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Thursday, June 14th, 2018

 

Rules on credit transfer for postgraduate students tightened

By OUMA WANZALA
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Postgraduate students in universities and colleges will not be allowed to transfer their credits if they switch colleges.

The new regulations by the Kenya National Qualification Framework Authority say that only students taking certificate, diploma and degree programmes will be allowed to transfer their credits.

The regulations gazetted last week by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed have also phased out higher diplomas.

The higher diploma was equated to a degree and took more than five years.

“The authority shall approve a credit transfer made in accordance with the regulations, and credits transferred will not be more than 49 per cent,” says the regulation.

The move is aimed at addressing the problem of universities that admit students from other institutions without the prerequisite qualifications.

In 2016, the Commission for University Education (CUE) revoked doctorate of philosophy degrees awarded to five students by Kisii University after it emerged that it had admitted the students for masters’ degrees irregularly.

“Student admissions were highly irregular, based on a postgraduate credit transfer policy that is not provided for in either the Kisii University statutes or the Universities Standards and Guidelines for student mobility from one accredited institution to another,” the commission said.

An audit report on universities released last year by CUE revealed that only eight universities had complied with the requirements on credit transfer.

It also revealed that some the universities granted more than 49 per cent credit transfers, in contravention of the minimum standards on credit transfers.

ACCREDITATION

The regulations also require those who intend to award national qualifications to apply to the authority for accreditation.

The authority will also establish a database of national qualifications to inform the implementation and maintenance of the national qualifications frame work.

The database established will contain information on registered unit standards, registered qualifications, accredited education institutions, assessment and certificate systems of accredited education institutions, validated learning qualifications, equated foreign qualifications, recognized and approved foreign qualifications, qualifications recognised from prior learning , students records and any other particulars as may be necessary.

The regulations also says that the authority will, from time to time, develop and publish manuals, codes and guidelines on national qualifications to advise and support any person, body or education institution, set standards and benchmarks for the qualifications and competencies including skills, knowledge, attitudes and values, among others.


Sh400bn allocated to Uhuru’s Big Four agenda

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The government has allocated Sh400 billion to Jubilee’s Big Four agenda, which is the main focus of President Uhuru Kenyatta in his second and final term in office.

The four pillars are manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.

The government has allocated Sh44.6 billion for universal health coverage while Sh6.5 billion will go towards the provision of affordable and decent housing for all Kenyans.

FOOD SECURITY

The Treasury has allocated Sh20.25 billion to enhance food and nutrition security to all Kenyans by 2022, and Sh2.4 billion to support value addition and raise the manufacturing sector’s share to gross domestic product to 15 per cent by 2022.

Although Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry said the Big Four agenda will largely be achieved through partnership with the private sector and development partners, the government has also increased taxes in other sectors in a bid to raise money.

For instance, mobile money transaction fee popularly known as M-Pesa has been increased from the current 10 per cent to 12 per cent. The tax for imported vehicles with over 2500cc has also been increased to 30 per cent.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Mr Rotich said the revenue raised from the two avenues and other sectors will be used in funding the provision of affordable housing and universal healthcare.

The CS said achievement of the four pillars is expected to accelerate economic growth.

“In order to achieve the Big Four, all of us will need to put our differences aside, pull in the same direction, and work towards a common goal. This budget provides us with an opportunity to begin to walk the talk,” Mr Rotich told MPs.

The CS also noted that eradication of corruption is one of the biggest means of achieving the four pillars, hence the strengthening of a multi-agency team tasked with the fight against graft in order to assist in the recovery of stolen public assets.

“During the next five years, I will dedicate the energy, time and resources of my administration to the Big Four,” President Kenyatta said during last year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations.


Rotich takes step to repeal capping of loan interest rates

By VICTOR JUMA
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Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has moved to repeal the interest rate controls effected in September 2016, meaning the cost of borrowing will go up.

Mr Rotich said the decision, which will boost banks’ profitability in the coming months, is meant to support economic growth by reviving lending to the private sector.

Banks responded to the rate caps by increasing their investment in government bonds and T-bills, resulting in a major slowdown in the growth of lending to the private sector to lows of 2.8 per cent as at February.

The lenders argued that they could not accommodate riskier borrowers within the set maximum interest rates, currently standing at 13.5 per cent.
By taking away the Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) powers to enforce the interest rate ceilings, Mr Rotich has effectively left banks to price their loans as they see fit.

ACCESS TO CREDIT

“In order to enhance access to credit and minimise the adverse impact of the interest rate capping on credit growth while strengthening financial access and monetary policy effectiveness, I propose to amend the Banking (Amendment) Act, 2016 by repealing section 33B of the said Act,” Mr Rotich said in his budget speech.

The section of the law targeted requires CBK to enforce lending rates by banks at a maximum of four percentage points above the base rate – officially the Central Bank Rate (CBR) — set by the regulator from time to time.

In its current form, the law also prescribes a minimum return of 70 per cent of the base rate on interest-bearing bank deposits.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) criticised Mr Rotich for freeing banks, adding that the minister’s promise of protecting small and medium-sized firms through a credit guarantee scheme ring hollow.

BOW TO PRESSURE

“It is wrong that Mr Rotich bowed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and local banks’ pressure at the expense of consumers,” the advocacy group said in a statement.

“We urge MPs to veto the proposal with the contempt it deserves. The matter is actively in Court,” Cofek said, adding that the proposed credit guarantees, as well as a bill to protect consumers from predatory lenders, are a tokenisms.

The minister said the government will work with the private sector to implement the credit guarantee scheme for SMEs.

The Financial Markets Conduct Bill, 2018 is also in the works to curb predatory lending practices, including deceptive pricing of credit and abusive collection tactics.

If Rotich’s proposal goes through Parliament, banks will once again be at liberty to set interest rates according to their own risk assessments, a move that will instantly boost their earnings from re-pricing loans upwards.

Prior to the rate caps, interest rate on some bank loans stood at 18 per cent, with individuals and shaky companies taking the most expensive debt.

Among the companies whose financial costs could go up significantly in an unregulated lending market are Uchumi Supermarket, Home Afrika, ARM Cement, East African Cables and Deacons, which were borrowing at interest rates ranging be-tween 15 and 19 per cent before the rates cap.

The move is expected to boost the economy since an increase in credit encourages investment.


Wellness best weapon against lifestyle diseases

By NIXON SHIGOLI

We all aspire to live a healthy, happy and successful life. We feel good when we are healthy.

Good health enables us to engage in various activities, leading to self-fulfilment. Poor health and illness undermine our ability to actualise our potential and could even lead to death.

It is common knowledge that our lifestyles, meaning the choices we make regarding how we live, have a direct bearing on our health.

Medical experts tell us that many human diseases are preventable with the right choices about what we eat or drink, what we do with our bodies and even how we think.

The world is grappling with a surge in chronic but preventable illnesses linked to changing lifestyle patterns among individuals.

These include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Many of these deadly conditions have been attributed to poor lifestyles. They fall within the category known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), now considered a bigger threat to mankind than communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB).

Fortunately, the incidence and prevalence of these killer diseases can be checked by embracing wellness.

There is growing and irrefutable evidence that a healthier lifestyle can cut the risk of debilitating NCDs.

Of course, one’s genes and the environment play a role, too.

Wellness is one avenue to lessening susceptibility to chronic lifestyle illnesses. The term denotes conscious decisions by an individual to maintain good health.

It encompasses wise lifestyle choices that promote good health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines wellness as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”.

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

“Wellness” is used interchangeably with “health”. While the latter refers to the general state of a person’s physical, mental and emotional condition, the former alludes to activities geared to not only preventing disease but also enhancing a person’s overall health and well-being.

For instance, sticking to a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs and managing stress are integral elements of wellness and signify a desire to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional health.

The growing significance of wellness is illustrated by the increased use of work-place wellness programmes to boost employee productivity and reduce costs associated with absenteeism due to illness linked to lifestyle illnesses. Many employers are investing in that.

This may involve interventions directly targeting lifestyle — for example, prohibiting smoking at the workplace and providing sports facilities for employees. Workers with substance abuse problems are offered counselling and medical assistance.

Embracing wellness also reduces the high cost of treatment associated with life-style diseases.

Making conscious positive decisions about lifestyle, therefore, enhances productivity and longevity.

They also come with financial benefits. We should not wait to treat diseases when they strike.

Prevention is always better than cure. Wellness is the way to go.


Spending plan is too ambitious, say MPs

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
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Some MPs have questioned the practicality of implementation of this year’s budget, arguing it is too ambitious.

A majority of the MPs who spoke to Nation expressed concern over the huge public debt, failure by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to provide clarity on financing the Big Four agenda, and the proposed taxation measures, which they said would make life difficult for the ordinary mwananchi.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale criticised the proposal to increase excise duty on mobile money transfer services from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, the increase of tax on kerosene and the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax of 0.05 per cent on any amounts of Sh500,000 or more transferred through banks and other financial institutions.

NOT PRO-POOR

“This is not a pro-poor budget. The heavy taxation will hurt the common person and act as dis-incentive to those who want to start small scale businesses,” Mr Duale said.

He said the public debt had soared to unsustainable levels and expressed displeasure with the CS for having failed to explain to the House how he intends to finance the budget.

CRAZY IDEA

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi described the Robin Hood tax as a ‘crazy idea’ and questioned the proposal by the CS to amend the law capping interest rates.

“In my opinion, the law has achieved its intended purpose. The rates have stabilised and amending the law will make the banks run amok and destabilise the market as was the case before.”

Mr Mbadi also questioned the taxation measures proposed by the CS, saying they are inadequate in financing the budget.

INCREASED SPENDING

At the same time, experts have raised eyebrows over the budget, questioning increased government spending that has continued to dig the country into a deeper debt hole.

They feel the budget ignored the country’s current economic realities in favour of completing ambitious development projects while continuing to push the country deeper in debts.

“Since the government has already committed to funding these projects, it cannot abandon them without creating more waste,” said Mr John Kinuthia, an analyst at the International Budget Partnership.

He expressed concern over the fact that the CS did not mention any austerity measures, in-stead opting to increase taxation to plug budget deficits.


We’re in Sh5trn hole, just so as to quench vampires’ thirst

By Mutuma Mathiu
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God knows I am no economist, having ditched the subject at university, but I have been around for a while. I have also slept through many classes at business schools and something may have stuck by accident.

When you are in a hole, it makes sense to stop digging. When you are beat, you stop fighting lest you get killed.

Kenya is in a Sh5 trillion hole — a massive, massive debt, the bulk of which has been built up over the past five years.

Debt is like having a catheter attached to your jugular, draining your blood to feed vampires.

National debt is no different from family debt: You borrow, you invest, you use the proceeds to service the debt and generate a little surplus for the family.

MAKING SENSE

Debt only makes sense if mum and dad oversee it with rungus and pangas, dad is not allowed to spend it in the bar and mum is not permitted to buy shoes with it.

If you take a loan to finance a trip to Rome with your girlfriend, or you take a loan to buy clothes, you are slashing your own throat.

This being the case, would you borrow to go and buy a plot for twice its going price? Or take a loan to acquire an asset that you knew would absolutely earn you no additional income? So, why are we doing it as a country?

PUBLIC MONEY

I think the government does not treat public money like money.

If it did, every coin would be carefully invested, ensuring maximum return for the taxpayer, reducing debt exposure and giving aid only to the most deserving.

No money would go to show-off projects, kick-back-driven activities and outright theft by tenderpreneurs and their leeches.

There is no medal to be won for having a big budget. Saying you have a Sh3 trillion budget, what does that mean? What is a trillion?

The disaster of this budget is that Sh870 billion of the Sh3 trillion will go straight down the throats of vampires — to serve the debt monster. That’s a debt crisis right there.

Secondly, going by the rather conservative estimate, a third of the budget is stolen through leaky procurement and fraud. That’s another trillion off your fancy budget.

The money we have, or hope to have, in terms of tax collection is Sh1.95 trillion. That’s not money in the bank, though. That’s what we hope KRA, which rarely meets its revenue targets these days, will squeeze out of Kenyans.

ECONOMIC TREADMILL

In real terms, if you offset the cost of corruption and debt servicing from tax revenue, you arrive at a position which, in the checkers game we played in childhood, is called “ndung’u”, the two parts “kanjana”; in other words, you are on an economic treadmill.

In this whole game, Sh559 billion of that budget is unfunded, meaning we plan to spend money that we don’t have.

But at least the Jubilee government is an expert at borrowing. So, we have lined up to borrow Sh236 billion in project loans (maybe Chinese), Sh299 billion commercial debt (say Eurobond), Sh272 billion from local banks and maybe another Sh2.5 billion from the IMF and such like lenders. I’ll not go into foreign payments and debt rescheduling and other voodoo.

This is not the balance sheet of an entity that can afford to build a railway at Sh1 billion a kilometre, spend Sh12 billion on laptops and Sh35 billion on CDF, which is nothing but campaign money for MPs.

PORK IN BUDGET

There is so much pork in this budget it is a miracle that the economy hasn’t had a heart attack.

Lawless lawmakers, ignoring the fact that the Legislature does not execute, have set aside Sh8 billion for their use to repair roads.

So, there will be county governments doing roads, the national government doing roads and MPs doing theirs. How will they decide who will do which road?

And the fellow to pay the price of this madness is you and I. Already, the government, when all taxes, both direct and indirect, are added up, takes more than half of our salaries. And it is coming for more. If you take a beer, you are hammered with more taxes. If you drive your car, you are hammered.

If you import a second hand car, if you send money to your mum back home, the government is waiting to squeeze more out of you. If you save, borrow, struggle and build a rental house, the government is there, asking for a share of the rent.

TENDER BARONS

If only this money was used properly for the development of the country, if there were no ‘tenderpreneurs’ and their government friends handing out LPOs to their ‘slay queen’ girlfriends, we would not mind so much.

But it appears that we are working 16-hour days to finance expensive, but fake lifestyles for tender barons.

Kick-back-motivated white elephants, vanity projects and bad ideas, which we are too proud to cut loose, risk dragging us down the Greek-type slope.

It is not the good times that we need to worry about, it’s those economic shocks that originate elsewhere in the world when we least expect them.

I say, let’s be prudent and live within our means. At the very least, slow down the spending until the country recovers from the vagaries of last year’s multiple presidential elections, then build up the spending steam when households and businesses have recovered their ability to generate taxes.


Reporter crossed ethical lines by entrapping referee to take a bribe

It is worrying, the Saturday Nation editorial said that Fifa referee Aden Marwa was filmed in a BBC exposé receiving a $600 bribe. As a result, he lost the chance to officiate at the ongoing 2018 Fifa World Cup.

“This development is worrying, coming just a week to the world’s most popular sports competition at which Marwa was to be the first Kenyan to officiate a game,” the editorial said.

“Marwa was expected to represent his country in Russia with pride and integrity.
“Now his career is in ruins.”

The editorial was concerned with Mr Marwa’s error of judgment that cost him Sh2.5 million in allowances for the World Cup duty and which, more crucially, cast doubt on his colleagues in the local league.

But there is another side to the bribery story: It was the result of an undercover operation which crossed moral and ethical lines.

Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who did the story, disguised himself as a Ghanaian football official.

He gave Mr Marwa “a gift”, of Sh60,000, to influence the outcome of matches at the 2018 African Nations Championships in Morocco.

Mr Marwa was enticed to commit a crime he would otherwise not have commit-ted. This is called entrapment, which is illegal in many countries, including Kenya.

There was no evidence that Mr Marwa was corrupt before this journalist-created incident.

The BBC overlooked its high editorial standards by publishing a story obtained through entrapment. In its editorial policy it states that, before an investigation is commissioned, there should exist prima facie evidence of wrongdoing.

There should also be justification for using deception, undercover work or secret recording to gather evidence.

Undercover journalism uses deception. It is only justified if, as the BBC states in its editorial policy, there is prima facie evidence of some wrongdoing.

It should never be used as a fishing expedition. Further, journalists should take in-to account the possible consequences of an undercover operation. If the possible harm outweighs the public interest, the operation should not be undertaken.

MISUSE OF JOURNALISM

In this case, there is nothing to suggest that, without the intervention of the journalist, Mr Marwa would have committed the offence. The journalist conditioned the celebrated referee’s mind to commit the offence.

It is misuse of journalism to lure a person into accepting a gift and then publicising the act as an exposé of corruption in, say, Kenyan football.

What’s in a handshake? A lot. But we should stop claiming credit for ground-breaking or epoch-making handshakes, or saying we invented them.

There have been many handshakes around the world that have changed politics and diplomacy.

The latest is the one between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Their “handshake moment” made headlines. But what’s the best way to describe such handshakes? Historic, symbolic or emblematic? It de-pends on the significance of the handshake. Does it change history or is it simply symbolic or emblematic? The answer may also lie in how the handshake was done. Was it firm or limp? Was it sweaty and nervous or warm and friendly? And how long did it last? The Trump-Kim handshake lasted 12 seconds. The Uhuru-Raila one lasted about nine seconds, but was repeated for the benefit of the press photographers.

What’s the best word to describe handshakes such as the Uhuru-Raila and Kim Jong-un ones?

On Monday, the Daily Nation re-created on the front page the Uhuru-Raila hand-shake by publishing the picture taken outside the steps of Harambee House.

The caption read: “The death knell? Mr Raila Odinga’s colleagues in the National Super Alliance say his peace pact with President Uhuru Kenyatta sealed with this emblematic handshake on March 9, was the last nail in the coalition’s coffin.”

John Muriungi, a communication consultant, called to protest that the handshake was historic, not emblematic. What do you think?

Mr Muriungi earned his communication degree at the University of Wales, Car-diff, and was a lecturer at the Kenya Methodist University, where he taught English for Journalists. He is compiling a book of errors made by the Nation and The Standard.


Government raids poor pockets to fund Sh3trn plan

By EDWIN OKOTH
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Kenyans were Thursday evening bracing for harder economic times ahead after the government raided their pockets to fund its Sh3 trillion spending plan for the next 12 months, read out in Parliament by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The speech, which largely avoided delving into the pain points of the proposed revenue enhancements to meet the huge expenditure proposals, only gave a few hints that will soon be laid bare in the Finance Bill.

In a sharp contrast to last year’s pre-election Budget that was laced with goodies targeting the common man – including cheaper maize flour and bread – this year’s offer is all about levies, taxes and more taxes, fixing ‘Wanjiku’ in a tight financial corner.

From proposed tolling of various roads and raising of kerosene prices to increased license fees for small businesses, the Budget speech showed the government planned to squeeze more shillings out of the pockets of the common man.

TOLL STATIONS

It will cost more to send money via mobile phone, eat ugali and bread, and drive as fuel costs are set to rise and toll stations take even more from motorists as the government collects revenue to fuel its ambitious spending plan.

Banks will also have the leeway to tie heavy interest on loans under the proposed removal of the interest rates capping.

Mr Rotich’s goodies this time were focused at the macro levels of the economy, including improving local manufacturing through cheaper power and protection from cheap imports.

The trickle-down benefit of this plan will, however, depend on whether the manufacturers will be willing to pass down the lower costs of production to mwananchi.

“With revenue enhancement measures, we project revenues to rise by 17.5 per cent to Sh1.92 trillion, equivalent to 20 per cent of GDP, in 2018/19 from the estimated Sh1.66 trillion collected in 2017/18,” Mr Rotich said in his Budget speech.

The Kenya Revenue Authority, notably, had not hit half of its revenue targets as at April 2018.

Themed ‘Creating Jobs, Transforming Lives and Sharing Prosperity’, the expenditure plan, which is Sh400 billion more than last year’s Sh2.62 trillion, will be funded by debt to fill a 5.7 per cent deficit. Those opposed to Kenya’s ballooning debt burden opined that this is financial suicide as the country can barely repay its existing loans.

Mr Rotich dropped his earlier proposal to increase income taxes to 35 per cent for Kenyans earning Sh750,000 and above per month, as well as his plans to increase taxation on gains made from sale of property.

Critics argue that Mr Rotich’s spending plan may have several riddles that will only be unravelled once the final tax approaches are laid bare in the Finance Bill.

TAX HIGH EARNERS

Audit and tax advisory services firm Grant Thorton Kenya director, Mr Samuel Mwaura, said Mr Rotich should have taxed high earners more and allowed the common man to benefit from some of the proposals he made last year, many of which are yet to start trickling down.

“High net worth individuals got away with it this time, but in my opinion, they should have been made to pay more,” said Mr Mwaura.

Individuals with income stashed overseas got another year of extension to return the money into the country, with Mr Rotich proposing to exempt them from scrutiny on the sources of their wealth as provided for in the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, or any other Act relating to reporting and investigation of financial transactions.

He, however, said those with proceeds from terrorism, poaching and drug trafficking will not be exempted from this scrutiny. The window for surrender of the assets, extended to June this year, will now stay open until June next year.

JUBILEE AGENDA

The Budget, which was centred on Jubilee’s four flagship agendas for the second term, saw Mr Rotich allocate some Sh460 billion to the key drivers of manufacturing, food and nutrition, universal health coverage, and affordable housing.

An ambitious Rotich told Parliament that if the Big Four agenda are implemented the economy will grow by at least seven per cent per year, resulting in more jobs and reduced poverty.

The affordable housing plan, which will see the government venture into building 500,000 affordable houses by 2022, will run on several incentives aimed at attracting investors for low-cost housing, including the servicing of land in major towns to prepare them for such initiatives.

Low-cost housing investors will also get their corporate taxes halved to 15 per cent if they put up least 100 units per year.

Consumer Federation of Kenya secretary-general Stephen Mutoro said Mr Rotich had leaned heavily low income earners.

“By raising the cost of food, there is no reason for consumers to welcome the Budget,” said Mr Mutoro.


Remove beggars, homeless from city streets

Nairobi, being one of the major towns, and the capital city of the country, is becoming flooded with beggars and street children on daily basis. Walking throughout the town, even the CBD, beggars are stationed at every corner of the town.

Despite a prior action taken by the government of Nairobi County to clear the city of these beggars, they still exist in town, even in larger numbers than they were a few years ago.

It is disturbing that one can hardly stroll through the town without getting calls of ‘help me.’

One of the most disturbing facts is that it is hard to tell who is genuinely in need and who is not.

A few years ago, when the government begun clearing the city of these beggars, most of them were found not to have genuine problems demanding need and/or attention.

Amazingly, some of them revealed that they were forced to beg by gang of robbers who would pick them late in the evening and take all the cash they had accumulated.

These forces beggars disclosed that their pay was only food and they were at times physically humiliated if they turned down the bagging task.

This is a sure indication that most of these beggars are not intentionally begging in these towns but being forced to.

Another major threat in our major growing towns, with reference to Nairobi as the capital city of the country, is the growing population of street children.

Now, almost every corner of the city is being invested by these people, the worst being the outskirts of the CBD.

These children pose a big threat to those people navigating the city by walking.

The children, at night, and some during the day, turn out to be robbers who rob inhabitants of these small towns within the city and even travellers walking on foot.

This explains the reason as to why there is a lot of congestion in roads without people using the flyovers designated for crossing the road.

These street children have turned these flyovers their major habitats, thereby making it hard for people to use them to cross the road.

These children have also turned the flyovers and many other parts of our big towns their toi-lets where they relieve themselves daily.

These beggars and street children have brought adverse effects in the town. They have made the town less comfortable for everyone walking around, shopping, selling or using the towns in whichever way.

The street children are polluting the environment increasing chances of contracting contagious diseases like cholera which can sweep a large number of people if it strikes.

They have made the towns to look as a heap of ruins by flooding them in large numbers. Peo-ple, for instance are afraid of walking from the Race Course road, through Muthurwa to Coun-try Bus.

These people, being in the city, are a much nuisance to all its users and are an outward display of the state that Kenya is in in terms of development and economic growth because if the country was developed or making feasible steps towards development then we couldn’t have such a big number of beggars and street children.

The rate at which the population of these people is growing is threatening since they are in-creasing on daily basis. The major threat is that this behaviour of begging in town and having a large number of street children is beginning to sprout in the small towns in the country.

This means that all our towns will be flooded with these people in a few years to come.

In spite of the fact that Kenya is not a communist, the government should take an initiative of doing away with this problem once and for all lest the fault becomes unfillable.

Kenya has an opportunity to be great and reach its millennial goals and its visions, but not with these people flooded in town.

If anyone, who is not of much interest to the state, who will not have the city kept in order for their honour, comes to Kenya and specifically Nairobi, which image is printed in their brains when they see these people? How do they view Kenya? It is embarrassing.

The government, however, can do away with this menace by application of a few tactics.

Firstly, the beggars are not in town on their own. There are those people who bring them in the morning and take them back in the evening.

These people should be forced to keep them in their places or take them back to the villages and work to provide for them because they can’t survive by begging forever.

The government should provide jobs for their relatives to be able to take care of them, and take them out of the town.

The government, also should form rehabilitation centres for these street children and take the rest to children homes. Some of these street children are healthy and energetic.

They should therefore be provided with job opportunities to work for themselves. These street children should be considered as Kenyans as the rest of Kenyans. Some of them turn out to be very useful people in the country.

Sincerely speaking, if this problem in our towns is not treated as being emergency or not given the attention it deserves, these towns will very soon become unusable and heap of ruins. As a result, therefore, a corrective measure needs to be taken as soon as possible.

Stephen Muema, Makueni.


Kenya can learn a lesson from China’s war on corruption

This Friday, a high level Chinese delegation will jet into the country at the invitation of the National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi.

The team, led by Mr Wang Yang, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, is in Kenya to exchange experiences on governance and further solidify Kenya-China relations.

The visit comes in the wake of debilitating corruption scandals rocking various government entities and individuals. In a sworn affidavit, Interior Principal Secretary, Karanja Kibicho has revealed that graft cases increased by 240 per cent since Jubilee took power in 2013.

The revelations are simply an extrapolation of big league despoliation of public re-sources that has been witnessed under different regimes since independence.

The tree of corruption has grown and branched into notable incidents like Anglo Leasing, Chicken Gate, and Goldenberg, besides the NYS I & II episodes.

Despite an implosion of laws and agencies mandated to safeguard public resources from individuals with itchy fingers, graft continues unabated.

The Ethics and Anticorruption Commission has publicly admitted to have processed only 45 cases since the body was established.

The scourge has subsequently drained massive resources; denying citizens essential services such as health, education, infrastructure, water and security.

Sadly, because of its allure and spectacle, young Kenyans now think it is sexy to engage in corruption, as revealed by recent surveys.

The foregoing brings to sharp focus the role of parliament and that of the ruling party, Jubilee, in stemming the tide of corruption; a malfeasance that President Kenyatta has compared to colonialism.

It is on this basis that one would expect Speaker Muturi to engage Mr Wang on how China, under President Xi Jinping, has managed to earn public trust in the fight against graft in the world’s most populous country.

For a long time, China experienced runaway corruption; orchestrated by a complex web of high ranking party officials who worked in cahoots with both state and private entities to drain public coffers.

Since 2012, however, Xi’s spirited drive to engender a clean government has seen over 1.5 million corrupt individuals slapped with punitive penalties.

The campaign that targets malpractices such as abuse of office for personal gain, dereliction of duty and waste of public resources has ensnared a number of actors which include political, military and government officials.

While China has not eliminated the problem of corruption, there are key lessons that Nairobi can learn from Beijing.

First, the war on graft requires unflinching political support from the highest office. President Xi has made it a linchpin of his administration.

The impressive results have increased public confidence in the campaign; creating a huge disincentive to would-be offenders.

Secondly, to slay the dragon of corruption, the campaign should target both ordinary citizens and folks of high political, economic and social standing. China has made it clear that there is no big or small fish when it comes to corruption.

Third, fighting graft requires both legal and ethical instruments. While it is desirable to have working institutions that can satisfactorily investigate, and prosecute graft suspects, that is not enough.

As President Xi often remind Chinese, there is need for us to inculcate values of integrity, loyalty, and service to the nation among our youth, during their formative years.

This should happen both within the family setup and through social structures like schools and religious institutions.
Finally, although Kenya must not necessarily follow the Chinese model in fighting corruption; it is time for policy innovations that can effectively target and ameliorate the scourge.

If President Kenyatta is keen on slaying the dragon of corruption as he has publicly repeated, he must now take the frontline and lead the entire nation into the battle. That is how Kenya won independence from colonial rule.

Adhere Cavince, scholar on China-Africa relations. Twitter: @Cavinceworld