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Thursday, October 3rd, 2019


SportPesa exit a huge relief amid addictive habit

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For the past almost six years, betting agency SportPesa has dominated Kenya’s economic activities.

People aged 19-48 are the most productive in any country. In Kenya however, that demographic is obsessed with betting as a way of income generation as opposed to conventional ways of wealth creation such as work, as it were before betting set in in 2014.

The age range heavily indulges in betting at the expense of productive work, in pursuit of ever-elusive quick money.

Youth and middle-aged people, especially men, intensely bet through the plethora of firms that mushroomed in the country.

Sports betting has bred a culture of laziness among the people because, in itself, the habit creates an impression of quick money to players but that is not always the reality.

Betting has drained many a gambler of their hard-earned cash, licking them clean of livelihoods and imparted false hope and belief that they can easily earn hefty cash in wagers, which keep taking away every single coin to benefit a few investors.

There is no balance of give and take in betting, while betting companies never lose money.

Instead, they reap big from gamblers only to stash the huge earnings in private accounts with some even investing in foreign countries; hence, occasioning a constant state of cash crunch to the economy.

The essence of a booming economy is to have constant cash flows in the hands of the majority of its productive cadres of people.

That is the direct opposite of what happens in an economy dominated by gambling.

The exit of SportPesa from Kenya is therefore a great boon to the economy.

It is therefore imperative for the government to impose stringent measures on betting to ensure that the incomes of the productive people are put into use in growing the economy.


Many of the Kenyan workforce and professionals are ardent gamblers.

The government should thus strive to have a population that is entirely not dependent on betting as a way of income generation.

The culture of betting should be reversed forthwith to enable the people to engage fully in meaningful productivity so as to allow the economy to flourish.

Channelling billions of shillings in the form of the proceeds of gambling to a few unscrupulous proprietors of betting companies should come to a stop.

Cosmas Rutto Cheptoo, Uasin Gishu

The exit of betting firms SportPesa and Betin is a two-way course.

For one, it is a blessing as Kenya is going to change from a gambling nation to working one.

On the other hand, it is a loss to the sports fraternity, particularly football, and advertising media, without forgetting the jobs lost.

Edwin Kariuki, Mombasa

Cash crisis delays construction of Sh20bn Thiba Dam

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Construction of the Sh20 billion Thiba Dam meant to boost rice production in Kirinyaga County has stalled due to a financial crisis.

Contractor Strabag Company’s workers have been dismissed and it is feared that the project may be terminated.

The workers the Nation spoke to said they were sent packing because the government had not released money to the company.

“We have been told to go home until further notice because the company has no money to pay us and finance the project,” one worker said.

Contacted, Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga confirmed that the project had been suspended.

“It is true the construction has temporarily been suspended due to problem of resources,” Mr Nyagwanga said without elaborating.



He said the national government project implementation team in the region had written to the officials in Nairobi to sort out the issues.

“Once the problems are resolved, the project will possibly resume next week. We are taking the matter seriously,” he added.

He emphasised that the government is committed to ensuring the project is completed to enhance food security.

Strabag personnel officer Simon Kiragu declined to speak to reporters, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Strabag engineer James Karanja said he was busy. He promised to call later but had not by last evening.

The project was officially launched on November 23, 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

At the launch of the project meant to double rice production in the giant Mwea Irrigation Scheme, the President directed that the work be completed within the stipulated time.

Kenya produces 100,000 tonnes of rice annually, which is not enough to meet local demand.

Local leaders warned that if urgent measures were not taken, the dam will go the Kimwarer way.

When Deputy President William Ruto visited the region recently, he revealed that 50 per cent of the project had been completed and told the residents to be patient.

Boost road safety campaign

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Nearly 10 months since President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) off the roads, handing that key responsibility back to the traffic police, there does not seem to have been significant improvement in road safety.

Indeed, NTSA data shows that road accident deaths have risen in the past 12 months by 15 per cent from last year’s 2,021, with 2,326 people killed on the roads between January and October.

At this rate, the death toll could exceed the national average of 3,000 people a year, mostly in road accidents that could have been avoided, with more stringent enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

The President had hoped that with the NTSA concentrating on policymaking, the police would enhance monitoring and control to curb accidents.

One of the biggest headaches is the endemic corruption in the police service that undermines efforts to make the roads safer.



But quite encouraging is the talk of collaboration between the NTSA and the police in the latest crackdown on errant motorists.

Reports indicate that the Interior ministry has directed the NTSA to join traffic police in the effort.

The NTSA has denied this, but some of its officials recently took part in impromptu checks on motor vehicles along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway.

The real challenge has been the tendency to come up with ad hoc measures in response to public outcries. But these knee-jerk reactions just fizzle out, until another horrible crash occurs.

Efforts to curb the slaughter on our roads should be supported regardless of the agencies involved.

However, their roles should be streamlined to avoid the duplication and wastage of resources.

The NTSA and traffic police are specialised agencies that need to complement each other in the effort to make the roads safer.

Reversal of mandatory SGR use makes sense

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The reversal of a decision on compulsory cargo transportation from Mombasa to the hinterland by standard gauge railway (SGR) makes economic sense.

It’s bad business practice to create a monopoly — not at this time of liberalised market and democratised social and political landscape.

It was unwise to decree that all cargo from the Mombasa be ferried upcountry through SGR.

To the proponents, the reasoning was that since the government had spent heavily on putting up the new rail network, and given the urgency to recoup the funds and repay the exorbitant loans, the viable option was to force importers to use the railway to ferry their goods.

But that is obsolete thinking. Swiftly, that directive precipitated major losses to long-distance road transporters, who were pushed out of business as SGR got preferential treatment.


Concomitantly, that triggered mass protests at the Coast with the transporters vowing to fight for their fair right of business at the port.

The port is the lifeline of Mombasa. Besides being a big employer, it sustains a major base of logistics companies, which contribute to the region’s economy, a fact that cannot be swept under the carpet.

When, therefore, the local entrepreneurs took to the streets to demand withdrawal of the directive, this was easily boiling down to an economic protest threatening even the security of the region.

Indeed, matters were made worse by the spin that the order was subtly designed to cripple Coast’s economy.

As a model, ferrying cargo via SGR and terminating at Syokimau in Nairobi is a major economic and logistical nightmare.


It amounts to double transaction — paying for hauling goods to Nairobi using the rail and further for connection to onward destination through the road.

Time and resources are lost, demurrage costs rise and safety of goods cannot be guaranteed. Delays and other inconveniences become the norm. All these undermine business.

On its own, SGR is a tale of over-promise and poor delivery. Conceived as part of an integrated transport system to accelerate free movements of people and goods, SGR has unfortunately been making huge losses and with the latest projections, it is not coming out of the woods in the foreseeable future.

Which is the disappointing fact; that because it cannot make ends meet, importers are compelled to use it.

Mombasa port is strategic for the region, serving several countries in East and Central Africa.

But its continued comparative advantage can only be guaranteed if its operations are liberalised and investors assured that they have an even playing field.

Kenya urged to stay away from Somalia border case

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A group of Kenyans wants the government not to send representatives to the hearing of the maritime case between Mogadishu and Nairobi due at the Hague next month.

The group wants the High Court to stop Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma and the Kenya International Boundaries Office from participating in the case saying it offends the Constitution.


In a suit filed at the High Court, they argue that the case can lead to the alteration of Kenya’s territory without a referendum as required by the Constitution.

Through Kinoti and Kibe Co Advocates, the 20 petitioners want the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining the three public offices from participating in the case and to compel the attorney general to ensure that Kenya is not party to international proceedings whose effect is to bypass constitutional requirements.

“We are concerned that as Kenya’s representatives continue to campaign for the international community to prevail upon Somalia to resolve the dispute amicably, no serious efforts have been made to assert that the International Court of Justice is exercising its jurisdiction unlawfully,” the petitioners say in an affidavit signed by Mr Kiriro wa Ngugi.



Somalia sued Kenya at the ICJ in 2014 over their common maritime boundary.

Kenya controls the territory which Somalia also claims, which has caused diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo last week rejected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s request for dialogue.

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, President Kenyatta said the court action should be the last resort.

However, Mr Farmaajo rejected the request and insisted that the matter should be resolved at the ICJ.

Salwa Eid Naser shocks Miller-Uibo to win 400m world title

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Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser stunned race favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo to take the women’s 400 metres world title on Thursday in the third fastest time ever run of 48.14 seconds.

The 21-year-old Nigeria-born sprinter – silver medallist in the 2017 final – was clear coming into the straight and though Miller-Uibo closed she had too much of a gap.

Miller-Uibo took silver with a time of 48.37sec whilst Shericka Jackson of Jamaica was third (49.47).

Four police killed in Paris stabbing, attacker shot dead

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A man wielding a knife stabbed and killed four officers at the police headquarters in the heart of central Paris on Thursday, before being shot dead.

The premises were cordoned off after the lunchtime attack in the historic centre of Paris, usually thronged with tourists, and a dozens of police and emergency vehicles had converged at the scene.

At least one metro station in the vicinity of the building, which is close to Notre-Dame cathedral and other major tourist attractions, was closed.

Sources said the attacker was shot dead by police in the courtyard of the building, where he was employed.

The man worked in an administrative capacity but it was not immediately clear what his precise work role was.


An emergency message was broadcast over loudspeakers at the courthouse next door, announcing “an attack” at the police headquarters and stating the area was “under surveillance”.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was due to visit Turkey later on Thursday, postponed his trip to visit the scene of the attack.

“People were running everywhere, there was crying everywhere,” said Emery Siamandi, and interpreter who was in the building when the attack happened.

“I heard a shot, I gathered it was inside,” he said. “Moments later, I saw police officers crying. They were in a panic.”

Investigators suspect a workplace dispute sparked the deadliest attack on police in France in years, sources said, but there were no immediate further details.

The Paris prosecutor is at the scene, but anti-terror agencies have not been involved at this stage.

“Did he snap, or was there some other reason? It’s still too early to say,” Loic Travers, head of the Alliance Police union for the Paris region, told BFM television.

There was no immediate indication of the possible motives of the attacker.

France has been rocked since 2015 by a succession of attacks blamed on jihadists, which have included both large synchronised assaults and isolated knife and gun attacks, killing more than 250 people.

The country remains on high alert after these attacks.

In January 2015, two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people.

A policewoman was killed just outside Paris the following day, while a gunman took hostages at a Jewish supermarket, four of whom were killed.

On November 15 that year, France was hit by the worst terror attacks in its history.

Islamic State jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosives struck outside a France-Germany football match at the national stadium, Paris cafes, and the Bataclan concert hall in a coordinated assault that left 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded.

On July 14, 2016 a Tunisian ploughed a truck through a large crowd gathered for Bastille Day fireworks in the Mediterranean city of Nice. The attack killed 86 people and injured more than 400.

The attack at the police headquarters also came as tension grows within the ranks of the police force, who have been stretched to the limit by policing the “yellow vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron and have themselves been accused of heavy-handed tactics.

Thousands of French police officers demonstrated in Paris on Wednesday for better working conditions in a rare protest by the force, against the backdrop of a spike in suicides within their ranks.

Organisers estimated that 27,000 officers took part, out of 150,000 police staff nationwide. No independent estimate was available.

Two Killed, many trapped as building collapses in Kakamega

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At least two people have been confirmed dead after a two-storey building under construction collapsed at Butali market in Kakamega.

An unknown number of other workers are trapped under the rubble following the Thursday midmorning incident.

Villagers are battling to save lives at the site whose developer disappeared immediately the tragedy truck.

More follows.

Athletics-Cheruiyot through after rough 1500 metres race

DOHA, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot, favourite for the world 1500 metres title, comfortably won his opening heat on Thursday, evading the rough-and-tumble which saw Ethiopia’s Teddese Lemi falling.

Lemi was in second place approaching the bell in the second heat as jostling began among the pack of runners.

At one point, Norway’s Filip Ingebrigtsen appeared to nudge Lemi in the back and he tumbled over.

Lemi got up and continued but finished 11th and failed to qualify while Ingebrigtsen went on to finish fourth to ensure his place in the semi-finals.

Ingebrigtsen’s younger brother Jakob, the European champion, also went through by winning the first heat as did Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman won the third heat ahead of Algeria’s 2012 Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi.

Elijah Manangoi of Kenya was unable to defend his title after suffering an ankle injury in training. (Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)

Cheng'etich, Chebet glide into 1500m final

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Defending champion Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon and compatriot Winnie Chebet stormed into the women’s 1500m final in the Doha World Championships on Thursday.

Cheng’etich finished fourth in the first semi-final that was won by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands – whose coach Alberto Salazar was banned on Tuesday over doping.

Chebet finished fifth to also qualify in Heat 2 that was won by American Jenny Simpson in 4:00.99.

Hassan, running from the back for the better part of the race, exploded in the last 200m to win in 4:14.69, with American Shelby Houlihan and Morocco’s Rababe Arafi second and third respectively.

Chepng’etich, the winner of the global title two years ago in London, timed 4:14.98 for fourth place to make it to Saturday’s final which starts at 8.55pm EAT.