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Sunday, August 19th, 2018

 

Boost anti-graft war to stimulate growth, urges governors

By MOHAMED AHMED
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The ongoing war on corruption has strengthened devolution by facilitating growth, Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has said.

Mr Wamalwa further asked governors to step up the war on graft in order to boost development and warned against misuse of public money meant to improve services.

“Corruption still remains the biggest enemy of devolution. We want zero tolerance to corruption. We would like to see the war on corruption adopted in the counties.

“We want funds given to the counties to go towards improving the livelihood of the people,” Mr Wamalwa said.

Speaking during a training workshop of Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP) at Mombasa Beach Hotel, Mr Wamalwa said governors must join the war on corruption to support President Kenyatta’s new vigour against the menace.

“The national government has shown the way forward and governors must ensure that they do not allow corruption to be devolved into their counties,” he said.

Mr Wamalwa said Sh4 billion given to 13 counties for financial prudence is expected to be properly spent on development projects and cautioned the county to ensure proper planning is conducted before projects are initiated.

Officials from Garissa, Mandera, Narok, Siaya and Kajiado were present at the meeting meant to equip them in understanding the concept of investment prioritisation, planning, execution and supervision of the actual projects.

RESPONSIBILITY

He asked relevant firms not to do shoddy work that will see millions of shillings go to waste.

“We do not wish to see billions of money going to waste because of some careless individuals who did not do their jobs. Projects should not be put on disputed lands, including riparian land which will later see them demolished,” Mr Wamalwa said.

He added that counties will be held accountable if proper planning is not conducted before implementation of the said projects.

He emphasized that his ministry will ensure that value for money is exhibited in all expenditure undertaken by the counties.

Mr Wamalwa added that compliance to the investment menu and eligible expenditure for capacity and performance grant must be adhered to.


Age is no barrier as M’Rinyiru, 97, strives for own coffee miller

By DAVID MUCHUI
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At 97, Mr Silas M’Rinyiru from Yururu village in Meru County believes it is not too late to accomplish his dream of setting up a coffee miller.

Mr M’Rinyiru travelled to the Coffee Board offices in Nairobi two weeks ago to get a milling licence.

The elderly man has a pulping permit, which he acquired in 1996. He also has one of the few coffee marketing licences in the country, which he was given in 2010.

Having a pulping licence allows one to establish a milling factory.

LAND DONATION

The farmer has a 22-acre coffee estate he established as soon as the colonial government allowed black Africans to grow the crop in the late 1950s.

Mr M’Rinyiru says his dream for a coffee estate, complete with a processor, dates back to 1937 when he worked for a British settler.

“When I saw the settler’s farm and how coffee was processed, I vowed to set up a miller. That is why I acquired pulping and marketing licences. I also encouraged my grandson to take a course in brewing,” he said.

Abogeta Coop Society factory, which struggles to process a few thousand kilos of coffee beans, is built on a piece of land Mr M’Rinyiru donated in the 1960s.

“When I came back home from a Mau Mau concentration camp in western Kenya, my neighbours were taking their coffee to a distant factory. I donated the land for a processor,” he said.

“But the decline in coffee prices that began in 1981 made me look for an alternative. I started pulping my produce to improve my earnings.”

DETRACTORS

He faced a lot of resistance from cooperative society officials.

“The dispute went on for years before I acquired the licence in 1996. I named my estate and pulping factory Kirwirwa (a battle ground),” he added.

That made more than 20 other farmers from the area apply for pulping permits.

“I am old and retired but I know the farm needs a processor for future generations. I hope the government speeds up the process of getting the milling licence so that we start looking for funds,” he said.

The more than 20 coffee estate owners in Abogeta East are using Mr M’Rinyiru’s marketing licence to sell their beans at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

Mr Fredrick Nkuraru, a local, says he was inspired by Mr M’Rinyiru to set up a pulping line in 1999.


Activists contest Kisii Governor Ongwae's appointees

By RUTH MBULA
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Four activists have gone to court asking it to nullify important appointments made by Kisii Governor James Ongwae.

Mr Kennedy Mogire, Mr Peter Momanyi, Mr Mackanthon Maisiba and Mr Vincent Gekone say the appointments of the county secretary, executive members and directors were done without a properly constituted County Public Service Board.

The devolved government, the county assembly, Assembly Speaker David Kombo and the Public Service Board have been enjoined in the case.

“We bring the petition in our capacity and generally as members and officials of the Gusii Governance Watch, a group which stands for good leadership,” the four said in their affidavit.

They were represented by their lawyer Aboki Begi.

Last week, the High Court directed the case be moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu.

The county government through its lawyer Kennedy Onsembe, the assembly speaker and county legal adviser Andrew Kombo asked the High Court to consider transferring the case to the Labour Court, “since the matter is employment-related”.

“The governor is enjoined in this case because he is answerable to the Kisii County electorate,” the petitioners said.

“He is directly elected to perform functions assigned to his office under the Constitution and the enabling legislation, roles he has abdicated.”

The four added that the Public Service Board, as currently constituted, does not have the mandate or capacity to perform its functions.

Legally, the board is made up of a chairperson, nominated and appointed by the governor with the approval of the county assembly.

DUE PROCESS

It should also have not less than three but not more than five other members nominated and appointed by the county boss with the approval of ward representatives.

The Constitution says the board should have a certified public secretary of good professional standing nominated and appointed by the governor with the approval of the county assembly.

The Kisii County Public Service Board lacks a chairman and a secretary.

The chairman of the board resigned from office to become the speaker of the county assembly.

“The board secretary was suspended and no replacement has been made to date,” the petitioners said.

The activists added that failure by the devolved government to establish a constitutionally accepted entity known as the Kisii County Public Service Board as spelt out in the County Government Act has hampered the responsibilities of the board.

The board establishes offices in the county government, appointing people to hold or act in those offices, confirm appointments and exercise disciplinary control over removing persons holding or acting in those offices.

The Kisii devolved government announced vacancies for the positions of chairperson and member of the Public Service Board, county attorney among other offices, a move the four activists insist was in contravention of the law.

“There is no requisite quorum to transact the affairs and functions of the Kisii Public Service Board because its membership lacks a substantive chairman and secretary,” the four applicants said in their affidavit.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

They said they were denied their right to public participation during the vetting of nominees for chief officers and the county secretary by the assembly, and that their rights to democratic governance, inclusiveness and participation in the decisions of governance have been unfairly curtailed.

The petitioners want the court to declare the recruitment and subsequent appointments illegal.

They also want a permanent injunction issued to restrain the named officers from performing any function in the Kisii County public service.


New proposal to phase out higher diplomas

By OUMA WANZALA
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Higher diploma programmes will be abolished according to a proposal by the Kenya National Qualification Framework Authority.

The authority’s chairman, Bonventure Kere, said the decision to phase out higher diplomas was informed by the long duration students take in institutions of higher learning.

“A diploma takes three years then higher diploma two years. That means that someone is in school for five years and when he joins university for a degree programme, he or she starts in third year or second year, that is unfair to a student,” Mr Kere said during a stakeholders workshop to sensitise universities and technical and vocational education training institutions on new qualification framework policy.

On credit transfers according to the regulations, there will be none for certificate courses.

“The person intending to transfer credits shall have earned the credits not more than four years from the date of the application for transfer,” the regulations read.

CREDIT TRANSFER

They go on: “The minimum and maximum number of credits to be transferred in a diploma qualification shall be the equivalent of six months of a course. The maximum number of credits to be transferred in a degree qualification shall be the equivalent of two years of the qualifications.”

When a credit transfer is likely to give an advantage to a student in grade and score at the receiving institution, it will not be approved.

“Globally, National Qualification Frameworks are systems that record the credits assigned to each level of learning to ensure that skills, knowledge and prior-learning are uniformly recognised and accredited throughout their jurisdictions of application,” Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said.

Ms Mohamed explained that credit transfers eliminate devaluation of credits and certifications based on fragmentation and uncontrolled systems, which cause a disconnect between qualifications and the demands of the market.

“Unregulated systems also increase the prevalence of fraudulent and fake certification and cloud the capacity to collect complete and cohesive evidence on a country’s skills landscape,” she said.

Further, Mr Kere scoffed at universities struggling to teach diploma and certificate courses.

He said the universities should focus on teaching undergraduate and post graduate students as well as doing research.


County bosses agree to resolve boundary row

By LUCY MKANYIKA
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By EUNICE MURATHE
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Leaders from Kwale and Taita Taveta counties have agreed to peacefully resolve a boundary conflict on Mackinnon Road.

In a meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto in Karen, Nairobi, on Friday, Governors Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Granton Samboja (Taita-Taveta) said the borderline issue would be resolved amicably in order for communities living in the area to co-exist harmoniously.

According to Mr Ruto’s Press Service, the leaders unanimously agreed that boundaries should not divide communities, but act as a link and avenue to service delivery.

The leaders from the two counties also agreed to facilitate residents to participate in mediation process.

“We should resolve this matter before it escalates to a violent conflict. I call on the agencies involved in resolving it to involve all communities.

“That way, we will have a wholesome terminal solution to the problem,” Mr Ruto said.

He urged residents to live in peace as they await the final resolution by the government.

“As a matter of fact, the resolution will be a win-win for both parties,” he said.

Governor Mwurya promised to approach the issue with sobriety while his counterpart urged both citizens and leaders to remain calm.


Ruto, Raila trade barbs over 2022 poll and past deals

By PATRICK LANG’AT
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By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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Once bosom friends who mounted a successful campaign in the 2007 presidential election, Deputy President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga have launched yet another all-out war against each other.

For the past three days, the two leaders have been on each other’s necks over the 2022 presidential elections and whether Mr Odinga owes Mr Ruto a political debt for his support in the 2007 poll.

Also featuring in their back-and-forth is the 2017 election and whether Mr Odinga was cheated out of his victory or he was just a power-hungry despot who refused to accept defeat.

The two leaders have in the recent past also clashed over whether or not Mr Ruto knew beforehand about the historic deal Mr Odinga made with President Uhuru Kenyatta, and whether Mr Ruto’s frequent tours across the country amounted to premature campaigns.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga continued the war of words, laughing off Mr Ruto’s suggestion that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader was a stubborn politician who never concedes defeat.

“He claims that we were undemocratic because we did not accept defeat. How do you expect us to concede defeat in a contest we did not participate in?” Mr Odinga asked at Friends Church Quakers Maringo, Nairobi.

The ODM leader was making reference to the October 26 repeat presidential election — ordered by the Supreme Court after their historic decision to annul the August 8 poll — that he boycotted citing lack of electoral reforms.

The renewed war of words started on Friday during the burial of former minister Henry Obwocha, a function attended by Mr Odinga when Mr Ruto, without mentioning names, asked leaders to be democratic enough “and accept defeat when you lose”.

But it is the move by Mr Ruto to revive debate about the 2007 polls that has angered many in ODM, as well as Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Mr Ruto, speaking in Kakamega during the homecoming of Lurambi MP Titus Khamala on Saturday, said that Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi had abandoned him after the disputed poll in which he was charged at the International Criminal Court for the post-election violence that marred the country.

He told the crowd that the trio had made a deal to have him as prime minister, with Mr Odinga as president, and Mr Mudavadi his deputy.

“When the election was disputed, a deal was made, and Mr Odinga took what was mine — the prime minister’s post, with Mr Mudavadi as the deputy prime minister. They left me out,” Mr Ruto, who was named agriculture minister in the coalition government, said.

On the ICC, Mr Ruto said: “After the election, I was taken to The Hague, and my friends here, Raila and Mudavadi never even bothered to come visit me there.”

For all his troubles, Mr Ruto concluded that Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi owe him their support in 2022.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga’s ODM said there was no such deal.

“The position of PM did not exist before the 2007 election. It was forged out of the national accord after the post-election violence,” ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna stated.

COMMON GOOD

“There is no way it could have been party of any pre-election arrangement. The politics of debt are retrogressive. Let Ruto convince Kenyans that he is fit for the office of President without blackmailing leaders with non-existent debts.”

And yesterday, Makadara MP George Aladwa reignited debate about whether or not Mr Odinga will run for president in 2022.

“Some people are saying that Raila should not run in 2022, and I want to ask: Is there any law that bars him? No! So why should he not run? We will support him fully,” Mr Aladwa said at the service attended by Mr Odinga.

ANC secretary-general Barrack Muluka, on the other hand, termed Mr Ruto’s claims as “political levity”.

“I think the DP was only making a little joke. If he wasn’t, then Kenyans have reason to be afraid — very afraid.

“In the end, these things are not about individuals and their selfish ambitions. This thing about “me, me and more me” is nauseating,” Mr Muluka told the Nation on phone.

“Where does it leave the remaining 45 million (Kenyans)? We want vision and not throwbacks to retrogressive individual focus on “promises” and “debts” that never were,” the ANC secretary-general added.

POWER SHARING

He said there is only one debt “and that’s the debt that the political class owes Kenyans. The debt of responsible leadership.”

But Mr Mudavadi, speaking at the same function, said there was no power sharing agreement in ODM in 2007 to warrant Mr Ruto’s calls for support.

“Besides, President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto short-changed me in 2013 when they lied to me in my house that they would back my candidature,” he said.

He challenged Mr Ruto to prepare for a bruising battle to succeed Mr Kenyatta in 2022.

ODM chairman John Mbadi on Sunday accused the DP of being obsessed with 2022 elections.

“There is no debt in the world of politics. In politics you do what you think is right and not to be paid back,” Mr Mbadi said.


Philosophy of Africa’s top diplomat Annan should reign in continent

The death of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Atta Annan on Saturday was a huge blow to Africa and human rights and pro-democracy groups across the world.

Dr Annan will remain the son of the continent who gave the world a new face of its potential, given that he was not a politician.

The seventh UN boss was a top diplomat. He is fondly remembered in Kenya for having brokered the 2008 post-election power-sharing deal.

Like his fellow Nobel laureate, President Nelson Mandela, Annan did great things in his own right and was selfless and philanthropic true to the spirit of Africa. Both believed in social justice and meant good for all.

BEST LEGACY

He was not a politician, but his influence across the world cannot be matched in Africa. He had a chance to lead the UN, did his best and left a mark.

Annan believed in peace love and unity and working systems, where the society thrives by respecting and appreciating all.

The kind of leaders we have in Africa are mainly those who want to die in power; they believe that they must lead forever since they were appointed by God.

Being a son of Africa, the best legacy African leaders can give Annan is not to mourn him, but let his spirit reign. Let them respect human rights, democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law in their respective countries.

Let Africans — especially political leaders — live the beliefs and aspirations of Kofi Annan.

Christopher Ngolo, Nairobi.


TSC, unions to meet over planned strike

By OUMA WANZALA
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By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Teachers and their employer will this week hold a crucial meeting that will likely determine the fate of the planned strike scheduled for September 1.

The Teachers Service Commission has invited the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) for talks on Thursday. On Friday, TSC will meet the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) officials ahead of re-opening of schools for third term next Monday.

The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, but it was moved forward after the day was declared a public holiday by the government.

DELOCALISATION

Whereas Knut is pushing for a strike, Kuppet is backing talks, saying issues being raised can still be handled through negotiations.

Last week, teachers scored a major victory when President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the delocalisation policy be reviewed to ensure it does not break up families.

President Kenyatta said he had received concerns that some families had been affected by transfer of school administrators to other counties. Later, TSC also directed a review of policy on performance appraisal.

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion welcomed the President’s intervention. “It is the first time the President is directly intervening on union dispute issues with the teachers’ employer. It projects the President as a statesman, and this is the way to go,” Mr Sossion told Nation.

However, he said the union would not call off the strike until an amicable solution is found.

The agenda of the TSC’s meeting with the teachers’ unions include promotion of teachers upon attainment of higher academic qualifications, and implementation. TSC has maintained that promotion of teachers will be based on work done and not academic qualifications, while Knut wants  tutors to be promoted for going  back to class.

RETIREMENT

“We have teachers with diplomas, degrees, masters and doctorate degrees. Job evaluation report conducted by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission recommended that you are paid according to the job you are doing,” insisted TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.

School heads

The commission has also agreed to convene a meeting with school heads association to address the issues raised with a view to arriving at an amicable solution in line with the President’s directive.

Mr Sossion said a majority of the affected teachers, especially the elderly, are opting for early retirement in what will further aggravate shortage of teachers in public schools, which is at its lowest.

The nominated MP said performance contracting and teacher performance appraisal and development had a negative bearing on performance in schools, with teachers spending a lot of time filling unnecessary load of forms instead of concentrating on imparting knowledge on students.

EXAMINATION

Mr Sossion said due to lack of computers, electricity, unreliable or total lack of internet connectivity in schools, teachers are forced to travel long distances to download the forms online at the expense of teaching.

Meanwhile, teachers who will be involved in the management of national examinations this year have been asked to be vigilant and uphold the ethical and integrity standards governing the profession.

Ms Macharia also asked the examiners to ensure that any form of examination irregularity is detected, forestalled and appropriate remedial action taken in tandem with the relevant laws and regulations.

In a circular dated August 9 and addressed to principals, head teachers and all teachers, Mrs Macharia asked them not to accept to be compromised. KCPE and KCSE exams are set to begin  on October 29, and November 2, respectively.


Expedite titling to solve land disputes

By EDITORIAL
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Effective land management is predicated on proper ownership. It is those with legitimate documentation for the land they claim to own who can confidently make decisions on what to do with their parcels and maximise the potential.

Ownership is essentially determined by title deeds. Unfortunately, just a tiny fraction of Kenya’s land has titles. A status report by the Lands ministry shows that 70 per cent of the total land mass has no titles. Although the parcels have owners, that is not recognised in law. This has serious ramifications. Simply, it means that the bulk of the country’s land cannot optimally be put into economic use.

Without title, a piece of land cannot be used as collateral to secure a bank loan or any other transaction. Claims to land ownership without title cannot be sustained when there is a contest over property rights. This explains the prevalent vice of land grabbing.

DISPOSSESSING

The slow pace of land titling is historical and cultural. Land ownership was at the heart of the fight for political independence. It is recalled that the White settlers and the colonial administration appropriated land belonging to the colonies, dispossessing locals and, hence, the subsequent battle for independence to reclaim it.

Indeed, independence leaders repossessed the land but, instead of surrendering it to the original owners, a few top politicians seized and converted huge tracts to personal property. Attempts at land subdivision and registration were only done half-heartedly.

MANAGEMENT

Added to this is the cultural factor in land management. Among some communities, such as pastoralists, land is a communal heritage that cannot be parcelled out and registered in individuals’ names.

Subsequent administrations have done pretty little since. The Jubilee administration has been vocal with plans to register all land parcels and issue titles. Except for a few instances and, arguably, for political capital, much has not been achieved as statistics clearly show. The bulk of the population remains without title deeds.

Added to this is the prohibitive administrative structures for land titling. It is extremely difficult to get a title deed due to poor record keeping and inherent corruption. Files routinely disappear and reappear, depending on what deals are struck. For several years, the government has consistently talked of digitising land records and creating an automated system that allows easy retrieval and processing of land titles. But progress is minimal.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney has a clear assignment: To expedite land registration and issuance of title deeds to give citizens legitimate ownership of their parcels that they can put into proper economic use. She must break the bureaucracies and cartels that have consistently pulled back land titling plans.


Build 15s rugby team for the future

By EDITORIAL
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Kenya Simbas’ 53-28 loss to Namibia on Saturday in their 2019 Rugby World Cup Africa qualifier, is costly. The result saw Namibia claim the continent’s sole slot at stake to next year’s Rugby World Cup finals in Japan, joining automatic qualifiers South Africa, and also retain the Rugby Africa Gold Cup.

However, Kenya can make a second and last stab at Japan — at the much tougher Repechage tournament in November in France, where they will meet Canada, Germany and Hong Kong.

The journey to Japan 2019 was bound to be tough. There’s no shame in losing to Namibia, most of whose players ply their trade in rugby powerhouse South Africa. But even though a step from Japan, it was a clear that Kenya’s 15s rugby standards are still low.

INVESTMENT

The truth is that the Simbas might fail to qualify for Japan. Kenya Rugby Union must, therefore, concentrate on rebuilding the team for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. When Kenya almost qualified for the 2014 Rugby World Cup, beating the likes of Namibia, they had had quality build-up matches, the highlight being participation in the 2015 Vodacom Cup in South Africa. There were none this time round. The Simbas will require quality matches to challenge Namibia, their main rivals, while noting that Zimbabwe are on the rise.

Unlike predecessor Jerome Paarwater, who had been with the team for a long time, coach Ian Snook only took over in April. Just raising the fitness levels in the team has taken most of the time.

The KRU should put in place the right mechanism to identify talent early enough. Kenya needs a centre of excellence and high-performance rugby centre, particularly in the western region, where most of the rugby players are drawn from. It will also need to invest in good salaries, allowances and match bonuses for players, as well as sponsorship, as preparing a 15s team is quite expensive.