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Friday, September 21st, 2018

 

Sort sports finance mess

By EDITORIAL
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It is depressing Football Kenya Federation and a number of local football clubs continue to suffer financial distress arising from poor management and lack of foresight. Sports cannot develop in this country if the clubs cannot sustain themselves.

Now, it is emerging Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne, who was appointed just four months ago, has not been paid for two months, yet the national team is preparing for crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ethiopia scheduled for next month.

On top of that, the women’s premier league has failed to resume from the mid-season break in July due to lack of funds.

Gor Mahia players have boycotted training for two weeks demanding payment of their August salaries and bonuses accrued over eight months, a situation that has seen them lose their last two games.

FKF, the body mandated to run football in this country, is pointing fingers at the Sports ministry, accusing it of failing to advance them money meant to prepare the national team for the continental assignments.

While this is understandable, it begs the question: How come the national team does not have a single sponsor?

What was the wisdom in acquiring a second hand outside broadcasting van worth Sh130 million amid such dire financial straits?

Managing the national team is the federation’s responsibility. It must always find ways of taking care of the team.

And the trick is to have multiple sources of revenue to ease the burden on both government and the federation.

That Uganda Cranes are bankrolled by Airtel, Nile Special, NIC bank and BUL while Harambee Stars have no financial partner is ridiculous. Someone is sleeping on the job.


There is no basis for matatus to raise fares

By EDITORIAL
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The new prices of petroleum products released yesterday by the Energy Regulatory Commission should now stabilise transport costs that threatened to rise abnormally following the recent increases triggered by a higher tax regime.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has since signed the Finance Bill passed by Parliament on Thursday and which lowers the value added tax on petroleum products by half — from 16 percent to 8 percent — which development should translate into instant relief for the consumers.

For the past two weeks, Public Service Vehicles (PSV) have been threatening to raise fares, understandably, to cushion themselves against higher prices occasioned by the recent steep rise on fuel costs.

Immediately the 16 percent VAT fuel tax took effect at the beginning of this month, fuel prices rose by more than Sh20, with petrol, for example, reaching an all-time high of Sh127 a litre in Nairobi and even higher in other jurisdictions.

As we have argued several times in the past, this was extremely painful and unsustainable.

Our concern is that PSV operators have the propensity to raise prices using slightest of excuses. And the margins are always outrageous.

For them, any opportunity that presents itself is exploited to the maximum but to the detriment of consumers. Paradoxically, they never lower the prices when the fuel costs go down.

Even before the lowering of the tax, President Kenyatta had warned PSV operators against arbitrary price raise, which position we echo now given the reduction in the VAT rate.

There is no reason why the fares should rise. It behoves the regulator, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), to conduct regular check-ups to ensure that the PSV operators charge reasonable prices and those who act to the contrary are sanctioned.

The fact that ours is a liberal market and where pricing is determined by the market forces does not give any justification for exploiting consumers by levying higher fuel prices.

We recognise the new fuel rates will eat into the earnings of the operators but not in a manner as significant as to occasion price increase.

They are costs that can be easily accommodated within their processes and still realise profits. Put differently, there is no basis for increasing fuel prices.

At any rate, the fees charged is usually so high, giving them huge margins.

This is not to say that the PSV operators should be regulated, far from it.

But the point is that the operators have to learn to rationalise their costings and avoid the tendency of upping fares at the slightest of excuse.

Inevitably, it is going to be rough ride for everyone but notwithstanding that, reason must prevail.


Student builds ideal chicken coop for busy, urban farmers

By STANLEY KIMUGE
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From afar, one can dismiss it as just another ordinary chicken coop.

However, this modern coop is the brainchild of Ms Joan Jeruto, 21, a diploma student in general agriculture at Kitale National Polytechnic.

BUSY LIFESTYLES

She came up with the innovation last year and is ideal for small-scale farmers, particularly those in urban centres who have very busy lifestyles.

“This was not a school project… it was my own initiative but the school supported me to assemble this coop,” she told the Nation.

The coop is divided into four cages, with each holding up to eight layers or broilers. However, it can be extended vertically or horizontally to keep more chicken.

The coop is made of galvanised iron sheets, wire mesh and metallic rods.

Ms Jeruto said her motivation was to come up with an innovation which can be used by small-scale poultry farmers.

WATER FLOW

Atop the coop is a bucket connected to a pipe which supplies water to the birds. The water flows to plastic nipples. Each cage has three red-coloured nipples.

“When a chicken pecks on the nipple, droplets of water comes out and they are able to quench their thirst,” she said.

Ms Jeruto said a farmer can either use the same bucket or introduce another when he or she wants to vaccinate the birds.

In between the cages are movable feeders, both in the upper and lower side.

The lower one is made of plastic pipes and covered with corks (costs about Sh150) at the end to prevent spillage of the feeds while it is rotating. The upper one is metallic.

Each feeder has six wooden boxes for keeping the chicken feeds. The boxes are perforated to allow the birds access the feeds.

“When the chicken consume the feed in each feeder it will result in a weight difference and this automatically allows it to rotate,” Ms Jeruto said.

She said her innovation is ideal for urban farmers with limited space.

“Your work is just to place the feeds and even if you go for a week, the chicken are able to get feeds and water by themselves,” she said.

SCIENCE FAIRS

Ms Jeruto said it took her two months to assemble the structure at cost of Sh29,000.

At each end of the four cages are laying nests made of wooden tray covered with saw-dust.

Ms Jeruto’s innovation has caught the eyes of many people.

She presented the invention at the national technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutions science fair and science congress in June and July last year in Kisumu and Nairobi respectively, where it emerged tops in the agricultural innovation category.

In February this year, she patented her innovation at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute.

According to Mr Lewis Kibagendi, a lecturer at the agriculture department of Kitale National Polytechnic, the coop reduces labour costs and curbs the spread of diseases since the birds are separated in different cages. “It is difficult to lose the entire stock in the event of disease outbreak since they are held in different compartments. In case a farmer notices there’s a disease outbreak in a particular cage, then it is very easy to treat or replace the sick birds,” Mr Kibagendi said.

Ms Jeruto’s invention is not the only good news coming from the college. Apart from the modern coop, other innovations at the learning institution are a manual planter and an improvised coffee plump, which are also designed for small-scale farmers.


Obado arrested, to be charged with murder

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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Migori Governor Okoth Obado will be charged in court with the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno on Monday.

His lawyer Cliff Ombeta confirmed the charges yesterday saying the governor would spend the weekend in police custody.

DNA REPORT

Governor Obado’s arrest yesterday was the culmination of investigations by detectives, who earlier indicated he was a person of interest after a DNA test report confirmed he was the father of Sharon’s foetus.

Sharon’s baby died after the mother was stabbed in the abdomen.

Sources said the governor was arrested early morning in Nairobi, but Mr Ombeta disputed this claim saying his client had presented himself to detectives at Directorate of Criminal Investigations on Kiambu Road where he was grilled for hours.

Mr Obado last week recorded a statement in Kisumu.

“We were asked on Thursday to come and see the investigator and we were here yesterday at 10am. They asked for a further statement which we made and before they could consider it and confirm the details, they arrested him,” Mr Ombeta told journalists.

WHISKED AWAY

The governor was whisked away from the DCI headquarters at around 3.45pm and taken to Gigiri Police station in a convoy of four vehicles.

Sources had earlier indicated they were closing in on the main suspect who planned, financed and oversaw Sharon’s gruesome murder. Yesterday, Mr Ombeta vowed to fight in the courts, saying DNA results link Governor Obado to the unborn baby but do not directly implicate him in the murder.

He accused the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecution of playing to the gallery.

“Something had to give in. The DCI and DPP should be ashamed because they know they have nothing but just want to push a process forward. It has to be murder that he will be charged with. Nothing else. It’s the only charge and caution there was when the governor was answering questions. It was in relation to murder of Sharon,” he said.

The lawyer indicated the governor’s wife Hellen was also a person of interest as suspects named her close associates in the horrendous scheme.

She, however, did not accompany her husband to the DCI yesterday.

MORE EVIDENCE

On Wednesday, police postponed her scheduled interrogation at the DCI headquarters as investigators gathered more evidence from suspects already in custody.

“The wife might appear here next week in case they want to question her. If they have decided we shall got to court, we will defend the case. DNA cannot be the cause of murder. It could not be because the governor was willing to take care of the baby and the lady,” Mr Ombeta said.

Governor Obado joins five other suspects including his personal assistant Michael Oyamo, bodyguard Elvis Omondi and a clerk in the county Caspal Obiero. Also in custody is former Kanyadoto MCA Lawrence Mula.

A court has also allowed police to detain Mr Jack Gombe the driver of a Toyota Fielder, the vehicle they believe was used in the abduction of Sharon and journalist Barack Oduor for two weeks for questioning.


County boss’ absence leaves staff in limbo

By NATION TEAM
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Migori deputy Governor Nelson Mahanga Mwita and the County Secretary Christopher Rusana are the officers now running the Migori county government in the absence of its Governor, Okoth Obado.

Senior staff including the county executive committee members, chief officers and directors are now consulting the duo on any official matters. Since the murder scandal emerged, Governor Obado has taken to a quite life at his Nairobi home with his mobile phones remaining offline, most of the times.

PHONE CALLS

He is only reached occasionally through the phones of his bodyguards.

“He wants to be allowed to rest and concentrate on clearing his name on this matter … we have been asked not to disturb him with queries on official matters, at least for now,” said a CEC member who asked to remain anonymous.

And since the abduction of Nation journalist Barack Oduor and subsequent killing of Sharon Otieno, the mood at the county government offices remains sombre.

Most workers at the devolved unit continue to stay away from their offices and discuss the matter in hushed tones in the streets and in their homes.

In the mornings, the employees are normally seen hovering around newspaper stands keeping themselves updated with the latest on an incident that has gripped the whole country and dominated national news in the past two weeks.

SUPPORT STAFF

The Governor’s office continues to be manned by the support staff and secretaries as the gory incident continues to dominate talks in pubs, hotels and market places across the county.

Nation newspapers have become sell-outs in the region with copies getting finished as early as 10am.

Earlier, there was talk of unknown people buying the newspapers in bulk from vendors, perhaps to stop the readers from accessing their copies.

But this happened only on one day with the rest of days not reporting the unusual bulk purchases.

Mr Luke Owino, vendor, said they have been selling newspapers like hot cake since the story broke out.

“Even people who were not used to buying newspapers are now doing so on a daily basis,” he said.

VILLAGERS’ WAIT

Governor Obado has not set foot in the county since the scandal unravelled.

At his Rapogi home in Uriri sub-county, mean — looking security officers are manning the gates and nobody is allowed inside the home apart from workers and close relatives.

Villagers who sometimes passed by to take tea have been asked to wait “until the owner of the home returns”. The incident has shocked Mr Obado’s neighbours, with some hoping that “justice and fairness will prevail in the matter.”

“We are continuously praying for him and his family … this burden is too huge to bear,” said a neighbour Mr Josy Otieno.


(Untitled)

By NATION TEAM
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Mr Bernard Okuta, Sharon Otieno’s former husband, was planning to pay dowry last year but the deceased was reported to be reluctant.

Close friends of Mr Okuta, a teacher at Rapogi High School in Uriri constituency, confided that the man had wanted to formalise the marriage in accordance with the Luo customs, but the woman appeared not ready to settle down with him.

ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP

The two had a son and two daughters.

“It seems this was the time she was preparing to start another relationship,” the source said. Mr Okuta is still a teacher at Rapogi, located about five kilometres away from the home of Governor Obado.

This is the same school in which the county chief worked and where he taught his personal assistant, Mr Michael Oyamo.

Since Mr Okuta did not pay dowry, no pressure is being exerted on him to bury the deceased because, according to Luo customs, payment of dowry is what solemnises a marriage.

His colleagues at the school say he is a traumatised man and could be thinking of seeking a transfer to another school.

When the media reached out to him recently, Mr Okuta said people should avoid speculating about Ms Otieno’s death and let the police do their work. Although he confirmed that Ms Otieno was married to him, he declined to speak about their marriage, saying that the matter is too emotive for him to comment on.

When the Nation visited the school, Mr Okuta, a dark-complexioned, middle-aged man a little over five feet tall, was wearing shorts and was busy with students. He was initially hesitant to speak to the media and only spoke after a colleague joined him. He was terse but was calm during the interview, which lasted less than 10 minutes.

“This matter is too emotive for me to comment. If I wanted to comment on it, I would have done so long ago. I would rather leave the matter to the police and other investigators to find out what happened. That is all I can say,” the soft-spoken Mr Okuta said.


Village dilemma over wildlife as they can’t plant or rear animals

By BRIAN OKINDA
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While experts say communities must learn to co-exist with wildlife, the animals are learning new tricks every day

On calm and quiet days, the apparent serenity is palpable despite the roughness of the landscape; some locals even call the place a rugged beauty.

On wild days, when the night falls, the cover of the darkness brings with it terror, that the inhabitants of the little settlement now must learn to live with.

This is Zongwani Village, a little hamlet set within the backwoods that define Sagalla Hill, which is part of the Taita Hills, an imposing range of inselbergs in Voi, Taita-Taveta County.

As if that is not enough, the village sits on the fringes of the vast Tsavo West National Park, and smack on the migratory path of elephants that traverse the park, and its more imposing namesake, Tsavo East National Park, which lies just across; on the other side of both Mombasa Road and the Standard Gauge Railway.

BIG DANGER

At night, an equally big danger prowls as lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs descend on the settlement, targeting the villagers and their livestock.

Mr Anderson Keke, Zongwani village elder, says he loses more than five acres of crops, every season, to the elephants, elands, and antelope herds. Many in the village, which has about 300 residents, have undergone the ritual.

The initially amiable giraffes are now also joining the ravaging lot; pillaging whenever opportunity comes.

“In December last year, I had 25 fully grown goats and three kids; today, all I have are six kids; their nannies and the rest of the flock all mauled by leopards, lions and cheetahs.

“The wild dogs and hyenas are worse. They take bites off the livestock when the goat is still alive and on its feet,” says another villager, Jackan Kalama, who heads one of the village’s Nyumba Kumi initiatives.

He says the situation gets out of hand in the dry season, when the herbivores run out of food in the wilderness, and have to move closer to human settlements for water and pasture, and when this happens, their predators also follow suit.

“We then face a double threat; from the herbivores that destroy our crops and food granaries, and the carnivores, which raid our livestock pens and houses,” says Mr Keke.

The quietude of that wilderness has for ages veiled that underlying conflict pitting the wildlife and the local communities who, with the incessant attacks, are now resorting to colluding with poachers and killing the wildlife, whenever a chance emerges.

Elsewhere in Kajiado County, residents of the semi-arid Intilal and Nolasit villages in Rombo, a small township in Loitokitok, have for many years now dealt with a similar problem.

The villagers say a combination of factors, compounded by some of their colleagues’ seeming insatiability for personal benefits, have contributed a lot to the danger posed by the wildlife freely roaming the neighbourhood which, inadvertently, overlaps into the nearly 10,000-square kilometre Tsavo West.

The now dry River Mokoin, which separates the two villages, initially provided water for farmers, herders and also for the wildlife.

UPSTREAM COMMUNITIES

However, with time, communities upstream directed water into their own homesteads and now those downstream bear the brunt of this action.

“We, the downstream communities, in effect lacked water to farm, and our livestock had none to drink, which caused undue tension between the farmers and the herders. Soon we became targets of wildlife which prowled in search of water in our homes and, while at it, maul us and our livestock, and also ravage the little crops we cultivated,” says Richard ole Lemashon, a trader who has since resorted to move from the countryside and settle in Rombo township.

According to the villagers, so bold have the mongooses, monkeys, baboons, and civets become, that they now raid homesteads; sometimes in broad daylight, and take off with chicken, small livestock and human food, in the main house.

These circumstances are not exclusive to the two communities. They are commonplace in the counties that border national parks and game reserves, in not just the region, but across the borders too; wildlife and people living near their habitats have always been conflicting bedfellows.

The wildlife are now adapting to the traditional mechanisms that the villagers use to scare them away, according to Laizer Oshumu, the Anti-Poaching Commander at Enduimet Community Wildlife Management Area in Longido District, Tanzania.

He points out that animals in the wild are developing peculiar characteristics and hence the people have to readapt to coexist with the beasts because they are here to stay.

“The giraffe, for instance, initially only fed on leaves of tall trees; however now, with human activities just nigh, they are more inclined to get into farms, lay on the ground to rest and feed on the greenery around, and when done, move to another spot on the farm and do the same,” says Mr Oshumu.

“The wild hounds, buffaloes, zebras, elands, hyenas and many other wild animals now no longer fear the noisy rackets and lightings primarily used to scare them away. Elephants are also now used to the fact that donkeys are the key mode of transport for crop harvests in rural areas and whenever they see them, abetted by their keen sense of smell, they later trail the donkeys to the homestead and raid the granaries where the harvest is stored,” he adds. “It is thus wise to not store your harvests and grains in the house in which you live with your family.”

The locals have no choice but to coexist with the wildlife, because the interaction will always be there. And it is their duty to make these interactions less acrimonious.

Community wildlife conservancy model is one which works well, points out Mr Oshumu, who adds that the system has in the past, and still is in use by communities living near wildlife parks and reserves in Tanzania.

The conservancies there are however called wildlife management areas.

He states that the wild animals, in their own, believe the entire land is theirs to roam and human activities in the vicinity are an intrusion, which is why humanism, being the more sensible of the two, should learn to earn from this framework, without necessarily upsetting the system.

At the Kilimanjaro National Park, which is in Tanzania, for instance, there is the Enduimet Community Wildlife Management Area, which was started by a combined effort of members of 11 villages in the area. The locals now earn from the programme. Others dot the expanse of the park’s fringes and more will soon be coming up.

TSAVO COMMUNITIES

“Such measures, if fully adopted by communities living around Tsavo, could benefit them in the long run,” says Kenneth Kimitei, the training organiser at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), an organisation whose mission is to ensure wildlife keeps its place and thrives in Africa.

AWF, together with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), have been training the communities around Tsavo and, by extension, Mkomazi National Park, which borders Tsavo West, in Tanzania, on how to coexist with the wild beasts. The programme is funded by the European Union.

He points out that benefits such as provision of employment for the locals, the proceeds from tourist visits going back to the community’s development, protection of the environment facilitated, improvement of infrastructure, bringing a peaceable coexistence between wildlife and the community, and helping in conservation of certain endangered species, could be achieved if communities living around the parks adopt the system.

Additionally, he says this, in the end, will minimise the acrimony between them and the wildlife, which has, in the recent days resulted in the communities now abetting poaching, as a retaliatory measure.

Mr Kimitei says the Taita ranches located in the area, which number about 30, and measure up to 1.8 million acres cumulatively, could provide an ideal setting for the community wildlife conservancies.

“The key is to get the communities occupying the ranches to see the benefits of the model and set aside areas for their dwelling and farming, a distance away from where they could get in conflict with the wild animals, then designate the other areas near the park, for the conservancies,” says Mr Kimitei.

Kimana Community Wildlife Sanctuary in Kajiado and Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary in Taita-Taveta are such community-based conservancies that border the park, and provide eco-tourism services; protecting the wildlife in Tsavo West, while affording their members an income, according to Mr Kimitei.

Others in the area include the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary in Kwale and Ngutuni Sanctuary in Tsavo East, among others, which are however private and are individually or corporately owned.

Living with the wildlife does come with challenges however, which the experts say communities have to also adapt to.

Blowing vuvuzelas to an extent initially worked in scaring away wild animals. This, however, now has to be done in a strategic way to be effective. The horns, according to Mr Oshumu, should be blown in synchronicity from various sources so that the sound is as loud as it is disturbingly frightening to the animals.

High intensity flashlights would be a second option and the light beam should be pointed at the eyes of the wild animals to disorient and send them away, according to the anti-poaching commander.

Alternative ways to jolt the wild animals away also include keeping bees that scare away the wildlife, using used oil mixed with ground chilli and tobacco powder, burning the animals’ dung, and positioning random ropes in the farm, which may be misconstrued to be set traps by the animals, according to David Lokiyor, a KWS sergeant based in Bura.

He adds that changing the crop cultivation systems and seasons to confuse and disturb the elephants’ “programmed” timetable, growing ginger and chilli around the farm to produce an odour irritating to the animals and lighting bonfires laced with pepper and elephant dung, also work in keeping wildlife away.

“Importantly, when it comes to staving elephants off, always ensure you are stationed against the wind’s direction, because when the animals catch your scent, they get enraged and charge,” Mr Oshumu advises.

Some semi-pastoralists in the area are also setting up their settlements just at the point of the SGR underpasses, perceivably for easy access of their livestock into the game reserves and parks’ grasslands.

This places the communities on the path of wildlife using the passageways to shuttle between the two Tsavos, which is unadvisable, according to Mr Kimitei, and as such, asks they relocate elsewhere for their own safety and good.


MPs insincere in bid to reject Finance Bill

By EDITORIAL
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The chaotic show in Parliament yesterday, during the vote on the controversial Finance Bill, was appalling.

It demonstrates a House that thrives on drama rather than substance. MPs were dishonest; their actions were meant for public display more than anything.

Yet, at the end of the day, the outcome they sought to achieve — reject the value added tax on petroleum products — failed.

In the morning, the MPs passed the supplementary budget, slashing Sh37.6 billion from the Sh3 trillion Budget read in June.

But in the afternoon, it was a totally unruly House that refused to listen to pleas by Speaker Justin Muturi. Reason failed and MPs resorted to mob behaviour.

The stalemate arose over the vote on the fuel levy. According to the Standing Orders, the House required two-thirds of the members to vote against the memorandum by President Uhuru Kenyatta, in which he had rejected the Finance Bill 2018 and halved the 16 percent VAT on petroleum products.

Several issues came to the fore. First, the MPs exhibited a high level of hypocrisy. Whereas in the morning they voted for expenditures, in the afternoon they sought to vote out proposals for raising revenues.

Since they had approved the budgetary expenditure, how did they expect it to be financed? Where would the government generate revenues to fund the expenditures?

Secondly, the contestation over the number of MPs who voted against the memorandum was unjustified.

DISHONESTY

Parliamentary processes are automated and it is not difficult to establish the exact number of those who vote for or against a Bill. What transpired was sheer showmanship; simply playing to the public gallery.

In any case, the MPs are as guilty over the impasse over the fuel tax as the Executive. When the Bill was first discussed in 2013, it is they who asked that it be deferred for two years — to take effect in 2015 — and this was again extended to 2018.

All this while, the MPs did not do anything about it. They only waited until the last minute, the end of last month, to debate and reject it. This is dishonesty.

Which is the reason we are convinced that the MPs were not sincere in their opposition to the Bill and the way they handled the debate.

History will judge them harshly — that, at critical junctures in our history, they tend to act impulsively and fail the public.

Indeed, it is absurd that they disobey even the very Standing Orders they have sworn to protect.

The MPs must understand that the public is enlightened and cannot be hoodwinked by cheap drama.

Even so, the Executive must also read the public mood and realise that the ground is shifting quite fast. The era of whipping MPs to do the Executive’s bidding is long gone.


Easing of services laudable

By EDITORIAL
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One of the most fruitful reforms undertaken in recent years is the easing of the delivery of government services.

People seeking birth certificates, national identity cards, passports, land title deeds and other vital documents need not go and line up for hours or even days at government offices to get them.

The difficulty in obtaining these documents or renewing licences is what largely fuelled the corruption that was endemic in the civil service.

Many of the people who never sought these services before the introduction of the Huduma Centres might not appreciate that we have, indeed, come a long way.

In fact, when former Vice-President Moody Awori, some years back, launched a programme to speed up the delivery of government services, there was widespread scepticism.

Then, one had to part with a bribe or seek middlemen to get this done. The rapid results initiative was the beginning of this welcome transformation in the delivery of government services.

Another big advantage has been the consolidation of services under one roof, enhancing convenience.

This one-stop centre for the delivery of government services is an innovation that has not only speeded up the services, but also helped to cut the cost.

It’s commendable, therefore, that the efficiency is being further boosted.

The reduction of the time from an average of seven hours to one is commendable. The Huduma Centres have enabled Kenyans to save millions of shillings that they would have spent on transportation to access the services.

But these services are not a favour; neither are they given for free.

As a recent study has confirmed, the Huduma Centres have contributed to the reduction of corruption by 96 percent.

It, therefore, makes plenty of sense to establish more centres countrywide and create additional counters to serve the citizens even much better.


All Kenyans are to blame for the high taxes slapped on us

By LETTERS
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While all eyes focus on Parliament and President Uhuru Kenyatta on the steep increase in taxes on basic commodities, every Kenyan is to blame for our current economic problems.

First, the Executive is to blame for accepting some legislative decisions that undermine fairness and equity.

Secondly, the voter is to blame for setting the stage for poor governance by making bad choices when electing leaders.

By electing leaders who do not have the spine to fight for our interests and who trade governance issues for personal gain, we give a blank cheque to both the central and county governments on how they generate revenue, manage public resources and borrow. We cannot later cry foul when our pockets are raided.

Secondly, the various legislative bodies make the bad situation worse by failing to execute their oversight roles.

One area where legislative bodies fail Kenyans is giving integrity and competence a back seat when vetting Cabinet secretaries, county executives, commissioners and CEOs of key constitutional bodies – which are critical in making monetary and socio-economic decisions.

For example, in the recent sugar scandal Parliament, which is supposed to protect interests of the common mwanachi, became a vehicle to sanitise crime.

It is the height of hypocrisy for legislative bodies to fight the Executive under the guise of having our interests at heart when, all along, they stood by as public resources were mismanaged.

In a nutshell, all the mistakes, missteps and indecisiveness at both county and national levels have their roots in a misguided, complacent and uninformed voter.

The private sector and some foreign governments that provide aid to our country, and which are supposed to be the cornerstone of good governance, have been overpricing their goods and loans.

This amounts to institutionalising fraud in the tendering process and partnering with public institutions to deprive mwananchi of value for money.

This, in turn, inflates our budget into trillions that cannot be matched with our ability to generate revenue internally.

Our surrender to the State of some of our personal financial responsibilities and the clamour for big projects are also driving the country bankrupt.

Kenyans must bite the bullet by making difficult decisions to shoulder part of the economic burden that we have brought upon ourselves, be it in the form of increased taxes, reduced expenditure or scaling down projects.

J. MUSYOKI, Kitengela