Kennedy Thiong’o lay dead in a city morgue for months and was ruled unclaimed, but his family in Kiambu County was unaware. They didn’t even notice an advertisement listing him as one of the bodies to be disposed of by county officials.
Thiong’o was a conductor for Forward Travelers Sacco matatus, which toured the city center. Kayole Route.
Relatives said Thiong’o visited his rural home during the celebrations in December. When he didn’t show up last year, they thought it was because of marital problems. Unfortunately Thiong’o was long dead.
Then there was Frank Obegi. He had come to Nairobi as a student but dropped out of university.
Obegi kept bundles of notes at times and told his parents in Nyamira County that he was selling plane tickets. That was until June 19, when his body and two others were found in a forest in Kijabe.
After the murders, Obegi’s machinations came to light.
His parents got a full blown different image of what Obegi “who had a lot of money” (according to his father, Evans Bowendo) did.
The young men’s stories have sparked debate, particularly on social media.
“Do your parents or relatives know what you are doing in the city?”
Read: Kasarani four: How two families fought over a body in the city morgue
A June 21 Twitter conversations on the subject, started by Kelitu Kaseo, a DJ, brought up many realities of contemporary Kenya, with some posting scenarios of parents coming out openly to their ‘good’ kids after an incident defend without knowing dark secrets were hidden from them.
“Therefore, they are shocked when they learn that their child was killed, especially in theft scandals,” Kadogo Mutamba posted.
“We have our children in very awkward situations.”
Others have criticized parents for abstaining from children distanced, especially from those who were sent to university or college.
The young men and women, some say, rarely get support from home.
In tough economic times, they join shady money-making schemes.
“One problem arises when parents send you to Nairobi and then sit back and be happy that you’re at uni. They don’t call, they don’t send money. You find yourself on the street,” said a Kenyan named Ogechi.
Some students say that none of their relatives even know where they live.
Another user said his Parents don’t know that he works as a security guard.
The young man added that he sends them cash every month.
The conversation also touched on “acceptable” jobs with which some townspeople cover up their crimes.
Online writing, digital marketing or just hustle are terms used to hide the nefarious activities.
Clement Mutuku, student of the Moi university, told the Sunday Nation that he went to the hairdresser’s to raise money for upkeep, but his parents in Machakos County don’t know about it.
“You know, that I’m a student,” Mutuku said, adding that he ventured into the craft in 2018 and faced financial challenges.
Hosea N amachanja, another student in Eldoret, said he has been a freelance journalist for some time, although his parents don’t know about it.
“Writing partly pays for school fees. The rest is pocket money. I’ve been doing this since my freshman year. My father doesn’t know. Whenever he asks, I chuckle it away,” Namachanya said.
“All my mother knows is that sometimes I try to look for money. But even she doesn’t know the exact nature of my work.”
Pastor Joram Okinyi Ndira of the Wi Nyaduong Seventh-day Adventist Church in Migori County says a lack of knowledge about parenting leads to a divide between young ones people and their elderly leads relationships.
“Some parents are careless. What do you expect if you don’t show your child the right way?” asked the pastor.
“And if mother and father don’t work together, the child doesn’t know whose side to stand on. This child will look for a way to settle in, and maybe with friends. These are the ones who will lead him astray.”
The solution, says the pastor, is to have more forums “to teach Kenyans the right way to create family synergy”.
“There should be more education and awareness of the family. Households collapse due to a lack of knowledge. Parents these days don’t even pray with their children in their homes. They are all fixated on the TV,” Pastor Ndira said.
“The country needs education. Let people know where their family members are.”