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Thursday, September 20th, 2018


Agriculture should rank above manufacturing in ‘Big Four’

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The powerful bullet that agriculture holds always escapes from many African leaders’ minds.

For a continent with 70 percent of the population involved in agriculture, this sector undoubtedly presents us with the surest bet to get out of poverty.

Flirting with manufacturing with ambitions of being developed states is a tall order. Agriculture has been the proven path to prosperity in America and Asia. No region has established a diverse and stable economy without a firm base in agriculture.

Africa’s rapid shift from a continent where agriculture contributes a large proportion of gross domestic product to an economy where the service sector contributes a large portion of GDP is pushed mainly by rapid urbanisation.

Figures point at 56 percent urbanisation by 2050 from the current 36 percent. This urban population will be fed by these 500 million small-scale farmers, who contribute 80 percent of the food.

The argument for more focus to be put on agriculture is because industrialisation doesn’t offer the best medicine to cure the problem of poverty in an Africa faced with cheap Chinese goods.

The Asian population offers cheap and more skilled labour compared to our semi-developed transport infrastructure, unreliable electricity supply, political interference and inadequate port facilities.

Kenya has done a lot in providing a conducive environment for manufacturing but has much ground to cover.

The services sector, which is tops ahead of agriculture, has been propelled by general growth in trade and general services. Being dominated by small-scale informal enterprises, it offers low labour productivity.


The government has to work out a way to make agriculture thrive by making it profitable with the impending rapid urbanisation in major parts of the continent.

The small-scale farmers need to be grouped, given inputs and cash for production and also markets for their produce at attractive rates.

With this, farms in the western sugarcane belt will be lush, Central Rift dairy farmers will we happy, Kitale and Eldoret will lead in maize farming, Narok will thrive in wheat production, Mt Kenya area will produce the coffee and horticulture that it is famed for while Coast will emerge as the biggest irrigation zone.

That will undoubtedly make Kenya a premier agro-processing hub in the continent. With rapid urbanisation, the previous preferences for farm fresh supplies is waning and many people want processed food.

Agriculture will, therefore, see people employed along the value chain and present the small-scale farmer with better income after the sale of processed food, which has been the preserve of mainly large-scale farms, which constitute less than 20 percent of Kenya’s population.

Eric James Obara Okwedo, agronomist, via email.

Chelsea win in Greece as Rangers hold Villarreal

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Willian’s early goal in Greece gave Premier League leaders Chelsea a 1-0 win over PAOK in the Europa League on Thursday, while Steven Gerrard’s Rangers twice fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at Villarreal.

Eden Hazard was omitted from the Chelsea squad at his own request due to fatigue, but manager Maurizio Sarri fielded a strong side for the Blues’ opening game in Group L at a hostile Toumba Stadium.

Brazil winger Willian struck after just seven minutes with a first-time finish after an assist from Ross Barkley to extend Chelsea’s winning run to six games in all competitions.

Rangers acquitted themselves well on their first appearance in the group stage of a European competition since the 2010-11 Champions League, as they came away with battling point in Spain.

A disastrous start for the Scottish side saw Carlos Bacca fire Villarreal ahead inside 60 seconds, but Scott Arfield turned home a cross from Daniel Candeias to level on 67 minutes.

Gerard Moreno put the hosts back in front almost immediately, only for Kyle Lafferty to again hit back for Rangers as Gerrard’s men made a solid start in Group G.

Marseille, last season’s runners-up, slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in Group H as Luka Jovic grabbed an 89th-minute winner for the reigning German Cup champions.

Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring early for Marseille, who were playing behind closed doors at the Stade Velodrome after numerous crowd incidents last season.

But Lucas Torro levelled on 52 minutes for Eintracht before Jovic’s late strike won it.

Record five-time winners Sevilla launched their Group J campaign with a 5-1 rout of Standard Liege, as Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder both netted twice for the Spaniards.

EAC launches policy to bridge gender gap

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A policy seeking to protect and promote the rights of women, men, boys and girls within the East African Community (EAC) has been launched.

Mr Abdikadir Aden, Chairperson of the Committee on General Purpose of EALA, said that the policy will look into areas of gender equality as well as protection of the youth and children.

“In most institutions and even governments, the higher we go on the decision-making ladder, the fewer women we see. This has been many times referred to as the ‘glass ceiling’ that keeps women from rising to the upper ranks, regardless of their (academic and professional) qualifications or achievements and in comparison with their male counterparts,” Mr Aden said during the launch of the programme in Arusha, Tanzania, on Monday.

Mr Aden added that through social protection and community development, the EAC would be able to institutionalise gender strategies in the region.

He explained that despite various accomplishments by partner States in educating the girl child, there is still poor representation of women in the employment sector, more so in political representation.

He said that there is still misleading data and false dichotomies between targeted programme interventions and those incorporating gender issues across different sectors.

He also observed that there is lack of comparable data for tracking allocations and expenditures of resources for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“This lack of accountability delays progress in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, girls and other marginalised groups,” he said.

He, however, noted that governments at all levels are increasingly institutionalising gender mainstreaming in policies, projects and programmes.

This, he said, has led to greater recognition of the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment to sustainable development at both national and community level.

“With effective implementation of the EAC Gender Policy, we hope to achieve the vision of having women and men, boys and girls living a quality life,” he said.

He said that the launching of a Training of Trainers programme will help facilitate effective gender mainstreaming.

The programme seeks to enhance the capacity of staff in the EAC organs, institutions and key partner State ministries for effective policy implementation.

It also seeks to strengthen national, regional machineries and advise key policymakers to take action in designing and analysing data from a gender perspective.

“It is now our challenge to ensure that the policy is implemented, monitored and actions sustained to develop an inclusive community which guarantees equal rights and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls.”

Idlib deal could save three million ‘from catastrophe’ says UN chief, as militants are urged to lay down arms

A deal reached between Russia and Turkey to create a demilitarized buffer zone protecting citizens “from catastrophe” in Syria’s Idlib region is a welcome development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday, before urging all parties to make a “strong commitment” to it.

“I welcome the agreement three days ago between President Erdogan of Turkey and President Putin of Russia, to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib”, Mr Guterres told journalists in New York.

“If properly implemented, this could save three million civilians – including one million children – from catastrophe.”

In his appeal to “all the parties” to implement the agreement, the UN chief highlighted the need to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian access.

International humanitarian law must also be respected and everyone involved in the more than seven-year conflict should work “urgently for greater progress” in the Geneva process to find a political solution to the situation.

If properly implemented, this could save three million civilians – including one million children – from catastrophe – UN chief António Guterres

Mr Guterres’s comments followed a meeting earlier in the day of the Humanitarian Access Task Force on Syria, led by Senior Adviser to the UN Jan Egeland.

Echoing the UN chief’s comments, Mr Egeland said that the deal between Russia and Turkey was a welcome development, before appealing to armed militants there not to fight “to the last civilian”.

“What some groups have said is that they are preparing to fight,” Mr Egeland told journalists in Geneva. “And our message to them is…we hope you’re not going to fight to the last civilian”.

After meeting with more than 20 Member States, Mr Egeland explained that the fine detail of the freshly-inked deal had yet to be decided.

“We were informed of the details of the agreement,” he said. “We were also informed that many details are being worked out and that the two countries, Russia and Turkey, would be in contact with us as humanitarians, to explain how we can ensure protection of civilians, access for the 12,000 humanitarians who are inside of the zone and the many who will continue assistance, both cross-border and potentially cross-line, from Government-controlled areas.”

The agreement between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reportedly creates a 15-20-kilometre-wide de-escalation zone in Idlib to be patrolled by Russian and Turkish troops.

The Special Advisor to the UN highlighted the dangers of further violence in Syria’s last opposition-held area, where half of Idlib’s population of nearly three million are internally-displaced civilians and a million are children.

It was essential that the aid lifeline from Turkey to Syria “must not be cut” by fighting “that could still happen” as part of this agreement, he said.

Some 10,000 fighters in Idlib are classified as terrorists by the UN.

Insisting that the “ruthless and reckless armed groups” which had committed crimes in Syria should not escape justice, Mr Egeland said that he hoped interlocutors would offer them alternatives to fighting.

“The listed organizations, terrorist organizations have many, thousands and thousands of fighters…. They are in many parts of Idlib,” he said. “And among them are many who say they would fight until the end, and that is very, very worrisome.”

Terrorist organizations have many thousands of fighters… in many parts of Idlib…And among them are many who say they would fight until the end – UN Special Adviser, Jan Egeland

With so many armed groups there vying for control, the Senior Advisor to the UN called on Member States reiterated that it was a “war crime” to blend into civilian populations and to locate next to homes, schools or hospitals.

“The so-called ‘war on terror’ is not called off,” Mr Egeland said. “On the contrary, there will be in the future air raids against the listed organizations. There will also be fighting between armed groups, armed actors and the so-called terrorists, the so-called radicals.”

‘Too few’ judgements so far on serious crimes committed during Syria conflict

Also in Geneva, the head of the UN-appointed International, Independent and Impartial Mechanism (IIIM) into the worst crimes committed in Syria announced that there had been “far too few” judgments made against perpetrators to date.

Criminal investigations taking place in a number of countries – notably in Europe – were “undeniably a source of hope” for victims, Catherine Marchi-Uhel told journalists.

“But the road is still a long one,” she added, noting that “the large majority” remained “disillusioned” by the absence of the possibility of justice for them at an international level.

After starting work on evidence-gathering earlier this year, the Mechanism has so far collected almost 900,000 records, the equivalent of four terabytes of data.

This includes “high-value” testimonies gathered by other UN accountability bodies such as the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Ms. Marchi-Uhel explained, adding that the Mechanism also engages with national war crimes units in various States and with Syrian non-governmental organizations.

To date, the Mechanism has received seven requests for assistance from national prosecutors. It expects to open “two or more specific investigative case files” before the end of the year, the IIM head said.

Samuel Karanja’s comb is his tool of trade

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A comb. A tool that many overlook but to Samuel Karanja aka Sam De Salonist, it is one of his most valued equipment and a proof of his mastery in hairdressing.

In 2015, he started his journey as a mobile hairdresser and three years later, he owns two salons in Zimmerman, Nairobi County with 16 fulltime employees. The salons also serve as training centres where he trains enthusiastic young people in cosmetology.

However, for the 24-year old, although he liked experimenting with his own hair- applying hair dye, it never occurred to him that this would be his eventual trade.

“I wanted to be an engineer but when I got to secondary school, I realised that one needed to excel in subjects such as Math and Physics. For starters, I had joined form one-two terms behind my classmates due to financial constraints. My performance at the end of term was unpleasant. With an E score on my grade sheet, I didn’t proceed to form two. I dropped out,” he says.

When Samuel expressed interest to study a course in hairdressing, his father’s first response was laughter before telling him how ludicrous he was to even consider a ‘female’ course.

“I had to do a lot of convincing before he agreed to enrol me at Afro lady, a training centre in Kagwe, Kiambu County. Even then, he wouldn’t accompany me to the centre or show interest in what I was doing. Now, he acknowledges that it was the best decision I made at 19 years,” he explains.

According to Samuel, his journey hasn’t been an easy one and at one point, he considered going back to the village to help out on his father’s farm.

“After my six months training, I decided to leave the village for Nairobi city in 2014. I envisioned having a long list of clientele but that was not to be. First, the trending hairstyles such as crotchet were quite complex and uncommon in the village- it was like I was learning everything all over again. Secondly, most clients were hesitant to be braided by a male hairdresser because most were popular for dreadlocks,” he says.


His breakthrough came in 2015 when he came up with a new hairstyle ‘pencil braids’ that went viral on social media platforms and his phone kept buzzing with potential clients’ bookings. He notes that creativity, confidence, stamina, good people skills and dedication are a pre-requisite for any enthusiastic hairdresser.

“I got so many clients that on some days, I had to attend to more than two. Although I post my work on my social media platforms- sam de salonist, my best advertising tool has been through word of mouth – recommendations,” he says.

Samuel says that having a vision board is what stimulated his growth. For instance, between 2015 and 2016, he was only able to save Sh 5,000. However, when he became intentional about opening a physical salon, he was able to save Sh 100,000, his starting capital, in the subsequent year.


“I opened the first salon in May 2017 with just two workers and this year, I established the second one. Both salons are located in Zimmerman and I have a total of 16 fulltime employees and two seasoned makeup artists. On average, I take home Sh 40,000 on a monthly basis. Our services include braiding, weaving, beauty therapies and makeup application,” he says.

Although he is at a better place now, the challenges he faced in the past years such as lack of clients and poor pay fostered him to start a training centre.

Here, together with a professional trainer, they equip young people with skills on how to braid, weave and apply makeup. His teachings, mostly practical are offered at affordable charges and he has sponsored about five people for the course. Occasionally, different institutions bring to him students for attachments.

“I know where I have been, the problems I have faced hence my desire to guide other youth so that they can realise their potential and talents,” he says.


Besides the sponsorship, every other Sunday, Samuel and a team of volunteers visit children’s homes to offer hairdressing services to the children as a way of giving back to the community. One of the biggest lesson that he has learnt along the way is to be patient yet still persist.

“For instance, when I started, I ensured that in every matatu I boarded, I let someone know that I was a hairdresser. Even on days when I used to take home less than Sh 4,000 at the end of the month, I decided to persist and develop a new strategy. Actually, it has been a journey of new strategies and a lot of going back to the vision board,” he says, adding of the importance of having a disciplined saving culture and trust in God.

His vision for the next five years is to expand his business in different towns across the country and start a hairdressing school. Although his secondary school education is now a closed chapter, he hopes to advance his knowledge on matters cosmetology.

Sonko forms task force to probe Pumwani in 30 days

wNairobi Governor Mike Sonko has set up a task force to probe management and financial problems at Pumwani Hospital.

This was announced on Thursday following the deaths of 12 babies.


Mr Sonko wants the team to “investigate the root cause” of the problems and file a report with its recommendations in 30 days.

In statement by the governor’s press service director on September 20, the members of the task force wre listed as acting health executive Charles Kerich, private sector gynaecologist John Nyamu, Dr Simon Mueke from the Ministry of Health and Joseph Karanja of the University of Nairobi’s medical school.

Also in the list of 14 are Dr Anne Kihara (Kenya Obstetrics and Gynecological Society), Dr Carol Odula (Kenya Medical Association) and Mugure Kiambati (principal, Pumwani Maternity Hospital Nursing School).

Others are former Nairobi mayor Joe Aketch, former IG and current chairman of the Kenyatta National Hospital board David Kimaiyo, Evan Seqeuira (Aga Khan University Hospital), former Nairobi mayor Nathan Kahara, Dickson Mbugua (Matatu Welfare Association), Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Thomas Mutie and Aga Khan Hospital paediatrician Bashir Admali.

Earlier today, a preliminary report on the deaths of the babies found that five of them died under unclear circumstances.

The report was issued by Daniel Yumbya, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB), which will carry out a probe.

Mr Yumbya reported that three babies were born dead while four died within 24 hours of life.

He also spoke of the shortfalls at the hospital, which he said does not have enough workers.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has asked the government and the county to conduct a comprehensive medical audit of Pumwani.


The statement from Mr Elkana Jacob, also announced the reinstatement of all doctors and three nurses who were suspended in 2015.

The nurses were suspended for allegedly inciting others to strike.

“Comprehensive investigations have found that the three – Eunice Thaara Ngari, Magdalene Wambui Ngari and George Maroa Gibore – were not involved in any wrongdoing,” Mr Jacob said.

He added that the governor asked all consultants and surgeons to ensure round-the-clock operations at the hospital.

Overtime allowances will be paid, he said.

Football : la RCA perd trois places au classement Fifa

Football : la RCA perd trois places au classement Fifa

Par – 20/09/2018

Le dernier classement mondial de la Fifa a été publié ce jeudi.

La défaite de la sélection Centrafricaine face à la Guinée à Conakry lors de la deuxième journée des éliminatoires de la Coupe d’Afrique des Nations est la cause de cette chute. Pour ce mois, les centrafricains sont 26e en Afrique et 111e au plan mondial.

Ses adversaires du Groupe H des éliminatoires de la Coupe d’Afrique des Nations (CAN) 2019, notamment la Guinée a progressé légèrement et a retrouvé la 11e marche devant la Côte d’Ivoire (12e) et le Rwanda 37e en Afrique.

Sur le continent, la Tunisie a ravie au Sénégal le top 5 par sa victoire sur le Swaziland. Au plan mondial, la Belgique et la France sont co-leaders suivies du Brésil en compagnie de la Croatie et de l’Uruguay. Puis, le Kenya a eu l’honneur de la FIFA pour avoir remporté 22 points et grimpe de cinq (5) places grâce à sa victoire sur le Ghana qui perd quant à lui six places.

Pour cette année 2018, le meilleur classement de la République Centrafricaine au Classement FIFA est celui de juin et août ou elle a occupé la 111e marche.

Pour l’instant, une question demeure. La sélection sera-t-elle prête d’ici quelques semaines pour affronter la Côte d’Ivoire lors des troisième et quatrième journées des éliminatoires de la Coupe d’Afrique des Nations (CAN) 2019 ?

Ronaldo red card to be reviewed by Uefa

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Uefa have opened a disciplinary case over Cristiano Ronaldo’s red card in the Champions League which will be assessed on September 27, European football’s governing body said Thursday.

Ronaldo was sent off in the 29th minute of Wednesday’s 2-0 win away to Valencia after a tussle with defender Jeison Murillo, with the former Real Madrid star leaving the pitch in tears.

The Portugal captain fell to the ground in disbelief and then yelled into the air in frustration, although Juventus overcame his dismissal thanks to a pair of Miralem Pjanic penalties.

It was the 11th red card of Ronaldo’s career, but first in the Champions League, and will see him miss Juve’s next group game against Swiss side Young Boys in Turin.

He will find out next week whether his one-match ban is extended. An increase would also rule him out of a return to Old Trafford to face former club Manchester United.

Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus has raised expectations of a first Champions League title since 1996, with share prices peaking at a record 1.8046 euros on the stock market Thursday before closing at 1.581 euros.

It represented an increase of more than 180% since late June when rumours began circulating of Ronaldo’s arrival at the club, with shares then trading at 0.64 euros.

MV Nyerere capsizes in Lake Victoria with many onboard

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Scores of people are feared dead as a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday afternoon.

The ferry known as MV Nyerere operated between Bugolora and Ukala islands in Mwanza, Tanzania.


In a statement confirming the incident, the Tanzanian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Communication said a rescue mission was on.

“The Tanzanian Electrical and Mechanical Services Agency (Temesa) would like to inform the public that the ferry connecting Bugolora islands in Ukerewe district, Mwanza province, capsized in the afternoon,” read the statement.

“Temesa urges  members of the public to be patient as more details about the unfortunate incident continue to be released.”

Temesa Spokesperson Ms Theresia Mwami said the exact number of casualties had not yet been established.

“The casualties are not known. Rescue efforts are on … we shall soon establish that,” said Ms Mwami.

However, reports from a local FM station in Mwanza indicated that the ferry had more than 400 people on board at the time of the incident and that majority may have drowned.

Industry demands Sh200 billion from the Treasury

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Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) has urged the national and county governments to settle Sh200 billion owed to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and spur the economy.

Kepsa deputy chief executive Rachel Muthoga said at this year’s SME Fest in Nairobi that the government’s Big Four development agenda faces imminent failure as local businesses will shun tenders if debts remain unpaid.

“National and county government cartels have ensured only those who bribe get paid while the others face bureaucratic challenges. No private sector player will supply anything to the government in future if payments will continue pending,” she said.

SME Fest convener Muthoni Ngatia said small businesses were blacklisted for non-servicing of loans amounting to Sh25 billion that now form part of 2017’s non-performing loans valued at Sh264.6 billion, up 23.4 per cent from the previous year’s 214.3 billion.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is also withholding Sh3.5 billion for maize deliveries in 2016 and 2017.