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Saturday, November 9th, 2019

 

Number of People Affected by Hunger in Southern Africa ‘Will Stretch Around the World’

The number of hungry children and adults living through Southern Africa’s worst drought in 35 years will soon be so vast that if put together would stretch one and a half times around the earth, warns humanitarian agency World Vision.

World Vision is concerned about the health, safety and protection of children, with UN food agencies estimating a record 45 million people living in 16 countries across the region will experience food shortages within six months. Climate change and more rapidly repeating, severe drought cycles are trapping people in a vicious cycle of poverty.

“It’s difficult to comprehend the number of people caught up in this terrible crisis. But if you took the average height of the girls, boys and adults trying to survive, then this line of the hungry people would stretch for 67,725 kilometres. That is more than one and a half times around the earth (40,075 km),” explained World Vision Southern Africa Hunger Emergency Response Director, Maxwell Sibhensana.

“This crisis is almost invisible to the public but on the ground we are witnessing the devastating effects of changing weather patterns that are creating unbearable situations for children. We know many children have been separated from families, are forced out of school and working to afford their next meal.”

Southern Africa’s drought has sparked critical food, nutrition and water insecurity. In technical terms, the number of people experiencing “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) has risen from nine to 11 million across nine countries in Southern Africa. Approximately half of those the worst impacted areas are children, who are at risk of hunger, disease, exploitation and death.

Parts of the region like Angola and Zimbabwe have experienced recurrent drought in recent years, causing failed harvests. In other areas, such as Mozambique, erratic floods and cyclones damaged 700,000 hectares of crops.

“We are having to factor climate change into our development programmes, anticipating the worst and helping farmers become more resilient to climate shocks, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts many Southern African countries will be among the most affected by climate change,” said Mr Sibhensana.

  • In Angola, more than 2.4 million people are affected, with an estimated 85,000 children experiencing severe or moderate acute malnutrition. World Vision screening data shows that malnutrition levels in Huila province have double compared to last year, currently at more than 20 per cent.

  • In Zimbabwe, 5.5 million people are facing hunger, with one in three people in major cities like Harare in need of humanitarian assistance. The cost of basic commodities has tripled as the country faces inflation and an economic crisis. The country’s staple crop, maize, is reported to run out in January.

  • In Zambia, more than 2.3 million people are estimated to be facing acute hunger due to devastating effects of erratic rains, dry spells, water logging, false and late starts to the 2018/2019 rain season on agriculture production.

World Vision Angola Humanitarian Emergencies Director, Robert Bulten, says the situation in Angola has been deteriorating for months and called for urgent humanitarian support.

“Children are barely eating one meal a day. Our staff, who worked in Angola just after the Civil War say they have never seen hunger and malnutrition on this scale,” said Mr Bulten.

“Even if the rains arrive soon, it would be months before worst-hit farmers can harvest,” said Mr Bulten.

World Vision is responding to the hunger emergency across seven countries –Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique. World Vision is appealing for USD 44 million to address urgent humanitarian needs including child protection, urgent treatment of malnutrition, prevention of diseases, food assistance and water and sanitation interventions.


Senator scores a first with win to head pro-democracy lobby

LISA MUGUNDABy LISA MUGUNDA
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Nominated Kanu Senator Abshiro Soka Halake added another feather to her cap after being elected to chair the Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya (CMD).

Who is Senator Abshiro Soka Halake?

I am a Kanu nominated Senator from Isiolo County, Vice Chairperson, Senate Standing Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and member, Senate Standing Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources.

I am also now the incoming chairperson of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya (CMD), a political parties-based membership organisation with the mandate to enhance multiparty democracy and strengthen the institutional capacity of political parties in Kenya through policy influence and capacity strengthening.

Before joining politics, I was the immediate former Deputy Secretary-General of the Kenya Red Cross Society.

Before this, I was the Deputy Director of Strategy and Change at the Kenya Wildlife Service. My first job after university was with the Canadian High Commission, where I held different positions.

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Senator Abshiro is a mother of three children; she is a politician and an activist in different social and economic sectors with senior management experience in various fields.

She is a mentor, coach, and trainer and holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Kenyatta University, Master of Science in Strategic Management and Organisational Development, and an MBA in Energy and Sustainability from the University of Cumbria, UK.

Were you born a politician? If not, when did the bug bite you?

While people may have certain character traits, strengths or values that may predispose them to certain careers, I am not sure anyone is born a politician.

However, having worked in different capacities, I figured politics and policy influence is the next career progression for me.

So in the search for the next challenge that would bring a bigger and more consequential change, I got involved in politics.

How did your nomination come about? Were you surprised by it?

I have been volunteering for my party behind the scenes for some time before my nomination, and my party felt that I would be more effective from inside the party as an active politician than from outside as a volunteer behind the scenes, and a nomination was deemed the best way for me to contribute.

The Hansard shows that you made 433 speeches in 2019, 291 last year and 31 in 2017. How can you explain this? Are you getting bolder with time? Do you match your talk with action?

In 2017, the House was in session for a short time. You will recall that the elections were held in August and repeated in October then recess in December for Christmas break.

The window for parliamentary business was really short. You may be right though, with time one gets to understand the workings, the procedures, the Standing Orders — which are the rules that govern house business and that does contribute to enhanced participation.

In terms of matching talk with action, my contributions emanate from and/or are intended to spur action.

When you make legislation, these pieces of legislation form the framework for implementation of the proposals they contain.

When parliamentary questions, statements and petitions are presented, these are followed by actions in their execution. So yes, I strive and always push for action from the parliamentary work that I do and the issues that I raise and debate.

However, we must understand that parliamentarians make laws and their application and execution often span different actors — Executive, Judiciary and other stakeholders and citizens as may be appropriate.

As a nominated Senator for Kanu, what do you consider your role in the Senate to be?

My role as a Senator is stipulated in the Constitution, which gives legislative, representation and oversight authority to Parliament.

For Senate, the mandate is provided under Article 96 of the Constitution.

As a Kanu nominated Senator, I do consider my responsibilities to my party to be extremely important too.

I have and continue to support my party to strengthen its structures, its political strategy and its diverse membership.

Additionally, nominated members do have special interest groups that we represent countrywide.

In my case, my focus is on the special needs and interest of women, youth and other vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities and other marginal groups.

Several legislative pieces and other parliamentary work that I have done reflect these roles and responsibilities in diverse categories including human rights, child protection, amendments to succession laws, sexual and gender-based violence and conservation.

How did you end up at the helm of the CMD?

I didn’t just end up at the helm of Centre for Multiparty Democracy.

When the term of the previous chairperson and the steering committee of CMD came to an end, I offered my leadership, showcased the skills, experience, knowledge and values that I would bring to CMD, sought and marshalled support from member party leaders, and put a great team with whom I would work with in the steering committee.

This combination gave the team and me the opportunity and privilege to be elected to the leadership.

Does being the first woman to head the body put any pressure on you?

I don’t think so. Frankly, I have never viewed my leadership with gender lenses.

But I must admit that any new leadership role does put pressure on the new leader as she or he builds new networks, trust, and puts in place all that is required to take the organisation to the next level of success.

How do you intend to juggle your responsibilities as senator and CMD chairperson?

My work as Chair of CMD and my political work as a senator have a natural affinity, thus the linkage between CMD and Parliament is a win-win, I believe.

Strengthening our political parties and providing a platform for political dialogue to promote democratic governance is a shared and desired outcome for both parliament and CMD.

But I am not in this alone. I have a great CMD governance structure and management structure all manned by great and competent Kenyans and I have great support at the Senate — actually, Parliament secretariat does have some of the most competent people I have had the pleasure of working with.

I admit I do have a full plate but I have great teams to work with. Besides, I am very organised and disciplined. I am confident it will be a fun challenge juggling both.

What legacy do you intend to leave at CMD? Anything you may wish to have changed?

As it stands today the strategic areas of focus for CMD include intra- and inter-party dialogue, party strengthening, gender and inclusivity as well as youth development.

These are great areas to focus on and whether or not they evolve as our political and social-economic landscape evolves, these are areas of great opportunity for entrenching democracy and human rights.

These are things that I understand and are passionate about. My team and I will strive to give this country a sustainable, modern and relevant institution that is right for our times and right for our country. That is the legacy we will work to leave at CMD.

What do you consider the high and low moments of your life?

By now you have figured I am a crazy optimist, always seeing the glass as half full.

I have so much to be thankful for, that the lows are eclipsed.

Sometimes I think there’s no such thing as a low in one’s life; the great lessons that propel us to great heights usually have their roots in what at the time may be considered a low.

I will summarise this question in one word, Alhamdulillah (praise be to God)!


Adopt new tactics to curb exam cheating

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The changing tactics in examination cheating should give the authorities renewed impetus to intensify security checks at the centres.

They have to change strategy faster than those planning to cheat in the tests. When the first week of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education ended on Friday scores of exam cheats had been nabbed in various centres, with some taken to court to answer to criminal offences.

What is alarming is that some people are obsessed with exam cheating. They are so audacious and brazen that they take risks without care.

IMPERSONATION

Three cases were particularly startling. First, 11 suspects were arrested in Kisii County and charged for impersonation. The fellows, among them university students and unemployed trained teachers, went to write exams for others at a centre for private candidates, defying the security checks only to be caught by a discerning officer who saw through their tricks.

Second, was the case of teachers at a school in Migori County who masquerading as cooks, attempted to facilitate cheating; getting question papers, working out answers and passing to candidates in the toilets.

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In Wajir, a teacher shamelessly worked out answers of a practical subject and put answers on the chalkboard.

Methods of cheating are changing and the conspicuous thing is that the perpetrators are so daring that they are not bothered by the strict monitoring.

In the past, cheating involved selling exam papers in advance to schools, learners or parents.

DRILLING CANDIDATES

The papers were then used for revision and drilling candidates to get high grades. Besides, some schools and parents colluded with crooked officials at the Kenya National Examination Council to change and raise candidates’ grades after marking at a fee.

This is what brought those dubious ‘As” that made our exams a laughing stock. Those tricks have since been curtailed with the stringent rules enforced since 2016. And this has helped to restore confidence in national examinations.

Our concern is this obsession with exam cheating. It seems some people can never do a decent thing. They lead a life of lies, cheating their way through systems and without any shame. Enforcing strict monitoring is an imperative.

HONEST GRADES

We implore the candidates to take personal responsibility for their studies. Never should they allow themselves to be enticed to cheat.

There is dignity in getting honest grades. And it is not a must that one has to pass all subjects with flying colours. Obsession with top grades is dangerous. Learners should learn to do an honest job and get satisfied with what they legitimately obtain.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and his team of technocrats have done a good job so far. But challenges remain. They have to change tact and intensify monitoring to eliminate cheating in all its manifestations.


It’s time to clean up polls

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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As the dust settles on the robust campaigns in the just-ended Kibra parliamentary by-election, there are some positives that should be lauded and negatives that must be denounced as they undermine democracy.

Elections remain the best means for the people to directly participate in choosing their leaders and, of course, it’s the candidate with the majority of votes who carries the day.

But without the loser, there would be no competition and the voters would be denied a chance to evaluate and pick the best.

TOUGHEST CHALLENGER

ODM candidate Bernard Imran Okoth and his toughest challenger, Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga, deserve kudos for being magnanimous in victory and humble and respectful in defeat. These are qualities that are sorely missing in many politicians, who see elections as a life and death contest.

However, this election has also manifested the worst in our political contests. The campaign, though generally peaceful and orderly, was not entirely free of the orgy of violence that has come to characterise our elections at all levels.

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Also rearing its ugly head was voter bribery, which is endemic and synonymous with our elections.

VOTER BRIBEY

We must condemn in the strongest terms the politicians, from both the ODM and Jubilee camps, who behaved badly in the Kibra campaigns and on the polling day. It’s utterly disgraceful for leaders to hurl base insults at their opponents, and we saw a lot of that on the campaign trail.

Also unforgivable is the involvement of some well-known politicians in crude tactics and directly engaging in violence. This is conduct that is beneath what is expected of leaders. The culprits, be they the candidates or their supporters, must be flushed out and punished.


Thousands of counterfeit set books seized in Namanga

FAITH NYAMAIBy FAITH NYAMAI
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The Anti-Counterfeit Authority on Saturday nabbed a huge consignment of counterfeit secondary school books in Namanga.

The set books and other goods were being smuggled into Kenya from Tanzania.

Mr Abdi Hussein, an official at the agency, said the goods valued at Sh22,115,880 were intercepted in buses at Namanga, a border crossing point in Kajiado

The officials said they seized the following books:

The Pearl, published by New Longman Literature – 8,736

The Inheritance, published by Longhorn – 6,720

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A Doll’s House, published by the East Africa Educational Publisher – 16,200

Memories We Lost, published by Moran – 4,800

They goods also included assorted shoes. The shoes brands included, Nike, Gucci, Fila and Adidas.

Mr Hussein said they also nabbed 1800 pieces of imperial leather soaps and 1,860 pieces of door locks.


Leicester hit Arsenal to crank up pressure on Emery

AFPBy AFP
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Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League as a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday further dented the Gunners’ hopes of a top-four finish.

Chelsea were also 2-0 victors against Crystal Palace as they too jumped above Manchester City into third.

But it was another woeful afternoon for north London’s big two as Tottenham were held 1-1 at home by Sheffield United to slip to 12th.

League leaders Liverpool host City in a highly-anticipated clash between the champions of Europe and champions of England at Anfield on Sunday.

Leicester and Chelsea took advantage of kicking off a day earlier to move a point ahead of City and close to within five of Liverpool.

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The Foxes’ superior goal difference takes them into second as second-half strikes from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison piled more pressure on beleaguered Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

EIGHT POINTS

Arsenal are now eight points adrift of the top four and will fall even further behind should City avoid defeat at Anfield.

Chelsea were equally as impressive with a patient performance to break down a defensively dogged Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Tammy Abraham opened the scoring as the England striker pounced on a deft flick through by Willian seven minutes into the second half.

Christian Pulisic then secured all three points when the American headed home his fifth goal in his last three Premier League games.

“We won the game relatively comfortably,” said Chelsea boss Frank Lampard. “A nice, solid win with a clean sheet.”

Tottenham were lucky to even escape with a point as Sheffield United impressed once more to move up to fifth.

“The reality is that for different reasons we are not showing the performances that we expect,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

“We are not in a good position in the table.”

A rare defensive error from the Blades set up Son Heung-min to open the scoring with his eighth goal of the season just before the hour mark.

David McGoldrick thought he had levelled almost immediately, but after a three-minute delay the goal was ruled out for John Lundstram being millimetres offside in the build-up.

To their credit, Chris Wilder’s men were not downhearted and survived another VAR review when George Baldock’s cross from the right evaded everyone and found the bottom corner.

“I’m more interested in the recovery of my players, how they went for the jugular to try and get back in the game,” said Wilder on the VAR controversy.

West Ham’s woes continued as Manuel Pellegrini’s men were beaten 3-0 at Burnley to stretch their winless streak to seven games.

Ashley Barnes opened the scoring after 11 minutes as Burnley never looked back.

Chris Wood doubled the hosts’ advantage after earlier having a goal ruled out by VAR for offside and a miserable day for the visitors at Turf Moor was summed up when goalkeeper Roberto punched a corner into his own net.

“When you concede so many easy goals it does not help,” said Pellegrini.

Everton moved six points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-1 win at Southampton to ease the pressure on Marco Silva.

Tom Davies gave the Toffees the perfect start at St Mary’s before Danny Ings equalised early in the second half.

But Richarlison struck the winner 15 minutes from time to secure Everton’s first away league win since March.

Newcastle are now seven points clear of the drop zone as they came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 at St James’ Park thanks to goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark.


With exhibit and selfies, Russia marks Kalashnikov's 100th birthday  

AFPBy AFP
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Dozens of cadets and youngsters from Russia’s Youth Army have been getting up close and personal with perhaps the world’s most iconic firearm as their country marks the centenary of the birth of Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the legendary AK-47 rifle.

At Victory Museum in western Moscow, visitors including the young cadets are invited to assemble Kalashnikovs and pose for selfies at the exhibition dedicated to the ubiquitous automatic weapon.

On Sunday, the 100th anniversary of Kalashinkov’s birth is to be marked by a number of events, including the museum display and a biopic.

The military engineer, who died in 2013 at the age of 94, is seen in Russia as a national hero and symbol of the country’s proud military past.

His assault rifle has become a weapon of choice for both guerrillas and governments the world over.

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It is also a staple of military education in Russia.

Maxim, a young cadet, said he learned to put together and take apart an AK rifle at school.

“At first your fingers hurt, but then it’s quite easy,” he said.

The exhibition, on until November 20, was put together by the Kalashnikov museum in Izhevsk, an industrial town in the Ural mountains, where the inventor worked at the Izhmash weapons factory until his retirement.

Alexander Yermakov, the museum’s deputy director, said he hoped the inventor’s story would inspire “the next generation of Kalashnikovs”.

Kalashnikov was showered with every possible major prize in the Soviet Union, and the Kremlin in 2009 gave him the highest honour — Hero of Russia.

In 2017, authorities unveiled a monument to Kalashnikov holding his weapon in central Moscow.

Born in a Siberian village on November 10, 1919, Kalashnikov had a tragic childhood during which his father was deported as a “kulak” (prosperous peasant) in 1930.

Wounded during a bloody battle with Nazi forces in 1941, Kalashnikov was given a leave during which he thought up the first versions of the rifle.

In 1945, a prototype was entered into a competition and the design was eventually recommended for use in the Soviet army.

It quickly became prized for its simplicity, affordability and sturdy reliability.

AK-47’s name stands for “Kalashnikov’s Automatic” and the year its final version was designed, 1947.

More than 100 million Kalashnikovs have been sold worldwide and about 50 armies use the AK-47 including those in Iraq and Somalia.

Although Kalashnikov said he created the rifle to “defend the fatherland’s borders,” Moscow first used the weapon internationally to put down riots in East Berlin in 1953 and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, journalist C.J. Chivers wrote in his book “The Gun”.

Chivers challenged the official narrative according to which a lone maverick inventor came up with a genius design.

“The weapon was designed collectively, the culmination of work by many people over many years,” Chivers wrote.

The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened the floodgates for weapons trafficking, and the AK became the preferred weapon for guerillas, dictators, street gangs and even some school shooters in the United States.

The “kalash”, as the firearm is called in Russian and French, has been used in attacks in Paris, to settle scores among criminals and poach for African wildlife.

In his twilight years Kalashnikov said he was tormented by the thought that his invention had caused so many deaths.

In a letter to the Russian Patriarch, he asked if “because my rifle deprived people of life, then can it be that I… was to blame for their deaths?”

He said that he experienced “deep emotional torment” knowing that Kalashnikovs ended up in children’s hands in conflict zones.

During the Soviet era, Kalashnikov’s work was shrouded in secrecy.

The inventor once said that a US weapons historian managed to contact him by post in the 1970s asking for his biography, but the KGB forbade any contact.

“From my first step along the path of a designer, I was hidden and classified,” he wrote in one of his books.

Nelli Kalashnikova, the inventor’s daughter, grew up knowing nothing about her father’s work.

Before the 1990s, “our family was kept secret, the kids were kept secret, and everything was kept secret,” she said.

She described her father as a quiet, modest man of tremendous self-restraint.

Kalashnikov became a living legend after the veil of secrecy was lifted but he barely profited financially from his inventions, and lived modestly in Izhevsk.

Today, Russia manufactures fifth-generation Kalashnikov rifles – the AK-12 and the AK-15.


Bangladesh evacuates 100,000 as Cyclone Bulbul approaches

AFPBy AFP
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Bangladesh authorities have evacuated around 100,000 people from the country’s low-lying coastal villages and islands with Cyclone Bulbul set to slam into the country later on Saturday, officials said.

The Meteorological Department has asked local authorities and two ports to raise their highest alert, as the cyclone is expected to unleash a storm surge as high as seven feet (two metres) in coastal districts.

Bulbul, packing a maximum wind speed of 120 kilometres per hour, is on course to make landfall near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, which straddles Bangladesh and part of eastern India and is home to the endangered Bengal tigers.

The cyclone is expected to hit the Bangladesh coast at around 8pm local time, disaster management secretary Shah Kamal said, adding there are plans to evacuate some 1.5 million people before that.

Authorities have suspended a nationwide school test, cancelled the holidays of officials posted in coastal districts and called off a traditional fair that draws tens of thousands of people in the Sundarbans.

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Operations at the country’s two major ports — Mongla and Chittagong — have been suspended, Kamal said.

Some 55,000 volunteers have been mobilised to go door to door and alert people about the storm.

Bangladesh’s low-lying coast, home to 30 million people, is regularly battered by powerful cyclones that leave a trail of devastation in their wake.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed over the last few decades in cyclones, whose frequency and intensity have increased.

Bangladesh has, however, improved its preparedness in recent years, cutting the number casualties since Cyclone Sidr killed more than 3,000 people in 2007.

In May this year, Fani became the most powerful storm to hit the country in five years, but just over a dozen people were killed.


Equity blank Tangit Sparks in Game One

CAXTON APOLLOBy CAXTON APOLLO
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Equity Bank made a flying start to their Kenya Basketball Federation women’s Premier League started their title defence with a 82-47 rout of Tangit Sparks in game One of their play-offs at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium on Saturday.

Equity Bank, who had defeated Sparks twice in the regular season, as expected used the same trick in book to go up 1-0 on the best-of-three series.

“We need time to rest and that is why we are set for a clean 2-0 sweep in Game Two on Sunday so that we can rest next weekend. My players are tired and some key ones have incurred injuries because of congested fixtures,” Equity Bank head coach David Maina said.

“We had disastrous training sessions which forced us to have only nine players. It was difficult to perform well when we had to field players who did not train at all,” Sparks coach Justus Akhwesa explained.

Top seeded Equity justified their supremacy when power forward Linda Alando hit nine points with captain Esther Butali and towering Belinda Okoth also making good use of their height.

Sparks, who narrowly qualified after finishing eighth, showed aggressiveness with captain Celia Okumu and Anne Mwaniki scaring off the bankers with hard hitting replying three-pointers.

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The hotly contested first quarter saw Equity Bank escape with a narrow 20-18 lead. Coach Maina was quick to go back to the drawing board and returned back with a working playing system.

MJOMBA SHINES

Experienced shooting guard Samba Mjomba executed three 3-pointers while little known guard Happy Makosewe also made her presence felt by the big crowd. The duo led Equity Bank to outscore Sparks 31-3 at end of the second quarter.

Equity had a huge 51-21 half-time lead and it became a tall order for Sparks to recover. Hard-fighting Getrude Sagala and Celia Okumu led Sparks to a 24-15 run at the end of fourth quarter after they trailed again 17-4 in third quarter. It was too late turn the scores in their favour.

Rebounding forward Belinda Okoth scored 18 points and Linda Alando hit 12 for Equity Bank, who are seeking to retain the title for the second year in a row. Okumu replied with 17 points and team-mate Mitchelle Otinda added 15 for Sparks, who must win Game 2 on Sunday if they are to stay alive.

In the men’s Premier League play-off Game Two, Emyba rallied from behind to lock the series 1-1 after they beat Equity Bank 87-83 on Friday night.

Equity Bank had gone 1-0 up after winning Game One 66-64 last weekend. With the best-of- series now on the wire, the decisive do-or- die Game Three was scheduled for Saturday night.

Strathmore University became the first team to qualify for the men’s Division One league play-offs semi-final when they knocked out KCA-U 2-0. Strathmore defeated KCA-U 40-34 in Game Two on Saturday.

In the men’s Division Two, Riara University qualified for the semi-final on a 2-0 basis after they won Game Two 70-58 against rivals Neosasa. Neosasa had lost Game One 44-67 and needed victory to tie the series 1-1.

SUMMARISED RESULTS

Women’s Premier League: Equity Bank 82 47 Tangit Sparks.

Men’s Premier League: Emyba 87 Equity Bank 83

Men’s Division One: Strathmore University 40 Strathmore University 40 34 KCA-U

Men’s Division Two: Kisii University 51 49 Riara University


(Untitled)

BY CAXTON APOLLO
[email protected]
Defending women’s basketball Premier League champions Equity Bank started their title defense on a sound note by humiliating Tangit Sparks 82-47 in play-offs Game One at Nyayo National stadium Gymnasium yesterday.

Equity Bank, who had defeated Sparks twice in the regular season, as expected used the same trick in book to go up 1-0 on the best-of-three series.

Equity Bank headcoach David Maina said” We need time to rest and that is why we are set for a clean 2-0 sweep in Game Two today so that we can rest next weekend.My players are tired and some key ones with injuries because of congested fixtures”

Sparks coach Justus Akhwesa said” We had a disasterous training sessions which has forced us to have only nine players.It was difficult to perform well when we had to field players who did not train at all”

Top seeded Equity in the regular season with 43 points, justified their supremancy when red-hot forward Linda Alando hit nine points with captain Esther Butali and towering Belinda Okoth also making good use of their height.

Sparks, who narrowly qualified after finishing in eigth position on 32 points, showed aggressiveness with captain Celia
Okumu and Anne Mwaniki scaring off the bankers with hard hitting replying three-pointers.

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The hotly contested first quarter
saw Equity Bank escape with a narrow
20-18 lead.Coach Maina was quick
to go back to the drawing board and
returned back with a working playing system.

Experienced shooting guard Samba Mjomba excuted three three-pointers while little known guard Happy Makosewe also made her presence felt by the big crowd. The duo led Equity Bank to hit hard Sparks 31-3 at end of the second quarter.

Equity had a huge 51-21 half-time lead
and it became a tall order for Sparks to recover.Hardfighting Getrude Sagala and Celia Okumu led Sparks to a 24-15 run at the end of fourth quarter after they trailed again 17-4 in third quarter.It was too late turn the scores in their favour.

Rebounding forward Belinda Okoth scored 18 points and Linda Alando hit 12 for Equity Bank, who are seeking to retain the
title for the second year in a raw. Captain Celia Okumu replied with 17 points and team-mate added Mitchelle Otinda 15 for Sparks, who must win Game Two today
to avoid elimination on a 0-2 basis.

In the men’s Premier League play-off Game Two, Emyba rallied from behind
to lock the series 1-1 after they beat Equity Bank 87-83 on Friday night.

Equity Bank had gone 1-0 up after winning Game One 66-64 last weekend.With the best-of- series now on the wire, the decisive do-or- die Game Three was scheduled for last night.

Strathmore University became the first team to qualify for the men’s Division One league play-offs semi-final when they knocked out KCA-U 2-0.Yesterday, Strathmore defeated KCA-U 40-34 in Game Two.They had won the opener.

In the men’s Division Two, Riara University qualified for the semi-final on a 2-O basis after they won Game Two 70-58 against rivals Neosasa. Neosasa had lost Game One 44-67 and needed victory to tie the series 1-1.

Women’s Premier League tough quarter-final Game One match between third seed Strathmore University Swords and sixth seeded Storms had tied 25-25 in third quarter by the time we went to press.

As usual matches were behind schedule with the women’s Premier League Game One pitting coachJuma Kent’s Dynamites and Zetech University having not started by 5.55pm.

Summarised play-offs results:Women’s Premier League: Equity Bank 82 47 Tangit Sparks.Men’s Premier League: Emyba 87 Equity Bank 83.Men’s Division One: Strathmore University 40 Strathmore University 40 34 KCA-U.Men’s Division Two: Kisii University 51 49 Riara University.

ADDITIONAL

Edna Kola scored a critical basket in the last 10 seconds to help lucky Strathmore University Swords edge out Storms 42-39 in tough Game One of their women’s Premier League quarter-final.

Storms had squeezed a slim 20-19 lead
at half-time.Sword’s Riana Damaris had unlocked a 39-39 tie to earn the varsity students a 40-39 advantage.Game Two will be played today.

In lower tier play-offs, Kisii University recovered to lock the series 1-1 against Riara University after winning GameTwo 51-49.

Pirates registered a 60-56 win over Kenya Defense Forces Morans in men’s Division One play-offs Game Two. Pirates tied the series after having lost Game One 52-55.