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Thursday, July 5th, 2018


Amendement de la Constitution: Le Parlement déclare recevable le dossier

Par 62 « oui », 19 « non » et 01 abstention, l’Assemblée nationale vient de prendre en considération la proposition de loi portant amendement de la Constitution du 11 décembre 1990. Les trois quarts des députés composant le Parlement requis par la loi fondamentale ont été obtenus, fut-il sur le fil du rasoir.

Puisque le verdict du vote a donné de justesse les 62 voix favorables dont celle du député Mohamed Atao Hinnouho actuellement en prison dans une affaire de fraude douanière. Il a donné procuration à son collègue Corneille Padonou du Parti du renouveau démocratique (Prd) qui a voté en ses lieu et place. Après cette phrase, la procédure va se poursuivre pour la seconde étape, celle de l’approbation du texte après l’étude au fond article par article du dossier. Il faut ici les 4/5 des députés, soit 66 voix favorables pour faire passer définitivement le dossier. Dans le cas contraire, le texte sera soumis au référendum pour permettre au peuple de décider de son sort.

Take steps to revive local sugar industry

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After the crackdown on contraband sugar, the government must now focus on revamping local production of the commodity to meet the market demand. Reports from across the country indicate that there is a sugar shortage that is forcing prices up. Already, the retail price of a two-kilogramme packet has risen to Sh275, up from Sh200 last month, a trend that is likely to get worse unless drastic steps are taken to cushion consumers.

But this was inevitable because what we had was an artificial market stabilised by illegal and hazardous stocks of sugar. Now the lid has been ripped open and the truth laid bare and we have to confront the reality. We must go back to the basics and examine the whole question of sugar trade.

An analysis of the sugar trade presents a frightening scenario. Production has steadily declined in the past three decades due to poor policies, mismanagement and, as recent evidence has shown, manipulation by unscrupulous traders importing cheap and poor quality products.

Kenya has 14 sugar factories, concentrated in Nyanza and Western regions, with the majority privately owned. However, the State-run factories are in a terrible state. They operate obsolete equipment and are poorly managed and hugely indebted.

Some of the factories, including Chemelil and Muhoroni, are cash-strapped and tottering on the verge of collapse. Miwani went under years ago and efforts to revive it have failed. Mumias, Nzoia and Sony are barely surviving. Cane farmers are owed millions of shillings and so many jobs have been lost.

Although relatively successful in terms of production, the private factories have been accused of unfair practices such as cane poaching and price undercutting. Matters are made worse by the fact that, for all millers, the unit cost of production is far higher than the regional average. Available statistics show that the unit cost of producing a tonne of sugar in Kenya is twice more than that of other Comesa countries, making ours uncompetitive.

Even in the best of times, the country cannot produce adequate sugar for the population. The average annual production stands at 600,000 tonnes against a consumption of 800,000 tonnes, bridged by imports and where the preferred source should be Comesa.

The entry of the contraband sugar is both a cause and a consequence of the failed local sugar production. As the authorities intensify the fight against the sugar barons, the critical task is to revitalise and streamline local sugar production and en-sure sustainability.

More importantly, we need the political will and strong commitment from the government to restore the local sugar industry.

End crime by drug addicts

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The revelation by police that drugs could be fuelling the recent increase in cases of defilement and killing of little girls in Murang’a County is a grave matter that calls for serious investigations.

This is a finding that has also apparently been corroborated by some experts who have investigated the macabre deaths of four girls in one month. One family found that the killer had even removed some of their slain daughter’s body parts.

One of the villages where a number of defilement cases have been reported is said to be notorious for bhang smoking by youths and even some elderly men.

Parents are in a panic because they do not know who could be the next victim and some are taking extraordinary measures to ensure that their children are not harmed. In some places, parents now accompany their children to school and wait for them until after classes to ensure that they are safe.

It’s disheartening to hear from a local administrator that, even where suspects have been arrested, the cases collapse and they are set free after the victims fail to testify. This is not good enough. The administrators and the security personnel must do more to deter crime. Drug abuse, as has been documented in Mombasa and other places, drives youth into crimes as they seek money to sustain their destructive habits.

The four Murang’a killings call for more serious investigations to flush out the culprits and bring them to book. We cannot have people who have committed such heinous crimes roaming the villages, even if they are high on drugs.

The families of the four little angels who were killed in such a callous manner deserve justice.

The cases that were discontinued because witnesses failed to testify should be revived.

UN officials call for an end to West Bank demolitions and respect for international law

Jerusalem, 5 July 2018

Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, the Head of West Bank Operations for UNRWA, Mr. Scott Anderson, and the Head of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. James Heenan, expressed serious concern over demolitions and related events in vulnerable Palestinian communities in the central West Bank

Yesterday, Israeli forces began levelling access routes in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu, home to more than 180 people, 95 per cent of whom are Palestine refugees. The work comes in advance of the expected demolition of the entire community. Israeli forces injured thirty-five Palestinians and arrested others, including residents, in confrontations that ensued while bulldozers were levelling all entry and exit points. One Israeli soldier was also reported injured as well. Today, the Israeli authorities have declared Khan al Ahmar a closed military area, and are heavily restricting movement of residents and preventing the entry of others to the community.

“What we are seeing unfold on the ground is deeply disturbing,” said Mr. McGoldrick. “Demolitions have a devastating impact on families and on communities. These demolitions are particularly outrageous because they target communities who already live in extremely difficult conditions, with high levels of humanitarian needs. I call again on the Israeli authorities to cease demolitions and other measures that may result in the forcible transfer of Palestinians.”

This situation occurs on the backdrop of a wave of demolitions across the West Bank in recent days. Since 1 July, eleven incidents have occurred, displacing 59 Palestinians, including 37 children, and affecting more than 200 others. Included within this is the demolition of 19 structures, including nine homes, in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar (around 600 residents, 88 per cent Palestine refugees). As a result, 51 people, including 33 children, were displaced and another 13 people, including five children, who had family property destroyed, were directly affected. Also, one home was destroyed today in Susiya, displacing a family of five.

“The escalation of events in the last few days – the demolitions in Abu Nuwar, the declaration of the Khan al Ahmar community as a closed military zone, the violence and large presence of armed Israeli forces – makes life in these communities virtually untenable. The latest developments are of serious concern as it is evident that they are undertaken with the objective of relocating the concerned communities, as well as causing serious distress to the vulnerable residents who are watching what appear to be preparations for the demolition of their community,” said Mr. Scott Anderson. “These pastoral communities are mostly Palestine refugees – originally displaced from their tribal lands in the Negev. They should not be forced to experience a second displacement against their will.”

“The demolitions in the community will have serious human rights and humanitarian law consequences,” said Mr. Heenan. “There is high risk of forced evictions of individuals, destruction of private property as well as a dramatic increase in the coercive environment under which the community already lives, in turn raising the risk of forcible transfer.”

END For more information, please contact Mr. Ofir Feuerstein, +972 (0) 54 33 11 836, (


Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu and Abu Nuwar are among the 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities (8,100 people) at risk of forcible transfer in the central West Bank and among the more than 3,500 residents living in 18 communities located in the area slated for the E1 settlement plan that seeks to connect the Ma’ale Adummim settlement bloc with East Jerusalem.

International humanitarian law (IHL) requires an occupying power to protect the population of the territory that it occupies, ensure its welfare and wellbeing, as well as the respect for its human rights. Any destruction of property by the occupying power is prohibited, except when rendered absolutely necessary by military operations, which is not relevant in the West Bank where there are currently no active hostilities. The extensive demolition of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, may be a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and may amount to a war crime. Other than for the security of the population or imperative military reasons, IHL further prohibits the transfer of the population of an occupied territory without the genuinely and fully informed consent of the affected people, regardless of the motive. Consent is not considered genuine in an environment marked by the use or threat of physical force, coercion, fear of violence or duress. In the absence of such consent, the transfer is forcible and constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Selectively punishing principals will not end cheating in exams

When the newspapers served up captivating headlines of the punitive measures the Teachers Service Commission took against principals and other teachers accused of examination mal-practices last year, this was seen as a bold step.

But a few questions beg answers. First, one why would a principal be paid Sh9,000 when the exam ends well but lose his job should it not? That is besides the related backlash and trauma.

The students only lose their results and are allowed a second chance. Were culpable students taken to court, tried and jailed, the narrative would be different. In most cases, the students demand leakages. Even last year, there were cases of students going on the rampage for having been denied the illicit avenue. I wonder what action the Education ministry took on them.

Education officers also talk of having dismantled “cartels” at the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec). So, why are they not taken to court?

The fact that the measures put in place to curb cheating lasted a year may mean that even the ‘tougher’ ones they talk of may not survive for long.

The following could help.

Let us learn from Kasneb (I am yet to hear of cheating in their exams).

Since exams are done during holidays, schools already recognised as exam centres can remain so. As the candidates register for exams, they choose where to sit the tests; not necessarily where they were studying.

The principal and the relevant teachers would deal with management issues as Knec administers the exam. Secondly, let Knec deal with supervisors and invigilators in the same manner as its employees. Let them be hired through a public competitive process and sign a contract to bear the burden of any malpractice in their centre.

Thirdly, if Knec insists on schools remaining centres only for their students, the military style of waking up at ungodly hours risking their lives, crossing swollen rivers and being made the hunted, should end. Let the principals and the teachers understand the process they are being taken through, and why they must respond that way.

Exams are conducted in schools (joint tests, CATs and terminal) but teachers are not implicated in cheating; they own the process and even have structures to make it better. The ministry should get the input of the teachers, together draft the guidelines and implement it collective-ly.

Let the students also understand the basis of schooling and the virtues of honesty.

Next, if the Education ministry is serious that there are cartel, it should name them. Let us see front-page headlines about them, with their photos.

Finally, the Cabinet secretary announced that results will be released at the leading school. Who doesn’t want the glamour that comes with such occasions? Is it not worth the risk?


Citizens must be vigilant to ensure Equalisation Fund uplifts arid lands

While the recent signing of the Equalisation Bill by President Uhuru Kenyatta heralds a new beginning for the arid and semi-arid lands (Asal), it will require a proper system for accountability to function.

Since Independence, these regions have been side-lined and ignored in transformational projects. With the coming of devolution, however, governors should focus on the county integrated development projects, while the legislators must put up measures to manage the billions of shillings that the law offers for scaling down and bridging the gap that has existed for years between the northern regions and rest of the country.

Despite being endowed with natural resources, those regions are defined by never ending banditry, drought and famine, poor infrastructure and marginalisation. That should end.
The leaders have a centennial opportunity to raise the bar in provision of sufficient water, sustainable health facilities and affordable electricity to unlock the Asals’ immense potential.

The Equalisation Fund is meant to accelerate growth and development of the regions and bring them on a par with the rest of the country.

To efficiently utilise the fund, the brainchild of former Samburu West MP Lati Lelelit, the northern counties must assess, identify, prioritise and consider fair and reliable distribution of resources based on their assessment. But residents must remain vigilant to ensure results.


ASK HR: Will I get my salary arrears if I quit my job?

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It has been six months since I got a full salary. Sometimes I get paid half and other months nothing. My boss says I should understand that the company is going through a hard financial period, but that has not stopped my expenses. I am now even unable to go to work, yet he expects me to be in the office every day. If I quit this job, do you think he will pay my arrears?

Organisations at times experience periods of difficulty that may adversely affect their ability to meet financial obligations, not the least of which is the payment of salaries.

Responses to such situations differ; some organisations scale down and let part of their staff go while others bet on their resolve and recovery efforts hoping that external operating circumstances join in to turn fortunes.

When, as in your case, life’s expenses are mounting, there is indeed a limit to how long an individual can hold their financial breath.

Based on what you are aware of, is the organisation truly experiencing dire financial constraints?

Are all employees in your shoes, including your boss? What is your assessment of the chances and probable timelines of the organisation making a complete recovery?

Are employees, despite the rough patch, upbeat about tomorrow? Do they feel that the right steps are being taken to get through this difficult period?

Are the organisation’s financial difficulties gradually waning?

Are you one among those who are inspiring hope and actively contributing towards organisational recovery or a founder member of the doomsters’ party?

If you choose to hang on, work with diligence as your employer is likely to look kindly upon employees who demonstrate commitment and loyalty through hard times.

If you have valid reasons to believe that chances of the organisation’s recovery are indeed slim and that the future is bleak, start looking for another job, aware that your career is not merely about your current role and the presence or absence of a salary.

If you choose to move on, do so with dignity; the world is a small place.

Whether your employer eventually pays your salary arrears or not may depend less on his capacity to do so and more on his character which you probably already have had chance to judge.

ASK HR: Why do employers forbid office romance?

Kickoff! Sports writer Gachuhi launches book on Kenyan football

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On Jamhuri Day in 1965, Kenya’s national football team was hammered 13-2 by Ghana’s “Black Stars,” the team’s worst ever defeat in an international match.

In attendance at the friendly played at Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park was President Jomo Kenyatta.

Newly-independent Kenya was a nation bubbling with confidence, and the authorities conjured up the idea of inviting the high-flying Ghanaians, then reigning Africa champions, for two friendlies to celebrate self-rule.

As Ghana ran their Kenyan opponents aground, leaving the home team’s defence at sixes and sevens, a restless Mzee Kenyatta was overheard asking: “Where is Kipchoge to run around with these people?”

He was referring to Kenya’s Olympic distance running champion Kipchoge Keino who also served as a policemen in the presidential guard.

The recollections of the historic – for all the wrong reasons – December 12, 1965 match are captured in the latest sports book Kickoff authored by celebrated sports journalist Roy Gachuhi which was launched in Nairobi on Thursday.

Published by the Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board, the book by Kenya’s finest sports writer chronicles the history of Kenyan football from the 1920s to date, touching on key moments of the game over the last close to one decade.

“We owe it to Kenyans to know about the fore bearers of today’s stars,” Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board chief executive officer Edward Mwasi said at Thursday’s colourful launch in Nairobi.

Ministry of ICT Director of Administration Henry Mung'asia (centre) poses for photos with Alex Chesnokov (left) from the Russian embassy and veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi, during the launch of a book written by the later on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP Ministry of ICT Director of Administration Henry Mung’asia (centre) poses for photos with Alex Chesnokov (left) from the Russian embassy and veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi, during the launch of a book written by the later on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“Leafing through these pages, you get the feel-good factor of immortalizing the memory of national icons like Peter Oronge, Elijah Lidonde, Shem Chimoto, Kadir Farah, Ali Sungura, Ali Kadjo and of, course, our eternally beloved Joe Kadenge amongst many others. It is through stories of such forerunners that we understand where the generation of Victor Wanyama is coming from and how to shape the future,” he added.

Kickoff is available for Sh3,000 at Text Book Centre outlets, although the project almost came a cropper with Gachuhi, a veteran of over 40 years in sports journalism, close to giving up on several occasions.

“I almost gave up. But when I woke up every other morning, I felt encouraged to keep going,” Gachuhi said at the launch attended by some of Kenya’s football legends, veteran referee and football administrator G.M.T. Ottieno and the Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board members, led by chairman Sammy Tangus.

Legendary retired Kenyan footballer Austin Oduor peruses a copy of Kick-Off, a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP Legendary retired Kenyan footballer Austin Oduor peruses a copy of Kick-Off, a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I didn’t want to rely on Google, and so I travelled widely and spoke to the players and their families who were very helpful, some of them also giving me exclusive photographs” added Gachuhi who ventured into sports journalism in 1975 as a young, third form student.

Though retired from active newspaper journalism, Gachuhi, 58, still pens a regular sports column on nostalgic recollections and topical issues in the ‘Saturday Nation.’

His book has exclusive photographs dating back as far as 1956, with Gor Mahia’s triumph in the 1987 Africa Cup Winners’ Cup, the eastern Africa region’s only successful foray in continental football, well captured.

Gor’s captain then was Austin “Makamu” Oduor, who was present at the book launch alongside fellow legends Elly Adero, Bobby Ogolla, Josephat Murila and Marshall Mulwa, one of the most successful “Harambee Stars” coaches.

Legendary retired Kenyan footballer John Bobby Ogolla speaks during the launch of a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP Legendary retired Kenyan footballer John Bobby Ogolla speaks during the launch of a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Veteran former Harambee Stars coach Marshall Mulwa delivers his speech during the launch of a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP Veteran former Harambee Stars coach Marshall Mulwa delivers his speech during the launch of a book written by veteran sports journalist Roy Gachuhi on Kenya’s football history Kick-off in Nairobi on July 5, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fair game? Lions eat poachers on South Africa reserve

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At least three suspected poachers who were apparently hunting for rhinos have been mauled to death and eaten by lions on a game reserve in South Africa, the owner said on Thursday.

The men entered the Sibuya Game Reserve on the southeast coast armed with a high-powered rifle and an axe in the early hours of Monday and were found dismembered the following day.

“They strayed into a pride of lions — it’s a big pride so they didn’t have too much time,” reserve owner Nick Fox, 60,said.

“We’re not sure how many there were — there’s not much left of them.

“There seems to be clothing for three people. I’ve not heard of it before in our area.”

Police forensics officers were on the scene conducting tests on the remains of the victims, Fox added.

“We went in yesterday — I got our vet to dart [anaesthetise] all the lions,” he said.

“I think we had a stroke of luck here that the lions got to them before they got to the rhinos.

“We lost three rhino in March 2016.”

Fewer than 25,000 rhinos remain in the wild in Africa due to a surge in poaching.

Rhinos are targeted to feed booming demand for rhino horn in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.

Fox said that the reserve was still open to guests despite the incident.

“It’s still business as usual, it doesn’t change anything we do,” he said.

“The comments on our Facebook are all talking about karma and warnings.”