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Posts Tagged ‘Kakamega’

Bukura to offer scholarship to its community – Kenya

Posted by African Press International on July 26, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, API KENYA,

Bukura Agricultural Training College in Kakamega county is set to offer free scholarships to students from the surrounding community,the college principal has revealed.

The popular move has been prompted by a general apathy by parents from local community to send their children to the institute  to study agriculture to boost food production in the area.

The college’s principal Mr. Justus Simiyu said the initiave under the institution’s social corporate responsibility will initially start with five students and increase depending on availability of funds.

He further revealed that the first batch of students is expected to start this year but due to budget constraints the programme has been pushed forward.

During this year’s graduation Mr.Simiyu had expressed a concern he raised last year during another graduation over continued low student enrolment from surrounding communities.

He said while the college admits students from other areas in the country to train in agriculture, the community around had shunned taking their students to the college.

Mr.Simiyu is optimistic that the free scholarship the college will offer, will address the problem of low enrolment and boost food production in the area.

 

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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.

 

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Kenya; Sugarcane Farmers hit-out at Kenya Sugar Board.

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2013

  • By Gilbert Ochieng Achieng.

The Kenya Sugar Board is directly responsible for the sugarcane poaching crisis that has nearly crippled the operations of the country’s leading sugar producer Mumias Sugar Company.

More than 500 sugarcane farmers from Busia and Mumias sugar belts yesterday accused the sugar board director for the two belts, Billy Wanjala of being part of the sugarcane poaching syndicate that has gripped the multi-billion shillings business in a stranglehold.

The farmers’ spokesman, Nicholas Makokha Shikanda said Wanjala who is in charge of Mumias and Busia sugar belts that are the lifeline of Mumias Sugar in cane supplies should explain why sugarcane poaching has for the last two years remained rampant in these two belts.

“We also challenge Wanjala to explain why the Kenya Sugar Board introduced West Kenya Sugar Company to buy cane in these belts when it knew that farmers here are all contracted to Mumias Sugar,’ said Shikanda, adding that as a KSB director representing these belts he has failed to spearhead a decisive action to be taken against the poachers.

The irate farmers were reacting to reports carried by a section of the media outlets quoting Wanjala as saying that poor planning and management was responsible for the crisis facing the sugar industry in Busia and Mumias sugar belts.

The Director was also quoted as saying that KSB expected Mumias Sugar to increase sugarcane acreage after releasing Kshs. 140 million to boost sugarcane development in the two areas as he welcomed the sacking of the MSC agriculture and factory managers and calling for the assessment of the current Chief Executive Peter Kebati to ascertain his capabilities.

“We know that. Wanjala has for years been closely operating with the former agriculture manager, West Kenya Sugar Company and the resulting cane poaching crisis. If there had been poor planning and management, Mumias Sugar could not have invested more than Kshs. 3 billion in sugarcane development for the last two years, what is Kshs. 140 million compared to three billion?,” said Shikanda.

The farmers at the same time accused Wanjala and the Sugar Board of introducing West Kenya Sugar Company into a territory occupied by farmers contracted to Mumias Sugar, just about the time Mr. Kebati took over management of Mumias Sugar to deliberately sabotage the company’s operations.

They challenged Wanjala and the Sugar Board to explain why it had completely failed to stamp out the cane poaching crisis and instead given a go ahead to West Kenya Sugar that does not have contracts for cane supplies with any farmer to build a factory in Busia belt under Mumias when it is not qualified.

The farmers defended Mumias Sugar CEO saying that though he had been at the helm for a short period of time, the restructuring programme he has embarked on at Mumias Sugar was the right direction, but KSB must put in place its act and take immediate action to stop sugarcane poaching to save the entire industry from total collapse.

The farmers’ organizing secretary Beatrice Wesonga said since its establishment in 1976, Mumias Sugar has been the most successful and profit-making sugar company in the country.

Apart from producing the largest tonnage of sugar in Kenya, it has the largest product range, because over the decades there was never rampant cane poaching in its zones of operation as is being witnessed today.”

Mrs. Wesonga dismissed. Wanjala’s call for the expansion of sugarcane production acreage in Siaya, Busia, Kakamega and Bungoma Counties saying it was not the solution to the cane shortage crisis since the critical problem was poaching which must be killed once and for all.

She said the Kshs. 140 million loan advanced by the KSB to Mumias Sugar for cane development was a drop in the ocean because the undertaking was very expensive right from land preparation through planting, fertilizers and other farm inputs including crop husbandry costs among others.

The farmers said that they had total confidence with the management of Mumias Sugar and the Company’s ability to succeed in its operations adding that the perception that it was ailing was wrong since the whole business was man-made by a few individuals who were out to make a killing out of the mess.

They further told Wanjala the delayed payments problems being experienced by the company were a direct result of the KSB’s activities and its role in the cane poaching crisis and threatened to ensure that he was voted out of office at the next KSB Directors’ elections.

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Kenya: Former civic leader Erick Soita says there is need for the government to construct a modern bridge in his area

Posted by African Press International on April 24, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, API, KENYA
Piece soft wood strewn together using barbed wires of different lengths and sizes are what hold together makes hire bridge that precariously over the flowing waters of River Nzoia and connects Milo village of Bungoma East district of Bungoma county and Lugari district in Kakamega County.
The swinging bridge or Mvunje as is popularly referred by area residents is situated at the foot Milo village, Webuye division. It is indeed a sight to watch as one has to see to believe.
However, the journey across the bridge is not for the faint-hearted beings. I gave it a try just to have a feel of what users normally go through and as I went cross, heart ran to my mouth as it swung from left to right just like a pendulum and were it not for my guide who held my left had tightly to make sure I reach the opposite end, I would have collapsed/fainted on my journey. Surprisingly, it was my longest 5 minutes of life as more experience only takes 3 minutes.
Built in 1968, the bridge is held firmly in place by the side strings where one can place their hands on either side. From the sideways, says in the middle as if it is about to fail into the river. Some 8 or 10 meters below, the brown colored waters of the 257 km along river Nzoia bubble will rage as if flows using from Mt. Elgon flowing South than West and eventually flowing into lake Victoria.
The river has a number of spectacular waterfalls and thought to possess a good hydroelectric potential despite the fact that it also causes an annual ritual of destruction and misery to the villagers of Budalangi during rainy season.
Waters at this crossing point are believed to be particularly deep and during the rainy seasons usually come within a few meters of the lowest parts of the bridge. The 44 years old rare bridge has since survived the effects of evolution and huge blue gum trees on both banks of the river which serves as pillars on which the bridge hangs. Also lies wooded structures nailed to the trees on both banks of the river that serve as ladders for users to get to the bridge.
It stretches 70 meters across the river and acts as the boundary between, Bungoma county and neighboring Kakamega county (Lugari district) thus serves as a shortest for travelers who would otherwise have to go through Webuye town which is longer and more expensive.
The bridge is preventing owner. It is owned by Mr. Alphay ( Lugari side) and Mr. Joseph Wanyembi (Bungoma side) both are owners of the adjacent panels of land on either side of the river on which the bridge settles. Both are said to be the brains behind its construction. Indeed thus kind of intention only a quinsy brain can come up with. A fee sh. 10 is charged for one to be able to use it. The two owners take towns to work at the bridge which serves over 600 people daily as from 7 am- 6 pm in the evening. Only those crossing during the day pay and only once regardless of have many times one cross. No fee is charged at night. Those with luggage also pay for them depending what it is.
Eucalyptus trees have been planted on both sides of the banks on which the bridge stand to serve not only as pillars but also check soil erosion on the banks. They also provide a cool shade for travelers who need to take a rest before the dreaded crossing.
According to Charles Anyona, the regular user, says the bridge is an improvement compared to what was used before. The earlier bridges were provided by nature –a fallen tree over a stream, an arch formed by erosion, a vine grown from one tree to another.
However, those are many varieties of bridges, generally, bridges is a structure built over water or a ground depression for railway, highway or foot traffic.
The bridges substructures rest on the ground and support the substructure carrying the roadway or other facility.
Nowadays, the logs and timber of the early bridges have been replaced by concrete and metal. The recent trend has been to fabricate metal bridge members in welding sector by welding and the connect parts together at the bridge site with high strength bolts.
According to Esther Musioli, a teacher and a resident attributes that something needs to be done to avert a looming. “Most of the pieces of wood used is dry and broken and it is also time-consuming as only 4 people allowed to cross the bridge at the time” Says Musioli.
Former civic leader who is also a resident Erick Soita says there is need for the government to construct a modern bridge that can be also used by motorist to replace the wooden one. Same sentiment are shared by Julius Kakai a religious leader that the funds that will be dispersed to Bungoma county should be prioritized in such areas as improvement of infrastructure in the region.
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Kenya: 650 orphans uplifted – their school needs to be met.

Posted by African Press International on April 23, 2013

  • By GODFREY WAMALWA, API,KENYA
Over 650 orphans and poor students from rural Matete district in Kakamega County have a reason to smile after an independent organization Nuclear students Trust issued 3 million Kenya shillings to carter for their school fees.
The students from various schools in the district will in the next term not worry over lack of school fees.The initiative by the Nuclear Student Trust(NST)and other financial plyers is expected to provide the orphans with a solution towards the challenges they experience during their learning process where many end up missing schools due to lack of school fees.
More than 1800 free blankets will be distributed to orphans to marginal areas of the districts where access to basic education and transition rates from Primary to Secondary school remain low. According to the project coordinator Mr.John Kariuki,said the fund donated is expected to restore hope among learning orphans as they pursue their academic dreams.”Poor access to funds has greatly inconvenienced them and impacted negatively in their performance at school” said Mr Karuiki.
Alphino Angoya,a concern resident hailed the sponsors for the timely intervention saying that most of the less fortunate students have been forced to drop out of the school due to lack of school fees.
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Motorist in Western Kenya blame cane tractors over increasing accidents

Posted by African Press International on April 11, 2013

  • By Godfrey Wamalwa, Kenya
Boda boda operators are bitter with cane transporting tractors, which the accuse for causing increasingly road accidents in parts of western province.
The powerful vehicles with engines that roar their way from the cane farms to the sugar mills, hauling huge trailers loaded with more than 14 tones of cane. As they speed along the narrow and bumpy muddy roads, they sway dangerously from one end to other end of the road, putting the motorists at risk.
Speaking to a battery of reporters in Bungoma,motorists operators claimed that many tractors have no rear lights, head lights, reflectors or any other safety devices that can warn or signal motorists of their presence on roads especially during late hours of the night.
But for the few which do, the lights are usually covered by the excess cargo which sometimes spills onto the road as the tractors speed along.
Motorists plying the Webuye-Bungoma road and Webuye –Kakamega roads and others in the Mumias sugar zone curse and loathe the presence of tractors, which they claim to dominate the roads. According to enraged motorists, the tractor drivers do not appear to be careful of other road users.
But, however, the drivers have defended themselves, saying that they are usually paid according to the number of tones they deliver to their respective firms.”That is why we normally rush against time “said John Kilwake, cane tractor driver. Apart from this, many of them says they are poorly paid and under pressure to deliver as much cane as possible.
They further claim to be working under harsh conditions and their employers often issue threats of sacking them should they fail to meet the firm targets.
As the blame game continues, the death toll from the accidents continues to rise. Late last year, a cane driver from Nzoia Sugar zone was crushed to death along Kitale-Webuye road the trailer on which he was riding overturned when it hit a pothole.
Early last year a 12-year-old boy died after being run over by a cane trailer at Kanduyi junction along the Webuye– Malaba Highway . Ronaldo Wekesa from Mjini Estate in Bungoma slipped as he tried to jump off from the tractor. The boy was with his friends. His mother Fridah Nekesa who is a widow said the boy with his brother had left home in the morning on Tuesday without her knowledge. The body was taken to Bungoma District Hospital mortuary.
And on July last year,12-year-old boy was crushed to death when he tried to remove a cane of sugar from a moving tractor in Bungoma east district of Bungoma county.The incident occurred near Misikhu Market.The victim was a pupil at St Johns Primary School-Misikhu.
But this are however not isolated accidents.Cases of such incidents abound in the area.Drivers says most incidents occurs at night when motorists suddenly encounter the ever loaded tractors which take up most of the road, leaving limited space for other road users.As the drivers have to deliver canes to factories round the clock to ensure that the sugar is available countrywide, motorists and pedestrians alike recounted horrific tales of their encounters with the tractors which are a common sight in the region.From West Kenya,Butali, Nzoia sugar belt to the vast cane plantations in Muma’s the cry is the same.
According to senior police officers in the region, it is estimated that 8 people die every month from tractor related ugly drama.Police say the death occurs when the tractors are involved in collisions with other vehicles or when cane loaders or those who hike lifts on the tractors fall off from the vehicles.
However,most of the ugly drama have been blamed on the tractors citing that many drivers lacks essential road safety devices.
“It was around 7pm driving to my home in a moderate at an average speed and all of a sudden I rammed into a cane tractor which was ahead of me” claimed Peterson Simwelo a regular most on the Webuye-Bungoma road who recently survived serious injuries with the cane tractor.
“while is a traffic offence to drive without such essential motoring aids, police are yet to bring any driver to book but have just impounded tractors for flouting the rules” added Simwelo.
Factory chiefs from the named zones where the tractors defy the laws with impunity did not or were unwilling to comment over the same.
But the millers blame the private sector transporters who own the tractors that are contracted by the factories to deliver the cane.
On the other hand to minimize accidents,cane firms have erected billboards and signs along the busy roads to warn other road users to be on the look out for tractors. Also the poor state of roads has not made matters simple. Most of the roads heading to cane factories and plantations are in a sorry state thus contributing much to the rising accidents.
Attempts by firms to improve the roads have not yielded much success since they do not have the resources needed to tarmac almost all of the roads.”Apart from accidents,the tractors have been a major cause of obstruction on the busy Webuye-Malaba highway and Bungoma-Kakamega road because they often break down in the middle of the road”said Isaac Bwire a matatu driver on Bungoma-Malaba highway.
“They carry excess cane with some dropping on the road and on coming vehicles are usually pushed out of the road because the road is narrow”added Mr Bwire.
Webuye police chief Willy Simba has appealed to all road users to be mindful as the number of road accidents involving cane tractors and motorists is on the rise.
Western Kenya is known to lead in sugar production whereas cane transportation has turned to be a headache to the operators.
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