Posts tagged as: county

Jubilee Upper Hand in Trans Nzoia Speaker Race

By Ibrahim Oruko

The race for the Trans Nzoia County Speaker position has narrowed down to a Jubilee affair despite the county’s governor, Patrick Khaemba, being elected on a Ford Kenya ticket.

Mr Khaemba who retained his seat is now caught up in a county assembly dominated by Jubilee Party which has a total of 12 MCAs followed by Ford Kenya with eight, while three MCAs were elected as independents. ANC and ODM have one MCA each.

So far, lawyer Charles Wabwoba and Kwanza constituency parliamentary aspirant loser Joshua Werunga have emerged as the only aspirants for the Speaker position and they are affiliated to the Jubilee Party.

ELECTIONS

Whereas Mr Wabwoba has been campaigning for the seat for over one year now, Mr Werunga is a new entrant into the race after he lost in the parliamentary elections.

Candidates interested in the seat and are affiliated to National Super Alliance include current Speaker David Sifuna, who vied as an independent candidate for the Trans Nzoia Senator seat but lost and County Assembly lawyer Katama Ngeywa.

Others are Trans Nzoia Public Service Board Secretary Clare Namenge, former Bikeke Girls’ Principal Susan Murumba, Mr Nathaniel Tum, Mr Andrew Wanyonyi and lawyer Nick Biketi.

Lawyer Biketi unsuccessfully vied for Kwanza MP seat.

According to political analysts, tribe might also be a factor in determining the next Speaker.

Mr Wabwoba is banking on his close relationships with the MCAS and his experience in legislative drafting and policy formulation as key in his quest for the position.

CORRUPTION

“I represented pro bono the MCAs, who were accused of corruption in court and also most of those who filed petitions both with the political parties tribunal and IEBC during nominations,” he said.

In early this year, 38 MCAs, the Speaker Mr Sifuna and Clerk of the Trans Nzoia County Assembly were arrested over corruption allegations of obtaining illegal imprests.

Whereas Mr Werunga is counting on his experience having also at one time served as a Mayor of Kitale Town Council, Mr Wabwoba accuses him of having no understanding of legal issues.

“Knowledge of legal issues will go a long way in guiding MCAs in effectively carrying out their legislative mandate. I will use my experience as a lawyer to guide the MCAs and put the county government of check,” Mr Wabwoba said.

So far, the Jubilee MCAs are working together with the independent MCAs in an effort to win the Speaker seat.

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Kiraitu Suspends Senior County Staff

By Isabel Githae and David Muchui

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has suspended senior county employees to pave way for financial and human resource audit.

Those affected are the county secretary, County Executive Committee (CECs) members, chief officers as well as sub-county, ward and town administrators.

Mr Murungi said a financial audit will be conducted by the Auditor-General and those found culpable punished.

The chairman of the County public service Board Patrick Gichunge and a member Francis Kithure were also suspended pending investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

GHOST WORKERS

The governor said the human resource audit is meant to flush out ghost workers from the payroll.

“We know there are ghost workers in the county. The former regime has also been paying Sh15million to casual workers every month, which is questionable. There are 5,000 casual workers yet the county has enough staff,” Mr Murungi said.

However, the Governor clarified that the officers who pass the audit will be retained in his government.

“To enable us achieve an efficient, clean and effective civil service, we have decided to send them on indefinite leave with immediate effect to allow for the said financial and human resource audits to be carried out,” he said.

ABUSE OF OFFICE

He added “Our government has decided to carry the audit to establish the status of the county affairs and remove any rot in the system,”

The county boss, who was flanked by members of the clergy said the measures would ensure an effective and efficient public service.

“It is our intention to make Meru one of the best governed counties in Kenya. We shall do our best to deliver our promise to make Meru great. We want to ensure that Meru has a clean, efficient and effective civil service which will deliver on this promise,” said Mr Murungi.

The county boss said despite the two members of the County Public Service Board facing charges of abuse of office, former Governor Peter Munya had refused to suspend them.

“Our government will not tolerate this blatant impunity and disobedience of the law. I have therefore suspended him and the other member with immediate effect pending outcome of their court cases,” he said.

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Kenya Set for New Malaria Drug Trials

Photo: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier/IFRC

(file photo).

By Elizabeth Merab

Kenya is among nine countries across Africa and Asia where clinical trials will be conducted for a new anti-malarial drug.

Developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, alongside Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), the new medicine – known as KAF156 – is aimed at dealing with the tough-to-treat drug-resistant malaria.

Clinical trials have already begun at one centre in Mali. This will be followed by trials at 16 additional centres, some in Kenya, over the next couple of months.

EFFICACY

Initial tests suggest that KAF156 has the potential to rapidly clear malaria infection, including resistant strains, as well as block transmission of the mosquito-borne parasite.

“To build on the gains made against malaria since the turn of the century, we need new medicines that are effective across all types of resistance patterns and geographies, and that are easy to administer, especially to children,” Dr David Reddy, the chief executive officer of MMV, said.

The first centre in the country will be set up in Siaya County, with the first patient expected at the site by December 4.

INNOVATION

Another centre will be established in Kisumu County and the first patient will be enrolled on March 27, 2018.

“Developing new anti-malarial medicines is critical to achieving malaria elimination.

“Innovative science continues to be our best weapon against the disease,” Dr Vas Narasimhan, global head of drug development and chief medical officer at Novartis, said.

KAF156 belongs to a new class of anti-malarial compounds called imidazolopiperazines.

THERAPIES

The drug is designed to be used in combination with an improved formulation of the existing anti-malarial lumefantrine.

The World Health Organization recommends five different artemisinin-based combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

In Kenya, the Ministry of Health only recommends Coartem (artemether-lumefantrine) as the drug that can be dispensed at public health institutions.

Early this month, the government announced that it is setting up an online portal to track drug resistance in the country.

ANTIBIOTICS

The platform, dubbed Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System, will enable the Health ministry to collect data on different types of bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics used for treating the ailments they cause.

The information captured by this system – currently in the final stages of completion – will also provide an insight into commonly used antibiotics that are no longer effective in disease control.

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‘Life of Key Witness in Poll Petition Case in Danger’

By Charles Wanyoro

A key witness in National Super Alliance (Nasa) election petition has claimed that his life is in danger.

Mr Moses Wamuru, the Embu County ODM chairman who also served as the Nasa county coordinator in August 8 General Elections, on Tuesday said unknown people were trailing him.

SUMMONS

Speaking to the media in Embu town, the visibly shaken official said fellow party agents were also being summoned to the local Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission offices in what he claimed was “a move to amend Forms 34A”, a claim IEBC denies.

Mr Wamuru is one of the key witnesses in the Nasa petition against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win and has recorded a statement and sworn an affidavit on alleged election irregularities.

He said he was being intimidated due to his stand on the just concluded poll, where he claimed he witnessed several irregularities at various polling stations in the county.

“I do not feel secure. In the last three days I have noticed people trailing me. I have been receiving information from very close friends in places that I frequent. I have visited several entertainment joints and people have told me I am not safe there,” said Mr Wamuru.

IRREGULARITIES

“However, I am not cowed… any amount of intimidation cannot change what has been written. Those who feel aggrieved by my revealing of the truth, must wait to prove their innocence in a court of law.”

He said Nasa agents were being harassed and frustrated on voting day and thus did not witness most of the voting and vote tallying process.

“We didn’t witness voting in various stations since many of the agents were chased away,” he claimed.

Asked whether they signed results forms, he said: “You never expected us to sign since our agents were not there. Many of our agents are calling me and saying they have been called by various returning officers to go and help them sign forms 34A. Any form being signed now is suspicious because the work of agents ended on the Election Day.”

Mr Wamuru cited Ngurueri polling station in Kianjokoma where he claims the presidential ballot papers got finished before others but voting went on.

IEBC DENIES

In his affidavit, Mr Wamuru has also named Karurumo polling centre where he claims people were handed multiple presidential ballot papers.

Poll irregularities, he claims, were also witnessed at Kiangungi polling station.

Embu County IEBC coordinator Dan Lenarum denied that his office had summoned Nasa agents.

He said they were only in contact with presiding officers who would be part of IEBC’s defence team.

“We have not talked to any party agents. The people we have called are presiding officers and they are part of our defence,” he told the Nation on phone.

And when sked whether he had recorded a statement with police on the threats, Mr Wamuru said he has no confidence in them, claiming they were among those who blocked Nasa agents from polling stations.

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Kenyatta Commends Kenyans for Electing More Women Into Political Leadership

Bomet — President Uhuru Kenyatta has commended Kenyans for voting in more women into political positions, saying this is a sign of a progressive democracy.

He said with the election of three women governors – two on a Jubilee party ticket – and three women senators as well as several Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of County Assembly (MCAs), Kenya is on the right track towards its all-inclusive development quest.

The President, who spoke Tuesday during the inauguration of new Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, commended the residents for electing progressive leaders who are ready to work with the national Government to advance the transformation agenda. Also sworn-in was the Bomet Deputy Governor Hillary Barchok.

“I want to thank Kenyans, and especially Jubilee supporters, for choosing women to take up political leadership,” said President Kenyatta.

He said with Jubilee having majority elected governors, senators, MPs and MCAs, it is clear that Kenyans chose the party to take the country forward.

“Jubilee has 27 governors, 28 senators, 31 women representatives, 170 MPs and majority MCAs. With majority at all levels, it is clear that Jubilee took the victory,” said the President.

He said although it is the right for the Opposition to go to court, it would have been wiser for them to concede defeat and allow Kenyans to continue with their development agenda.

The President called on NASA leader Raila Odinga to follow the example of his co-principal Isaac Ruto who has conceded defeat and pledged to support the new governor in developing Bomet County.

“We are waiting for the Supreme Court decision but he (Raila) should have been a gentleman like his co-principal Isaac Ruto so that Kenyans can continue with their nation-building activities uninterrupted,” said President Kenyatta.

He pointed out that leadership is not about competition but rather service delivery to the citizenry and urged the incoming county governments to partner with the National Government in delivering quality service to Kenyans.

Speaking after taking oath of office, Governor Laboso said devolution did not intend to create competition and enmity between the national and county governments but rather a relationship based on cooperation and mutual engagement for the benefit of citizens.

“I give you my promise that I shall steer our county away from the tumultuous waters of perennial controversy to the calm waters of consultation with fellow leaders and working in harmony with the national Government for the benefit of our people,” said Governor Laboso.

While pledging to provide servant-leadership, Governor Laboso pointed out that the position of governor was not created so as to have people who will lord it over citizens but rather to facilitate delivery of timely and quality service.

“Our people aspired to hire a servant who would lead them in decision making, and determining how their resources would be allocated. I give you my promise that I shall be a servant-leader,” she said.

She said as a firm believer in law and legal instituted institutions, she would work closely with elected leaders to ensure service delivery to Bomet residents.

“We shall truthfully adhere to the law and spirit of public participation in decision making and ensure equitable distribution of resources in all wards,” said Governor Laboso.

The new Bomet Governor said in accordance to her seven-point plan manifesto, her administration will improve crop and dairy production, source markets for agricultural products and build strong cooperative societies to make agriculture a productive, attractive and profitable enterprise.

“We shall solve perennial water problems once and for all by putting up high volume tanks in every ward and work with the national Government to fast track completion of the Bosto water project,” said the new Governor.

She also pledged to work to improve the county road network and partner with the national Government to not only complete all ongoing road tarmacking projects but also initiate new ones.

“We shall ensure there is at least one dispensary per sub-location and one health centre per ward with improved maternal and child care services and upgrade medical facilities including Kapkoros, Tegat, Sigor, Sotik, Koiwa, Cheptalal and Bomet town health centres,” said the Bomet Governor.

Governor Laboso further said her administration will establish well-equipped Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) in every public primary school in Bomet besides equipping all technical and vocational training institutes to enhance basic training for artisans and expanding infrastructure for the Bomet University.

Other speakers included outgoing Governor Ruto and Elgeyo/Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

Senator Murkomen challenged NASA leaders to wait and respect the Supreme Court verdict on the election.

Liberia: ACDI/Voca Smallholder Oil Palm Project Supports Closes Projects in Liberia

By Marcus Malayea

The Chief of Party (CoP) of the ACDI-VOCA Smallholder Oil Palm Project Supports (SHOPS ll) Mr. Yarkpazuo Kolva has disclosed that his organization is closing its projects in Liberia.

ACDI/VOCA is an international development nonprofit organization based in the United States whose primary goal is to promote economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice.

Making the disclosure at the Agriculture Coordinating Meeting at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Mr. Kolva informed the meeting that SHOPS ll operated in six counties, namely: Bong, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Nimba and rural Monsterrado counties, with different farming groups. .

Giving the overview of the project, Mr. Kolva explained that the duration of the SHOPS ll program was thirty months (Feb. 1, 2015 thru Aug. 31, 2017) with the overall cost of US$ 3,329,799.00 with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

He told the gathering that the overall goals and objectives of the project are to strengthen Liberia’s smallholder oil palm sector, contribute toward agricultural growth, reduce rural poverty, and decrease deforestation activities resulting from smallholder oil palm expansion.

At the meeting, Kolva conducted a power point presentation, the essence of which, he said was to provide an update of SHOPS-II activities and achievements to the Bong County Agriculture Coordinating meeting, to show Partners and Farmer Groups where oil palm production and processing services can be located and sought to link the County Agriculture Coordinator (CAC) and Oil Palm farmers.

He said his organization operated in four components which include, Production: Nursery operations & Out- growers Plantation Schemes; Processing: Freedom Mills (FMs) Fabrication Trainings & FM Demonstrations (palm nut & kernel oil processors); Marketing: Improving market and trade capacity of oil palm; and Enable Business Environment: Improve smallholder oil palm sector business enabling environment and support functions.

“As a catalyst, we work with diverse actors to empower people in the developing world to lead healthy, dignified lives” Mr. Kolva emphasized.

He indicated that 45 nursery operators were trained to produce 200,000 improved pre-germinated oil palm seedlings sustainably; at least 125,000 seedlings were produced and sold by nursery operators and planted by 500 producers; promote farmers access to oil palm process technologies in 80 communities and trained seven garages on manufacturing oil palm processing equipment.

He said SHOPS ll created jobs from commercial Nursery Operators, manufacturing and sales of processors; private sector investment in agriculture (cost sharing) production of seedlings and purchase of equipment and improved livelihood of farmers and value chain actors (Income generation).

The SHOPS ll CoP named the lack of local source of Tenera oil palm seedlings, as well as low financial capacity of producers & processors to purchase improved oil palm seedlings, freedom mills and other technologies, as some of the challenges facing the farmers. He also said value added enterprises and banks are reluctant to lend to smallholder farmers.

For their part, the farmers lauded ACDI/VOCA SHOPS ll project and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the funding and knowledge and maintained that the oil palm farms have served as means toward economic recovery for some of them and expressed regret over the closure of the ACDI/VOCA SHOPS ll program in the country.

Liberia: LDC Challenges GOL, Others to Fight Diabetes

By Omari Jackson

“Diabetes is a serious disease which can be delayed and prevented for any sufferer to enjoy better health in the long run,” Momoh said.

The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, an insidious killer disease that claims lives worldwide, should be the concern of every Liberian, including the government agency responsible for the health of the people, the Ministry of Health.

That was a statement by Mr. James Momoh, the chief executive officer of the Liberia Diabetes Center (LDC), when he spoke to journalists in an interview yesterday on Front Street in Monrovia. Mr. Momoh, who resides in the United States, is in the country to promote diabetes awareness and prevention. He said, the LDC, established nearly two years ago, is determined to provide enough education to Liberians so that they can use the center to check their blood sugar levels, as well as receive other nutrients and vitamins that would help boost their immune systems against other diseases.

Momoh regretted that the lack of information on diabetes, adding that poor management of the condition has led to many Liberians suffering blindness and impotence, while others have had their legs amputated. “Diabetes is a serious disease which can be delayed and prevented for any sufferer to enjoy better health in the long run,” Momoh said.

He explained that the Liberia Diabetes Center has programs that diabetics can use to minimize and even control the disease, but said that can only be done if people check their sugar levels to know their status.

The LDC is using a holistic approach to help diabetics to comfortably manage the disease, said Momoh. “The center also provides other support, including checking blood pressure, evaluating the heart, as well as checking oxygen level,” he said.

Of the three types of diabetes Momoh noted that Type 1 is the most dangerous, because it is inherited from birth. He explained further that Type 2 is prevalent in Liberia, and comes as people age and because of poor eating habits. Momoh said Type 3 Diabetes is mainly found in pregnant women; and therefore, it is important that pregnant women check their sugar levels to know their status.

Among the steps people can take to improve their eating habits is to cut down on consuming soft drinks, energy drinks and juices by increasing their intakes of water and calorie-free drinks, and doing physical exercise, said Momoh. “We must also use a small amount of oil for cooking and people must eat plant-based proteins like beans instead of meat and chicken. These and other programs at the center are meant to increase an individual’s activity to delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes,” he said.

He warned that if diabetes is poorly managed it can lead to serious complications, including eye, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, nerve damage, amputation, pregnancy complications and impotence. “The good news is that we can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes through a healthy lifestyle by changing our diet, increasing our level of physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight,”advised Momoh. He announced a vigorous campaign, using the services of volunteers, to create awareness on diabetes and its prevention in the coming weeks, “first as a pilot project in Montserrado County and gradually to other counties.”

Liberia

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Lupita Pens Heartfelt Message to Dad After Swearing In

By Naira Habib

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has penned a heartfelt message to her father after he was sworn in as the second Governor of Kisumu County.

Prof Anyang Nyong’o was among governors who took oath of office on Monday in their respective counties across the country.

However, his famous daughter was unable to attend his swearing in ceremony that was held at the Kenyatta Sports Ground in Kisumu.

But in a Facebook post, Lupita acknowledged his father’s efforts in politics, recollecting on things her father taught her during the years, and wishing him the best as he embarks on his new journey.”

You are smart: I took this to mean both that I was dressed well (We Kenyans say smart for well-dressed), but also that I was intelligent. It always made me feel special and valuable, wrote Lupita.

You can do anything: Daddy never EVER made me feel limited by my gender. He supported me when I did things that my society thought un-ladylike, like whistling, dressing like Kriss Kross, and even climbing trees in my adulthood. He was my first example of what feminism looks like on a man.

Kenya

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Three Outgoing Governors Pledge to Support Successors

By Hilda Anyango, Steve Njuguna and Waikwa Maina

Former governors Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), Waithaka Mwangi (Nyandarua) and Joshua Irungu (Laikipia) have pledged their support for their successors who have been sworn into office Monday.

Mr Mbugua, who attended the inauguration ceremony of Mr Lee Kinyanjui at the Nakuru ASK grounds, however, told his successor to learn from his government’s mistakes and build on its successes.

“We may have made mistakes as the first county government. Let our mistakes be a learning point so that you don’t repeat them. Don’t follow the same route,” he said.

“The little good things that the first county government of Nakuru did, build on them, let’s build on them,” the former governor said, adding that there was not a single problem that was his own but of Nakuru residents.

“Please if you find the foundation firm, build on it,” he urged the new governor, saying he had the best interests of Nakuru people at heart and would join hands with his successor and support him on his new journey in office.

NYANDARUA

In Nyandarua, Mr Mwangi congratulated Governor Francis Kimemia’s win but told him not to celebrate yet saying many challenges await him.

He told the governor to humble himself.

“We expect you to serve with humility, do not isolate yourself from the people,” he advised.

He said he was not bitter with his successor and he had conceded defeat.

“I am not bitter today. Wanjiku decided it is you. I conceded and I wish you well,” he said, adding that he was proud of his achievements in the health and infrastructure sectors.

“Nyandarua had nothing when I became governor,” he said.

Earlier, he had bitterly complained over what he called protocol hitches that kept him waiting in his office from 8am.

UNITY CALL

In Nakuru, Mr Mbugua also had a word of advice for the new governor, stating that it would be very important for the new county assembly and the executive to work together.

He said he will now take the role of an elder and will support the new governor from the backseat.

Local leaders, led by the Senator-elect Ms Susan Kihika pledged their support for Governor Kinyanjui and urged him to maintain the peace that the cosmopolitan county has enjoyed under Mr Mbugua’s administration.

Some of the MPs present included Mr Samuel Arama (Nakuru West), Mr Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Mr Francis Kimani (Molo), Mr David Gikaria (Nakuru East), Ms Martha Wangari (Gilgil) and Ms Jane Kihara (Naivasha).

LAIKIPIA

In Laikipia, Mr Irungu told his supporters to accept defeat and move on, stating that the campaign season was over and it was Mr Ndiritu Muriithi’s time.

He pledged his support to his successor.

“As I pass the mantle of governorship, I will support you in running the county. I will still be there to serve Laikipians and Kenyans in [any] other capacity that God will provide,” the outgoing governor said at Nanyuki Municipal Stadium in Laikipia East where the inauguration ceremony took place.

“The campaign season came to a dead end some weeks ago and it was not our time. It was Mr Muriithi’s time so let us accept the reality and move on,” said the outgoing governor.

PEACE CALL

Mr Irungu congratulated his successor and urged him to unite both camps for peace and cohesion in the county.

“I know that Mr Muriithi will serve the people equally not withstanding their political affiliations to ensure that peace prevails in the county,” he stated.

Justice Alfred Mabeya and Nanyuki Chief Magistrate Lucy Mutai presided over Mr Mutiithi’s and his deputy John Mwaniki’s oath taking ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by elected leaders in the just concluded elections, among them John Kinyua (Senator), Catherine Waruguru (Women Rep), MPs Mr Patrick Mariru (Laikipia West), Mrs Sarah Lekorere (Laikipia North) and Mr Mohamed Deddy (Laikipia East).

NCIC chairman Francis Ole Kaparo and Laikipia County Commissioner Onesmus Musyoki were also present.

Vihiga Flirting With Glory After Tusker Upset

By Cellestine Olilo

Written off and dismissed as mere participants at the beginning of the tournament, National Super League leaders Vihiga United are flirting with glory after advancing to the GOtv Shield semi-finals at the weekend.

Vihiga United, sponsored by the Vihiga County government, stunned holders Tusker 2-0 at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday to storm into the last four of the competition for the first time in their history.

The team, which includes veteran Charles Okwemba, Marti Imbalambala and Barnabas Tiema, is coached by former AFC Leopards duo of Edward Manoah and Francis Xavier. Manoah and Xavier have guided the team to the summit of the NSL with 47 points.

Losing, it seems, is not in the day-to-day vocabulary of the Vihiga-based team as demonstrated by their league record that has seen them lose once in their 20 games so far this season.

They will now play AFC Leopards in next month’s semis in a game that will be another daunting test of their resolve to win a major competition.

“We underwent serious emotional trauma during the General Election because our greatest benefactor (former governor Moses Akaranga) was voted out of office, and we were left facing a very uncertain future,” Manoah, who was sent to the stands during the match, told Nation Sport.

“That is why this win is very important. It will stabilise the players’ minds and motivate them heading into the next stage.”

SportPesa Premier League debutants Kariobangi Sharks are the other surprise in the semis having dispatched Eldoret Youth 5-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

AFC Leopards also displayed their hunger for the Cup after they thrashed second tier side Wazito 7-1 to storm the tournament’s last four.

Ingwe will now play Vihiga while Kariobangi Sharks take on Sony Sugar in the semi-finals of this competition whose winner will pocket Sh2 million and also earn the right to represent Kenya in the Caf Confederation Cup next year.

AFC Leopards v Vihiga United

Sony Sugar v Kariobangi Sharks

Kenya

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