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Kenya: A battle for Bungoma Senatorial seat – By-election December 2013

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,  BUNGOMA SENATORIAL BY ELECTION ANALYSIS,

The Search for votes  by Candidates  in the ongoing  campaign  in the Bungoma  County Senatorial  seat  by-election slated  for   December 19  have reached fever  pitch even before the  official campaign period  by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries  Commission – IEBC  begins in earnest.

It is  not therefore  surprising that  political  observers and   pundits  have been  filing diverse  reports about  the by-election which  is slated to be one of the most grueling  political fights  ever to be witnessed in Bungoma County in  recent years.  While there are  four candidates   cleared by IEBC to  contest, there is no question that the real fight in this  race  will be  between  the former immediate Senator  Moses Masika   Wetang’ula   of Ford Kenya in the  Cord Coalition  and Musikari Nazi Kombo  of New Ford Kenya  in the Amani Coalition.

At the outset, this  titanic  battle   started much earlier  than the  real election  fight  because  when   Justice Francis Gikonyo of the High Court  sitting in Bungoma nullified Wetang’ula ‘s  election  word went around that Wetang’ula  had committed  and Election  offence of  bribery hence  would be  barred  from  participating  in the by-election.

But it turned water under the  bridge as the same  judge  later  clarified     his ruling, that  he   had not  barred  anyone. Unfortunately  Musikari Kombo and his supporters  got so excited  that they seemed to have been carried away by  the initial decision  of the court following which  they made all and sundry here in Bungoma   believe that Wetang’ula    would  not be  on the ballot  after all  and that  Kombo was set for  a  landslide  field day  and victory  against  former Bumula Mp Bifwoli Wakoli and  Journalist David Makali.

Bungoma political reviewers argue that, the by-election will not be between Kombo and Wetangula. It will be far much bigger than the two. It is likely to pit former PM Raila Odinga and his CORD brigade, against President Uhuru’s Jubilee. CORD shall be fighting two wars, to return the only CORD principal and CORD’s leader of Minority in the senate, and to confirm its firm hold on Western Kenya. Jubilee on the other hand shall seek to cement its upper house ‘tyranny of numbers’ and to prove to CORD that it is pulling the rug from right under its feet in Western.

The general  perception and   consensus   among   majority of the voting Public  in  the County  is that Moses Wetang’ula   is   a victim of vendetta   by the Jubilee Government which has always viewed  him   with suspicion particularly because of  his sometime  hard and uncompromising stance on  a number  of  issues in Governance, land  matters and most of all and  his surprise move to   join   Raila  Odinga and  Kalonzo’s  Cord Coalition in the runner-up to the   2013  General Elections.

The two main contenders , Moses Masika  Wetang’ula  and Musikari Nazi Kombo   have been holding  meetings  and caucuses  to drum up support  for their candidature   in different parts  of the County, but the measure  of what kind and level of support or following  that they are likely  to get from  voters was demonstrated on the subsequent  days when the candidates presented their  nomination papers to the IEBC  and thereafter  addressed Public rallies  at the legendary Posta grounds  in Bungoma.

Kombo was the first one to present his papers after which he addressed a poorly attended public rally at the grounds where  apart from   motor cycle boda boda  riders  who escorted him the whole way from Webuye, and  a trickle  of by standers  he was  accompanied by two members of Parliament, Bungoma Woment Representative Reginalda Wanyonyi and Webuye East Mp Eng. Alfred Wekesa Sambu plus NFK  County Representatives. It was however surprising that  Mps from Kombo’s New Ford Kenya Party skipped the event and have been lukewarm  in their expected support for Kombo whose campaign is being spearheaded by their own  NFK Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa.

Wetang’ula  on his part presented his papers  the following day after Kombo’s  presentation  and immediately thereafter  convened  a well  attended  mammoth  public rally at the Posta Grounds which was  graced  by his co- principals  in Cord Coalition, Raila  Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka  and attended by eight Senators, Twenty Five Members of Parliament and  over Sixty County Representatives drawn from across  the political divide, the region  and  the Nation at large.

Commenting on the  massive attendance and speeches  made at the Posta Grounds Rally by local and visiting politicians, Professor Charles  Kibanani Ngome  of  Masinde Muliro  University  of Science and Technology in Kakamega said that there was no doubt that Wetang’ula   had an upper  hand  and  early head start arising from the apparent mishandling of the Election  petition  filed  against him by  Kombo .

In  the meetings and caucuses, the candidates have been targeting key voter rich constituencies  and  minorities  with hope that these groups  will tilt the scales particularly  against  opponents who are  seen to command massive following  of the predominant Bukusu Luhya sub-tribe.

Webuye East Mp Alfred Sambu and Kombo   has spent a lot of time  persuading  the Tachoni,  a large non-Bukusu  Luhya sub-tribe to rally behind his candidature, but the Tachoni   Elders  led by their Chairman  Wasilwa Wasike   said  that they are against the decision by their MP   to support Kombo  when the issues that have always affected the tachoni have been completely ignored by Kombo.

In a recent meeting in Webuye,NFK leader Eugene Wamalwa said that as the party leader, what he is interested in is to see NFK reclaim the seat, which he said it won, but was denied through electoral fraud. “We are aware CORD campaigns will be about pure propaganda, painting NFK as a Jubilee project, and we are ready for it. The people of Bungoma should know the by-election would be about reclaiming an NFK win that was stolen in the March 4 general elections through fraud. It will be a contest between NFK and Ford Kenya and people should stop hiding behind larger coalitions,” said Wamalwa.

Political observers aver that the contest between Kombo and Wetang’ula, if it comes to be, may go down in history as the toughest and most bruising political battles in Luhya-land since independence.

In a recent political rally at Bungoma posta ground,CORD  leaders came out to paint Jubilee as a coalition that has no interest  to Western people, after locking out the region in major political appointments through what some leaders from the region now refer to as “politics of exclusion”.

There has been some disquiet among the western region people who the Jubilee administration has sidelined the community when it comes to appointments to various senior public offices on   appointment of Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries to parastatal heads and even diplomats, there is a feeling that Jubilee gave the Luhya community a raw deal, perhaps in punishment for the minimal support the coalition got in the last elections.

But recently Webuye East Mp Alfred Sambu in a meeting stated that  President Uhuru  is committed   in reviving the long dead Webuye panpaper mills. This is likely to cause jitters among CORD top brass.

Analysist aver now it is a ripe time for the government  to dangle carrots and throw goodies to the residents of Bungoma in a bid to sway them the Jubilee way. It will not be surprising if some ministry sprang up and the position thrown to someone from the Bukusu soil, or some diplomatic position or senior government office thrown our way.

Virtually all industries in the county are on their death-beds, this could be another good political target by the Jubilee strategists. Governor Lusaka, elected on Amani Coalitions New Ford Kenya (NFK) will be a key link by the Jubilee government in penetrating the county. He is said to have been part of the president Uhuru’s team when he visited China.

He was on hand to welcome Deputy President William Ruto to the region and led the other MPs present in declaring willingness to work with the Jubilee government. Being the governor and in charge of the county’s resources, and coming from a coalition friendly to the government, Lusaka is said to have roots in Tachoni region  has instructed his people to drum up support for Kombo in the senatorial campaigns. But Lusaka has denied that is has remained neutral in the by elections campaigns.

Raila troops  on the other hand are seeking to whip anti-government sentiments, that are already evident on the ground. The Raila,Musyoka,Wetangula  brigade are of the fact that only one Luhya, and a lady for that matter, was appointed to the cabinet. It is also seeking to play the ‘stolen election’ card on the community  the loss by CORD to Jubilee in the March 4 polls elections, believed to have been controversial.

Other  factors that have influenced  the senatorial race  in the county is number of candidates in the race, the battle is  between the candidate backed by Jubilee and that backed by CORD. Amani Coalition has three out of nine MPs and one MP, Hon. John Serut won as an independent candidate. The Amani MPs as well as Hon. Serut  has thrown  his weight behind the Jubilee-backed candidate.

In the last elections, even Amani affiliate parties could not agree on a single candidate, with NFK fielding Kombo and Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front (UDF) fronting Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi.

 

End

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Kenya Politics: President Kenyatta – Do not fire Charity Ngilu for the sake of creating a position for Musalia Mudavadi

Posted by African Press International on November 10, 2013

By Korir – API

Cabinet Secretary for Lands and Housing Charity Ngilu has been censured by Parliament and her fate delivered on the hands of President Kenyatta with a demand to show her the door. Many are asking if it is a witch-hunt against the Cabinet Secretary because of land issues that some leaders want to be swept under the carpet of corruption.

If Ngilu’s actions, as pointed out by the Parliamentary Committee, qualify for her sacking, let the president act, but not for the purposes of aiding another politician to grab her present Cabinet position. The President should not forget that Musalia Mudavadi was his competitor during the last Presidential elections. People do not forget when they are defeated. Giving him a cabinet post now is simply digging his own hole that may work against him in 2017 Presidential elections, unless he does not intend to run for the seat when the time comes.

Mudavadi is one of the leaders who has continuously stated that the ICC trials against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto should continue in the Hague.

Appointing former Deputy Prime Minister, Musalia Mudavadi to the Cabinet in order to win votes in the Bungoma by-election pitting former Cabinet Ministers Musikari Kombo and Moses Watengula  – who just recently lost his Senatorial seat by court order) will amount to appeasing the voters of Bungoma. The court determined that the voting that gave Wetangula the Senate seat on the 4th March elections was fraudulent.

Musalia Mudavadi was Uhuru’s competitor during the March 4th Presidential elections and he lost badly. President Uhuru Kenyatta should be firm on such dirty politics of accommodation of a men and women who were rejected by the voters in their own backyards during the last elections.

Recently, on his tour to Western province, one member of Parliament tried to sway the president by asking him to share with Mudavadi the March 4th cow which he won and slaughtered. The president told the Member of Parliament that the cow belonged to all Kenyans and was not there to be shared between him and Mudavadi.

Responding directly to calls by Western leaders for him to share goodies with UDF leaders since it was a partner in the Jubilee government, President Kenyatta said the “cow” belongs to all Kenyans.

According to the Standard media of Kenya this is the way President Kenyatta responded to calls to give Mudavadi a job: “There is something mheshimiwa (Mumias West MP Johnson Naika) said and I want to correct him. He said I have slaughtered a cow and I should ensure I have shared a piece with my brother. I wish to correct him by saying there is no Uhuru’s cow. The cow is for all Kenyans, 40 million of us. There is no cow for an individual. We need to ensure that the government provides services to all Kenyans irrespective of race, religion, tribe or gender,” he said.

The only way for meaningful success and good politics in the country is for the leaders who lost in the last elections to work together with the chosen leadership until the next elections and if they still want leadership, come back and contest.

Mudavadi and others who lost during the last election should, therefore, support President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President Ruto for now and stop asking for goodies..

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Kenya: THE REAL REASONS BEHIND NZOIA COMPANY’S IMMINENT COLLAPSE

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA
The trouble ridden and financially strapped Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County is threatened with possible collapse following what analysts now say is incompetent institutional management, archaic managerial practices and corruption among other vices currently facing the sugar miller.

Investigations reveal that in addition to the colossal losses which the Company has suffered in recent years the Managing Director and other top managers have through corruption and other dubious means swindled the Company of Kshs. 1.2 billion between the years of 2011 / 2012 by harvesting the Company’s sugarcane from its nucleus farm and pocket the proceeds.

But the above 1.2 billion may only be a tip of the iceberg given the fact that since the discovery of the theft of Company sugarcane no audit of any kind has been undertaken and it is now emerging that the cane from the over 3,700 hectares at Nzoia Nucleus farm may have been benefiting top management and well-connected employees hence the Company’s ever growing debt.

Experts in the sugarcane sector are worried that if the Nzoia situation is not reversed this Company which is the largest single large-scale farming enterprise in Bungoma County will come down with the economy of the whole County given the large tracts of land lying under sugarcane in addition to the abused nucleus estate the largest of such an estate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A report compiled by a task force which includes immediate former directors of the Company that has been forwarded to the Agriculture Secretary and whose copy has been seen by your favourite and popular API speaks volumes about inept management styles by the current CEO of the Company Saul Wasilwa whom the report says and a quote “has demonstrated archaic, corrupt and incompetent institutional management leadership practices that should be considered as totally and unacceptable in this modern erra”.

The document quotes heavily from the factual findings of the Company’s own forensic audit report undertaken by PKF consultants on its behalf in September 2012 whereby the consultants revealed that from the year 2007 -2011 the Company’s own records show that a total of 5089 stacks or 254,445 metric tones of harvest cane valued at Kshs. 76,541,000/= were stolen by Nzoia Sugar Company’s employees from the nucleus estate of the Company. Much of the blame for this theft stops at the MD’s desk as he allowed architects of the fraud to collude with junior officers in the creation of a fertile environment to defraud the Company.

Further more, in the report it is revealed “Impeccable sources indicate that the CEO Saul Wasilwa undertook and was involved in concerted corruption peddling efforts to influence some Board members who interfered with the delay of the conclusion of the report by PKF until the life span of the whole Board came to an end. It is for this reason that some of the directors as responsible citizens of the land have appealed to the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture to insist that Nzoia CEO comes clean of this corruption that saw the dismantling of their own report under suspicious circumstances”.

In the comprehensive 385 page forensic PKF audit report it is revealed a deal of Kshs. 12 million was negotiated under doubtful circumstances and in order for the consultants to pre-maturely end the report although it has now emerged that the CEO with some of his own associates raised Kshs. 10 million to influence key members of the relevant committee of the Board who are said to have manipulated the stringent disciplinary and legal recommendation in the forensic report to ensure that nothing was discussed in the open.

The same memoranda reveals documentary evidence which indicates that the CEO has been colluding with some of his top managers to sell commercial sugarcane to other millers without knowledge and express permission from the Board. In this regard three illegal contracts indicate that the Company may have lost billions of shillings through mismanagement, fraudulent accounting of the Company’s resources at the behest of Wasilwa. It is revealed in the document that 57,000 tones of commercial tones valued at Kshs. 216,600,000 were sold to Mumias, West Kenya and Butail Sugar Companies during the annual maintenance of the factory September/October 2011. Ironically Nzoia Sugar Company is currently faced with acute shortage or cane.

Two other contracts dated February 2012 to July 2012 saw 65,000 metric tones of sugarcane sold by Nzoia Sugar Company to Butail Sugar Company at Kshs. 247,000,000/= through illegal contracts that were never approved. In ant shell under the tenure of Saul Wasilwa as the MD of Nzoia Sugar, Company has experienced colossal loses from the nucleus estate as indicated above and the theft of Sugarcane from Out Grower Farmers particularly the case of 7750 stacks or 42625 metric tones of harvested cane from 5650 individual Out Grower Farmers contracted to the Company . The sugarcane valued at Kshs. 161,975,000/=.

Moreover according to the memoranda there was accumulative loss of approximately 1.2 billion arising from non recovery and fraudulent accountability of investment inputs supplied to sugarcane farmers by the Nzoia Sugar Company. In this regard loss of revenue of unspecified amount that have accrued from the interest which is charged to the Out Grower Farmers but it is deliberately not accounted for in the Company books.

There is also evidence of rampant and unabated corrupt practices in Nzoia Sugar Company which is contained in the Company’s Chief Internal Auditor’s Report whereby it was established that during Mr. Saul Wasilwa’s first tenure as Managing Director Nzoia Sugar Company incurred cumulative losses of more than Kshs. 1.2 billion shillings due to lack of effective internal controls. All in all in this key area of management Wasilwa and a few of his cronies have continuously enriched themselves at the detriment of the sugarcane farmer while the Kenyan tax payer also stands to bear the burden of this mismanagement because the Company’s debt has increased when as a matter of fact it should have declined.

The corruption, kick backs, and fraud has seen Wasilwa and some of his top managers becoming overnight millionaire with property running into hundreds of millions; for instance Wasilwa constructed an ultra modern residential building in Syokimau area Embakasi at the cost of 80 million, the house is expensively furnished with equipments that are remote-controlled. He recently completed another modern family residential house in Musikoma area of Bungoma town at the cost of 48 million. He has constructed a modern residential house in Nakuru at the cost of 45 million and purchased expensive salon cars including Mercedes cars for himself and his wife. There is no question that as Wasilwa continues to lead a lavish life style, beyond his means, poor sugarcane farmers continue to wallow in poverty due to delayed sugarcane delivery payments. Observers opine that, Wasilwa’s earnings can hardly be equated to the multi million shilling empire he has built from the looted millions from Nzoia Sugar Company.

The litany of cases of mismanagement are more or less a catalogue of misdeeds in a management environment which could only pass for a theatre of the absurd because, the Nzoia CEO acts as if he is above the law with little or no regard to established rules and procedures governing Public Companies and other Institutions. His callous approach to the Public Management of Company affairs has encouraged and given way to some of his Top Managers who seem to have taken a cue from him by taking illegal and or questionable decisions so long as such decisions are in their favour.

In the key area of employment, Senior Management staff have employed their own spouses and fast tracked their promotions through the ranks : a standing example is the Company’s Human Resources Manager, Patrick Murambi who employed his wife as a clerk in the harvesting section of the Agriculture Department and within a period less than one year he promoted her to the grade of Supervisor through favouritism at the expense more competent and deserving employees.

The Industrial Relations Manager Mr. Bramwel Simiyu Mbirira influenced his wife’s employment as a Supervisor in the Finance Department. The Company’s Senior Personnel Officer Brian Keya has his wife employed as a Stores Manager while the CEO Mr. Saul Wasilwa and other Managers have also employed their girl friends, and relatives through nepotism and favouritism. All these misdeeds by Wasilwa and his top management team have been committed in the full view of the Branch Secretary of the Sugar cane plantation and allied workers union Macdonald Tabalia Wamocho and the National Chairman of the same who have allegedly been bribed and compromised by Wasilwa and his team.

The memoranda also reviews misappropriation of funds at the personal direction of Saul Wasilwa the MD in what the report describes as false financial reporting of the closing and opening Bank Cash balances. For example, says the report, on June 30th 2011, the actual Bank closing balance was Kshs 844,898,943.00 and not Kshs 672,098,057.00 as reported in the books of accounts. As a matter of fact, the figure was deliberately manipulated by Wasilwa after the Departure of Engineer Julius Nyarotso as Board Chairman and following the immediate appointment of Lawrence Sifuna as Nzoia Sugar Company Chairman. It is instructive to note that typical of the Wasilwa management style, the difference of Kshs 172,800,886.00 was literally swindled as it was not accounted for.

The ever unending intrigues at Nzoia reveals the report in the memoranda, saw the matter of the unaccounted for balance being brought up for investigation to the Chairman of Risk and Boards Audit Committee who chose to do or say nothing and indeed nothing has been heard of the said funds which Wasilwa and his close associates seem to have shared out with Chairman Sifuna.

One of the most widely publicized irregularities at Nzoia Sugar Company is blatant abuse of the Company’s Tendering procedures by the Company’s Top Management Team and particularly the MD who it is said holds a firm grip on members of the Tender Committee who are usually under strict instructions from Mr. Wasilwa to manipulate Tenders and ensure that they are awarded to Companies and Individuals of his choice. The above situation witnessed the award of a Tender for the Supply of a Water Bottling plant to Brief Case Supplier in China even after Wasilwa and Chairman Lawrence Sifuna were bribed by the Brief Case Company’s local agent.

Farmers, Suppliers and other law-abiding citizens of Bungoma County were treated to a circus of some sorts by Lawrence Sifuna following the public revelation of a reported bribery saga in which the local agent of the Brief Case Water Bottling Plant made sensational claims implicating Sifuna in a corrupt deal and despite the fact that Sifuna vehemently denied ever being bribed, his accuser went the whole way to avail documentary evidence to the members of the Media. It was indeed drama when one journalist pointed this out to Sifuna, the Chairman reacted angrily to the allegations warning the reporter not to bother himself with matters that did not concern him. The authors of the memoranda are warning that Nzoia Sugar Company is sliding down slope and is threatening the very survival of the Company let alone destroying the economy of Bungoma County.

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Law Society of Kenya condemns killing of a lawyer

Posted by African Press International on September 29, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Law society of Kenya Bungoma chapter chairman Andrew Kituyi has condemned the killing of Peter Wanyonyi, an advocate representing Musikari Kombo in a petition challenging the election of Moses Wetang’ula as the county’s senator in the March polls.

Speaking during a fund-raising for the slain lawyer,the chairman noted that Bungoma county has been experiencing attacks leaving residents suffer from serious injuries and some killed yet no explanations has been given by the government in its investigations despite our persistent inquiries.

Mr.Kituyi call upon the police to speed up the investigation in the murder of the advocate for the culprits linked to his death to be brought to justice.

He however cautioned Bungoma residents to remain calm for police to carry out investigations and called on the public to provide the officers with information leading to the murder suspects for their arrest.

He also warned the public, politicians and other leaders in the region to desist from speculative utterances of the advocate’s killing which would be harmful leading insecurity threats.

Police bosses in Bungoma have come under sharp criticism from area residents over the recent spate of killings in Bungoma.
residents  say that the security agents led by Bungoma county commissioner Mohamed Maalim and police commandant Charles Mutinda are not doing enough to install order and assure residents of security.

Meanwhile police in Bungoma have arrested three people of Somali origin before they deported them to Nairobi.According to police sources the three were arrested in Bungoma hotel after reports from the public.

 

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Motorcycles also known as bodaboda by most Kenyans have hit the market with a bang

Posted by African Press International on September 2, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Motorcycles also known as bodaboda by most Kenyans have hit the market with a bang especially because they are small enough to penetrate rough and poor roads. These have opened up places  that were previously not accessible by vehicles.
Bungoma municipality , one of the most populous and congested towns in Kenya, has seen a massive increase in bodaboda business,posing  a serious threat to the survival of vehicles taxi operators. Apart from leading as a killer road accident in the town, a new concern has arisen over the influence of the cyclists in the social settings of residents of Bungoma town and its suburbs.
The entire public is now raising concern over the rampart cases of family breakups that are related to bodaboda operators.
A such case was reported at Siritanyi-Kanduyi suburb when a wife had a heated quarrel with his husband over her regular use of bodaboda at late hours of the night. An arbitrator of the case Ezekiel Wafula says the husband confided to him he had suspected a steamy love affairs between the wife and the operator.
In Bungoma town a motorist narrowly escaped lynching from angry residents at Mayanja when a hotel attendant raised an alarm after he saw him lead a standard seven girl into a lodging.
The increasingly and major clients to the operators are said to be women as men have a low profile of the cyclists.
A survey conducted by the western hotline reveals that many women will wait as operator to ferry them even in short distances that they would otherwise walk.
Esther Mukhono a regular customer and a casual at Bungoma district hospital town says that the motorcycles have had a major impact on many women nowadays. Mukhono wakes up at dawn to find a regular taxi waiting in the compound, who picks her up to the hospital everyday and pays him shs.1,600 per month .but her husband who is always uncomfortable with the choice of her wife over the transport made, says he rarely uses the means and is dissatisfied with the fact that many women use them.
In Bungoma town,Peter Simiyu an operator near the district headquarters says that he normally ferries more women than men every day.However,lingering  question is why men do not like the idea of using motorcycles, unlike women who have since developed a passion for them.
Victor Wafula ,54,says that he cannot stand his wife using motorbike.’It’s shameful  to see my wife exposing things or clinging closely to operators as they make fun.’
Wafula ’ adds that it’s totally against African culture especially for the married ones to go around exposing themselves in public. Not only that women cling to operators but their closeness when the operator makes fun is very disgusting to most of us men.
The bodaboda operators have been accused of trading pleasures in having women customers and others claim that on a good day, they carry them free of charge.
William Mulongo,another operator plying Kanduyi-chwele  route says sometimes he makes women trust him and ensures they do not use other means of transport. He further reveals that they make an effort to get contacts of women whom they  call to confirm whether they need to travel.
Vincent  Barasa another operator who plies Bukembe-Nzoia says he enjoys serving women passengers on his motorbikes as they are fearful,’ when they cling on us when we approach sharp bends or corners that makes us feel good.’ Says Barasa.
However, police sources says that bodaboda business has changed  and they cannot rule out  the possibilities of the operators having sexual relationships with the operators.
Lucas Wekesa, a religious leader says that traffic department should introduce strict rules such as in Kampala where movement of bicycles beyond odd hours of the night is restricted. He urged women not to fall into easy traps from the cyclists, especially by avoiding travelling late hours which makes them more vulnerable in darkness.
Out of ten [10]men interviewed,talk their women should not use motorbikes, but women considered the operators more reliable and closer than any other means.

 

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Kenya: Human Rights group plans to petition the Inspector General of Police over the conduct of an army officer

Posted by African Press International on August 29, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API, KENYA

A lobby group in Bungoma”centre for human rights”led by its chairman Philip Wekesa have threatened to petition the Inspector General of police and Kenya military disciplinary committee over the conduct of an army officer based in Mariakani.

This resurfaces a week after API exposed a story highlighting the plagues of a traumatized Bungoma housewife was undergoing after the army officer demolished her house and later justice became her enemy.

The group claimed that the officer has used his rank to oil senior officers both in military and police force after he was accused of palatial demolition/arson against his wife.

James Machasio a corpral at Mariakani camp was accused on April 9th 2012 vide OB No.18/9/4/2012 against demolition and arson.

According to charge sheets seen at Webuye police station,Mr.Machasio was to be arraigned in court of law to act as a deterrence to other public officers who defiles their crown of power.

It is said that the officer collaborated with his senior military officers to defy the order as stated earlier in the charge sheet.

A police officer at webuye police station who spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity said that they were intimidated by officer Machasio if they dare to institute any criminal proceedings against him.Another officer said that the army boss had his brother at the force who was a close friend to several commanders in Kenya and no action could be taken against him.

In a rejoinder a human rights activists who wished not be named for fear of security has also threatened to move to the officer of director of public prosecutions to have the case reviewed in order to have justice granted to the traumatized woman.

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Kenya: Bungoma medics oppose the appointment of county medical boss

Posted by African Press International on August 28, 2013

  • GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Bungoma district hospital is facing a deluge of challenges as its staff threaten to oppose the move to have hospital medic superintendent Dr.Egesa Mulianga to hold two positions in the government.
The latest move to have the said medic to a position of county medical superintendent as well as Bungoma district hospital superintendent has brought the renown medic under spotlight with a section of the staff going for the throat of country medical director Dr.Kimani over what they term as rampant nepotism.
How can a person hold two government posts?is it not the money that exchanged hands?claimed a staff who wished not to be named.”We have many people who fit for one of his posts in our county,why Dr.Egesa alone?added another staff.
Sources well-versed with the on goings who spoke to this writer lamented about poor management Dr.Egesa has spearheaded in the last years where he subjected workers to poor working conditions.
A staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the Media said that the medical officer wants to control funds of the hospital a move that has necessitated his rejection by other medics.
The source revealed that the Country medical director Dr.Kimani was given “his cut” by the controversial Dr.Egesa, two directors in the county who were involved in the illegal appointment without involving other professions which has led to the present stalemate.
But as the standoff between junior medics and Bungoma county barons over the appointment , it is emerging that the man at the centre of the storm who spearheaded the unpopular move is just not another doctor from Nairobi Dr.Kimani who is also a close friend and associate of Bungoma district hospital medical superintendent Dr.Egesa for whom they were classmates.
Multiple sources at Bungoma hospital speak of a facility which has been hijacked by individual private interests particularly by medical superintendent, Board Members and well-connected junior staffers like who seem to do things with impunity and at the detriment of the hospitals’ very survival. Employees are now pleading for the Ministry of medical services, to step in and resolve the stalemate.
As controversy boils, workers have vowed to down their tools if the opposed medic will have to hold two posts as had alleged.”The doctor was overheard saying that he will use his position to settle scores among his professional nemesis that has been opposing his appointment” claimed another source who sought anonymity for fear of security. When called for comments,Dr.Egesa cell phone his went on unanswered.

End

 

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Kenya: Conquering visual impairment

Posted by African Press International on August 27, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, API,10/7/2013

When you thought that being blind defines you,then meet Mr. Chrispinus  Waswa a  teacher at Mbakalo Friends Secondary school in Bungoma North District who has conquered his visual impairment.

Mr.Waswa,36,succumbed to blindness at a tender age but has stood out in his teaching profession by helping many of his students pass with  sterling colours..

But a single day that doomed his visualness, while practicing for a school tournament in standard five, was hit by the ball on his right eye which lost sight immediately and unfortunately it also affected the left eye and was taken to Kakamega General  hospital for operation.

Worse of it,was discovered that his condition was a permanent agony hence he had to be transferred to a special school so as to further his education using the special Braille machines.

He says that it was the most trying time in his life as he came from a humble background and his parents could not afford to take him to a special school forcing him to stay at home as they looked for well wishers to fund his education.

After  years,Mr.Waswa got sponsorship through the ministry of education which bought him the Braille machines as well as trained one of the teachers at his former Namamuka primary school to teach him as he went back to standard five.

Suprisngly, he turned up to be a very bright pupil and by topping in  class a position he maintained up to the KCPE examination where he scored 476 marks out of 700.

He secured a Form one chance at  Bungoma high school and sat for his KCSE exam in 2000 and managed a direct entry to the university with a grade B. He however ventured  into  teaching course by specialising in Kiswahili and History subjects.

After he  graduated in 2006 and soon the uphill task of job hunting was a thing to engage  as he had to dance the tune of job seeking.

I however he managed to secure a chance at Bungoma high school where I  taught for some short period of time before the Teachers Service Commission advertised for a vacancy at Mbakalo Friends Secondary school and i was confirmed.

To Mr.Waswa,it was miraculously as among the fifteen applicants who showed up he was the only one who qualified and has been a teacher at the school since the year 2010 and thanked the school principal Habil Malika for providing a conducive environment for him.

“My  colleagues are  supportive and also the students are very comfortable with me”said Waswa. Apart from teaching he has been delegated with other responsibilities of being the teacher in charge of drama as well as the head of Kiswahili as a subject saying he enjoyed being in company of his students.

His advice to  people living with disabilities is that they should not to be demoralized by their condition but rather work hard towards achieving the best for themselves as his own is a true testimony that anything is possible with determination.

Married with three children and has also been able to purchase land for himself as well as constructing a house for his mother back at home something he says could not have been possible if he could have allowed his condition to overcome his ability.

end

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Kenya: Director of Public prosecution Keriako Tobiko asked to move swiftly

Posted by African Press International on August 10, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API-KENYA

Jacinta  Nabucha, a mother of one,living in Bungoma, thought married life was a bed of roses and without any hesitation,she threw her towel into the ring.She was soon to learnt a few tips that marriage can also be a bed of prickling thorns.

She left her parent just to delve into marriage, but to-day with nobody to turn to and nowhere to call. Narrating her ordeal to this scribe, she says that things worked well for the first 12 years of their marriage but in subsequent things have been very tough for her.

In the middle of the year 2012,a man she knew as  her husband under unclear circumstances ran amok and demolished her house before transporting all her properties including utensils, beds and other belongs to the  house of his cousin for the safe custody.

Her middle-aged husband,James Machasio Musundi  working in Kenya Defence in Mariakani,prior to this,is said to have developed a habit of idling and insulting her on petty disagreements.

Whipping thoroughly while narrating her trauma,Jacinta says whenever she questioned his weird behavior he could attack her with insults.

Since the two could no longer become compatible after palatial demolition,Jacinta took a new dimension by filing a report to Webuye Police Station under the officer commanding the station Richard Tuei.

In a letter in our possession dated April 9th 2012 vide OB No.18/9/4/2012 from the station recommended that James Machasio  has a case to answer in a court of law to act as a deterrence to other public officers who have little respect for the law.On April 10th ,the said arsonists undertook an oath to before a renown advocate in the area that he would construct the said house and to remit Ksh 20,000 to her per month as upkeep.

“There is no doubt that ugly scene has been one of the tormentful issues in my life, but it is me who has remained on the receiving end”she narrated her ordeal in the hands of her brutal husband.

Few months later,the authorities that the woman had  hoped would help her suddenly became enemies after her husbands late brother influenced by using all means at his disposal to have her justice denied.

According to the victim,despite of the issue being reported to police,no action has been taken.Efforts by various authorities to bring them together and work on the solution has not borne any fruits as it is alleged that the officer has used his military rank to oil the law enforcers and implementors.

She added that it would be of good help is Director of Public prosecution Keriako Tobiko to move in swiftly to have justice granted.

End

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Marriage can be a bed of prickling thorns.

Posted by African Press International on August 9, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API-KENYA

Jacinta  Nabucha, a mother of one,living in Bungoma, thought married life was a bed of roses and without any hesitation, she threw her towel into the ring. She was soon to learn a few tips that marriage can also be a bed of prickling thorns.

She left her parent just to delve into marriage, but today with nobody to turn to and nowhere to call. Narrating her ordeal to this scribe, she says that things worked well for the first 12 years of their marriage but in subsequent things have been very tough for her.

In the middle of the year 2012,a man she knew as  her husband under unclear circumstances ran amok and demolished her house before transporting all her properties including utensils, beds and other belongs to the  house of his cousin for the safe custody.

Her middle-aged husband,James Machasio Musundi  working in Kenya Defence in Mariakani,prior to this,is said to have developed a habit of idling and insulting her on petty disagreements.

Whipping thoroughly while narrating her trauma,Jacinta says whenever she questioned his weird behavior he could attack her with insults.

Since the two could no longer become compatible after palatial demolition,Jacinta took a new dimension by filing a report to Webuye Police Station under the officer commanding the station Richard Tuei.

In a letter in our possession dated April 9th 2012 vide OB No.18/9/4/2012 from the station recommended that James Machasio  has a case to answer in a court of law to act as a deterrence to other public officers who have little respect for the law.On April 10th ,the said arsonists undertook an oath to before a renown advocate in the area that he would construct the said house and to remit Ksh 20,000 to her per month as upkeep.

“There is no doubt that ugly scene has been one of the tormenting issue in my life,but it is me who has remained on the receiving end”she narrated her ordeal in the hands of her brutal husband.

Few months later,the authorities that the woman had  hoped would help her suddenly became enemies after her husbands late brother influenced by using all means at his disposal to have her justice denied.

According to the victim,despite of the issue being reported to police,no action has been taken.Efforts by various authorities to bring them together and work on the solution has not borne any fruits as it is alleged that the officer has used his military rank to oil the law enforcers and implementors.

She added that it would be of good help is Director of Public prosecution Keriako Tobiko to move in swiftly to have justice granted.

End

 

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Kenya: A Senior Criminal Investigation Officer murdered

Posted by African Press International on August 7, 2013

  • GODFREY WAMALWA, API, KENYA,

Bungoma county residents have send their condolences to the family of the late former Kitui District criminal investigation officer Zebedeo Maina who was last week murdered under unclear circumstances.

The police officer who was shot while in an  operation  to rescue an abducted child could have been a carefully crafted death trap.

It is alleged that Maina was shot from behind by another group as he reached for his firearm to confront his assailants, sparking speculation that yet another gang was waiting for him.

Maina once headed the Kwekwe unit, formed in 2008’ during the purge on Mungiki. The unit was renamed Eagle Squad in an attempt to shake off its tainted image after an international uproar over extra-judicial killings.

Maina whi has been transferred from Bungoma to Kitui few months ago has raised an uproar over his mysterious death.According to Bungoma residents Maina had tamed crime and had earlier credited officer full of commitment to offer his services to locals.

He had killed reknown criminals in Bungoma south district,residents eulogised him as commitment officer,friendly to people and respected officers.

They have however urged the government to swiftly investigate and bring those behind in book.

End

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Kenya: Bungoma County Target recruitment of 800 Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers

Posted by African Press International on July 31, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,API,KENYA

Bungoma county government in collaboration with the ministry of education have started a registration process that would in the end have at least 800 Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers recruited.

Speaking while overseeing the exercise in Bungoma North District, the  county programs officer in charge of early childhood education Mr.Kennedy Sabwami Ndalila revealed that the process is aimed at strengthening the education foundation by motivating the teachers in the area.

Mr Sabwami further said that the  process is being conducted in the nine districts of Bungoma County and appealed to teachers  with valid certificates to show up.

According to the officer,Certificates of those who registered will be vetted by a selected team at the county level in order to attain the 800 qualified teachers that will be employed and dispatched to work in the eight hundred public schools within Bungoma County.

He also urged the parents to let their children pursue the ECD course saying it has now gained recognition among the education stakeholders that have seen the importance of investing in it.

The teachers who showed up for the registration process could not hide their joy and thanked the Bungoma county governor Kenneth Lusaka for his humble initiative to have them paid by the county government for their services saying they had suffered for long.

 

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Kenya: Police re-open rape case against Kimilili ward county representative.

Posted by African Press International on July 27, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA

Police in Bungoma have reopened a rape attempt case  against Kimilili ward representative David Baraza.

The politician  was  accused  last month  of attempting to rape a room attendant at a popular hotel in Bungoma town with police forwarding the file to the director of public prosecutions.

A police source yesterday told the star that the director of public prosecutions had written back to the police to record two more statements of two key witnesses before Baraza is taken to court.

“We forwarded the file to the DPP and he has written back  advising that we record statements of  two more witnesses before we arraign the guy in court ,”said the police source.

Police are expected to record statements from a motorbike rider who came to save the room attendant

The  county representative popularly also known as Webuye Jua kali  is also a popular vernacular musician has since denied the incident.

The room attendant had told police that the politician had checked in the room with a female visitor who later left after some time.

Baraza is alleged to have then called the hotel room attendant to serve him claiming some “basics” were missing in the room. “As I entered the room he grabbed me and tried to throw me to his bed,” said the room attendant. ….

/ENDS

 

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Kenya: A Paediatric Ward worth 16 Million constucted by the Australian nationals.

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA

A Paediatric Ward worth 16 Million has been constructed at the Bungoma District Hospital by the Australian nationals.

The complex is set to solve the problem of congestion at the Paediatric wing in the district a situation that was noticed by Australian Mark Rambo during his visit to Kenya in 2008.

The Hospital Superintendent Dr. Mulianga Ekesa revealed that the hospital that was built in 1952 had only one paediatric ward which serves a big population in Bungoma County.

Dr.Ekesa who is also the County Director of Health affirmed his believe in the Hospital’s development to greater heights in efficiency and effective delivery of health services to the residents.

“I am sure that the hospital will grow and develop to transfer of data of the patients but not transfer of patients themselves to other hospitals,” said Dr.Ekesa.

Bungoma County Governor Kenneth Lusaka appraised the Australian team led by Mr.Rambo for their utmost contribution that will foresee a guaranteed healthy population in the County.

Lusaka revealed the highest allocation of Sh.1 Billion in the County Budget to the health sector which he said was his major priority in his manifesto for Bungoma County.

“I am determined to see to it that Bungoma is turned into a healthy County which will trickle down to development of our people since a healthy nation is very important,” said Lusaka.

He revealed that some money will be used to complete projects that had been started in the health sector the Paediatric ward being one of them.

He further said that he is determined to ensure accessible health care closer to the people by putting up health centres in every ward of all the nine constituencies in the County.

Lusaka pledged that his County government will pay for the Value Added Tax on the construction materials in the ward that now stands halfway through until its completion.

However he regretted the challenges in the health sector among them understaffed facilities and unequipped hospitals which he vowed to look into in ensuring that the child mortality rate that is high in the County is solved.

“Bungoma District Hospital is a level 5 hospital and deserves to be equipped with necessary facilities and equipments to offer better health care for the people within and prevent the long distance travelled in search for the same,” said Lusaka.

He raised concern over the high wage bill in the hospital close to Sh.1.5 Million that he wanted to be looked into to see how best the same could culminate to better services to the people.

Rambo appraised the hospital management for the prudent utilization of funds to a visible project as he pledged to install solar-powered water pump in the Paediatric ward that will cater for the water shortages in the Hospital.

From a total of Sh.16, 201,408 contributed by Rambo, phase 1 of the project costing Sh. 13.15 Million.

End

 

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Kenya: A need to unite leaders who have betrayed Luhya unity

Posted by African Press International on July 4, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA

Youth leader in Kenya Rashid Mohamed who recently hit headlines over alleged financing Busia and Bungoma county attack has accused Ford Kenya nominated Member of Parliament Patrick Wangamati and former Member of Parliament Burudi Nabwera for betraying Luhya unity.

Speaking in Kakamega where he met the youth, Rashid said he is going to join hands with youthful politicians in the region to run Luhya politics.

The prominent businessman cum youth leader said he will have to work with Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula, former Lugari Mp Cyrus Jirongo and former National Assembly speaker Kenneth Marende. He further added that he is calling for his endorsement as a youth leader to restore luhya unity.”It is time to drop elders like Wangamati who have killed luhya unity and bring together youth with development ambitions” said Rashid.

According to Rashid, Western Region has been torn apart due to poor leadership from selfish politicians.

He said when elected to be luhya spokesman, he will prioritise the youth in development, education, peace, infrastructure and luhya votes going to one basket.

The meeting brought together over 200, youth and Cyrus Jirongo who promised to support the youthful politician to steer the region’s politics.

 

End

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