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Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

 

State outlines ambitious projects in bid to exploit blue economy

By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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The government has outlined its efforts in bid to exploit the blue economy through huge infrastructural projects.

The projects worth billions of shillings are being implemented through various departments and parastatals.

With the Special Economic Zones Authority working on the multi-billon industrial park to be constructed at Dongo Kundu, Kenya Ports Authority is also positioning itself to be the giant port in Africa.

Top on its priorities is the Sh120 billion expansion program and modernisation initiatives aimed at improving efficiency and wad off competition from the neighbouring Dar-es-Salaam Port in Tanzania.

KPA has engaged in ambitious expansion meant to cushion its position as the region’s biggest port facility.

FIGHT COMPETITION

In an exclusive interview with the Nation at his office, KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said the organisation is strategically putting itself together to fight competition from the Dar es salaam Port.

Currently KPA is undertaking the construction of the Sh20 billion Shimoni port, the Sh40 billion new Kipevu Oil terminal, the construction of the Sh30 billion second container terminal at the Port of Mombasa and the construction of the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu free trade port.

He said that KPA targets to remain atop of other neighbouring countries even as reports abound that importers from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi and other great lakes region countries are slowly shifting to the Port of Dar es Salaam.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

“Everyone looks for good business opportunities and we know that the Rwandan market is growing. Since we are aware of that, then we have played a role in making sure that we support the Rwanda business market, ” said Dr Manduku.

He said KPA is Ware that Tanzania is an alternative corridor for importers in the great lakes region.

“Of course being in the East African region and being alive to the fact that we have alternative corridor puts us in an awkward position because now we must constantly be ahead of the game, and that is what we are currently doing. We realised that for us to remain competitive, we needed to expand our physical facilities, ” said Dr Manduku.

SHIMONI PORT

He said the construction of the Shimoni Port along the Kenya/Tanzania border is awaiting the public partnership approval.

The fishing port of Shimoni is one of the 11 small facilities, KPA wants to develop countrywide in a multi-billion shillings programme.

Dr Manduku said the construction of Shimoni Port will be through the Public Private Partnership.

Cabinet Secretary James Macharia recently said the government was keen on exploitation of the blue economy with emphasis on sustainable economic growth and achievement of her blueprint for national development, Vision 2030.

“The blue economy can play a major role in Africa’s structural transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development. But these resources are vastly untapped,” Mr Macharia said.


Sh14m fine to secure Don Bosco Gichana’s freedom

By RUTH MBULA
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Joy and relief greeted the family, friends and relatives of flamboyant businessman and politician Don Bosco Gichana after the High Court in Arusha, Tanzania, on Tuesday fined him Sh13.7 million.

The controversial politician, who in 2007 gifted opposition leader Raila Odinga with a Hummer SUV, has been in custody since 2013.

Last week on Thursday, Mr Gichana pleaded guilty before the Tanzanian court and he was on Tuesday sentenced to a five-year jail term and a fine of TSh300 million (about Sh13.7 million).

But having already served the term, the court ruled that Gichana will walk to his freedom once he pays the fine. He has been on trial for conspiracy and money laundering alongside four others including his lawyer Median Mwale.

MONEY LAUNDERING

The youthful politician was first arrested on March 29, 2013, when he went to Tanzania to visit Mr Mwale, who had been in detention since August 2011 over various charges, among them money laundering.

He was arrested at the Namanga border point on his way back to Kenya after visiting Mr Mwale at Arusha Central Prison.

Gichana will, however, be free once he pays the fine within one month.

His family has said they are trying to raise the money to secure his freedom. “We are happy. This is good news to us. All we have to do is raise the money. Once done, he will be a free man. We will try to do this soonest possible,” said his cousin Dunstan Gichana, who spoke to the Nation on the phone from Tanzania. Last Thursday after Gichana pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy and money laundering, Judge Isah Maige of the High Court in Arusha postponed the judgment to Tuesday.

FALSE TAX RETURNS

Gichana was accused of filing false tax returns electronically to the US State Department of Treasury internal revenue service using different names of Dale Houston, Herbert Breneman and Syron Hess between 2008 and 2010, among other charges.

The prosecution, led by principal state attorneys Oshwald Tibabyekomya and Hashima Ngole, had last week read out the charges to Gichana who pleaded guilty to all the counts.

He also admitted the four exhibits presented by the prosecution, Tanzanian media reported.

The prosecution argued that in the false tax returns, Gichana indicated addresses of his co-conspirators, who at the material time were living in the US.

In 2013, the politician vied for the Kitutu Chache parliamentary seat and lost to the incumbent Richard Onyonka. Mr Onyonka said the releasing of Don Bosco was long overdue. He urged the government to also make a follow-up on other similar cases.


Joho explains why it took over five years to give Mombasa a new look

By WINNIE ATIENO
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He has now embarked on modernisation of county buildings after improving health care

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has finally explained why it took him more than five years to turn around the county’s image by beautifying the tourism hub.

In an interview with a local radio station in Mombasa, the governor said he was hit by numerous challenges in his first term in office.

He cited the deteriorated health sector which he had to completely turnaround and equip with modern facilities to ensure residents don’t have to travel to India for specialised care.

Mr Joho said he started by transforming Coast Provincial General Hospital where health workers can now perform open heart surgeries and kidney transplants among other specialised services.

CONDUCTING CHEMOTHERAPY

“We now have a cancer centre, we are conducting chemotherapy and we have an oncologist,” he said.

Mr Joho said health is his first priority insisting that for prosperity and development, there must be good healthcare services.

Listeners kept calling asking why he took long to undertake the current projects.

“In development agenda, you must first lay the foundation so that the projects can stand even after leaving the office. We had vision 2035 which we launched in Mombasa, if you scrutinised it, you would have realised everything that is ongoing was in the plans,” the governor said.

He says his next step is modernisation of the county houses and optimising natural resources.

EASILY ACCEPTABLE

“Many people asked me why I chose blue and white in restoration but we conducted research on what is easily acceptable. Blue and white identifies with us due to the ocean, we are the only county with port, blue gives calmness,” he said.

He expressed excitement that people have been photographing the county’s new look images and posting the photos on social media.

Mr Joho has been transforming the county’s image, many buildings within the Central Business District have been painted in Egyptian blue and white colours while the pavements in town centre have been fitted with red cabro blocks.

The governor also shutdown Kibarani, the largest and oldest dumpsite which was an eyesore to both residents and visitors to the port town.

The renovation of Mombasa CBD, comes ahead of a major international tourism conference next month.


Uniform low tax rate the best way out of Catch-22 situation

By JAINDI KISERO
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In seeking to reduce the VAT on petroleum products from the 16 per cent proposed by the National Treasury to eight per cent, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s instincts were in the right place.

High taxes are just a foil for a lack of ideas about how to grow the economy. As we all know, VAT is a regressive tax that hits the poor harder than it does the rich. Worse, a higher VAT rate poses a negative impact on the cost of production across the board — from the price of electricity to transport costs.

The poor rural folk who depend on kerosene for cooking and lighting are left exposed and vulnerable to increases in this regressive form of taxation.

Coming ahead of the season for national examinations in October and November, the proposed 16 per cent VAT would hurt preparations for candidates in the rural areas.

However, the President should have been bold enough to vouch for an overhaul of this particular tax.

RAISING TAXES

When we started engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on VAT in 2013, the discussion was not about raising taxes. The centrepiece of the proposed reform was to remove the plethora of VAT rates, exemptions, zero-rates and remissions that were tying money in unpaid tax refunds.

We planned to improve and reduce the cost of compliance to this complex tax by minimising the distortions, which the many exemptions and the multiplicity of VAT rates caused across the value chain by gradually moving to a uniform rate across the board.

With his proposal, the President has introduced yet another distortion in the system, taking us back to where we were before we started reforming the system. He should have been bold enough to move the rate to as low as possible and propose a uniform rate.

Indeed, the correct path for us right now should be working to standardise the system with a view to eliminating all exemptions, and zero-rated items.

SUBSTANTIAL INVESTMENTS

The priority of the moment is starting to discuss with Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda how to harmonise VAT and other tax rates across the East African Customs Union.

Granted, the government must raise money for the substantial investments it intends to make in health, security and infrastructure.

It must seek to achieve fiscal consolidation by reducing the budget deficit, revising the domestic borrowing requirement and negotiate some of the expensive commercial loan on our external debt register.

THE WRONG WAY

Our big problem is that we have approached fiscal consolidation the wrong way by seeking to increase taxes and increasing spending when we all know the economic conventional wisdom today is that fiscal consolidation is better achieved by cutting expenditure and reducing taxation rates.

When we blame the IMF for the fuel levy and higher taxes, we are merely engaged in scapegoating.

The sickness at the heart of our economy is the spiralling public debt. Yet when you listen to our leaders, you don’t see the willingness to face up to the serious situation and admit that things have gone wrong.

Indeed, the only time President Kenyatta came close to admitting that public finances were not looking good is when he issued the famous ‘no new projects’ directive to the parastatal heads and principal secretaries. Truth be told, this economy is hardly in glowing health.

BLUE CHIP COMPANIES

Private sector investment is stagnant, uptake of credit by companies is at its lowest, and corporates’ profits, even by blue-chip companies, are below where they were in 2014. Further, electricity consumption by industrial users has stagnated while retrenchment and profit warnings by listed companies have become just too common.

I don’t think that the austerity package and spending cuts proposed by the President in his address on Saturday go far and deep enough in dealing with the root causes of the parlous state of our public finances.

You can’t make any meaningful impact if all you plan to do is to merely tinker with the budgets of insignificant items such as travel and hospitality.

SPENDING CUTS

Methinks as Parliament sits this week to consider the proposals by the President, they should push the Executive to comply with best practice on fiscal consolidation by insisting on deep spending cuts and wide-ranging reductions of taxation rates.

We want to see projects that are not urgent being postponed and major budget reallocations in votes of ministries.

My parting shot is to the National Treasury.

Even as you continue to squeeze whatever you can from sectors of this economy that still work and produce, remember that milk is not obtained by drying the milch cow.


Use Pumwani case to reform maternal health

By EDITORIAL
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Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi is under the spotlight once again following the mysterious deaths of 12 infants.

Worse, reports indicate attempts at concealing the deaths to avoid culpability.

It is incredible what happens at this hospital that has often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Evidently, it has fundamental defects that can only be addressed through a thorough investigation and overhaul of its management.

For starters, the hospital is notorious for the disappearance of newborns in what is a well-calculated scam involving staff and underworld dealers involved in child trafficking.

HORRIFYING CONDITIONS

Tales abound of horrifying conditions under which expectant mothers and infants are treated. Part of it results from sheer lack of capacity to handle the large number of people seeking medical care.

Notably, it serves a large population in Nairobi’s Eastlands, a majority of whom are low-income earners who cannot afford alternative facilities.

But still, the hospital has the notoriety of mistreating patients, a practice that has gone on for far too long and which must end. Doctors and nurses have routinely been accused of roughing up patients and, on occasion, failed to provide proper medical attention, which explains the many cases of death.

It is too early in the day to make conclusions on the latest deaths of infants. Doctors have rejected claims that it was due to negligence. But that cannot be corroborated unless independent investigations are carried out. And this is part of the problem.

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

On their own, doctors have a penchant for protecting their own, even when there is evidence of professional negligence.

Beyond the deaths, it is critical to examine the status of health facilities in the country. Pumwani’s case is a microcosm of a bigger problem.

There are few hospitals in Nairobi and across the country, especially those specialising in maternal care.

Efforts to put up more facilities to decongest the likes of Pumwani have not been successful. Even for Pumwani, the perennial problems are addressed episodically, particularly with political interests in sight.

OVERWHELMED

Pumwani is the main maternity facility in the city and it is overwhelmed. It is poorly equipped. Indeed, it is unimaginable that, after all these years, it does not have a mortuary — shocking for a hospital of its calibre.

We call for proper investigations and a methodical approach to tackling the problems. Sacking officials or disbanding the management board is merely scratching the surface. Maternal and child healthcare is a big agenda for the government and the time has come for it to be given serious attention.


Get varsities out of mess

By EDITORIAL
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For universities — the citadels of reason, learning and professionalism — to be bogged down by long-drawn-out management disputes is a crying shame and an embarrassment to the higher education sector.

Egerton and Masinde Muliro have been in the news over leadership rows that threaten their very stability and ability to discharge their core mandate — teaching and research — as the vice-chancellors fight claims of mismanagement, abuse of office and corruption.

While that may not be unique, the way the universities have gone about resolving the issues raises eyebrows. They have chosen the court of public opinion with all sorts of accusations and counter-claims thrown around.

RESOLVE CONFLICTS

Though these are public bodies, it is prudent to resolve conflicts through the established organs — such as the university council and the senate.

Whether the allegations are true or not, no one should be condemned unheard and the VCs, who are learnt, diligent and respectable individuals, should not have their reputations so soiled.

Claims of tribalism, internal feuds, unethical behaviour by lecturers and examination malpractices have lately rocked the universities, both public and private.

Moi University, one of the oldest in the country, only got a substantive VC in March following a protracted attempt to fill the post for a whole year.

The world over, universities operate under a clear and strict set of rules that should make them the bastions of professionalism.

The council and the senate closely oversee the use of funds and the running of academic programmes.

However, the leadership in our universities is increasingly being made to answer to the whims of politicians and influence peddlers.

The Commission for University Education (CUE) and other regulatory bodies must step in and stop the needless bitter feuds.


Griezmann and Costa combine as Atletico undo Monaco

By AFP
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Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Monaco 2-1 in their Champions League Group A opener on Tuesday with star strikers Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann detonating the fightback.

The visitors had fallen behind against the run of play in the 18th minute when winger Samuel Grandsir forced the ball home in a goalmouth scramble after good work from Radamel Falcao.

But Costa then ran onto a wonderful flick-on from Griezmann to fire a snap-shot low and hard past Monaco’s onrushing Swiss stopper Diego Benaglio to level the scores on the half-hour.

Jose Maria Gimenez — remembered for crying on the pitch when France beat Uruguay 2-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals in Russia — then headed home a corner in first-half stoppage-time to take the wind out of Monaco’s sails at a key moment.

The pitch cut up worryingly and groundsmen scrambled at half-time to pound in sods of detached turf.

Former Monaco striker Thierry Henry and ex-coach Didier Deschamps were in the stands where just 12,000 fans showed up and amongst them a mere 80 Atletico supporters.

Atletico have had a stuttering start to their La Liga campaign, and with coach Diego Simeone on the final match of a four-game touchline ban, the visitors were marshalled by the menacing bulk of his brooding assistant German Burgos prowling the line.

Monaco’s Polish defender Kamil Glik appeared to be relishing his role, keeping tabs on Costa and apart from the goal did a solid job on the Atletico target man.

Falcao never stopped searching for an equaliser against his old club, almost earning a penalty in the 66th minute and lashing a shot just wide moments later.

Glik saw a last-gasp header go just wide with the fans on their feet, but Atletico were otherwise untroubled in the latter stages.

France international forward Thomas Lemar was back at the Stade Louis II after his close-season switch to Madrid and came on late as Atletico sweated out the final minutes to clinch three precious away points.


Taxman has to be innovative as harsh economic realities sink in

By ROBERT SHAW
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Economic realities have cast a long shadow over Kenya’s political and social landscape in the past few weeks. The 16 per cent value added tax on petroleum has dominated it as fuel prices rocketed and public outrage erupted. This, in turn, triggered a wave of price increases with the unwelcome inflation repercussions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention by halving the VAT, coupled with some cost-cutting proposals, has calmed the waters for the moment.

But it remains to be seen whether he has furthered or just postponed dealing with the country’s fundamental economic structural imbalances and disequilibrium.

The government spends more than what it earns and borrows the balance, adding to our mounting domestic and international debt.

LOCAL REVENUE

Local revenues cover only two-thirds of the national Budget. In short, the government cannot pay its way on a day-to-day basis, which also means development plans are largely stillborn unless started on borrowed money.

The national and county governments must increase revenue and reduce costs to at least reduce the yawning gap. The President’s proposal is a partial stab at both but will only work if it is the start of a series of measures not a fudged attempt at a temporary solution.

Whether it is an IMF demand or not is neither here nor there; it is a basic rule of prudent housekeeping. Where the IMF becomes an issue is when we do not abide by its guidelines.

BORROWED MONEY

In this case, it results in a double hit. We lose the options of standby facility, which is a welcome safety net, reducing our overall financial standing, meaning borrowing could become costlier and more cumbersome.

The negative by-product of this economic predicament is that there is little or no space for serious developmental spending. Some valuable priority projects are not implemented and those that do are weaned on borrowed money and done in a go-stop fashion.

Lofty-sounding projects and agendas become piles of paper of intent rather than anything of actual reality unless borrowing is involved. But a caveat is in order here: The borrowing window is starting to get smaller as it is increasingly overused and, in some cases, misused. Our overall debt portfolio is becoming uncomfortably large.

TIGHT ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

The ‘Big Four’ is a noble idea in terms of where our priorities should lie but how will it fare in the increasingly tight economic environment, where revenues are low and borrowing is getting more difficult?

The strategy must be to carry out an action plan on both fronts: Cut costs, waste and corruption and instill efficiency while raising revenues.

The former should be based on the various productivity audits and the templates used. This is a common practice throughout the world in both the public and private sectors.

The difficulty here is that we do not have enough capacity within government per se. There is an additional factor — within the government hierarchy, there is an inert bias against auditing oneself for obvious reasons.

PRODUCTIVITY AUDITS

But there is plenty of spare capacity and skill externally for the productivity audits. As with fighting corruption, there are several willing development partners who would assist with the skills and the relevant resources to do this.

One way to look at it is that our taxes are only getting half the value, mainly because of the malaise within the central and county governments.

We have all experienced it and, indeed, been victims of it. Getting things done in the public sector is akin to pulling out teeth. I recently sought up-to-date rate demands. Several of the payments had not been posted and it took a morning of going through the paperwork that I provided to ascertain the correct figure.

The corruption purge is work in progress and it is too early to expect its benefits to filter through. It should be followed through to the criminal conviction of the miscreants.

INCREASE REVENUE BASE

A concurrent action should be increasing the revenue base of government. Applying or increasing VAT is an easy, but arguably overused, resort.

The government needs to expand and broaden its tax base to cover more activities of the formal and informal sectors. Inevitably, this means dramatically increasing the administrative capacity of KRA and the finance departments.

An interesting statistic would be how much of potential taxes are not collected through tax avoidance and evasion.

There is an urgent need for a makeover of the financial management capacity of the national and county governments. They are like a series of fishing boats with nets that have gaping holes in them.


Campaign to kick out polio offers hope for children of Dadaab

By NG’ANG’A MBUGUA
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From the sky, the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Garissa County looks like a tuft of green hair in the balding savannah that is the northern part of Kenya.

Sporadic clouds throw black splotches that look like burn scars on the pale peach-hued earth. To the sympathetic eye, the camp looks like an oasis in the middle of the parched land that stretches to the Kenya-Somalia border where terrorism has interrupted the rhythm of life.

That Dadaab looks like an oasis is no accident of history or geography. Humanitarian organisations have teamed up to sink boreholes that can produce over a million cubic litres of water at short notice. An intricate arterial network of invisible pipes distributes this water to various blocks in the refugee camp.

209,606 REFUGEES

This is the lifeline of the 209,606 refugees, mostly Somalis, who call the camp home.

Every few metres, a nod in this system forms a water collection point from which a cluster of households collects water in yellow jerricans, which the boys take home in improvised wheelbarrows or which the women roll on the ground by pushing the jerricans with their feet.

Two-year-old Maida Abdulhakim lives in one such household in Block L4. On the second day of the polio vaccination campaign that ends today, Maida had accompanied her mother, Ms Warsan Muhamud, to the L6 health post where she and other refugee women run a demonstration kitchen garden where they learn how to grow various food crops like sukuma wiki and spinach to supplement their diets.

Those who are good at it also grow a surplus, which they sell to other families in the camp. Although the group is called the Mother-to-mother Nutrition Support Group, it has men and girls among its members. They all learn from one another on how to improve the health of their children, such as Maida.

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

“Has this child been vaccinated?” someone in the group asks as others water the vegetables in the demo garden. It turns out that she has not. At once, Mr Jamal Abdi, the community health promotion officer with the International Rescue Committee gets on the phone and calls the nearest team of vaccinators.

As the man in charge of co-ordinating the polio vaccination campaign in the camp, he knows where each of the 29 mobile teams of vaccinators work from.

In a short while, the team — comprising the team leader, community volunteer and vaccinator — arrives.

After explaining to Ms Muhamud what the vaccine is about, she consents to have Maida vaccinated.

It only takes two drops of the Bivalent Oral Vaccine, which Mr Mohamed Ahmed, the Unicef education specialist at Dadaab, administers for demonstration purposes.

OFFERS LITTLE FINGER

Maida proudly shows off her little finger after the vaccinator paints her nail with the black indelible ink, the sign that her immunity from the debilitating disease has been boosted. Maida, like the other 35,000 refugee children targeted in the latest campaign, can expect to be free of the incurable disease that is caused by poor sanitation or contact with infected faecal matter.

The vaccination campaign, which was launched after the polio virus was found in Eastleigh, Nairobi, in April, is just one aspect of a holistic approach to ensure that children in the camp live a healthy life.

However, ensuring that only refugee children are vaccinated from polio would be ineffective if the same is not done with children from the host community, who have constant contact with refugees since movement into and out of the camp is not restricted.

HEALTH PROMOTION

Garissa has seven sub-counties and Dadaab is one of them. This is where the Ifo and Dagahale camps, which form the larger Dadaab refugee camp, are to be found. As the sub-county health promotion officer, Mr Abdulrahman Bashir, a lanky man with a deep voice, has the responsibility of ensuring that all the children under five in the host community are immunised.

His job is more difficult than that of Mr Jamal Abdi. In the camp, it is easy to find the children since the refugees are sedentary. However, the host community is not. This means that Mr Bashir has to work harder to find the families and vaccinate their children to ensure that they are not exposed to the highly contagious polio virus.

Last Saturday, a day after the vaccination campaign for the 12 high-risk counties was launched in Garissa town by Health Cabinet Secretary Cecily Kariuki, Mr Bashir summoned his team to the Dadaab Hospital to start the onerous task of finding and vaccinating the 18,666 children under the age of five in the sub-county. As luck would have it, a baby born at the hospital that very morning was the first to be vaccinated.

HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS

Unlike the refugee community, where the vaccination campaign is supported by humanitarian organisations, the local community depends entirely on funding from the ministry of Health.

“The budget for fuel was not enough to cover the entire sub-county,” he said. Although he was allocated one vehicle, he felt that an additional one would have made the campaign more successful. He also had money to hire six people to work as mobilisers although he needed more considering that some parts of the sub-county are unreachable by vehicles.

“We have had to be innovative,” he told the Nation.

To his credit, on the first day of the campaign, his team vaccinated 5,994 children, translating to 95 per cent of the target for that day.

FLED FROM VIOLENCE

Thankfully, Mr Bashir and his team have two things going for them. The first is that since the refugee community has been sensitised about the importance of the vaccine, this high level of awareness has rubbed off on the host community. Secondly, the team does not need to vaccinate practically every child there is.

“When majority of the children get the vaccine, the rest get what is called ‘herd immunity’,” says Mr Bashir.

The last case of polio reported in Kenya was that of Awil Awad Abdoule, who got the disease in 2013 when he was 19. He had fled from the violence in Somalia at the age of 10. But because he had never been immunised, he woke up one day and found that he could not stand on his own.

WEAKNESS OF MUSCLES

He also manifested other signs associated with polio, such as fever and weakness of the muscles.

Like many Somalis fleeing to safety in Kenya, Abdoule was not screened when he crossed into the country through Liboi.

Such unregulated free movement of people across the border has major implications for public health and safety.

And although the International Organisation for Immigration has built a border check point at Liboi, Kenya is yet to send immigration staff there though having a strong health team at Liboi has the potential to reduce risks and strengthen the national health system.

Tomorrow: The challenges of being a student in Dadaab Refugee Camp and why it is more difficult to keep girls in school


Super sub Firmino hands Liverpool flying start

By AFP
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Roberto Firmino came off the bench to strike deep into stoppage time and hand Liverpool a deserved 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield on Tuesday.

Last season’s finalists showed the French champions have plenty of work to do if they are to mount a challenge for a first-ever Champions League title as they bounced back from blowing a 2-0 first-half lead.

Daniel Sturridge and a James Milner penalty put the hosts in command before Thomas Meunier reduced PSG’s arrears.

Having kept Kylian Mbappe and the world’s most expensive player Neymar quiet for almost the entire match, Liverpool seemed set to pay a heavy price for one slack pass by Mohamed Salah as Mbappe swept home seven minutes from time in front of a stunned Kop.

But Firmino, who started on the bench due to an eye injury suffered against Tottenham on Saturday, had the final say as he twisted and turned before firing into the far corner to stretch Liverpool’s perfect start to the season to six games.

Liverpool’s run to the final last season was characterised by fast starts that blew away Spartak Moscow, Manchester City and Roma at Anfield and buoyed by a perfect start to the Premier League season, the hosts put PSG under severe pressure from the off.

Alphonse Areola has kept Gianluigi Buffon on the sidelines during the first few weeks of the 40-year-old’s PSG career and, with the Italian suspended for his red card in Juventus’ controversial exit to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals last season, started again between the sticks.

The French international was busy early on as he saved from Virgil van Dijk, Milner and Sadio Mane inside the first 10 minutes.

PSG have crumbled on their Champions League travels to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the past two seasons and their ability to challenge for the competition was again questioned as they struggled to contain Liverpool’s greater speed and power in midfield.

Up front, Firmino’s absence opened the door for Sturridge to make his first Champions League start for the club.

The Englishman has been dogged by injury and lack of form during Klopp’s nearly three years in charge, but took his chance on the big stage by powering home a pinpoint curling cross from Andy Robertson to open the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Six minutes later, PSG’s deficit was doubled when Juan Bernat tripped Georginio Wijnaldum inside the area and Milner slammed the resulting penalty into the bottom corner.

However, the visitors were handed a lifeline through right-back Meunier, rather than one of their famed front three, as the Belgian skilfully readjusted to volley home Robertson’s miscued clearance.

Klopp was annoyed at his side for having to survive a nervous finale in winning at Tottenham on Saturday after passing up a series of chances to put the game to bed.

And it was looked like this time they would pay as Salah had a goal ruled out for a foul by Sturridge before the latter headed a glorious chance into the arms of Areola.

Salah has struggled to match his stunning 44-goal form of last season in recent weeks and was substituted by Klopp moments after gifting PSG a route back into the game.

His slack pass was intercepted and quickly fed into Neymar, with Van Dijk’s tackle on the Brazilian only rebounding into the path of Mbappe to fire home.

Liverpool instantly went in search of a winner as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deflected free-kick came back off the woodwork, and finally got their reward when Firmino powered home.