Main Menu

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018


Stick to your work, MPs tell senators

More by this Author

Members of the National Assembly on Tuesday rekindled their supremacy battle with senators, accusing them of investigating matters that are not within their jurisdiction as envisaged in the Constitution.

The lawmakers took issue with the parallel investigations that the Senate has been conducting on the Ruaraka land saga, Solai dam tragedy, Kenya Airways probe and several others.

Led by Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale, the MPs told off their Senate counterparts, asking them to restrict themselves to the oversight of counties and leave money bills to the National Assembly as envisaged in the Constitution.

“I wish to withdraw the items in the order that touch on bills that have originated from the Senate. The Constitution gives this House the power to originate money bills in Article 109,” said Duale.

They termed senators as ‘idle’ who only duplicate the work done by National Assembly committees.


Suna East MP Junet Mohammed complained that the National Assembly has presented to the Senate a number of bills touching on the counties for their consideration but they have not even acted on them.

“This is a House that has no role and has gone rogue. They have constituted committees that have no work to do. We must put sense into them, they must know where their jurisdiction starts and ends,” Mr Junet said.

“We see senators calling the same ministers, same Principal secretaries that the National Assembly has been calling, very soon, we will see them starting an inquiry into the sugar issue,” he added.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa said there is a lot of theft of public funds at the counties and senators are not doing anything about it.


“There are very many stalled projects in the counties that no one has dared to investigate. Senators are just very busy chasing scandals like Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Ruaraka land and Kenya Pipeline Company which they have no mandate over. I think these people are just idle Mr Speaker,” he added

Mr Ichungwa asked what happens when two committees present two reports with different recommendations.

The Senate Public Accounts Committee is inquiring into compensation for land occupied by Ruaraka High School and Drive Inn Primary School since 1984 and 1987.

National Assembly is handling the same matter.

‘Sophisticated othering’ danger to racism-inundated football

That efforts to root out the evil that is racism among humankind have all but failed nearly 100 years since a disillusioned Adolf Hitler put humanity on the brink of a race-driven mortal danger should break the heart of each one of us.

Racism in football directly stands in the way of the prosperity of the sport and economic prosperity for all.

The fact that the vice is a major global concern clearly came to the fore with the fallout between long-time Germany and Arsenal midfield player Mesut Ozil and the German football federation DFB following their dismal showing in the recent World Cup.

Despite a spirited campaign by Fifa and its affiliate federations to persuade the football fraternity to say no to racism, key figures within the DFB found it convenient to blame Germany’s lackluster performance on Ozil’s controversial earlier meeting in London with Turkish President Reccep Tuyyip Erdogan.

Justifiably infuriated, Ozil has ended his international career.

“In the eyes of (DFB president Reinhard) Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but an immigrant when we lose,” the letter reads, going on to state how the midfielder has struggled with social acceptance despite fulfilling socio-economic obligations as a German citizen and winning the World Cup with the team in 2014.

Also at the controversial meeting was Germany and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has not been criticised as much.
Ozil’s is the latest in a pattern of racism and stereotyping prevalent in major football leagues from Russia to Western Europe that can only be linked to what cultural communication scholar Lajos Brons calls “sophisticated othering”.

“Othering” is a form of self-identification where humans tend to qualify and place themselves in a certain pedigree different from and above the rest based mostly on socio-cultural stereotypes.

Humans who don’t share your traits in these self-constructed pedigree become “others”, viewed as different from ourselves.


Sophisticated othering follows from a convoluted argument partially based on self-other-identifying assumptions and is palpable in the comments attributed to high-ranking members of the German society regarding Ozil, his Turkish parentage and the fall from grace of the World Cup defending champions in Russia.

Neither are majority African football fans who ganged up behind France spared or innocent from this economically harmful crime driven by sophisticated othering.

For the simplistic reason that they felt the French squad’s players of African descent ‘represented’ them and, hence, were different from “other” sides that contested this year’s World Cup, the fans were content and comfortable with nothing but victory by France or an African side, notwithstanding merit and skills of other teams.


Coffee farmers should ‘move on’ to avocado

Globally, coffee is the second-most traded commodity after oil. The paradox is that today, international coffee traders make super profits. Coffee consumption has been rising over the years yet small-scale farmers continue to get even less.

In 1988, the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) collapsed under pressure of the ‘free market’. The ICA was an International Coffee Organisation (ICO) tool to regulate and stabilise the market through a quota system.

The ‘coffee club’ included producing and consumer countries. Brazil acted as the protector mother hen for the producing countries.

The system worked. Brazil even often dumped thousands of tonnes of coffee into the sea just to prevent a price dip.

In the 1980s, the WCO had assigned Kenya 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes per year, out of the 150,000 tonnes it produced.

But behind the coffee trade were geopolitical interests: The West — the United States, Britain, France and others — were much more interested in preventing Communism from getting a foothold in the mostly pro-West and aid-dependent coffee-growing countries.


The economies all these South American countries bordering the US depended on coffee and the last thing Washington wanted was Russia meddling in the backyard.

It was also hoped that high coffee prices would prevent Latin American farmers from growing the coca plant — from which cocaine is made.

Then the Soviet Union collapsed in 1988, effectively ending the Cold War.

Suddenly, the West started the free market choir. ‘Soko huru’. The refrain was: Open up your markets if you want our aid. The US, Britain and France withdrew from the ICA and condemned it as a monopoly.
We all blamed President Daniel arap Moi for the coffee woes. But the old man’s only problem was failure to move with the times. Well, economics was not his cup of coffee.

What happened after the ICA lost it regulatory whip was purely market dynamics. With a free-for-all market, all coffee producers off-loaded their excess coffee into the market. Prices fell.

This ushered the “coffee crises”, which unrolled locally as “coffee wars” of the ’90s, when farmers in central Kenya even killed one another.


After 1989, coffee prices never recovered. A handful of companies captured the hitherto producer-led market. The likes of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (Germany), Volcafé (Switzerland) and ECOM Agroindustrial (Switzerland) handled over half of the global trade. The market became consumer-driven.

Coffee prices are unlikely to rise to the satisfaction of farmers any time soon. But Kenya can still sell her coffee in specialty market markets in the West. The problem is, like anything else that mints money, the market is captured by local and international merchants that won’t allow meaningful reforms in the sector.

The farmer is not stupid and responds to the same economic dynamics. Many farmers have moved on to dairy, macadamia or avocado farming.

That is how it should be. As for whether farmers in Latin America ‘moved on’ to cocaine, that’s a story for another day.

The corruption purge has gained speed, only needs oiling, fuelling

More by this Author

The war on corruption is gathering momentum fast. And expectations have changed dramatically. Many who thought it was just another well-worn publicity stunt are now more convinced it is going somewhere.

Even President Uhuru Kenyatta and others who initially fostered the purge must be amazed how it has taken on a pace of its own.

It is spreading from one scam to another like a bush fire. Every day, some other scandal comes to light. This bout started with NYS part 2. Now it has enveloped Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline, NCPB, National Irrigation Board (NIB), the National Land Commission and irregular sugar imports….

One issue that ought to be in the spotlight is the Health ministry’s failure to produce supporting data on additional equipment supplied — such as procurement, contract and progress information.

Another is the multi-billion-shilling Galana Kulalu irrigation project, which has the potential to make Kenya much more food-secure but is dogged by mismanagement and scams.


This limping NIB-managed million-acre scheme with the potential to produce 20 million bags of maize per annum has so far gobbled up over Sh7 billion.

What next? Kengen? What about the host of dams and other construction projects that are being undertaken by various ministries and county governments? Undoubtedly more land scams will surface.

Corruption is one of the most insidious and pervasive diseases which eats away at everything in the whole fabric of the country and its society and makes life harder and harder for the majority of the population.

It is imperative to take a serious look at what needs to be done next to continue, indeed accelerate, this war on corruption. If we can reduce the vice significantly, its toll of cutting economic growth by two percent-plus will be correspondingly reduced.

Exposure is one thing; reducing it is a much tougher task. Assembling the relevant evidence is vital. I have argued before that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has a capacity issue at the best of times. If that office is to competently put together watertight cases in these many prosecutions, then it must increase its capacity massively.


The task is awesome. The prosecution has lined up 43 witnesses in NYS II. It is starting to receive significant capacity and skills support from even other governments, including the United States.

Its forensic investigations capacity must be boosted by those entities that have a sound reputation in the field — such as the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the UK’s Serious Crimes Office.

It is necessary to get the forensic evidence so that such charges as ‘receipt of bribe’ are proved and convictions secured and we avoid the vague and inadequate ‘abuse of office’.

Next, there is a need for more court prosecutors. The country has a surfeit of advocates.

Why not tap into this? This not only sorts out another resource issue but taps some of our best legal brains for prosecution rather than for the defence!

Another strategic tactic commonly used in some countries is to offer some suspects the opportunity of becoming state witnesses.


The consolidation of anti-corruption trials in Nairobi with high-profile cases being heard in the High Court is a move in the right direction. But Chief Justice David Maraga needs to assign a team of bright incorruptible judges and magistrates to hear the cases.

Next, the government ought to be clear on what the penalties for corruption are.

The Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Act 2017 covers much of this area but it also needs to be reviewed.

The overall aim is to raise the price of corruption much higher so it serves as a deterrent. One muted suggestion is that assets twice the value of the amounts lost in corruption should be retrieved from the convicts.


There are two additional arrows that should be added to the anti-corruption bow. One is the need for an independent audit of all major projects.

In conjunction with this, the moratorium on new projects by President Kenyatta makes sense and should be adhered to.

Last but not least, let us get away from the notion that the graft purge is aimed at any individual or entity.

It is aimed at making Kenya a cleaner, better country for all. If any of those charged are associated with President Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto or, indeed, any other leader, then, as the former has said, they should carry their own cross.

Invest in community health workers

More by this Author

A widely accepted definition of a community health worker proposed by a World Health Organisation (WHO) Study Group (1989) is: “Community health workers (CHWs) should be members of the communities where they work, should be selected by the communities, should be answerable to the communities for their activities, should be supported by the health system, but not necessarily a part of its organisation, and have shorter training than professional workers.”

Since Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978, the CHWs have acted as a link between the community and health systems.

Nowadays, their role, in collaboration with the mid-level health workers (MLHWs), is imperative in achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — especially HIV and Aids, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), maternal mortality and childhood diseases.

From rural communities in Africa to cities in Europe and North America and the densely populated parts of Asia, CHW training has been established and is evolving to meet the growing health needs of large populations.


The health worker crisis, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, has triggered a renewed interest in CHWs, as they have the potential to take over a number of tasks from the professional health workers.

In Africa, the crisis is particularly acute in the rural and hard-to-reach areas, where 80 per cent of the population lives.

The use of CHWs has been identified as a strategy to address the growing shortage of health workers, particularly in the low-income countries.

CHWs may include community health agents, village health workers, traditional birth attendants, community drug or insecticide-treated net distributors and health promoters. They are selected by their own communities.

The government should invest more in CHWs. If they receive basic medical training involving treating mothers and babies with malaria, helping TB patients to take their treatment and educating communities on HIV/Aids prevention, family planning, hygiene and nutrition, we can achieve health milestones.

With this life-saving knowledge, and basic equipment and medicine, they can quickly diagnose and treat people within their neighbourhoods.


Training health workers who live close to homes ensures that patients no longer lose vital time travelling long distances to health facilities and under-staffed health clinics are less congested with patients who can safely be treated at home.

CHWs should be seen as frontrunners with the primary responsibility of mobilising communities to participate in health-related activities at the grassroots.

By design, they are supposed to work with and receive supportive supervision from mid-level health workers and the communities they serve.

However, several evaluations have documented the weakness of supervision and support in national CHW programmes, which is either irregular or non-existent.

Experiences with CHW programmes show that there is consensus on a number of issues.

First, CHWs can make a valuable contribution to community development and, more specifically, improve access to and coverage of communities with basic health services.


They are best indicated to collect useful data on vital events occurring within their neighbourhoods and thus contribute to a better community-based health management information system (CBHMIS).

Secondly, for CHWs to make an effective contribution, they must be carefully selected, appropriately trained and supervised and — very importantly — adequately and continuously supported.

Large-scale CHW systems require substantial increases in support for training, management, supervision and logistics. CHWs cannot be stuck in the field and left on their own to work without supervisory and support.

Third, CHW programmes are neither the panacea for weak health systems nor a cheap option to providing access to healthcare for under-served populations. Numerous programmes have failed due to unrealistic expectations, poor planning and an under-estimation of the effort and input required to make them work.


Fourth, by their very nature, CHW programmes are vulnerable unless they are driven, owned by and firmly embedded in communities themselves.

Whilst CHWs do not have the same abilities as trained doctors or nurses, they are trained to recognise complicated cases and refer them to health facilities.

They are effective because they are members of the communities they serve; they and their clients have shared experiences, language and understanding, which allow for trust to flourish.

CHWs are a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise not have access to healthcare.

Nine schools closed following Mau evictions

More by this Author

At least nine schools have been closed in the last one week following the eviction of over 9,000 people from the Maasai Mau forest.

The eviction continued on Tuesday even as Nairobi-based lawyer Sigey Bett retained by the affected families gave a 14-day ultimatum to the government to halt the ejection or face a lawsuit as he accused the police of committing crimes against humanity.

The affected schools are Kipchoge, Olaba, Masaita, Kitoben, Ororwet, Kirobon, Kabarak, Tebeswet and Ndianit in Ololulunga and Melelo wards in Narok South constituency.

Pupils in the schools have fled the area alongside their parents and teachers following the eviction which started on July 7.


The eviction has been characterised by torching of houses by multi-agency security officers, including those from the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Administration Police and Narok County security enforcement officers.

A senior education officer who declined to be named confirmed that the schools had indeed been closed.

Melelo Member of the County Assembly Philemon Aruasa told the Nation on Tuesday that thousands of people were fleeing the area for fear of attack by the security officers who have been accused of gross violation of human rights.

“It is true that schools have been closed in the region as a humanitarian crisis builds up following the eviction with children and the elderly sleeping in the cold. We are calling on humanitarian agencies to donate foodstuffs and medication to the families,” Mr Aruasa said.

Victims claimed that the security officers were forcing them to pull down their houses before kicking them out of their homes.

“What is not known to the world is that the heavily armed police officers in full anti-riot gear are forcing residents whose houses are on the border to pull them down failing which they are battered or threatened with shooting,” Mr David Mabwai, a resident of Kitoben village, said.

Mr Mabwai added: “While officers with their guns cocked stand guard as the affected families pull down their houses, others are taking pictures using their phones in what we believe is meant to hoodwink the public that the people are willingly leaving the area.”

But Narok County Commissioner George Natambeya denied claims of police harassment.


“The claims are far-fetched and meant to divert attention from the real issues on the ground as the government seeks to rehabilitate the Mau complex,” Mr Natembeya said.
Mr Bett, in a demand notice addressed to the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and the Narok County Commissioner, said the people had lived along the Mau forest for several years.

“Our clients have lived there peacefully since 2008; the government embarked on building facilities like utility roads and schools, which operated as polling centres in the last General Election,” his letter reads in part.

Mr Bett further stated, “It is our clients’ position that having the assurance from the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya and therefore the authority of government that no family should be evicted within the affected region otherwise called the cutline.”

It went on to state that the security officers deployed to the region had used excessive force and destroyed property worth millions of shillings in the process of evicting the families.

Agonising hunt for answers in Nakuru lecturer’s killing

More by this Author
More by this Author

In the tributes section of her thesis, Monica Lydia Boitt singled out her two daughters, Irene and Hope, for the support they gave her during her doctorate studies in counselling psychology at Egerton University.

“I wish to mention my daughters Irene and Hope, not forgetting Laura, my niece, who continuously gave me company during my studies,” she wrote in November 2016.

Little did she know that in less than two years, she would be looking for answers over the death of her daughter, Irene Jepchumba, 27, whose body was pulled out of Molo River more than two weeks ago.

An autopsy has suggested she was killed. A heart broken mother wants to know why.

In looking for those answers, detectives have filed an application in court to take DNA samples from Godfrey Kipkemboi Kangogo, the suspect.


The Nakuru lecturer’s body was retrieved from the river near Choka Falls. When the suspect was arrested last week, he said he was with Irene before she slipped and plunged to her death while taking a selfie. They were friends, he said.

Irene’s father, Richard, however, said he had never heard of the tall, dark suspect until he was arraigned in court. The suspect had injuries which he claimed he suffered while trying to save her.

The body was found three kilometres from the falls, which is 25 metres high. It is located 4km from Mogotio town in a bushy, isolated area.

A postmortem revealed strangulation marks around Irene’s neck. Police took various samples, including her blood, hair and finger nails for DNA testing and have asked Nakuru Resident Magistrate Yvone Khatambi to let them take similar samples from Mr Kangogo for matching.


In the application made on July 23, the investigating officer, Mr John Gitau, said: “I pray for the court to issue orders that we be allowed to take the samples from the suspect.”

Mr Kangogo, who was arraigned before court on July 20, has denied killing Irene on July 6, 2018 at Choka Falls.

Mrs Boitt believes that her daughter was raped before she was killed and her body thrown into the river. Irene’s body was half-naked when she was pulled out of the water.

The suspect was arrested on July 12, at Kiamunyi, after the results of the post-mortem were released.

The magistrate referred the application to the High Court where the suspect was charged. The case will be mentioned on July 30.

Irene, who attended Nakuru Girls High School before reading for a diploma in Nutrition and Diatectics at Kenyatta University, and a bachelors degree in the same discipline from Egerton University, was a lecturer at the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology.

Granny by day, villain at night

More by this Author

During the day, 80-year old Wambui Muturi was a devout Catholic and an unassuming granny.

At night, the grandmother ran a kidnapping ring that had terrorised Mt Kenya residents and whose tentacles, police believe, extended to Nairobi.

She was gunned down alongside her accomplices in Gatundu village, Murang’a County, on Friday.

A woman they had kidnapped was rescued.

Ms Muturi, Mr John Mwangi and Mr Samuel Kang’ethe were demanding Sh5 million as ransom from their victim’s family.

Mr Kang’ethe was the elderly woman’s nephew. Ms Margaret Waithera had been held for six days when police stormed the compound and killed the three.


“The cucu (granny) was the one cooking for me. She also threatened to have me circumcised,” Ms Waithera told the Nation.

Chatting with neighbours and administrators reveals an old woman with  a complicated personality.

Crime runs in Ms Muturi’s family.

According to Gatundu chief John Wachira, two of the woman’s sons died at the hands of lynch mobs while another was shot dead by police officers in Nairobi. 

Another died after a short illness, leaving behind two daughters. Ms Muturi’s husband died years ago. Mr Wachira said the killing of her sons changed the granny completely.

“She became reclusive,” the administrator told reporters.

Mr John Mwangi, a Gatundu resident, said the granny did not get along with villagers.

“She did everything in secret. In fact, some people thought she was a witch,” Mr Mwangi said.

Ms Waithera said the old woman would prepare dry rice or boiled maize and tea for breakfast.

“She would threaten to circumcise me or cut off my hands if I did not cooperate with the kidnappers,” Ms Waithera said.

Murang’a County police boss Mohammed Farah said signals from the kidnappers’ mobile phones helped track them.

Mrs Muturi’s daughter, Margaret Wanjiru, said she did not know her mother was a criminal.

“I call on well-wishers to assist the family bury her. Despite the circumstances, she was still a mother and needs a proper sendoff,” she said.

MPs warn against politicising Mau forest evictions

More by this Author

Four Members of Parliament from the Maa community have warned against politicising the ongoing Mau forest evictions, saying this could lead to ethnic tension.

The MPs – Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Korei Ole Lemein (Narok South) and nominated MP David ole Sankok – said they fully support the government’s move to evict illegal settlers in the Mau forest.

“We want to warn leaders visiting Mau residents to avoid making statements that are tribal, that might incite the people,” Mr Aramat said.

“The Mau issue is very emotive and therefore politicians should not incite people who have been living together peacefully for years,” said Mr Ole Lemein.


The lawmakers regretted that politicians have politicised the Mau matter at the expense of environmental conservation.

“The Mau issue is not a community affair, Raila affair, President Kenyatta affair or the Kalenjin affair but about the conservation of our environment,” said Mr Sankok.

“Water from Mau contributes about 60 per cent of water in Lake Victoria and therefore must be conserved at all costs,” Mr Sankok added.

The MPs, however, urged the government to carry out the exercise in a humane manner and compensate those with genuine title deeds.


They said there are individuals who were duped by Lands officials to buy land in the forest and therefore deserve compensation.

“Those who sold Mau land to unsuspecting Kenyans must be tracked down and held responsible for the current mess,” Mr Sankok said.

On Monday, the Nation reported how a last-minute call from President Uhuru Kenyatta saved Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen from imminent removal from his powerful parliamentary post over his comments on the Mau Forest evictions, seen to contradict the government’s position. 

Mr Tongoyo said the title deeds held by some people in the forest belong to the government hence they must be provided with alternative settlement areas.

“Some title deeds were provided by the same government currently evicting the people. As the representatives of the people, no one should be harassed by the security officers,” Mr Tongoyo said.


Mr Murkomen, the Elgeyo-Marakwet senator, on Saturday dared President Kenyatta to contradict him on the evictions, which he said were not only being done inhumanely, but which he claimed had also unfairly claimed as victims people outside the forest

On Sunday, Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju termed the sentiments of Mr Murkomen on the Mau evictions as personal.

Mr Tuju insisted that the eviction will go on, despite the resistance by Mr Murkomen and a section of Rift Valley leaders.

Oparanya defends decision to pay cane farmers Sh200 million

More by this Author

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has defended the decision of his government to pay Sh200 million to farmers contracted by Mumias Sugar Company.

The governor has been in a tussle with the Public Accounts and Investment Committee after he failed to honour summons from the committee.

In June 2017, just before the last General Election, the committee, issued an order to the police to arrest him after he refused to appear before it.

Appearing before the committee for the first time since his election as governor in 2013, Mr Oparanya said he made a decision to intervene and assist the farmers as a way of motivating them to deliver their canes to the factory which owed them millions of shillings.

He revealed that at the time, the company owed farmers over Sh500 million, which had caused the farmers to source for other millers.


“We paid the money because we were supporting the farmers who are our public concern,” Mr Oparanya said when he appeared before the committee to defend the expenditure and revenue account of the county for 2014/15 financial year.

” The farmers were taking their canes to other millers even though they were contracted by Mumias Sugar Company. It is Mumias that had developed the cane, supplied the seed and other farm inputs, but the cane ended up to rival millers. We had to intervene,” he said.

Out of the funds, Sh197 million was disbursed to farmers through a revolving fund managed by Mumias Distributors Ltd, a company which Mr Oparanya said the county had picked to help disburse the funds.

So far, Sh168 million has been returned to the county and Mr Oparanya says his administration will plough it back to help farmers.

“We picked Mumias distributors because it had capacity to manage a revolving fund. It has done work in that area and we thought it was the best,” he said


However, the legislators questioned the management of the funds, accusing the governor of having created a Sugar Development Fund without the necessary regulations in line with the Public Finance Management Act.

In his report for the year under review, the auditor-general had questioned the payment as the county failed to provide original payment voucher and other supporting documents for verification.

“As a result, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of expenditure of Sh200 million as at June 30, 2015,” the auditor-general observed.

Mr Oparanya said the failure by the county to avail original documents was because the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission had seized the documents in investigation it had launched following a complaint filed by a member of public.


The county had presented duplicates of the payment vouchers and a list of the farmers who were paid by the county but Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi dismissed the copies because they had not been certified and questioned whether the expenditure had been budgeted for by the county county government.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina wondered whether copies of a document can be certified in the absence of the originals.