May 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday launched the historic first cargo train on the Sh327 billion Standard Gauge Railway in Mombasa. The 472km Mombasa-Nairobi phase of the SGR is biggest infrastructural project in East and Central Africa.

The last launch of a similar project was on November 30, 1895, some 122 years ago.
He will today lead some 300 people on the first ride from Mombasa to Nairobi on the SGR, among them 47 pupils who will undergo a crash program in ICT learning aboard the train and sit assessment tests at the end of the 472-km journey.

Kenyans will pay only Sh. 900 for economy train rides between Nairobi and Mombasa under the ‘Madaraka Express’ service that will begin in June with the ‘First class’ rides costing Sh. 3,000. Buses on the route currently charge about Sh. 1,200 for economy, Sh. 1,800 for VIP and Sh. 2,300 for business class.

How they will operate.

The passenger service will operate two types of trains - intercity and county. Two of the trains, one from Mombasa and the other from Nairobi, will run a daily express service between the two cities. The third train will be an inter-county one that will make stops subject to passenger availability at the stations along the line.

The tickets will be electronic, enabling the personnel running the inter-county train to schedule the stops. There are seven main stations on the line and more than 30 smaller ones which will definitely benefit local residents.

The intercity option will see trains operate between the cities with the county option will make stops at Mariakani, Maisenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River.

Intercity trains have a capacity of 1,200 and will take four and a half hours while the county train will take about five and a half hours. The SGR daily passenger capacity will be 3,600 or about 70 buses.

Charges for containerised cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi have been set at $500 (Sh. 51,675). Other freight will cost Sh. 32,800 to transport.

This will result in a 40% decline in the cost of cargo transport in comparison to the $800 (Sh. 80,000) to $900 (Sh. 90,000) cost of transporting goods by road between Mombasa and Nairobi.

But what does this development mean to our economy?

With a total of 33 stations, two main stations (Mombasa and Nairobi), seven intermediate and 24 crossing stations between the cities, both freight and passenger services are set to operate simultaneously and seamlessly. Passenger trains will be given right of way.

The SGR is expected to reduce transport costs, compared to road transport, especially as volume increases, shorten the distance between Nairobi and Mombasa and facilitate efficient cargo transportation. The amount of time taken to transport goods will decline from 16 to 24 hours to a maximum of eight.

This new development will definitely kick-start business, strengthen trade routes and safely connect people from all corners of our country. As the urban centres along the SGR grow, the hinterlands around them too will get a ripple effect. The SGR will go a long way to solving several pressing challenges that the Kenyan economy faces.

The improved capacity that will emanate from this project and better connectivity between Mombasa and the inlands will boosts trade and create growth and prosperity.

Kiambu County.

The iconic SGR track to Nairobi has already warmed up the hearts of traders within the Mt. Kenya Region, particularly those living within Kiambu County.

The SGR train service is seen as a crucial link for traders as it connects the ports to the county circuit in just five hours, offering an excellent option to flying. This will be a big boost to the business considering the lower cost of travel and easy connectivity.

There is growing optimism that the region will become more attractive and competitive as a commercial and business hub. The railway will help traders in the region move goods and services faster and cheaply to and from the coastal region thus enhancing both imports and exports.

For instance, it will now be possible for a trader to leave Thika and comfortably travel to Mombasa port in just a few hours and be back with their goods on the same day.

The speedy train journeys will also offer excellent moments for travel fanatics out to explore the country and in return gather new ideas which they will bring back to their community as investment opportunities.

In the larger scheme of things, produce from this region shall attract better prices since transportation shall have improved. There shall be new markets for new products which will be readily made available to other parts of the country and abroad.


The SGR will decongest the ports, lower road accidents, open up the interior, avail employment opportunities, boost the economy, attract foreign and local investments, rejuvenate rural livelihoods and it shall boost tourism.  It will cut transport costs and boost industrial production as our local industries access raw materials and transport processed goods at lower costs, thus enabling their finished goods to compete effectively at the local and international markets.

Three directors of Karura Modern Investment Company LTD in Juja were on Tuesday arraigned in a Thika law court charged with two counts of permitting falsification to an entry.

Peter Kihoto Kiiru, Francis Wandaka Chiragu and Stephen Njambi Gichuche are said to have been the masterminds of land fraudulence in Juja Sub County.

In the first count, the court heard that the three on 21st May 2016 in Juja having custody of register records jointly permitted an entry to be made in the name of Martin Mwaura Nyambura and John Mwangi Kabura which in material particular to be amended false.

The three were also charged that on 29th December 2014, they having custody of register records jointly permitted an entry to be made in the name of Martin Kahara Kariuki.

The three pleaded innocent to all the charges leveled against them.

Court presiding magistrate Hon C.A Otieno Omondi ordered the three to be released upon payment of Ksh 50,000 cash bail and a bond of Ksh 100,000 with surety of a similar amount.


The case will be mentioned on 14th June 2017 while the hearing will be done on 11th September 2017.

More than 50% of Kiambu residents disapprove the way Jubilee Party primaries were conducted and think that they were not free and fair.

In a survey carried out by Thika Town Today between the 21st of May and 28th May 2017, 54% of the respondents said that the Jubilee Party nominations did not reflect the wish of the people of Kiambu County.

31% of those polled believed that the exercise was very good, with 14% saying that it was just fair.

Respondents disapproving the outcome of the nominations have various irregularities including some people being involved in multiple voting, biased poll officials, incorrect results announcements and legitimate voters intentionally being barred from voting.

Those who felt that the polls were fair accuse the losers of crying wolf after being rejected by ‘Wanjiku’.

A whopping 61% said that come August 8, they will vote for leaders according to their policies with a paltry 13% agreeing that the issue of parties and propaganda will influence their choice of leaders in the general elections. 11% reckoned that money might play a part in their decision come August.

There was 25% of the respondent who believed that President Uhuru Kenyatta will determine who will be voted within the Jubilee-rich vote region even though another 60% said that they would look at one’s individual record when choosing their leaders.

The poll is likely to generate controversy especially from the Jubilee nominees as it shows that some of them might lose in the final poll even though the region is a perceived party stronghold.


The survey targeted 800 respondents to represent the projected adult population of 1.2 million Kiambu dwellers.

The family of the Late Mrs. Aurelia Ngure is appealing to well-wishers and people of good will to assist them raise KES. 8.5 million so that her body can be released for burial from the Mater Hospital.

The late Mrs. Ngure fell and fractured her hip on February 9 2017 after which she was admitted at the Mater hospital. After undergoing surgery, she developed post-surgery complications and was admitted in the ICU and HDU departments for over 3 months until her demise on 14th May 2017 whereby she incurred a total bill of KES. 12,104,000.

Until her demise, she was a resident of Kiboko Estate Thika.

The fundraiser will be held at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi on Wednesday 31st May 2017 starting from 5pm and another one on Friday 2nd June 2017 at Coconut Grill hotel Thika beginning 5pm.

A special appeal has been extended to all Alumni of Thika High School particularly those whom she served between 1971 and 1995 both as a matron and school nurse.

One can send their contributions through PAYBILL No. 703023 (A/C sender’s name)


For further information, kindly contact Jennifer Ngure on 0721654299 or Michael on 0722808304

A teacher at Thika Memorial School has landed herself in murky waters after she allegedly shoved her fingers in one of her pupils’ private parts and severely injured the toddler’s genitalia.

According to preliminary reports, the teacher is reported to have taken the lower nursery pupil to one of the toilets and laid her on the floor before removing her panty and inserting fingers into the girl’s vagina and her anus.

It is said that when the teacher realised that she had raptured the girl’s hymen and was bleeding, she took out some tissue paper and wiped off the blood before dressing the girl again.   

Her grandmother, who is the one that lives with the child, explained that she learnt of the bizarre incident some days later while she was bathing her.

“The child had for two days complained of some pains on her private parts. That Saturday, I insisted to know from her what was wrong with her privates. Upon inspecting her, I observed some pus and she was not looking good,” said the child’s granny.

“She told me that it was Teacher Ruth who shoved some fingers into her privates.”
She immediately called the child’s dad and rushed the girl to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Thika.

“When the doctor examined her, he told us that her hymen had been broken and that the injuries were serious. He then gave us some medicine and directed us to visit Thika Level 5 Hospital to fill in a P3 form.”

They then reported to the Thika Police Station who later referred them to Ndurumo Police Post since the school falls under Murang’a County. It is alleged that they later arrested the teacher for questioning.

She accused the school management of not being cooperative saying that the school principal declined to talk to her about the matter.

She is now calling on the authorities to ensure justice for the innocent kid prevailed and stern action be taken against the perpetrator of this heinous act.

Speaking separately to Thika Town Today, the principal Peterson Gichuki said the culprit was new in the school as she had assumed duty this term to stand in for another teacher who was away on sick leave.

Confirming the incident, Gatanga OCPD Beatrice Kiraguri said that suspect was already in their custody and investigations were still ongoing.

Kiraguri added that the suspect will be arraigned in court this week to answer to charges of child defilement and indecently assaulting the girl.


Thika Memorial Church School is an ACK sponsored school located along Thika-Gatanga Rd. in Gatanga Constituency, Murang’a County. 

Bidco Group Chairman Vimal Shah planting a bamboo tree in Ndakaini dam in the company's quest towards achieving the annual 1 million target. 
Thika-Based food and manufacturing company Bidco Africa will plant 1,000,000 Bamboo plants at Ndakaini dam catchment area to help conserve the water tower and promote the use of Bamboo as a source of renewable energy.

This was revealed by company chairman Vimal Shah during the first planting event at the dam. He emphasised his company’s commitment to environmental conservation and entrenching sustainability into its daily business operations.

“Ndakaini is easily the most important location in Kenya. If water is life then this place is literally our life which is why this project makes so much sense. We have come here to mark our commitment to plant 1,000,000 bamboo annually to conserve this water tower,” he said.

“Bamboo is an excellent product of nature. It is good for the soil, good for the economy and good for energy production.  I am pleased that it is steadily gaining acceptance and acquiring adoption across various sectors of our society; we are slowly waking up to the possibilities that Bamboo presents and this is a good thing,” explained Vimal.

The Bidco Chairman revealed that the company offers a ready market for the plant.

“We have been searching for a sustainable energy solution for a while and we finally got one in bamboo. We need 6,000 tonnes a month so if you are willing to plant we are willing to buy.”
The exercise was presided over by Environment and Natural resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu who was stressed relationship between the environment and the impact of climate change in Kenya.

“The low levels of water in this dam, the prices of food, the drought -everything is connected. The truth is there are no fancy solutions for climate change. We have to increase our forest cover and take from nature in a responsible and mindful way particularly in terms of energy. What we have done here today advances both of these goals,” she said.


Both Wakhungu and Shah also extolled the economic dexterity of Bamboo.

The CS urged more Kenyans to engage in conservation and tree planting.

“The environment belongs to all of us; it is a shared responsibility; let us remember that we have not inherited this earth from our ancestors we have borrowed it from our children. Let us take good care of it and one another,” she said

Bamboo is a good source of clean energy and a good crop for conservation. It has been identified as Africa’s untapped potential and a new economic force that is generating income, creating jobs and protecting the environment.

Agronomists in Africa believe it can restore degraded landscapes while economists think it is a potential “green gold,” and a silver bullet for design and architecture that is already attracting a global market. 

Bamboo can grow in almost any kind of climate and thrive in the poorest of soils. To tap into this lucrative green economy, African governments and the private sector have begun positioning themselves to commercialize bamboo. The profit potential has become even greater as environmentalists link bamboo with climate change mitigation, and the possibility of increased income through carbon credits.

So far 18 African countries with natural bamboo—Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda—have joined INBAR, which is assisting them with bamboo information, technology transfer, capacity building and policy formulation. Other countries, like Angola, Gabon and Zambia, are expected to join the network.

Bidco Africa recently partnered with Kitil Farm, a leading bamboo propagation center, to contract farmers to grow and supply mature bamboo in order to meet its demand for biomass. In the deal, Kitil Farm will provide contracted farmers with quality bamboo seedlings, training and technical support.

Bidco presently uses over 200 tonnes of macadamia and coffee husks to generate power at its Thika and Ruiru factories.  However, the supply of both is erratic and unsustainable.

The part of the road which the complainants claim has traversed through their private property. INSET: Lawyer Wokabi Mathenge speaking to the press over the issue. With him are his clients Njiri Kariuki and Dancun Macharia who are seeking their rights to property to be respected.
Two Thika residents have successfully obtained a court interim injunction to stop any further usage of the now famous Baba Yao Mama Tena Road near the Blue Post Bridge until a case filed against Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, his Thika Town counterpart Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a and businessman Rev. David Kariuki Ngare is heard and determined.

The order was obtained on Monday, May 22 after Njiri Kariuki and Dancun Macharia moved to court complaining that the politicians forcefully encroached on their pieces of land and caused elemental damage to property.

Through their attorney Wokabi Mathenge, the plaintiffs complained about the manner in which the exit road linking Haile Selassie Road to the Thika Superhighway was cut through their parcels of land without the defendants (who in this case refer to the three politicians) seeking their consent to allow vehicles pass through their land.

“There is no road reserve here or any mapped out road here. The land in which this section of the road stands is a private property that has all the requisite documents proving ownership by my respective clients and the construction of this road interferes and infringes on their rights to property,” explained their lawyer.

Wokabi pointed out that it was regrettable that a development such as this was undertaken in total disregard of the laid down legal procedures, considering the fact that the land in question has been in existence since the year 1932. He added that his clients had incurred substantial damage of property saying that the excavation exercise dealt a big blow to his clients by degrading the value of the land.

The responsibility to ensure that this order was effected was thrown at Joseph Boinett, the Inspector General of the National Police Service, who has been enjoined to the case as a defendant. 

“In issuing these orders therefore, the court stopped any trespass or even directing of traffic along this part of the road. It is now incumbent upon the relevant authorities, in this case the National Police Service, to ensure that there is no traffic that is directed into my clients’ parcels of land,” said 
Wokabi.

He warned that in an event that this order was defied, the complaints would file a ‘contempt of court’ case against the defendants which is punishable ultimately by imprisonment.

Mr. Macharia lamented that his family had now been subjected to public lynching with a section of residents wondering why he was opposed to this new development. However, he argued that he was entitled as a Kenyan citizen to defend his property and it was wrong for politicians to play populist politics in disregard to right to property.

“No one should rejoice over my predicaments. Today I am the victim of populist politics, tomorrow you too may find yourself in my shoes. So, let everyone follow the law and every Kenyan be accorded their due rights,” said Macharia.

Njiri wondered why these politicians failed to pursue the proposed programme to expand the bridge as was originally scheduled by the current leadership of Kiambu County Government. He added that he feared for his life as there were people threatening him and his family over his stand to object the road passing through his section of the land.

“I personally am not opposed to such developments as they stand to benefit all of us. But I cannot sit back and watch anyone destroy my lifelong investment for any reason whatsoever. My right to property too needs to be respected,” quipped Njiri.

The hearing of the case is slated for June this year.

(Related story: Glaring Legal Tussle Looms As Two Men Face ‘Baba Yao’ Over Encroachment Of Land.)

According to the Kenya Roads Act and the Public Roads and Roads of Access Act, landowners to be affected in such road developments must be served with a notice of application for leave to construct a road of access, from the roads board calling upon the owner or occupier of land over which the proposed road of access is to pass to show cause within one month why the proposed road of access should not be granted.


The board shall then fix a day for the hearing of the application, and after hearing the applicant or his representative and any other party who might be affected thereby may make an order in writing in the form in the Second Schedule to this Act, granting the applicant, his servants and his agents leave to enter upon the said land and construct such road of access and of such width as the district board may decide upon, subject to such conditions and to payment of such compensation in respect of any growing crops or permanent improvements damaged or destroyed by the construction of such road of access as to the board seems fit.

H.E. The President and H.E. The Deputy Presidents' schedule tomorrow Monday 29th May 2017 , is as follows:-

Address wananchi at the following stops starting at 10 am:-

1. Pipeline Stage,

2. Jogoo Road/ Outer Ring  Junction,  

3. Madaraka,

4. City Stadium,

5. Muthurwa/ Country Bus Station,

6. Wakulima Market,

7. Railway Roundabout,

8. Kencom,

9. City Hall.

Presentation of nomination papers will be at KICC at 2 pm and thereafter, Public address at Comesa Grounds, KICC.

PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA'S DIARY FOR THIS WEEK

Monday 29 May 2017 – Presentation of papers by Presidential candidates (Jubilee Party will provide details).

Tuesday 30 May 2017 – The President will be in Mombasa in the afternoon to launch the cargo freight services of the Standard Gauge Railway. The event will be at Port Reitz.

Wednesday 31 May 2017 – The President, and hundreds of Kenyans from all walks of life, diplomats and Chinese envoys and special guests, will ride the first train launching services on the SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi.

The President is expected to make stops at Mariakani in Kwale County, Voi in Taita Taveta County, Mtito Andei in Makueni County, Emali in Kajiado County – commissioning stations and holding conversations with citizens.

At Syokimau in Nairobi County, the President will make a major speech.

Thursday 1 June 2017 – The President will deliver his Madaraka day speech in Nyeri.

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets US President Trump at G7 Summit in Italy

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, let me thank you,Prime Minister Gentiloni for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I also thank you for according me the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering.
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Africa is the world’s new frontier for trade and investment. Current indications are that Africa will have business opportunities worth $5.6 trillion by 2025.
Across Africa,there is a rising tide bringing with it new national and transnational infrastructure; a better-educated labour force; a youthful, dynamic population; a diffusion of technology; and, most important, the true democratization of the continent.
A rising tide lifts every boat. We now see the emergence of business clusters that stimulate innovation,the creation of new businesses, and real growth.
That’s why our returns on investment are some of the highest in the world, and that’s why members of the G7 will find, as others have found, that African markets are well worth their interest.
Indeed, right across the continent, opportunities beckon. To seize them, we will have to work together. The rewards are beyond calculation. A freer, more prosperous Africa is a more secure Africa. A freer, more prosperous Africa is a vital partner in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems: poverty, immigration, climate change, terrorism. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the time to put Africa’s aspirations at the heart of your plans.
Now, the continent’s transformation is contingent on innovation. That’s why we have strengthened connectivity through the Smart Africa initiative, putting ICT at the center of our development agenda. That’s why the continent is developing an ICT policy and infrastructure to support one seamless digital market, to serve a billion people.
I need not tell you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that Kenya is a celebrated pioneer in ICT innovation in Africa. We have seen for ourselves the transformative power of innovation,as the Internet and mobile telephony have diffused power to networks and individuals.
Our people have proven enthusiastic innovators, enriching our democracy and development. In turn, the world has learned to appreciate to the energy and innovation of our young people, the spear-point of our development strategy.
That energy and innovation, combined with a strong ICT backbone, with infrastructure,and with an open regulatory and policy environment, has unleashed creative solutions, transforming lives.
The list is long and exciting; I’ll cite just three examples. M-Farmis a mobile platform for farmers: with the touch of a button, they can find prevailing prices for their produce.
Ushahidi (Swahili for testimony) is a ground-breaking interactive mapping tool, now used across the world to crowd-source information in elections and emergencies.
And then, of course, there is M-pesa, the mobile money platform that has brought financial access to millions who were left out of the traditional banking sector: these days, nine in every ten Kenyans access financial services through it.
These innovations, and others, have made Kenya more dynamic and resilient; they have made Kenya more investor-friendly; and they have made Kenya the hub of East and Central Africa.
I said that the Internet and the mobile phone had diffused power from states to networks and citizens. This is all to the good.
We are a democracy in a tough neighbourhood: our success will enlarge liberty;it will push back extremists bent on destroying democracy; and it will give many millions of our people an even larger stake in a stable global order.
Naturally, that success will depend largely on our own efforts, but the partnership and solidarity of the G-7 countries remain invaluable.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the power and promise of innovation and cooperation across borders. But we must also consider recent painful events in Manchester, which reminds us that innovation and globalization have a dark side. Far cheaper communication, and the movement of peoples across the world have given terrorists an ideological and operational reach that was unimaginable until very recently.
Terror presents a common threat. It demands a common response. Together, we can meet that threat. Indeed, we in Kenya, in partnership with many of you,have encouraging results to report. We have stopped attacks; we have unravelled terror cells; we have shared intelligence; we have saved lives.
But while intelligence and policing remain critical,we in Kenya believe the first weapon in this war is democracy.
Our people are free: free to choose their government; free to make their views heard; free to start and grow a business. That is the answer to the call of radicalism and violence. Only democracies can correct the abuses of power that breed the grievances on which terror is fed. Only democracies under the rule of law can give each citizen an equal voice in the making of his country’s laws. And only democracy can produce the broad prosperity which forestalls division.
In truth, then, only free peoples in control of their destiny can win an enduring victory over the nihilism of the terrorists.
That is why we are proud to be associated with you,the G7, as a beacon of democracy and the rule of law. We believe this is the time for a new alliance of democracies to stand together against the forces of terror.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen is why I wish to once again thank you, Prime Minister Gentiloni, and all present, for working closely with Kenya and Africa, for the peace, the prosperity, and the freedom that all our peoples deserve.
Thank you.


 The over 100 youth, women and persons with disability-owned who participated in the one sensitization workshop pose for a group photo with Kiambu Deputy Governor Gerald Githinji.   Photo || Wachira Njenge 

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology & Kiambu Coordinated County Stakeholders Association trained at least over 100 youth, women and persons with disability-owned enterprises to be able to participate in government procurement procedures.

JKUAT’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs Prof. Romanus Odhiambo addressing the participants duirng the one day sensitization workshop. Photo|| Wachira Njenge 
Speaking during a sensitization workshop, JKUAT’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs Prof. Romanus Odhiambo said the program aims to enhance awareness, build capacity, increase transparency and promote competition for public tenders.

Kiambu County Deputy Governor H.E Gerald Githinji addressing the close to 100 participants during the sensitization workshop. Photo ||| Wachira Njenge
The Chief Guest Kiambu Deputy Governor H.E Gerald Githinji lauded the University for hosting such a workshop acknowledging that in the era of high unemployment among the youth academia-stake holders collaborations play a significant role to solve problems rising from lack of jobs by generating relevant knowledge.  

H.E. Gerald Githinji called upon the youth to be solution providers and embrace entrepreneurship as a means of seeking employment. 

"I receive alot of CV's from youth just like you asking for employment, once in a while i take time to advice those who come to me to focus on their strengths and see if they can use that to their advantage by being entrepreneurs," said HE Gerald Githinji

He also under scored the importance of the participants applying for tenders advertised by the various government agencies, and not to give up even after the first bid is rejected. 
 
Mr Kangethe Wa Kimani the  Co- Chairman Kiambu County Stakeholders Association addressing the participants during the sensitization  workshop. Photo|| Wachira Njenge
 
Mr Kimani Kangethe KCCSA, CO- Chairman thanked JKUAT management for their immense support and cooperation that they had extended to the group.

"We have entered in to a long lasting partnership with this institution because we saw the need for our youth and women within Kiambu County and beyond to be trained by JKUAT in order for them to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge on how to access government procurement opportunities under the AGPO initiative". said Kangethe
 
Participants of the AGPO workshop follow the presentations keenly. Photo || Wachira Njenge
In 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the procurement rules be amended to allow 30 per cent of government contracts to be given to the youth, women and persons with disability without competition from established firms.

The Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) initiative aims to facilitate the youth, women and persons with disability-owned enterprises to be able to participate in government procurement.

A procuring entity shall allocate at least thirty percent of its procurement spend for the purposes procuring goods, works and services from micro and small enterprises owned by youth, women and persons with disability.


Cross Section of Participants listening keenly to the proceedings. Photo|| Wachira Njenge 
 The workshop had breakout sessions that saw Jane Ngatia of the JKUAT Student Counsellor address the participants on Harnessing Entreprenuership skills with a humane touch; while Veronica from Huduma Center Thika,  Susan Bukhala from JKUAT's Procurement Office, Christopher KRA Thika addressed the participants on various issues including Tax Compliance requirements, the AGPO initiative, government procurement process at the University and access to business finance and LPO financing amongst other topics.

One of the photos taken by residents using their cellphones just before the violence erupted, forcing the three police officers to demand for reinforcement from Makongeni Police Station.
Police were on Friday evening forced to lob teargas canisters to break up a violent clash between two opposing political outfits at Madaraka Market Makongeni in Thika Town Constituency.

Violence erupted at around 4pm after a team of Eng. Patrick Wainaina (Wa Jungle) started leveling the road separating the market and Makongeni Phase 4. A group of people emerged from the market chanting the name of area MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a, confronted the other group and demanded them to “disappear” as that “was not Wainaina’s zone”. 

The Wainaina group is said to have resisted and insisted that the road was a public infrastructure and they were entitled, as residents too, to answer the cries of the people of Makongeni who had suffered for long over the poor state of the road.

It was at this moment the group from market attempted to violently evict the Wainaina team but were outnumbered and repulsed back into the market.

Eyewitnesses we talked told us that the group from the market blew some whistles to draw the attention of their colleagues who immediately regrouped and charged the Wainaina group again. They are said to have been pelted stones and debris to the other group, forcing them to scamper for safety.

Other people soon joined in the fray in support of either group and hell broke loose.

Police from the nearby Makongeni police station were immediately called in and just in the nick of time, were able to save one of Wainaina’s graders which was about to be torched after its driver ran away for his dear life.

“The bulldozer was intercepted just as it was about to join Garissa road. Its driver had stopped to avoid crashing a police land cruiser and some Nissan matatus which were held up in a traffic snarl-up. They pelted it with stones, forcing him to abandon it and run for his life. One of the demonstrators boarded it and reversed it towards the market’s dumping site where they started shouting ‘Choma! Ichomwe!” said one of the people who witnessed it all happen.

According to this resident, the bulldozer was saved when the police dispersed the crowd with teargas canisters

At least four people were wounded including the bulldozer driver who sustained a bruise on his arm after being hit with a stone. The grader had its windows and windscreen shuttered in the melee.

The residents we spoke to castigated the violence saying that the era of political hooliganism had now been overtaken by events.

“We can never allow such hooliganism to take root here in Thika. Why should one stop an initiative that is beneficial to the public? For your information, it is us who will decide who to vote and who not to vote and such acts will only serve to alienate the electorate from politicians associated with violence,” said Ephantus Nzau who operates a kiosk along Phase 4.

Nzau reminded the electorate that some of those who lost in the Jubilee nominations had initiated projects that now benefit the people but they never went away with them when they lost.

“We saw Morris Mburu build a classroom at Kenyatta Primary School but he lost. The children who are now enjoying that facility are not Mburu’s but our children. Jungle (Wainaina) will not be the one using this road but us. Why then should anyone instigate violence to stop him from repairing it while the people have their ballots to send him home if they do not like him?” asked Nzau.

Peter Muriuki or Wa Josee wished for a time when politicians would be competing to outdo each other in projects devoid of political dramas and name calling. He noted that, eventually, these chaos only harmed the mwanachi with the politicians living pretty in the comfort of their homes.

“If we hurt each other here, who benefits? We all work here and we have known each other for all the time we have been here. Why then should we let politicians divide us and take weapons against each other for their own benefit? We need to mature up. There is life after elections,” said Wa Josee.

He added that it was such nasty political intrigues that has derailed the development of the area as some people just opposed programmes meant to benefit the public just because of their own selfish political gains.

“Why should anyone oppose the repair of a bad road or the erection of security lights? They only do this to safeguard their selfish interests and not those of the residents. If they are cheating themselves that they will win the elections this way, watch this space,” he said.


Thika Town has in the recent times experienced pockets of violence and political intolerance reminiscent to some parts of the country where political opponents do not see eye to eye. This is worrying. As we head for the electioneering period, Thika residents are simply calling for very peaceful campaigns.

A Pan-African study by two Canadian sociologists in 2013 showed that Kenya has one of the highest levels of children born out of wedlock in Africa, the most affected being women in their late teens and early 20s who are increasingly being left to raise children single-handedly after their male partners flee. The research also revealed that six of every 10 Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers by the time they reach 45 with approximately 30% of Kenyan families being headed by only one parent.

Danger!

Sociologists warn that this trend could have a deep impact on society because studies in other parts of the world have shown that a significant number of children brought up in single parent families have lower life prospects than their peers brought up in two-parent families. Children from single-parent families are also said to be more likely to have behavioral problems because they tend to lack economic security and adequate time with parents.

It is also argued that children from broken homes are nine times more likely to commit a crime than those brought up in stable families.

Many pundits believe that the crime wave experienced today is caused by an increasing number of single mother families. According to a 1993 Metropolitan Life Survey, “Violence in America's Public Schools”, 71% of teachers and 90% of law enforcement officials stated that the lack of parental supervision at home was a major factor that contributed to the violence in schools. 61% of primary school pupils and 76% of secondary children agreed with this assessment.

Role of the father.

Sociologist argue that fathers typically offer economic stability, a role model for boys, greater household security and reduced stress for mothers. This is especially true for families with adolescent boys, the most crime-prone cohort.

Children from single-parent families are more prone than children from two-parent families to use drugs, be gang members, be expelled from school, be committed to reform institutions, and become juvenile murderers. Single parenthood inevitably reduces the amount of time a child has in interaction with someone who is attentive to the child's needs, including the provision of moral guidance and discipline.

There is no doubt that single-parent households face significant challenges, both for the parent and the child. Varied research shows that children in single-parent homes fare worse than those with two parents. There is a prevalence of lower birth-rates and higher death rates among infants in one-parent homes. The number of children aged 15 to 17 years in school and in good health is much lower in children from single-parent homes as compared to two-parent homes. The number of children becoming pregnant at these ages is also increasing.

Other shocking statistics.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report).

Father Factor in Crime.

A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single-mother household while 16% lived with neither parent.

Father Factor in Child Abuse.

Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.

Daughters of single parents without a father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.

Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions (juvenile prisons) come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).

Father Factor in Incarceration.

Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46% of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

This quantitative study is an indication that were pertaining to parental behavior and likelihood of youth engagement in crime. The results indicated that there was some relationship between the family structure and criminal activity among youth.

Importance of the family structure.

Family structure was extremely important. The most important institution in our society which serves as the foundation for social and personal development and upon which America relies for its success and well-being is the family.

In the urban community setup, the challenge of single-parent households has plagued the communities living in these area with crime. Crimes committed by youth are at an all-time high due to the growing number of single-parent households that live in poverty.


Years ago, it was taboo to have a child out-of-wedlock. Often couples were married as the result of what was known as a shotgun-wedding. It was common practice if a man got a woman pregnant, he would marry her before the baby was born. We need to rethink our strategy once again.

Some of the victims of the Kakuzi accidents being consoled by friends and relatives at the Thika Level 5 Hospital.
Six people have died, five of them on the spot after a fatal crash last night between a lorry and two Nissan Matatus along the Kenol-Sagana Highway near Mlima Swara, Kakuzi area of Murang'a County.

According to Makuyu area OCPD Paul Wanjama, a truck ferrying logs from Kakuzi Limited lost control and hit one of the Nissan matatus that was heading towards Embu which was then hit from behind by another matatu, killing its driver and four others on the spot.

“The lorry driver lost control and collided with the two matatus both from Embu. Two of those who died were sitting on the front seats while the other three died from the impact of the crash,” said OCPD.

One of the matatu drivers is among the five people who died on the spot. The other four were women, one of whom was sitting on the front seats.

Eight of those who were injured were rushed to the Thika Level 5 Hospital where one of them later succumbed to his injuries.

Wanjama said the two matatus, one belonging to Ketno Sacco and the other to Emuki Sacco, were heading to Embu from Nairobi when the crash happened.

The wreckage has been towed by the police after the rescue operation to Makuyu Police Station. 
Speaking from his hospital bed, Anthony Muturi said that he along with colleagues were heading home to Makuyu at around 9:30pm when the accident occurred. He blamed the lorry for the accident saying that it suddenly swayed to their lane and smashed onto their matatu.

“I boarded this matatu in Kenol Town and upon reaching between Kakuzi Limited’s parking avocado centre and the KPLC’s sub-transformer station, a lorry swayed from its lane and hit our matatu head-on. Some of us were thrown out of the vehicle especially after a second matatu hit us from behind,” said Muturi.

John Mureithi and Francis Mburu were other victims in the accident. Mureithi sustained several fractures including a broken a broken arm and leg.

Thika Level 5 Hospital Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr. Joseph Waiganjo confirmed receiving eight casualties Thursday night. He added that one man succumbed to his injuries and is currently at the General Kago Funeral Home.

“We currently have two women and three men in our casualty ward. Two other men were treated and discharged but unfortunately one other man died while undergoing treatment,” said Dr. Waiganjo.

Dr. Waiganjo added that the five were all out of danger but had suffered multiple fractures.

Mlima Swara near Kakuzi farm, on the busy Nairobi-Nyeri highway is a notorious black spot where so many accidents occur.

The political fate of 20 political bigwigs in both Jubilee Party and NASA hangs in the balance after they were blacklisted of having bleached Chapter 6 of the Constitution over various integrity issues.

Presenting the list to IEBC and other members of the Chapter Six Working Group on Wednesday, human rights activists under the National Integrity Alliance petitioned the electoral commission to deny the politicians clearance to run in the August 8 General Election.

The politicians, have been accused of cumulatively responsible for the loss of KES. 16.8 billion in public funds

Well-placed sources within Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission show that about 22 sitting governors and several aspirants have been found wanting and could be barred from participating in the August polls.

Those implicated in the list include governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Okoth Obado (Migori), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Ken Lusaka (Bungoma) and Mwangi WA Iria (Murang’a).

Others are Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Kirinyaga aspiring governor Anne Waiguru, MPs Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete), Alfred Keter (Nandi), Asman Kamama (Tiaty), Elizabeth Ongoro (nominated), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), and Matthew Lempurkel 
(Laikipia North).

The rights group seeks to have all aspirants with questionable reputations barred from the election as many of those who won the just-concluded party primaries cannot pass integrity tests. The allegations against them include abuse of office, audit queries about finances and participation in violence.

The list, jointly compiled by Transparency International, Mzalendo Trust, Inuka Trust and Society for International Development, will be updated in subsequent days.

Activist Irungu Houghton of the Society for International Development said they shared the list with relevant state agencies for action.

“We have handed this list to the vetting agencies for action. It is not our role to register or to clear aspirants,” he said.

The blacklisted candidates are:
  1. Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay)
  2. Hassan Joho (Mombasa)
  3. Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma)
  4. Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a)
  5. Alfred Mutua (Machakos)
  6. Evans Kidero (Nairobi)
  7. Okoth Obado (Migori)
  8. Anne Waiguru (Jubilee's Kirinyaga governor nominee)
  9. Gladys Shollei (Jubilee nominee for Uasin Gishu woman representative)
  10. Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro
  11. Former Rongo MP Ochillo Ayako
  12. Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko
  13. Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel
  14. Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria
  15. Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi
  16. Kilifi governor hopeful Kazungu Kambi
  17. Dandora MCA Stephen Kambi
  18. Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu
  19. Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter
  20. Tiaty MP Asman Kamama
Waiguru and NYS
Waiguru has been put on the spot over the National Youth Service scam that initially involved Sh791 million, but a special audit report by the Auditor General, on whose basis the panel launched a probe, put the figure at more than Sh1.8 billion.
Kidero
The Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was accused of procuring irregularities of up to Sh. 4.6 billion in a plan to launch a metro transportation system. He was also accused bribery and payment of Sh. 200 million to Justice Tunoi and also assaulting Woman rep Rachel Shebesh.
Joho
The Mombasa governor was accused of confessing questionable academic qualifications in the EACC report to get admission to the University of Nairobi.
The claim was that he presented a forged 1992 examination result slip with a C+ mean grade. This was for a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Human Resource Management.
Waititu
Kabete MP and Kiambu county governor aspirant Ferdinand Waititu has been challenged regarding the authenticity of his academic certificates.
Ongoro was accused of perpetrating violence during nominations which saw ODM bar her from contesting the Ruaraka MP seat held by Tom Kajwang.
Keter allegedly violated chapter six of the constitution and the Leadership and Integrity Act, by his conduct in public.
He was accused of abuse of office, obstruction and harassment of legitimate authority at the Gilgil weighbridge on January 21, 2015.
The Governor was accused of embezzlement and loss of up to Sh600 million through procurement irregularities.
He is said to have violated Section 11 of the Election Offences Act, 2016 including the use of and perpetration of violence during ODM nominations.
Kamama was linked to the ongoing clashes in Baringo while Mutua was accused of procurement irregularities for 16 Subaru vehicles worth Sh147 million and ambulances worth Sh145 million.

He was also linked to irregularities in the construction of Kithimani-Makutano road at Sh568 million.

24 year-old Ken Kamanja holding his 'tools of trade' during an interview with Thika Town Today. Kamanja earns an average KES. 2,000 daily from labeling personal documents.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. In the realisation of how the loss of a national identification card, passport, automatic teller machines card or a student’s ID card can throw someone into real disarray, one young man came up with an innovative method to assist people get back their lost documents.

24 year-old Ken Kamanja from Thika town saw an opportunity and with the ensuing innovation now earns him tens of thousands of shillings monthly.

Kamanja earns an average KES. 75,000 monthly from labeling, not only office equipment, but also national identification cards, ATMs as well as job cards using a sticker printer machine.

While narrating his innovation to Thika Town Today, Kamanja reckoned that without certain crucial documents, one was edged out of doing certain things such as making mobile money transactions from banks and agencies.

“My work is usually to insert one’s phone number on their personal cards so that in case they get lost, anyone can trace their owners via the contact.  It is a problem-solving business and the response is very good. If you take for instance when one loses their passport, they end up paying up to KES. 10, 000 to replace them. An ATM replacement goes for KES. 500 notwithstanding the headache one undergoes through to replace the ID,” he explained.

Kamanja was bitten by entrepreneurship bug in November last year and since then he has never looked back.

He has already registered a company called Anjamak Empire Ventures for his venture.

“The market is really demanding since it is a new thing. It’s just a removable sticker that you can peel it off at will without interfering with the original status of the card,” he says.

This journalism and mass communication Diploma Certificate holder from Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS) did not have deep into his pockets as he just started off with an initial capital of KES. 12,000 which to purchase one printer which ironically is simply a portable gadget that can fit in a sling bag just comfortably.

“I started with only one printer which I just moved around with without the worry of any office space or bills,” he laughs off.

Kamanja explains that the cassette contains 150 stickers with each bundle going for Ksh. 2000. Should you charge a minimum of Ksh. 30 on a good day, you are capable of making a profit of Ksh. 2,500 because in a day you can use a range of two to three cassettes.

Kamanja's hand-held printer that he uses to label documents. INSET: An already labeled national ID Card.
“It costs between Ksh. 30 to Ksh. 200 depending on the client and also the type of card that is being labelled. When labelling passports, driving licences, student school cards, ATM’s I charge a minimum of Ksh. 100. If you aim at the target of a 150 documents which is very easy since most Kenyans have identification cards, you will be going home with not less than Sh. 2,000 in a day,” he says.

His challenge

“We are now into the electioneering period and some of our clients tend to think that we are stealing their votes when we ask for their identification cards,” he explains.


He added that he can also label materials such as school uniforms as well as office files as the labels cannot react with water or other chemicals. Still, about the uniform, what is used is a sticker but one that is applicable on washable materials.

The sign post outside the PCEA Elijah Kagiri Academy in Thika West Sub-County whose driver's conduct elicited some public outrage and concerns over the kids' safety. INSET: The bus that is said to be dangerously driven.
The administration of PCEA Elijah Kagiri Academy in Thika West Sub-County have declined to comprehensively respond to public outcry concerning the disciplinary action they have taken to the ‘reckless’ driver who was reported to have been dangerously ferrying their kids to and back from school.

Efforts by the Thika Town Today crew to get answers on how the school acted on public concerns of their kids’ safety and those of other road users were met with some lukewarm reception with the principal just saying that she could not respond to social media accusations.

“I cannot respond to those accusations as this is not the right forum for me to do so. I am not the right person to discuss this since we have a board of directors who run this institution. Otherwise, all I can say is that everything is under control and parents should not panic,” said the principal.

Another Facebook response by one Emanuel Nkotiko  read and I quote; - “To our very esteemed 
parents and stakeholders of PCEA Elijah kagiri academy. We have with a lot of concern received the unbecoming reckless driving concerns by one of our buses KCD. We want to sincerely apologize for this. We have already taken very strict and hard measures on the culprit. We assure u this WILL NEVER be repeated again! Further we assure u that the safety and wellbeing of the children is our priority. Thanks for your alerts and do not hesitate to talk to us. Director Elijah kagiri academy.”

The matter came to the public domain when one concerned resident posted of the behaviour of the driver on our Facebook sister platform….

He said… “Can the directors of Elijah Kagiri Academy please intervene? The driver of this bus is gambling with the life of innocent kids. I have witnessed a very ugly scene as he chases a Nissan matatu on the Gen Kago Rd and exited to the Garissa Rd. so so roughly. Do something before innocent, voiceless kids life is taken away. And btw the numbers u can report to about the driving are tampered with.

The post immediately ignited some public outburst with more and more people siting instances of the same driver endangering the lives of these innocent kids on various occasions in the sub-county.

Below are some top comments as retrieved from our platform….

Shiku David's – “Am a parent here av always complained abt this driver BT yeye hutetewa I rem my kids first yr akiwa baby class alikuwa anashida na mathukuruu kwa kichwa kugongwa huko ndani ya bus I had to funzaa him kujishikilia.

Joyce Muhuhu  - “A very rogue driver, my kids are in a different school but I also did complain to Mr Mucheru abt the bad driving habits their driver. By now this driver should be not be behind the wheels of any school bus!

David Chege -  “woiii thanx God others are seeing this...akiwa landless gatundu am telling you this driver drives at 100km per hour...na no road ya ndani he almost knocked some children walking on the side....when i see him Coming I pack on the side so that he can pass...he should go home...ama atafute kazi kwa kenya uwa thats where he belongs....

Daniel Wandegwa – “He is a very rogue driver he nearly hit my car near St Davids primary school Section 9. And he has no courtsey at all.

Shiku David's – “Action should be taken against him he has always been this way all along.

Josephine Grace Kairong'e – “I'm a witness too. He has not just started coz he's being like this all along. When I see the bus I give way harrraka.

Joseph Muthie – “The same vehicle is driving at very high speed in the morning along link road in landless where speed should be 20kph.

Geoffrey Muthee – “Case reported to school patron. Will update you on the soonest. My sincere apologies regrading this incidence.

Annie Kay Bishop – “Who can confirm if the said hard measures have been taken by the school. As someone said up there the driver hutetewa. This is completely unacceptable.
The dissent by the public caught the attention of the NTSA who promised to follow up the matter.

 National Transport and Safety Authority-Kenya – “Saida Muthee kindly advise the school administration to take the appropriate action and we will take the initiative to follow up.

This incident come just days after thirty-two schoolchildren, two teachers and the minibus driver died in Tanzania after their vehicle plunged into a roadside ravine in the northern tourist region of Arusha.


Two years ago, four pupils from Moi Primary school Thika died after a truck carrying sand hit the matatu they were traveling in from behind near Blue Post Hotel. 

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