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Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

 

MPs issue summons on JKIA audit queries

By SAMWEL OWINO
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Members of Parliament  have summoned former Transport Permanent Secretary Nduva Muli and former Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Lucy Mbugua over huge variations in costs for the expansion of terminal 4A and other works at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The two are expected to explain why the cost of building the terminal and other works increased from the initial price of Sh4.7 billion to Sh6.19 billion and later to Sh7.2 billion.

The building of terminal 4A was completed in 2014 and the electric works completed in July 2017.

National Assembly Public Investments Committee members also demanded that those who sat in the tender committee that approved the variations appear before them with a proper explanation.

The committee, chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, termed the variations illegal and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

Mr Nassir called on the current management to trace all those that sat in the tender committee so they could appear before the MPs to answer to the audit queries.

“We need a proper breakdown on the cost variations with explanations backed by documentary evidence. The variation is high and getting a loan does not mean the law has to be set aside,” Mr Nassir said.

AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT

Mr Nassir made the remarks on Tuesday when the team met the management of KAA over the Auditor-General’s report for the 2012/2013 financial year. “I have a strong feeling that there are games being played here over cost variations,” Mr Nassir said. He said the variation of the cost has become a burden to the current management who are still servicing the loan.

KAA Managing Director Jonny Andersen told the MPs that the variation was approved by World Bank which gave a loan for the construction of the terminal.


Number of people internally displaced by conflict across Africa doubles in 2017

16 May 2018, London – Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent which only makes up 14 per cent of the world’s population, accounted for nearly half of the 11.8 million people displaced by conflict in 2017, according to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Key findings from the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018) show that the Democratic Republic of Congo was hardest hit, with almost 2.2 million new displacements – more than the following three worst-affected countries combined – South Sudan, Ethiopia and Central African Republic which together accounted for 2.1 million.

“The scale of this displacement is dishearteningly familiar,” said Alexandra Bilak, Director of IDMC. “This report shows why we need a new approach to address the huge costs of internal displacement, not only to individuals, but also to the economy, stability and security of affected countries.”

The Boko Haram insurgency, ethnic violence and clashes over diminishing resources led to more than 415,000 new displacements in the Lake Chad Basin, 65 per cent of them in Nigeria’s north-eastern states.

In Somalia, IDMC recorded 388,000 new displacements associated with conflict and an additional 892,000 due to drought. However, the complex situation in Somalia means that the causes of flight are closely interlinked and hard to disaggregate.

“The staggering number of people forced to flee from their homes due to conflict and violence must serve as an eye opener to us all,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General. “We are getting better at providing emergency aid, but we need to put a lot more effort into preventing displacement, protecting people, and finding long-term solutions.”

Storms and floods forced an additional 2.6 million people to flee their homes across the region. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population growth and urbanisation rate are predicted to increase in the coming decades, and unless this is carefully managed, more people are expected to become displaced by more frequent and intense disasters.

“Internal displacement often heralds the start of broader crises. While we have seen some useful policy progress since the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 20 years ago, it is nowhere near enough to cope with, much less reduce, the scale of the problem,” said Bilak.

Yet Sub-Saharan Africa is well placed to act. With a unique legal framework in the Kampala Convention, incomparable natural resources and huge economic capital and human potential, it has the potential to become a global leader in addressing internal displacement associated with both conflict and disasters.

However, Bilak added, “without renewed action, we risk failing millions of internally displaced people worldwide, and holding back the development of the countries which host them. It’s time for an honest conversation on the most effective ways to turn the tide on this global crisis. This conversation must be led by affected countries and receive full support from the international community.”

For interviews please contact:

Sian Bowen, Head of Communications, IDMC Email: sian.bowen@idmc.ch Office: + 41 22 552 36 12 Mobile: +41 78 630 16 78

Frankie Parrish, Media Coordinator, IDMC Email: frankie.parrish@idmc.ch Office: + 41 22 552 36 45 Mobile: +41 79 265 19 53

NRC media hotline: +47 90 56 23 29 Email: info@nrc.no


Why electoral commission team is still crippled

By PATRICK LANG’AT
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By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The operations of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have stalled since the three commissioners who quit last month have not been replaced.

Following the resignations of commissioners Consolata Nkatha, Paul Kurgat, and Margaret Mwachanya, as well as that  of Dr Roselyn  Akombe last October, the IEBC cannot hold a plenary session with only Chairman Wafula Chebukati, and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu.

Mr Chebukati, in court filings to support a case in which activist Okiya Omtatah wants them left in office, said that he had not received the resignation letters of the three commissioners and could only assume that they have absconded from duty.

LEGAL LOOPHOLES

But in response, the trio said they had written to the President on April 16 informing him of their resignations, as required by law. 

Replacements for the three must be found for the IEBC to function, but it might be a while because of legal loopholes. For instance while the law requires the President to announce any vacancy in the IEBC seven days after it occurs, it does not spell out  when the seven days begin, as is evident from the current case. 

Then there is the lack of a mechanism for selecting a new panel to recruit the new commissioners which, according to Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, is an excuse.

It is notable that in response to Mr Chebukati’s remark that they had absconded from duty  the  three commissioners who resigned last month have said: “As far as we are concerned, we have resigned as commissioners, but our resignation is yet to be officially communicated and no vacancy has been declared. It cannot, therefore, be said we are the reason recruitment has not commenced. The inference is factually and legally incorrect.”

In a bid to plug the loophole, and provide a mechanism for recruiting  their replacements once the president declares the vacancies, Parliament is reviewing  the IEBC Act.

“As the House goes on recess, the committee will be looking at the various proposals for amending the IEBC Act to provide for the process of naming and forming a selection panel to interview potential IEBC commissioners who will need to be approved by Parliament before being appointed by the President,” said Mr William Cheptumo, the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman.

Last month, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale gave the Cheptumo-led committee 50 days to amend the relevant laws.


Miguna expected back from Canada on Wednesday

By WALTER MENYA
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Lawyers representing self-declared NRM general Miguna Miguna could be heading to court on Wednesday, the same day he is expected to arrive from Canada.

The decision to go to court follows a letter by the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Immigration, Mr Gordon Kihalangwa, to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) that the department would neither issue Mr Miguna with a passport nor buy him an air  ticket as ordered by the court.

“We have been talking with the lawyers (for Mr Miguna) and we understand they are going to court on Thursday on the basis of Kihalangwa’s letter, which, in effect, says the government is still not keen on letting him back. So they will be asking for fresh directions and orders from the court,” KNCHR Vice-Chairman George Morara said.

KENYAN CITIZENSHIP

But when approached, Ms Julie Soweto, one of Mr Miguna’s lawyers, told the Nation:  “I am not commenting on any issue touching on Mr Miguna right now.”

Maj Gen (rtd) Kihalangwa last week told the KNCHR that Mr Miguna will be given a passport only if he applies afresh for Kenyan citizenship, an assertion that has been challenged by the KNCHR and Mr Miguna’s lawyers.

“The department cannot issue Mr Miguna with a valid Kenyan passport as he has not made any application for the same. Moreover, and without prejudice, we reiterate that Mr Miguna has to regain his Kenyan citizenship before being issued with a Kenyan passport,” Maj Gen Kihalangwa says in the letter dated May 10.

But last week Mr Morara termed the position taken by the Immigration Department “embarrassing and unfortunate.”

“The court orders were very clear and they still remain clear and they have not been vacated. The orders were such that the Immigration Department, and even the police, were to facilitate his return,” said Mr Morara.

DEPORTEDTWICE

Mr Miguna announced that he will be returning on Wednesday from Canada after the government deported him twice.  

“May 16, 2018, my return date to my motherland is now engraved on granite. Thanks patriots, #NRMKe comrades, colleagues like Stuart Russell, for keeping the flame alive. We shall triumph,” he tweeted.

Mr Miguna has claimed that during his latest deportation on March 29, government officials “brutalised, tortured, sedated and forced” him into exile.

On the eve of his expected return, a lot of things including his itinerary still remained unclear.

“We are not getting any leads on the matter. Of course we are still keen on obeying the court orders and we will be writing to KAA for the facilitation like we did the other time,” said Mr Morara.


Setback for stay-at-home spouses in wealth battle

By ABIUD OCHIENG
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By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
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The place of a stay-at-home partner in the event of a divorce has become more vulnerable, thanks to a verdict issued by the High Court on Monday. The court ruled that partners are not automatically entitled to 50 per cent of marital property upon divorce.

But the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) is not satisfied with the decision, and it says it will contest it in the Court of Appeal. The organisation is seeking a 50-50 distribution of property upon divorce, saying spouses are equal during marriage and upon divorce.

However, partners in a marriage who are not employed or do not bring monetary support in a marriage will not walk out with nothing upon divorce

The Matrimonial Properties Act (MPA), which was upheld by High Court Judge John Mativo, acknowledges non-monetary contributions such as domestic work and management of the matrimonial home, child care, companionship, management of family business or properties, as well as farm work.

PROVIDE EVIDENCE

According to Justice Mativo, all that a party is required to do is to provide evidence of his or her non-monetary contribution in the marriage and leave it to the court hearing the dispute to determine.

“The court will rise to the occasion and in the circumstances of individual case, apply the evidence, the law and appropriate legal skills and arrive at a fair determination of the valuation of the  non-monetary contribution in the circumstances of the case under consideration,” said the judge.

However, Fida chairperson Josephine Mong’are said the MPA had contravened Article 45(3) of the Constitution, which provides that parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of the marriage, during the marriage and at its dissolution. “If you have equal rights during and upon divorce, why do you have to prove your contribution? We feel that by requiring a partner, man or woman to prove contribution, the MPA has contravened the Constitution,” said Mrs Mong’are.

NON-MONETARY CONTRIBUTION

She said the case raises a constitutional question, which they are prepared to challenge up to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Fida is concerned that stay-at-home partners may be shortchanged because there is no formulae to determine the value of non-monetary contribution in marriage. “How do you quantify child care against a Sh100 million building the husband built, and they are now divorcing? A woman gave up a job in Uganda to look after the young children, how will the court quantify such a sacrifice and contribution?” Ms Mong’are posed.

Former Law Society of Kenya chief executive Apollo Mboya said the assessment might vary from one judge to another, but it would be upon the parties to prove their contributions.

“He or she will have to demonstrate that, say the partner acquired this kind of property, and during that period, he or she was taking care of the house, children, and providing companionship. Evidence will be led to demonstrate how doing all these contributed towards the other acquiring wealth,” said Mr Mboya.

He added that equality, as provided in Article 45(3), refers to equality before the law, not property sharing, and that the MPA seeks to enforce the equality by giving a partner, upon divorce, that which he or she contributed.

Lawyer Okweh Achiando said the MPA was good because it would benefit both men and women who are stay-at-home partners.  He said it would also protect a hardworking woman from a husband who wants to freely benefit from the hard-earned wealth made possible by his wife.

“Today, young men marry older rich women hoping to benefit. That should not be encouraged. This law is protecting men and women in equal measure,” he said.

LITIGATION HISTORY

The MPA opens a new chapter in the Kenyan litigation history, where the courts have in the past ruled in favour of 50-50 sharing of marital property, whether or not that property is registered in the names of both parties.

One such case is when the Court of Appeal ruled in 1991 that Ms Mary Kivuitu was entitled to half the property in both hers and her husband’s name (former Election Commission of Kenya chief Samuel Kivuitu). This is despite the fact that the evidence presented in court showed that Mr Kivuitu had contributed most, if not all the funds, to buy the property (a house in Garden Estate, Nairobi), and a lower court had ruled that Mrs Kivuitu was entitled to only a quarter of it.

The court ruled that the wife’s contributions in terms of housework, taking care of the children and providing a comfortable home and peace of mind had enabled Mr Kivuitu to perform his duties as the bread winner, thus making her entitled to equal share of property acquired during their marriage.

In 1976, there was the landmark Karanja versus Karanja ruling,  where the judge granted the wife half of marital property, even though it was registered in her husband’s name.


Top earners to pay 35pc tax in new proposals

By CHARLES MWANIKI
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Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has hit Kenya’s big earners with a 35 per cent top tax rate, hoping to increase income tax revenues by Sh68 billion.

Mr Rotich says in a newly published Income Tax Bill that the top tax rate is for those earning more than Sh9 million a year, effectively targeting those with a monthly income of Sh750,000 and above.

The number of Kenyans earning more than Sh750,000 a month, however, remains small as government employees, who form the bulk of the people in formal employment, earn an average of Sh57,915 per month. The average private sector employee’s wage stands at Sh56,624, according to this year’s Economic Survey.

The Bill, which promises a significant overhaul of the Income Tax Act, also targets large corporations, which will pay the top tax rate for taxable income of more than Sh500 million.  

CORPORATE TAX

Income below this threshold will continue to attract a 30 per cent corporate tax rate.

If Parliament approves the far-reaching proposals, it could also see the capital gains tax rate rise from five per cent to 20 per cent.

Publishing the Bill before formally submitting the national budget to Parliament next month is being seen as a sign of determination to push through  tax reforms in the next fiscal year, when pay-as-you-earn tax is expected to rise by Sh68 billion to Sh447.6 billion and corporation taxes by Sh59.5 billion to Sh389.2 billion.

Deloitte tax partner Fred Omondi said the changes were likely to be welcomed as progressive, considering previous calls to charge high-income earners more.

“It is progressive in the sense that it is targeting high-income earners, while the higher CGT is targeting wealthier segments of society, who own property.

TOP EARNERS

Quite a number economies, especially in the developed world, have rates above 40 per cent for top earners,” said Mr Omondi.

While there would be some increment in receipts because the taxes are deducted at source, the number of Kenyans in the top-income bracket remains low and, therefore, the government needs to complement this measure with others that widen the tax base.

The Treasury, Mr Omondi said,  must have had this in mind when substituting the turnover tax for businesses recording revenue of below Sh5 million with a presumptive tax that is equal to 15 per cent of the single business permit fee issued by a county government.

“From a collection point of view it will help them net many of the unincorporated entities, although with the average business permit costing about Sh15,000, they may need to raise the rate to fully account for the turnover tax they have been collecting,” he said.

The new Bill retains the tax bands the Treasury introduced in January that raised the effective tax-free income threshold from Sh12,260 to Sh13,486 per month, offering relief to the lowest-income earners.

The taxable income floor remains at Sh147,580 per year and attracts income tax at the rate of 10 per cent.  Thereafter the tax rises by five per cent in bands of Sh139,043, until it hits the maximum Sh564,709 per year when the 30 per cent rate kicks in and runs all the way to Sh9 million.

The income tax law is the only major tax legislation that had not been comprehensively reviewed in the past four years. The government reviewed the VAT Act in 2014, and followed it up with a review of the Excise Duty Act in 2015.


NYS did business with ghost firms in Sh9bn tender scam

By FRED MUKINDA
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By PATRICK LANG’AT
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Records of some of the entities believed to have been fraudulently paid Sh9 billion from the National Youth Service are incomplete or missing from the company registry.

A search in the official database of the registrar of companies carried out at 4pm yesterday showed that Ameratrade Enterprises, Ngiwako Enterprises, and Ersatz Enterprises returned a “no result”.

“When a search of a company at the official register done manually returns a “no result”, it means as far as the companies’ registry is concerned, those companies do not exist,” an official at the registrar’s office, aware of the goings on, but who is not authorised to speak to the media, said.

In a few cases, efforts by the Nation to unmask the owners of the entities yielded identities of directors whose names are not familiar to the public, but who are possibly fronts for people holding influential public offices.

UNDER INVESTIGATION

Out of a sample of 10 companies, three were properly registered as companies with two directors each, two were registered as business names with one owner each, while three could not be traced at all at the company registry. About 40 companies are said to be involved in the NYS fraud and are under investigation.

The Nation worked with a sample of 10 of the companies under investigation. At this point, there is no insinuation of guilt, merely that the transactions are under investigation.

The government and its agencies are supposed to do business only with formally registered companies, which must also be registered as taxpayers and have a PIN certificate as well as a VAT certificate. In the case of women, youth and the disabled, they must have an additional certificate, called AGPO (Access to Government Opportunities). In addition, all must have a tax compliance certificate.

CORRUPTION

The incomplete records fit an established pattern in corruption scandals and raises serious questions about the company registry, under the Attorney-General, to ensure transparency in business.

The difficulties in establishing the ownership of the companies came amidst a strong fightback, led by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), in which the director-general of the National Security Intelligence, Maj General Philip Kameru, was accused of orchestrating the investigation in cahoots with former acting NYS director-general Sam Michuki, a senior official at NYS whose exact position remains clouded in confusion. He was appointed acting director on Janury 8, 2016 by Principal Secretary Lilian Mbogo-Omollo.

Bizarrely, on January 11, 2016, he was reported in the press as having been appointed the substantive director-general to replace Ms Clare Lwali Chaddah, who had acted in the capacity since the departure of Nelson Githinji. However, three days after the announcement of Mr Michuki’s appointment, Mr Richard Ndubai was sworn in as the director-general.

ABUSE OF OFFICE

Ms Chaddah was transferred to the Ministry of Sports and subsequently charged with abuse of office in connection with the first NYS scandal. She was acquitted two months ago. Mr Michuki was senior director in charge of the Kibra slum upgrading project but was reported to have been removed by Anne Waiguru.

However, he is still reported to be a deputy senior director in charge of administration. Other reports indicate that he was transferred to the Ministry of Transport.

It is unclear whether there is any substance to these allegations, or whether they are part of a game of smoke and mirrors as corruption fights back, as it often does.

But Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti was on Tuesday bullish, warning top NYS officials that they will not be spared if found to have stolen money from the organisation.

“Kenyans should anticipate arrests of all those who are culpable,” said Mr Kinoti. “People will be arrested and taken to court irrespective of the ranks they hold or their social status. If you misused public funds and diverted the money for personal use, you be held accountable. We shall not leave you alone.”

He said he had assembled a team of detectives from the Investigations Bureau based at Mzaingira House, the directorate’s headquarters, to probe the scandal.

“I can assure that my officers will not be intimidated. The culprits will be treated just like any other criminal. These are economic gangsters. They are causing more problems than armed gangsters,” added Mr Kinoti.

He also said that the detectives are scrutinising documents from all NYS departments, in Nairobi and other parts of the country, after which those suspected of misdeeds will be summoned to give their side of the story.

While the Nation is not alleging wrongdoing on the part of the entities whose records it sought, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has been digging into whether the law was followed in the award of tenders to them at NYS, and whether they supplied any goods against which they have been paid.

BUSINESS NAMES

Annwaw Investments, Kunjiwa Enterprises, and JerryCarthy Enterprises, according to the search, are only listed as business names, and not companies. Of interest to the investigators is how an entity not registered as a company won a tender at the NYS. Annwaw has listed itself as involved in supply of stationery, JerryCarthy deals in general supplies, and Kunjiwa trades in foodstuff.

Of the nine the Nation searched, only Firstling Supplies, which has already been paid Sh1.3 billion, Calabash Investments, and Arkroad Holdings Limited are listed as companies at the registry, complete with their physical addresses and directors.

The directors of Firstling Supplies are listed as James Thuita Nderitu and Yvonne Wanjiku Ngugi, with the former being the majority shareholder. Arkroad Holdings Limited has Peter Wagurah Kimani and Anthony Makara Wamiti as directors with equal shares.

Calabash Investments, on the other hand, has Maureen Nyakerario Monyoncho as the majority shareholder and Evans Mokaya Omwenga as the minority.

CORRUPT OFFICIALS

According to investigators’ understanding of what transpired, corrupt officials created companies then assigned them contract numbers ordinarily given to contractors pre-qualified by the Department of Public Works. Whereas the contract numbers were valid and the pre-qualified companies genuine, the dummy companies were basically shells created to facilitate fraud.

Using a valid contract number, an account could be opened for the shell companies in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).

Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) were then raised in respect of the dummy companies and the impression created that they had supplied goods to NYS. The fake payments were slotted into the NYS stock of pending bills.

While NYS has pumped billions into fake entities, the Nation has learnt that genuine suppliers are facing ruin as auctioneers descend on their property.

The worst affected are those who obtained bank loans on the strength of LPOs issued by NYS but the latter has not paid, years later.


WHO warns countries against use of solid fat

By AGGREY OMBOKI
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments around the globe to ban the use of trans fats.

In a set of guidelines issued by the UN health agency, trans fats should be eradicated from global food supplies by 2023, potentially saving 10 million lives.

These types of fats have been altered to be more like saturated fat and are therefore more solid at room temperature.

Trans fats also occur naturally in some foods such as meat and milk products.

CHEMICAL PROCESS

They began to be widely used in the early 1900s when the chemical process of hydrogenation was invented.

Researchers looking for long-lasting oil developed a method of altering the chemical structure of fat to solidify it, thereby preventing it from getting spoilt in a short time.

The trans fats have recently been identified as the cause of heart attacks and strokes, an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and infertility in women.

The fat is harmful on the human circulation system, causing a rise in levels of bad cholesterol and a decline in levels of good cholesterol.

Artificial trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are estimated to cause at least half million deaths a year, with the bulk occurring in developing countries.

BANNED TRANS FATS

A number of countries have already restricted or banned trans fats, including Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Britain and the United States.

Despite these bans, trans fats remain popular in many emerging economies like Kenya, where local producers dominate the edible oil industry in the face of weak or vague regulations and restrictions.

“The reality is that global food companies have done an amazing job reducing trans fats in rich countries but they have largely ignored Asia and Africa,” said Prof Barry Popkin, a nutrition lecturer at the Chapel Hill campus University of North Carolina.


Activists: ‘We shall breastfeed, in public and in private'

By SYLVANIA AMBANI
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A group of activists on Tuesday held demonstrations in the city centre to protest against a restaurant that allegedly threw out a woman from the establishment for breastfeeding her baby without covering herself.

Olive Restaurant located along Accra Road came under the spotlight after Ms Betty Kim took to social media on May 7 to rant about her ugly experience at the restaurant while she was breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter.

In her posts, she condemned the waiters for their “heartlessness”.

“I’m very disappointed by Olive Restaurant after humiliating me when breastfeeding my baby. Those waiters should be aware not all babies are covered while being fed. The approach was pathetic, it was raining outside na siwezi nyonyeshea mtoto kwa choo,” she wrote.

The hotel’s management, which had earlier denied knowledge of the incident, later gave an apology: “On behalf of Olive Restaurant I would like to offer my sincere apologies to women especially mothers. We are aware of the incident and are conducting internal investigations to get to the bottom of it,” said Mr Moses Mbugua, the manager.

RIGHT OF BABIES

The demonstrators started their march from Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner, making a stop outside Parliament Buildings before heading to the restaurant.

“I saw the conversation on social media about a woman who was asked to stop breastfeeding her child in a restaurant because they thought that it was not appropriate. And I decided to join other women because breastfeeding is a right,” said Mama Njoki from Mathare.

Ms Mildred Owiso, one of the organisers of the campaign, said that the incident was among the many cases of women who breastfeed in public areas being mistreated and it was high time the government took action.

“We demand that the right of babies to feed is taken into consideration in all public and private spaces. We, as women and mothers, declare that we will not breastfeed our babies in washrooms. We will do it where we want, when we want and how we want,” said Ms Owiso.


Turkana, Baringo politicians trade accusations over Kapedo killings

By NATION TEAM
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Leaders from Turkana and Baringo on Tuesday traded accusations over who to blame for the fresh Kapedo attacks that have claimed six lives in less than a week, even as a humanitarian crisis looms in the volatile area.

Hundreds of residents in Kapedo are facing starvation after roads leading to Marigat, where most food supplies come from, were infested by bandits. Roads linking Kapedo from Lokori in Turkana County with Marigat in Baringo County have become impassable, disrupting transportation of humanitarian aid along the common border of the two counties.

Three school children and a driver were shot dead by bandits at Ameyan while travelling from Marigat to Kapedo last week and two people including a police reservist killed on Sunday, a kilometre away from Kapedo centre.

SHOPS CLOSED

Most shops remain closed after foodstuffs were exhausted and no trader is willing to risk his life to access Marigat or Lokori to buy stocks.

Ms Margaret Achila, a shopkeeper in Kapedo, said she has run out of stock on key food items and she cannot stock owing to insecurity.

She said the bandits cannot allow the Kenya Red Cross vehicles into the area to offer humanitarian assistance to affected families.

Joshua Loyanae said they have been unable to access the market in Marigat for the last three months.

RISK LIVES

“We can’t buy food even if we have money. Trade and transport activities have been hit hard as no one wants to risk their life,” said Mr Loyanae.

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who flew to Kapedo in a helicopter to condole the families expressed displeasure with the way Interior Cabinet Secretary and Inspector General of Police were handling the situation.

“I call on the government through Cabinet Secretary of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to speak up on the actions taken to address the situation. The people of Kapedo have a right to security and to live in their ancestral land without fear as guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya,”  Mr Nanok said.

RELIEF FOOD

The county boss said the situation at the Kapedo centre, that is claimed by both the Turkana and Pokot, was dire.

The residents are now depending on relief food being delivered by the Kenya Defence Forces.

Turkana County Commissioner Seif Matata said that the government would continue providing relief food as long as it is needed.

Meanwhile, Turkana East MP Mohammed Ali Lokiru and Kapedo/ Napeitom Ward MCA Willy Nalimo, who also accessed Kapedo in a helicopter, accused politicians from Baringo of inciting criminals to attack the Turkana.

Turkana Woman Representative Joyce Emanikor also blamed politicians: “The attacks especially in Kapedo are not caused by cattle rustling or ethnic animosity but have everything to do with politics.”

POLITICAL GREED

“It is regrettable that lives are lost to pay for political greed,” added Ms Emanikor.

But leaders from West Pokot County have faulted security organs in the county whom they accuse of laxity in dealing with the rising insecurity.

“There are high schemed plans to victimise only one community and show that only one community is bad. We don’t want blanket community condemnation. The government is closing one eye over the Kapedo killings. There are few criminals causing havoc and killing people forcing others to revenge,” said Governor John Lonyangapuo. He denied having anything to do with the attacks. 

ILLEGAL WEAPONS

“I was there last in 2015 with President Uhuru Kenyatta. We have many Turkanas staying here in a place called Aramaget and we have not chased them. Leaders should come together to resolve this issue,” he said.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto claimed security officers in the region were harassing the residents in the operation to crack-down on the criminals.

He called on President Kenyatta to intervene and order operation to recover illegal weapons.

Reported by Sammy Lutta, Barnabas Bii and Oscar Kakai