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Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

 

Health, jobs and homes to soak up tax billions

By PATRICK LANG’AT
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Families displaced by floods that have killed some of their relatives over the past one month wish they could benefit sooner from a government spending plan presented in the National Assembly last month, but the Sh60.4 billion earmarked for floods control and rain water harvesting will be released in July, long after their suffering.

Those living in the marginalised areas will also have to wait longer to benefit from the Equalisation Fund, for which Sh4.7 billion has been approved, because the Commission on Revenue Allocation is yet to complete a policy on who should benefit, and how.

Schoolgirls who need sanitary towels now have a Sh470 million fund, despite the Treasury admitting to Parliament that the pads might not get to most of the girls because of capacity challenges.

These are some of the expenditure plans presented to the National Assembly by Majority Leader Aden Duale for the next financial year, which prop up President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ projects with Sh460 billion funding.

‘BIG FOUR’ PLAN
Public health institutions will get Sh3.4 billion through the National Hospital Insurance Fund for maternity services, a move meant to ensure counties do not divert the money to other uses.

A further Sh52 billion is earmarked for disadvantaged groups, even as questions linger on whether the funds would be better disbursed through mobile phones rather than government agencies.

The expenditure plan illustrates, in its numbers and projections, the tight balancing act the Treasury will have to carry out in the next 12 months.

It also seeks to cushion projects under the ‘Big Four’ agenda from underfunding, which the National Assembly Budget committee warned of in February.

Under the plan, President Kenyatta hopes to increase the manufacturing sector’s share of the Gross Domestic Product to 15 per cent by 2022, enhance food security, provide universal healthcare to all Kenyans, and build at least 500,000 affordable new houses by 2022.

ALLOCATION
In the estimates, however, the Treasury fails to state which of the Sh460 billion will go to state agencies, and how much, or whether funds allocated to government departments involved in the ‘Big Four’ will all go towards President Kenyatta’s grand plan.

In all, the Health ministry has been allocated Sh90 billion against Sh54 billion in the current financial year, the Housing Department Sh32.23 (Sh15.7 billion), the Irrigation Department Sh17.97 billion (Sh15.7 billion), and Industry Sh10.3 billion (Sh7.3 billion).

The government also plans to spend Sh43.1 billion to improve food security.

The Departments of Livestock, Crop Development, and Fisheries and Aquaculture — all working towards the bigger picture of a food-secure nation — have been allocated Sh6.2 billion, Sh25.5 billion, and Sh2.7 billion, respectively.

Agricultural research will be funded to the tune of Sh5.5 billion.

FOOD SECURITY
The Treasury’s Budget Policy Statement, which lays out the projects the government hopes to carry out when it asks the House to pass the Budget, proposes the production of 2.76 million bags of maize, potato, rice and feeds on 52,000 acres of land by the end of this year, with an additional 70,000 acres targeted under public-private partnerships for the listed crops, plus cotton and aquaculture.

It also aims to reduce post-harvest losses from 20 to 15 per cent and waive incentives on cereal drying equipment, silos, fishing and aquaculture feeds.

It also plans to put up two potato seed stores in Nyandarua and Molo, one potato ware store in Nyandarua, three fish stores in Migori, and to rehabilitate three fish landing sites in Migori, Homa Bay, and Busia.

From the Sh90 billion budget for the Health ministry, the Treasury proposes to spend Sh44.6 billion on universal health coverage.

This figure, however, includes donor funds, whose volumes are not indicated.

HOUSING
The Treasury also indicates that it will reconfigure the National Health Insurance Fund and reform the governance of private insurers, culminating in an increase of NHIF’s enrolment from 16.5 million to 25.74 million.

To do this, the government will use 37,000 banking sector agents, four banks, three mobile phone companies and 100,000 community health workers to recruit 20 households each.

In its plan to provide 500,000 affordable housing units by 2022 and create 350,000 jobs while raising the contribution of the real estate sector to 14 per cent of GDP, the government proposes Sh6.5 billion in the ‘Big Four’ agenda line, but with state agencies in the sector also getting money to make investments in the area.

The Department of Housing, Urban Development and Public Works has been allocated Sh32 billion, with Sh8 billion going to housing development and human settlement.

The Department of Industry has been allocated Sh10.3 billion, with Sh2.7 billion going to the Department of Small and Medium Enterprises.

In the leather sector, President Kenyatta targets the making of 20 million shoes by 2022, while increasing export revenue in the industry to Sh50 billion in the next five years.


Kenya Power to revamp system to end billing problem

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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By SAMWEL OWINO
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A workers’ union has blamed interference with Kenya Power Company’s new billing system for the major hiccups electricity consumers have been experiencing.

The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union General Secretary Ernest Nadome said interference with the new Integrated Consumer Management System (ICMS) is to be blame for the metering complaints raised by clients.

“There is deliberate meddling with the new ICMS, which has failed Kenyans.

“Not because of lazy workers who are not doing actual reading as claimed by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter. There are people within the ministry and Kenya Power who are behind this and citizens must know,” he said in a briefing.

This came as Energy officials said Kenya will enjoy low power bills starting July.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Kenya Power on Thursday said they are working on a harmonised tariff to address the public’s concerns.

Two weeks ago, Kenyans protested unavailability of electricity tokens for prepaid users, with a number of customers lacking electricity for days despite making payments.

Consumers have also had to grapple with over-billing experienced towards the end of last year and early 2018.

Mr Nadome said the company used its old system to base readings on estimates because it lacked capacity to read all meters across the country.

Kenya Power enjoys monopoly in the distribution of electricity and has come under the spotlight in the past one month.

But appearing before the Senate committee on Energy to respond to the public outcry over inflated power bills, Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, Kenya Power Managing Director Ken Tarus and ERC Managing Director Robert Oimeke promised that the new harmonised tariff will be ready by July and the public will not get inflated bills any more.

DROUGHT
Mr Njoroge attributed the inflated bills to a number of factors, including the prolonged drought between January and March that led to the drop of water level in Masinga dam by 16m, thereby pushing the cost of producing power higher.

He said sometimes Kenya Power relies on estimates to bill their customers, which also leads to the variations in bills.

Njoroge also cited faulty meters that either move faster or slower than usual.

Nominated Senator Mary Seneta accused Kenya Power of subjecting Kenyans to untold suffering through their poor billing system.


City rot has exposed Governor Sonko for what we feared he was

By MUTUMA MATHIU
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The brutal attack by thugs early in the week on former Nairobi Central Business Association chairman Timothy Muriuki is a warning not just to city residents, but to Kenyans, in general.

It shows that a line has been crossed in the democratic life of the city and our collective resolve to protect the rights of the individual and of civil society and its representatives has been boldly challenged.

It is also a warning that the despotism, reign of terror and paranoia that has taken residence inside City Hall has escaped from that building and is now walking on the streets of the capital.

VIOLENCE
City residents and its government are in danger of constructing an abusive relationship — just like a helpless wife in the face of a drunkard.

He shows flashes of love and kindness but is in the main a mean and violent bully; the wife clings to these brief moments of humanity in the hope that the person she used to know and love will return.

But he never will; abuse only gets worse.

The events of the week are a confirmation that Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is really the man we feared he was — unqualified to run the city by virtue of a mercurial temperament and a man whose grasp of democracy and respect for the rights of those who disagree with him is weak.

IMPUNITY
The attack on Mr Muriuki was the ultimate indignity, the reason why we have fought so hard and for so long to have a free society.

That the attack went on for a long time, a few metres from Central Police Station, in a city which is allegedly policed, is an affront to all decency, an intolerable aggravation after the attack on a civil society activist by aides of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua only weeks ago and is an escalation of impunity.

The folks who attacked Mr Muriuki did so in broad daylight because they probably thought they had the protection of Mr Sonko.

And Mr Sonko would only extend such protection if he, too, thought that he was protected by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

It is violation of the sanctity of our citizenship.

OPINION
Were it not for journalists and kind guards, the goons, who were roughing up and dragging Mr Muriuki on the muddy road, were likely to inflict serious injury on him.

And for what? There were fears that he was going to speak ill of Mr Sonko at a press conference.

As it turned out, he wasn’t even going to do that.

But even if he were, isn’t that perfectly within the rights of any Kenyan to criticise the people they elected?

What is happening at City Hall? Why are Kenyans being beaten in the streets for holding a press conference?

Why is the governor quoting texts sent and received by his staff? Why does he have access to private communication?

GARBAGE
I know when our sister publication, the Sunday Nation, wrote about Mr Sonko, he made serious allegations against them in an attempt at impugning their integrity and he will probably do the same to me.

But I voted for Mr Sonko, this city is my home and I am angry at how mismanaged it is.

We used to complain about homeless families; today, they are so many, so rampant, so uncontrolled that they have sex in the street.

The city is unbelievably filthy. In places such as Juja Road, garbage blocks the road.

VOTERS
Traffic is such a nightmare that Murang’a Road, Kipande Road, Prof Wangari Maathai Avenue and many others are basically parking lots.

When it rains, as it did on Wednesday afternoon, our children left school at 5.30pm and got home, 10 kilometres away, at 10 in the night.

The city is descending into anarchy and the governor has no clue how to govern.

At the last election, voters were confronted by a choice between a governor whose potential never shone through, a man they trusted and felt he had let them down, and basically a collection of undesirables: A frothing radical, a vain man backed by a faceless ethnic cabal and an upstart senator admired for his ability to transcend tribe in a city where voters are very conscious of it.

Many decent city residents voted to give Mr Sonko a chance because they did not like the contempt with which the other candidates regarded him due to his modest background and poor academic qualifications.

He, too, is letting them down. If he does not get a grip and start providing solutions for the city, not only will his honeymoon be over, most probably so will his term.

* * *
Kenya’s media marked World Press Freedom Day in a terrible climate.

Battered by civil society, bloggers, social media warriors, internet perverts, counterfeiters, self-inflicted wounds and a government whose hatred for the free press is palpable, Kenyan media are limping.

They are in a worse state than they have ever been in my lifetime.

Yet, there is no democracy without a free press.

NGOs, with their inherent and endemic corruption, funny agendas, funny funders, nepotism, corruption and bad governance, are not an alternative to good, honest and courageous media.

If something has gone wrong with the media, let’s fix it.

It can’t be replaced by bloggers or activists, whose function is quite different.


Spurn the falsity, Somalia is on the mend

By LIBAN OBSIYE
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Somalia is still a challenge for most people in Kenya to understand.

Most Kenyans I have met cannot fathom what the genuine issues are in a country blessed with enormous resources both in land and at sea but “plagued by insecurity”.

Many more wonder why the Somalis’ success in Kenya, especially in business and the society generally, cannot be replicated in their homeland.

A Kenyan friend in Nairobi recently told me Kenyans still feel Somalia is broken and, for this, it is difficult for them to think long-term about it apart from being a security threat.

AMISOM
Somalia and Kenya share a land border and a visit to Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb shows the deep people-to-people relations between the citizens.

More importantly, across Kenya, the entrepreneurial spirit and partnership that bind the two peoples is clear for all to see.

In Somalia, the most popular and trusted foreign contractors are Kenyan.

Despite this, the Horn of Africa nation is still predominantly presented as broken and Kenyans are heavily influenced by these barometers.

The fact that Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are in Somalia as part of the Amisom troops fighting global terrorism alongside the Somali National Army does not help matters.

NEW PRESIDENT

But neighbours are always closer to each other than with the rest of the town.

Therefore, Kenyans should adopt the Somalia-on-the-mend attitude because the glass is half-full, not half-empty.

Somalia’s new government has prioritised security, economic development, good governance and public services.

These are cross-cutting priorities in both countries, which provide tangible opportunities for cross-border learning and partnerships.

The two governments enjoy strong ties but the best illustration of that radiates from the two peoples.

BUSINESS
Somalis and Kenyans have a historic partnership which pre-dates the loud noises of cash registers in Eastleigh Somali hotels and shops.

These relations are familial, neighbourly and, increasingly, based on trade.

Because of this, most Kenyans who have engaged with Somalis and Somalia in any meaningful way understand that the country is not broken but on the rise.

This is the message that needs to be amplified to correct the false narrative.

Just as most Kenyans admire the Somali people’s business acumen, Somalis respect their Kenyan neighbours for their openness, which has allowed them to settle, invest and ride out the worst of the storm of a lengthy civil war.

This respect and admiration must be turned into real economic opportunities on both sides through deeper economic integration and cross-border investment.

SECURITY
Indeed, some real challenges remain for the Somali government to overcome to improve the relations — especially in investment, the most obvious and pressing of these being security.

Defeating Al-Shabaab, who undermine not only Somali but regional and global stability and progress, is a priority for Somalia and Kenya as both have suffered the cowardly, mindless attacks against the innocent.

Some Kenyans label Al-Shabaab Somali but they aren’t; they are international terrorists, a threat to us all, and must be defeated for the common security, progress and prosperity.

REFORMS
No doubt, Somalia’s progress will take time as democratising and fully securing a nation against opportunistic international terrorism cannot be done overnight.

Kenyans, given their rich history, understand that national reforms take time and need unity and patience.

In Somalia, this has finally been understood and, subsequently, Somalia is on the road to recovery.

Kenyans must understand, believe and communicate that Somalia, their good neighbour, is no longer broken; it is slowly mending.

Mr Obsiye, the chief policy coordinator in Somalia’s Ministry of Finance, was also the senior adviser in the Foreign ministry (2013-2017). [email protected]


Forestry test for counties

By EDITORIAL
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An interesting but hardly surprising finding by the task force appointed to review the management of forests is that the majority of the counties have yet to take charge of the devolved forestry functions.

Only 17 of the 47 counties have signed the Transition Implementation Plans to facilitate the transfer of management of community and private forests.

But even those that have are yet to implement them — putting the responsibility for this vital resource in abeyance.

It is easy to see why it was felt that the counties should take charge of forests.

The devolved unit is the closest one can get to strictly monitor and take charge of the resources on the ground within their jurisdictions.

Considering the alarming rate at which illegal logging and destruction of forests is happening, this matter could not be more serious.

Water catchment areas have been degraded by invaders seeking land to cultivate and the consequences are grave.

The sooner the functions can be transferred to the counties the better.

DEVOLUTION
But this raises the pertinent question of capacity.

Devolution has proven to be the best way to get the resources down to the grassroots.

But like health, another devolved function that has become a headache for counties, forests pose a challenge.

It calls for clarity on the counties’ role and the national interest, and the co-ordination of the exploitation of this natural resource.


Atwoli ‘soft landing’ for Uhuru misplaced

By EDITORIAL
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Veteran trade unionist Francis Atwoli sparked an uproar on Labour Day with his proposal for change of the Constitution to create a position in government to accommodate President Uhuru Kenyatta when he leaves office in 2022 after serving his two terms.

Ordinarily, the issue would be dismissed as typical Atwoli-speak, but that should not be the case.

This is the season for calls for law reforms and the various actors have been raising all sorts of reasons.

Some are pertinent and require serious discussion.

TERM LIMIT

But the one raised by Mr Atwoli, the influential secretary-general of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu), is spurious; only that it cannot be taken lightly.

He must be testing the waters, having been sent by some insiders who want to gauge how the public would react to such a suggestion.

Therefore, it is paramount to set the record straight. The two-term presidential term limit has a history.

It came as a result of the desire by Kenyans to establish an accountable system where a president went into office with a clear timeframe to execute their agenda and with the knowledge that they stood to be judged by their performance.

More importantly, it was a direct flight from the undemocratic practice that afflicted many African nations, where a president ruled for life.

The corollary to this is that such leaders do not care because they are fully aware they would never face any sanction for their excesses.

Since the introduction of the two-term rule, we have seen two Presidents — Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki — exit the scene and continue to lead ordinary lives.

Neighbouring Tanzania, which started a little earlier, has had a number of retired presidents living around and going about their lives like any other citizens.

It is disingenuous of Mr Atwoli and his ilk, therefore, to contemplate changing the law to accommodate President Kenyatta or any other leader, for whatever reason.

Such thinking is retrogressive and sycophantic and has no place in this day and age.

We reject such a proposal and it should be dismissed with the utter contempt it deserves.


It’s prudent to invest in manufacturing

Manufacturing has the potential to spark productivity more than any other sector in the economy.

It is important to note that, contrary to common perceptions, manufacturing does not ‘compete’ with other industries such as the services sector; rather, it is an ‘enabler’ for productivity for all the other sectors.

For starters, it has been proven that, as long as the share of manufacturing to gross domestic product (GDP) is rising, similarly, the per capita growth rate (which reflects average incomes) continues to rise.

This is what economists refer to as “structural change bonus”.

However, if we reduce the resources towards investment in manufacturing in favour of, say, services, we risk experiencing a structural change burden — which is the opposite of the bonus — because we rely on a sector whose capacity does not support the required increase in productivity.
It is true that few services, for instance, transport, distribution and information and communication technology (ICT), which are linked to markets, have the potential for productivity. 

However, in order to have, and sustain, a thriving market, an economy needs to have a strong manufacturing base, which supports agriculture and quality production of goods.  

Secondly, manufacturing and agriculture are interlinked; each depends on the success of the other to grow.

Manufacturing creates opportunities for capital accumulation more than agriculture.

This means that companies in industry, be it small, medium or large, can invest in diverse assets and to increase capital flow.

SAVINGS
Additionally, the returns to capital in manufacturing are higher than in other sectors.

Because it supports productive investments, manufacturing enables high savings rates.

Moreover, you will find that, typically, investment spending is channelled towards manufactured goods such as machinery, equipment and building material.

Capital intensity is also high in manufacturing and activities generated by manufacturing, for instance, construction and transport; however, the same is lower in sectors such as agriculture and services.

TECHNOLOGY
Manufacturing also offers opportunities for economies of scale.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has stated that manufacturing is especially important in advancing technologies in many societies due to “its leading role in diffusing technological progresses”.

Technological advancement is concentrated in manufacturing and then diffuses to other sectors — that is, machines make machines.

The development of gadgets, gizmos, tools and equipment used to drive productivity and efficiency in other sectors rides on the back of advanced manufacturing.

INCOME
Backward and forward linkages are also stronger in manufacturing than other sectors.

From growing and harnessing raw materials to processing, treatment, packaging, transporting, repackaging, storage and distribution, all these are actors in the value chain anchored on manufacturing.

Subsequently, the spillover effects of manufacturing activity, for instance, technologies and skills, are stronger compared to other sectors.

These effects also spread between other sectors as well.

Lastly, when per capita income rises, the share of expenditure on manufactured goods increases.

AGRICULTURE

In contrast, in the context of total expenditure, the share of agriculture expenditure decreases due to low income elasticity.

By this I mean if the household income changes, the demand for certain products drops.

Essentially, countries that rely on agriculture will need to industrialise in order to profit from expanding to local and global markets.

Some have argued that expenditure on services does grow, as per capita income increases, akin to manufacturing.

It is true that the expenditure on services might grow but, contrary to the case of manufacturing, the growth of expenditure here is only a result of increased income, not increased productivity.

‘BIG FOUR’ AGENDA
Manufacturing will guarantee the latter and, in the long run, offer more sustainability in terms of economic growth.

These are just a few examples of why many countries focus their resource and investment towards growing the manufacturing sector.

It only makes sense that manufacturing is one of the pillars of the ‘Big Four’ agenda.

However, to truly realise our economic goals, our focus in manufacturing must be long-term and centred on all our development plans.

Ms Wakiaga is the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the UN Global Compact Network representative for Kenya. [email protected]


Best journalistic practice is to allow readers to have their say

By PETER MWAURA
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Ernest Saina, by no means the only writer of letters to the editor who has complained over the years, says he has been disappointed in the way his letters have been mutilated to the extent of missing the point being made.

“Granted, the editor has the right to publish and edit such letters. But in the two letters I wrote, the editor, in my view, was not alive to the subjects at hand,” he wrote.

“The first letter was about a report that confiscated charcoal in Narok was burned by government officials.

I pointed out that this was a double destruction of an energy source and that the charcoal should have been given to an institution such as a school.

“This point did not come out in the edited letter.”

EDITING
Similarly, his second letter, which was about CDF officials who were found guilty of misappropriation, recommended that a regular column should be introduced to keep track of the fight on corruption.

But that was omitted in the edited letter. He asked me to take up the issue of the “mutilation”.

The editor is responsible for what appears in his newspaper and has a right to edit everything, including letters to the editor.

However, he should not edit your letter to conform to his own views or style of writing.

He should not edit it so heavily that it distorts your message or looks like it’s not your work.

If he edits your letter in such a way that it barely resembles the one you submitted, he owes you an explanation.

It’s possible, though, that he may have an explanation that might satisfy you. It’s possible he may have improved your writing.

But if he distorts your views or makes you look like a dimwit, you have a right to complain.

PUBLISH
Merely shortening your letter to fit the space available, however, is no cause to complain.

“Yes, it’s true your letters were shortened or mutilated as you say,” I told Mr Saina.

“In fact, your letters were published under the label ‘Short Takes’ (The phrase comes from the film industry, where it means a very short bit of recording).

This tells anyone reading the letter that only a bit of the letter is published.

It means your letter could not be published in full but there’s this bit that was published because the editor thought it was the most important or interesting part of the letter.

READERS
One can view ‘Short Takes’ as the journalistic equivalent of “nusu mkate” in local political parlance.

The reader knows the letter has been shortened out of necessity. It is not mutilation as such.

It would be mutilation if the letter was purported to be published in full yet it has been heavily edited (shortened).

This was not the case with Mr Saina’s letters, which I have viewed in their original form.

Still, Mr Saina makes a good point: The editor should always allow readers to express their viewpoints, even when they’re contrary to his.

* * *
I‘m always looking for journalistic gems of ethical behaviour.

My takeaway from Kamau Ngotho’s story, Holy water and other ways scribes bend rules to get those stories (Sunday Nation, April 29) is the following paragraph:

“One of my early assignments as a journalist was to report on a function to commission a communal project at some place near Nyahururu town.

“I was with Mr Muiru Ngugi, then a trainee reporter with the Ministry of Information. Today he is a senior lecturer of journalism at the University of Nairobi.

“After the function, we were all invited for a lunch prepared by the villagers, grateful at the completion of the project.

“I remember Mr Ngugi pulling me aside and whispering: ‘You know, we can’t take their lunch. That would compromise our ethics as journalists.”‘

Although Mr Ngotho describes Prof Ngugi’s stand as “professional virginity”, it’s true there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Even if something looks like it’s free, there’s always a cost — indirect or hidden.  


Uhuru-Raila truce not enough – says baby Pendo family

By VICTOR RABALLA
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The family of the six-month-old baby who died as a result of police brutality in Kisumu says the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is not enough to heal the wounds they suffered.

Samantha Pendo’s father called on the two leaders to engage the victims of the violence instead of using the media.

“As a person who lost a loved one, it hurts me more to see the two antagonists urging us to forgive and forget what happened when the matter is still fresh in our minds,” he said.

“During the State of the Nation address on Tuesday, the President asked for forgiveness and called on Kenyans to unite,” he said.

Mr Abanja, who said his family felt neglected and abandoned, however, expressed optimism that the ongoing public inquest into Baby Pendo’s death at the Kisumu Magistrate Court will hand them justice.

“Some of the officials of the national and county government who promised to help us have abandoned us and don’t pick up our calls any more.

“On that account, we have decided to pick up the pieces and continue with our normal lives,” he told the Nation.

Mr Abanja thanked well-wishers who supported them emotionally and financially during the time of grief.

Baby Pendo died on August 15 last year after she was allegedly struck on the head by anti-riot police officers using a blunt object following protests that rocked Kisumu after President Kenyatta was declared the winner of the August 8 presidential election.


Special surgery for girl with needles in stomach

By BARNABAS BII
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By OSCAR KAKAI
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Doctors at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) lined up a special operation on a three-year-old girl today to remove seven sewing needles mysteriously lodged in her abdomen.

The doctors at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital discovered the needles on Wednesday after a scan but referred the child to the MTRH for the operation as the county facility lacked specialised facilities for the procedure.

MTRH Chief Executive Officer Wilson Aruasa said the operation would require utmost care so as not to interfere with the girl’s vital organs.

He said the needles were placed near her lungs.

“It is still a mystery how this happened. They are close to the liver but doctors have described the condition as stable following a CT-scan,” Dr Aruasa said.

INVESTIGATION
The child was transferred to the Eldoret-based hospital Thursday morning.

He said they are working with the police who are already investigating the matter.

According to Dr Aruasa, the child was brought up by a single mother and the needles are suspected to have been in the body for a long period.

“The grandparents and the mother are well-placed to give information but social workers and police are carrying out investigations,” he added.

But on Thursday, the child’s grandmother, Emily Ling’aa, said she has no idea how the needles got into child’s body.

She said the baby started showing discomfort last year.

“The baby started feeling pain and I felt some things in her stomach. I thought it was a normal disease or some problem with digestion,” Mrs Ling’aa said.

“I was shocked to learn of the needles in her body after the scan and wondered how they got inside her body,” she added.

The poor family now says that it has no cash for the treatment of the child.

ELOPE
She said their daughter eloped with another man last year leaving the young girl with them.

“The mother escaped because the child was sickly. She is now married to someone else.

“We used to give her painkillers and we took her to Center Kwanza dispensary. We are stranded and we don’t know where to start from,” Mr John Chepkokei Ling’aa, the grandfather, said.

West Pokot County Health officer Ibrahim Longolomoi said the matter had been reported to police.