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Thursday, November 1st, 2018

 

MSF treats 2,600 survivors of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018 in Kasai, DRC

80% report being raped by armed men; patients include 22 under 5 year-olds

Kinshasa/London, 2 November 2018 – International medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence in the town of Kananga in Kasai Central province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), between May 2017 and September 2018. Eighty per cent reported having been raped by armed men.

MSF teams provide psychological care in group sessions and one-on-one for the most traumatised patients. Between March and September this year, 835 people were given individual consultations. Half of them reported that at least one member of their family had been killed and/or that their homes and belongings had been pillaged or destroyed. One in ten spoke of having directly witnessed a murder or other act of violence.

“These figures are an indication of the high level of violence that has persisted throughout the past year,” said Karel Janssens, MSF head of mission in DRC. “The shocking testimonies from survivors that we have heard on a daily basis describe how people’s lives and communities have been torn apart, making it very difficult for them to rebuild and move forward.”

Of the 2,600 people treated by MSF since May 2017, 32 were men, some of whom reported having been forced under armed threat to rape members of their own community. Another 162 were children under the age of 15, including 22 under the age of five.

“Protection for victims, whether children or adults, and socio-economic assistance remain key challenges, given the limited availability of appropriate services,” said Fransisca Baptista de Silva, MSF project coordinator in Kananga.

The above figures most likely reveal just part of the problem. MSF teams began providing care to victims of violence in May 2017, more than one year after the beginning of the crisis in Kasai, focusing on surgical activities for trauma patients. In September 2017, in response to the evident needs, MSF adapted its activities to focus more particularly on treating victims of sexual violence. Promotion of MSF services at a local level has seen patient numbers increase, and MSF now provides care to more than 200 patients each month on average.

Concerningly, three in four of the victims treated by MSF only present for care a month or more after their attack. Most explain that they were unaware of the availability of free care or lacked the means to travel to centres offering such services. Prompt care for victims of sexual violence – within 72 hours of rape – is a medical necessity, especially to ensure effective protection against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.

Testimonies from MSF’s patients

Content warning – please be advised that the following testimonies contain graphic descriptions of extreme sexual violence.

All names have been changed to protect anonymity. More photos and testimonies are available on request. All photos taken August 2018, credit Ghislain Massotte/MSF.

Mamie

“I was at home when armed men came and killed my husband. They decapitated him and stole all our possessions. I was raped in my home, next to my husband’s body, in the presence of my children. It was last year, during the violence. I had five children. They killed three of them, leaving me with just two. They raped my three oldest girls before killing them. I was left with the two youngest: a 12-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl.

They stole all our belongings, they took everything. Then they forced us out, without giving me time to get dressed. I was naked from the waist up. I just grabbed something to cover my chest as we were chased out of our home.

I started walking with my two children through the bush to Tshikapa. I didn’t know where we were going, I just started walking. After we got to Tshikapa, my children got sick. We were taken in by an organisation that helped us and gave us a little money.

I decided to return to Kananga, where I used to live, together with some other women. We took the road hoping to catch a ride with trucks that pass on their way to the city. While on the road, before we got to Kananga, we were confronted by armed men. Again, they raped us. There were three of them.

After that we hid so as not to be raped again. But I started to feel unwell.

When we arrived in Kananga, I heard about doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières who were looking after women but I didn’t know where. I asked around but people in the community didn’t want to help me. They all asked for money in return. It was at the church that I got the information I needed.

Before getting to the hospital I was very worried. I was so weak and had a lot of pain in my lower abdomen. While in the bush and on the road I had nothing with me to eat, and what I found was sometimes not enough – like a ball of fufu [cassava] for me and my two children. I had no money and the clothes I was wearing were torn apart.

When I got here at the hospital, I was given medication and examined by a doctor. That’s how I found out I had HIV. This worries me a lot, because I fear I don’t have long to live.

When I came here to get help, I left my children at the church, where people sometimes come and give us something to eat. I don’t know how I can provide for my children, and that also worries me a lot.

Anny

One morning at the end of March 2017, they came into people’s houses in Kananga, stealing and killing. They came into my home that day and when they saw there was nothing to take, they threatened to kill me. There were four of them. They decided to rape me instead. I was alone with my four-year-old son. My husband wasn’t there. He was working near the border with Angola. I was often at home alone for months at a time, waiting for him to return. When these men came and raped me, my son hid in a corner.

I was 45, with six children. I had another two but they died. When the men arrived, five of my children were with their grandfather in another part of town. I was at home with the youngest.

After the attack, the men left. I don’t know where to. I stayed where I was. I couldn’t eat or drink. I felt like my heard had been broken, split in two. When I prepared food for my children (I still couldn’t eat anything) and I heard something fall, I flinched and my broken heart beat very fast. Sometime later, I found out that my husband had been killed on his way home, because of the conflict.

Later, I heard about MSF and learned that they could help me. But before getting to the hospital, something else happened. I went to a nearby village with some other women to buy food that we could then sell in Kananga. We were stopped on our way there, by men asking for money. We had none, so they raped us. This time it wasn’t just one man. Some of the women managed to escape, but not me. They caught me and dragged me into the bush, where they attacked me. I remember there was someone screaming nearby, while I was being raped. Afterwards I started getting a lot of pain in my lower abdomen. I couldn’t walk properly, I couldn’t eat, and I just wanted to sleep.

It was at church that I heard about MSF. Members of the MSF team came to talk about sexual violence and the care they could provide to victims. So I went to see them and they helped me.

Pitshou

“I said to the psychologist, when I tell this story I see a film playing in front of my eyes, in my head. A film—or a dream? I don’t know. If I go to sleep, I can sleep without end, more than 20 hours at a time. It happened in August, when I returned to my village. Some armed men came to attack us. It was in 2017 I think. I don’t remember well, it’s all still very confused for me. They crossed the river to my village, and killed lots of people. I fled along with some other young people . But on the way we were caught by another group of armed men that we ran into. They took us with them, back to the village, where they tortured us and treated us like slaves. We had to go and collect water for them. We also had to do things more horrible than that: they forced us to rape several of the mothers of our village.

When I say “mother”, it’s a Congolese expression. None of them was my mother but they were the mothers of our village nonetheless. All the young men of the village were forced to do this. If someone didn’t do it, they were killed. I don’t remember well, but I think I had to do it to six or seven women.

When the armed men had gone, local authorities came from Tshikapa to find us, as if we too were criminals. I fled with some of the other young men but we split into different directions and I began to walk on my own. At the time I wasn’t working because I had had a kidney operation 10 months earlier and I was still recovering. After two days I began to feel really unwell, just like after the operation.

I arrived here three months after all that happened. I didn’t know if there was any care available for someone like me. But I heard about MSF at the church where I go to pray, when a doctor working at the hospital came to talk about the free care being offered there.

When I went to the hospital the doctors and the lady psychologist took me into their care. My kidneys were really hurting me but things weren’t going well in my head at all, either. I had to undertake some tests and I spoke a lot with the psychologist. Since then I’ve been taking medicine and I’ve noticed some changes: I have less pain, even if I’m not fully well yet. I feel that I’m on the way to something better, but I’m not completely sure yet. Sometimes I find myself taking to myself, as if in a dream.”

Médecins Sans Frontières has been working in DRC since 1977 and is currently providing medical care to victims of conflict and violence, displaced persons, and people affected by epidemics or pandemics such as cholera, measles and HIV/AIDS. For several decades, MSF has also been on the frontline of the response to Ebola outbreaks in DRC. MSF has been working in the region of Grand Kasai (Kasai and Central Kasai provinces) since 2017, providing free, emergency care to victims of the ongoing violence. In 2017, MSF teams provided over 6,300 consultations to victims of sexual violence in 17 locations across the country.


Grant to fix transport mess

By EDITORIAL
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With a Sh5 billion grant from the European Union, the dream of a permanent solution to Nairobi’s chaotic public transport system is within sight.

This is a timely injection of funds to revive a project launched in 2015. The Sh9.6 billion Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) entails buying high-capacity buses and developing the requisite infrastructure.

Nairobi cannot stake a claim to being a modern city when its transport system is in a shambles with its roads clogged with traffic most of the time.

The amount of time and money wasted in traffic daily is colossal. The World Bank estimates that Nairobi’s traffic jams cost Sh50 million in lost productivity daily.

For a city that once had a reliable and efficient public transport system, the degeneration into the current mess began with the influx of matatus on most routes.

ORDERLY TRANSPORT

With the death of Kenya Bus Service (KBS), city commuters bid goodbye to orderly transport.

Kenya is always the trendsetter in the East African region but, on the BRT, Tanzania has edged ahead with Dar es Salaam enjoying the sanity that comes with orderly city mass transport. This project is expected to take about three years to fully develop.

The grant is the best cushion for the Nairobi County leadership and the Transport ministry to ensure that a proper foundation is laid for this major infrastructure project.

PRIVATE CARS

It is now up to the county and national governments to raise the balance of Sh4.6 billion for the full implementation of the project, which will significantly change the face of the city.

But, most importantly, to ease commute for city residents, a neat, reliable and affordable public transport is the best motivation to get private cars off the roads and eliminate the chocking congestion.


Trade, loans skewed towards China, we risk selling country

By MUTUMA MATHIU
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The incident on Tuesday during which the acting ambassador of China, Mr Li Xuhang, was very unhappy with Kenya, so unhappy that he threatened sanctions, for imposing a ban on imported fish, was my highlight of the week.

It provided Kenyans an opportunity to think about what they really feel about government policy towards China, Chinese attitudes towards Kenya, the state of our economy and Jubilee’s management of it in general.

The dispute has its genesis in comments by President Uhuru Kenyatta wondering why Kenya was importing fish from China by the container yet our own fishermen were taking their boats out every night.

I thought these were the sentiments of a leader who cares about the welfare of his people, not a declaration of trade war.

CHINESE FISH

A related question is the price of Chinese fish, on average Sh150 a kilo, including shipping it halfway around the world. Our tilapia is double that. How do they do that?

I’ll preamble my views by pointing out that I am not an expert, or an economist; the last time I read economics there was no global warming, the rains came on time. These, then, are the views of a newsman and freeborn African tribesman. They are, in a word, better than any economist’s.

Secondly, I like China, what the Chinese have achieved in the past 35 years.

They are simply the calmest, most industrious, disciplined and hardworking people. I admire their ingenuity and hardiness. But this is not about feelings.

As far as I am concerned, China is not one of Kenya’s major trading partners. We spend on average Sh30 billion on Chinese imports a month, or close to Sh400 billion a year.

POWER PLANTS

We export, shows the latest data I could find, in the neighbourhood of Sh10 billion worth of raw hides and skins, macadamia nuts, scrap copper, crustaceans and so on to China. A good part of imports from China are clothes and furniture, not jet engines or nuclear power plants.

We are mainly a market for Chinese good and loans. Some of us are not too excited about Chinese loans anymore and we will certainly make it an issue at the next election.

If China were to decide tomorrow that it would not lend Kenya any more money, some would raise a glass of Tusker to that.

Therefore, if China were to wage trade war on Kenya, the biggest losers, perhaps the only losers, would be the Chinese and those folk carrying on as if that would be the end of the world.

Countries have no feelings and no loyalties, only interests. My opinion is that our relations with China, as now constructed, present a high degree of sovereignty risk and are not in the interest of the independence and economic welfare of Kenyans.

I advocate strong and cordial trade and other relations with China — but only if China buys more from Kenya and Kenya borrows less from China.

RULE OF THUMB

And in circumstances where an envoy will not stand in front of a Kenyan audience and threaten us, in our country.

Now that we have dispensed with the neighbours, let us turn to housekeeping. No country has ever developed by importing everything; actually, the more developed, the more inaccessible it is to imports, as a rule of thumb.

In my youth, I used to believe that the concept of free trade was a ruse to get poor countries to open their markets to products from rich countries. Was I misguided?

I read a story in Politico on how heavily subsidised European Union farmers have drowned West Africa in dirt-cheap milk while all the time arguing that West Africa does not have the climate for industrial dairying and that they are there to help local farmers.

The export of powder milk from the EU to West Africa rose from 13 million kilos in 2006 to 38 in 2016. The only protection for Ecowas milk farmers is a five per cent tariff on imports.

According to the story, 65 per cent of the Ecowas population is rural — and owns livestock.

If Nigerians don’t even drink their own milk, how do they support their economy? If Kenyans don’t eat their own fish, how do they support local fishermen?

How do we build the beautiful cities of Kisumu and Mombasa? How do the fishermen take their children to school? Will the Chinese pay fees? Will they give jobs to our children?

Official statistics show we imported Sh149 billion goods in August but exported Sh50 billion. This is like being on a salary of Sh100,000 but spending Sh300,000.

Unless you are borrowing to invest in very good assets, this is how people get their legs broken by Shylocks.

The traditional earners — coffee, tea, horticulture and tourism — were mainly down. Sometimes there is no point in trying to be too clever; these are low-hanging fruits, to use an ugly phrase.

If I had an office in State House, I’d fix the traditional earners and take some draconian policy decisions: Zero-rate duty on imported timber, offer incentive for foreign manufacturers to set up locally and ban furniture imports; invest in cotton, incentivise EPZ firms to produce for the local market and impose 1,000 per cent duty on most clothes.

And I’d have a word with Mr Xuhang about the sovereignty of the African Republic of Kenya and why it is important to generally respect it.


When chitchat between TV news anchors is not so funny or cute

By PETER MWAURA
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Mbira Rimi is irritated with the “juvenile, irritating and annoying” ways of NTV news anchors. “Can you please request nation TV evening news presenters to keep a professional distance from each other. Reading news is not a picnic outing.

Your news presenters’ habit of touching each other during the news is juvenile, irritating and annoying,” he says.

I think what Mr. Rimi is referring to is not just the touching (which I’ve not witnessed). He’s referring to the small talk that news anchors engage in with each other and the offhand comments they make between stories.

The small talk is known in the industry as banter or happy talk. The banter can be commentary, jokes, or asking a question of another anchor. Example:

Dennis Okari in NTV Tonight of July 16, 2018: “Speaking of the visit of Barrack Obama, Olive Burrows, you are the only Kenyan journalist who happen to have interviewed Barrack Obama while he was still in office as president.”

Co-anchor Burrows: “Yes, yes, I was.”

Okari: “Many people say he it too polished, everything around him so choreographed and scripted. Is there anything that we don’t know that you know?”

Burrows: “I don’t know. He walked in and of course he had been briefed that we were going to interview him. So he walks in and says ‘Hi Olive’…Obama knows my name. But the question I get asked a lot is how did he smell?” Okari: “How did he smell?”

Burrows: “I don’t know. I can’t remember. Okay. This is what I can say: He doesn’t smell fetid and was not wearing pungent cologne. May be we can leave it at that.”

Okari: “But still smells.” The anchors break into laughter.

Traditionally, television news in Kenya has been formal and serious, no banter. Larry Madowo, former NTV anchor, claims credit for himself and his colleagues — Smriti Vidyarthi and Wallace Kantai — for introducing chitchat in NTV news.

“For too long in Kenya, anchors have been like robots that seemed perfect,” he says in “Kenyan anchors’ long walk to the light, short and sexy” by Carlos Mureithi, Sunday Nation, August 11, 2013.

However, many viewers, like Mr. Rimi, believe news should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.

On the other hand, there are those who love banter and think it acts as a relief from serious news, injecting life into a serious or boring news bulletins.

UNPROFESSIONAL

Then there are those who maintain that small talk in a news bulletin looks unprofessional. Newsreaders, they maintain, are icons of seriousness, sobriety, and dignity.

It’s unbecoming for them to clown and play the goat at the end of a news segment. They look like clowns.

Indeed, one would expect viewers to tune in because of the high journalistic standards of a news broadcast, not because of the newsreaders’ chitchat. However, executives believe banter increases viewership.

But is banter good for television news? There is meaningless or silly banter that is a time waster. There is banter that is witty, cute, funny, amusing.

If banter makes the news less boring, if it connects with readers, then it is good. If it is spontaneous and genuine, not contrived, so much the better.

FOUR BANTERS

But there should not be too much banter – because that is not the main business of a news bulletin. Example: In the Wednesday 9 pm news this week, Dennis Okari and Olive Burrows engaged in four banters. One of them saw Ms. Burrows pull out her smart phone to play the song “Purple Rain” for Mr.

Okari who did not seem to be hip to the song by Prince and The Revolution (She did not actually play on air the four-minute soundtrack to the film of the same name).

Banter can be counter-productive, too, if it’s forced laughter and laboured joviality, especially when it has nothing to do with the news and it comes across as phony.

Anchors must remain sober and serious at all times even as they engage in small talk. They must always win the respect of their viewers by acting professional and not making goofy or inappropriate comments.


Rethink education, exam structure

By WALTER ODHIAMBO
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On the front page of the Monday 15th October, 2018 Daily Nation, there is a small headline clip referring readers to the back page ‘Parents fury forces G2 book recall’ on the back page where the full story on this recall is carried, there is another story describing the preparations for the KCSE national examinations that are just about to begin in a few days.

According to this news item, most of the preparation is geared towards the prevention of cheating in these national examinations.

These two stories highlight issues that affect our education system; the first one is the concern raised by parents regarding the quality and content of materials in the new curriculum which appeared hollow and shallow by propagating cheap materialism and comical illustrations like teaching children that the function of the human head is for carrying loads (wish it was referring to loads of knowledge).

The second story is about the concern of the ministry regarding the potential deliberate and unlawful early exposure of examination materials that is being plotted by some desperate parents, disgruntled teachers and student.

SECURE EXAMS

On the surface assessment, this appears to be a problem confined to our education sector, but unfortunately the rot runs much deeper and will require much more than recalling substandard learning materials from the curriculum or calling out the police officers from leave to come and secure our examinations from ourselves.

Let us start with this botched new curriculum; this curriculum is the foundation of our education and what we learn defines who we are, in fact there is nothing more colonising than education hence my writing this opinion article in English!

Our education must therefore be taken extremely seriously and no room should be given for any corrupted or substandard learning materials to reach our children. Who has permitted or given leeway for this mediocrity to get to our children?

It is only possible through corruption; instead of engaging credible scholars and academicians to review the content and quality of the learning materials this critical work must have been delegated to unqualified persons or was simply ignored and resources channelled elsewhere.

CORRUPTION

Someone must be called to answer to this before we drown an entire generation in the swamp of substandard education.

The resolve by some murky Kenyans to leak or cheat in the examinations is even a bigger manifestation of this metastatic corruption.

The question is; why would parents want their child to steal the examinations instead of working hard to achieve genuinely good or fair grades?

Under normal circumstances, in a society where skills and knowledge is required to earn a living, every parent would wish the child to get the knowledge and skill.

They would not purchase a fake certificate if they wanted their child to succeed in a skilled professional career, because they will have to perform the actual job so as to earn from it.

SECURE JOBS

However, in a corrupt system academic papers are only tools required to secure jobs in offices where there is no actual work done.

In such settings, skills and knowledge are of little relevance and therefore parents and individuals are lured to buy certificates or cheat in examinations.

Such is the case with politicians whose actual work does not require much skill or critical thinking but guarantee high returns with minimal accountability.

Our education has become a fake currency which if allowed to circulate freely, destroys the country’s economy at the end of the day since people are able to get it without actual work.

How then do we solve these problems? We must get back to the root cause; the heavy presence of security in our examinations will only act as a temporary measure but eventually raise the premium just like what happens in drug trafficking.

CHANGE SYSTEM

The work Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiang’i and George Magoha are doing or have done is commendable; however, it is unfortunately not sustainable.

We must change our system of examination, this should start by reducing the premium we put in a single examination.

There should be several assessments at different levels and Universities and Colleges should conduct entry tests in addition to the minimum grades attained in the national examinations.

On the other hand our society must offer better pay to productive and innovative skills that have measurable returns than those that simply require display of certificates, this will make pursuit of knowledge and skill more lucrative and people will be more interested in acquiring knowledge and skills instead of stolen grades.

STATE OF EMERGENCY

These tentacles of corruption are not only chocking the elementary education, but are also getting entrenched in the University education where the single yardstick for progression according to the Commission for University Education (CUE) has become PhD that are now being churned out in a conveyer belt but with little to show in terms of knowledge translation.

It is time to seriously rethink our entire education and national examination system especially when soon we are going to have the government declare a state of emergency during national examinations.

Dr Odhiambo is a senior lecturer, College of Health Sciences, the University of Nairobi. [email protected]


Two siblings to oversee Joginder Singh Dhanjal’s Sh2.1bn estate

By BRIAN OCHARO
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A Mombasa court has appointed businessman Joginder Singh Dhanjal, and his sister Sukhwant Kaur Dhanjal, as joint administrators of the family’s Sh2.1 billion estate.

This brings to an end a prolonged battle over the management of the estate of their father, Mr Jaswant Singh Boor Singh Dhanjal, who died 14 years ago.

High Court Judge Mugure Thande said the majority of the beneficiaries of the estate were comfortable with Mr Joginder and Mrs Sukhwant as the administrators.

“In the circumstances and in the interest of moving forward, I do revoke the grant issued to Mr Joginder and do hereby appoint him (Joginder) and his sister (Sukhwant) as the joint administrators of the estate,” the judge ruled.

ADMINISTRATOR

Justice Thande also directed the administrators to file a summon of confirmation of grant within 30 days.

“I do direct Mr Daljit Singh Dhanjal to hand over all documents relating to the estate to the administrator,” he said.

Mr Daljit had reportedly taken control of the estate for his sole benefit, and excluded his siblings.

Mr Boor died in 2004 and left behind five children, three sons and two daughters, who are in a succession battle for the family’s business. The business is just a portion of the tycoon’s vast estate.

Last week, Justice Thande declined to issue orders allowing the prosecution of Mr Daljit, the third son, who is the director of Dhanjal Brothers, an infrastructure construction, building and maintenance company.

SIBLING RIVALRY

The company (Dhanjal Brothers) was formed by Mr Boor’s sons to continue with the family business in their own names, but sibling rivalry spilt into the courts.

Justice Thande said despite the court’s findings that Mr Daljit had meddled in the estate, both parties remain siblings and family members after they leave the courts.

“In dealing with matters concerning families, the court must be mindful of the need to foster lasting family relations,” the judge said.

Nothing in law prevented the court from ordering the prosecution of Mr Daljit, but that would be a restorative, rather than a punitive, measure.

The suit seeking prosecution of Mr Daljit was filed by his sister, Mrs Jaspal Kaur Nagi, who lives in the United Kingdom.

In another application, she sought the annulment of a settlement agreement entered into by Mr Daljit and his uncles on March 9, 2006, to dispose of the family’s assets.

She stressed that the family needed measures that would promote harmony among the Dhanjal siblings.

The judge noted that allowing prosecution of one of the siblings would lead to further degeneration of their relationship thus tearing the family apart more that they are now.

“At the end of the day, each party wants to benefit from the estate of their late father and it is important they do not lose the sight of that ultimate goal, “she ruled.

The suit seeking prosecution of Mr Daljit was filed by his sister, Mrs Jaspal Kaur Nagi, who lives in the United Kingdom.

Mrs Jaspal had told the court that Daljit had illegally and unlawfully entered into the settlement agreement by which assets of the estates of their deceased father were disposed off.

SUCCESSION

She further submitted that under the law of succession, what her brother had done was a criminal offence and deserved to be prosecuted for it.

““It is therefore only fair and just that the respondent be criminally prosecuted and be held criminally liable for his illegal and unlawful actions,” she said through lawyer Khalid Salim.

In further application, she sought for the annulment of a settlement agreement that was entered into by Mr Daljit and his uncles on March 9, 2006, to dispose the family assets contrary to the law. This settlement agreement had been nullified in a court ruling of October 2016.

Joginder said in court that Daljit transferred some of the shares to himself using “devious means, intimidation and coercion,” adding he only learnt about it when signing documents presented at the court whose contents he did not understand that approved the transfers.

LAND ACQUISITION

Despite all the accusations, the judge advised that it was important that they (siblings) doesn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal, that of each parties benefiting from the estate of their late father.

The company deals in land acquisition, construction, building, maintenance, leasing as well as acquisition and purchase of merchandise and other properties.

The contractor has been involved in major building projects at the Coast including building of the Mariakani-Kaloleni road, Links Road and was also a sub-contractor in the building of Nyali Bridge.

Summon of confirmation shall be heard on December 7.


Squatters claim settler offered KDF land to them

By STELLA CHERONO
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Squatters occupying the disputed Leseru Teberon farm have staked their claim based on a will written by a European settler before he died.

The squatters, appearing before the National Lands Commission (NLC), said they had paid Sh24.7 million to the Ministry of Lands after being issued with a letter of allotment in 2005.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has also claimed ownership of the land, LR No. 11039, which was sub-divided to LR No. 27206/3 and LR No. 27206/4.

KDF says it has not surrendered the land to anyone. The military claims that the title deeds possessed by the squatters were fraudulently acquired.

The squatters told NLC vice- chairperson Abigael Mbagaya on Wednesday that the European settler, Alexander Douglas, of Lewa Downs Ltd, wrote the will on December 19, 1979 appointing Noel Amatasi Lijina the sole executor of his will.

SEVERAL CHEQUES

“The settler directed that the executor of his will should ensure that the property is sub-divided and each of the 350 genuine squatters get a share of the property,” the squatters said.
They claimed that, before the government acquired the land, the squatters had already purchased part of it from the settler and paid in cash to his son after Mr Douglas failed to bank several cheques issued to him.

“Noel died shortly thereafter and that is when his daughter, Miriam Kibai, took over and became a trustee and member of Leseru Teberon Farmers Society,” the squatters’ brief indicated.

The government, it said, compulsorily acquired part of the land for use by the Department of Defence, which was issued with two titles. The remainder, they said, was allotted to the squatters.

Records at the Ministry of Lands show that the government acquired 16,277 acres in Eldoret between 1976 and 1980 for use by the KOFC and the Recruits Training School and paid full compensation to the original land owners.

In 2002, retired President Moi ordered the Defence ministry to surrender 4,236.34 acres to squatters from two settlement schemes — Kamagut and Buheba — but part of the land was grabbed and some squatters remained on military land.

LAND RATES

A Lands registrar, Betty Atieno, issued the title for the land, which is located 20 kilometres outside Eldoret town.

Lease documents show that the group was given a 99-year lease starting January 1, 2006 after paying Sh12.75 million in premiums. Leseru Teberon was to part with Sh318,860 annually in land rates.

The group, in documents handed to NLC, however, claimed that they paid Sh13,585,000 for parcel No. 27206/3 and another Sh11,826,210 for No. 27206/4.


Kenya loses Sh8 billion treated water every year

By CHARLES WANYORO
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Kenya loses over Sh8 billion worth of treated water annually, meaning more than 45 per cent of the water produced for drinking is stolen, unbilled, or cannot be accounted for.

Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the loss of non-revenue water (water lost before it reaches the customer) is a major impediment to the realisation of the “Big Four” agenda, which he described as the cornerstone of Vision 2030.

In a speech read on his behalf by Water Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu, Mr Chelugui said the ministry is encouraging water service providers to come up with innovative ways of reducing water loss to improve access.

SERVICE PROVIDERS

Key water sector stakeholders, among them officials from 67 water service providers, are attending the non-revenue water forum in Embu County.
The CS said wasting water can cause conflicts, especially during dry periods.

“Issues pertaining to water have been a major cause of concern and discussion in the past few months. We have experienced severe drought and Kenyans understand and appreciate that water plays a key role in national stability, development and cohesion. It is, in fact, a cornerstone in the realisation of the “Big Four” agenda, which is a blueprint

MEGA DAMS
He announced ambitious plans to reduce the loss of non-revenue water to at least 25 percent countrywide by 2030.

The CS reiterated the government’s commitment to completing several mega dams in different parts of the country to boost access to water.

He appealed to county governments to minimise water wastage and to help promote competence in water management.

Embu Deputy Governor David Kariuki said water wastage had denied people in dry areas, like Mbeere, enough water and called for measures to reduce the loss.

Water Service Providers Association (WASPA) chairman Daniel Ng’ang’a urged water companies to ensure they use new technologies to reduce the loss of non-revenue water.

DONOR SUPPORT

The CS said the government, with donor support, had undertaken a non-revenue water audit of nine water service providers in the country and had learnt with shock just how much treated water was lost.

It ranged from 31 percent in Malindi to 85 percent in Nakuru Rural. This indicates that almost half of the water produced for drinking is lost to theft, illegal connections, poor governance and cannot be accounted for,” Mr Chelugui said.

MEGA DAMS
He announced ambitious plans to reduce the loss of non-revenue water to at least 25 percent countrywide by 2030.

The CS reiterated the government’s commitment to completing several mega dams in different parts of the country to boost access to water.

He appealed to county governments to minimise water wastage and to help promote competence in water management.

Embu Deputy Governor David Kariuki said water wastage had denied people in dry areas, like Mbeere, enough water and called for measures to reduce the loss.

Water Service Providers Association (WASPA) chairman Daniel Ng’ang’a urged water companies to ensure they use new technologies to reduce the loss of non-revenue water.


Higher ranking shows Kenya’s huge potential

By EDITORIAL
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Kenya’s new ranking as an improved business destination is a seal of approval and strong signal that the country is turning the corner.

It shows that structural, infrastructural, legal and institutional reforms instituted in recent years have not been in vain.

Clearly, that placement by the World Bank’s latest publication, “The Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform”, is laudable but, importantly, should be an impetus for even better performance.

Statistically, Kenya jumped up 19 positions, perching at position 61 from 80 and catapulting into the ranks of 10 most-improved countries. But there is still work to be done.

SMALLER ECONOMY

Rwanda, a landlocked country and a relatively smaller economy, was far ahead at position 29, meaning that Kenya has some distance to cover.

And this is particularly important, given the fact that Kenya is the biggest economy in East Africa and a major player in regional and international trade and politics.

The ranking is based on several variables — including ease of starting business, electricity connection, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and cross-border trade.

Kenya’s strength was recorded in registering companies, obtaining credit, protecting minority investors and resolving insolvency.

However, it was not lost on anyone that it fared badly in more substance variables, which include starting a business, approval of construction, electricity supply, trading across borders and enforcing contracts.

PAYING TAX

We recognise, though, that some of the ranking criteria do not take cognisance of local nuances. Some of its elements also do not really match what obtains on the ground. Part of the reason for this is that the issues are examined at the global level. Which is the reason why we need to analyse them more deeply.

For example, the question of paying tax is a thorny one. As we have reported extensively this week, Kenya Revenue Authority has been struggling in recent years to meet revenue collection targets due to tax evasion, corruption and policy lapses.

Yet, Kenya is still ranked among the countries excelling in tax collections. Similarly, cross-border trading is a vexed subject, given the sensitivities it engenders.

REGIONAL TRADE

Kenya has sought to open its borders to fellow members of the East African Community (EAC) under the Common Market Protocol but some neighbours, such as Tanzania, have made it difficult to do business.

So, when Kenya is faulted for not doing much in regional trade, the underlying details may not be explicit to those making the judgment.

Overall, the report gives an indicative assessment of the situation and should, therefore, give us a reason to review the way we have organised ourselves as a business destination and deal with the shortcomings so that, ultimately, we can be attractive to investors and reap the commensurate benefits of financial inflows.


Jubilee reaches out to ex-governor Isaac Ruto

By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto on Thursday sent a strong delegation of four governors, two MPs and 11 ward representatives to former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto’s home in what might be construed as the strongest indication yet of the return of the outspoken politician to national politics.

Until recently when he came out strongly to oppose the Mau Forest evictions, Mr Ruto had retreated to a quiet life after his defeat in the 2017 elections. He had, instead, chosen to focus on farming, a passion for which he was feted by President Kenyatta just last month.

Accompanied by Mr Ruto’s aide Farouk Kibet, governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Samwel Tunai (Narok) and West Pokot’s John Lonyangapuo held three separate meetings at Mr Ruto’s home in Tumoi village, Chepalungu sub-county.

The meeting was also attended by Chepalungu Member of Parliament Gideon Koskei, 11 Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) Members of County Assembly and the party’s former aspirants for various positions in the last General Election.

FOUR GOVERNORS

The four governors, Mr Cheruiyot, and Mr Kibet flew into the home in three helicopters and went for a closed-door meeting before addressing CCM delegates and MCAs. They then proceeded to address hundreds of residents who turned up at the compound.

Sources said that the meeting was the culmination of a series of meetings Mr Ruto has had with the President, his Deputy, and other leaders over the last one year.

Mr Mandago said, without elaborating, that the Thursday meeting in Bomet was a clear pointer of bigger things that would unfold in the coming days in the political arena.

“We have come here to urge Mr Ruto to work closely with the President and his Deputy in delivering on their development agenda both at the national and regional levels,” said Mr Mandago.

Mr Ruto revealed that the leaders had repeatedly asked him to support the Jubilee administration in delivering on it development agenda.

WORK TOGETHER

“Recently, they approached me and I told them to come to the grassroots and highlight the issues to the people so that they can understand where we are going,” Mr Ruto said.

Leaders from Bomet county, including Governor Joyce Laboso, were not at the meeting. Mr Tunai and Mr Lonyangapuo said the Chama Cha Mashinani party leader had played a major role in uniting the various communities living in the Rift Valley.

“As leaders from Rift Valley, we must ensure that the various political parties in the region work together and read from the same script,” said Mr Lonyangapuo.