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Thursday, July 12th, 2018


Airtel sends top Malawian business journalists to South Africa for a weekend vacation

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Airtel Malawi has sponsored two recipients of MISA Malawi’s 2018 media awards, held in May this year, with an all expense weekend trip to South Africa.

Presenting symbolic travel vouchers to the winners on Wednesday, Airtel’s Corporate Communications & CSR Manager Norah Chavula-Chirwa expressed that Airtel has been sponsoring the MISA Malawi World Press Freedom Day gala dinner and Business Journalist of the year award (print and electronic) for the 9th consecutive year.

“For the past 8 years, we have been awarding recipients of this category with a trophy and laptops; but this year, being the 9th, we felt compelled to do something different and offer the awardees an experience that they will remember through an all expense weekend shopping trip to Jo’burg South Africa which we announced at the gala dinner that was held in May this year.”

Receiving their travel vouchers on Wednesday, the top business reporters awardees George Lumwila from MIJ FM, who scooped the award in the electronic category and Ntchindi Meki from Nation Publications, who won in the print category expressed how encouraged and motivated they were to receive the prize from Airtel.

“This award is so unique because it’s the first time a winner from the business reporter category has been awarded the opportunity to experience life outside the country and relax outside of the work environment,” Lumwila, a business reporter for MIJ FM in Blantyre, explained.

Expressing his sentiments, Ntchindi Meki, an Investigative Journalist for Nation Publications expressed that it was a humbling experience to have his work recognized by a professional body like Misa Malawi out of many entries from other journalists.

“This trip from Airtel Malawi is motivation for me to do more investigative articles in the interest of the public,” Meki further attested.

The sponsored Top Business Reporter award from Airtel Malawi includes return Air tickets to Johannesburg South Africa, accommodation at the 4 star Park Inn hotel in Sandton, a half day jo’burg tour and spending money for the award recipients.

Lumwila and Meki will depart for Johannesburg South Africa today (Friday 13th July) and will return on Sunday.


School uniform directive is like wildebeest rushing to crocodiles

One day when I was in high school many decades ago, we came to watch a play at the Kenya National Theatre, Nairobi. We were in our splendid all-red uniform. Other schools were in their greens and browns.

An American tourist couple who had wandered from the nearby Norfolk Hotel was fascinated by the sight.

The lady came and asked us whether the uniforms were from different schools. We said yes, wondering why she was saying the obvious.

American students do not wear uniforms (although I think jeans is the American uniform).
The first purpose of uniforms is identity. You belong to Loreto Girls High School and you can easily be identified. That is why young criminals wear mufti so that no one can trace them to this or that school.

The second purpose is control.

The uniform gives the wearer boundaries. Beyond this line you cannot go. You must have the outrage when below 18s are found drinking in bars. In school uniform!

Wearing the same uniform is also meant to give the learners a sense of equality. Here, there is neither humble background nor posh upbringing. You are all the same.

Never mind if, on visiting days, the reality shows up.

Beyond school, uniforms in the disciplined forces pass the same message. Here, the point is to intimidate the criminal or enemies of the State. That, though, is a story for another day.

When uniforms for matatu drivers and conductors were being mooted, I heard one driver protest that “Sare ni za watoto wa shule (uniforms are meant for schoolchildren).”

Despite the misgiving, the uniforms were introduced. However, most of them are worn quite badly and shabbily, reflecting the industry’s discarding of the laws that was meant to “tame” them — the so-called ‘Michuki laws’.

Uniforms give a sense of unity of purpose beyond school.

Incidentally, what is with blue for all church women’s groups? ACK’s Mothers Union, PCEA’s Women’s Guild and Catholic CWA all wear blue.

However, uniformity sometimes stifles creativity.

In this case, I’m referring to the directive for all school buses to be painted yellow.

One of the most successful groups of schools founder appeared to love purple. She dresses in purple. The school uniforms have purple and the buses as well.

Now all that is hidden in the yellow monsters.

Somebody somewhere wants people to think the same way, like wildebeest rushing down the cliff regardless of the predatory deadly crocodiles in the river.

People’s creativity must not be stifled. People’s independence of thought must not be stifled.

Refuse to be the wildebeest, following your leader down the cliff.


Is Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed the King Solomon of the Horn and Igad?

A positive change is happening in Africa and, specifically, in the Horn region, where the youthful Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has within a few months made what looked like a big mountain to climb all of a sudden become an anthill.

The thawing of ice in a thorny relationship that had become such a big obstacle between his nation and Eritrea, and which nobody gave an iota of a chance to end, has been accomplished.

Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afeworki, who many in this region equate with the North Korea’s tough guys, have agreed on many things — including access by the landlocked Ethiopia to Eritrea’s port and harbour.

The two nations, which share nearly everything, including culture, have almost become one again if the signed deal will live.

There are times the character of a leader helps to change things.

The secessionist Eritrea has almost been a pariah due to Aferworki’s obstinacy. But, looked at critically, the predecessors of Ahmed never put in much effort to mend fences and the whole world thought the reclusive Aferworki wanted to maintain the status quo forever.

Ahmed’s is the leadership that Africa needs. He has been in power for a short time but the enthusiasm that he has shown in ending conflicts in the Igad region, starting with President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar of South Sudan meeting in Addis Ababa, and now this feat, portrays a leader with the wisdom of the biblical King Solomon.

DAVID M. KIGO, Nairobi

Uber hides drivers, riders' phone numbers in privacy boost

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Taxi-hailing firm Uber has introduced a new privacy feature that conceals rider and driver phone numbers in a move meant to boost the security and discretion of both parties.

Uber activated the anonymisation feature Thursday, adding to the raft of measures the firm has introduced since 2016 to increase safety of riders and drivers. Riders calling from the in-app feature will only see an automatic number and not the actual numeral of the person on the other end.

“Phone number anonymisation is a safety precaution, ensuring that the privacy of both driver-partners and riders is considered at all times by using software to connect calls between a driver and a rider that anonymises both cell phone numbers,” said East Africa Uber Spokesperson Janet Kemboi.

“This complies with Uber’s Community Guidelines promoting mutual respect between riders and drivers by securing each identity and preventing either from contacting each other unnecessarily. Uber’s in-app feature allows for drivers and riders to text each other inside the app at no extra cost,” said Ms Kemboi.

Uber said that riders hailing on behalf of family or friends will be required to share contact details of the passenger through the in-app message feature.

“Uber’s in-app text and call feature allows for drivers and riders to text each other inside the app at no extra cost. Riders requesting on behalf of others and do not mind sharing their friends’ or relatives’ numbers with drivers can chat and share relevant contacts with drivers through the in-app text or call feature,” said Ms Kemboi.

Uber has since 2016 introduced a number of features to boost the security of riders and drivers. Earlier, the firm introduced the “share trip” function used by both riders and drivers to enable friends and family to keep track of their location as a way of ensuring security.

The firm also introduced a security feature that runs real-time checks every time drivers go online.

New oil pipeline paves the way for feeder pipes

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The opening of the bigger Mombasa-Nairobi petroleum pipeline has now paved the way for laying of more feeder pipes to interior towns across the country in what is expected to take long distance trucks off the roads.

The Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) on Wednesday switched on the 20-inch pipe that will run parallel to the ageing 14-inch line that had suffered partial blockages, restricting fuel flow and causing supply delays.

The new line will now enable speedy evacuation of fuel from Mombasa port and cut waiting time and costs.

“The line will eliminate hundreds of trucks daily, safeguarding against road degradation and environmental pollution arising from continued trucking of products,” said KPC Managing Director Joe Sang.

Construction of the new pipeline was dogged by years of delays and cost overruns that are currently under investigation by various State agencies.

Mr Sang expects the larger line to slash demurrage charges payable to shipping lines whenever imported fuel is not discharged on time, costs that are passed on to consumers.

The pipeline company last year conducted feasibility studies on the plan to devolve the pipeline network to counties.

Coffee prices up 18pc as Nairobi auction resumes

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Coffee prices improved 18 per cent at the auction in the first sale since trading resumed after a one-month recess on account of quality beans.

A market report by Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates a 50-kilogramme bag of the produce fetched Sh13,000 in the sale held on Tuesday, up from Sh11,000 fetched in the session before the auction broke for recess in June.

According to the NCE, there has been an improvement in the quality of beans as the short-term crop from Eastern Kenya starts getting to the market.

“The price increase is attributed to some a lot of high-quality coffee that was brought to the auction for sale this week,” says chief executive Daniel Mbithi.

He says the price is expected to firm up a bit in the next sales.

The price of coffee at the auction had dipped to as low as Sh10,000 following a decline in quality as the main crop season from central Kenya ended ahead of June.

Kenya’s earnings from coffee dropped by Sh1.3 billion between October and March compared with the same period last year, on account of low international prices and reduced volumes at the auction.

The coffee is majorly traded at the New York Coffee Exchange where any change in price affects the local sales.

Kenya plans to raise the amount of coffee roasted locally from five to 10 per cent annually over the next five years even as production remains low.

The government will also start paying farmers part of earnings on monthly basis down from six months after the regulator began piloting the new payment system aimed at luring growers back to the once vibrant sub-sector.

Fifa name referee for France-Croatia World Cup final

Fifa have named Argentinian Nestor Pitana as the referee for Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia.

The 43-year-old officiated the tournament’s opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia and was in charge for France’s quarter-final victory over Uruguay, as well as Croatia’s last-16 clash with Denmark.

He is joined by assistant referees Hernan Maidana and Juan Belatti, as well as fourth official Bjorn Kuipers.

France booked their spot in the final in Moscow with a slender win over Belgium, while Croatia edged past England to seal their place in a World Cup final for the first time in their history.

Here is the full list of officials for the match:

Referee: Nestor PITANA (ARG)



4th Off. Bjorn KUIPERS (NED)

Res.Ass.Erwin ZEINSTRA (NED)

San Francisco, here we come! Kenya name World Cup Sevens squad

Mwamba speedster Collins Injera is poised to appear at his third Rugby World Cup Sevens after he was Thursday named in the Kenya team that will take part in the 2018 showpiece from July 20-22 in San Francisco, USA.

Injera, 31, headlines the 12-man team that will look better its semi-final appearances at the last two editions held in Russia (2013) and Dubai (2009).

Injera, who is placed second in the World Rugby Sevens try scorers list, is the sole survivor from the side that played in 2009. Current Shujaa coach Innocent Simiyu was also part of the 2009 team.

Nondies winger Dennis Ombachi, who missed out in 2013, finally gets his chance as he made the cut alongside Sammy Oliech of Impala Saracens

“We have a very strong squad. The guys have really trained hard and we believe we have selected the best team that can represent the country,” Simiyu said.

Kenya will play Tonga in their knock-out qualifier on Friday, July 20, with the winner set to take on Scotland in the round of 16.

Kenya squad:

Oscar Ayodi (captain, Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Collins Injera (Mwamba), Andrew Amonde (KCB), William Ambaka (Kenya Harlequin), Samuel Oliech (Resolution Impala Saracens), Nelson Oyoo (Top Fry Nakuru), Dennis Ombachi (Nondescripts), Jeff Oluoch (Homeboyz), Brian Tanga (Kabras Sugar), Eden Agero (Kenya Harlequin), Herman Humwa (Kenya Harlequin), Samuel Ng’ethe (Menengai Oilers);

Management: Innocent Simiyu (coach), Geoffrey Kimani (conditioning coach), Lamech Bogonko (hysio), Erick Ogweno (team manager)

Police arrest 12 fake health workers in Tharaka-Nithi

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Twelve health workers in Tharaka -Nithi County are being held at Chuka Police Station after they were found to have been employed with fake documents.

The laboratory technicians who were employed during former governor Samuel Ragwa’s regime were nabbed after a thorough scrutiny of their documents by officers from Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board and those from the criminal investigation department.

Speaking to Nation,  Tharaka-Nithi County Criminal Investigation Department officer Betty Chepngeno said they were arrested at Kathwana on Thursday evening.

Ms Chepngeno said that they will be arraigned in court on Friday.

She said that the fake health officers have been working at various county health facilities.

Kenya's George Manangoi bags gold in Finland


Kenya’s George Manangoi on Thursday won gold in the men’s 1,500m here at the ongoing World Under-20 Championships.

Manangoi clocked 3:41.71 ahead of Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen (3:42.14), as another Kenyan Justus Soget settled for the bronze