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Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

 

Okoth Obado set for pretrial in Sharon Otieno murder case

SAM KIPLAGATBy SAM KIPLAGAT
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A pretrial conference on the status of the trial of Migori Governor Okoth Obado and two others, charged with the murder of Sharon Otieno, will be held in two weeks’ time.

Mr Obado, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Mr Casper Obiero, a clerk in Migori County, appeared before Justice Stella Mutuku Thursday and were referred back to trial judge Jessie Lesiit.

They were directed to appear before Justice Lesiit on October 23 for the pretrial.

The three have denied murdering the Rongo University student and her unborn baby on the night of September 3 and 4 last year, at Owade in Rachuonyo Sub-county, Homa Bay County.

Mr Obado was released after depositing a cash bail of Sh5 million and two sureties of Sh5 million each.

Mr Obiero and Mr Oyamo had initially been denied bail by Justice Lesiit after ruling that releasing them was likely to disturb public order and peace. But they appealed against the ruling and were ordered to deposit Sh1 million each or an alternative bond of Sh2 million each, by the Court of Appeal.

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While releasing them, justices Mohamed Warsame, Daniel Musinga and Otieno Odek said if peace and order have continued to prevail in the county since the release of the governor on bail, they did not see why the same would be disturbed by the release of the appellants.

Some 24 witnesses are set to testify.


Taita Taveta MCAs impeach Governor Granton Samboja

LUCY MKANYIKABy LUCY MKANYIKA
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Taita Taveta County Governor Granton Samboja has been impeached.

All the 30 ward reps on Wednesday voted in favour of an impeachment motion sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Harris Keke.

The assembly is set to notify the Senate of the latest development.

More follows.


Ndung’u Gethenji wins lawsuit against brother in Sh20bn estate tussle

RICHARD MUNGUTIBy RICHARD MUNGUTI
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The High Court has vested control of a Sh20 billion estate riddled with management issues to former Tetu MP James Ndung’u Gethenji.

Mr Ndung’u Gethenji is the controlling shareholder of Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens) Limited and Kihingo Village (Waridi) Management One Limited (KVWGML), which owns the high-end estate.

Mr Ndung’u Gethenji and his elder brother Gitahi Gethenji have been fighting over management of the estate.

Lady Justice Loise Komingoi and Lady Justice Margaret Muigai directed Mr Ndung’u Gethenji to remain at the helm of the management of the two companies.

THIRTEEN ORDERS

Waridi Gardens Estate in Kitisuru, Nairobi, consists of 55 housing units each valued at Sh400 million and a clubhouse.

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Judges Komingoi and Muigai decided that the cases were pegged on the control of the estate and the clubhouse.

Before Justice Komingoi was a suit filed by Kifaru Investment Limited, Wanjiru Shinga, Kishorkumar Dhanji Varsani, Samuel Wambu Mwangi, Mohan Sing Panaser and William Pike seeking 13 orders against the controlling shareholder of KVWGL.

Kifaru was seeking orders to block Mr Ndung’u Gethenji and the Managing Director of KVWGML) Mr Chacha Mabanga holding themselves as directors of the company.

Kifaru and the other plaintiffs sought orders barring KVWGL from transferring the clubhouse or disposing of it in any way pending the determination of the case.

The plaintiffs also sought to have 60 shares held by Mr Ndung’u Gethenji, which give him authority over management of the estate, scrapped.

They had also urged the court to compel the Registrar of Companies to rectify the register in respect of the shareholding of Mr Ndung’u Gethenji following an arbitral award dated July 28, 2016.

But Justice Komingoi said in her ruling she cannot scrap Mr Ndung’u Gethenji’s 60 shares in KVWGML since they were not reflected in the arbitral award adopted by the court in February 15 2019.

The judge declined to grant 13 reliefs saying already there are orders recognising Mr Ndung’u Gethenji, Mr Mabanga and KVWGML as the bona fide managers of Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens) and its 99 years leasehold tenants who are shareholders in the company.

PALATIAL HOUSES

Mr Ndung’u Gethenji developed the estate with a Sh800 million loan from the Commercial Bank of Africa.

The two are sons of former Tetu MP Joseph Augustine Gethenji who was Director of Personnel Management (DPM) in the first government of President Jomo Kenyatta and as a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour in the government of former President Daniel arap Moi.

Mr Ndung’u Gethenji has built 55 palatial houses on a 37-acre plot. Each house stands on a half-acre plot.


Probe on Sh12bn police vehicles tender row begins

DAVID MWEREBy DAVID MWERE
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Parliament is investigating wrangles involving a Sh12.5 billion procurement tender for leasing National Police Service vehicles, a crisis that threatens to ground police operations.

Mid this year, the Ministry of Interior tendered for leasing 1,290 police vehicles, but the process has been stopped by the High Court after a protracted legal battle.

Following a request for a statement by Endebess MP Robert Pukose, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed that the Finance and National Planning Committee investigate the procurement, which is shrouded in secrecy and irregularities, and table a report within 21 days.

Dr Pukose claims that the unwarranted haste to award the tender by mandarins in government seems to favour a specific bid that may have been pre-identified. He wants the committee, chaired by Kipkelion East MP Joseph Limo, to establish whether the new bidders were called by phone to submit bids, leading to an irregular award that took place on October 2, 2019.

“The cancellation and repetition of the procurement process has caused massive inconvenience, leading to unwarranted wastage of manpower and resources that may eventually run into billions of taxpayers’ money,” Dr Pukose said.

The MP wants action taken against government officers found culpable of unprofessionalism and interfering with the tender process.

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Since 2013, the government has been leasing vehicles for the police, a move it says has saved taxpayers’ money compared with buying new vehicles.

The current tender was to lapse in April 2019, but it was extended to October 15. This means there is just less than five days to resolve the issue.

On September 30, High Court Judge John Mativo stopped the Interior ministry from concluding the process of leasing vehicles from local assemblers after CMC Motors Group Ltd filed a petition.

But despite the order, the Ministry went ahead and advertised a new tender.

Dr Pukose said the apparent manipulation of the procurement process by State agencies exemplified by defying decisions of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board, the High Court and other instances of blatant disregard of procurement procedures must be stopped.


Settle mobile clinics saga

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Three years has been such a long time to end the controversy over the mobile health clinics imported at a whopping Sh800 million in part of what is believed to have been a Sh5 billion Health ministry scandal.

It is still not clear at what point it was decided that the clinics — actually, containers fitted with some medical equipment — be imported. To date, there is no clarity as to who the intended beneficiaries were. And there has been no mention of staff ever being trained to use the facilities or exactly where they would fit in the public health delivery system.

As a result, the clinics were abandoned at a National Youth Service yard in Mombasa, where they had gathered dust for three years, exposed to the elements. But just when everybody thought they would be disposed of as scrap metal, a group of experts promptly inspected and gave them a clean bill of health, and then began the challenge of just what do with them.

Public money was used to acquire the clinics and, if any benefit can be derived from them, that would be some return on an ill-advised investment. Counties have not had it easy in running healthcare, which is devolved. They are also grappling with leased expensive medical equipment for which they fork out money they could put to better use. They were not even consulted on this.

It is evident that the counties were handed a docket they lack the capacity to handle, judging from the frequent strikes by health workers and difficulties in paying salaries. If they cannot make good use of these clinics, then the Health ministry should take them over and explore how to get some value out of them. There is, clearly, no need to throw out the baby with the bath water.


Catholic bishops’ move on cash donations good

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The renewed campaign by Catholic bishops to fight corruption is illuminating but the clincher will be in execution. Such noble initiatives have been launched before, but left to die as fast as they came because of lack of conviction and commitment to the cause. Conviction must be matched with courage and tenacity. So, we exhort the bishops to keep the faith.

To this end, the Catholic bishops — and they have done that before — should mobilise other faiths to push the crusade. Whatever they do has to be selfless and aimed at correcting a malaise that afflicts the nation and risks getting out of hand.

Specifically, the bishops have declared that they will not accept huge sums of money from politicians and the so-called selfless contributors for church activities. Any donation of more than Sh50,000 will be declared publicly. We concur.

Looters of public wealth should be shamed and isolated from society and, although faiths preach forgiveness and tolerance, that only comes through confession and an undertaking to mend ways.

Those unusual contributions or donations must be scrutinised and, we insist, those from questionable sources rejected. Places of worship must be kept holy and insulated against ill-advances of thieves who, having stolen from the public, go to make huge donations to hoodwink the masses that they are generous.

Religious leaders provide spiritual and moral leadership and is important to bring that to bear in the war against corruption. Yet, places of worship have become the dens where the corrupt and morally depraved hide. Worse, they are egged on in some quarters by an equally voracious clergy that relishes the fame and glory of consorting with the mighty and moneyed.

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We acknowledge that religious organisations require resources to run and that it is the business of the congregations and well-wishers to help in achieving that. But where fundraisers become showbiz and money splashed to gain popularity, then the intention is widely missed. And the notoriety is amplified by the way such functions are organised: Hyped and widely publicised, ostensibly to send strong signals of invincibility. Clearly, they are not acts of selflessness but ostentation, itself contrary to the doctrines of all the faiths.

Curbing corruption is a gargantuan task that can only succeed through a multi-sectoral approach and in which the faiths play an incredibly integral role. Since religious places have singularly become havens where stolen money is laundered as excited clerics cheer on the crooks, getting them to veto those ridiculous donations is a vital step in slamming brakes on the vice.

All religious leaders should join in the campaign and outlaw those outlandish contributions from corrupt individuals.


Govt barred from evicting Elsa Ntirim residents from disputed land

WAWERU WAIRIMUBy WAWERU WAIRIMU
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A Meru court has issued orders barring the government from evicting residents of Elsa Ntirim in isiolo County from a disputed land claimed by the Kenya Defence Forces School of Infantry.

The Environment and Labour Relations Court issued the orders stopping the eviction, whose notice expires on October 12, until the application by six affected residents is heard and determined.

“Orders are hereby issued restraining the respondents by themselves, their agents or servants from evicting the applicants and about 20,000 residents of Burat ward,” the orders issued by Justice Lucy Mbugua read part in part.

SURVEY WORK

The respondents have also been barred from carrying out survey work or adjudication of the land until the case is decided.

The respondents in the matter are the Cabinet Secretaries for Land and Defence, the Attorney General, Isiolo County government, Isiolo County Commissioner and the Ministry of Interior and Government Coordination.

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Mr Joseph Lorunyei, John Oyan, Joyce Nairesia, Ali Hassan Mohammed, Kuresha Bille and Mary Kepen made the application on October 7.

The eviction letter from the Department of Defence notes that continued occupation of the about 10, 000-acre-land by the residents has severely affected training activities for the soldiers while also posing danger to the public due to the ammunition and explosives used in the exercises.

The letter had instructed Isiolo County Commissioner to implement forceful evictions on or after expiry of the period.

Residents claim that they had donated 100 acres to the soldiers in the 1980s but the military had now expanded the borders on three occasions displacing several people from their ancestral land.

A week ago, Isiolo County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri maintained that the land belonged to the military wing and was acquired in the 1970s through a compulsory acquisition and the affected residents were compensated by the government.

The case will be heard on October 29.


Look, the Nairobi of tomorrow, and its tribes, are already here!

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBOBy CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO
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They are many creatures like me, but we don’t yet have a name.

We are the people who fled the noise and bustle of (Nairobi’s) central business district and took off for the suburbs, rarely returning to the place where we got our baptism of fire.

I guess we are the “CBD exiles”.

SHEER INSANITY

After an absence of many months, recently I have been visiting again. Surprisingly, I liked it.

There is something seductive about the frenzy, the crazy matatus and the sheer insanity of Kirinyaga and River roads.

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The good thing with staying away from the CBD, and not having to struggle and work in its belly daily, is that it allows you to return to it with fresh eyes.

One of the last times I made this return to the CBD, I had some business to do at Telposta Towers. I had never been inside a Huduma Centre, so out of curiosity I did.

The plan was to look around and leave after five minutes. I left nearly an hour later.

I just sat and observed. The lines at the Huduma Centre were different from most of those you see in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.

Most queues are usually about compliance (to file taxes, pay the children’s fees, pay electricity and water bills, pay a bribe at a state office); or are undertaking a civic duty that will leave you heartbroken (election queues); or because you have been backed into a corner by the capitalist system and its rituals (at the bank); or because doing all the above has nearly driven you crazy and you are looking to keep sane (so you queue for a music concert, or to buy a ticket at the cinema).

KENYAN DREAM

The Huduma Centre is a bit of each one of the above but, primarily, you could say it’s the Great Hustler Pipeline.

It’s where the dreams, energy and genius that exist in the off-road economy come to see if they can become reality through the elusive help of “government services” and “enabling business environment”.

For so long, I hadn’t seen so many people scurrying about in the hope of becoming rich in future through honest work.

I said to myself, if there’s something like the “Kenyan dream”, perhaps the Huduma Centre is the place where you can best study what it is.

There are other things I see.

The CBD, I noticed, just keeps getting younger. In the part of town where I live, there used to be a Big Square restaurant. It closed. I thought maybe it had gone bust.

BETTER DEALS

However, I saw many in the CBD, so I stepped in to refuel at one. It looks like all the people who never came to the one in our part of Nairobi were there.

They were even getting better deals, paying about 15 per cent less for a mocha. And they were much younger than the people I used to see in the one in our neighbourhood.

That is when it struck me: The people who hang out in the suburbs are generally older than the crowd in the CBD. Why that is the case is a story for another day.

I walked about quite a bit, doing what some call “people watching”, because I sensed there was something the folks on the street were saying and I wasn’t getting it.

It was striking just how diverse the CBD crowd was — the array of hair and clothes style, their physical appearance.

Most people in our area have pretty much the same well-heeled but monotonous middle-class look.

COSMOPOLITAN

However, the ones in the CBD formed a kind of vast cosmopolitan and diversity collage. Some walked hurriedly like the world was about to end.

Many of the younger ones carried themselves more leisurely, a few holding hands, and staring in each other’s eyes like they were about to do something their parents wouldn’t approve of.

Then I got it. The CBD was a microcosm of why the future is in the cities.

Increasingly unmoored from our villages, to these new cosmopolitan creatures I was seeing, Nairobi isn’t a city. It is their village.

The bizarre dress and tattoo styles on display are their traditional costumes and “tribal markings”. They are an expression of fast-evolving urban individuality and identities.

If you see it all as a bigger process of production of a new culture, it is impressive.

MORE AND MORE

There will be more and more of these fellows I was seeing. And the city will grow and grow.

They will not speak the language of our forefathers but, with the years, some pidgin will mature as their mother tongue.

If I am alive then, I will be very old, bent and toothless. But I will console myself that, at least, I saw it coming.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is publisher of explainer site Roguechiefs.com and curator of The Wall of Great Africans. @cobbo3


Ferry tragedy: Search team locates vehicle

A multi-agency team searching for mother and daughter, who drowned in the Indian Ocean last week, said Wednesday that they have located the position of the vehicle.

Mariam Kighenda and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu drowned at the Likoni Channel on September 29 after their saloon car slipped off the ferry.

The rescue team on Wednesday mapped four locations, where they suspected the vehicle and bodies could be lying.

The sites had been identified by an echo sounder, an instrument used to determine the depth of water and detect objects in the sea.

GREAT RISK

“The divers had checked on two [of the locations] which gave negative results. On Thursday, they were working to see how they could get on the other two, which were a bit deeper,” Nation was told.

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More follows.


Malawi policeman stoned to death by protesters

AFPBy AFP
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A policeman was stoned to death in Malawi during clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters ahead of President Peter Mutharika’s first public meeting since a disputed election, police said.

A wave of protests over the May poll has gripped Malawi since May and Msundwe, a trading outpost west of the capital, has been a hotbed of demonstrations.

“We have lost a police officer,” police spokesman James Kadadzera told AFP, adding that Superintendent Usumani Imedi had been stoned to death and “killed by rioters and criminals this morning.”

Anti-government protesters had blocked the main road in Msundwe to stop supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party from travelling to Mutharika’s first rally in the city since his poll win.

An eyewitness said police fired teargas to disperse the protests but demonstrators “kept regrouping and they fought back with stones.”

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“In the ensuing chaos, they cornered one policeman whom they stoned to death,” Ulemu Phiri, who witnessed the chaotic scenes said.

So far 12 people have been arrested accused of breaching the peace.

Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi said some of the protesters had put up a roadblock, throwing stones and injuring people.

“Other road users called the police to come and rescue them. When the police arrived, they started stoning them to the extent that we have lost one police officer,” Dausi said.

Imedi is the second policeman to die since protests have rocked Malawi.

Security expert and retired brigadier Marcel Chirwa accused the police of getting embroiled in politics and applying strong arm tactics.

At a rally in the city of Lilongwe, the stronghold of the country’s largest opposition, the Malawi Congress Party, Mutharika stuck a conciliatory tone, urging the country to unite.

“This is our country. Let’s not burn it down,” Mutharika said.