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Thursday, September 5th, 2019

 

Lac Ahémé : Le dernier hippopotame est mort

Le seul spécimen rescapé d’hippopotame du lac Ahémé est mort hier dans le village de Cotovi dans la commune d’Allada, a annoncé l’Ong Eco-Bénin. La piste d’une mort naturelle est évoquée par les communautés en attendant la poursuite des enquêtes pour élucider réellement les causes de cette disparition. Selon les informations recoupées, l’animal aurait passé le demi-siècle d’existence aussi bien dans l’eau que sur la terre ferme, excédant même l’espérance de vie des hippopotames, comprise entre 40 et 50 ans.  

Il faut souligner que Eco-Bénin est une association qui dispose d’un réseau de sites d’écotourisme solidaire autogérés par les populations locales pour de réelles rencontres humaines dans des initiatives de tourisme chez l’habitant et des services touristiques responsable et équitable. Son combat pour la sauvegarde des espèces animales en voie de disparition l’a par ailleurs distinguée.  


South Africa’s xenophobic attacks make ‘Sarafina’ look like bad joke

The xenophobic attack in South Africa has triggered various reactions and emotions from local citizens and netizens worldwide.

Nigeria, being the most affected or targeted, has begun repudiations in equal measures leaving other countries helplessly puzzled.

As drums of vengeance and angst boils in Nigeria, introspection is inevitable to both individuals and government.

This matter, unchecked or unbridled, may propagate Africa to a state of animosity never witnessed and reorient the sub-Saharan region into a gulag.

Major world problems today, including hunger, stem from the adverse or extreme levels of wanton corruption, perjury, mass murders, religious intolerance, ignorance, disease, poverty and plunder.

Death of individuals, states, dreams, values and of humanity, needless to add that extremes of what hate can stew, is prevalent in South of Africa.

OPPORTUNITY

South Africans are not just killing foreigners but their Bantu brothers and sisters, who are evenly spread across Africa.

They are killing mothers and fathers of innocent children whose only mistake was to dare settle there to fend for their families.

Their other mistake, perhaps, was to perceive, like most of us, that South Africa is a land of great freedom fighters like Madiba.

The land of Tata, who spent 27 years incarcerated for a goal humane and just. His fight was for humanity.

Ironically, some of the recent crop of emerging leaders of South Africa, like Julius Malema, are on record as advocating a united African front.

It is all gnats buzz, to say the least, for how is a united Africa possible when the few Africans at the southern tip are being hacked to death or set ablaze on flames of profanity.

Do you realise that Sarafina was a big joke? The movie was a lie to society. It was a hoax!

You see, the South Africans have clearly gone against the natural laws of growth and expansion.

Consequently, the eruption of the barbaric opprobria from the south should only lead us to thoroughly reflect as Kenyans.

To reflect upon the lives we impact and upon the kind of leaders we elect, and pick them based more on what they do and not merely what they say.

Nobody should ever purport to want the best for yourself than you would want it your own self.

That is to essentially say that nobody has the right to impose on you rules or laws that they think is best for you; since the big decision on how you live life should come from you who builds the social fabric to a larger network of society.

It is always important to recognise the fact that any man is a free being by divine ordination and that the key role of the government is to protect and to uphold law and order.

Therefore, any welfare roles it plays outside the core should always be subjected to deeper scrutiny by subjects and, more so, when life lived is in constant contradictions to what we profess as a nation.

It is time to reflect more on the causes than effects.

Oguna Mamba, Opinion Track Ltd. www.opiniontrack.co.ke


Get a lasting formula for funding counties

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The resolution of the impasse over allocation of funds to counties presents a case to revisit the funding model for the devolved units. What is obtaining is unsustainable.

Although the Constitution stipulates the minimum revenue allocation — at least 15 per cent of the latest audited government incomes — the money is given on the whims of those in authority.

Worse, counties have singularly failed to raise own revenues for upkeep.

Since the Constitution assigns several functions to counties, including managing healthcare, those units should receive commensurate amounts for them to deliver.

Thus, a single institution like the National Treasury should not be the determinant of the allocations.

Not when the principle of the Constitution is dispersal of powers across levels of governments and institutions.

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SERVICES RESUME

In all, the Senate demonstrated leadership by dropping its hard stance on the amount to be allocated to counties.

It yielded to the proposal by the National Assembly of allocating Sh316 to the counties, bringing to an end a long-standing deadlock that nearly stalled operations in the counties.

Matters had reached tipping levels with employees going for months without pay, leading to industrial unrest in some counties.

The Council of Governors had even threatened to close county offices and release employees to go home to await resolution of the stalemate and remittance of the cash, as their continued stay at the workplace was untenable.

No activity was going on. Services had been paralysed and things threatened to get out of hand.

POWER PLAYS

But we should not have reached that stage. It is despicable that county business would grind to a halt just because of territorial war between the two chambers of Parliament.

That egoistic legislators held millions of citizens to ransom because they could not agree on a figure to be allocated to the counties.

It is quite unsettling, considering that the dispute was over some Sh20 billion — not so significant, given that such sums of money are lost every year due to corruption and pilferage.

To be sure, the National Assembly had proposed an allocation of Sh316 billion but the Senate wanted Sh336 billion based on advice from the Commission of Revenue Allocation.

But the National Assembly was adamant, arguing that the National Treasury was in the red and unable to commit huge funds to the counties.

Counties deserve better funding to serve the people at the grassroots.

Notwithstanding that, it must be observed that counties have become veritable dens of corruption and wastefulness.

It is not enough for them to be allocated more funds but must be put to task to use the cash prudently and held to account for sleaze and larceny.


Enhance safety in parks

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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After seven people were swept away in flash floods at a popular tourist destination, the concerned authorities must be chastised for not doing enough to ensure the safety of visitors.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has terribly let down the country by failing to take tangible measures to prevent the deaths at the Hell’s Gate National Park, in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

The KWS was, no doubt, aware of the grave danger the people visiting this major tourist attraction risk as there have been fatal incidents in the past.

The seven who perished in the raging waters included five members of one family. They were out for fun but tragedy struck. Their bodies were washed 50 kilometres away.

This area is prone to flash floods during rains.

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The least one would expect is a notice warning visitors to avoid dangerous sites and requiring them to have or be provided with protective gear.

In another equally horrible incident seven years ago, seven members of a church group were flung to their deaths in furious floods.

In the very name, Hell’s Gate, is an eerie element of caution — even as the numbers of tourists continue to swell — hence the dire need for safety precautions.

The park attracts foreigners seeking adventure in the undulating gorges, where they can hardly see the waters speeding towards them before they are swept away.

And it’s not asking too much of the wildlife agency to have a standby emergency rescue team.

Visits to the park have now been suspended, but after a tragic loss of lives. Hopefully, this will provide a window to implement a raft of safety precautions.

The KWS must make safety in all the tourist attractions across the country one of its key priorities.


Disturbing report by NTSA on road fatalities despite stiffer rules

OUMA WANZALABy OUMA WANZALA
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Kenyan roads have claimed more lives this year compared to 2018 despite stringent rules introduced by the government at the start of the year.

The tough rules were meant to curb road accidents which continue to claim more lives annually. According to the latest survey report by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) dated September 2, a record 2,326 people have lost their lives on Kenyan roads compared to 2,021 who died by the same date in 2018.

Pedestrians remain the most vulnerable group of road users with 904 losing their lives this year compared to last year’s 768. In the same year 214 drivers have lost their lives in road accidents compared to 204 in 2018.

This year, 475 passengers have succumbed to road carnage, more than the 2018 record of 472 deaths while 225 pillion passengers died.

Whereas a total of 49 pedal cyclists died on the road this year, a staggering 459 motor cyclists have died in 2019 compared to 365 last year. 

“In 2019, 4,315 people involved in road accidents sustained serious injuries compared to 2,978 in 2018.  While those who suffered minor injuries were 3,446 in 2019 compared to 3,694 in 2018,” reads the report by NTSA.

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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has promised that the measures put up by the government will be institutionalised.

The government also promised to crack down on unroadworthy vehicles.


21 years dating, a wedding and death in 19 short days

GAITANO PESSABy GAITANO PESSA
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When Doris Wako said “Yes, I do” to the love of her life Bernard Levy Mwato on August 17, she knew that her best moment in life had just arrived.

She cherished Mwato and he adored her. It had taken them 21 years of dating — since their high school days — and they were ready and excited about their marriage.

“Till death do us apart,” they vowed on their colourful wedding day at Our Lady of Grace and Compassion Primary School in Mundika, Busia County, two weeks ago.

Unknown to them death was lurking around the corner.

They were married for only 19 days when death suddenly ended their happily-ever-after dream.

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Ms Wako, an Administration Police officer based in Busia Town is mourning the untimely death of her 40-year-old husband.

On Wednesday, Mr Mwato had visited his uncle’s home in Funyula to collect a wedding gift.

He collapsed and was rushed to Busia County Referral Hospital where he was found to be dead.

Doris Wako and her husband Levy MwatoDoris Wako and her husband Levy Mwato dance during their wedding on August 17, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

The news was devastating to his 38-year-old newly-wed wife.

“Rest in peace my love, till we meet again,” Ms Wako posted on her Facebook page alongside one of their wedding photos.

The post was a great shock to friends and family who had attended their wedding. Friends expressed shock and grief on her timeline after learning of her loss.

Doris Wako, wedding, street childrenDoris Wako with street children during her wedding at Our Lady of Grace and Compassion Primary School in Mundika, Matayos, Busia County, on August 17, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“That’s too soon Levy. May the good God comfort and be with you in this trying moment. Take heart and courage, its everyone’s way,” said Fredrick Magero.

Walter Langat posted; “My heartfelt condolences to you and the entire family. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Be encouraged. Shalom.”

What set the wedding apart was that the bride had invited street children to attend and feast with other quests.

She had a soft spot for street children and was once posted on social media sharing a meal with them in Busia town.

She was also among 21 women honoured in March this year, during the International Women’s Day celebrations graced by Ms Ida Odinga and Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, for their role in helping the less privileged in society.

Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua praised Ms Wako for her kindness.

A post-mortem is being conducted to determine the cause of the death, although a heart attack is suspected.


Nyeri assembly says drugs worth Sh15m expired on oversupply

IRENE MUGOBy IRENE MUGO
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Universal Health Coverage (UHC) faces headwinds in Nyeri after it emerged that drugs worth Sh15 million had expired in 31 health facilities within the county.

The Public Accounts Committee also said that non-pharmaceutical items worth Sh771,143 had also expired. According to the report tabled at the County Assembly, the drugs that were bought were more than the required quantities.

“It was not explained why the drugs were procured beyond the required levels leading loss of public funds,” read the report.

PAC conducted its physical inspection in December last year.

Nyeri County is among the UHC piloting counties for its prevalence of lifestyle diseases alongside Kisumu, Isiolo and Machakos counties.

However, the health department told PAC that the list made available for expired drugs covers many years before devolution.

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County Health Executive Member Racheal Kamau said in the pre-devolution years, drugs were pushed from the Ministry of Health headquarters without considering the absorption rates.

PAC recommended that the minister presents a policy on expired drugs to the county assembly within 14 days.


Evans Kidero now wants bank records in case omitted

RICHARD MUNGUTIBy RICHARD MUNGUTI
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Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, on trial over a Sh213 million fraud case, wants the anti-graft court to throw out evidence from a bank manager saying it was illegally obtained.

Dr Kidero said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) obtained a detailed statement of accounts of the Nairobi City County from the City Hall branch of the Co-operative Bank without a court order on August 25, 2015.

ALLEGED FRAUD

Dr Kidero, who is being tried over alleged fraud alongside former county employees Lilian Ndegwa (county secretary), Jimmy Kiamba (chief finance officer, CFO), Gregory Mwakanongo (finance and planning minister), Stephen Osiro (head of accounting), Luke Mugo (acting CFO) and Maurice Okere (acting head of Treasury), said the trial “has been tainted by the evidence adduced by the banker.”

Dr Kidero said his rights in Articles 31 of the Constitution on privacy and Article 50 (2) of the Constitution on disclosure of evidence were violated by EACC when it presented evidence acquired without a court order.

Defence lawyer Tom Ojienda asked the court to expunge the evidence of Ms Charity Kagendo Williams, a manager of City Hall branch of the Co-operative Bank, saying it was irregularly obtained.

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He said the prosecution relied on a different set of bank statements and exhibits which had not been supplied to the defence.

Prof Ojienda said the evidence touched on periods far beyond the timeline stated in the court order that was obtained later. The order sought statements and exhibits for 2014/15 but the ones produced included the period 2013 -16.

He said Ms Williams confirmed in court that she was seeing the statements and exhibits for the first time.

Ms Williams told the court she never gave EACC the bank statements and exhibits and therefore Prof Ojienda asked the magistrate to expunge them from the court records.

“The accused and his lawyers feel they were conned by EACC which produced crucial evidence from the lender on account transactions by the county yet it knew it acquired the testimony irregularly,” Prof Ojienda told chief magistrate Douglas Ogot.

He said the statements and exhibits were prejudicial to the trial.

Prof Ojienda said the EACC, after discovering its serious omission, returned to court on April 18, 2016 and obtained a court order to investigate the county’s’ bank account at the Co-op Bank.

“The anti-graft body caused the chief magistrate who gave the orders to believe that it was genuine in its request yet it had obtained records earlier without a court order,” Prof Ojienda said.

The evidence acquired by EACC touched on transactions between the county government, Lodwar Wholesalers and Ngurumani Traders Limited.

Dr Kidero and the other suspects have denied authorising payments to the two companyies for services not rendered.

Ms Julie Aulo Soweto who is teaming up with Prof Ojienda and Senator James Orengo for Dr Kidero asked the court to uphold the law by excluding the evidence of Ms Williams.


Mama Lucy Hospital accused of negligence as twins die

ELIZABETH MERABBy ELIZABETH MERAB
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A first-time mother’s hope for double joy of twins was cruelly shattered after the baby boys died at the Mama Lucy Hospital under controversial circumstances.

Mercyline Ongachi, 20, was rushed to the hospital in Kayole after a healthcare worker attending to her at a maternity clinic in Mukuru Kwa Rueben noticed that she was experiencing premature labour.

UNATTENDED

Accompanied by a nurse and her two sisters in an ambulance, Mercyline is said to have arrived at the Mama Lucy Hospital mid-morning on August 25, in labour.

Mercyline was admitted and taken to a ward but was left unattended to, a human rights group pursuing her case said.

They added that the young woman delivered the first boy alone, despite calling for help.

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“After minutes of screaming for help, a health worker walked in but attended to another patient, who was in the same ward as Mercyline, forcing her to deliver alone,” Sandra Mwarania, a health rights campaigner at Amnesty International said.

Halfway through the second birth, the health worker, who according to the human rights organisation had no idea that the young mother was expectant with twins, moved in to help deliver the second baby.

“The attending health worker assessed the condition of the newborns and told Mercyline that they were both too young to survive,” said Ms Mwarania.

At this point, the worker allegedly decided not to place the infants, born at six months, in an incubator but instead placed them in a carton box without any attempt to save their lives.

The hospital is also accused of misplacing Mercyline’s documents forcing her to stay at the hospital overnight.

Amnesty International has written to the administration of Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital and national and county governments to demand an investigation into the death of the twins.

Dr Musa Mohammed, the medical superintendent at mama Lucy Hospital said he could not comment on the matter on phone.


Boris Johnson's brother quits UK government

AFPBy AFP
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt a fresh blow on Thursday when his brother Jo quit the government, saying he could no longer reconcile “family loyalty and national interest”.

Jo Johnson had campaigned strongly against Britain’s exit from the European Union in 2016, a position that put him at odds with his older and more famous brother Boris.

But he took a job in his brother’s government as universities and science minister, a position he had held previously.

“It’s been an honour to represent Orpington (a London suburb) for nine years & to serve as a minister under three prime ministers,” Jo Johnson tweeted.

“In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest — it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & minister.”

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Like many families in Britain, the Johnsons were deeply divided over Brexit — a third sibling, Rachel, and their father Stanley also wanted to stay in the EU.

Stanley worked for the European Commission in the 1970s and then served as a Conservative MEP, while Rachel ran unsuccessfully for the European Parliament in elections this year for the anti-Brexit Change UK party.

The resignation of Jo Johnson, who like his brother Boris is a former journalist, comes after 22 MPs left the governing Conservative party this week.

One MP defected to the pro-European Liberal Democrats and 21 were expelled for voting against the prime minister’s Brexit strategy.

His also resignation comes the day after MPs voted to legislate to stop Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the European Union without a divorce deal on October 31.

The opposition Labour party seized on his departure.

Deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted: “Once again, the people who trust Boris Johnson least are the ones who know him best.”

Pollster Joe Twyman tweeted: “It’s going to be a hell of a Christmas lunch in the Johnson household”.

BBC journalist David Cornock quipped: “A rare case of a politician resigning to spend less time with his family”.