimejitolea kulipia #Conjestina RENT FOR THE WHOLE YR!.hebu #LETSHelpConje! sasa hivi @michkatami uko mstari wa mbele! Thanks for the story!” Churchill Tweeted.

Her story sparked frenzied debate on public and social media circles with the Government coming for heavy criticism for the handling of the boxer nicknamed ‘Hands of Stone’.

A FaceBook group dubbed Support Conjestina Achieng Former Boxer Get Her Groove Back had 1,227 ‘Likes’ with those posting comments leaving remarks in support of the star with others uploading photos of her glory days.

“We should be happy that everybody is now concerned, the media works. Besides not everyone saw Conje in the state that she is now (so) to some this was breaking news and thus the reaction. At the end of the day any help is better than none!” a post by Man Ng’ash read.

On micro-blogging site Twitter, KoT were in force in support of the female boxing icon who was the first Kenyan woman to win an international bout.

“I am really saddened by what is going on in Conjestina’s life at the moment. My prayers are with her. I hope ur (your) prayers are with her as well,” local artiste Avril Nyambura stated.

“It was so sad for me to see what has become of Conjestina Achieng; I just can’t get it out of my head. Wishing my Dumashi quick recovery,” said Abdulsalam.

Achieng took to the ring in 2000 after graduating through the youth soccer ranks in Nairobi’s Makongeni Estate, inspired by her elder brother who was a member of the national boxing team.

After seven amateur bouts, she made her professional debut in 2002 in Nairobi before she went on to win three international titles at the height of her prowess.