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Friday, September 15th, 2017


Forum de la jeunesse de la Donga : Des préoccupations majeures en ligne de mire

Il s’est ouvert ce vendredi 15 septembre le forum de la jeunesse de la Donga organisé par l’association ‘’Djougou d’abord’’. Assises dont l’objectif est de réfléchir sur des questions liées à la jeunesse et sur le rôle qu’elle entend jouer dans le processus de développement de la région, cette initiative rassemble à Djougou les forces vives des quatre communes de ce département à savoir Bassila, Ouaké, Copargo et la Cité des Yoms. A l’ouverture des travaux, Naguibou Alagbé, président du comité d’organisation, a indiqué tout l’intérêt que revêt une telle rencontre pour les ressortissants de la Donga vu que la jeunesse est confrontée à de réels problèmes. Des préoccupations majeures au nombre desquelles le manque d’initiatives privées, l’immigration clandestine, le sous-emploi, la déperdition scolaire, égrenées par Djarra Moussa Soumanou, président du bureau exécutif de l’association. Le forum de la jeunesse de Djougou s’affiche donc, à ses dires, comme le remède efficace pour soulager les maux dont souffre cette couche de la population. C’est d’ailleurs fort de cet optimisme nourri par les organisateurs que le Conseil communal de Djougou et la Préfecture de la Donga représentés à ce forum disent attendre de fortes propositions au terme des travaux qui se poursuivent ce samedi avec en ligne de mire la question du faible taux de réussite de ce département aux différents examens de fin d’année depuis peu.

Use intelligence when following language rules

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Many readers may have noticed that most English-language newspapers almost never use the grammar articles“a”, “an” and “the” in their news headlines.  Yet, though the reason is significant, it is not god-imposed.

For the problem is only that such an article tends to arrest the speed of a headline.  And whenever a news headline is thus made to trundle like Mzee Kobe, it loses all energy and mental attraction.

Thus one rule that a newspaper’s newly engaged sub-editorial operator faces is that he or she must never use any grammatical article in a news headline. In an English-language newspaper in Nairobi, say, one of the disadvantages for a sub-editor is that his or her own mother tongue — like Dholuo or Kikuyu or  even Kiswahili — does not have such grammatical articles.

Concerning that rule, however, my advice to those concerned is to summon up intelligence all the time. Please remember that yours is an English-language newspaper and that, in English, such articles are essential throughout, especially in writing. 


Concerning them, therefore, it is advisable to remember that every rule has an exception and that, therefore, every grammatical  rule — even a newspaper’s house rule  —  must be obeyed  only with intelligence.

At least in East Africa,  the chief sub-editor himself or herself — namely, the newsroom employee in charge of page planning, page layout and language propriety — is, in most cases, equally alien to English.

As I learned when I served as The Daily Nation’s chief sub-editor, many decades ago, that is the chief reason that the chief sub-editor may frequently be just as culpable as the ordinary sub-editor down-table. 

Even the chief sub-editor, whose mastery of English is usually among the chief possessions that qualified him or her for that post, may have so absolutised the rules on articles as to seek to impose his or her  own  misunderstanding even upon features and personal columns.  No, there are special occasions when even the definite article “the” should not be elided from (left out of) any headline.


 It is the chief sub-editor’s responsibility to ensure that everybody down-table — every sub-editor — is aware of and carefully follows that rule. It is the responsibility of the editorial copy reviser — whenever such a position exists — to help the chief sub to impose all such rules fully.

Yet, in East Africa’s newspapers, the article the is dutifully elided, especially from the headlines of letters to the editor. However, only from news headlines should the grammar articles, including “the”, be elided because they tend to apply a brake onto a headline’s speed. Indeed, that is why most English-language newspapers the world over proscribe the article the from atop all news stories.

But intelligence should remind every editorial policeman or policewoman that the chief reason this problem gives no end of grief to Africa’s reporters, feature writers  and sub-editors is that their mother tongues — including  the  trans-tribal Kiswahili and my own Nilotic Dholuo —  do not have grammatical articles like the a, an and the of the English language.

If River Ewaso Nyiro dies, the northern nomads won’t survive

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At a time when millions of Kenyans are obsessing over who will win the repeat presidential election, it is inspiring to learn that a few of their compatriots have been trying to figure out what they ought to do to guarantee their country’s future, which is under great threat. It is like a breath of fresh air in a room full of dense smoke.

Early this week, I stumbled upon an item in the Daily Nation, the kind of thing one skims over hurriedly. It was about a group of 25 youths from Laikipia County who on Monday embarked on a five-day camel safari “to assess the effect of human activities on the flow of the waters of River Ewaso Nyiro”. They should be back by now, but tragically, we may never know what they learnt — the election campaigns will hog all the space and time available in our media.

In a sense, this is understandable. Nothing is more newsworthy than when political leaders trade bilious insults and concoct improbable rigging claims, when they are not busy trying to intimidate the Judiciary and the IEBC. In a twisted kind of way, this makes sense. An election comes and goes, but destroying our environment is a slow, continuous process that does not evoke much passion.

Though it was not spelt out, there was a purpose to the efforts of those intrepid youths in a county which has of late been in the news for the rawness of the violence perpetrated by and against the pastoral communities that have staked a claim to the lush vegetation and water in the massive ranches of Laikipia. The plain fact is that the river, which has always sustained pastoralists, is dying. If it does, their survival, too, cannot be guaranteed in the long term.

There are many reasons why the river is gradually drying up, which becomes manifest during droughts when for months, there is no water to be found.

Unfortunately, most of the causes are man-made. We have destroyed too much vegetation, felled too many trees, dug too many boreholes, built too many houses and carelessly cultivated too much land without replenishing the soil.

But of course climate change has also played a role and this has not been caused by either the Samburu or the farmers at the foot of Mt Kenya, which is the source of River Ewaso Nyiro.


The river itself does not seem to have made up its mind where to go for it starts at the foot of the mountain, flows north, turns east, and then settles in a south-west direction until it disappears into the massive Lorian Swamp in Isiolo.

It straddles seven arid and semi-arid counties of Meru, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir and Garissa, and is thus vital to the lives of millions. But that in itself is part of the problem. In the past, most of these counties were inhabited by relatively low numbers. However, with population growth, the wetlands have deteriorated to the extent that the pastoralists have to keep moving if their livestock are to survive.

This has had a deleterious effect on their relationships with the ranch owners of Laikipia. Until recently, these ranchers, who are largely non-African, were rarely bothered.


But then huge numbers of heavily armed pastoralists started “invading” their idyllic establishments in search of water and pasture, and deadly skirmishes broke out, shattering their lives.

Some people say this was inevitable: The waters of River Ewaso Nyiro were no longer enough for all and the dry lands were becoming drier due to over-grazing. The result was predictable. A way has to be found to rehabilitate this river, whose existential importance to pastoralists can only be equated to that of River Nile to Egyptians. Maybe this trek by the 25 Laikipia youths will be the beginning of the solution. I hope they will tell us what they learnt.

Whatever the merits of Mr Ngunjiri Wambugu’s petition, he does not speak for me, and I suspect he does not speak for Jubilee either. Any attempt to remove Chief Justice David Maraga at this particular moment can only be a generous gift to the Opposition. At a time when President Kenyatta is trying to woo the Abagusii, the timing is absolutely wrong. With friends like this, surely the President does not need enemies.

Electoral commission must not repeat past mistakes

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Kenya is at a crossroads with anxiety mounting over the fresh presidential election scheduled for October 17. There are serious concerns over whether the election will be conducted, given the prevailing political uncertainties. Political temperatures are rising and the electoral commission is reeling from one crisis to another.

The main contenders — the Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance — are consistently fighting over every aspect of the election, from the date and who should oversee the polls, to the procurement of the ballot papers. Nasa has insisted it will not go to the polls unless fundamental changes are made to the commission, including sacking key secretariat staff, while Jubilee has a different list of those it wants removed. This stalemate has created paralysis and is confusing the public.

At the centre is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which the Supreme Court found culpable of bungling the August presidential election, but which has singularly failed to carry out any meaningful change within its ranks and systems.


And so far, there are no indications that it is adequately prepared to conduct the fresh election as directed by the court.

In the ruling overturning the presidential elections, the Supreme Court faulted IEBC for committing grave illegalities and irregularities, which cumulatively botched the polls and rendered the outcome invalid.

It was expected that the commission would move swiftly to undertake far-reaching reforms, starting with a staff reorganisation, system audit and process change to inspire public confidence. So far, this is yet to happen.

Last weekend, the commissioners and the secretariat staff went for a retreat to resolve their deep-seated rivalry but came out of it without a tangible resolution.

The status quo remains, yet the clock is ticking. It is inexplicable why the commission cannot conduct investigations to determine those who bungled the election and have them prosecuted. Neither has the Director of Public Prosecution, who is often quick in seizing various cases in public interest, ordered investigations into this matter.

If it is to inspire confidence in the outcome of the October 17 election, IEBC must make major internal changes.

In the same vein, we also ask all the political groups to be civil, moderate and temperate in their engagement with each other and with the commission. Their heightened rhetoric is causing tension and anxiety.

Invest in sports facilities

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Kenyan youngsters are taking part in the Women’s World Under-23 Volleyball Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They were to meet Japan in their last Pool B duel on Friday evening. The going has been tough for the Kenyans, having lost to Brazil, Bulgaria, Turkey and Cuba in the championships that is featuring 12 teams.

But reaching the stage was no mean achievement. Kenya are Africa’s representatives with Egypt.

This is a team for the future, preparing to take over from the senior players. Just like the senior level, the juniors have always been good at the continental level, but the global arena has always been challenging.

This calls for debate on how to best improve standards so that Kenya can break the glass ceiling.

The government must invest in proper infrastructure, including the construction of indoor arena since volleyball is now an indoor event. Playing on grass and outdoors will not produce the desired results. 

DJ Mo has a flawed view of marriage and should apologise for his remarks

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Sammy Muraya, otherwise known as DJ Mo, is just the man. He set the Internet ablaze last week when, in an interview with an online magazine, he revealed how he took his wife — then girlfriend — through tests to determine her loyalty before eventually saying “I do”.

 The tests were to determine if she was worth the very important title and high-achievement of being the one and only Mrs Muraya!

The deejay listed five tests that the young woman had to pass to trounce hundreds of other hopefuls. One of the tests, ladies and gentlemen, involved him pretending to be a poor man, living “somewhere funny” in Githurai 44. He wanted to see if Linet Munyali, popularly known as Size 8, would love him, Githurai 44 and all.

“She used to have a Toyota Celica, had a driver and when she visited, she would wear a hood and ruka mtaro (jump over a trench),” DJ Mo said.


In another test, the unsuspecting Size 8 walked into a dirty house, unbeknown to her that Mr Muraya wanted to see if she would risk her superbly manicured nails to clean up after him. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Muraya is happy to report that she washed the dishes, cleaned the house and there was not a single dirty corner in the Githurai 44 house.

There you have it. How else could a woman prove her love for you if she doesn’t clean after you?

I took a particular interest in one of his quotes: “She understood me. Most girls weren’t real with me and some worshipped me because of my name. They didn’t understand the real me.”

Worship who?

There is nothing as pitiful as a self-important man like DJ Mo who thinks so highly of himself that he can make such brash assertions that some girls “worshipped” him because of his name.

Wait a minute? Who in the world do you think you are, DJ Mo? And why are you allowing fame to get into your head?


DJ Mo should know that at the mention of the name Sammy Muraya most Kenyans will first think of the late Benga maestro, not him.

In my view, an uppity and condescending attitude is exactly what a ‘gospel’ DJ should not have. Such hubris, ludicrous overstatements, a flawed sense of self-importance and an inflated ego are the perfect recipe for a downfall, ‘gospel’ DJ or not.

You need to bring yourself to the realisation that the screaming girls are not worshipping you. They could just be ecstatic about the music. Remember that all you do is mix and match the songs.

As a gospel DJ, Mo should know by now that there is only one name to be worshipped and it is not his. DJ Mo’s poor and misplaced advice to young men that they should take their women through ‘tests’ before rewarding them with a walk down the aisle is the reason we are having a lot of desperate women longing for marriage and even more stuck in loveless marriages, just to be referred to as Mrs so and so.


DJ Mo is an embarrassment to the gospel industry for his demeaning and disrespectful portrayal of his wife. By showing us that he manipulated her into a marriage, he is basically telling us that she is a gullible and naïve woman.

Furthermore, DJ Mo’s flawed view of marriage is very clear. He believes that a wife is only good for cooking and and cleaning after her husband. In this age?

The deejay needs to shed off this celebrity lifestyle and be humble. But first, he must apologise to his wife for embarrassing her and making her come across as desperate for marriage. If you ask me, Size 8 is not the lucky one here, DJ Mo is. Indeed, he should consider himself very lucky for bagging such a beautiful and talented woman.

Be blessed, ‘gospel’ DJ.

Fire guts two hotels in Mombasa

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Fire has gutted Indiana Hotel and Ziwa Resort in Mombasa County, Kisauni OCPD Christopher Rotich has confirmed.

Mr Rotich also said there are not casualties and efforts to put out the inferno are ongoing.

He said the guests have been evacuated.

“We are yet to know what caused the fire,” Mr Rotich said.

Trader charged with Sh86m gold fraud

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A trader has been charged with defrauding two international businessmen $830,500 (Sh85,520,447), alleging that he would sell them 970kg of gold.

Sikanda Ismail Abdallah Saleh was arraigned before senior principal magistrate Martha Mutuku where he denied four counts of obtaining money through pretense.

Mr Saleh was accused of defrauding Prakash Robert Deeplal Baichan $570,000 pretending that he would ship 435kg of gold to the United Arab Emirates.

The court also heard the accused received $209,500 from Mustaq Hafeji Dawood, pretending he would ship to him 100kg of gold to Lebanon and Kuwait.

He was released on bond and the case fixed for hearing October 25 2017.

Meanwhile, Frank Onchagwa Nyabwari denied fraudulently receiving over Sh1.6 million from Britam Company Insurance Ltd.

He allegedly raised four claims between June 20,2016 and June 2017.

He was released on a bond of Sh800,000 until October 25 when the case will be heard.

WHO defends quality of tetanus vaccine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has dismissed claims by Opposition leader Raila Odinga that a tetanus vaccine being administered sterilised women.

WHO Country Director, Dr Rudi Eggers, said the claims were untrue, adding that the organisation is not involved in any campaign to sterilise the Kenyan women.

“The campaign was strictly geared towards the elimination of neonatal tetanus,” Dr Eggers told the Nation Friday.

Mr Odinga kicked up a storm on Monday when he revisited the saga claiming that the tetanus vaccine had been confirmed to contain the human chorionic gonadotropin (b-HcG) hormone, which is an anti-pregnancy hormone that can sterilise women.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate said analysis of samples used for the tetanus vaccination from highly regarded institutions on matters health such as AgriQ Quest Limited, Nairobi Hospital Laboratories and the University of Nairobi indicated that the vaccine had high contents of the hormone.

However, the WHO boss said the vaccine was developed to build immunity against tetanus in newborns, noting that it had proven effective in reducing cases of the infection worldwide.

Dr Eggers said neonatal tetanus, which can develop in newborns from 12 hours to six weeks old, is a major cause of infant mortality and had been significantly reduced by the vaccination campaigns.

“In 1988, 787,000 infants died from neonatal tetanus as compared to just 34,019 in 2015, showing the WHO and Unicef’s remarkable success in the campaign against the infection,” he said.

He echoed the government’s position on the vaccine, noting the claims by the Catholic Church regarding the exercise were inaccurate since only three opened vials were found to contain the hormone.

Dr Eggers said the WHO regularly carries out prequalification tests on all vaccines used in its campaigns “to ensure they meet the highest health and safety quality”.

“We carry out the highest possible standard of tests on the vaccines that are used in campaigns worldwide and the said vaccine had passed the pre-qualification tests before being allowed for use,” Dr Eggers said.

He, however, clarified that the vaccines were manufactured by private pharmaceutical campaigns.

“We don’t directly manufacture the vaccines or involve ourselves in any stage of the process.

“Our role is to test and pre-qualify the vaccines to ensure they meet the required standards of safety and efficacy before we allow them to be used in campaigns across the globe,” he said.

The immunologist observed the vaccine had been used in over 50 countries across the globe without any complaint.

Dr Eggers said the vaccine works by stimulating the body to create protective antibodies to the tetanus toxin.

“As far as the WHO is concerned, the hormone is not a component in the manufacture of the anti-tetanus vaccine. There is, therefore, no possibility of b-HcG being found in the vaccine,” he added.

He said that WHO has been using the vaccine for the last 40 years.

WHO carried out similar vaccination campaigns in Mexico in 1993 and in Nicaragua and the Philippines in 1994.

So far the vaccine has been used by 130 million women in 52 countries.

In making his claims, Mr Odinga agreed with the Catholic Church position on the vaccine, noting results of the tests had proven the vaccine contained high concentrations of the sterilising hormone.

How plan to sell city’s water firm was blocked

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It was the last scandal at City Hall under the watch of former governor Evans Kidero.

And hardly 24 hours after Mike Sonko took over as the new governor, the entire board of the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company was suspended.

Reason? They had attempted to sell the company to a French entity in the dying days of the Kidero administration.

When the company was set up, the main idea was to let the private sector have a say in the running of water and sewerage services in the capital.

Its main role was to improve and expand the water infrastructure by de-linking City Hall accounts from those of the water department.

But bogged down by debts and inability to expand, some officials seem to have hatched a plot to let a foreign company take over the management of the firm simply known as Nairobi Water.

At the moment, only 220,000 properties in the capital are supplied with water.

Although Nairobi Water pumps 550,000 cubic litres a day to the city, officials say that 40 percent of this is never accounted for.

It is either stolen or leaks to the ground – thanks to aged pipes and illegal connections.

The intended sale of the firm turned stormy and the county assembly started investigating the matter.

In a bid to shield itself, the county government had dismissed the alleged sale as “politically instigated” and “propaganda”.

“There is absolutely nothing like that. State bodies like Nairobi Water have to be privatised and the process is controlled by the Privatisation Act, 2005, which was revised in 2012,” Dr Kidero had said at one time.

In the last several months, Nairobi Water has been facing industrial disputes as the workers’ union started protesting the intended sale.

The union feared that its members would lose their jobs in the event that the company’s management changed hands.

While Dr Kidero dismissed reports of the intended sale as “rumours”, documents indicate that City Hall officials had approached a French firm, Suez Water Company, and an MoU had been drafted.

Soon after he assumed office, however, Sonko suspended the Nairobi Water board of directors and refused to renew the contracts of its managing director, Eng Phillip Gichuki, the commercial director, Mr Stephen Mbugua, the finance director, Mr Johnson Randu and human resource director Rosemary Kijana for non-performance.

Nairobi has been undergoing a water crisis partly because of an inefficient system and partly due to lack of enough water reservoirs to supply to the growing population.

When county executives were recently summoned to explain the sale, Mr Peter Kimori, the CEC for Water and Environment in the county government, found himself in an awkward position.

At first, he had denied ever hearing about the French company.

That was before union officials leaked the MoU. After that, Kimori claimed he was introduced to the company by the Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Mr Eugene Wamalwa.

However, he said that the CS introduced him to the French firm’s officials to discuss ways of partnering with them to improve services, not to sell the State corporation.

“The CS introduced me to them sometime last year in November. They paid me a courtesy call.

“We discussed and I sent them to the (NCWSC) managing director to listen to them,” Eng Kimori said.

He said they discussed issues relating to minimisation of non-revenue water, harvesting of storm water and recycling to improve supply to city residents.

What we now know from documents seen by the Saturday Nation is that Suez company had a drafted an MoU at its Casablanca office in Morocco where the NCWSC board of management, led by chairman Raphael Nzomo, visited. 

It is not clear if they knew of the intended sale when they left for Morocco in February.

Mr Nzomo, like the other officials, had dismissed the MoU and the strike by the workers allied to the Kenya County Government Workers Union as malicious.

“The document was introduced to us in Casablanca, but we declined to sign it.

“We wondered how such a detailed document could be prepared without our involvement,” Mr Nzomo said.

According to him, although they identified areas where they could partner with the company to improve services, they declined to sign the document because it was not what had taken them to Morocco.


Some officials later said that plans to sell the company were hatched during a well-publicised event attended by both county and national government officials to ostensibly show their commitment to ending the ongoing water crisis in the city.

After they committed to drill over 40 boreholes in three weeks, according to Nahashon Muguna, the Nairobi Water Technical director, the officials were asked to remain behind for a presentation about the sale.

However, documents seen by the Saturday Nation indicate that while the launch was in February, Suez Water Company had been in contact with the county since December last year.

In a letter received at the office of the county executive member for Water, Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Kimori, and dated December 24, 2016, the Suez business development director, Mr Thierry Gillet, invited Nairobi Water officials for technical visits and working sessions in Morocco.

While the meeting was supposed to “focus on the best and most appropriate technologies for NCWSC”, how the Morocco visit was turned into a meeting to sign an MoU that would facilitate the sale of the firm remains a mystery.

The MoU — whose signatures, and other vital information have been blacked out and whose authenticity could not be verified — stated that Suez was duly organised and existing under the law of France with a share capital of $3.23 billion.

The matter of the sale appears to have been discussed several months before it became public.

In another letter to the county executive, Mr Gillet confirmed that they had held two missions together in the months of November and December 2016.

A team of five people — three from the NCWSC technical team, director of water at the county government, and a representative from the Athi Water Service – visited Morocco and compiled a report that saved the water company from eventual sale.

The technical director, Mr Muguna, said they found that Nairobi Water was far much superior in service delivery than Suez, hence the recommendation not to deal with the French firm.

But there was a row at the board level when the report was presented showcasing the different interests at play.

The former Nairobi Water MD, Mr Gichuki, said that after the report was presented to the board, the members who had accompanied the technical team rejected the report and demanded that the board make another visit to Morocco before making a final decision.

Five board members, the County Chief Officer for water and environment, Ms Christine Ogut and the MD again travelled to Morocco where they attended a meeting.

But instead of being taken around the Suez company, they were given the MoU for Mr Gichuki to sign. However, he declined.