Tuesday, August 14th, 2018
Mt Kenya University once again dominated in the higher education category, presenting 54 items, in the ongoing Kenya National Music Festival at Dedan Kimathi University, Nyeri County.
MKU, who were last year’s overall winners in the universities category, won in most categories presented on Monday and Tuesday.
Their Zilizopendwa (golden oldies) dance was declared the best item in the category.
The university also won in the girls’ choir category, Tharaka folk song as well as Kimeru, Maasai, Luhya and Kisii folk dance categories.
They also won in the Kikuyu folk dance category, where they presented Mwomboko, a celebration dance performed by both men and women.
In all the dance categories, performers had costumes unique to communities the dances came from.
They were also unbeatable in the “2-jiajiri” category sponsored by Kenya Commercial Bank, an English and Swahili verse speaking category promoting self-employment.
The director of MKU’s Institute of Film and Performing Arts, Ms Ruth Mutahi, attributed the university’s success to dedication by trainers and students.
She said that the institution picks and trains the best performers in music and drama and they are always rehearsing and perfecting their performances.
In the Baganda cultural dance category, MKU was beaten to second position by Kibabii University.
MKU also won in the Kiswahili solo verse category, which featured Technical University of Mombasa (Tum), Pwani University, University of Eldoret and the Co-operative University of Kenya.
The Kiswahili choral verse set piece category for universities attracted 11 entries. The verse, Chama chetu by Kandoro Saadani featured Tum, Pwani University, Jkuat and Lukenya University and others. The category was won by MKU (Nakuru Campus).
On Tuesday, secondary schools performed in the Maasai, Samburu, Rendille and Taveta traditional cultural dance category. Among those who featured were Chavakali secondary, Moi Forces Academy Nairobi, Kijabe boys, Maasai Mara, Narok and Marsabit high schools.
The Narok County government has launched an ambitious plan to revitalise the world-famous Maasai Mara game reserve in a bid to double tourist numbers in one year.
Top on its plans is to diversify the options offered by the game reserve to avoid a very uneven trend where during its high season — between June and September — hotels record 100 per cent booking, only for visitors to dwindle so much that some facilities close during low seasons.
Narok Governor Samwel Tunai told the Nation that the county will bank on Maasai culture, the improvement of the six airstrips in Mara, and the tarmacking of the Narok-Mara road to promote all year round visits to the game reserve.
“We are keen to sell the Mara to the world as a premier holiday destination, the Mara as the eighth wonder of the world due to its iconic wildebeest migration, and as a destination for filmmakers and as a place of choice,” said Mr Tunai.
The governor said a bigger focus on the Maasai culture will be introduced, with culture tourism being boosted to have constant visits to the reserve.
“While the wildebeest migration in the Mara is iconic, the Maasai culture is just as spectacular, and mind-blowing,” Mr Tunai said.
The governor spoke at the Mara Serena Hotel after he signed a one-year deal with international news agency, Reuters, to market the Maasai Mara to the world.
The county is also seeking to promote local tourism, which has been on an upward trend countrywide.
From just a little over half a million Kenyans visiting national parks and game reserves, 800,000 Kenyans toured the length and breadth of Kenya in 2017.
“In the Mara, we want to look at ways in which we can have a tourist spend a lot longer than the average two to three days they spend here,” Mr Tunai said.
Visitors to national parks and game reserves — with Nairobi orphanage, Lake Nakuru, Naivasha’s Hell’s Gate, Kisumu’s Impala Sanctuary, Nairobi National Park and the Mara leading in that order — rose by 2.6 per cent to 2.345 million in 2017.
The rebirth of the Mara comes as local carrier, Silverstone Air, introduced daily flights between Nairobi and the reserve, raising competition for customers on the route that is already served by Fly-Sax, Safarilink, AirKenya and Blue Sky. The airline was until last October operating as a charter carrier.
Heartless relatives are driving life insurance cover customers into a dilemma on whether to make the information known and risk their lives or keep it a secret and risk losing the money as unclaimed assets in case of death.
The greedy relatives keen on making quick money from the lucrative insurance covers have now worried the industry after it emerged that they kill their kin to make money.
Association of Kenya Insurers (Aki) Executive Director Tom Gichuhi said the trend of relatives placing life covers on others, then killing them and claiming compensation in collusion with insurance officers is a scary development, which will hurt the industry.
“This killing for profit is not new, but now it’s becoming common driven by falling morals in the society. What it ends up doing is that it makes one torn between telling your nominated beneficiaries about the cover or keeping it a secret, which means they may never benefit from it in case you die,” Mr Gichuhi said.
A year after Nation reported a startling case of a former insurance unit manager who took two life insurance covers for a poor nephew, planned his murder and had his body dumped in Kangundo before rushing to lodge claims, it has emerged that the suspect got a bigger job at another insurance firm.
ICEA Lion Group has since dismissed the suspect, Mr Evans Masaku Kasyoki, but his exit leaves behind a stronger shock wave in an industry struggling with low penetration and a panicking middle class whose life covers can now turn out to be a threat.
Several people who spoke to Nation expressed concerns that they may not reveal to their spouses or nominated beneficiaries information about their life insurance covers, a move insurers say may only continue to leave beneficiaries without expected support when an insured member dies. Investigators had intimated to Nation that the suspect, who has since been arrested, raised suspicion after he piled undue pressure for compensation saying he needed the money to travel to Australia.
The former insurance staff had taken a Sh10 million cover for his nephew aged 27 and another one for Sh1 million at a separate insurance firm. He had only made one premium payment before the murder happened.
Even more worrying is that the investigators wrote to both ICEA and the Aki, but the suspect was still employed as a manager.
A confidential investigations report seen by Nation linked the suspect to the murder of his nephew whose call data revealed they were together moments before he disappeared despite him denying in sworn statements.
“The beneficiary’s recorded statement with CID Kangundo police indicates that the beneficiary was not together with the deceased on the material day. However, call data report for the two, with the DCI officer confirmed that the deceased and the beneficiary were together all afternoon through to 10pm on the material day,” reads the report.
An autopsy report indicated that the young man died from severe head injury caused by a blunt object. “Based upon the findings, it’s evident that there’s a lot of indication to support murder for profit fraud being perpetuated by the claimant/beneficiary,” investigators concluded in their findings in June.
Fraud investigators say the vice is on the rise, with many people taking advantage of poor scrutiny through collusion with insurance staff to process fake claims as the sector bleeds millions in lost revenues.
Insurers are now grappling with the dilemma of making sales and creating a sieve for those seeking covers to demonstrate why they would place such high premiums on relatives without demonstrating insurable interest — the value attached to a person/property insured.
The insurable interest, however, is a vague concept as one only needs to prove that the person being insured has present or future value attached and their death has financial impact on them hence the need for insurance. Insurance firms will also most likely take up such lucrative cover to boost business.
Poor data sharing among the insurance firms has also enabled the fraudsters to take multiple covers and make millions of shillings from a single individual. It also takes a while before one is recorded as dead in the registration database hence allowing the criminals to hit multiple times with fraudulent claims.
Data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority’s Insurance Fraud Investigation Unit shows only three cases of fraud valued at Sh2.2 million were confirmed in 2015 despite a 21.8 per cent rise in reported incidents, a sign that firms are reluctant to report.
The national government has approved plans to develop a cable car system to ease traffic congestion on the Likoni channel.
The project which is estimated to cost Sh4.1 billion will move up to 5,500 passengers in one direction or double that number in both directions in one hour.
The project was approved during on Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
The privately initiated investment will be sponsored by a Kenyan and Austrian company and is expected to be in place over the next 25 years.
“It is estimated to cost Sh4.1 billion and will be implemented as a 25 years Build Own Operate Transfer public-private partnership,” read a bulletin released by State House after the meeting.
The Cabinet at the same time proposed far-reaching reforms to the graft -ridden National Youth Service (NYS) that may see it turned into a company with its own assets, and the obligation to make its own money.
In its third meeting this year, the Cabinet said that the NYS—now in the storm of graft allegations, and its director-general Richard Ndubai, former Youth principal secretary Lilian Omollo, and other officials of the agency suspended—be reformed to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
“Key among the raft of proposed restructuring measures of the NYS are the establishment of an oversight board which will effectively make the organisation a body corporate with a director-general as the chief executive officer,” State House said in a statement after the meeting.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier in the day set the tone for the new NYS going forward, asking new Youth Principal Secretary Francis Otieno Owino to lead the clean-up of the agency.
“The time is gone when you said: ‘I did because someone made a phone call to me. Mr Owino, with you there, we hope we are going to change the organisation that has changed the lives of young people. It has had challenges, and it is your job to clean it out,” President Kenyatta said at State House when Mr Otieno was sworn in alongside Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett.
Besides changing the NYS to a body corporate, the Cabinet also proposed a clean-up of the supply chain management function as well as budgetary and internal audit reforms among other measures.
The Cabinet also approved the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line “which will involve giving the company the sole mandate to handle government cargo.”
In what might prove to be a big score for counties, the Cabinet also approved a national policy to back the ability by the devolved units to collect more revenue.
“The proposed policy is geared towards addressing the challenges county governments are encountering in revenue collection, mitigating their negative effects and assisting the counties to optimise own-sources revenue,” State House said. Also approved is the Nuclear Regulatory Bill, 2017 aimed at repealing the Radiation Protection Act and providing a comprehensive regulatory framework for radiation and nuclear safety.
The Cabinet granted approval for Kenya to vie a non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for two years (2021-2022) at the elections to be held during the 74th session of the UN in 2020.
“This will enhance Kenya’s influence in international decision-making process, particularly on matters of peace and security for the benefit of the nation and the region at large,” State House said, announcing that a campaign strategy is in place to back the seat.
Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has told media houses that he would not pay their Sh2.5 billion debt because Treasury has not given him the money.
The money owed through the Government Advertising Agency (GAA), has left the viability of some media houses and the livelihoods of thousands of journalists, who work under difficult circumstances to keep the country informed and the powerful in check, hanging precariously.
During a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with some media executives, the ICT Cabinet Secretary said GAA would not pay the money until it receives an allocation from Treasury.
He also said the debt was now under investigation, suggesting he could not progress with payments until detectives complete their work.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji last week instructed the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to investigate how the media services were procured and the debts accumulated.
It is understood that seven detectives are already at the ICT ministry perusing documents to ascertain whether money meant for media houses was actually diverted to Jubilee election campaigns last year, which was heavy on promotional merchandise, propaganda on digital platforms and billboard messaging.
It is not clear how effective the investigations will be given that they are being conducted while some officials who may be culpable are still in office.
“There is a lot of panic and possible destruction of potential evidence by some key players in the looting spree. Maybe the detectives should insist on their taking compulsory leave for the investigations to be credible,” a former ICT ministry official said. Among those lined up for interrogation are GAA, ICT and Treasury officials.
A meeting called by owners of smaller media institutions Tuesday morning was postponed to last evening and no resolutions had been reached by the time of going to press.
The ICT ministry has been incurring debts since 2016, according to a letter by CS Mucheru to his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich. The document indicates that the ministry owed media houses Sh434 million with Sh279 million already paid.
According to the CS, the deficit was brought about by unforeseen publicity needs, which included the Eurobond and urgent advertising from the National Land Commission, Teachers Service Commission and the ministries of Devolution and Land. It is this debt that has piled up to Sh2.5 billion.
Another debt unrelated to the GAA is that of Sh150 million owed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) since the 2013 General Election.
The centralisation of government advertisement was directed by the Cabinet Vide letter Ref OP/CAB.58/4A to rationalise advertising.
MyGov was to be published as a 30-page insert in newspapers (Daily Nation, The Star, The Standard and People Daily) with nationwide reach twice a month.
In the agreement with the media houses, MyGov was to pay for a full page advert at Sh734,000, a figure negotiated from the standardised rate of Sh1.5 million.
This was again renegotiated to about Sh20 million a week for each media house. MyGov is supposed to carry advertisements for all government ministries and agencies.
It remains to be seen whether President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has expressed resolve to fight corruption and impunity, will take any action.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has denied being a beneficiary of the infamous Mau forest land allocations.
For close to a decade, Mr Tobiko’s detractors have linked him with grabbing land in the water tower.
The minister was confronted with the same question when he appeared before the National Assembly Environment Committee, chaired by Mbeere MP Kereke Mbiuki, over the status of the ongoing evictions.
The matter was raised by committee vice chairperson and Ijara MP Sophia Noor, who said the panel has documents indicating that Mr Tobiko owns land in Mau forest.
“Could you please come clean on reports that you own large tracts of land in Mau forest?” Ms Noor asked.
Mr Tobiko said he does not own any land in the entire Narok County.
“I don’t own any land in Maasai Mau. I have never owned land there and I don’t intend to,” he told the committee.
During his vetting by Parliament for the Director of Public Prosecutions position in 2011, Mr Tobiko answered the same question, posed by Ms Millie Odhiambo.
Mr Tobiko produced files which he said showed that he had never been a beneficiary of Mau forest land allocations.
With documents from the Registrar of Persons and other agencies, he explained that an individual who shared his name was the owner of the land in question.
The documents, confirmed by the head of the interim coordinating secretariat of Mau Forest Complex Hassan Noor Hassan, indicated that a Mr Tobiko Mbuyok Keriako bought two plots from Mr David Lekuta ole Sulunye in Enakishomi group ranch.
The documents signed by the director of National Registration, RM Kimotho, indicated that the Tobikos were not related and that their identity cards had different numbers.
“I have never applied for or entered into any transaction or arrangement with any person or groups for the allocation or transfer to me of any parcel of land in the Mau forest complex,” Mr Tobiko’s letter to Mr Hassan said.
After Mr Tobiko assuming office as Environment CS in June, a Nairobi resident petitioned him for not disclosing his relation with a customer involved in the irregular acquisition of forest land and part of Maasai Mara game reserve.
Mr Blamuel Njururi said Mr Tobiko’s law firm helped Mr Livingstone ole Ntutu to acquire 4,000 acres from the reserve irregularly.
A study has revealed the shocking state of research in Kenyan universities, with 35 per cent of the institutions not prepared to conduct research.
The study, which was released in Nairobi on Tuesday by CPS Research International, indicates that out of 71 institutions, 3.5 per cent confirmed to have more than 100 academic staff fully active in research.
“More than 18 per cent of the universities have less than 10 staff for research. Only 34 per cent of the institutions have 20-39 staff fully active in research and only 8 per cent have 50-79 qualified academic staff for research,” reads the study, which was released by lead researcher Herman Manyora.
On research infrastructure, the study indicates that only 65 per cent of universities own research laboratories and incubation centres. The rest hire them when needed.
“This is a clear indicator that about 35 per cent of Kenyan universities are not prepared to handle researches that require laboratories and incubators. It is, however, unfortunate that most of research funds are directed towards science-related researches that require labs and incubators,” reads the study.
In the study, University of Nairobi emerged tops in investment in research.
The study shows that University of Nairobi leads in the volume of publications, citations and referrals at 39.7 per cent, followed by Kenyatta University, Moi University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology at 11.3 per cent, 10.5 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively.
“Therefore, there seems to be a correlation between volume of research and volume of publications by a university in Kenya,” read the study.
The study also shows that 69.71 per cent of the total research funds disbursed to institutions of higher learning by governments, institutions, industry, NGOs and other donors were given to top 10 public universities.
“From the survey, the top 10 public universities received a total of Sh1.53 billion compared to Sh117 million received by top 10 private universities,” the report adds.
These funds were given to universities for the 2018/2019 academic year.
The study shows that in 2017/2018, universities received approximately Sh1.85 billion from government for research.
“They also got Sh1.16 billion from industry, donors and other sources. The government thus happens to be the largest contributor of funds geared towards research in Kenyan universities,” reads the report titled ‘The state of research funding in Kenyan Universities’.
Based on the research funds survey, University of Nairobi tops the list with a total of Sh0.56 billion, representing 17.7 per cent of total research funds received in 2018.
Other universities which followed were Kenyatta University (15 per cent), Moi University (9.9 per cent), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (7.8 per cent), Egerton University (4.0 per cent), Maseno University (3.6 per cent), Strathmore University (3.3 per cent), Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology (3.0 per cent) and Mount Kenya University (2.9 per cent).
Strathmore University and Mount Kenya University were the only private institutions that appeared among the top 10.
The study shows 68 per cent of the funding for universities is from government (national and county) and internal sources, compared to 32 per cent which comes from industry, NGOs and other donors.
Mr Manyora asked the government to consider increasing funding to universities, saying the current budget is not sufficient.
“We have to take research seriously the way other institutions, such as multinationals, have taken it,” said Mr Manyora.
This survey was supported by Pan Africa Educational Foundation and was conducted between May and June 2018.
The report recommends that the government should consider increasing research funds from the current 0.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the Unesco recommended 2-3 per cent of GDP.
Currently, US, Singapore, Israel, Germany and Korea Republic spend 2.8 per cent, 2.2 per cent, 4.3 per cent, 2.4 per cent, and 4.3 per cent respectively on research.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has moved to “neutralise” the impact of Deputy President William Ruto’s frequent visits to the Coast by meeting all the region’s ward representatives in Mombasa on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a number of MCAs from Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita-Taveta and Kwale counties, irrespective of political affiliation, confirmed that they would attend as Mr Joho strives to counter the trend that has seen many local MPs coalescing around Mr Ruto.
The quest for unity between Mr Joho and his Kilifi counterpart, Mr Amason Kingi, also got a boost, following reports that the latter will attend the event.
Both Mr Kingi and Mr Joho have announced their intentions to vie for the presidency in 2022, with each hoping to consolidate the region’s base in his favour.
But Mr Ruto has visited the six Coast counties 10 times since the March 9 “handshake”, and appeared to have made inroads, with some local leaders vowing to back him for the presidency. Mr Kingi has also attended some of Mr Ruto’s events.
Mr Joho’s handlers told the Nation that the governor had been irked by the backing Ruto got from local MPs and now wants to work directly with the MCAs to consolidate his base.
“That is why the governor has decided to fund the meeting with MCAs because they have a huge say at the grass roots and could make matters difficult for the MPs, as happened to those who defected to Jubilee before last year’s election,” an MP close to Mr Joho who asked not to be named said.
On Tuesday, the MCAs warned that the supremacy battle between the two governors could derail the region’s unity and development, and scuttle their bids for the presidency.
Thirty-three MCAs from Taita-Taveta said they would attend the meeting since it was called by their deputy party leader.
Majority Leader Jason Tuja said: “We respect Governor Joho because he is our (ODM) deputy party leader. So we will honour the invite.”
VOUCHED FOR UNITY
Mr Tuja said the MCAs did not know the agenda of the meeting but vouched for unity between the region’s leaders.
Mboghonyi MCA Jones Maskuj said they were discussing an agenda to present to the meeting from Taita-Taveta county.
The Jubilee member said they had no objection to attending the meeting, in the spirit of the “building bridges” initiative.
“We embraced the handshake between our party leaders. We have no problem with Governor Joho’s invite,” he said.
But Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako warned that the rivalry between Mr Joho and Mr Kingi could complicate unity.
“The moment we start having this kind of division, we lose our common stand. The two governors must work together for this region’s benefit in 2022,” he said.
Kayafungo MCA Alphonce Mwayaa, the Kilifi Assembly majority chief whip, said they will consult Mr Kingi before attending the meeting.
He added that all Kilifi MCAs must rally behind their governor. All the MCA from Lamu MCAs confirmed their attendance. Majority Leader Yahya Ahmed confirmed that they had received a special invitation from Mr Joho, but did not know what would be discussed.
“Hindi Ward MCA Anab Haji also confirmed her attendance.
“All of us decided to attend the meeting since we received an official communication from Governor Joho. The letter didn’t disclose the agenda but that will not prevent us from attending,” Ms Haji said.
Reported by Kazungu Samuel, Lucy Mkanyika, Charles Lwanga, Kalume Kazungu and Fadhili Fredrick
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi is working closely with perceived Jubilee Party rebels from the Rift Valley as he reaches out to voters in the region ahead of the 2022 elections.
Moiben MP Silas Tiren is one of the prominent lawmakers who have lately been working with the senator in his quest to wrest the region from Deputy President William Ruto.
Mr Tiren has become a fierce critic of Mr Ruto after he was unceremoniously kicked out of the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee chairmanship early this year, and has attended several functions in the North Rift with Senator Moi.
On Sunday, he accompanied the Kanu chairman to a church service and funds drive in aid of Turesia AIC in Elgeyo Marakwet County, together with Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut, an independent MP who has been increasingly leaning towards Mr Moi’s camp.
Mr Tiren was categorical that the DP’s 2022 political ambitions should not override the welfare of farmers, and that those championing farmers’ interests should not be intimidated.
“Why should we talk about 2022 when our people are suffering due to unsettled dues for produce they delivered to NCPB?” Mr Tiren asked the Nation yesterday, in reference to efforts by Jubilee leaders from the region to market the DP.
“We should not talk about 2022 when our people are suffering. People should not see us (rebels) as people who are being used politically. We will work with whoever is ready to address the welfare of the farming community,” said Mr Tiren.
Apart from Mr Tiren, the other rebels include Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, who has fallen out with Mr Ruto and has lately been opposing the latter’s 2022 candidature.
Although he is yet to declare who he will support, he is said to be considering joining Mr Moi’s camp.
When Mr Keter was arrested in February for allegedly presenting fake Treasury Bills, Senator Moi went to the Muthaiga Police Station to try to secure his release.
Although the Kanu leader is yet to come out clearly on his 2022 plans, his allies, among them Tiaty MP William Kamket, have hinted that party will go for the top seat.
He said the independence party is an outfit to watch in 2022 and called for the refurbishment of its offices countrywide.
“Please start painting all Kanu offices. The 2022 government is here,” said Mr Kamket in reference to Senator Moi’s 2022 presidential bid.
On Tuesday, Mr Kamket called on voters from Rift Valley to scrutinise any leader seeking elective politics in 2022.
“Angalia hesabu ya Kenya vizuri (watch carefully where Kenya is headed). You are not electing the chairman of the Kalenjin Council of elders but the president of Kenya,” he said.
“We cannot allow 2022 presidential ambitions to kill the economy of the Kalenjin. The farmers’ issues should be dealt with now,” he emphasised.
The revelation that the government could be using inaccurate data for planning because nearly 20 million births and deaths records have not been properly documented calls for an urgent remedy.
Indeed, this is a damning feedback, considering the substantial investment in personnel and facilities over the years in an effort to streamline the registration of persons.
According to a new report, only 16 million births have been captured in the government’s digitised records system.
It simply means that more than half of the national population is not properly listed. The ‘Productivity Improvement of Civil Registration Services’ report, compiled by a group of experts in June, also reveals that only 589,711 deaths have been entered into the digitised records.
The report also says the Department of Civil Registration Services has documented 64 per cent of all the births in the country while only 42 per cent of deaths were captured.
This means that more than half of those who have died have not been registered.
Accurate records are crucial for comprehensive national planning and the subsequent allocation of resources.
It is critical, therefore, that records are properly generated to document these vital numbers.
As Director of Civil Registration Services Janet Mucheru has emphasised, accurate data on births and deaths is needed for informed government planning.
PROVISION OF SERVICES
A comprehensive record of births enables the authorities to work with precise numbers in planning for the provision of services such as healthcare and education.
There is also the grave danger of infiltration by illegal foreigners taking advantage of the failure to accurately document and capture the number of citizens to illegally gain citizenship.
There is a risk of underproviding or catering for non-existent people, thus distorting the situation.