Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
All sides in Central African Republic should stop targeting civilians and allow vital aid to get to those in need, said Oxfam today, following the recent attack on a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Batangafo in the north of the country. Violent clashes between armed groups have been taking place since Wednesday 31 October in Batangafo following an attack on a man while visiting a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs).
An estimated 28,000 people are affected by the surge in violence. More than 10,000 people have fled their homes to the compound of the MSF-supported hospital, while several thousand others have fled to the bush. The IDP site and many surrounding houses and buildings have been burned. Twenty people have been treated for injuries at the city hospital, including 10 people who required emergency surgery – two of whom died due to complications.
Ferran Puig, Oxfam’s Country Director in Central African Republic, said: “The protection of civilians must be a top priority for all parties. For more than four years, they have suffered the consequences of ongoing conflict and are at breaking point. I appeal to all those involved in the conflict to allow humanitarian organizations to deliver the assistance that these people need.”
Oxfam’s humanitarian response
Oxfam’s team in Batangafo has been forced to limit its movements as a result of the violence which is hampering their work. However, since Tuesday the team has been able to provide essential services such water in collaboration with Danish Refugee Council. Oxfam estimates that the crisis has prevented it from providing more than 32,000 people with humanitarian assistance.
Oxfam is now preparing to deliver other humanitarian aid to those impacted by the violence including nearly 3,000 hygiene kits and a similar number of kitchen kits to assist people who have lost all their belongings, as well as garbage bins to people displaced to the hospital site.
A rapid assessment is also underway to identify needs for a more focused humanitarian response.
Puig added: “Oxfam joins other humanitarian agencies in asking the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, to to stop the violence and assist victims of this crisis.”
The plan by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to establish an inspectorate to help weed out fake lawyers is a timely move. The LSK says it has presented a proposal to the National Assembly, which, if passed, will pave the way for the creation of the body.
The purpose is to stem a worrying trend in which crooks have conned fellow Kenyans in need of legal services out of their hard-earned money. In a further effort to lock out the quacks, the society has been publishing the status of all its members, listing lawyers who are dormant or inactive, suspended or have been struck off the Roll of Advocates.
But even as it does this, the LSK cannot be blind to the fact that within its ranks are rogue lawyers, who have similarly caused many innocent Kenyans a lot of suffering by failing to give value for the money clients pay for legal services.
A good number of registered and practising lawyers are also known to engage in gross malpractices without getting punished. Many have been accused of failing to remit money awarded by courts as compensation for road accident victims.
That many such lawyers escape without as much as a slap on the wrist by the society is unacceptable and an abuse of the rights of Kenyans. It is a fact that following such incidents, many victims have a not-so-flattering view of all lawyers, which is not good for a profession of such immense importance to the society.
As the LSK rolls out measures to tame the cheats, it must equally look inwards and deal firmly with the few rotten mangoes within its rank and file, and who spoil the good name of the legal profession.
The revelation of the return of the fake doctor who has been procuring abortions and treating patients with all sorts of concoctions is an indictment of regulatory agencies and the justice system. Self-proclaimed medic James Mugo Ndichu, who goes by the name “Dr Mugo wa Wairimu” escaped imprisonment when his dubious activities were unearthed three years ago because of technicalities that did not make sense.
And that must have convinced him that he is above the law; that he can practise medicine illegally, cause harm to hapless patients and get away with it. The horrifying details of his activities demonstrate a personality disorder; a fellow permanently inebriated, who draws bizarre pleasure from performing unorthodox procedures on patients.
At the heart of the matter is the question of regulation and supervision of health practice. His illegal activities were widely covered when his dubious operations were discovered in 2015. Both the medical authorities and security came in, seized and had him arraigned in court. Indeed, the case drew public outrage and it was expected that not only would he be punished, but would never be allowed to operate any health facility. Not only that he is unqualified, but he also engages in illegal act – abortion. Even if he was qualified, that alone could cause conviction.
He found his way out and tricked another fellow to obtain operating licence. That in itself is a criminal offence that should be discharged on its own. But the fact that he has been operating this dingy clinic in Kayole, Nairobi, for nearly a year shows that the Kenya Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board is lax in its supervisory and regulatory role. Quite often, the board mounts inspections and cracks down on quacks and illegal health clinics. But those are sporadic and uncoordinated. If it conducted consistent inspections, it would have detected this fellow. Which leads to the other question, how many of such quacks are out there?
Security agencies should have seized the fellow. But it is equally damning that there are many people who knew and suspected the clinic was illegal and the proprietor incorrigible, but failed to report to the authorities. The accounts they have given to the media confirm that they were unsatisfied with the clinic and its proprietor. But why didn’t they report? The Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the police must seize the matter, look for the fellow and his accomplices and charge them with the numerous offences they have committed. This shameful episode should compel the medical board to intensify inspections and supervision to rid the profession of such deadly quacks.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Tanzanian authorities to immediately release two of its staff who were seized Wednesday in Dar es Salaam and taken for interrogation in unknown location.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa programme coordinator, and Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, were on a reporting mission in the country.
Ms Quintal tweeted that officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
CPJ says officials searched the pair’s belongings and would not return their passports when asked.
Quintal and Mumo were then escorted from the hotel and taken to an unknown location.
“We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “We call on the authorities to immediately release them and return their passports.”
A former Member of Parliament and a lawyer are among people said to have grabbed land meant for public use and who have refused to vacate despite the National Land Commission (NLC) revoking title deeds in their possession.
Last year, NLC, in a Kenya Gazette notice dated July 17, announced that it had revoked title deeds for 46 plots (Muguga/Gitaru), which were issued after illegal sub-division of more than 10 acres of land. The said land is in the outskirts of Kikuyu town in Kiambu County.
The commission says that the land, which would currently fetch Sh600 million, is “public utility land for county commissioner’s office, roads and County Government of Kiambu.”
NLC said the reason for revocation of the title deeds was that the land, part of which currently hosts private businesses, a private school and churches, “(is) vested in national and county governments for re-planning to accommodate public utilities and bona fide allottees.”
The massive grabbing came to light during an inquiry into another land meant for the construction of a road (E1507) — which was an addendum for the Southern By-Pass — by private developers, following complaints from residents to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
The road was supposed to be 18 metres wide, but had been reduced to 10 metres, and some of the grabbers were demanding compensation, a matter that saw the NLC invited to interrogate the issue.
“That is when it was established that other than the grabbing of land meant for a road, other public utility land had also been grabbed. NLC decided to revoke the title deeds,” said Mr Binary Wainaina, the former Kikuyu Township ward representative.
It is said that rogue officials of the Kikuyu Town County Council (now defunct) facilitated illegal sub-division and processing of title deeds and the land had, over the years, been sold to third parties.
After the occupants refused to heed the NLC Gazette notice, the County Government, on April 5, this year, through County Secretary Martin Njogu, issued a public notice asking them to vacate, failing which the county would demolish all structures on the land.
But there has been no movement either on the side of the encroachers or the county government since the public notice was issued.
On Wednesday, NLC acting chairperson Abigail Mbagaya told the Daily Nation that their ruling was still in force, but that it is the responsibility of the county to recover the land.
“The revocation still stands unless there is an appeal (against the NLC decision) which I have not seen, (and) it is now the responsibility of the land owners (county government) to recover it,” Ms Mbagaya said.
During the past one year, it has become clear that the private sector will be central in the attainment of the plan to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product, establish universal health care, ensure food security and provide more housing.
During the Speaker’s Roundtable held in early October in Kwale, we got an opportunity to engage in useful conversations with some of the men and women who make laws and approve regulations and policies for Kenya — the National Assembly.
We at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance were pleased with the opportunity to point out some of the hurdles to the participation of private businesses in the activities that can make the achievement of the Big Four Agenda problematic.
The problems include the unpredictable and unstable policies and legal frameworks that make it difficult for businesses to plan ahead, and the high cost of production. Others are the effect of illicit trade on genuine business, the high taxes on a small tax base, and the short-term development plans at both the county and national levels that are often thrown out when there is a change in administration, as well as corruption.
Last year was a case study on the effect of political instability on the economy, while the lack of a stable tax and fiscal regime often means that businesses often find themselves slapped with taxes and levies they were not prepared for.
Over the past year, we have also observed that the Big Four Agenda has no point of convergence, partly because the bulk of the housing, agriculture and healthcare functions are under county governments.
We have also seen some commendable progress towards keeping legitimate businesses in the market, with the war on counterfeits and contraband, a welcome action that acts as punishment and deterrent.
We were happy to secure a commitment from the National Assembly to speed up the enactment of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018, which provides stiffer penalties for counterfeit and illicit trade. More still needs to be done, though. Suppliers to county and national governments continue to face hurdles as their payments are withheld. Although we agreed that a new law may be necessary, this problem can be solved by strict adherence to contracts and the procurement law.
There is work being done, starting with the increase of their budgets, to enable the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary to effectively play their part in fighting corruption.
In the short term, the National Assembly can help eliminate the taxes on agrochemicals and farm inputs, approve the policies that will help support local manufacturing and cottage industries, while making it expensive to import products that are being made locally.
The laws and policies needed to further improve the ease of doing business and making the economy competitive to investors can also be identified and rectified in a short span of time.
Some of the areas we agreed on are more long-term. Expanding the tax base, for example, will need well-thought-out policies, more work by the Kenya Revenue Authority and regular and structured engagements with all stakeholders. Streamlining the enablers of the Big Four Agenda will involve work on the Information, Communication and Technology, the Education sector (and the change of the system is a step in the right direction), land laws, energy and mining, and the environment and natural resources sectors.
President Kenyatta’s frank admission, and his refusal to read prepared remarks, at the SME conference at Strathmore University in Nairobi on October 16, should serve as a wake-up call to all three arms of government.
This was an apt reminder that we cannot achieve much if it is business as usual even as we hold big meetings and conferences. With his directives to the ministries and agencies involved in creating the right environment for Small and Medium Enterprises, without any doubt, we hope to see some action within the government.
What the private sector hopes for is consistency by the government. Consistency and reliability will create the environment necessary for business to thrive and for the next four years, to help achieve the Big Four Agenda.
Ms Kariuki is the CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance
The referendum bell has rung and all our leaders have the referendum speech on their lips, except the woman representatives. The position is on the death row.
And almost everybody, even the ones not very sure if they want the referendum, want to see this post scrapped and discarded. We all agree that the position is part of the group that is heavily weighing down the donkey, which is now tired.
Article 97 of the Constitution emphasises the role of the woman in the membership of the National Assembly. Article 100, further emphasises the promotion of representation of marginalised groups and women are first on the list. It is hence tragically ironical that women would be considered as marginalised while they got the most votes and the power to stamp their authority on just every aspect of this society.
This they have not done and it has been their own misfortune. The creation of the above positions in 2010 was not so much to consider women as a weak people who needed help or as a marginalised group that so badly needed recognition. It was created to give women a chance to prove themselves. Assert themselves and be a force to reckon with. Too bad they have not done this. There are a couple of amusing moments in the referendum campaigns when leaders standing in front of the masses have insisted on the scrapping of the woman representative’s position. The journey to extinction has started. It is sad yet necessary.
It is difficult to vote for people who do not have the confidence to defend their own existence. Their biggest failure was the lack of bringing decency and the human face to the Kenyan politics. This is what the common mwananchi needed so badly.
We needed women to go to Parliament and be the extra muscle that would enact objective reasoning, advocate the plights of the common man, inject justice in passing laws, voice so loud the need for job creation and decent living, and feature families in policy and decision making.
Yes, we will agree that there have been gaps the women representatives have filled in their own capacities. The people, as much as they will not say it, have benefited from sanitary pads, and funds given to start small projects and even educational funds. This was, however, not enough because even the male parliamentarians have done this and continue to do so and strongly feel that even in your absence, we will still be given the funds.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta came up with the Beyond Zero health programme, it picked up and became a household name. Deputy President William Ruto’s wife Rachel has a table banking project. What do we have to say about our women representatives? So much has happened and we surely cannot feel the woman representative.
It is not too late to change this. Rise like dust and fill the air, do all the right things and shut our mouths with your actions because coming to us again with the same old songs will not work. Pass Bills and be the people’s advocate.
Forget the feminist card and stop sitting pretty, hiding behind the phrase that what a man can do a woman can do better, with nothing to show for it. Fill your baskets with goodies and bring us bananas to eat because this is what you have not done in a long time.
Last week’s World Bank Ease of Doing Business report gave Kigali and Nairobi a lot to smile about.
Among the East African Community (EAC) countries, Rwanda was at the top of the tree and ranked 29th globally, from last year’s 41st position. Kenya recorded the biggest jump, from last year’s 80th to 61st this year. Though the government spin made too big a fist of it, still one couldn’t scoff at the ranking.
Uganda fell five places to 127 from 122; Tanzania slumped to 144 from 137; Burundi could barely manage 168th, and in an index measuring 190 countries, South Sudan was bottom feeder at 185.
Rwanda and Kenya have improved two years in a row, and with the vast gap to the rest of the EAC states, they might as well be in another world.
However, if you look beyond business and economics to politics, something else has happened to the leaders of the two countries. Globally, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, and lately joined by Ethiopia’s newish Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, increasingly enjoy very good fortunes.
The most difficult to fully comprehend is Uhuru. In the first year of his presidency, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) charges hanging over his head, he looked set to become a hidebound Omar al-Bashir up in Khartoum. Even after the ICC dropped charges against Uhuru, it was not inevitable that he would emerge on the world stage. Before long, however, world leaders, including then-US President Barack Obama, who had dealt with Nairobi with a 10-metre-long pole, were knocking on his door. Uhuru was and still is being the Africa representative to global gatherings, even though he was not the EAC chairman, African Union chairman, or anything. He was in the first group of the African leaders to meet the volatile and probably racist US President Donald Trump.
Though Kenya is a player in the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia, Amisom, it is not the definitive actor and doesn’t have the largest contingent. So it’s not Kenya that has the most Somalia aces, nor is it the kingpin in the South Sudan madness.
Which diplomatic witchdoctor did Uhuru see? In reality, several forces gifted him. First, in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, once the regional leader, veered in a more authoritarian direction from 2016, and then stunk up his standing further by removing the presidential age limit to allow him stand again in 2021, when he will have been in power for 35 years, much longer than any previous autocrat in the EAC region ever.
It seemed like Tanzania’s John Magufuli would steal the regional glory when he was elected in 2015, with the kind of crackdown on corruption many thought was no longer possible in Africa. But very quickly, Magufuli turned into a 1970s African big man; arbitrary, erratic, anti-intellectual, moody, and parochial.
In Ethiopia, unrest and a Medieval lockdown were dragging the country down.
Uhuru then offered not so much himself, but Kenya, portraying it as a regional economic “bedrock”, an innovation leader, and a country of “substance”. The point being that Kenya had a depth greater than its dysfunctional political system.
Then the famous March 9 “handshake” with political rival Raila Odinga happened.
The world needed a Germany to the European Union, an Angela Merkel-like stabilising figure on the African east coast. Diplomats say Uhuru is a “likeable guy at a personal level”, and that might have helped, but in fitting the above bill, a place was made for him at the global table. Even if you don’t like him, but you have to give Uhuru that one.
But the world must always have a few leaders who are rock stars (Canada’s Justin Trudeau when he was elected in 2015, and Obama), and a celebrity (France’s Emmanuel Macron in his first year).
Abiy is the rock star, breaking all 1,000-years-old assumptions about what is possible in Ethiopia, driving through dizzying reforms in a land long-tormented by iron-fisted emperors, military dictators, and one-party autocrats. And he’s brought women into leadership in ways that have not been seen in a country that hasn’t gone through a period, even brief, of enlightenment.
But Kagame, on the other hand, is Africa’s answer to a celebrity president. It seemed at one point Senegal’s Macky Sall might challenge him (he turned out to be shy), and then South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa (he got bogged down with impossible problems).
Kagame and Rwanda wrap themselves in futuristic garbs, layered over a narrative of having brought back to life a country left half-dead by a genocide that killed nearly one million; a trailblazer in next frontier and “unAfrican” things — from smart cities, universal healthcare, to other Twitter-worthy stuff.
The author is publisher of Africapedia.com and explainer Roguechiefs.com. [email protected]
Micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) are a key pillar in national economic development. This is the reason they generate a lot of interest among economic planners.
Falling under the Micro and Small Enterprises Act, these micro enterprises have a maximum turnover of Sh500,000 and employ less than 10 people, while small enterprises have a turnover of between Sh500,000 and Sh5 million and 10 to 49 employees.
Although medium enterprises are not covered under this law, they are said to make a turnover of between Sh5 million and Sh800 million yearly and have 50 to 99 employees. There about 7.5 million MSMEs, contributing 40 per cent to the GDP.
Realising how critical this sector is to the economy, the country has striven to create a conducive environment for them to grow. Vision 2030, for instance, acknowledges the need to support small businesses to raise productivity, create jobs and contribute more to public revenues.
The enactment of Micro and Small Enterprises Act, 2012 was an important milestone in efforts to promote small businesses. The operationalisation of the Act saw the setting up of robust institutional mechanisms to give them a stronger policy and legal grounding. The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), set up in 2013 and is a product of the reformed regulatory framework, and is tasked with reinvigorating the management of the sector and providing an enabling environment for it to thrive. It is also responsible for facilitating the formalisation and upgrading of informal ventures, as well as promoting a culture of entrepreneurship.
All these reforms were informed by the realisation that MSMEs can be a game-changer in efforts to accelerate growth that engenders shared prosperity. They create a pool of skilled and semi-skilled labour force, which forms the basis for future industrial growth.
Despite the fundamental role they play, MSMEs are unable to operate to their optimum level due to a multiplicity of challenges. One of the key constraints is limited financial access. Credit from financial institutions is limited due to stringent lending conditions by commercial banks and microfinance institutions. Requirements on collateral or security, are way beyond the reach of this segment of businesses. Another challenge is that MSMEs face stiff competition from imported products.
While technology can boost such businesses, most of them cannot keep pace with new innovations due to the high initial and installation costs.
Inadequate managerial training is also an Achilles heel for owners of these businesses. Their managerial strategies are based on trial and error.
How can the above hurdles be addressed? There is an urgent need to reengineer the enterprises and bolster their potential as agents for economic take-off. The starting point would be on the level of governance and legislative framework. The national and county governments ought to set clear regulations that support the growth and development of small enterprises. Easing licensing processes and provision of tax incentives are sure ways to grow small businesses and encourage more people to establish start-ups.
Development of private finance schemes will consolidate efforts to fund MSMEs and bring them under one umbrella. And to ensure their prudent financial management, the government should develop standard financial reporting framework and universal guidelines. This will strengthen monitoring and enhance their credit rating.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, and county governments, should spearhead the development of MSMEs by creating incubation centres. We need to develop a database for these businesses and enhance coordination. Data management will ensure that the ventures in all the sectors are supported accordingly and with targeted initiatives.
Mr Keter, a political scientist, is a Jubilee nominated MP for [email protected] Gideon Keter
Catholic Archbishop John Njenga, who died on Sunday after a short illness, belonged to a pioneering and vanishing generation of clerics who played a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of this nation.
Church leaders that have left an indelible imprint on Kenya include Maurice Cardinal Otunga, Bishop Caesar Maria Gatimu, the Rev Dr John Gatu, Bishop Obadiah Kariuki, Prof Sr Anne Nasimiyu-Wasike, Bishop Festo Habakkuk Olang, all of whom have departed. Happily, one in their league, Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki, is still with us.
For over six decades, Njenga served in various capacities: He was a teacher at Queen of Apostles Seminary Kiserian, parish priest at Our Lady of Visitation Church Makadara, Vicar-General to Archbishop J.J. McCarthy of Nairobi, Education Secretary and General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, Bishop of Eldoret, chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, culminating in his appointment as Archbishop of Mombasa. He has left a legacy as an evangelist in the best sense of the term, an educationist, ecumenist and nationalist.
The impact of his apostolate will be felt in Kenya and beyond for generations to come. He was well-equipped for the challenges he faced as he sought to serve. Though certain that he was born in 1928 in Tigoni, Limuru, he did not know his exact date of birth.
When Church authorities insisted that he give his birthday on being appointed Bishop of Eldoret in 1970, he gave December 25. With his characteristic hearty laughter, he told this writer: “It’s a very fitting birthday for Jesus and those of his servants who, like him, aren’t quite sure of their birthday.”
His family was forced to leave Tigoni, then considered part of the White Highlands, and settle in Githiga village in Githunguri, Kiambu County. An excellent pupil at Thogoto Intermediate School run by the Church of Scotland Mission, forerunner of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, he transferred to Catholic School Lioki and qualified to join Mang’u High School in 1944. At Mang’u he distinguished himself as an able student, a good footballer and a dedicated catechist who prepared fellow students for entry into the Catholic Church.
Former Vice-President Moody Awori narrates in his autobiography how the budding churchman taught him the Catholic faith: “Njenga took me through the whole catechism and I became a Catholic.”
After high school, Njenga studied philosophy and theology at Kibosho Seminary in Tanganyika. He was ordained a priest at Lioki by Archbishop J.J. McCarthy, who sent a report to the Pope’s ambassador for Anglophone Africa, saying: “I know Your Excellency will be pleased to hear that the ordination of our first indigenous priest took place on Sunday, February 17, 1957, in the presence of 50 priests and 50,000 faithful in an atmosphere charged with pride, joy and reverence”.
According to Mrs Magdalen Kamau, Njenga’s long-serving secretary, it was on the occasion of his ordination that the new priest baptised his mother, Maria Wanjiru.
The priests of the Archdiocese of Nairobi regard him as the First Born in their apostolate and a veritable role model as a bearer and preacher of the Good News.
Archbishop Njenga was passionate about Christian Scripture. In this regard, he worked with the Bible Society of Kenya, which he served as a trustee, in producing translations that are acceptable to different Christian denominations.
A believer in the power of education to transform society, he spearheaded the founding of over 40 secondary schools during his 18-year tenure as Bishop of Eldoret.
Fr Lawrence Njoroge serves as Catholic Chaplain at JKUAT where he is Professor of Development Studies and Ethics; [email protected]