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Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

 

Former First lady Madame Callista Mutharika Sue’s DPP Secretary General

CALLISTA MUNTHALIKA SUES DPP S.G
Former First Lady Callista Munthalika is demanding MK500,000,000 from DPP secretary general for telling the national that Callista killed her husband.
The source within the judiciary confirmed to zbs that the defamation claims have been filed at high court in Blantyre over the marks that the DPP secretary general made in Thyolo during a whistle tour on Saturday.
Meanwhile , speaking at a rally this afternoon, the secretary general has challenged Mrs munthalika to take whatever remedial action she deems necessary.
(Source: ZBS radio)

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Row over city bursary fund as cash banked in wrong account

By COLLINS OMULO
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A controversy has arisen over the Sh297 million Nairobi County Bursary Fund after the money was banked in the wrong account.

Questions are being asked how, and by whom, the money  was wired to an  account held by Maryland University in Australia, and why it remained in  the account for over a month before the error was detected.

“People took the money and deposited it in Maryland’s account for over a month before the money came. So we want to know who sent the money there and for what, and who returned the money on June 4,” said Minority Whip Peter Imwatok on Tuesday as he moved a motion asking for an explanation for the mix-up. 

Mr Imwatok revealed that the account was opened by the Australian university to channel funds for the construction of Dandora Primary School.

“When they were doing the school, they gave a condition that they would open an account with the county and send  their donations directly to the account. It is not an exchequer account but was primarily for that project,” he said.

Under the fund, each of the 85 wards in the Nairobi  was supposed  to get 700 bursaries, which comes to  59, 500. Each bursary was worth Sh5, 000, bringing the total amount to   Sh297,500,000.

The MCAs complained that the hitch has led to delays in disbursing the bursary funds,  adding that no explanation has been given by the relevant House committee.

Most of the wards claimed that they received bursary forms in December last year and the bursaries were supposed to be given by January, but that has not been done, putting the education of over 50,000 students in the capital city at risk.

FOREIGN ACCOUNT

Education committee chairperson Ms Millicent Mugadi admitted that the money went to the foreign account but said that every mishap had been corrected and the processing of the cheques was underway. She said that 20, 000 cheques have been printed and given to acting Finance chief officer Mr Ekaya Alumasi.

“The bank received the money on Monday and is currently printing 10, 000 cheques daily and by the end of this week, all the cheques will be ready,” said Ms Mugadi, the Ziwani MCA.

MAKING MISTAKES

She explained that the delay had been occasioned by typographical errors in the cheques like amounts in figures and words not tallying, errors in names of schools by staff keying in the details and hitches at the office of the Controller of Budget.

But her explanation was shot down by Umoja II Ward MCA Joseph Ndonji who wondered why the same office had dispatched money to other counties except Nairobi.

“Same staff have been doing the work for the past five years and have not been making the mistakes so that is a lame excuse. Moreover, all counties have been given out their money except for Nairobi yet we are also being served by the same office,” said Mr Ndonji.


Hassan Joho’s allies vow to back DP William Ruto

By MOHAMED AHMED
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By FADHILI FREDRICK
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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has been dealt a blow in his bid for the presidency after some of his Coast allies on Tuesday declared support for Deputy President William Ruto.

The MPs, led by the Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori, said it was “unrealistic” to think that a Coast leader could take the top seat.

Mr Dori also took issue with his party leader Raila Odinga, saying “he should not mislead people that the next president will be a Muslim from Coast”.

“We do not want to hear those stories here, go back to your backyard and announce that; then we will know your real intention,” he said.

He was referring to Mr Odinga’s remarks last week when he said his push for constitutional reforms was to ensure any Kenyan, including Governor Hassan Joho, can vie for president.

LEAD THE COUNTRY

Mr Odinga was speaking during an Iftar dinner organised by Mr Joho at Serani grounds in Mombasa.

The Mombasa governor has on several occasions said he will be the “first Muslim from Coast” to lead the country.

Mr Dori, however, said the 1.7 million votes in Coast region were not enough to make Mr Joho president.

“No one can become president without cooperating with others from other regions and that is what we need to hear. This time round we want to be in government and we will work with a leader who wants to bring us development and that is none other than the DP,” said Mr Dori during an event to mark World Environment Day at Baraza Park in Kwale.

Mr Ruto, who was at the event,  promised to take more development projects to the region.

SUPPORT RUTO

“We have also set aside Sh470 million that will cater for 19,000 people under the cash transfer programme. The Mwache dam, which is being put up at a cost of Sh30 billion, will hopefully be opened this September,” he said.

Jomvu MP Badi Twalib, who has been one of Mr Joho’s allies in Coast,  promised to support Mr Ruto.

“I heard you being described the other day as a leader who has been  wandering around. I want to tell you to continue with the tours in the alleys as it is there that you will bring development. We have seen your capability and we will support you,” said Mr Twalib.

DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari, who was also elected on an ODM ticket, said they will support the DP to ensure the Jubilee government continues spearheading its development agenda. “We have seen the projects that the government has brought to us and that is what we want to see going forward. We will support you but we insist that you continue with the spirit,” he said.


Brokers eat into tea factories’ turf

By IRENE MUGO
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It’s a chilly Tuesday morning and Ms Regina Njoki is sitting next to a heap of tea leaves picked from her farm for sale to a broker in Murang’a County.

Accompanied by a group of men and women, they parade their sacks of tea leaves, waiting for a pick-up truck that collects their tea to arrive at Kanyenyaini trading centre.

“This is our small tea auction. We are waiting for the buyer to arrive so we can get quick money,” she says.

Ms Njoki is one of the farmers hawking their produce, which is illegal under the Kenyan law.  According to the 2012 Crop Act, any person who buys, sells, exposes for sale, transports or has in possession any tea that has been grown, manufactured or is from a grower not registered with a factory or contracted to supply green leaf to it is liable to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.

HAWKING TEA

But some farmers in Murang’a, Nyeri and Meru counties are hawking tea in exchange for quick cash.

 The farmers are picking more leaf in contravention of the rules introduced by Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA). The allure of tea buyers is cash and volume. They pay farmers between Sh18-22 per kilo immediately after delivery of the tea leaf.

The buyers also allow farmers to pick more than two leaves and a bud that is normally not accepted by KTDA.

“We still take our tea to KTDA because there is an annual bonus, and we also get inputs like fertiliser. But selling to the brokers gives us direct money and I am able to cater for emergencies, pay medical bills and  feed my children,”  said Ms Milka Wangechi, a farmer.

SELLING TO BROKERS

The two farmers interviewed by the Nation had earlier delivered part of their  tea to Kanyenyaini tea factory, which is affiliated to KTDA. But each had about 50 kilos extra for selling to brokers.

While KTDA promotes picking of two leaves and a bud to ensure good quality produce, the brokers are allowing farmers to pick more than five leaves. The brokers also accept tea rejected by KTDA.

“If I pick two leaves and a bud for the agency, I will get around 30 kilos, but when I am picking more leaves, I can get double the kilos and earn more,” said Mr Josephat Ndung’u, a farmer. The buyers sneak in either at night or early in the morning. The identity of the buyers is not known but they pass through numerous roadblocks and police checkpoints without any problem. 

PRIVATE FIRMS

Though private firms have also been licensed to buy tea from farmers, they are required to identify themselves. However, none of the brokers identifies themselves to the farmers. For instance, the buyers of the hawked tea  use the name of one of the private tea processors in Kiambu to buy the tea, creating conflict.

“These brokers are using our name to conduct their business since they know it is illegal. We have petitioned Murang’a assembly to have them kicked out of the county,” said Mr Francis Njuguna, the chairman of Kanyenyaini tea and horticulture group.

EXPLOITATION

Tea hawking is also promoting theft. Mr Njuguna said labourers employed to pick tea have been shortchanging their bosses by selling half their tea to the brokers.

KTDA National Chairman Peter Kanyago has cautioned farmers against the practice, saying buyers are exploiting them. “Tea hawking is illegal and the tea directorate should do thorough scrutiny before registering private tea processing cottages to ensure they do not continue promoting the trade,” he said.


Kenya ranked high for renewable energy

By LEONARD ONYANGO
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Kenya is among the top 10 countries with the largest geothermal power capacity worldwide, a report released on Monday shows.

According to Renewables 2018 Global Status Report (GSR), Kenya tops in Africa and is ninth globally with a capacity of about 700 megawatts.

Kenya beats technological heavyweights such as Japan that has been ranked at position 10 with a geothermal generating capacity of 500 megawatts.

United States has the largest geothermal generating capacity globally with 2,500 megawatts followed by Philippines (1,900 MW), Indonesia (1,800 MW), Turkey (1,100 MW), New Zealand (1,000 MW), Mexico (900 MW), Italy (800 MW) and Iceland (750 MW). The rest of the world shares 950 MW.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Renewable energy accounts for over 70 per cent of Kenya’s installed capacity compared to the world average of 24 per cent, according to the Ministry of Energy.

Renewable energy power plants under development in Kenya include the 300 MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant, which is the single largest wind power plant in Africa, 70 MW Olkaria 1 and the 140 MW Ol Karia V.

Use of renewable energy is among the measures to combat adverse impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Kenya’s Olivado plant, which produces oil from avocados, is installing a biogas system that will reduce its waste streams and make the plant self-sufficient in energy, producing 1.5 Gigawatt hours (GWh),” says the report by Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21).

GLOBAL TRANSITION

REN21 – supported by United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) – is a global renewable energy policy network that aims to facilitate knowledge exchange, policy development and joint action towards a rapid global transition to renewable energy.

The report also indicates that about 9 million households in Kenya have access to off-grid renewable energy.

“In Kenya and Uganda, the number of off-grid systems deployed in 2016 outpaced the grid connections achieved by rural electrification agencies and national utility companies,” it says. 


Facebook data war now turns to device makers

By New York Times

New York Times

Facebook endured a new wave of criticism from lawmakers and regulators in the United States (US) and Europe on Monday after disclosures that the social media giant had allowed dozens of hardware manufacturers access its trove of personal user data.

Just months after being forced to explain its privacy measures and pledging reforms in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook found itself on the defensive once again, fending off questions about whether company executives had misled elected officials and why it had not fully disclosed the data-sharing agreements during recent testimony in the US and Europe.

The European authorities who last month enacted the world’s strictest data privacy law said Facebook’s sharing of personal information with cellphone-makers and other manufacturers deserved further investigation.

VIOLATION OF PRIVACY

Germany’s top privacy regulator, Johannes Caspar, called Facebook’s partnerships “an unprecedented violation of privacy laws and user trust.”

And New York’s Attorney-General Barbara Underwood, said her office would expand its investigation of Facebook’s data practices to include Facebook’s sharing with hardware manufacturers.

The broad scope of Facebook’s data partnerships — with Apple, Samsung, Amazon and other companies that make or sell phones, tablets, televisions and video game consoles — was reported by The New York Times on Sunday, showing that Facebook had exempted at least 60 hardware-makers from restrictions imposed on other companies in 2015.

Those restrictions were intended to prevent games and other apps from gaining access to the Facebook information of their customers’ friends.

“I’m extremely concerned that we are just now learning that even more personal user data was provided without consent,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one of the lawmakers who questioned Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, at a hearing in April.

RESTRICTIONS

Mr Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have repeatedly cited the 2015 restrictions to assure policy makers that no outside company could again harvest swaths of personal information without the explicit consent of users, as a contractor for Cambridge Analytica did in 2014.

But Facebook officials said this week that they did not consider hardware partners to be outside companies, under the terms of Facebook’s privacy policies and a 2011 decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

When Facebook delivers data to a partner device, a Facebook executive said in a statement posted on the company’s website on Sunday night, the device-maker effectively functions as an extension of Facebook.

And when Facebook users decide to share photos or phone numbers with their friends, they also consent to having that information flow to any partner devices their friends use.

SHARE INFORMATION

“Friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends,” said the executive, Ime Archibong. “We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

But some US lawmakers criticised Facebook’s rationale and urged the FTC to review whether the partnerships violated Facebook’s promises to the regulator.

“I think this explanation is completely inadequate and potentially disingenuous,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., ranking member of the Senate sub-committee charged with consumer protection.

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the House antitrust sub-committee, responded even more harshly: “Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have ‘complete control’ over who sees our data on Facebook,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter.

Senior Republicans also said the partnerships merited further review.

TRANSPARENCY
Senator John Thune, R-S.D, said in a statement that The Times’ reporting “raises important questions about transparency and potential privacy risks for Facebook users.”

Thune said the Senate Commerce Committee, of which he is chairman, would seek more information from Facebook.

The FTC is already investigating whether the access to friends’ data that Facebook allowed until 2015 violated the terms of its earlier consent decree with the regulator. Rohit Chopra, a current FTC commissioner, declined to comment on any specific company or investigation.

“Too often, sensitive consumer data gets shared and copied over and over again to a point of no return,” Chopra said. “FTC orders are not suggestions. When companies violate them, there can be serious consequences.”

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in March, Facebook executives, including Zuckerberg, have appeared before officials in Washington, London and Brussels.

But on Monday, Facebook leaders, including the company’s departing security chief, took to another social media platform — Twitter — to fend off criticism of its privacy policies.

DATA PARTNERSHIPS

The company also addressed US lawmakers from its own Twitter account, saying that no users’ privacy had been violated by the data partnerships.

Other privacy experts also weighed in, including one engineer at Facebook’s advertising rival, Google. And executives at Apple — which took advantage of Facebook’s data-sharing until last year — took a swipe at Facebook’s privacy settings during a developer’s conference on Monday.

During the event’s keynote address, Craig Federighi, an Apple senior vice- president, unveiled a new feature that will let Apple users more easily control what sort of information is shared with Facebook and other social media companies.

Federighi chose to demonstrate the new feature onstage by showing Apple’s Safari browser open to a webpage.

Above it, a pop-up graphic appeared.
“Do you want to allow ‘facebook.com’ to use cookies and website data while browsing ‘blabbermouth.net’?” the pop-up read. 


Revealed: Cartels were paid Sh2bn for maize

By NATION TEAM
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Maize brought into the country from Uganda was delivered to six National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots in Western Kenya by cartels who received Sh2 billion at the expense of genuine farmers.

Senior managers and key staff at the six depots suspected to be involved in the scandal have been interrogated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and are expected to be charged with corruption.

EACC deputy director in charge of North Rift Jackson Mue on Tuesday said 70 per cent of the Sh2 billion was transacted in the six depots.

“We have compiled a list of officers and farmers suspected to have been involved in the scam and their names will be made public tomorrow,” said Mr Mue, adding that they will appear in court soon.

The NCPB depots in question are Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge, Kitale, Bungoma, Kisumu and Nakuru.

“More NCPB staff and farmers are to be interrogated and, if implicated, they will be arraigned in court to answer charges of misuse of public funds,” said Mr Mue.

IMPORTED MAIZE

According to the official, the scandal involves several individuals who delivered the cheaply imported maize to NCPB depots at night and received prompt payment.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has acknowledged that some powerful individuals were behind the maize scam.

But he maintains that the officials are not from his ministry and has promised to table an audit report on the scam’s beneficiaries.

Leaders from the North Rift have demanded an independent audit to determine the quantity of maize delivered to the depots. Led by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and his Moiben counterpart Sila Tiren, they said the audit will expose individuals behind the scandal.

FARMERS’ PAYMENTS

Meanwhile, a section of MPs including Mr Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Mr Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza), Mr Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Mr Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), have told the Agriculture ministry and the Treasury to fast-track farmers’ payments, which have been suspended.

“We want Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to ensure funds are made available to pay farmers as investigations into the scandal go on,” said Mr Kuria in Trans Nzoia.

The leaders spoke during a funds drive towards the completion of St Teresa’s Namanjalala Catholic Church in Kwanza Sub-County.

Mr Wanyonyi said they will present a motion to Parliament, on resumption on Tuesday, to compel the Agriculture ministry to ensure cases of corruption are properly handled.

“We want to see action that will bring an end to this menace that has been affecting farmers. It can’t be business as usual when our farmers are suffering,” said the MP who is a member of the Agriculture committee.

Mr Onyonka said the government must protect economic ventures that uplift the livelihoods of the public to ensure that corruption does not destroy them.

“We have to safeguard the interests of Kenyan farmers by ensuring they have a better market for their produce. The cartels have to be dealt with to avoid such cases,” said the MP.

Several NCPB senior managers have been suspended to pave way for investigations.

Reported by Barnabas Bii, Titus Ominde and Gerald Bwisa


Hold school heads to account on safety issues, say MPs

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The National Assembly Education Committee wants principals to be held responsible whenever criminal acts take place in schools.

The MPs also said only tutors registered with the Teachers Service Commission should support co-curricular activities in schools.

They said that some people taken in by schools to train students usually mishandle the learners.

The committee, chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly, also wants schools to set up teams that will assist in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of safety.

IN-SERVICE TRAINING

“The recurrence of danger in public secondary schools even after the release of the safety and standards manual by the Education Ministry poses questions that demand urgent answers. Insecurity in schools disrupts learning and leads to destruction of property and lives, thus putting the spotlight on teachers,” Mr Melly said during a briefing on school safety at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

“Principals have been entrusted with children. They should be held responsible should the students come to any harm.”

SAFETY MANUALS

The MPs want the ministry to revise the safety manual for schools.

According to the lawmakers, the ministry should insist on compulsory in-service disaster management training and encourage workshops on safety.

The committee said it would put pressure on Education CS Amina Mohamed and her Interior counterpart Fred Matiang’i to ensure schools are safe.


Professional bodies support Uhuru order, procurement officers comply

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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Government ministries on Tuesday started complying with the order to release their procurement officers and accounting heads expected to undergo fresh vetting to determine their suitability to continue working.

This is as professional bodies such as the Kenya Institute of Supplies Management (Kism), whose members are procurement and supply chain officers, and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (Icpak) asked to be roped into the vetting and corruption investigations targeting their members.

Those working in departments, agencies and State corporations started handing over to their deputies ahead of the Friday deadline when they are supposed to submit personal information to the Head of Public Service.

Other categories of public officers will soon  be required to answer whether they were involved in any corruption cases.

WAR ON CORRUPTION

President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared a full-fledged war on corruption and the vetting of procurement officers who will undergo polygraph tests is one of the first steps he has taken in fighting corruption.

Yesterday, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said his ministry has adhered to the directive, exuding confidence that vetting would deal with cartels.

“For us it will not be business as usual and we must abide by the procurement guidelines and regulations. For the officers taking over, they must know it’s a heavy responsibility,” he said at a briefing on Tuesday.

The Nation learnt that procurement officials in other ministries had also started exiting.

Affected officers may be required to present themselves for oral interviews and the government has warned that non-compliance will lead to disciplinary action.

Leaders from across the political divide welcomed the decision to vet accounting officers afresh but demanded that accounting officers who are Principal Secretaries, Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Executives and Managing Directors of parastatals be investigated as well.

VETTING EXERCISE

“We have to ask ourselves if there are lacunas in the Procurement and Disposal Act which can be cured through legislation. Procurement officers alone will not be the cure. In my view, the President should have cast the net wider,” said Meru Senator Mithika Linturi in an interview on Citizen TV.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said issues of corruption in Kenya are institutionalised and corruption should be fought from the leadership.

Kism chairman Chris Oanda said the national body of procurement professionals is supportive of the vetting exercise for its members, adding that it was necessary to address flaws in management of procurement.

However, he raised concern that there were loopholes in the practice that need to be addressed as they might be abetting the theft of public funds.

Icpak chairperson Julius Mwatu said that by being involved in the vetting and investigations, they will provide expertise in dealing with matters of governance.


State roots for monthly day for national clean-up

By MOHAMED AHMED
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By FADHILI FREDRICK
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The government has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to introduce a monthly national clean-up day in a bid to eradicate plastic waste.
Deputy President William Ruto said the day should culminate in the World Clean-Up Day marked globally in September.

Mr Ruto said the day would be marked in all the counties, towns, villages, schools, colleges and universities.

Speaking when he joined hundreds of Kenyans to mark World Environment Day at Baraza Park in Kwale, Mr Ruto said huge quantities of plastic waste end up in the ocean due to careless disposal.

The DP underscored the need by county governments to introduce policies to manage waste disposal.
He also urged counties to make sure they prioritise climate change in their County Integrated Development Plans.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

He said waste management was a devolved function and counties should develop policies in line with the national framework contained in environment evaluation guidelines and coordination Act.

He commended Wajir, Makueni and Isiolo counties for setting aside a budget for mitigation of waste.

“The nation should strive for low carbon emission formulas and this should be more than just banning of plastic bags. This is why the government launched a tree planting day to increase forest cover to 20 per cent by the year 2022,” he said.

Mr Ruto added that the Ministry of Education should introduce climate change in the curriculum for students to be conversant with environmental issues.

“40,000 mangroove seedlings have already have been planted in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. The government will put more effort to increase tree planting in the country to boost forest cover,” Mr Ruto said.

PLASTIC MENACE
Meanwhile, Safaricom, the United Nations Environment Programme and the National Environment Management Authority have launched a programme to end the plastic menace.

The three will form a team that brings together manufacturers, waste collectors, recyclers and other players to formulate proposals to deal with the problem.

Mombasa Safaricom senior manager Karen Basiye said the firm understands the importance of sustainable business practices.

And in Isiolo town, business people who fail to comply with the county government’s directive to have waste containers in their premises will be denied business permits.

County Environment executive Yussuf Daud Adan, who spoke during World Environment Day in Isiolo town, said failure to have litter bins will lead to denial of business permits.