Posts tagged as: william

Ruling Party Confident of Winning Nairobi Governorship

Photo: Charles Kimani/DPPS

Mike Sonko, left, the Jubilee Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Nairobi , with deputy governor nominee Polycap Igathe in the county on May 17, 2017.

By Patrick Lang’at

The Jubilee Party on Wednesday exuded confidence of winning the Nairobi gubernatorial after pairing Mike Sonko with Polycarp Igathe.

Deputy President William Ruto backed the team, describing Senator Sonko, who is Jubilee Party’s nominee for the county’s top job, as the solution to the problems facing the capital.

At a press conference he personally managed, ushering speakers and arranging how they will sit, the DP said the Jubilee Party leadership fully supported Mr Sonko, who has picked Vivo Energy Kenya Managing Director Igathe to become his running mate.

“Under the leadership of these two gentlemen, we actually have a winning team. We can now do the things we have so much wanted to do as Jubilee administration in Nairobi,” said the DP at the Jubilee Party headquarters in a three-minute speech he made after unveiling the duo.

For the Jubilee Party in 2013 elections, having not won Nairobi, which controls up to 60 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product besides being the seat of power, has haunted them for the past four and a half years.

“This team understands the challenges of this city and are going to provide the solutions for the problems this city faces. And they have the right partnership with us to make sure that Nairobi truly becomes the City in the Sun, again,” Mr Ruto said.

PETER KENNETH

Mr Sonko, a streetwise politician and a ruthless mobiliser, has cut the image of a man who has related with the hoi polloi, the chunk of the 2.3 million voters in the city.

To clinch the Jubilee Party ticket, however, the senator had to fend off challenge from 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, who had painted himself as the manager that Nairobi needed.

Mr Kenneth’s team had hoped to win the primaries by painting Mr Sonko as an erratic leader hell-bent on violence and unqualified to lead the city.

But, like a man fresh from being baptised, the senator had taken Mr Kenneth’s advice, debuting a new image, one he hopes will catapult him to the helm of City Hall.

Gone are the heavy gold and diamond rings and chains, the multicoloured mohawk and dyed hair, the ripped jeans, and punching of walls or sleeping on the tarmac.

On Wednesday, he once again portrayed the new image, one donning a business suit, and choosing his words carefully.

“I have been like the de facto governor because all the complaints by the county residents have been brought to me for action and mainly issues regarding land grabbing which incumbency has never addressed,” Mr Sonko said in a five-minute prepared speech.

‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’

“As you will see from our manifesto, which we will be unveiling shortly, our agenda for this county is issue-based and will be anchored on good governance, transparency and I shall not entertain any form of corruption in whichever form.”

He promised to tackle corruption, address garbage collection, which he said had been taken over by cartels, restructure the City Inspectorate Department and address drainage and cleanliness, a job he said he will accomplish with Mr Igathe.

“You will appreciate my choice of running mate reflects the corporate governance image that the residents of Nairobi would like to serve them and his CV in corporate leadership speaks for itself,” he said of Mr Igathe, who he said will run policy, development and political affairs.

Mr Igathe, who said he went through a rigorous interview to win the seat with 11 others, said he will complement his boss, if they win. “I took a leap of faith and left a job at the private sector for politics because 60 per cent of our country’s GDP in Nairobi can no longer be left in the hands of clueless people,” he said.

Uganda: ‘Insurance Is a Good Avenue to Invest’

interviewBy William Lubuulwa

Uganda will be hosting the 44th African Insurance Organisation Conference and General Assembly from May 21 to 24. Mr Ibrahim Lubega Kaddunabbi, the chief executive officer of the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda, the Vice President of the African Insurance Organisation and chairman Local Organising Committee of the conference, spoke to Daily Monitor’s William Lubuulwa of the outlook of Uganda’s insurance industry. Below are the excerpts:

Briefly tell us about the African Insurance Organisation.

The African Insurance Organisation (AIO) was established in 1972 in Mauritius to develop a healthy insurance and reinsurance industry in Africa and to promote inter-African cooperation on insurance in Africa.

Membership to AIO is open to insurance industry regulatory/supervisory authorities, insurance training centres and national and regional insurance associations. It currently stands at 365,351 of whom are from 47 African countries and 16 associate members from eight overseas countries.

What is its role to the communities it serves?

AIO works on various initiatives to, among others, strengthen a number of insurance pools to grow African insurance and reinsurance capacity across the continent. It has also worked to develop micro insurance.

The AIO hosts an annual conference and general assembly that creates a platform for members to share global experiences on insurance and re-insurance matters with the goal of furthering the development of the insurance industry. The conference is held on a rotational basis and Uganda is hosting it this year.

Considering this conference is attracting more than 800 participants from Africa, Europe, America and Asia, what key things should we expect from the conference? When is it running, and who is officiating?

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will officiate at the conference.

During the conference, deliberations will be made on positioning insurance as a growth driver of the economy and enhancing its role towards poverty alleviation. The conference will provide insights into how policy can be generated to support growth of the insurance industry especially now that sustainable financial inclusion is only possible with an effective risk management mechanism.

Looking at the current status of the insurance industry in Uganda, of what benefit is the conference to us as a host country?

The conference will provide us with a platform for the entire continent to discuss the industry challenges and opportunities for growth. We shall also discuss the core of strategising and agreeing of the plans to be done to provide services to Uganda and to African as a whole. The conference, therefore, is aimed at facilitating, sharing knowledge and learning the best practices in insurance. It therefore goes without saying that the meeting is timely and will enhance professionalism at the local as well as continental and international levels.

As the host, this conference will offer our market players an opportunity to learn from a wide range of insurers and reinsurances about the solutions and products they are providing to remain profitable. This will also offer our local participants an opportunity to appreciate the different nuances related to growing and sustaining equitable insurance business models and workable products/solutions as well as the various opportunities for business growth.

The insurance industry has been plagued with low rates of penetration. What strategies have you put in place to drive penetration as an industry?

To address the low penetration levels and pitiable perception amongst the public, the Authority and its key stakeholders have initiated aggressive consumer education and public awareness campaigns across the country. The campaigns are aimed at increasing public awareness on the need and benefits of insurance.

However, the less than 1 per cent penetration level is an indication that there are still huge investment opportunities in our industry. I am also seeing the industry regaining its rightful position in the future. Insurance is supposed to be ahead of banking as is in other developed economies.

The future is promising. With the creation of the oil and gas pool syndicate and getting ready for big infrastructural projects, the insurance industry is a good avenue to invest.

In addition, the proposed amendment of the regulatory frameworks – Insurance Act, Motor Third Party – and developing of the National Insurance Policy and the Financial Institutions Act for providing of bancassurance, we believe this is set to stir growth in the insurance industry in the coming years.

Technology is all over the place. As a sector, how are you harnessing technology in the development and distribution of insurance products to your clientele?

In the past few years, the advent of mobile money has brought a new dimension to Uganda’s insurance industry.

As most Ugandans have a mobile phone, buying insurance on a mobile phone is an exciting growth area as it will offer a more affordable way for Ugandans, especially in remote areas, to gain access to insurance products. Beyond the mobile phone, digitalisation as a key driver of business success and encourage players to integrate it into all dimensions of their business and processes.

Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

I am hoping that the public will be confident that insurance is the best risk mitigator, and that there will be no medium to big project that will be uninsured.

I am also hoping that we shall have micro-insurance policies which address the needs of the ordinary person and the contribution of life insurance segment will close to 50 per cent of the gross premium underwritten.

Welcome Back for Another Beating, Jubilee Nominees Tell Kabogo

By Eric Wainaina

Jubilee Party nominees in Kiambu County have welcomed Governor William Kabogo’s come back as an independent candidate to defend the seat and told him to brace for a more embarrassing defeat than which he experienced during the party primaries.

The leaders termed Mr Kabogo’s candidature which he announced on Sunday as “inconsequential” and told him that his union with other losers in Mount Kenya was destined to flop because independent candidates will not be entertained in the region.

They were senator Kimani Wamatangi, Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu who is the governor nominee, Gathoni Wamuchomba (Woman Rep) nominee, MP nominees Alice N’gan’ga (Thika) Kimani Ichun’gwa (Kikuyu), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ann Kibe (Gatundu North) and Kago wa Lydia (Githunguri)

Others were Githua Wamachukuru (Kabete), Paul Koinange (Kiambaa), Peter Mwathi (Limuru), N’gan’ga Kingara (Ruiru) and Jonah Mburu (Lari) and all the 60 ward representative nominees, who in their speeches, vowed to work as a team and called for a six-piece suit voting in August.

The leaders spoke at Ndumberi Stadium on Sunday evening where they received their nomination certificates.

HANG BOOTS

Mr Kabogo, they said, should have hanged his boots because he is headed for another humiliation since he will face the some voters who rejected him.

Senator Wamatangi said Mr Kabogo and other leaders from Mount Kenya region who lost during the primaries should respect the decision of the voters.

To him, the party ticket losers should be sure of another rejection at the ballot should they insist on contesting as independent candidates.

“President Kenyatta is the general of central Kenya region and presently he is the general of the country and we are not seeking to replace him or get a substitute until 2022.

“We will not divide our people because of individuals who have been meeting in hotels and boardrooms with a view to strategising on how to control politics in our region,” he said.

Mr Wamatangi said the losers should not blame President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto because the two never had preferred candidates.

Governor Kabogo is being seen as the independent aspirants’ leader after he presided over a meeting last week bringing together governors Joseph Ndathi (Kirinyaga) Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), three governor aspirants and other 200 aspirants to deliberate on their independent candidature.

TREAD CAREFULLY

Mr Waititu, who handed Mr Kabogo an embarrassing defeat, said the governor’s comeback was a non issue to him.

“Let him come. He should not blame the President or his deputy for his loss because it’s the people who rejected him… in fact he will be more humiliated because he will not even get the 69, 000 voters he got in the primaries,” Mr Waititu said.

The Kabete MP who has been a fierce critic of Mr Kabogo told those who were defeated to tread carefully, warning them that their plot to unite with the aim of threatening and intimidating the president will back fire on them.

Thika MP said: “Those leaders are destined to fail. Uhuru should not be dragged to local and petty politics, he has Nasa leaders to fight with,

Gatundu South MP told Mount Kenya voters not to tolerate independent candidates, saying the nominees have now ready to campaign for the president without distractions.

City Traders Grappling With Garbage, High Collection Fees

By Abubaker Mayemba

Stench from uncollected garbage piles is a regular indignity for many city traders and matters are not helped by the huge garbage collection fees they pay.

For instance, Lillian Nassolo, a trader, endures the stench from an abandoned rubbish heap outside her shop on the busy William street.

The garbage keeps piling as men in blue overalls empty rubbish barrels in the corridor between Galiraaya plaza and The Grand Corner house. This area has turned into a dumping site because nearby traders don’t use the rubbish barrels. They directly dump rubbish in the corridor.

The garbage company in this area, Nabugabo Updeal Joint Venture (NUJV), has spots like these in the city centre where they dump rubbish and later collect it in the night. Other collection points are spread out in Kikuubo, Nakivubo Mews and Nakasero market.

Apart from her packaging boxes and wrappers she disposes of, Nassolo said littered organic waste piles are messy because food vendors dump their waste food and peels in the corridor.

COLLECTION FEES

Because she owns a wholesale cosmetics shop, Nassolo pays Shs 498,000 annually to KCCA for a trading license and on top of this, she has to part with Shs 360,000 every year in garbage collection fees. The case is different for retail business owners since their garbage collection fees outweigh the trading license fees; they pay Shs 210,000 as licence.

“Charging us isn’t bad but the set prices are really a burden to us. It’s KCCA that entered an agreement with garbage collectors, which means it is KCCA to pay them, and not us. They are burdening us with all these fees and it’s really crippling our businesses. On top of the high rent, I now have to think about the monthly Shs 30,000 for garbage collection and annual license fees,” says Nassolo.

Adding: “Why does KCCA charge us differently every month yet traders in other regions have their annual garbage collection fees covered in their trading licenses?”

Faisal Salim doesn’t only have to worry about finding the Shs 4 million monthly rent. He said the very moment he steps into the city; he has to pay for every service; be it using toilets or parking. He wonders whether it is not the authority supposed to provide a conducive working environment for the traders and dwellers.

As an electronics dealer in Nakasero, Salim is mesmerised at how a shop that generates minimal waste is charged thrice the amount paid by agricultural produce dealers yet they generate the most waste. He wondered how garbage collection fees can be doubled unexpectedly without them being consulted.

Last year, garbage collection fees were hiked from Shs 15,000 to Shs 30,000 for the big shops. The lowest fee is Shs 3,000 but none of the traders interviewed confessed to paying that little fee. Even in her less-than-a-square-metre space where she operates her mobile money business, Joyce Akello pays a monthly fee of Shs 10,000.

“My kiosk can only have me alone and I keep all the used airtime cards. Is it fair for me to pay the same amount like those food vendors who generate most of the waste?” Akello asked.

Hakim Ssendagire argued that paying Shs 360,000 for garbage collection isn’t that much because if he can afford to pay the bigger sum of Shs 4.5 million in rent, then how can he fail to pay the garbage fees?

However, he said even when they pay on time, garbage isn’t picked on time, which leaves them enduring the stench from the waste.

The kitchenware dealer in Kikuubo further questioned how the rating of each shop is done because although they are in the same vicinity and operate similar businesses, the fees are not uniformly charged. Some are still paying the older fee of Shs 15,000.

Interviewed for an explanation, Abu Sonko, the managing director of NUJV, the firm collecting garbage in the central business district, said traders should not heap all the blame on his company. He said his company is just fulfilling the terms signed with the city authority and that it’s KCCA that set the garbage fees.

Under the contract, it is stipulated that Shs 30,000 will be paid for premium services (three bags per week) and Shs 3,000 per month for bring-to-truck services. The document also advised the firms to assess each client objectively depending on how much garbage each generates yet it does not guide them on how to do it.

“The prices are already set by KCCA. They range from Shs 3,000 to Shs 10,000 and it [KCCA] monitors us to see if we are charging the right amount. There are businesses that you see and think they are producing less garbage yet it’s not the case.

“It does not necessarily mean we base our charges on what [amount of] rubbish one has but you just have to look at the container and see what amount of rubbish you might find,” Sonko said, adding: “There are people who have so much garbage but don’t have the capacity to pay for it. Now like matooke vendors, they produce over three sacks of rubbish daily but they don’t have the capacity to pay for them and we charge them Shs 10,000.”

For many businesses, Sonko said, they may not necessarily produce garbage everyday but once new stock comes, the rubbish accumulates. He explained that once they have unwrapped their merchandise, the traders just scatter the rubbish everywhere, which means double work for NUJV’s collection men. The NUJV manager observed that operational costs are high but because of a price ceiling, they can’t hike it. “We would even have loved to charge one Shs 50,000 but there’s a price ceiling,” he added.

Last year, 70 companies were dropped by KCCA and a five-year contract was awarded to three companies; Kampala Solid Waste Management Consortium, Homeklin Uganda Limited and Nabugabo Updeal Joint Venture (NUJV) to serve the whole city.

This meant that garbage in the city would pose a health risk because it was clear that the three companies lacked the capacity to collect and dispose of it.

Sonko agrees there is a gap that needs to be filled in the collection of garbage because they are spread too thin on the ground in the busy central business district. However, he was quick to add that the authority was scrutinising companies that would be subcontracted to manage waste in the city.

He said even before the KCCA order to have all subcontractors reviewed, NUJV was working with them but faced a lot of challenges since most of them lacked the human resource and tools. Under the new regulations, all sub-contractors are expected to have an office and capacity to manage waste effectively.

“Subcontractors are under review and currently we are finding it hard collecting all the rubbish. We just find dumped rubbish and are obliged to pick it even without payment. We need other companies but we need to know their capacity level because you cannot subcontract a person who has just one wheelbarrow yet he has to serve over 100 people,” Sonko said.

In its Strategic Plan 2015/15-2018/19, KCCA estimates that, on average, one kilogramme of waste is generated per capita every day. This translates into 50,000 tonnes of waste every day.

Country’s Top Google Searches in April 2017

Photo: The Nation

Janet Kanini Ikua.

By Faith Nyamai

Former NTV news anchor and media personality, the late Janet Kanini Ikua, was the most searched person on Google search trends for the Month of April.

She died on April 1 after a long battle with lung cancer.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission (IEBC) jobs were the second in the list of trending searches.

The reason attributed to the IEBC jobs taking the second position is due to the upcoming General Election on August 8.

Football came in third with people searching for matches like Arsenal vs Manchester City and Chelsea vs Tottenham. Other football searches that topped the trends included Barclays Premier League and Champions League.

The Real Madrid vs Barcelona was the trending march searched under Spanish La Liga.

Jubilee nominations came in fourth.

Search for ‘top restaurants nearby’ took the fifth spot, portraying the culture of eating out increasingly becoming popular amongst Kenyans, especially the youths.

Taking the sixth position was government’s delivery portal (www.delivery.go.ke) came in the sixth slot. The Web portal was launched in April to document and communicate to Kenyans the progress the government made since it took office in 2013.

Other trends were, the popular comedian Emanuel Makori popularly known as Ayeiya who died in a car crash, British Professional boxer Antony Joshua and veteran politician, the late David Mwiraria were also among those Kenyans searched on Google.

Other trending search queries were about Kiambu Jubilee nominations where Ferdinand Waititu defeated the incumbent Governor William Kabogo and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), TSC-Tpad which stands for Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development.

The TSC-Tpad is based on performance appraisal programme for teachers and 30,000 school heads as a gateway to higher pay and promotions.

Kenya

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Lebanese Investors Eye Rwanda

Photo: The New Times

Amb. Nkurunziza (R) hands over a gift to Tarek Ragheb.

By James Karuhanga

Leading Lebanese entrepreneurs are set to visit Rwanda later this year to explore investment and trade opportunities, according to at official in the Rwandan embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Eric Rugamba on Wednesday told The New Times that a declaration of interest in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, by Lebanese entrepreneurs, was made by the Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon (FCCIAL), Mohamed Choucair, at the closure of a Rwanda Trade and Investment seminar at FCCIAL’s headquarters, in Beirut, on Monday.

Rugamba said that Choucar, a leading businessman, undertook to lead a delegation to Rwanda in October.

Rugamba said Choucair, who co-chaired the seminar with Rwanda’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Williams Nkurunziza, welcomed the new engagement with Rwanda and expressed a desire to see more trade and investment flows between the two countries.

“Companies that expressed interest in the Rwanda proposition operate in sectors like furniture and paint manufacturing, agro-industry including coffee and nut growing and processing, micro-finance, motorcycle manufacturing and petroleum goods trading,” he said.

Khalil Boueri, president and founder of Watermaster Holding which deals in water treatment, swimming pools as well as waste water treatment contracting, among others, said he would visit Rwanda soon to ensure that his company, which is based in Qatar and Lebanon, is among the first to get involved in Rwanda.

“Our engagement with potential Lebanese investors is an exercise that has an advantage already compared to any other similar engagements. This is simply because the Lebanese have a satisfactory level of understanding of Africa in general,” Rugamba said.

“There are over 4.5 million Lebanese living in Africa and many Lebanon based companies are already in business collaboration in various parts of Africa.”

Lebanese exports to Rwanda amounted to $281,000 in 2016 while the former imported nothing from Rwanda.

Choucair pointed to the “need to do more,” in both directions.

A statement from the Rwandan embassy says that, while addressing the seminar which was attended by 30 of Beirut’s major business groups, Amb Nkurunziza highlighted Rwanda’s readiness for business.

He talked of Rwanda as a virgin economy and an excellent launchpad for discerning entrepreneurs keen on building an enduring business presence in the heart of Africa.

Amb. Nkurunziza shared with participants benefits for industrial investments represented by the flagship Made-in-Rwanda campaign as well as opportunities for investments in agro-industry, including large scale production of fruits, vegetables and poultry.

The embassy says Lebanon is a major producer and exporter of vegetables and fruits, such as table grapes and apples.

The envoy also provided information on issues such as land ownership, capital repatriation, labour skills and costs, purchasing power and industrial protection.

Others at the event were Rwanda’s Honorary Envoy in the Middle East, Tarek Ragheb, and Hana Hallaj, the Managing Director of the Kigali-based INTech Investments Ltd as well as William Saad, a leading Lebanese businessman and partner in ISH which owns 26,000 telecommunication towers in several countries, including Rwanda.

The three, who have business experience in Rwanda, told participants that the country is “like an efficient European economy operating in the heart of Africa.”

Kenyatta Travels to London for Conference On Somalia

Photo: VOA

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers on the outskirts of Mogadishu (file photo).

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has travelled to the United Kingdom to attend the 3rd London Conference on Somalia.

The conference will focus on accelerating the progress of security reforms in Somalia and build on international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis.

The summit will also agree on the new international partnership needed to keep the Horn of Africa nation on course for increased peace and prosperity.

The plane carrying the President and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta departed left JKIA shortly after 9 am.

They were seen off by Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Interior) and Charles Keter (Energy), Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe and National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale.

After the London conference, Uhuru will head to Beijing, China, to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Previous conferences of a similar nature were held in 2012 and 2013.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the 2012 summit focused on underlying causes of instability and symptoms which include famine, refugees, piracy and terrorism.

At the conference, the international community agreed to inject new momentum into the political process to strengthen AMISOM and help Somalia develop its own security forces to build stability at the local level.

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Kenya’s Lucy Gichuhi Sworn in As Senator in Australia

Photo: The Nation

Lucy Gichuhi.

By Elvis Ondieki

Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi is now a senator in Australia, one of the 12 representing the state of South Australia, after being sworn in on Tuesday.

Mrs Gichuhi makes history as the first person of African descent to be in Australia’s federal Parliament.

BOB DAY

In her position, she will be replacing Mr Bob Day, a senator whose election was nullified by an Australian court in April.

Mr Day lost the seat after it was established that he was ineligible to vie in elections of July 2016.

It was expected that Mrs Gichuhi, 54, would fly the flag of Family First– the party through which she secured her seat.

However, days before her swearing-in, the party merged with the Australian Conservatives and Mrs Gichuhi will now be in the senate as an independent.

CITIZENSHIP

Mrs Gichuhi, who hails from Nyeri– which is also the home county of her husband William — moved to Australia with her husband in 1999 on a permanent resident’s visa.

They forfeited their Kenyan citizenship two years later.

Her win was confirmed by a court recently, shutting down questions about her citizenship.

Kenya

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Do Not Be Fooled, Food Shortage the Result of Misrule and Graft

Photo: John Githinji/The Nation

Traders at Olkalou open-air market in Nyandarua County on May 3, 2017.

opinionBy Macharia Gaitho

It’s not surprising that politicians are running helter-skelter over the soaring cost of living.

The rising prices of food, house rent and other basics are becoming the hot button election campaign issue.

Obviously a government seen to be inept, clueless and in gross dereliction of duty will be facing the greatest pressure, hence all this running around like a headless chicken.

The red flag over imminent food shortages was raised more than one year ago, but President Uhuru Kenyatta sat on his haunches, playing politics and giving himself glowing self-assessments on the delivery of the Jubilee electoral promises.

He seemed to have forgotten that beyond grandiose infrastructure projects, Jubilee had also promised that no Kenyan would go hungry, or otherwise lack the basics in food, shelter, health care and education.

KENYANS GOING HUNGRY

Now, it has suddenly dawned on the President and Deputy President William Ruto that Kenyans are, indeed, going hungry.

The response is an emergency recall of Parliament so it can pass an urgent supplementary Budget.

Calling back parliamentarians who are busy on the election campaign trail is a knee-jerk reaction that exposes a government completely at sea.

It was just five weeks ago that the same Parliament passed the 2017-2018 Budget tabled by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The record Sh2.6 billion Budget that catered for almost any political project the Jubilee team could dream up to smooth the way ahead of the August 8 General Election; but despite all the projections and warnings of a severe food deficit, contained absolutely no provision for that.

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Why Are Food Prices Soaring in Kenya?


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Kenya’s Drought Declared a National Disaster

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I don’t see what the Parliamentarians will do now that cannot be done by administrative actions and proper implementation of existing policies and utilisation of funds.ROADSIDE DECLARATIONSParliament can be asked to vote more funds from the skies or to pass laws on price controls, but some of that might be as foolish as opposition leader Raila Odinga’s pledge to force reduction of house rent when, or if elected president.Years of misrule cannot be corrected by one parliamentary sitting, by dictatorial fiat or by populist roadside declarations.The fact is that the Jubilee regime gave priority to political projects at the expense of basic needs.It borrowed and spent recklessly, with much of what was appropriated for maybe worthwhile projects misappropriated into private pockets of the high and mighty, those with family and political links to the top party leadership.The party now has the excuse that the food crisis is the result of a natural phenomenon that can’t be blamed on the government.PROLONGED DROUGHTThat is a lie; or at best a lame and disingenuous excuse. True, prolonged drought always has a deleterious impact on food production.However, anyone with a modicum of education today knows that while drought may, indeed, be a natural calamity, famine is man-made, an outcome of mismanagement, incompetence and criminal dereliction of today.In Kenya, the food production and supply chain systems have always been under the thumb of criminal profiteers ready to subject Kenyans to starvation and death so that they can profit from emergency imports.The Ministries of Agriculture and Special Projects, have since the kleptocratic Nyayo regime to date, been redoubts for commodity traders who miraculously have ships full of grain in the high seas anytime some Treasury or Agriculture Cabinet Secretary signs a tax waiver or import permit.Those tasked with ensuring food security are, in fact, more busy ensuring food scarcity so that they can cash in.CRIMINAL CARTELSThose criminal cartels will not be tamed by a parliamentary session, but by the top leadership in government cracking the whip on the cancer within its ranks.Already in debt to the bone, we are now asking Parliament to vote more funds for famine relief, subsidies or whatever else we can throw money at.Now, this is not government money. It is not Jubilee money. It is not money from overflowing pockets of President Kenyatta and DP Ruto.It is my money and your money. It is money from the pocket of every hard-pressed Kenyan.We, therefore, have the right–beyond whatever political capital Mr Odinga and the Nasa brigade might mine–to ask very tough questions of this government.Who sold the strategic grain reserve? Who ate my flour, sugar, and potatoes? And who drank my milk?

Kipchoge Happy With Attempt to Run Fastest Marathon

Photo: Denis Barthel /Wikpedia

Eliud Kipchoge in the 2015 Berlin Marathon.

By Peter Njenga

They don’t call Nazionale Autodromo Monza F1 circuit the “Temple of Speed” for no reason. In 2004, Colombia’s Juan-Pablo Montoya averaged almost 262.242kph in the 2.4km circuit in a Williams which is the fastest lap times ever achieved there.

On Saturday, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge cruised around the same circuit for 17 rounds to run the fastest marathon time ever achieved by man of 2 hours 00.25 seconds. Here, times are recorded in a 1,000th of a second.

Kipchoge’s target was to run the 42.193km race in under the mythical under 2 hours and join sporting folklore.

But he came very close, actually within 150 metres for 1:59:59:59. He shaved 2 minutes 32 seconds off compatriot Dennis Kimeto ‘s world record.

Since the Monza circuit is not certified by the sporting governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) nor was the watering method of feeding athletes through mopeds and interval pace setting, Kipchoge’s time cannot be classified as a world record.

But the Guiness Book of Records people were there.

But who cares. Kipchoge’s record-breaking feat was the biggest news worldwide on Saturday. He was paced by a phalanx of pace setters who joined the race at different intervals to offer moral support as the lead electric car had its speed been computer chipped to match the 1:59:59 target, effectively becoming his guiding angel.

A record 93 television stations covered the event live, with hundreds of journalists locked out of the iconic circuit which will be opened to the public again on September 3 during the FIA Italia Grand Prix.

At the end, a handful of Kenyans led by Racheal Ruto, the wife of Deputy President William Ruto and Kenyan ambassador in Italy were at hand to receive Kipchoge and sang a few thanks giving songs.

The Nation caught up with Kipchoge at 6 pm on phone, a whole 15 hours since waking up. “This is one of the longest days of my life,” said an elated Kipchoge. “I have never given so many interviews since undergoing doping test like today. And we are just starting. My target was to run under two hours, so let’s appreciate the fact that I did something which I am pleased with,” said Kipchoge, who has now won seven of the eight marathon races he has entered since becoming a marathoner in 2013.

He said his performance has given him yet another challenge as he has basically won everything that matters since becoming the youngest world champion in the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at 5000 metres in 2003.

“I have seen what seven months of training can do and I will sit down and reflect on what is next, obviously I have seen that the under 2 hours marathon is possible. I won’t mind trying it again because what is there for me in athletics? Chase targets.”

Kipchoge will fly to Amsterdam, the Netherlands for a series of promotional activities for Nike and is expected back home on Wednesday.

Regarding the circuit and weather conditions, Kipchoge said it was ideal and there is no need to duel of ifs and buts. “

Sports Scients.com summed Kipchoge’s victory as “extraordinary:” Kipchoge kept going for twice the distance (half marathon). The gulf between him and the rest is enormous, and while there are others (Wilson Kipsang, Daniel Wanjiru and Kenenisa Bekele) who probably fall between Kipchoge and Zersenay Tadese/Lelisa Desisa, Kipchoge is so superior it is quite extraordinary. doubt whether anyone else in the world would’ve got within a minute of Kipchoge today.”

The race had been described as the perfect opportunity for science to defy physiology but the opposite happened. Early this year, Nike sent over 30 top sports scientists to monitor Kipchoge’s lifestyle in training at the Global Sport Communication high performance camp in Kaptagat near Eldoret.

For a close to a week they subjected Kipchoge to all sorts of tests, including simulations using the best equipment available on earth.

They had a lingering doubt as the sub-2 hours marathon became a subject of discussion among scientists. Some had predicted that the earliest man can achieve this target is 2050 basing on scientific calculations. Kipchoge made nonsense of science.

“I now know I have 25 seconds between me and history,” he said.

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