Hours before KTN’s investigative feature into Jacob Juma’s chilling murder aired, the name Cheryl Kitonga did not mean anything to a majority of the Kenyan public.
But as soon as Mohammed Ali’s Kaburi La Wazi was broadcasted on primetime TV, Ms Kitonga was thrust into the limelight as “the young woman who was with Jacob Juma before he died”.
By airing a conversation she had with a taxi driver and revealing her identity, the media house shone a spotlight on the young woman – causing many to brand her an “immoral gold digger”.
As the night wore on, social media users unearthed numerous pictures of her, causing her name and photos to shoot to the top of the trends.
Responding to the social media bashing, prominent media personality Caroline Mutoko criticized Mohamed Ali saying that he unnecessarily and unfairly dragged the young lady through mud.
“You are willing to blur the taxi driver and everything else – but this girl who made a private decision to be with a grown up; that girl you hang out to dry?”
Now a former TV host has added her voice to the discussion, posting a lengthy open letter to Cheryl Kitonga.
Kendi Ashitiva, who used to host KTN’s gospel show Tukuza, sympathised with the Ms Kitonga, stating that she neither condemned nor justified her actions.
Conceding that things must be tough for the young lady following the expose, the mother of one explained that women often have it rougher when sexual scandals are unearthed.
The bubbly TV host extended friendship to the scandalised young lady, taking advantage of the opportunity to give her some much needed hope.
Below is the touching and candid open letter to Cheryl Kitonga.
Hey girl, I know you have been living a complete nightmare for the last few days, with all the nasty jokes, memes and statements against you.
Well you may not know me, so let me introduce myself. My name is Kendi Ashitiva but my friends call me Kendi I am 32 years old well 31 and a half, am a mother, a wife and many other things but that’s not important for now.
Girl I watched in such agony the expose on TV as your name, pictures and what should have been a private conversation between you and an acquaintance (the taxi driver) was splashed all over the screen.
I saw how you became a topic of conversation, scorn and ridicule on social media. God knows what you and your family must have been feeling or going through not to mention Jacobs wife and family.
Well I am not here to defend, accuse or justify anyone. I am here to tell you that you know what girl it’s not the end although you may feel like it is.
We all have skeletons in our closets some more than others, it’s unfortunate that yours got to be told to the whole world with no one wanting to hear your side of the story.
As you know by now, it’s tough when a woman is associated with a sexual scandal; it is an attack to our very core.
Men can do whatever they want my darling but not us, we are called the [expletive]. Again not justifying anything but that’s just how it is my dear.
Monica Lewinsky, as well as many other prominent female leaders in our country, whose names I will not mention had their reputation torn to shreds after being associated with sexual scandals.
Truthfully whatever happens between 2 people in private is never easy to establish, however society will only expose one member of the duo and that’s normally the woman. She is the one who is hung out to dry, she is the slut, she is the dirty one, she is the despicable one.
Notice how every other person’s identity on the expose was protected but yours. I noticed that no one cared to shield your identity but the police; who only referred to you as the female occupant, but your secret was safe but only for a few more hours then all hell broke loose!
The truth is since the days of the bible, women experienced less forgiveness and less grace whenever they fell, especially sexually. The world can be a cruel place for a woman my darling.
Did you know that in the past Jewish men used to pray Lord thank you for not making me a leper, a gentile or a woman. Yeah you heard me a Woman! But thank God for one man who changed the narrative. He changed the narrative for women all over the world!
This man is named Jesus. Jesus understood women, he was kind to women. A woman was brought to him caught in the act of adultery(true story); she was brought by men who wanted to stone her, which was the custom at the time. Jesus on looking at her is recorded to have gone down written on the ground and asked anyone who had no sin to cast the first stone.
The Bible records one by one they walked away dropping their rocks as they went. Jesus again leaned in to her asked her: “Where are your accusers?”
She saw none.
He went ahead and told her: “…neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
Jesus recognized her broken heart, her shame and her guilt, and he being a perfect man/God told her I forgive you. Go and sin no more!
Girl we are all SINNERS, yeah in capital!!! And so I am writing to you and any other woman today who is struggling with guilt and shame to tell you that I and many other women who know him (Jesus) do not condemn you.
More importantly, here is a man who loves you, forgives you, covers you and will never expose you to shame and ridicule.
I know one such man, I met him 16 years ago and he changed my life forever!! And he can change yours too. Love you girl !!!
We are here if you need us.
More grace and healing to the entire Jacob Juma Family.