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Saturday, October 12th, 2019

 

Civilians flee as airstrikes and ground attacks continue in north-eastern Syria

Highlights

  • Ongoing airstrikes and ground attacks continue being reported in multiple locations as the offensive towards Tell Abiad and Ras al-Ain cities continues. At the time of reporting, the Turkish Government announced the control of Rasal-Ain city.

  • Significant further displacements continue being reported from rural areas around Tell Abiad and Ras al-Ain, with current estimates currently surpassing 130,000 people – exact numbers cannot yet be ascertained.

  • The water situation in Al-Hassakeh city and its surroundings is rapidly deteriorating, and becoming critical, as technical teams are yet to be able to access the site to repair the damage. The United Nations continues to advocate with relevant parties to facilitate access to repair the power line and restore the water supply. Over 400,000 people are affected by the suspension in the provision of water, including some 82,000 camp residents of Al Hol and Areesha, the latter is currently also hosting the majority of IDPs that arrived in the past two days from Mabrouka camp.

  • The relocation from Mabrouka IDP camp – some 5,033 people – which started at midday on 11 October, was almost completed by midday the following day. At the time of reporting, all Mabrouka residents had arrived at Areesha camp with the exception of 50 families who remain at Mabrouka unable to depart due to ongoing hostilities.

  • Public and private hospitals in Ras Al Ain and Tell Abiad closed on 11 October, with news that local authorities in Tell Abiad moved all hospital equipment. At the time of reporting, information was received of an attack on a trauma stabilization point south of Ras al-Ain. The point had been temporarily set up to support those injured coming from the frontlines of the conflict.

  • A growing number of partners are mobilizing response efforts at the estimated 33 collective shelters identified so far in Ar-Raqqa city (1 shelter), Al-Hasakeh city (14 shelters), and AlTamr (18 shelters).

  • As the military operation continues, prior planning figures with regards to displacement have been surpassed – the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are considering a new planning figure of up to 400,000 civilians that may require assistance and protection in the coming period.

  • The United Nations and its humanitarian partners are increasingly concerned about the security of their staff present on the ground.

Situation overview

Since the start of the Turkish military operation in the afternoon of 9 October, there have continuing reports of intense shelling and airstrikes along the north-east Syrian border, from the Euphrates to the Turkish/Syrian/Iraqi border.

As of noon of 12 October, airstrikes, heavy artillery shelling and ground incursions reportedly took place in multiple locations as the offensive continued close to 30 kilometers south of the border. On 12 October, Turkish Armed forces reported took control of Ras al-Ain and surrounding suburbs/outskirts of both Tell Abiad and Ras al-Ain cities. Latest reports received at the time of reporting indicate at least 15 villages in rural Tell Abiad, north rural Ar-Raqqa, shifted control as the offensive continues. Also, in the early hours of 12 October, an offensive was reportedly launched in the Mabrouka area, 30 kilometers west of Ras al-Ain.

On 11 October, an explosion occurred in Mounir Habib neighbourhood, Qamishli city, with reports of casualties and injuries. The neighbourhood is some 400 meters west of the UN hub in Qamishli. Another 11 explosions were heard in Qamishli city in the evening of 11 October.

At the time of reporting, information was received of an attack on a trauma stabilization point south of Ras al-Ain. The point had been temporarily set up to support those injured coming from the frontlines of the conflict. Reportedly, two staff were injured in the attack and two ambulances were damaged. The point was evacuated and patients receiving treatment at the time of the attack have been transferred to nearby hospitals.

In turkey there have been media reports of civilians, including children being killed and injured.


Equity Bank to continue aiding Kenya's growth mission

This week, Equity Group Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi responds to your questions.

1. Equity Group Foundation has through the Wings to Fly scholarship programme helped thousands of bright but needy students access top-class tertiary education from some of the best universities abroad. Does your bank have a strategy to bring some of them home as we only hear of those taking up jobs in blue-chip companies abroad? Njeri Aseneka, Thika

The Wings to Fly is a phenomenal project that has given 16,168 bright kids but from humble backgrounds an opportunity to access secondary education through a comprehensive scholarship.

Eighty-four per cent of our scholars transit to both local and global universities. We now have 519 Equity Leadership Programme scholars admitted to Ivy League and other global universities.

We want them to be exposed to the best university education, get international social and work exposure, forge worldwide networks and then return home to develop our country. Some have come back and are working with various institutions.

We are very proud, for instance, with some of our Equity Leaders Programme (ELP Alumni) in the medical field who have come together under Equity Afia and their goal is to transform Kenya’s health sector.

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Equity Afia is a health franchise network that seeks medical centres throughout the country that offer quality and affordable healthcare to Kenyans.

So far, the network has nine operational clinics having already attended to nearly 200,000 patients.

2. Sir, you served as the chair of the Vision 2030 Delivery Board. You once told us to get prepared to enjoy the fruits of a middle-income country, which you predicted was likely to overwhelm us. Are we there yet? Are better days ahead of us? Komen Moris, Eldoret

I have no doubt in my mind that if we continue having discipline in executing Vision 2030, we shall surpass the magical Gross National Income (GNI) of US$3,895 as Kenya joins the league of upper middle-income countries by 2030.

Kenyans are increasingly more educated, with adult literacy rate at 82 per cent and healthier with an average life expectancy of 66 years.

Investments in public infrastructure are bearing fruit in sectors like transport, energy and ICT.

3. In the current wave of acquisitions and mergers, it appears like Equity, KCB and Commercial Bank of Africa are only rushing to take over banks in financial crisis in and outside Kenya. In your own case, why have you not included micro-finance banks and Saccos, some of which are in serious liquidity issues? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

Equity’s strategic intent is to be in 15 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and support or bank 100 million Africans by 2024. Growth can either be organic through greenfield market entry like we did in South Sudan (2009), Rwanda (2011), Tanzania (2012) and Ethiopia (representative office, 2019) or inorganic via mergers and acquisitions of banks with similar social purpose, corporate governance and cultural fit, for instance Uganda (2008) and DR Congo (2015).

The Atlas Mara transaction that is currently underway is meant to acquire their banking subsidiaries to grow our market share in Tanzania and Rwanda as well as enter both Zambia and Mozambique as per our strategic plan.

DR Congo has a huge population of almost 90 million people and so we have decided to acquire another bank, Banque Commerciale du Congo, in addition to ProCredit Bank that we acquired in 2015 to be significantly relevant and have scale that will impact many lives and livelihoods in DRC.

4. Equity Bank has signed up to Sh30 billion for the Young Africa Works – Kenya initiative; the public private partnership between the government, Mastercard Foundation and the private sector. How do you plan to practically make these funds available to support the most deserving youth? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

The partnership with Mastercard is targeted at funding 163,000 entrepreneurs to create 830,000 jobs.

On the demand side, Equity Bank has offered its balance sheet, which is in excess of Sh650 billion, to finance MSMEs while Equity Group Foundation will provide capacity building entrepreneurship education and Business Development Services (BDS) to facilitate wealth and job creation by hundreds of thousands of Kenyan entrepreneurs.

On the supply side, this programme will work with TVET colleges to ensure youths gain world-class technical skills plus internship experience.

5. With regard to the recent allegations of customers losing their money, what strategy has the bank deployed to ensure affected customers are promptly compensated and to deal with the problem? Evans Juma

Most of the cases that have been reported of customers losing money has not been because of a breach of security in Equity’s banking system, but rather social engineering, which is targeted at financial institutions, mobile money and fintech customers.

As a bank we continuously inform, educate and train our customers to protect themselves, for instance, through campaigns like “PIN Yako Siri Yako’’ or “Kaa Chonjo” in collaboration with Kenya Bankers Association.

Customers are advised never to engage those callers and to report them to relevant authorities as well as always calling our official customer service lines or visit an Equity Branch to verify any information they receive.

We are working with the government agencies like DCI, Central Bank of Kenya’s Anti Bank Fraud Unit, other private sector partners as well as Global Security Operations Centres (GSOCs) to secure our customers and indeed the nation.

We continue to invest heavily in the most sophisticated anti-bank fraud detection and prevention systems, and we were indeed the first bank in East and Central Africa to be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certified for card and mobile payments.

6. Would you consider helping institutions in putting up science and computer laboratories plus equipping them in a phased approach across the counties? David Okello, Nairobi

Investment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is key if our motherland is to shift from a primary commodity exports to an innovation driven economy.

The government is scaling up infrastructure investments in public schools to support the new 2-6-3-3-3 Competence-Based Curriculum.

It is always preferable with limited resources to focus on a specific area for significant impact. We also use the bank to support commercially viable projects like education institutions.

7. You have assisted many through the Wings to Fly programme. But I have heard of a boy who was a beneficiary of the programme but became a drug addict while abroad and had to be hauled back to Kenya. What programmes do you have to keep these young people in line especially when they are in far off lands? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

We always bring students in the US together during the Thanksgiving week for mentorship and coaching.

We encourage all students in the US and elsewhere to use the facilities in their respective learning institutions for support.

We have put up a structure to mentor, train and inspire the young people who join the programme through Annual Education and Leadership Congress.

This is the highlight of the leadership, mentorship and social transformation programme.

It also enables Wings to Fly scholars to interact with local and international leaders, while also strengthening their relationships with their mentors and Wings to Fly peers.

8 Can you consider reviewing Equitel EazzyLoans limits upwards? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

Through Equitel’s EazzyLoans, customers can borrow anywhere between Sh100 to Sh3 million.

The digital loans are instant and devoid of any human intervention as they solely rely on algorithms calculated via data available to the bank. However, the loan limits vary from person to person as they are dependent on your credit history, sources of income, bank account activity, CRB rating, et cetera.

9. How can corporates sustainably uplift the standards at public universities? Teresiah Wangui, Kangema

Equity supports higher education sector via Equity Leadership Programme.

More than 14,000 KCSE top boys and top girls from each sub-county and Wings to Fly scholars who have scored “A” in KCSE exams have joined the Equity Leaders Programme.

From this, 5,963 have benefited from internships through the Equity Bank’s Paid Internship Programme.

We also offer corporate credit to universities to grow their infrastructure as per their strategic plans.

Corporates can engage robustly with universities via linkages to deepen impact via education, research and outreach as this is key in producing students with market-driven skills, changes in degree programmes to reflect market realities and research to drive business innovation and sophistication.

10. There is a case of one Muhia Mwangi of Equity Kangema branch who lost over Sh700,000 to con people. The bank management has declined to update the customer in the ongoing investigations. Where can such a customer seek help? Githinji Kahendu

Customers are advised to immediately notify our branches or head office by visiting, emailing or calling so that investigative and legal steps can be taken immediately.

Fraud is a criminal matter that requires the support of various arms of government like DCI, Central Bank of Kenya’s anti-bank fraud unit and intelligence services.

11 Refugees and internally displaced persons still largely remain unbanked. Why is this the case? Josiah Oduor, Dadaab

Equity is a financially inclusive institution committed to democratising access to financial services for all, including forcibly displaced persons — both refugees and internally displaced persons.

We have fully-fledged permanent bank branches in both Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, which host over 380,000 refugees.

We are a business for peace and have deployed the entire ICT infrastructure of the bank to deliver innovations like multi-partner, multi-wallet debit cards as well as a network of bank agents to serve both refugees and host communities.

12. I have been receiving dividend from some NSE company of Sh50, but every time that amount hits my account, Sh120 remittance fee is deducted, leaving me Sh70 poorer! Why are you charging fees for such little amounts? S. Kamau, Kiambu

This is a transaction-based service charge. Equity Bank is one of the most inclusive and customer centric financial institutions.

Customer surveys by third parties consistently show our transaction processing charges are the most affordable.

13. Every year banks declare super-normal profits when the economy is stuttering, and Kenyans burdened by loans. Are these huge profits a manifestation of greed or is there a substantive reason for the billions you declare? Benard Nyang’ondi, Mombasa

Banks don’t make abnormal profits, but their profits are related to their capital investments as per regulation and the risk taken as reflected by the size of the balance sheet of banks.

Kenya’s banking sector is highly competitive and depicts a perfect competition market with many suppliers and buyers.

The sector is comprised of many banks, deposit-taking microfinance banks, microfinance institutions, Saccos, telco mobile money wallets as well as FinTechs.

Sound banks globally underpin a stable financial system made of strong, innovative, resilient and well-capitalised institutions able to finance both small and huge projects by households, firms and government.


We need a better Kenya, not a sinking country of hurt people

SCHEAFFER OKOREBy SCHEAFFER OKORE
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I was listening to my taxi driver narrate the heartbreaking story of the woman whose car sunk in the Indian Ocean with her child on board and nothing was immediately done to save their lives. This incident had triggered the driver, who for the purposes of this piece we shall call Zamba.

When Zamba picked me up he looked unsettled, which is unlike him. After the usual greetings, he asked if I had been following the news.

HEARTBREAKING

I told him I was a bit behind and he took a deep sigh. Zamba wanted to hear my thoughts on the regrettable accident that cost a woman and her little child their lives and its representation of Kenyans whose safety needs are not prioritised by the state. He said that watching the captured video of the Likoni incident where the car slowly got into the water before sinking fast reminded him of the many things Kenyans go through in the full gaze of unconcerned folk. One example was his own battle with the inefficiency in the healthcare system.

Zamba lost his mother to cancer three years ago and he says the disease started as a slow sinking and then with uncontrollable haste, consumed what was left of his mother. The heartbreaking symbolism of how Kenyans are literally holding on to life in a country that prefers sending condolences and sympathy messages brought up his past pain. His face changed to gloom and his voice turned low, especially when he went back to this past place in his life. “Kenyans need those in leadership to stop being sorry and start doing what needs to be done when it comes to serving us”, he said.

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Zamba remembers his mother’s diagnosis and how strong she was at the time, being the matriarch that she was. She was certain that they were going to beat this disease but as we all know beating cancer is dependent on so many things — one of them being finances, something the family did not have.

His mother kept on telling him, “I will not sink into the helplessness of this disease” and as if the cancer was determined to prove a point, it became more aggressive. This is why the sinking of the vehicle had triggered him because he could see people literally watching the car sink and disappear just the way he watched the mother he knew disappear. He remembers how doctors, relatives, religious people, siblings and even strangers watched as his mother withered away and nothing could be done. They’d run out of money and couldn’t afford treatment.

Kenyans are walking wounded people and this is one example of the many instances where our hidden wounds manifest. The rest of our trip was filled with silence not because there was completely nothing to say but because pain like this doesn’t need continuous dialogue. Zamba, like many Kenyans, is living in a reality of unhealed pain while trying their best to keep their heads above water because, figuratively, drowning in a world of spectators is a mere headline. We need a better Kenya.


In victory, Kipchoge’s real win was in daring

TOM MSHINDIBy TOM MSHINDI
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A rapturous world Saturday watched and applauded Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge attempt a feat no one but him thought feasible — run the 42-kilometre marathon in under two hours! Put differently, that is running slightly more than five metres per second. That he did was absolutely outrageous. But what for me is remarkable is that he actually thought he could do it and went ahead to dare.

POWERFUL LESSON

It required a military-like operation to execute — from choosing the day with perfect weather conditions and a location that met all the parameters of altitude, gradient and consistency; sublime physical conditioning, to a billionaire who saw an unmatched marketing opportunity for his brand to bankroll the operation. Every detail was ticked off.

And why not? Mr Kipchoge was competing with himself, against time. He wanted, in his own words, to show that there is no limit to human capability. In Vienna, he proved in spectacular fashion that our minds and belief in self are the biggest limitations to achieving extraordinary feats.

But this does not always need mind-blowing preparations because it is not often one feels compelled to run 42 kilometres in under two hours. It is a hugely powerful lesson for us Kenyans.

POLITICAL LEADERS

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Teacher Peter Tabichi, now globetrotting to hang out with President Trump and other dignitaries showed that one can be world class by diligently doing what they are good at whatever the odds may be. Rather than deter him, the deprived circumstances of Keriko Primary School in a remote part of Rift Valley challenged him to be innovative in his teaching of Physics and Maths. His assiduity and dedication won him recognition as the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher 2019.

Kenya has many winners – athletes, nurses, scientists, and technology innovators. Why then has it failed so spectacularly to breed world class political leaders? The answer lies in what motivates Mr Kipchoge and Mr Tabichi — unselfishness. They were never driven by money or even fame. Kipchoge is already an accomplished elite runner. He did not need to do anything else. Whether the world recognised him or not, Mr Tabichi was already a hero at Keriko.

One cannot say the same about our political leaders. Selfishness is at the core of most decisions they make. Even their celebration of the audacity of Mr Kipchoge’s feat is laced with selfishness and hypocrisy. It is a matter of getting the best mileage from a situation. Deputy President William Ruto travelled to Vienna to support Mr Kipchoge. The President called the athlete and wished him Godspeed.

HIGH STANDARDS

Virtually every leader checked in with words of encouragement through Twitter and other means. And they all invoked patriotism and love for country.

But as they did that, the promise they have made of world class stadiums to provide facilities for other Kipchoges to bloom remain unfulfilled. Hundreds of other Tabichis are still toiling in severely harsh conditions across the country as parliamentarians pilfer and misuse millions each year allocated to constituency development. Doctors that could perhaps innovate palliative breakthroughs if facilities were provided remain frustrated, many others unemployed. Leaders demand high standards of moral behaviour and fiscal discipline from wananchi. It will be too much to expect that the courage and humility of Mr Kipchoge will rub off on our leaders.

Tom Mshindi is the former editor-in-chief of the Nation Group and is now consulting. [email protected], @tmshindi


Raila hand to influence change of law strengthened by rejection of Aukot bill

KWENDO OPANGABy KWENDO OPANGA
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Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s hand to influence change to Kenya’s nine-year-old Constitution, and with it shape the architecture of the Kenyatta II succession, has been greatly strengthened.

The ongoing rejection of Punguza Mizigo, Thirdway Alliance’s drive for small parliament and parsimonious government, by County Assemblies, renders Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) ascendant and monopolistic.

The BBI, a child of the private contract between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, two previously implacable foes, is the route to change of the Constitution favoured by the government and minority, yet all-powerful, political elite.

Punguza Mizigo’s threat to Kenya’s four mainstream political parties was immediately and abundantly clear when in July they ganged up to attack its small parliament and government idea as unworkable and destabilising.

Unsurprisingly, they sowed the seeds of suspicion that Punguza Mizigo was sponsored by Deputy President William Ruto to derail and defeat BBI, thereby styming Mr Odinga’s presidential ambition.

RUTO ATTACKS

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While packaged as uniting Kenyans who are divided at every general election by losers embittered by winner-take-all and first-past-the-post systems, BBI is Mr Odinga’s vehicle for pole position in the presidential succession.

It is the platform from which an unelected Odinga persistently attacks an elected DP, who he will likely run against for the top job.

He accuses him of corrupting clergy in a bid to buy the presidency with mammon.

And BBI has given Mr Odinga proximity to power which enables him to cast himself as a presidential confidant, publicly display camaraderie with Mr Kenyatta as well as play co-President.

Using the cover of protecting BBI, President Kenyatta defends Mr Odinga from Dr Ruto’s attacks. But does not do the same for Dr Ruto.

That escalates the duelling between the two and heightens suspicion the President prefers Mr Odinga to Dr Ruto for his heir.

REFERENDUM

Punguza Mizigo’s decline, that it is linked to the Kenyatta II succession, and tantalising leaks have combined to cast the coming launch of BBI’s report as an eagerly awaited event.

Because BBI is regarded as Mr Odinga’s brainchild, it has been speculated that it will recommend his favoured parliamentary system of government, a premier and president, and therefore an expanded Executive.

But if BBI was created to end quinquennial poll violence caused by losing competitors embittered by winner-take-all and first-past-the-post systems, it remains to be seen if it will recommend proportional representation over first-past-the-post.

The BBI is expected to vouch for Cabinet ministers to be appointed from among the Members of Parliament; that the appointing authority, namely the premier, be vested with power to sack ministers and deputy president.

It had been widely expected that BBI would recommend a referendum on the Constitution. But recent media reports and nods and winks from BBI operatives suggest this may not be the case.

CORRUPTION

Plans have been afoot for the initiative to play down a referendum and play up the merits of changing the Constitution through Parliament. So much for the independence of BBI.

Where does this leave Dr Ruto? Using the cover of BBI to campaign while pretending not to, Mr Odinga has loudly tied the DP to corruption and therefore the target of the so-called war on graft. The President has been more strategic.

Ditto the Constitution. To many observers, changing the Constitution to create a premier and deputy premiers plus president is aimed at reducing the DP’s post to a backwater and jettisoning Dr Ruto altogether from the presidential succession.

Dr Ruto’s position on the twin issues of graft and change of Constitution have been clear and, not surprisingly, run counter to Mr Odinga’s.

He denies he is a thief and opposes change to create jobs for poll failures.

REDUCED POWERS

He supports change to improve the lives of Kenyans and promote inclusivity. Put simply, he opposes what BBI and Mr Odinga support. However, the DP has been greatly weakened.

The erosion of his power in government is highlighted by the enhancement of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s. Indeed, Dr Matiang’i has been variously nicknamed Prime Minister, Super Minister and Chief Minister.

Politically, the circle of Dr Ruto’s allies has shrunk as they have encountered all manner of legal and political pressures.

Dr Ruto’s dwindling fortunes are in sharp contrast to the flourishing of Mr Odinga’s. Because Mr Odinga tells BBI what to think, it is, as they say in tennis, advantage Mr Odinga.

But the advantage of the tinkerers (sungura wajanja) disadvantages Wanjiku (owners) agents of genuine change (constitutionalists). For the DP, BBI’s report will mean deep dive and drawing board.


How young people can attain true success in life

KIVUTHA KIBWANABy KIVUTHA KIBWANA
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Recently I was approached by a young man who requested to learn what he could do to attain success in life. I decided to engage him. In the process I will address other young people.

So what is success?

My young friend defined success as a good education accompanied on its heels by a well-paying job.

POSITIVE VALUES

Strikingly Lisa Haisha defines success as follows: “Unburdened by goals to acquire material items and status, (financially poor people) focus their attention toward those they love — their family and friends. What do they have to give? Themselves. And the community of happiness that results is the finest indication of a successful life.”

Generally young people believe loads of money, flashy cars and a glamorous lifestyle are the epitome of success.

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Success is doing those edifying things that give meaning to your life. Success is a good deed done to many people many times.

Success does not happen as an accident. It is preceded by social formation.

Dedicated parenting nurtures children and young adults. Parents, like myself when I was younger, who say they have to dedicate ample time to make family money will usually compromise at the family front. Bribing their children with enhanced pocket money does not work. Even when such under-parented young people inherit money or family businesses they often squander or mismanage the family estate. I urge young people to candidly negotiate with their parents on quality parenting.

Social environments are the universities for learning ethical, moral and spiritual values for young people. Example of these are school, books, religious institutions, community, workplace, media, films and music. Such values build character. The primary responsibility for cultivating positive values falls on the young person.

COUNTRY’S DESTINY

To attain these values requires the discipline of repetitive application of, to quote Alexandre Harvard, magnanimity, humility, prudence, courage, self-control and sense of justice until they become second nature to a young person.

Many young people do not ask themselves: what is my life going to be about? They live an unplanned life. One must develop a vision for their life. A young person could dedicate themselves to raising a model family, creating a great social business or, with others, re-imagining their country’s destiny.

A vision can be broken down into goals or objectives which will incrementally be achieved in a lifetime but within a decade, a year, a month, a week or even a day.

How many young people plan what will be fitted into a day? Doing things as they come or whatever friends suggest is reckless generosity.

My young friend identified education as a driver for success. Such education is not simply book or rote learning geared towards passing examinations. Holistic education is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge acquisition that will help a young person and later the mature adult to be innovative and creative problem solvers. This is disruptive education which questions settled doctrine and old ways of doing things.

RELATIONSHIPS

Career or life’s pursuit should be a personal choice by the young person. Although guidance is key, the final decision rests on the shoulders of the young person. I have known young adults whose careers were chosen for them by their parents or teachers. Later they abandoned such careers. Career choice is analogous to choice of a spouse. You get it wrong and you live to regret.

A successful young person is usually escorted in life by a mentor. This is an accomplished person who generously shares their experiences with a junior person and guides them. A regular session with a mentor even online can continue to build the character and potential of the mentee.

I urged the young gentleman I met to ensure he has a circle of dedicated and honest friends with whom to share his journey in life. Relationships build on love, mutuality and trust are an asset. Abusive relationships are a liability.

Peer mentorship is also an important ingredient of catalysing growth in young people.

I wish young people participated more in the alumni associations of their former educational institutions. Networks and exposure are of immense social value.

SELF-RESPECT

Whether one is employed or self-employed, hard work, incessant skills development and discipline will differentiate those who succeed or fail.

To succeed young people must be self-motivated, have positive ambition, exhibit self-drive and self-respect. Abuse of drugs, alcohol, sex and other addictive behaviours will disorient the perpetrator and detract them from success.

I shared with my young buddy that one should find time for volunteer community work. Giving oneself to others is a key measure of success but also me-time and leisure for unwinding are priceless.

Young people must know each human being has weaknesses. We must try to identify these. We must listen to others when they identify such weaknesses for us. This is the role of accountability partners or that trusted friend or mentor or parent who tells you as it is. Weaknesses must be corrected. They often are the flip side of success once converted into strengths.

DISILLUSIONMENT

Failure is a temporary setback. It must not numb us into lethargy, despair, disillusionment, hurting and depression. Some young people believe their world has collapsed when they experience failure or temporary set back. No Successful person has not failed many times.

After contact with failure, some young people contemplate suicide. Committing suicide is killing future success. Talking about our fears, our anxieties, our problems, and our inadequacies with trusted persons or counsellors is critical. A problem you think is a mountain today can be a laughing matter the following day.

I told my impromptu friend that those between 15-35 years are Kenya’s and Africa’s incoming generation of leaders. They must prepare themselves to take charge. It is their lot to offer sacrificial leadership so as to avert Africa’s decay and usher in Ubuntu and the true renaissance predicted by Thabo Mbeki.

The writer is the Governor of Makueni County.


Needed: Lessons in politeness for Tuju and Ruto

PHILIP OCHIENGBy PHILIP OCHIENG
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In most situations, the most important task that faces any individual, especially if he or she means well for his or her country, is to ensure that Kenyans of all ethnic, racial and religious communities are communicating in an increasingly mutually respectable and mutually beneficial manner. That, indeed, is a teaching which somebody ought to deliver particularly to Mr Raphael Tuju and Dr William Ruto.

LOWER DIGNITY

Mr Tuju recently poured some extraordinarily rude words on the Vice-President. As I have often pointed out in my language column, the adjectives “political” and “polite” come from the same root. that is why all thinking Kenyans always expect exemplary conduct from all “politicians”, including from Mr Ruto and Mr Tuju.

In fact, that political twain should play the topmost role in the national task of ensuring that our country’s political rivalry is always conducted in an increasingly polite and increasingly respectable manner. In summary, nationally useful political competition does not demand mutual insults every time you open your mouth against a rival in any field. Politicians who behave in that vile manner should be made to pay for it in some way.

In the minds of all properly educated Kenyans, you always lower your own dignity every time you use vile language against opponents. Yet your assumption should be that your people are becoming better and better educated and, therefore, socially becoming more and more intelligent. Why, then, do Kenya’s politicians think that insolence is the most useful weapon against a critic?

ALTERNATING ALLIANCES

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Indeed, exactly what profit do you bag by always hitting your opponent(s) with the rough end of the oral stick? Exactly why should Mr Ruto and Mr Raila Odinga, for example, aim the rudest words at each other? Shouldn’t foresight tell them — and all other leaders — that their present opponents might, in the near future, turn out to be their most important political allies?

It is for such a reason that mutual insults do not play any constructive role in political competition and social well-being. For, indeed, in politics, your present rival may, in the very near future, turn out to be your most beneficial ally. So a wise politician always keeps that in mind because politics is a game of perpetually alternating fortunes.

Your “enemy” of this evening may always turn out to be your most reliable and most useful ally by the time the sun re-emerges in the Orient. That is why, in the mind of a wise politician, there is no such person as a permanent opponent or a permanent enemy. Always remember that the political climate is always fickle and that, therefore, politics is always a game of investment and counter-investment in individuals in perpetually alternating alliances.

IMMEDIATE GAIN

In that game, then, your bitterest enemy this morning may turn out to be your most dedicated ally by the time the sun goes down in the west. In that gamble, whenever you think of any individual as a permanent enemy, you are the one most likely to suffer in the end. For politics is always a game of changing investments and counter-investments.

To be quite sure, even in politics, you are likely to think of your investment only in terms of immediate gain. But it is much better to be advised. Be always prepared to think of investment as a long-term exercise that may end up as a loss. Thus, if you do not enter the game with the attitude that it is but a game, you are most likely to emerge from it like the majority of those who go to the horse races — namely, horribly disappointed.

That is why you should think hard before playing such a game. It is why I always avoid all gambling “games” — namely, because all of them are designed in such a way that, collectively, all the players lose to the machine’s owner.


Eliud Kipchoge in race to bust 2-hour marathon barrier

AFPBy AFP
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He has compared it to aiming to be the first man to land on the moon.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge is preparing to bust the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon on Saturday — albeit on a specially prepared course and with pacemakers supporting him.

“I just have to make that click in people’s minds that no human is limited,” the 34-year-old Olympic and world champion told a press conference earlier this week.

He said his attempt in a huge park in Vienna is about “making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon”.

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Kipchoge holds the men’s world record for the distance with a time of 2hr 01min 39sec, which he set in the flat Berlin marathon on September 16, 2018.

In May 2017, he already tried to break the two-hour barrier, running on the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit in Italy, but at 2hr 00min 25sec failed narrowly.

But this time he says he is mentally stronger and more confident.

Organisers also say all is set in the Austrian capital where Kipchoge’s course in the Prater park has been specially prepared to make it as even as possible.

Kipchoge will begin his run at 8.15am (0615 GMT), starting at a bridge that leads into the park.

Because of the way the run is being set up and paced the International Association of Athletics Federations will not validate the time as a world record.

The surface has been partly retarred and prepared with other features such as a banked corner that can save time and avoid injury.

Pacemakers are taking turns to support him throughout the 42.195-kilometre (26.219-miles) race, which includes a 4.3 kilometre-long straight alley, which he will run up and down several times.

Kipchoge, whose family has accompanied him to Vienna, said he was trying to “stay as calm as possible”.

“The course is extremely good. I’m happy with the course,” he said earlier this week.

Weather conditions are expected to be favourable with very low wind speed and no rain, according to organisers.

Fan zones have also been set up along the course. AFP has not been granted permission to film the run itself.

The course has been readied so that it should take him just about 4.5 seconds more than on a computer-simulated completely flat and straight path, according to an analysis by sports experts at Vienna University.

In total, he will only have to descend 26 metres in altitude down and climb 12 metres, the experts said.

The founder of the main sponsors, Ineos, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is taking a personal interest in the challenge because he himself competes in Ironman triathlons.

The world marathon record has, for the past 16 years, been contested uniquely between athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia. The two nations are also fierce rivals for distance medals on the track.

Kipchoge’s record was almost beaten last month in the Berlin marathon by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, who ran 2:01.41, just two seconds short of the world mark.


UN humanitarian chief's report details impediments to delivery of assistance to vulnerable Somalis

Letter dated 7 October 2019 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia addressed to the President of the Security Council

On behalf of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia, I have the honour to transmit herewith the report of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator pursuant to paragraph 49 of Security Council resolution 2444 (2018) on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

I would appreciate it if the present letter and the report were brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council and issued as a document of the Council.

(Signed) Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve
Chair
Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia

Letter dated 13 September 2019 from the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator addressed to the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia

In accordance with paragraph 49 of Security Council resolution 2444 (2018), I have the honour to transmit the requested report on the implementation of paragraphs 48 and 49 and on any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

The humanitarian community working in Somalia wishes to advise that, as with the previous 13 reports, it maintains the definition of “implementing partner” pursuant to paragraph 5 of Security Council resolution 1916 (2010), which is as follows:

“Implementing partner” – a non-governmental organization (NGO) or community-based organization that has undergone due diligence to establish its bona fides by a United Nations agency or another NGO and that reports when requested to the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia on mitigation measures. Implementing partners have the following characteristics:

(a) The organization is part of the humanitarian response plan for Somalia (or the Somalia Humanitarian Fund) process; and/or

(b) The organization is represented in a cluster’s 3W matrix (Who does What and Where).

I remain available should you have any questions about the content of the report or need further clarification on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

(Signed) Mark Lowcock
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Report of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2444 (2018), the resolution succeeding resolutions 1916 (2010), 1972 (2011), 2060 (2012), 2111 (2013), 2182 (2014), 2244 (2015), 2317 (2016) and 2385 (2017), in which the Council established the reporting requirement. It is the fourteenth submission pursuant to the above-mentioned resolutions. The Council, in paragraph 49 of its resolution 2444 (2018), requested the Emergency Relief Coordinator to report to the Council by 15 October 2019 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and on any impediments thereto.

2. The present report covers the period from 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2019. It focuses primarily on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected people in areas under the control or influence of Al-Shabaab, which was included on the sanctions list pursuant to paragraph 8 of Security Council resolution 1844 (2008), by the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, on 12 April 2010. As in the previous 13 reports (S/2010/372, S/2010/580, S/2011/125, S/2011/694, S/2012/546, S/2012/856, S/2013/415, S/2014/177, S/2014/655, S/2015/731, S/2016/827, S/2017/860 and S/2018/896), the present report outlines constraints to humanitarian access and operational implications. In addition, it summarizes mitigation measures established to address the risks of politicization, misuse and misappropriation of humanitarian assistance. The report is based on information synthesized in consultation with relevant humanitarian organizations active in Somalia and information from the Risk Management Unit in the Integrated Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

Humanitarian situation

3. The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains fragile owing to the impact of recurrent climate shocks, including the prolonged drought in 2016 and 2017, poor deyr rains in 2018 (October to December), unusually hot and dry conditions during the jilaal season in 2019 and the erratic and abnormal performance of gu rains in 2019 (April to June). Climate shocks, combined with other persistent drivers of need, such as armed conflict and protracted and continued displacement, have left millions of Somalis in need of assistance and protection.

4. According to the 2019 post-gu assessment results, released on 2 September by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, cereal production was up to 70 per cent below average in southern Somalia during the gu 2019 cropping season. The resulting harvest shortfall is linked to abnormally high prices of sorghum throughout the season. The situation is likely to be even worse in conflict-affected areas, where people are displaced from their land or face involuntary and illegal taxation by Al-Shabaab, reducing incentives for agricultural production. The results of the 2019 post-gu assessment indicate that, in the absence of humanitarian assistance, up to 2.1 million people across Somalia will face severe hunger by December 2019, which will bring the total number of Somalis expected to be food insecure to 6.3 million by the year’s end.

5. Huge food and nutrition gaps remain largely among poor agropastoral, marginalized and displaced communities, where many vulnerable people have been pushed into the most severe food and nutrition insecurity phases. Severe acute malnutrition rates among children are increasing, mainly among internally displaced persons, with preliminary assessment results indicating that 10 out of 33 population groups surveyed demonstrate critical levels of acute malnutrition, with a global acute malnutrition rate exceeding 15 per cent. Interventions to address high levels of acute malnutrition, mainly among children, must be scaled up. Without response, from July 2019 to June 2020, an estimated 1 million children will be acutely malnourished, including 180,000 children with severe acute malnutrition. The prevalence and increased risk of acute malnutrition, coupled with a serious lack of access to clean water, is further heightening the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks and is exacerbating existing fragilities.

6. Among the most fragile people in Somalia are 2.6 million internally displaced persons, who continue to face serious risks of marginalization, forced eviction and exclusion across the country. From September to December 2018, there were 188,000 newly displaced persons, and between January and August 2019, an additional 270,000 people were displaced. While the majority of internally displaced persons report armed conflict and drought as the main reasons for displacement, it should be noted that drought-induced displacement has been on the rise. In the fourth quarter of 2018 and from January to August 2019, 29 per cent and 41 per cent of internally displaced persons, respectively, noted drought as the main reason for displacement. Furthermore, more than twice as many people reported drought-induced displacement in July 2019 compared with June 2019.

7. Ongoing armed conflict and insecurity continues to be a driver of displacement, compounding the humanitarian situation and causing high levels of need and protection concerns. With respect to conflict-induced displacement, 60 per cent of internally displaced persons in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 52 per cent of internally displaced persons in 2019 cited conflict as the main reason for displacement. The Shabelle Hoose and Shabelle Dhexe regions are areas of particular concern, as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army have intensified military offensives against Al-Shabaab. The impact of drought, coupled with the protracted conflict, is worsening protection challenges as families lose their socioeconomic safety nets and capacity to cope with such shocks. Displaced women and children face greater protection challenges, including family separation, exposure to gender-based violence, disruptions to education and the forced recruitment of children by armed groups.

8. Aggressive forced child recruitment campaigns in areas of southern and central Somalia and in parts of the Bari region in Puntland have continued to drive civilians into displacement. For example, from January to July 2019, the country task force on monitoring and reporting mechanism reported that 869 children, including 8 girls, were recruited and used by armed forces and groups in Somalia. Al-Shabaab accounts for an estimated 81 per cent of children recruited in Somalia. Humanitarian partners continue to provide support to children who were subject to forced recruitment by armed groups. In 2018, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners provided reintegration services to 1,466 children in Afgooye, Baidoa, Dhuusamarreeb, Garoowe, Kismaayo and Mogadishu. In addition, from January to July 2019, UNICEF and its partners delivered protection services to 513 children, including 47 girls, who had escaped from Al-Shabaab or had been released by armed forces in various areas of Somalia.

Humanitarian response

9. Humanitarian partners have continued to provide life-saving assistance alongside livelihood support. From September to December 2018, a monthly average of 2 million beneficiaries were reached with the provision of access to food assistance and safety net support. During the first half of 2019, resource constraints hindered the delivery of aid, resulting in a monthly average of 1.2 million people receiving assistance with improved access to food assistance and safety net support. In addition, between January and July 2019, over 470,000 people were reached with the provision of access to sustainable safe water services, health services were provided to more than 757,000 people, and 155,000 people benefited from shelter and support with non-food items. Over the same period, the Nutrition Cluster treated 141,216 new cases of severe acute malnutrition and provided treatment for moderate acute malnutrition to 212,218 children under 5 years of age and 62,910 pregnant and breastfeeding women. While outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea have largely remained under control, with the exception of localized cases, there has been a sharp increase in other acute diarrhoeas, with the number of other acute diarrhoea cases in 2019 nearly double those recorded in 2018. Furthermore, there has been a significant rise in malaria cases when compared with the same period in 2018.

10. The deterioration in the humanitarian situation unfolded at a time when the Somalia aid operation continues to be underfunded, forcing aid agencies to limit or reduce relief efforts. For example, the Food Security Cluster is reaching 1.9 million people out of the monthly target of reaching around 2.3 million people with assistance. The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, which seeks $1.08 billion to deliver aid and protection to 4.2 million people, was 45 per cent funded ($508 million) as at 28 August 2019. Some clusters, such as protection, water, sanitation and hygiene and health, have been critically underfunded, having received less than 20 per cent of the funding requested. Compared with 2018, when climatic conditions were better, the response in 2019 is notably reduced across most clusters. For example, in May 2019, 1.2 million people were reached with activities aimed at improving access to food and safety nets, compared to 1.9 million people reached in May 2018, representing a 36 per cent reduction in the delivery of such assistance. Similarly, most clusters report that partners have been unable to provide enough assistance and services in areas affected by displacement, where beneficiaries are among the most vulnerable and have acute needs. Only 25 per cent of the target for family tracing and reunification was reached between January and May 2019. Gaps are also significant in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in health facilities and schools, with only eight institutions reached with a full water, sanitation and hygiene package to date out of 150 institutions targeted in 2019.

11. Working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, aid agencies launched a drought impact response plan in which $686 million is requested to boost the response in the last seven months of 2019 and to provide critical life-saving assistance to 4.5 million Somalis. Since the end of May, some $253 million in additional resources has been received for the Somalia response. Among other things, the additional resources have enabled aid agencies to reach more than 1.8 million people with food assistance since June 2019. As a result of such response efforts, humanitarian partners were able to prevent 1 million people from sliding into emergency and crisis levels of food insecurity.

12. Aid agencies are ready to scale up the response, drawing on recent positive lessons learned, to ensure that response efforts prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe that could jeopardize gains made in recent years. Mechanisms are in place for rapid scale-up and sustained response. Such mechanisms include significant cash programming, expanded partnerships with already-vetted local implementing partners and improved engagement with authorities and affected populations. As part of the famine prevention efforts of 2017, humanitarian partners established Drought Operations Coordination Centres to improve multisectoral coordination and information-sharing and facilitate joint planning. In 2018, because of the positive impact that the Centres had on famine prevention efforts and in recognition that such coordination platforms could facilitate the response to all forms of disaster, the Centres were reconceptualized as Disaster Operations Coordination Centres. The re-establishment of the Centres will enable the initial increase in response close to the areas of origin in the hardest hit regions.

13. While aid agencies continue to do all they can to alleviate suffering and save lives, it is critical that everyone, including the Federal Government of Somalia, federal member states, the international donor community and humanitarian partners, rally behind the scaling up of the response in the worst-affected areas. Coordination on resource mobilization, prioritization of needs and response is critical for the effective delivery of life-saving assistance, including efforts to expand access to areas outside urban centres and to address bureaucratic challenges that slow down and significantly increase the costs associated with humanitarian efforts.


Candidates protest Musyoka’s role in Mutonguni by-election

KITAVI MUTUABy KITAVI MUTUA
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Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka on Saturday embarked on a two-day campaign in Mutonguni Ward in Kitui County, amid protests from other candidates in the by-election.

Mr Musyoka, accompanied by new Wiper chairman Chirau Mwakwere, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and MPs Makali Mulu (Kitui Central) Edith Nyenze (Kitui West), Charles Nguna (Mwingi West) Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central) and Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South) campaigned for party nominee Stephen Kithuka.

CAMPAIGN TEAMS

Split in several campaign teams, the MPs combed the tiny ward as they urged voters not to embarrass Mr Musyoka by rejecting the party candidate.

He will on Sunday lead the Wiper party team comprising MCAs from Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties at a church fundraiser in Muthale market before addressing another campaign rally.

However, rival candidates criticised Mr Musyoka for ‘stooping too low’ to engage in a “village fight” that had no significance to his presidential ambitions.

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The candidates who included Musee Mati (Maendeleo Chap Chap), Alex Nzau (Jubilee) and Mailu Mulonzya (Independent), said they had always supported Mr Musyoka.

Mr Mati, whose successful election petition dragged in courts for almost two years, said a ward by-election was too small for the Wiper leader. He said that the candidates should be allowed to square it off among themselves.

“This heavy involvement by Wiper party signifies panic that their candidate is losing. Mr Musyoka is only setting himself for embarrassment because his candidate, who came a distant third, is losing again,” said Mr Mati.

He argued Wiper already has the majority MCAs in Kitui County Assembly and should not be worried about losing the seat previously held by Narc Party.

After the Court of Appeal nullified the election of Mr Felix Mbevo of Narc, the Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu-led party declined to nominate any candidate. Ms Ngilu said she would work with whoever wins the seat.

Mr Nzau said Mr Musyoka needed the support of all candidates regardless of their party affiliations.  He said that his involvement in ward campaigns will dent his national political ambitions.

The petition arose after Kitui West constituency returning officer James Mbai erroneously awarded the election certificate to the candidate who had lost the contest.

Efforts by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials to recall the certificate a day after poll results were announced were dashed after Mr Mbevo rushed to court and obtained an injunction, triggering a series of suits and appeals.

The matter was first heard by Kitui Resident Magistrate who annulled the election, prompting Mr Mbevo to appeal at the High Court. The appeal was heard by Justice Lilian Mutende who upheld the lower court’s decision.

During the hearing, the court was told Mr Mati emerged winner with 3,330 votes against Mr Mbevo’s 3,319, contrary to previous results of 3,071 and 3,273 votes respectively.

The returning officer testified that upon realising his mistake, he immediately wrote to Mr Mbevo, directing him to surrender the certificate as it was erroneously awarded to him.

The “winner” however declined to comply with IEBC directive, forcing Mr Mati to seek redress through the petition.

Mr Mbevo argued that he could not surrender the certificate because this woul rob him of his victory. He claimed that the win reflected the wishes of Mutonguni people.

Court of Appeal judges Erastus Githinji, Philip Waki and Mohammed Warsame ruled that there was no legal room for an MCA election petition appeal to reach the Supreme Court.

While directing IEBC to conduct fresh polls, the three judges ordered Mr Mbevo to pay the costs of the suit to both the petitioner Mr Mati and the IEBC.