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Friday, November 16th, 2018

 

'Engineer' whose hustle is selling eggs and smokies

By MARGARET W. MAINA
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Dressed in white apron at the busy Olive Inn estate bus stop in Nakuru County, 23-year-old Casper Chebii is excited as he serves his customers.

Next to him is a trolley full of sausages, smokies, boiled eggs and kachumbari, commonly referred to as “pasua”.

The third-year civil engineering student at Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology has been doing this since July 2017.

“I grew up in Baringo and I am the second born in a family of eight,” Chebii says.

“Despite financial problems in our family, I scored 351 marks in my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination and was admitted to Moi High School Kabartonjo.”

Things did not go well for Chebii. He fell sick in third term while in Form Two. He became paralysed but did not want to accept his condition.

Chebii dropped out of school in Form Three to seek treatment when his health deteriorated.

He says his family was devastated as he had to be taken from one hospital to another.

Eventually, he settled for herbal medicines “and my condition improved after a year”.

“I was always among the top 10 in my class. The sickness was agonising since my peers were now in their final year. I really wanted to go back to school though I had not recovered fully,” Chebii says.

His parents went back to Moi High School Kabartonjo and pleaded with the administration to allow him back.

SETTLE FEES

It was not to be. He says the principal insisted that they settle fees for the year he was out of school first.

Having spent tens of thousands of shillings on his medical bill, Chebii’s parents could not meet that requirement. They took him to Kasisit Secondary School near his village.

Surprisingly, Chebii scored a B- of 58 points the following year, emerging the fourth best student in a class of 79.

Chebii’s parents could not raise fees to take him to Technical University of where he had been called.

He moved to Nakuru town where his elder brother owned a butchery.

Chebii says he helped around and started saving “from the little I was earning”.

He took the decision to enrol for his childhood dream at RVIST in 2016.

“I needed something to do during the long holidays for I hate being idle. I started this business from the Sh10,000 I had saved. I have no regrets since I make Sh10,000 to Sh15,000 a month,” he says.

ATTACHMENT

Chebii is on attachment at the Ministry of Public Works but his business thrives.

He wakes up at 4.30am to boil the eggs then sets up the tent for his sister to do the selling.

As soon as Chebii gets home at 5.30pm, he changes into his apron and takes over the business till 9pm.

“It is not that easy. Sometimes the sales go down. I could end up throwing away most of the food. The place is almost in the midst of bars and some drunkards refuse to pay after eating. Remaining positive, confident and persistent pays,“ he says.

Chebii’s biggest support is from his family and fellow students.

Some are encouraging him to start the same business in college.

“I hope to build it into something big,” he says.


Mass negativity dimming shine of Africa's largest wind farm

By RIZWAN FAZAL

Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project’s arduous decade-old journey from humble origins to Africa’s largest wind farm and Kenya’s single largest private sector investment has encountered many obstacles.

But nothing has tested the collective resolve of both the public and private stakeholders involved in this project more than the barrage of negativity that has engulfed what should have been a joyous occasion when the much-awaited 436km transmission interconnector linking the 310.25MW power plant to the national grid at Suswa was energised, paving the way for clean, reliable and affordable power.

This is a private company that has set the benchmark for how successful infrastructure projects will be undertaken in Sub-Saharan Africa; a project that places Kenya firmly on the global map in so many positive ways, a project with a financing structure that is hard to replicate and a transformative undertaking that has offered hope and potential to the residents of one of the most neglected parts of Kenya. Why then has LTWP not (yet) succeeded in being the game-changer it was set out to be? What does this landmark project’s experiences spell for similar undertakings?

POWER BILLS

It is easy to get waylaid by sensation and focus on the much-reported 46 million Euros paid by the government of Kenya (GOK) to LTWP for the Transition Interconnector Delay Deemed Generated Energy (TI Delay DGE) payments in 2017 and the corresponding 0.00845 Euros per kWh that will be added on to power bills for six years (at which rate, LTWP’s tariff is 8.53 Euro cents per kWh).

There is nothing sinister about this. LTWP has explained, in full transparency, the genesis, need and result of this.

Any attempt at trying to discredit LTWP or GOK is futile and LTWP has been not only utterly patriotic in how it worked hand in hand with GOK to resolve this as painlessly to Kenyans as possible, but unbelievably transparent.

Equal effort has gone into explaining the most complex technical aspects of capacity factors, Megavars and Megawatts, cold and hot commissioning and a myriad other aspects that frankly, most don’t really care about. It’s all a smokescreen.

DUE DILIGENCE

LTWP’s project financing structure withstood the rigours of due diligence from 17 international, credible and seasoned lenders and investors and will, for years to come, be among the most credible project financing ever undertaken.

LTWP has spent more on CSR between 2014 and 2018 than the county of Marsabit has on development projects in the same period.

It has paid over a billion shillings in taxes even before it received its first shilling from sale of power.

It built a 208km road that has cut down travel-time from Laisamis to Sarima by over a day and opened up trade, investment and economic activity to an area previously marginalised, and has radically improved security, health, education and other social indicators.

It is not until LTWP came online and started generating intermittent renewable energy that reality dawned: how are we going to deal with the questions of how the committed generating capacity in the Least Cost Power Development Plan 2018 for the period 2017—2037 is going to be absorbed? How will we manage system instability?

What will happen when the Ethiopia HVDC line evacuates 600MW of hydro-power? Have we started thinking of installing a synchronous condenser at the Suswa sub-station? Do we push for a coal plant or not — and if not, how do we deal with minimum spinning reserve? What’s the role of solar — and when? Should we lower night-time tariffs or subsidise lifeline households? Should we instead export power to Uganda at night and import during the day? Will tariffs go up or down? Should KPLC’s monopoly be lifted (bad idea incidentally)? How do we grow demand (the only way tariffs will come down)?

DISRUPTIVE ENTITY

The fact is that LTWP is a disruptive entity that has shaken the core of Kenya’s energy sector and opened up the sector to a level of scrutiny hitherto never witnessed. It has shone a light on how traditional infrastructure projects are undertaken.

It has demonstrated the benefits of public-private partnerships. It has shown the power of the people and a government determined to make a difference.

We were not perfect, nor was any other stakeholder involved.

But, together, we came through. To each of those silent supporters — wherever you are and in whatever capacity — past and present, you made a difference.

And if the country has not thanked you — we do, and your children and Kenyans in the future will thank you too.


Clubs should change tack

By EDITORIAL
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Kenyan football clubs will never learn. At a time when Gor Mahia FC should be preparing for their Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) Champions League opener in two weeks’ time, they are being forced to search for a new coach.

The club’s coach, Daylan Kerr, who has been with them for 16 months, resigned on Friday. From 79 matches with the club, Mr Kerr managed 51 wins, 16 draws and 12 losses. He also took them to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

All has not been well at the club as the coach had earlier complained of delayed salaries for the technical bench and the players.

Gor Mahia have now had five coaches in six years, a very high turnover.

AFC Leopards have fared much worse, with 25 coaches in nine years.

Gor Mahia face Nyasa Bullets of Malawi on November 28 in a CAF Champions League preliminary round match in Nairobi.

Gor Mahia lost to Esperance of Tunisia 2-1 in this year’s Caf Champions League to see them drop to the Confederation Cup. Esperance went on to beat eight times champions Al Ahly of Egypt 4-3 in the final to lift their third Champions League crown.

Success for the North African teams does not come on a silver platter. They invest heavily in their teams and treat their coaches and players well.

Their focus isn’t so much on the winners prize tag of Sh250 million but the pride and prestige that comes along. It is not by chance that Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco all made it to the World Cup in Russia. Kenyan clubs and the soccer officials should learn from their north African counterparts.


Theft of public funds calls for stern action

By EDITORIAL
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The latest report by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee has once again exposed worrying levels of looting of public resources.

Several government ministries cannot account for huge sums of money spent during the 2014/15 financial year, adding to the pile of cases of misuse, misappropriation and theft of public resources. Unfortunately, this is not the first time. It is the usual story every financial year.

And the citizens are hardly surprised.

Which is the reason we make demands for action. It cannot be that we are treated to a litany of corruption cases or misuse of public resource every year and the suspected culprits named but no action is ever taken against them.

That is the root cause of the financial mess in the public sector. Resources allocated for projects are never applied appropriately. But public officers are unfazed as they know they cannot be sanctioned. The net result is poor service delivery, public frustration and helplessness.

But we cannot allow this to continue. For a good measure, the PAC has pronounced specific actions on the suspects, and so the next logical step is for the relevant authorities — Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations — to seize themselves of the facts, pursue the fellows, investigate the claims and, where evidence obtains, institute criminal charges. Inaction would mean that theft or misuse of public resource is acceptable, yet that is not the case.

ENORMOUS POWERS

As a watchdog, the PAC has enormous powers and its recommendations must be taken seriously. We are emphatic about this because we have many situations in the past where the committee made recommendations but were never acted upon.

That ended up undermining the authority of the committee, which ordinarily should be revered for its role in overseeing financial discipline in public sector.

Indeed, it spends a lot of public resources in conducting investigations and audits, which has to yield results.

It is not lost, though, that the report is based on old data — like in this case, dating four years back — which is long a time and during which many things have happened. Memories have faded and the suspects have moved on.

To this extent, therefore, we are calling on Parliament to devise a system that can facilitate timely auditing and hence lead to quick actions. That is the surest way of sending strong signals and demonstrating that wrongdoing is painful and has no place here.

With evidence presented in the reports, the respective investigative and prosecuting agencies must get down to work to do the verification, and if convinced, commence consequential actions to end misappropriation and theft of public resources.


Was UN boss right that joint effort has averted world war?

By GLADYS BURINI
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes that multilateralism has averted a third world war but is this statement accurate?

Multilateralism has been described as any system associating several states which are united by equal and mutual obligations. The United Nations, as a chief example of multilateralism, considers it to be international cooperation and collective problem-solving.

Taking the UN definition into consideration, have states always upheld international cooperation in their military actions?

Currently, in the Syrian war we are witnessing a great divide among state powers.

Russia is acting unilaterally against fellow Security Council members.

In the Libyan war, 42 countries — with the USA taking the lead — were involved in the initial military intervention. Most of those countries formed part of Nato.

How were the other states involved in the collective problem-solving to avert loss of civilian lives? Closer home, the Democratic Republic of Congo is in its second civil war. Little multilateralism is being witnessed to quell the ongoing war with the UN struggling to maintain peace.

In these all too real and frightful scenarios, multilateralism seems to have been trumped by unilateralism.

States engaging in military action against oppressive regimes have not always acted multilaterally.

The underlying issue on which multilateralism is embedded has been its Achille’s heel: negotiation.

MILITARY INTERVENTIONS

With 193 member states forming the UN General Assembly, not all proposed military interventions have received unanimous decisions. If anything, even where decisions have been unanimous, abstentions notwithstanding, the decisions are resolutions and therefore not binding.

The Security Council is where the power lies to bind or veto decisions. Russia alone has issued more vetoes than any other permanent member of the Security Council in the last five years.

Due to its veto, the UN cannot intervene in Syria. Is there much international cooperation evident here when a state would rather act unilaterally?

Thus, in the end there is no accord. Dominant states take the lead in military intervention as they deem fit with their norms and sovereignty, not only turning to unilateralism but nationalism. This has taken the form of aligned state coalition or intervention through international institutions.

INTERNATIONAL NORMS

For multilateralism to succeed, states must follow international norms and pay more respect to international institutions.

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter fails to explicitly prohibit the use of force.

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State …”

The rules of multilateralism give states room for unilateral discretion on military interventions, making it difficult to achieve the international cooperation crucial to multilateralism to work. This particular rule itself calls into question the relevance of multilateralism. Consequently, the Iraq war was undeniably a USA unilateral action, albeit with supporters.

Still sticking with the norms, Chapter 7 of the Charter then allows the use of force authorised by the UN Security Council, with Article 51 allowing the use of force under the right of individual and collective self-defence, if an armed attack occurs against a member of the UN.

With such rules in place, states have gone to war unilaterally regardless of the attack not being charged against them. Yet again, the basis of such military action has not been the principle of multilateralism but unilateralism.

MAINTAIN PEACE

It can only be concluded that where states can act unilaterally, they will do so against multilateralism despite it being the founding principle of the establishment of the UN to maintain peace.

Respectfully, if indeed by a world war we mean the absence of allies and enemies of the first and second world wars engaging each other in combat, then indeed, we have not witnessed a third world war.

Instead of a single war we have progressively witnessed unilateral wars, some of which are in disregard of multilateralism such as Syria, others which are yet to witness the effects of multilateralism such as Yemen. To an extent multilateralism has averted the third world war, but the new global order is unilateralism. And so, unilateralism has averted the third world war.


State should keep off schools founded by religious bodies

The editorial (Daily Nation, November 15, 2018) on President Kenyatta’s directive that schools founded by the church be reverted to the church incorrectly argued from the proposition that the management of schools is the sole function of the government. Quoting from facts, most schools in Kenya were founded by religious institutions. It is also true that a majority of these schools are the best in the country.

However, many have been run down since the enactment of the Education Act of 1968.

Further, the editorial quotes the Education Act chapter 211 of 1968 as if religious institutions accepted this legislation 100 pc.

Before the enactment of this Act, the Phelphs Stokes Commission of 1924 recommended more subsidy to African schools that were run by missionaries.

The church-run schools then used to receive subsidies from the government. In 1918, missionaries withdrew from the government’s grants aid scheme, because they feared that the government subsidy will come with control on the syllabus.

This withdrawal formed the basis of the struggle between the colonial government and the missionaries as to who should manage schools.

Then, the missionaries who were running schools were members of the education board of 1910; they participated in the 1919 Education Commission and were active members of Central Advisory Council of African Education.

In 1964, however, there was not a single missionary or church agent in the Ominde Commission which culminated in the Education Act 1968, which replaced school managers appointed by churches and named them school sponsors, and pushed for the nationalisation of all schools. This drew resistance from the churches, especially the Catholic Church.

From these facts, it is clear that the Education Act chapter 211 of 1968 was an unjust law.

It was passed to take away schools which rightly belonged to religious institutions by imposing a different management structure without consultation. Equally, the Basic Education Act No 14 of 2013 is another injustice in its provisions, especially Part III, 100 (1) and (2), which take away the property of schools, including those that are owned privately, and gives them to the County Education Boards against the right to private property.

The Basic Education Act No 14 of 2013 does not distinguish between the different sponsors of schools. Without distinguishing them, religious institutions or private individuals who are founders of sponsored schools will lose their proprietary interest. The contention that the church cannot run schools cannot be taken rightly.

If schools started by religious institutions belong to the government, to whom do the private schools started by private individuals belong?

CHRISTOPHER MOMANYI, Nairobi.


Rogue pastors must not be allowed to preach water and drink wine

By ERIC WAMANJI
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Life, at times, can serve you lemons. In fact, reality can be stranger and nastier than fiction.

Throw religion, nuptials, an apostle and a post-modern society in the mix and you are in for a shocker.

And such is what stunned the nation recently when a couple in Nakuru had their big day of wedding bells ring rounds of distress.

All boxes for a wedding had been ticked, or so it seemed.

Come D-day, a pastor subjected the would-be couple to the most embarrassing roller-coaster in search of an elusive medical certificate as a precondition for marriage.

The circus eventually ended in the abortion of the wedding.

OUTLANDISH

The requirement that a couple must produce a medical certificate as a precondition for wedding is as eccentric as it is outlandish. It is neither anchored in law nor scripture. It is an individually crafted doctrine that defiles scripture. Indeed, such would be a nasty God who stops the bliss of a marital union because of a medical condition. On this one, anyone can smell a rat!

Whatever the pastor’s reasons, what is not in doubt is that he was myopic, judgemental, indifferent, merciless, sanctimonious and had little appreciation of the Golden Rule… regrettably, an eerily common thread among fundamentalists of his ilk. It is such incongruity of the clergy’s acts and the scriptural framework that baffles the laity. It is such perversion of truth that increasingly dilutes faith in religion.

It is utterly fallacious, for instance, to argue that an ailment of any nature should disqualify a couple from tying the knot. Not even premarital sex should be a hindrance, for the realities of the post-modern world are that it is impossible to find purity of body after a certain age, gender notwithstanding. This dynamics even informs the reforms shaping up at the Vatican.

CULTIC DOCTRINES

Yet, the Nakuru fiasco is neither isolated nor the most absurd. History has recorded a constellation of heartbreaking and bizarre cultic doctrines manufactured and peddled by rogue pastors and their followers. In Nairobi alone, the scale of subliminal brainwashing that takes place everyday is enough to scare a right-thinking person.

Clearly, the madness of holier-than-thou is not confined to the dubious churches. Even the mainstream churches, with pedigree intellectual and philosophical anchorage, are caught in the most duplicitous curve.

And this is what is ailing Christianity. There is just too much of self-righteousness, hypocrisy and puritanical bigotry that ultimately shames and even kills God.

Small wonder, Mahatma Gandhi was mesmerised by our incongruous behaviours that he crisply observed “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

CULPABLE MASSES

Of course, Gandhi did not just mean the clergy. The masses too are culpable. That is why it beats our wits why our corruption or negative ethnicity breaks the charts in a country that largely professes Christ. Just where is our conscience?

Still, shouldn’t we all fret when so-called pastors liberally mix their personal illusions, self-interests and ego with spreading the Gospel? And shouldn’t we not be troubled that in the most sacrilegious a manner, we venerate and idolise some of these pastors, turning them into near-messiahs?

And this is because the liberal Christian order easily bids itself to shenanigans.

In fact, Christianity’s concept of forgivingness and not to judge has exposed itself to abuse and exploitation.

That is why our pastors conveniently tread the simplistic path of prosperity.

Indeed, a good number of the shenanigans have excelled in the warped and manipulative rhetoric of the prosperity gospel and selling indulgences.

Further, their crafty designs have disposed them to those who afflict the oppressed.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

You have witnessed churches in a stampede to roll red carpets, sing hosannas and offer comforts to the wealthy who have no sense of social justice or mercy for the disenfranchised. This strategic bonhomie of State mandarins and the church is troubling.

But just why should we be bothered? Indeed, we have to hold pastors and their agents to high standards of accountability because first, they claim to subscribe to a scriptural framework, whose tenets are absolute. Second, theirs is a powerful mission that affects the primal centre of human beings — the soul.

INFLUENTIAL

Religion, Italian thinker Louis Althusser aptly observed, is an ideological State apparatuses, and therefore extremely influential in society.

Indeed, religion largely helps to fashion societal orientation and attitudes towards good and bad.

They thus cannot go unchallenged when they flout the very instruments that guide their enterprise.

I have written before of the need for a robust regulatory framework for religious institutions.

The State, camaraderie aside, cannot abdicate its role of protecting citizens from crooks in cassocks.

Thus, we should establish sound vetting, training, and regulation of churches.

If we are hammering sobriety into the matatu world and taming exam cheating, we must put a leash on the rogue pastors.


Schools need support in fight against teenage pregnancies

The Saturday Nation (November 10, 2018) carried a detailed and insightful article on teenage pregnancies.

I totally agree that the act of impregnating a teenager is a crime.

It is a crime that our male lawmakers should make a capital offence.

If only they knew what pain a young girl suffers physically and emotionally after defilement.

Our schools lack capacity to handle teenage problems.

Whereas teachers are trained in basic child psychology, these courses are run-of-the-mill and perfunctory.

They are based on obsolete 19th century theories of Piaget, Bruner, Pavlov and B.F. Skinner.

A school should have properly trained social scientists in counselling psychology, sociology or anthropology.

In the Western world, they have included philosophy and criminologists on this list.

These experts have adequate time with students as opposed to the current set-up where counselling teachers juggle between teaching and other roles. If we want to save a generation, the mandate of TSC should be reviewed in line with these realities.

Teachers accused of defiling teenagers should never be accorded a chance to go back to schools.

Girls are more vulnerable to abuse due to cultural tags. In most cases, women are viewed as baby factories.

This perception is carried to schools by students, teachers and even parents.

Girls need protection from people who may abuse them. The only way is by supporting schools with professionals aligned along gender with requisite skills and training.

EUSTACE MUGAMBI, Meru.


Let conservation begin with you if it has not already

By PURITY WANJOHI
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The sun is already setting on 2018 and November is, by and large, the most opportune month to reflect on one’s year.

There’s ample time to go through your hits and misses, and enough time to think and plan for the upcoming year before the festivities begin and resolutions take the back burner.

When we do these reflections, we always focus on our personal or career actions.

But have you ever thought of having personal goals with regard to the environment?

If you were to stand in front of an Environment court charged with offences against the environment, and the Environment could talk, would it defend you based on your actions or push for your prosecution? Would there be evidence enough to save you from the prosecutor?

POWER OF CONSERVATION

When it comes to environmental conservation, we cannot underestimate the power of one.

It took one woman — Rachel Carson — through her book, Silent Spring, to birth environmentalism after she created awareness that human beings were harming the environment. Similarly, each of us can have a lasting impact on nature with just one action.

Because the environment is communal, we forget that we are individually responsible for the condition of our immediate environment and that a single individual can influence hundreds, if not thousands, in the right direction.

Like other behaviours, environmentally positive behaviours can be learnt over time through association or observation. This goes to show that environmental protection begins with knowledge. You who know about the importance of conservation are the beginning point or catalyst for those around you who may not know or don’t care. In fact, the late Wangari Maathai put it exceptionally well: “I always say that the burden is on those who know. We are the ones who must take action.”

POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR

When you who knows creates systems that encourage positive environmental behaviours in people and persist in doing them, they will begin, albeit slowly, to imitate them.

However, it is not enough that they do what you are doing, they must understand why.

The ‘why’ is what will keep these behaviours going even when you are not around. The ‘why’ is empowering and creates value. People cannot protect the environment unless they value it and are empowered. This begins with information.

The ‘why’ also causes people to grasp the reality that the environment is theirs and they must jealously guard it.

You may find that you did many great things for the environment in 2018; you planted trees, supported environmental causes and ran a marathon. Well, continue on and be an influencer.

You may also find that your score isn’t so environmentally friendly and could be wondering how you can begin this journey come 2019.

First, conduct a self evaluation.

What are your thoughts about the environment? What is their basis? The more you understand your foundation, the more you can change.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Second, decide on a SMART eco-friendly goal and accompanying simple activities. You can start by having a water bottle instead of buying bottled water, eating in instead of packing your meal, reusing to cut down waste production, switching off electricity when you’re not using it, using energy-saving bulbs and binning your trash.

Third, understand that conservation requires a level of selflessness and the ability to choose a simple lifestyle that supports the environment.

It must be a sober commitment. The key to doing this is being intentional. Daily. In case you’re thinking it is impossible, we thought we would not survive the plastic bag ban! We did.

Our country’s laws and policies may not fully support behaviours like waste segregation and recycling but if we create demand for such infrastructure, the leadership will have no other option but to provide it.

Finally, there are two categories of individuals: Those who believe in personal responsibility, and those who don’t. Choose who of the two you will be in 2019 and beyond.


How viable are the tiny ‘plots for sale’ in the middle of nowhere?

Some of my most trying moments come when and where least expected; like when someone you know requesting to be shown some plot far out in the middle of some vast undeveloped zone where the costs of relocating the perimeter boundaries would look disproportionately high.

Let me share two such experiences.

In the first one, someone needed to be shown some plot in the heart of Kajiado County, far from any known landmarks.

The other was off Kangundo Road, but so far inside that even the owner could not sufficiently describe or remember the location.

In each of the cases, the investments date back years, certainly not less than 10.

SUB-DIVISION SCHEMES

The plots were derived from sub-division schemes where some investor bought a piece of land and sub-divided it, generating hundreds of small plots.

These were then offered for sale and aggressively marketed through social networks, newspapers and radio stations.

The resultant commoditisation and commercialisation of land has become a vogue business model with some real estate actors.

Sizes of resultant plots have been standardised at 50 by 100 or 100 by 100 feet in width and length.

For the majority who prefer dealing in the imperial system of metrics when handling matters land, this translates to about one eighth or one quarter of an acre respectively.

MAXIMISE PROFITS

But in an attempt to maximise profits, some dealers are even going lower, to one-sixteenth-acre plots.

In the subject sites above, there were no serviceable access roads, power, water or sewer services nearby.

After viewing the plots, the respective owners returned to the city and waited for “development to get nearer”.

Close to two decades later, it has not.

But the owners continue to wait in hope.

The above experience allows us to enter discussion on a public matter that is yet to fully unfold.

Various questions beg. How far shall we go in fragmenting agricultural and pastoral land?

How come the organs entrusted with approval, usually the land control boards and county government planning units, allow this practice to continue unchecked? Is it that they lack the necessary technical capacity or have they become partisan facilitators?

What will be the future of some of these schemes where many tiny unserviced plots stand “in the middle of nowhere” and are hence unsuitable for commercial and residential purposes, yet are singularly inadequate for pastoralist or agricultural activities?

These few questions, among the many pertinent ones that beg, suffice to bring out the dilemma we face.

Looked at from a profit perspective, the schemes make sense.

The scheme drivers make quick cash. But the buyers and county governments lose out. Investment capital, which could perhaps be committed to other faster options, ends up tied for long periods of time.

The county governments also end up with land use planning challenges and unjustifiable pressure for provision of services.

Therefore, much as there is a strong case for investor gains, there is a weak one for the beneficiaries and public interest.

Striking a balance on this will hence be hard fought since a convergence is a recipe for political and executive influence.

But county governments which wish to stem the practice will need to be prepared to take heavy punches from investors who have mainstreamed this model!

At the same time, landed and built environment professionals who facilitate the planning and implementation of the schemes, yet knowing that they undermine land use and are unviable for the individual buyers, should be bolder and advise otherwise.

While they await the anticipated land use plans, county governments could meanwhile issue interim guidelines to land control boards within their jurisdictions to avoid escalation of the malpractice.

It also behoves us to advise young investors to watch out for some of these rather attractive but unrewarding investment options which ultimately tie up their capital and savings with little hope for returns in the future.

GATED COMMUNITIES

But this caveat must not be misperceived to include investors who have invested in gated communities in strategic locations off highways or peripheries of urban centres.

Most such investors have preceded the developments with the construction of good access roads, the provision of power, water and even fibre optics for internet supply in some cases.

Such investments improve housing for Kenyans, enhance group security, reduce the costs of utility services and alleviate our housing deficit.

No one should expect large plot sizes in such circumstances unless where developers deliberately wish to provide graduated plot size categories at different purchase or rental rates.

Gated communities should be indeed encouraged in the interest of optimising on the shrinking urban and peri-urban spaces.

Overall, this challenge amplifies the need for the expedient implementation of our land use policy.

The national and county implementation organs need to be put in place urgently.