Sunday, August 26th, 2018
Nkhatabay, August 25, 2018: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Treasurer General, Jappie Mhango Thursday pledged to donate his August salary towards construction of a school block at Kambuyi Full Primary School in Nkhatabay District.
Mhango who is also Minister of Transport and Public Works made the pledge after Group Village Head (GVH) Kamoza of Nkhatabay had asked government to consider constructing a school block replacing a makeshift structure which is constructed with timber.
GVH Kamoza made the request during a political rally which was addressed by Mhango at Kamoza in the district.
“I am asking government to construct a school block at Kambuyi Full Primary School as some learners and teachers use a makeshift classroom made of timber and grass thatched, this scenario affects teaching and learning especially during rainy season as the classrooms leak,” she explained.
GVH Kamoza pointed out that the school has inadequate classroom and the Member of Parliament of Nkhatabay Central; Ralph Mhone had expressed no interest to come to the rescue of the school.
The GVH assured the Minister that her subjects had already mobilized local construction materials such as sand and bricks in readiness for the construction of the new school block.
In his response, Mhango pledged to donate his August salary towards the construction of the request school block.
“I will assist the school with K1.5 million and my appeal to other well-wishers to emulate my gesture to contribute towards the development of this school,” he added.
In a exclusive interview, Mhone said Nkhatabay District Council has plans to construction a school block at the school.
“Nkhatabay District Council is going to construct a school block at Kambuyi Full Primary School this financial year under District Development Fund (DDF),” he disclosed.
The government’s move to slash this year’s budgetary allocation for the National Youth Service (NYS) has left the service with over Sh1.1 billion arrears as debt for the youth.
The service received Sh13.15 billion in this financial year, instead of the annual proposal of Sh22 billion after its budget was cut by up to Sh8 billion.
In an interview with NTV on Sunday night, the service’s Acting Director General Matilda Sakwa, said that among the affected operations are the Youth Empowerment Programme and other outdoor activities.
The programme saw youth receive daily stipends of Sh141, where they would save some of the payments in self-enterprise savings schemes.
“The programme was very key for the institution, as it helped the youth to save for their future. However, since the budget cut, we have been unable to pay them over Sh1.1 billion,” said Ms Sakwa.
The financial cut was seen as a measure to curb loss of funds, after it was unearthed that up to Sh8 billion may have been lost in unclear circumstances, in what is now dubbed as ‘NYS II.’
However, the director, who has been at the helm for two months, said that she has instilled strict measures, where all the goods delivered must be accompanied by all the necessary documentation.
“After I took over, the main problem I found is that there was no proper documentation for goods delivered by different suppliers, a situation which could have led to a lot of money getting lost in unclear circumstances,” she said.
She exuded confidence that she will eventually seal all loopholes that have contributed to loss of funds.
“We have retrained our procurement officers on the importance of documenting every procedure involving use of public money. We have also made sure that every supplier brings all the documents for particular goods, to ensure that no overpayments are made,” she added.
Deputy President William Ruto has told Jubilee leaders to ignore the prophets of doom predicting divisions in the party, terming those propagating politics based on tribal affiliations “enemies of unity and development”.
He said that the party does not need lectures from outsiders on how to implement its development agenda saying, “We know where we came from, where we are, and where we are going. But those who think they can frustrate our development agenda because they are champions in fake news, opinion polls and newspaper headlines should know that they are wasting their time. We will remain in our development arena.”
Speaking at Kamarich African Inland Church (AIC) in Aldai, Nandi County, after the Sunday service, the DP said Jubilee was formed on a strong foundation of unity and development.
“Jubilee is the strongest party ever, with a firm and strong foundation because its owners are people who are tired of politics based on tribal backgrounds and committed to the initiation of projects like water, electricity, roads, health, education among others, which can improve the lives of Kenyans,” he said.
He added that some leaders who had benefited from tribal politics in the past are now fighting back.
“Those criticising and undermining our development agenda are the same people who benefited from tribal politics in the past. This is why they are engaging in all manner of rhetoric, including predicting that our party is headed for division,” the DP said.
The DP said Sh 1.4 billion has been allocated for phases two and three of the Last Mile Electrification project, targeting 30,000 new households in Nandi County.
He said the Government plans to expand the Eldoret-Kapsabet-Chavakali Road as part of its infrastructural development across the country.
INVEST IN EDUCATION
Mr Ruto urged parents to invest in their children’s education, and to take advantage of the government’s commitment to free primary and affordable secondary, college and university education to enrol their children in school, especially in technical education, to secure their future.
“Our priority is to ensure that all children, irrespective of their family backgrounds, get equal access to education to improve their future,” said Mr Ruto.
Present were Land Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney, Governor Stephen Sang (Nandi), Senator Kiprotich Cherargei (Nandi), MPs Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Julius Melly (Tinderet), Woman Rep Tecla Tum (Nandi) and former MP Zipporah Kering.
The politicians dismissed the recent Ipsos opinion poll on corruption, saying it was politically motivated.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who landed in Washington DC on Saturday night, will meet President Donald Trump on Monday to drum up support for increased American investment, trade and partnership with Kenya.
The meeting at the White House will be the first by President Kenyatta on a bilateral level. It is only the second formal meeting for an African leader at the White House, and points to Kenya’s increasingly significant role in security in the region, one of President Trump’s obvious focus areas.
It will also be the start of high-level meetings with global leaders in 10 days. British Prime Minister Theresa May is due in Nairobi on Thursday before the President meets Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing during the China-Africa summit.
Increasing investment, bolstering trade and securing peace in the region are the overall issues on President Kenyatta’s plate over the next 10 days.
Senior Western diplomats say the meetings with high-level individuals could end with the conference on the Blue Economy in November, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron likely to attend.
With all leaders, on a multilateral level, President Kenyatta is likely to press for Kenya’s campaign to be elected to the Presidency of the UN General Assembly in 2020/21, the UN Security Council in 2021/22, and continued funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
President Kenyatta will today find a White House different from the one he visited in 2014 at the start of his global charm offensive.
Then, rights of all kinds including that of lesbians and gays and talk about fighting corruption were the focus of Barack Obama’s White House.
President Kenyatta’s relentless fight against corruption, which has seen the arrest and charging in court of more than 200 people over the last three months, means graft is no longer something Washington can pin on the President’s shoulders.
The Trump White House is keen to promote American investment, and especially participation in infrastructure projects currently dominated by China and Japan.
“The Kenyatta-Trump meeting comes at an opportune time for Kenya considering that President Kenyatta is currently involved in implementing programmes to bolster trade and investments in the country through his administration’s Big Four development agenda,” State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said.
US Under-Secretary for Commerce Gilbert Kaplan was in Nairobi in June, heading a 60-member delegation that signed deals worth Sh10 billion with Kenya’s private sector.
Some of the things Mr Kaplan asked for are likely to dominate today’s meeting: one of them being that Kenya informs the US of opportunities for investment, whether for direct foreign investment, business partnerships or infrastructure development.
They also wanted government to allow logistics, construction and engineering firm Bechtel Corporation to construct a brand new $3.8 billion six-lane Mombasa-Nairobi expressway.
The US is also keenly following the 1,000MW Lamu Coal plant in which General Electric holds a 30 per cent stake through Amu Power.
President Kenyatta’s meeting with President Trump will not be the first the two leaders will be meeting face-to-face.
In 2017, presidents Kenyatta and Trump shook hands at the G7 Summit at Taormina, Italy.
Since he took office in 2013, President Kenyatta has been courted by top world leaders raising the country’s profile in the region.
President Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2015 was the first by a sitting US head of State. President Kenyatta is among a few leaders from the developing world to attend and address the G7 Summit twice, first in Italy and in Canada this year.
Geopolitical analysts say it is Kenya’s growing importance as a global destination for international conferences and the re-emergence of Nairobi as the economic engine of East Africa that is drawing the world’s attention to the country and making its leader one of the most sought after African presidents by global leaders.
The Blue Economy conference to be co-hosted by Kenya and Canada in November is perhaps the latest indicator that the global community sees a strategic partner in Kenya, considered the only democracy of note in an East Africa that is increasingly authoritarian.
Kenya remains a strategic ally of the US in the fight against terrorism and piracy in the Indian Ocean.
In Somalia, Kenya’s military is actively engaged in the fight against al Shabaab terror group within Amisom.
A public participation model that ensures residents have a say in the running of Makueni County affairs will be the main agenda when governors converge on Wote for the first peer learning conference Monday.
In Makueni, residents are engaged in a six-tier decision-making right from village level where projects are identified, planned and implemented. The scheme, which the World Bank says has eliminated corruption and improved efficiency, also provides forums for effective civic education on governance.
According to Governor Kivutha Kibwana, much of the public engagement is at the Village Peoples Forum, which brings together 100 individuals from every village in Makueni. The region has 3,450 village units.
The village forum — as opposed to a committee of a select few — meets regularly to discuss people’s needs, prioritise projects and get progress reports on the ones being implemented.
The 3,450 units are then grouped into 13 village clusters in the second tier of the system.
Here, every Village Clusters Peoples Forum has 143 participants drawn from an area smaller than a ward.
“We believe in people first. We are not scared of mwananchi being empowered. An empowered citizen is of great benefit,” Governor Kibwana said.
He designed the model to let the people own the work of his administration.
“In all our forums, there are no titles of treasurer, chairman, secretary and others. People simply walk in and air their views. We provide the platform but they own everything,” he said.
At the top is the County Forum, which comprises 1,000 people, eleven from every sub-ward, ten from organised groups and 140 government officials.
The forum, co-chaired by the governor and his deputy, is convened once a year.
In between are the ward and the sub-county gatherings, which meet quarterly and bi annually respectively.
World Bank official Annette Amolo said the Makueni model of public participation identifies projects and fully involves residents. She urged other counties to emulate Makueni.
Police have seized more than 45,000 litres of cooking gas at an illegal filling plant in Karatina suburbs, Nyeri County.
In the joint operation led by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), General Service Unit (GSU) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), a truck full of liquefied petroleum gas and 414 gas cylinders were seized.
No arrests were made in the raid that was conducted on Sunday afternoon as the authorities reported that the owner and workers managed to flee.
DCI Assistant Inspector General of Police John Gachomo, who led the crackdown, said a search for the plant’s owner is ongoing.
Investigators suspect the gas could have been stolen mid transit for resale by unscrupulous dealers.
“In most cases, the gas is usually stolen from legitimate dealers and transported to such facilities for redistribution,” Mr Gachomo said.
Besides prosecution, police will seek orders to demolish the plant and recover assets from its owner for gas already sold.
Interestingly, this is not the first time the plant has been in the limelight for illegal operations. It was also shut down by ERC in October last year.
The plant, located in the industrial area of Karatina, had been operational since January 26, 2016, without a license from ERC.
Found in a compound near the Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line, it is camouflaged by old warehouses, some abandoned.
Liquefied petroleum gas tank trailers are usually parked inside the compound fenced off with high perimeter concrete fence, with a high gate that remains closed.
The area surrounding the plant has many residential buildings, posing a risk to the occupants.
Investigations by the Nation on the plant’s existence and its operations have pointed at underground dealings and complacency on the side of authorities who have admitted to being aware of its existence, yet no action was being taken.
According to earlier findings by the Nation, the plant sold LPG cylinders secretly and usually at rates below market prices.
Local gas dealers alleged the plant used boda boda operators and mainly targeted university students, who are looking for the product at lower prices.
It was following these complaints by local gas retailers and residents that ERC moved in to revoke a transportation license that the plant initially held.
However, the plant was back in business, refilling cylinders from the same facility.
On Sunday, DCI county boss John Gachomo insisted the plant would this time round be shut down completely.
When the body of a 23-year-old man was found dangling from the window of the mental patients’ ward at the Nyeri county referral hospital, residents reeled with shock at the height of negligence existent at the facility.
The family blamed the facility for failing to protect their son, who had already tried to commit suicide at home.
The patient is said to have hanged himself using a pair of trousers inside the strong room in the mental ward.
This needless death of a mental patient who was supposed to be under suicide watch exposes the rot that has eaten into the country’s public health infrastructure particularly in relation to mental health services.
In many parts of the country, grim statistics paint the picture of a mental health capacity that is virtually non-existent in public health programmes across the counties.
The World Health Organisation estimates that about 800,000 people die by suicide each year.
According to a research paper, “Providing Sustainable Mental Health Care in Kenya” by Professor David Ndetei of the University of Nairobi and Dr Ana-Claire Meyer, there is a dramatic shortage of human and other resources to effectively care for these disorders.
In Nyeri, Meru and Murang’a counties, health department officials were unable to reveal how much money is spent on drugs to treat mental illness. The counties also face a shortage of psychiatrists, nurses and other staff to take care of the patients who require close monitoring.
A report adopted by the Nyeri county assembly described the psychiatric section as the most neglected. The discrepancies in the wards range from poor infrastructure and lack of drugs to dilapidated buildings.
At the Murang’a level five hospital, the psychiatric ward accommodates 10-15 inpatients, but there is an addition 10 beds reserved for other patients.
According to the hospital’s superintendent Doctor Leonard Gikera, there are two nurses per shift (for eight hours), who are running the ward.
When the Nation visited the hospital on Thursday, family members of the patients told the Nation that they were satisfied with the medical services offered at the facility.
“I have a patient here and he has been well attended to and in fact he is doing well. I’m very grateful to the hospital management for catering to the patients’ wellbeing,” James Mwangi, a father of one of the patients said. However, hospital staff who talked to Nation on condition of anonymity said the ward lacked personnel as only three nurses were equipped with psychiatric knowledge.
The Wajir county psychiatric unit is yet to be fully operational two years after it was commissioned. The unit was commissioned in 2016 before starting operations later on in that year, but it is yet to meet the standards of a fully functional mental clinic.
The unit has a capacity of 20 patients comprising of 12 male patients and eight female patients. In an interview with the Nation, the hospital clinical officer in charge Robert Ogalo said that the clinic is only offering outpatient services. He added that they were yet to begin the in-patient services due to lack of personnel adding that the rooms are not yet conducive to allow for admission.
In Meru, the only in-patient psychiatric unit in the upper eastern region is overstretched with the 16 bed facility sometimes having more than 40 patients. An official who spoke to the Nation said it is difficult to turn away or refer patients with mental conditions leading to congestion. The facility is also manned by seven nurses against a need of 13.
“Out of the seven nurses, only two have specialized training in handling psychiatric conditions. The shortage of nurses in the unit has been blamed on a countrywide challenge,” the official said. The unit often runs out of drugs, forcing medics to send patients to chemists.
“Some patients are brought by police and have no relatives to buy drugs. In this case we have to source drugs from other centres or contribute from our pockets to buy the drugs. At times, we have had to pay fare for recovered patients when they are discharged,” he said.
The official said there was need for allocation of more resources to expand the bed capacity and hire more specialised nurses.
According to the Mental Health Atlas 2017 released by WHO, the ratio of mental health workers can be as low as 2 per 100,000 people in low income countries, compared to more than 70 in high income countries. It is also estimated that 540 million people suffer from mental disorders, with almost three-quarters of them living in middle and low income countries.
Mental disorders include those affecting mood, thinking and behaviour. It accounts for 13 per cent of the global disease burden and WHO project this will rise to 15 per cent by 2030.
Reporting by Irene Mugo, Bruhan Makong, Manase Otsialo, David Muchui, Grace Gitau, Ndung’u Gachane and Vivian Jebet
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has hinted at working with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi in the 2022 succession. The Governor said their agenda is to unite all Kenyans irrespective of their political affiliation and tribes.
Speaking on Sunday when he officiated at a funds drive at AIC Churo Girls Secondary School in Tiaty Sub-County, Mr Joho said that he would not be cowed by anyone in his dream of having a united nation.
He said that his focus is to see the children from the minority communities and marginalised areas have a voice and benefit from development.
“We are tired of having a nation of a few individuals. My prayer is to see children from the minority and marginalised areas vying for the presidency and other positions in this country. It does not mean that you have to come from a certain community or a particular party to become the President of this republic,” said Mr Joho.
He added: We want Kenyans to have improved lives and this can only happen if we choose leaders wisely. Kenyans should not elect leaders who have enriched themselves by stealing public funds,” said the Governor.
He said that his long meeting with retired President Daniel Moi at his Kabarak home on Saturday had focused on his aspirations ahead of 2022 politics.
“We had some talks with the retired president Moi on Saturday and I must tell you that it has helped in my journey to unite Kenyans because that is what he insisted that I should do and I will not let him down,” said the Governor.
He said he wants to ensure that people have a voice and are not dictated to by a few self-serving politicians.
He pushed for equal distribution of development projects in the country, noting that funds to counties should be increased to 50 per cent to spur development.
DECIDE OUR DESTINY
“The time has come for us to change the leadership of this country. Some few individuals should not decide our destiny. We want to see funds to counties increased to 60 per cent and even if it means going for a referendum, then we will do it because at the end of the day, Kenyans should have their say,” he added.
He said that poor leadership and looting of public coffers by politicians has made Kenyans to lag behind in development, noting that he supported President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fight against corruption.
“We want to see all those implicated in corrupt deals arrested. People should not hide in their political cocoons or tribes and should carry their own cross,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Baringo County Governor Stanley Kiptis who insisted that those accused of stealing should return what they stole from the public. More than 10 Members of Parliament from the coast region also supported Mr Joho’s move to unite with Senator Moi ahead of 2022 politics.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has kick-started a pilot census data collection exercise ahead of next year’s August Population and Housing Census.
The pilot programme, which started on the night of August 25, is set to take place in 12 counties. The counties are Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi, Makueni, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Mandera, West Pokot, Kericho, Busia, Kisumu and Kisii for the next seven days.
KNBS director-general Zachary Mwangi said that the programme will go on until August 31 and already a select sub-locations, 22 in number, have been selected for the exercise which aims to test various attributes and inform the planning process for the main census.
“Pilot census is supposed to be done exactly one year before the actual census itself. It is going to last seven days. We have 380 enumerators, 71 supervisors and a number of coordinators who have been trained,” said Mr Mwangi during the launch of the programme on Friday at Imara Daima, Nairobi.
An estimated Sh3.5 billion will go to buying 164,000 smart phones and relevant census hardware.
The remaining part of budget will pay the more than 190,000 staff to be hired for the exercise. Appearing before the National Assembly’s Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee in February this year, Mr Mwangi told the committee that the 2019 census preliminary figures will be released within one month, basic reports within three months while the comprehensive report will be released by June 2020.
The director-general explained that the pilot programme will assess census instruments (IT equipment, questionnaires, manuals and control forms) and validate the enumeration procedures.
It will also authenticate the list of historical events as an aid to age estimation and evaluate the recruitment and training procedures for enumerators and supervisors.
“Pilot census helps us test the questions to administer, the time it takes to administer them, the maps and also testing technical, logistics and personnel for the real exercise next year,” he said.
The country normally conducts census after every 10 years, which has consistently taken place since August 1969.
In preparation for the exercise, the State agency has so far mapped 28 counties and is scheduled to continue after the pilot census.
The final term of the schools’ academic calendar begins on Monday amid uncertainty arising from unresolved disputes between teachers and their employer.
At first, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) had threatened to call its members to strike and derail the schools’ reopening, which would have been disastrous. But that was shelved.
However, the union is still waving the strike card amid a growing feeling within its ranks that the Teachers Service Commission is dithering over decisions agreed upon.
This level of mistrust does not augur well for schools’ activities. Third term is basically an examination period and the focus ought to be on preparing candidates for the tests.
Any disruption is unacceptable. Candidates require peace to concentrate on their studies and, importantly, they need the teachers to give proper guidance.
For this reason, we ask the TSC and Knut to continue with the dialogue that they started last week and honestly resolve the contentious issues.
The mistrust so far witnessed, where they meet and make decisions but then change tune and talk at cross-purpose outside the boardroom, is unhealthy.
In particular, transfer of teachers should be put on hold during this critical term to ensure stability in schools.
On their part, teachers must enforce discipline and avoid the chaos witnessed last term, where students rioted, destroyed property and disrupted learning programmes.
Part of the problem has been poor preparation for the national exam that triggers anxiety and pushes students to riot.
The converse is that teachers have to avoid shortcuts, which some were used to before, and instead do the right thing — prepare learners well and give them the confidence to tackle exams.
More significantly, the focus shifts to the national exams, with the accent being enforcing strict measures to curb cheating.
Policies and regulations implemented in the past two years led to dramatic reduction of cases. But the goal is to have no cheating at all — leakage-free exams. That is a tall order but tenable.
We are alive to the fact that the cartels that thrived on exam cheating were not annihilated; they only went under and are, therefore, likely to hit back, this time with a vengeance. Which is why the Kenya National Examinations Council and the entire Education ministry system must up the game.
Surveillance is paramount. The drive to restore order and sanity in the administration of national exams must continue.
We cannot drop the ball; the consequences are grave, as we have seen in the past.
The challenge for the school administrators is to get all systems in place to guarantee stability and tranquillity during the third term.