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Thursday, December 6th, 2018

 

Police laxity, ineptitude to blame for Kerio Valley violence

By RUTTO C. LOTIRGHOR
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Protection of the lives and property of the Kenyans is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

It is sad that cattle rustling has continued between the Pokot and Marakwet. The two communities on the floor of the Kerio Valley, which are prone to the menace, have for many years been a very good example of harmonious coexistence.

However, outdated cultural practices have informed the recurrence and increase in fights between them, which have claimed hundreds of lives, and caused the loss of thousands of livestock and injuries to many.

The ongoing violence between the two communities has largely been blamed on police ineptitude and laxity.

On the most recent incident, despite advance detailed reports having being made to the police, security apparatus have failed to crack down on perpetrators of the vice.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i issued a stern warning of dire consequences for anyone causing trouble between the two communities. The execution of that directive is the duty of the police but they elected to go quiet.

Over the past month, there have been a few instances of cattle theft, which police did not address. These include the theft of five exotic cows in Murkutwa.

The bandits were pursued up to Kerio at Lotyoo and police in Kolloa accordingly notified, but they did not act on time. The names of the four culprits were given to them with a precise description of the cattle but police have never acted.

Due to such laxity, rustlers struck again, at Chewara, and made away with nine head of cattle. Accurate information was given to the police on the culprits and their whereabouts but no action was taken.

The two instances flung the door open for cattle rustlers to continue wreaking havoc in the valley, which has been turned into a battlefield.

On December 5, a gang of cattle rustlers struck in Koibirir Location and drove away several cattle and injured residents, but no action was taken.

The ineptitude, complacency and reluctance by police began when two officers, each from the Pokot and Marakwet communities, were deployed to take charge of security in the opposite areas.

The officers, probably for fear of reprisals by locals in case they did their work well, seem helpless in the face of bandit attacks.

The people of Kerio Valley want to coexist amicably with their neighbours in order to create a conducive environment for their children to go to school.

They also want to see their businesses thrive, agriculture flourish and harmony created between the communities.

The government should, therefore, move in and arrest the lawlessness before it spreads to other areas of the valley.


Good news for tourism

By EDITORIAL
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At a time when gloomy news of economic hardships, corruption, mismanagement and other vices dominates, reports of any kind of national breakthrough in any sphere will always come as a soothing balm. For us, the frequent exploits in sports, especially global athletics, have been a breath of fresh air.

However, a major foreign exchange earner for the economy, tourism, has not been left behind. This time around, the coastal circuit is wallowing in the excitement of really good news that should see many more visitors attracted to our shores.

Kenya’s beaches on the Indian Ocean, which are a huge attraction in the industry, and whose fortunes have been steadily improving, thanks to improved security, have been voted among the world’s best.

The country was honoured after impressing a panel of 1,000 of the travel industry’s top professionals. Five of the beaches — Diani, Mombasa, Watamu, Chale Island and Shela — feature in the Top 50 African Beaches Category by Flightnetwork.com, an online travel publication, which ranked 400 of the top beaches.

COMPLACENCY

This vote of confidence by people well-versed in the travel industry should bear even more fruit as such ratings are keenly followed by would-be tourists and seasoned travellers in deciding their next destinations.

Being chosen among the very best is a clear indication that there is some good work being done.

However, it would be foolhardy to now rest on our laurels, believing that, having climbed to the top in the industry, we will remain there even if we don’t work hard.

Nothing can be more misleading. Cleanliness and enhanced security are among the factors that have been pivotal in this success.

The challenge is not to just strive and maintain the high standards, but actually surpass the heights attained to keep the competition at bay.


In the long term, have all-Kenyan prosecution

By EDITORIAL
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The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Noordin Haji, has clearly demonstrated drive and conviction to deal with corruption.

Within a relatively short period, he has pushed many cases to the courts and showed that with determination, the fight against graft is manageable.

In his new push, the DPP has engaged an international lawyer to help with the prosecution of some high-profile cases that require a certain level of independence.

Similarly, he has announced plans to advertise for legal services to get private practising lawyers to join his prosecution team.

That is the way to go. The DPP’s office is depleted and requires strengthening. Even so, this must be discussed extensively.

For a start, there is a serious contractual problem at the office that leads to constant exits of prosecutors. And this is not new.

Most lawyers recruited to serve at the DPP’s office have complained of poor terms of service and slow career progression. Consequently, the office cannot attract and retain sufficient and well-qualified staff.

To this extent, the DPP ought to come up with a long-term scheme for compensating prosecutors well so as to attract and retain the best in the profession.

The second critical question is the sustainability of the outsourcing model. In the interim, it is justified because it can help to expedite prosecutions and disposal of the many cases pending before the courts.

But it is not convincing to argue that the country lacks competent and qualified lawyers to prosecute any of the cases.

Fighting corruption is costly and the government must be ready to spend on it.

But it is critical that the DPP tells the public what it would cost to retain and compensate those private lawyers being engaged to prosecute cases. We are talking about viability and sustainability.

Alongside that, we must observe the fundamentals of the law. The main reason why many corruption cases flounder is not the lack of prosecutors, but weak evidence arising from shoddy investigations.

And the tragedy is that when such cases flop, they embolden the corrupt to continue with their nefarious activities.

Therefore, the whole question of ending graft must be a wholesome undertaking that starts from investigations through the prosecution and, finally, judgment.

We acknowledge that the DPP is on the right track in the anti-graft campaign, but we caution that he should be methodical.

It may be prudent in the short run to outsource legal services but we need a long-term strategy to ensure an independent prosecuting office fully staffed with Kenyans and properly compensated and inspired to fight not only graft, but also all other crimes.


To end Nairobi traffic woes, let’s put the right brains in City Hall

By MUTUMA MATHIU
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Can I ask Mike Sonko Mbuvi to give me back my vote? The unwise decision to vote for him, a hasty reaction to former Governor Evans Kidero’s dismal performance and a calculation that none of the other candidates could win, is one I regret everyday I spend in the traffic.

But it is the decision to suspend the access of matatus into the city centre, setting off one of the most painful days for commuters and motorists alike, that has left me convinced that we shouldn’t really be bothering Mr Mbuvi with the complexities of managing a modern city. His talents, such as they are, are clearly elsewhere.

It’s 7.4 kilometres from my abode to the parking at my workplace. For the morning commute, I have to budget for two-and-a-half hours to be on time for a meeting at 9am.

For a meeting earlier than that, I have to be in the traffic by 5.45am, which means I am in town by 6.15am, with loads of precious time to burn.

I am viciously and vociferously opposed to this waste of my life. As a man whose duties extend as late as 9pm, the most painful thing in life is to waste my morning.

Many mornings, the commute is, mercifully, only an hour; but that is still a complete crawl. So, when the governor banned matatus from the CBD in some hare-brained park-and-walk-in-the-sewage stunt, the matatu folks, who are not given to deep introspection, parked in the middle of the highways to let off passengers, or pick them up, causing a massive gridlock.

Also, everyone with a car put it on the road. And then, their discipline being fragile, cracked at the first sight of congestion and tried to drive sideways and on the wrong side of the road, leading to hours spent in the fumes.

As for the police, they have no business with “personal” cars; if there are no matatus on the road, you will be hard pressed to find an officer.

CONGESTION

What was astounding was not just the governor’s ignorance about how a park-and-walk system might work; it is the extent to which he does not give a hoot about the city residents.

Walking through the sewage and the rain from Muthurwa or braving the muggers of Globe Cinema roundabout to or from the CBD is humiliating, dangerous and bad for health; nobody should inflict it on you lightly.

I shall say nothing about that blasé crack that most city residents are unfit and needed the exercise.

Congestion is costly to the economy and the person. The impact on health — disease caused by pollution, high blood pressure, depression, fatigue — is unacceptably high.

We lose Sh2.1 billion a year in man hours spent swearing at one another in traffic. Add to that the reduced productivity caused by sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety.

And, of course, there is the millions of litres of fuel that we burn going nowhere in a hurry.

INFRASTRUCTURE

In my opinion, congestion ranks among the top problems residents of most urban centres in Kenya face. Unfortunately, the folks we have elected have no clue, capacity or real interest in it.

I spent some time researching this issue, especially in one of my favourite cities, New York, which has truly frightening traffic.

It is big, with 8.5 million people, millions of them on the move everyday. Queens has the longest commute of any US county and New York’s bridges and tunnels are congested from 6am-9am and 2pm-8pm. New York has an extensive, if old, transport infrastructure.

I don’t know whether sophisticated solutions, the so-called integrated mobility framework, would work for a city like Nairobi, whose biggest problem is lack of infrastructure, users do not know how to optimally utilise the network and the transport managers are, clearly, deranged.

Such a system improves the capacity of the infrastructure by coordinating their use: subway, bus, taxi, shared bikes, et cetera.

A park-and-ride system would work for Nairobi if we developed parking spaces away from the city and a good public transport system: You suck commuters from private vehicles and efficiently enable them to complete their journey through a mass transit system.

Even a park-and-walk system requires secure walkways, parking spaces and effective traffic marshalling.

But we don’t even have to go there. The scarcest commodity in the management of Nairobi today, it appears, is creative thinking and a willingness to enforce.

We need congestion pricing to force us to pay through the nose for parking and for getting into the city during peak hours.

This will compel residents to plan their lives away from the busiest periods and consider using public means. Driving into the CBD is not a human right.

Secondly, we need discipline, better driving skills and enforcement of traffic law. This can’t be done by the police or city askaris. We need Martians to rescue us.

Finally, we need to free ourselves from matatu colonialism and replace these small smokestacks with big, efficient buses and to turn, in a big way, to non-road transport.

We should have bike lanes and walkways to encourage folks to walk and ride to work. I am reasonably confident that none of this will happen with Mr Mbuvi in City Hall.

Not that I have anything against him; I am just convinced that he is the wrong guy for this kind of thing. I wish I could get back my vote.


Give the matatu industry a bad name, then run them out of town

By PETER MWAURA
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First, some home truth idioms. “It’s very difficult to lose a bad reputation, even if it’s unjustified” and “Give a dog a bad name and hang him”. With that understanding, let’s listen to a complaint by Caxton Muune.

The commuter transport systems engineer accuses NMG of open bias against the matatu industry. He says recent news coverage of the industry amounts to a “ruthless and punitive offensive against matatu operators and their millions of passengers”.

Prof Muune accuses the Daily Nation of publishing strongly worded editorials in a sustained “character assassination of matatu investors”.

He contends that, beginning with the front page headline, Crash driver was 72 years (DN, Oct 18), NMG has scandalised and slandered matatu investors using language usually employed to demonise lords of organised crime.

ROAD CRASHES

Accusing NMG of “outright incitement” and “disaffectionate hate speech” against the industry, he complains of the “wholesome condemnation” of the matatu fraternity” and denunciation of the “industrious” matatu people as “criminal gangsters”.

He accuses NMG of profiling matatu investors and heaping all the blame for road crashes and congestion on the industry, the net effect being the “heavy-booted clampdown” on matatus.

Prof Muune complains that there is not much of road safety content in the media “that could be useful in helping the public to understand the key problem areas regarding road safety and matatu business operations “beyond the social mob-lynching mentality”. This has exposed “a glaring deficiency in organisational capacity building for news coverage of the sprawling informal sector business and its investors”.

I have mulled over his lengthy complaint — a whole 1,038 words — and the stories Prof Muune pinpoints to prove his case.

I find the stories do not support his wide-sweeping claims. However, some stories I found on my own could have used less extreme language.

For example, the article by Macharia Gaitho, Driving criminal elements out of public transport the answer (DN, Nov 20), describes matatus as “the mafia” and “the organised criminal enterprise that passes for the country’s commuter transport system”.

Surely, not all matatu operators or owners are mafioso or members of an organised criminal enterprise.

The article continues: “It follows that solutions will only be found when the criminal elements are driven out of town, and the way opened for legitimate investors to enter the public transport sector.” Surely, can any investor in a legal business be illegitimate?

“You do not force the Mafia to reform or to comply with the laws; you cut off its head! It’s as simple as that,” Mr Gaitho states. No wonder, Prof Muune complains of “outright incitement” and “disaffectionate hate speech” by NMG.

REPUTATION

Other Daily Nation articles that could have avoided sweeping generalisations include John Kamau’s End of the road for matatu gangs in new crack down (Oct 18), and Mutuma Mathiu’s Removal of thugs from roads best news yet from these shores (Oct 19).

Mr Gaitho, in particular, could say all that he says and get away with it since the matatu industry is like a dog that has been given a bad name and it has stuck.

You can hang the dog or run it out of town. The matatu industry is virtually incapable of having its damaged reputation further damaged: It’s libel-proof.

Send your complaints to [email protected] Call or text 0721 989 264 ‘Public Editor’s Notebook’ takes a break until January 11, 2019.


Going green only way to save Earth

By ISAIAH ESIPISU
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More than 30,000 delegates — including environmental experts, policymakers, civil society organisations, government delegations and United Nations representatives — are meeting in Katowice, Poland, for two weeks to discuss the future of Earth in regard to climate change.

And the message is very clear. In line with the Paris Agreement, an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse-gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, the world is raring to go green starting in 2020.

Kenya has been part of the negotiations calling for a green economy and scaling down of greenhouse gas emissions for the past 24 years, and this could be one of the reasons why President Uhuru Kenyatta, through his Jubilee Party manifesto, promised to protect the environment partly using green energy.

The greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are important for keeping the earth warm upon reaction with rays from the sun.

FOSSIL FUELS

But over-emission of the gases has made the planet warmer than required, leading to over-evaporation of water from its surface, which leads to droughts and erratic rains without a particular pattern. In short, it has changed the climatic conditions.

That is why the world is calling on countries to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and energy from coal, which, when burned, releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere.

Instead, they are encouraged to turn to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal, while at the same time planting trees that will absorb some of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere.

So far, Kenya is doing well and is on the right path in terms of investment in green energy with 84 percent of all electricity installations being green energy.

However, constructing the proposed Sh200 billion coal plant in Lamu is widely seen as likely to negate these gains.

Though proponents of the project say that the coal plant — which would be the first in Kenya and the largest in the region — will use the latest climate-friendly technology, the bottom line is, once coal is burned, it emits carbon, and the gas ends up in the atmosphere.

Many countries, including the developed ones, have used coal and still do to generate electricity.

But most of them did not have alternatives when they started using coal yet they needed electricity to warm their houses, especially during winter, when temperatures drop to negative figures.

With new technology, however, most of them are shifting to renewable energy.

Kenya can, therefore, leapfrog this stage because there are many good options and the international community is keen on helping the country to solve its energy needs for industrial and domestic use.

If you ask Mr Peter Othengo, the focal point for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Kenya at the National Treasury, he will tell you that in the past five years, the World Bank, through the Climate Investment Fund, has given Kenya Sh5 billion to develop geothermal energy.

As a result, Kenya leads in Africa in terms of geothermal electricity generation with an output of 534 megawatts.

By 2022, KenGen expects to generate at least 1,119MW of electricity from geothermal sources and up to 5,000MW by 2030, half of the country’s geothermal potential.

In contrast, should the coal power project be implemented, it will inject only 1,050MW into the national grid. This with dire consequences of coal pollution, while most of the raw materials will be imported.

Coal should therefore never be an option — especially at this time when the international community is willing to support the country to adapt to climate change through financial aid and technology transfer.

In 2014, for example, Kenya was one of the seven countries that were funded for the readiness actions to develop climate-related policies.

As a result, the National Climate Finance Policy was enacted by Parliament on February 22 this year, becoming the first such document ever.

Through the UNFCCC financing mechanism, Kenya received Sh1.1 billion and Sh7.5 billion more from the European Investment Bank to finance off-grid electricity, especially in the rural areas.

Indeed, more financiers are keen to help Kenya to develop electricity using green energy infrastructure.

With all the geothermal sources, mixed with hydro, wind and solar, there can be no reason why anyone should think of coal as an option for energy.

Mr Esipisu is a journalist and the coordinator for the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC). [email protected]


Did Kamaru record 2,000 songs?

By NATION REPORTER
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Last week, we questioned media reports that Joseph Kamaru had recorded 2,000 songs. Dr Joyce Nyairo, one of the writers who made the claim, has responded. Here is a summary of her response:

We do risk misleading the public when we fail to explain numbers and how they have been arrived at. My count of Kamaru’s songs is from anecdotal evidence.

It arises from the partially corroborated conversations I had with him. It comprises songs he wrote and recorded and others he said he wrote and never recorded.

It also comprises those he mixed, produced and collaborated on in his studios with other artistes and those songs he re-membered because he acquired their rights.

My count is 1,602 and it takes cognizance of (lewd) mugithi remixes and samples of Kamaru’s songs by one-man guitarists at live shows because the artistes ought to have paid Kamaru royalties for those covers.

Sometimes I encounter anecdotal evidence even where I am not actively looking! You have asked where these songs are. If our current conversation shows anything, it is just how desperately we, as a country, are in need of an accessible museum of popular music.

And for such a museum to function with excellence, we must have the curatorial knowledge and distinct national practices of documentation.

And as we build that museum — whether as a physical or online space — we must acknowledge that the reliable archive that was VoK/KBC suffered the vagaries of poor policing and wanton stripping.

Still, it is remotely possible that the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has an archive which, however publicly inaccessible, is up to date.

What would remain open to scholarly debates such as the ones that I try to further is whether MCSK and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) methods of attribution are the most just for song-working credits.

Look out for the forthcoming publication, Nuu Ucio: 21 Essays in Memory of Joseph Kamaru. My prayer is that it will generate robust debates and more scholarly work on a man whose craft should be remembered and re-membered for centuries.

Kamaru recorded more than 2,000 songs and sold five million copies. I managed him for seven years. I authored his raw burial programme.

His debut single, “Uthoni wa Mbathi-ini”, sold more than 250,000 vinyl records, followed by “Kahora Mwalimu”, “Nuu Ucio Waringa Murango”, “J.M. Kariuki” — a million and counting.

— George Gichuna

It’s possible Kamaru recorded 2,000 songs or a number close to that. His “Nguina Ndi na Tha” and related songs are about 50. Mau Mau songs are about 30.

— Harun Kimani

Your negative attitude towards Kamaru makes you lower the number of songs to only 34. For your information, Inooro FM’s ‘Ngogoyo’ presenter Kamau wa Kang’ethe played more than 100 Kamaru songs for four hours on the Sunday before he was buried.

— Sent from 0721 *** 500

Kamaru recorded 600-800 songs maximum. I recorded his gospel songs — no more than eight — which did not do as well as he’d expected. He did his last recording, a political song, with me in May 2017, but it was not released to the public.

— Alan Kanyotu, Studio Sawa Sound

If a reporter writes ‘2,000 songs’, the editor should ask: ‘Is this figure correct? Try to find out’. If the journalist does not verify it, then the sentence should read: “Kamaru claims to have recorded 2000 songs.”

— Sent from 0721 *** 505

I read your piece on the late Kamaru’s “2,000 songs” with a wry smile. We Kenyans really love to lay it thick, don’t we? I couldn’t help thinking of another ‘fact’ which we put out there with a (almost) sense of pride, that, Kibera hosts the largest slum in Africa. Really?

Nairobi has a population of approximately 3.7 million (3.2 million as per 2009 census) and 42 percent of the Kenyan population lives below the poverty line.

Lagos has a population of 21 million and half of Nigeria’s population lives in extreme poverty. It is therefore inconceivable that a city with a population seven times more than Nairobi, with such a high level of poverty, would have a smaller slum.

— Patrick Osare

Mr Mwaura, seriously a man of your age, let me ask you: Will this help us whether Kamaru recorded 2,000 songs or not? Will it change the lives of Kenyans? I think the Kenyan media are full of educated fools!

Instead of highlighting the real issues affecting our country and how we can make a difference, you are highlighting petty issues.

— Amos Wamathai

Email: [email protected] Call or text 0721 989 264 ‘Readers Have Their Say’ will take a break until January 11, 2019.


World cocoa supply surplus to grow in 2018/19 –JSG

NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) – The global cocoa market will see a supply surplus of 71,900 tonnes in the current 2018/19 year, on the back of last year’s smaller surplus, Connecticut-based brokerage JSG Commodities said on Thursday.

* That follows a surplus of 21,620 tonnes last year reported by the International Cocoa Organization.

* World production is expected to be 4.81 million tonnes in the current crop year that began Oct. 1, higher than last year’s 4.64 million tonnes, said Eric Bergman, a vice president at JSG Commodities in Norwalk.

* Total grindings in 2018/19 are expected to be 4.69 million tonnes, Bergman said.

* Top producer Ivory Coast is in the midst of harvesting what is expected to be a record-large crop.

* Output from second-largest producer Ghana appears to be stagnating, but steadily growing production from Ecuador is helping to offset the effects of that stagnation, Bergman said. (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


UPDATE 1-UK's Tullow oil seeking partners in bid for additional Ghana block

(Adds quotes, details)

ACCRA, Dec 6 (Reuters) – UK oil explorer Tullow Oil is seeking partners in a bid to acquire a new oil block in Ghana which launched its first oil bidding round in October, the company’s managing director Kweku Awotwi said on Thursday.

Tullow is already lead operator of two oil fields in Ghana including its flagship offshore Jubilee field, with cumulative output currently at around 160,000 barrels per day, Awotwi told reporters in Accra.

“We are looking for both local and international companies to partner with in the bidding rounds and we’ve spoken to a number of them,” he said.

“It is obvious there is good resource out there and the thinking has always been that you cannot do it alone,” Awotwi later told Reuters.

Tullow had to delay the development of its second field – Tweneboah, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) due to a maritime border dispute between Ghana and its western neighbour Ivory Coast.

Awotwi said following a resolution of the dispute by the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea last year, Tullow had drilled three wells for TEN and two more for Jubilee. “Things are improving and production is going up,” he said, projecting that output could reach 180,000 barrels daily by the end of March next year. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Richard Balmforth)


After 14 years, investor to get Sh114.8m in Meru land row

By ALEX NJERU
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The Environment and Land Court in Chuka has ordered Meru County to pay an investor Sh114.8 million for the Nteere Park land in Meru town.

The investor, Mr Isaiah Mugambi, filed the case 14 years ago in the Meru court seeking to reclaim ownership of the two parcels of land that had been taken over by the defunct Meru Municipal Council.

HOTEL DEMOLISHED

Mr Mugambi sued the attorney-general, chief land registrar and the county government.

He claimed the defendants destroyed a hotel, whose construction had been ongoing on the land that he purchased and issued with leases for 99 years.

The businessman sought to be paid Sh2.8 million for the value of the demolished building and Sh126.2 million for loss of the user premises for the remaining 89 years of lease.

In a judgment delivered by the court on April 27, 2016, the plaintiff was awarded Sh63.1 million for loss of user premises, Sh2.8 million for the destroyed building, Sh2 million as aggravated damages and Sh1 million for general damages.

However, the county government appealed the ruling at the Court of Appeal sitting in Nyeri, which upheld the compensation.

The Court of Appeal established that the buildings that were being put up on the land had been approved by the municipal council.

The case was transferred to the Environment court in Chuka on July 3, 2017 before Justice P.M. Njoroge.

The court awarded Mr Mugambi Sh109,585,488.65 for losses based based on valuation done by Mr Vincnt Kibet from Afriland Valuers Limited.