Kenyan baby arrives home from Thai jail
Relatives of a Kenyan woman serving life in a Thai prison wept with joy when they received her six-month-old baby who was returned home by prison authorities.
Little Sandra Hope Kahonya was oblivious to the emotional welcome she got from her aunt Catherine Ngila and her uncle, Zacharia Ngila who went to receive her at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices.
Little Sandra has for the last six months been living in a Thai jail where she was born on November 5 last year, two months after her mother Nancy Ndungani Kahonya was arrested and jailed for life for attempting to smuggle 3.3 kg of crystal methamphetamine commonly referred to as 'ice' worth Sh31 million (375,000) at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
An administrative attache at the Kenya embassy in Bangkok Millicent Odanga accompanied the baby home and was present when she was handed over to her uncle an aunt. The family declined to be interviewed.
Little Sandra would have automatically become a Thai citizen and would have been put up for adoption if her mother's family had not taken her up before she attained nine months.
The head of Asia and Australasia directorate at the Foreign Affairs ministry John Lanyasunya said the government had to act quickly before the expiry of the nine-month period. “The child was born in prison and we had to act so that her (Kahonya’s) family would secure the child and at the same time the citizenship,” said Lanyasunya. He said discussions were going on to have Kenyans serving long prison terms in foreign countries to be allowed to return and serve their sentences here.
Nancy is suspected to have been a member of a West African-run drug syndicate based in Malaysia. She was found with 55,000 Tanzanian shillings (Sh2,870) and $980. Her Iranian co-accused Arash Lotfipour Varzaghani, 23,was found with 490 grammes of crystal methamphetamine worth Sh4 million (over $50,000).
In October last year, another Kenyan woman was on arrested in the Philippines carrying 3kg of drugs suspected to be amphetamines with a street value of Sh33 million. Asha Apiano Ogutu, 25, is among Kenyans jailed abroad after she was arrested at Cebu Airport in the Philippines.