Saturday, December 14th, 2019
Deputy President William Ruto has once again told off leaders who criticise him for his generous donations to churches and religious groups.
Dr Ruto, who witnessed the launch of the first ever Samburu language Bible at the Maralal stadium Saturday, said that his sojourns in churches are aimed at supporting the houses of God.
“We will not cease supporting our churches and religious groups because the Bible tells us to seek the Kingdom of heaven first and others will follow,” he said.
The jibe seemed to target his political foe Raila Odinga and his associates who have been at the forefront in criticising him over the millions of shillings he frequently donates to religious groups.
The Deputy President lauded Samburu religious groups, together with leaders, for managing to translate the Bible to Samburu language, saying it was a great step forward.
“Watu wa Samburu jameni hamna kisingizio cha kukosa kuingia mbinguni kwa sababu mna Bibilia ya Kisamburu. Hatuwezi kuwa mahustler duniani na pia mahustler mbinguni. (You do not have any excuse for not seeing the Kingdom of heaven because now you have a Samburu bible. We cannot be hustlers on earth and still be hustlers in heaven),” said Dr Ruto.
He, however, avoided the BBI debate and instead focused his speech on government projects in Samburu. The DP said that the Jubilee government is committed to ensuring that all projects in the county are completed in time to benefit the residents. Among the projects that are in progress in the region include construction of Yamo Dam and Nyahururu-Maralal Road.
The DP reiterated that the Yamo Dam project, which is ongoing, will help address the issue of water shortage in the area and support irrigation programmes.
“The Jubilee government is committed to solving water shortage in this region and I believe once Yamo Dam is completed, it will help address the problem,” said Dr Ruto.
Embattled Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal backed Dr Ruto’s development tours and assured him of support from the residents.
Mr Lenolkulal, is also facing graft charges, called on leaders to avoid divisive politics.
“I want to assure you (DP) that Samburu people are behind your ambitions and we will walk together,” said Mr Lenolkulal.
Many residents witnessed the launching of the first ever New Testament Samburu Bible.
The Bible Society of Kenya printed about 5,000 copies of the Bible, which will cost Sh150 each.
The fight against corruption was never going to be a walk in the park. The corrupt fellows targeted have the ill-gotten funds, which they turn into a war chest to unleash against anyone trying to unsettle their gravy train. They are also well-connected and may try to pull the strings to ease the pressure agencies have applied on them. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and his team deserve kudos for claiming the scalps of high-profile suspects.
Mr Haji’s efforts are being complemented by those of Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, and a resurgent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). However, as critics of these agencies have pointed out, while it is commendable to arrest and haul to court crooked top officials, unless they are convicted, this whole campaign will remain rather hollow. The agencies need to up the ante and have some corrupt officials jailed and stripped of the offices they have so blatantly abused. This is the only way to win public confidence. It is not easy, but it can and must be done. After all, it would be foolhardy of the agencies to go for anyone unless they are convinced that they have impeccable evidence.
One of the best incentives in recent times is the proposal to pay five per cent of the proceeds of corruption to whistle-blowers. This could encourage more people to come forward with tips that can lead to the arrest of suspects. Whistle-blowers are vital in this campaign because they risk their lives for a good cause despite threats from cartels.
Also welcome is the proposal by the DPP to set up a special fund through which the billions siphoned through graft can be recovered and returned to the public. This is laudable.
Corruption diverts much-needed funds from programmes meant to improve the people’s welfare and instead benefits a few greedy individuals. The challenge will be to ensure that the funds recovered will reach the people they were supposed to and are not just kept in public coffers for other looters dip their fingers in the till.
The introduction of county governments in 2013 was a milestone in the country’s socio-economic and political landscape. Thus, devolution ranks among the outstanding features of the Constitution.
Nearly seven years since the launch, devolution has registered mixed results. And the issues came to the fore on Jamhuri Day, when governors across the country gave an account of their performance since ascending to power. Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya took the lead, articulating some of the achievements, among them expansion of infrastructure, provision of health services and other utilities such as water. Experience, however, shows these face many challenges.
Health personnel have staged more strikes in the past six years than any other time in history as they protest poor management and treatment. Other responsibilities such as provision of pre-primary education as well as vocational training have not been properly documented.
Opinion is divided, but there is consensus that devolution has transformed development at the grassroots. Residents in some counties only saw tarmac roads and modern hospitals for the first time under devolution. County-level hospitals can now conduct some delicate surgeries.
But more fundamental questions have been raised. Counties have become veritable hubs of corruption. Pilferage, nepotism and wastage have become the order of the day in the counties.
Indeed, this discussion is coming at a critical moment when the counties are on the spot over governance and ethical leadership. To date, three governors – Mike Sonko (Samburu), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) have been locked out of office as they face corruption charges. Add to this the number of county officials facing legal suits over graft and the gravity of the matter becomes patently explicit. Corruption has become the biggest threat to devolution.
Counties are also at fault over poor financial management. Granted, they suffer greatly due to slow and haphazard funds disbursement by the National Treasury. But they are also poor in managing what they receive. They hardly pay service providers and debts. More than 30 counties have been blacklisted by the National Treasury for not paying their bills. This is bad governance. The imperative is to rethink the governance of counties and institute measures to end graft, wastage, nepotism and poor service delivery. Devolution must be made to work.
A small crowd mills on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa.
A body bag is being prepared by Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) officials to be used to carry a decomposing body recovered from the Likoni channel.
The 500-metre crossing channel has made headlines in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons following the discovery of several bodies suspected to belong to people who either committed suicide or were murdered.
Over the past two weeks, at least eight cases have been reported at various police stations of people committing suicide by leaping to their deaths at the channel or of the recovery of bodies of suspected murder victims.
There have also been reports of people being rescued while attempting to commit suicide at the channel.
In the most recent incident, the decomposing body of an unidentified man was discovered after being washed ashore on the island side of the channel — on December 9.
The body of the man believed to be aged between 30 to 35 was sighted by fishermen at Florida, near the Mama Ngina Waterfront.
Witnesses said the body was found with a missing left arm which police believe was as a result of it staying in water for some time.
The body was recovered just a day after an incident in which a clearing and forwarding agent, John Mutinda, 46, died after driving into the Indian Ocean at the channel last Saturday.
Mr Mutinda, a father of three, allegedly committed suicide as a result of marital issues.
He drove his car and plunged into the ocean on the mainland side of the channel following alleged differences with his wife, Ruth Mueni.
The man had allegedly threatened to kill himself on several occasions.
Interviews with relatives and friends revealed that the deceased had undergone abuse at the hands of his wife that made him repeatedly say he would commit suicide.
A senior police officer at Central Police Station, where one of the couple’s assault cases was reported, said Mr Mutinda was a ‘man under siege’.
“I am the one who handled the case. I summoned the man here after his wife had reported him over assault and disturbance, but after interrogations I learnt that their case had started in Likoni and I ordered them to go report it there,” said the officer whose name could not be revealed because he is not allowed to speak to the media.
Mr Mutinda’s incident happened a day after another man was rescued by commuters after he attempted to throw himself into the ocean.
On December 6, another body was found with a missing hand and left leg.
By the time of going to press, police were yet to identify the body of another man who died after jumping off a ferry.
The body is lying at the Coast General Hospital mortuary where it was taken after being recovered on November 26.
The unidentified man jumped off Mv Harambee ferry at the Likoni crossing at around 1.30am on November 24.
Following the discovery, the Kenya Ferry Services said in a statement that the man did not seem to be in the right frame of mind, based on a review of their CCTV footage.
KFS communication officer Aaron Mutiso said it was unfortunate that people have been using the channel to commit suicide.
He stated that KFS is working on programmes to educate the commuters on safety.
The recent cases have exposed the channel as an ideal spot for suicidal persons.
The channel has also been on the spot following numerous cases of faulty ferries that have also been termed as “death traps”.
KFS found itself on the receiving end following the death of a woman and her daughter whose car slid from a ferry on September 29.
South Sudanese model Aweng Chuol got married to her fiancé Alexis weeks after the couple got engaged.
Aweng, who was born in Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana and moved to Sydney, Australia aged 7, shared pictures from the wedding on social media to announce their marriage.
The 21-year-old New York-based model is a law student when she is not walking the runways of the fashion capitals.
Aweng took to Twitter to share a photograph of herself and her wife and captioned it, ‘Married my best friend today. I am. GEEKED’
The couple’s private wedding ceremony took place on December 12.
“We got married. We had three people in the room with us. And four people at the entire ceremony. It was for us. But wanted to share my happiness with y’all,” Aweng posted on Twitter.
Aweng announced her engagement to Alexis late last month.
Here are some of the pictures from the Aweng’s social media pages:
Nairobi MCAs were in a closed-door meeting Saturday as the county dithers in a leadership crisis.
The 85 elected ward representatives were called for a meeting at City Hall.
Speculation is rife over impeachment of Governor Mike Sonko, who is facing corruption charges.
Nairobi County is staring as a leadership vacuum as there is no deputy governor in place to assume duties in the absence of Sonko.
“Hon members as agreed with other members present at the Windsor all elected members we meet tomorrow at County Assembly at 8. 30 am,” reads a WhatsApp communication from Makongeni MCA Peter Imwatok.
Nairobi County Assembly has a total of 122 ward representatives, 85 of them are elected and the others nominated.
Sonko was on Wednesday barred from accessing his office by the anti-corruption court.
Magistrate Douglas Ogoti barred Sonko from stepping into his office in City Hall unless he is accompanied by an investigating officer or any other authorised person. The magistrate ordered that he should only go to his office to pick up his personal belonging.
On Wednesday, the assembly was a divided House after Speaker Beatrice Elachi adjourned the plenary sittings saying the House can resume for a special sitting should a need arise much to the chagrin of ODM MCAs, who wanted its extension for three more sittings.
The ODM MCAs have maintained there is a crisis at the county government following the court ruling, but their Jubilee counterparts held a different view.
Majority Leader Charles Thuo said there is no vacuum at the county government as operations are going on smoothly. He said structures are in place and the running of the city is not a one-man-show.
“There is no vacuum in Nairobi as Sonko is the governor and he remains so. The only duty he cannot do is transfer and firing of staff,” Mr Thuo said.
In her communication, Elachi mentioned she was awaiting advisory from the Attorney-General and the relevant bodies on the matter at hand.
“This situation is unique hence it is important that we wait for the way forward the assembly will proceed for recess as we wait for a special sitting pursuant to the provision of standing order number 30 should the need arise,” said Ms Elachi.
New York/United Nations,
A Kenyan United Nations delegate on Friday lamented the “deteriorating conditions” at the UN Conference Centre in Nairobi and endorsed a top-level report outlining options for improving the facility.
Kenya was joined by a grouping of developing nations and by the Africa bloc at the UN in calling for the Nairobi centre to be upgraded to match the standards of the world body’s offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.
The assessment of the facilities in Kenya’s capital took place during a meeting of the UN’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee. It advises the UN General Assembly on finance decisions. Committee delegates were considering a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that describes the centre in the Gigiri area as antiquated and inadequate for meetings of the UN’s Environment Programme and Settlement Programme, both of which are based in Nairobi. Large gatherings related to the work of the two programmes are held in “substandard temporary rooms, which hampers negotiations,” Mr Guterres noted.
Built in the mid-1980s, the UN’s Nairobi conference facilities are now “outdated and shabby from a look-and-feel perspective,” the secretary-general’s report added.
In his remarks at the committee’s meeting in New York on Friday, Kenya’s delegate warned that the UN risks “potential reputational loss” by continuing to host large-scale conferences in the “existing, ageing and inadequate facilities.”
Speaking on behalf of the group of 77 developing countries and China, the observer for Palestine noted that attendance at the UN Environment Assembly in March was more than double the Nairobi centre’s 2000-person seating capacity.
The UN Office in Nairobi responded by holding sessions in converted corridors, walkways and car parks and by installing tents on the grounds of the complex, the Palestine speaker told the committee.
“This is unsustainable and creates unacceptable risk and additional cost,” he said. Botswana’s delegate, speaking for the UN’s Africa Group, called for investment in state-of-the-art technology at the Nairobi centre. Ten-year-old interpretation systems have been experiencing failures, he noted. The Administrative and Budgetary Committee should recommend expenditure of $470,000 (Sh47 million) in the coming year for studies of how to improve the Nairobi facilities, the secretary-general’s report suggests.
Mr Guterres outlined two options for upgrades. The first would involve renovation and expansion of the existing conference centre and meeting rooms, along with construction of an adjacent plenary hall. This option would accommodate up to 8,000 participants in UN meetings in Nairobi, the report states.
A second possibility builds on the first and includes construction of a stand-alone conference centre on the periphery of the UN’s Nairobi complex. This option would accommodate 12,000 delegates.
A German man who was reported missing by his Kenyan wife was deported by immigration officials, Nation has learnt.
Last month, Neema Nyawira reported at Shimoni Police Station in Lunga Lunga that her husband, Paul Topf, was missing after he was picked by five people, who identified themselves as government officials, from their home.
Nyawira made the report after her husband failed to return home and could not be reached on his mobile phone.
The Nation confirmed that Topf, who has been living in Kwale for nearly six years, was deported by the Kenyan government on allegedly on Germany’s request.
Immigration officials, who did not want to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the press, said Topf was wanted in Germany for crime.
“There were written orders from the Interior Ministry directing that the man be deported.
“He was suspected to be dealing in some suspicious businesses here, the Kenyan government did some investigations on him but they did not get anything and so they handed him back to his government,” said a source.
Another official said that the German government had sought help from Kenyan government to have him sent back home over crimes he had committed there.
“The German government officials had earlier asked him to present himself, but he defied and they sought the intervention of the Kenyan officials who got him and sent him back,” said the official.
Topf was deported a day before he was set to appear in a Kwale court. He is embroiled in a land ownership battle with a Kenyan who sued him.
Mr Joseph Mbaru Maihanyu claims an eight-acre parcel, which Topf says he bought at Sh1 million, belongs to him.
“The case is interesting because the man who sold him the plot is called Joseph Mbaru Mahanyu and the one who has sued him is Maihanyu. The difference in those names is the letter “i”,” Topf lawyer Mbarak Mbarak said.
The lawyer said plans are underway to have Nyawira appear in court on behalf of Topf.
During his stay in Kwale, Topf was doing cattle farming and fishing activities.
A 23-year-old woman from Migori County dived to her death in River Kuja after her creditors threatened to auction her property over a Sh9,000 loan.
Ms Sylvia Aluoch, reports say, was under pressure to repay a soft loan she had acquired from Wabongo B Group, where she is a member.
The merry-go-round group threatened to auction part of her property to recover the cash and were heading to her home when she alighted from a motorcycle and jumped into the river.
Uriri sub county commander Peter Njoroge said the woman from Ongito village was a member of the group and had acquired a loan which she was unable to pay.
“I urge residents to exercise self-control and seek help whenever they are faced with financial challenges. This is an issue that could have been solved and it did not have to end this way,” he said.
The search for her body is still underway.