February 2018


A compilation of various photos taken during the King Kaka Bank on me tour at Kianjau Primary School.
Pupils from Kianjau Primary School on Wednesday afternoon braved the scorching afternoon sun and dusty parade grounds to receive rare guests as their school played host to renowned rapper and entrepreneur Kenneth “King Kaka” Ombima, Boston based Philanthropist  Nduta Angel’s Foundation founder Maggie Kimani and Counselling Psychologist Dr. Susan Gitau of Africana College of Professionals.  

“Kianjau Primary School is one of the vulnerable schools within Thika Sub County located within Kiandutu, Kiambu’s largest informal settlement, this is why we decided to partner with Kaka Empire and other key stake holders in this campaign was because majority of these pupils have to overcome challenges at home and within the society to attend classes, and at the same time compete with other pupils from different schools within Thika,” said Maggie Kimani.

Kianjau Primary School was established in 1999 by community well wishers as a non-formal school, the school that has a population of approximately 900 pupils and 17 teachers. 

Speaking exclusively to Thika Town Today Rapper King Kaka expressed his joy in mentoring young minds, “Kianjau Primary School presents a unique opportunity for me and Kaka Empire under the Bank On Me Campaign to mentor these young minds I see a lot of potential in them, I will not relent in supporting them in whichever way, as a matter of fact I recently embarked on a campaign to make sure that we keep our girls in school by making sure that they have enough supplies of sanitary pads, I have also made a promise to the 2018 KCPE candidates that whoever scores 400 marks and above in KCPE they will visit Mombasa I will pay in for their flight and accommodation in full,” he further said.

The guests donated sanitary pads and under garments to be distributed to the close 100 hundred pupils under the 100,000 + girls in school campaign and promised that they will see to it that they support the growth and development of the pupils and raise education standards of each and every pupil in the school.

The headteacher  could not hide his joy and was grateful that through the generosity of the stakeholders who put up the event, the pupils will be able to at least stay in class for longer, with the sanitary pads donated to them, and also at least the boy child was motivated to interact with an accomplished artist such as King Kaka.

"I am greatful for the effort this team of well wishers has put up, my pupils will not be able to focus on studies and aim higher in their academic endevours," said.

Also present during the event were counsellors from Africana College of Professionals Counsellors, Comedian Owago Onyiro, who offered Behaviour change and Mentorship talks during break-out sessions.

Alex Kariuki on his hospital bed.

A 4th year Nairobi University law student is appealing for financial assistance to help him undergo urgent kidneys transplant in India.

Alex Kariuki Mwaura, 24 requires Ksh. 4 million for the transplant.

According to his mother, Mercy Wambui Mwaura, Alex’s predicaments started last year when developed high blood pressure, a condition that eventually damaged his kidneys.

Alex undergoes dialysis at Nairobi hospital though his condition has continued to deteriorate. This has drained the family’s finances leaving them without any money to continue with his treatment.

Renal experts at KNH have recommended that the patient undergo urgent kidney transplant.

The family is now appealing for financial assistance help from friends and well-wishers.

Donations can reach them via M-PESA pay bill No. 837555 account no. your name or Alex kidney transplant fund Coop bank account no. 011097362060300, Thika branch.

Family and friends have also organised a fund raiser at Mugumo-ini Primary School in section 9 Thika on March 10th 2018 at 1.00 pm.

Family can be reached via phone no 0721750740 / 0738721471

A section of Makongeni's Phase 13 that was submerged in flashfloods in November last year during the short rains season. 

The Kenya Meteorological Department has issued a weather advisory for the next few days on heavy rain and storm expected across the country, predicting that the heat over the last few days will give way to heavy rain over the coming days.

In a circular to newsrooms, the department predicts an increase in rainfall over various parts of the country starting today (Wednesday 28th Feb. 2018).

However, they say that this is not proper onset of the March-May rainfall season. They expect heavy rainfall of more than 50mm in the next 24 hours in Nairobi, Central, Western, Rift Valley, Nyanza and the Southeastern lowlands.

The advisory notes that the rain will reduce in intensity over the Eastern, Coastal and Northern regions but moderate rainfall will continue over the rest of the contry.

“The heavy rain is likely to continue on Friday 2nd March 2018 over counties in the South Coast, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Northern, Central, Nairobi and Southeastern lowlands, they said in an advisory.


Among areas of concern which include Kericho, Kisii, Bomet, Narok, Migori, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru, Kwale, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni and Taita Taveta.



The Met. Department is cautioning people residing in urban areas to be on the lookout of flashfloods.

“In dry riverbeds, moving water may suddenly appear. Soil erosion may occur in areas that have been dry and have bare soil,” continued the alert.

Kenyans are consequently advised to continue listening to the local media stations as updates will be if conditions change significantly.

“Further advisories will be issued as we follow up on the progress of this weather event,” they said.

PHOTO COURTESY.

With the numerous challenges facing the education sector in this country and especially in public institutions, parents are slowly seeking alternatives for their school going children.

The current curriculum, some argue, limits ability and potential of learners because it is geared towards passing exams rather than impacting life skills for the learners. And with the frequent teacher’s strikes, the issue of schooling has become a hot topic in many circles.

Home schooling is providing parents with the perfect opportunity for their children to get the education they need to become productive citizens and benefit their community.

Home schooling entails education of children in a home setup as opposed to schooling in a traditional public or private school. It is a customised and personalised teaching that is unique for individual development.

In Kenya, home schooling is recognised under the Alternative Education Policy which has provisions for non-formal education. In African traditional society, the concept of educating children at home was common. However, with colonisation and subsequent introduction of Western lifestyle and philosophy, the concept was lost.

How does home schooling work?

Each family decides on the curriculum they will use and the pace at which they will educate their children. Most of the tuition takes place in the family home around the child’s current commitments. Other families may choose to follow a formal school curriculum with guidance from a tutor(s) or an individual student may opt to study on their own (home-based) and book a summative examination once ready. 

Several home schooling groups may opt to form support systems called co-ops to support systems for parents pursuing similar goals. The co-ops occasionally get together and engage in activities that require a group setting such as field trips, sports and arts and crafts. In doing so, the home-schooled children acquire socialisation skills from being among their peers, while their parents enjoy being part of a network that encourages them.

Why this shift?

The main reason why the concept of home schooling is slowly gaining momentum in Kenya can be attributed to a number of reasons including a failing education system (8-4-4), wanting parental economic background, parental future educational plans, distance to and from school, past educational experiences of the child, child’s interests and temperament. Such reasons are likely to prompt parents to choose different educational methods, which represent a variety of educational philosophies and paradigms.

The programme endeavours to focus on curricula which nurtures the child’s natural skills and talents rather than bother them with subjects that don’t fit their interests.

Instead of grades as a measure of performance, tutors basically compile a portfolio which is a record that shows the learner’s achievements and milestones. It illustrates their talents and strengths, dreams and future ambitions.

Growth.

Contrary to what most people think, homeschooling continues to grow in popularity and now more families are working to graduate their students at various levels.

Currently, there are a number of home schooling platforms in Kenya that support parents and individual learners as they go through the home schooling programme. This form of tuition is very popular with foreigners and parents who wish to prepare their children for a new /different international education system.

Shortcomings.

Local public universities do not recognise this concept and parents whose children go through this system are forced to seek international schools that accept it. To overcome this, some students decide to sit the local national exams privately and then proceed to regular schooling at university.

As a parent, tremendous time and energy is required to prepare for the lessons thus they end up having less time or no time for themselves to engage in other activities.

The children are less exposed to the social life found in schools on a daily basis thus losing some social interaction with peers.

A section of Section 9 residents display placards resisting an attempt by sitting MCAs of grabbing the only children playground in the area. (INSET) An old notice board showing who manages the ground.

A storm is brewing between residents of Section 9 Estate and two area sitting MCAs over a piece of land set aside for a children's playground and recreational activities.

Speaking to the press on Monday morning, the residents expressed their disappointment with the two MCAs whom they accused of being behind the scheme to grab the land. They alleged that, about two or three weeks ago, the two leaders came in a company of several senior county government officials and performed what was assumed as surveying and collecting data on the ground.

Those who enquired what the visit was all about were rudely responded to by one of the MCAs who told them that the county government was in the process of ‘putting the idle piece of land into a better and more productive use’.

His attitude and rude response towards the residents elicited suspicion that it emanated from the fact that someone was interfering with their attempt to silently acquire the land for commercial purposes.

“As the custodians of public interests in this town, it is very unfortunate that those entrusted to safeguard public utilities are the first people to try and acquire them illegally,” said Abdi Nassir Ali Kabati, the son of the Late Ali Kabati who is a resident of Section 9.

“Ever since the two MCAs came to this ground a few weeks ago, strange people have been frequenting here and taking pictures of the ground. This is evidence enough that their visit was not up for no good,” he continued.

Abdi said that attempts to grab that parcel of land runs down several decades but were thwarted by the residents through his late father and the current Kiambu County Assembly Speaker MP Stephen Ndichu who was the then area MP.

Ali Kabati served as a councillor to the defunct Thika Municipal Councils for over four decades and was once its deputy mayor.

A senior resident Aboo Nurein reckoned that the ‘grabbing mania’ had now taken over this country where people grabbed even open space in total disregard to the general welfare of the public. He said that it was worse in Thika as there were numerous complaints across the constituency with residents complaining of the scourge especially with the current county assembly members.

“People are complaining all over the place. They have grabbed chunks of land in Majengo Estate and several other estates in Thika. The cry is all over,” he said.

He added that the same happened with the previous regime where the leaders grabbed and allocated a piece of land at Mortgage Estate which now is littered with kiosks and other businesses.

The residents have said that any move to grab the 1-acre land in will strongly be resisted. They called on Lands Ministry, the National Lands Commission, Kiambu County Government and the office of the area MP to reign in on the grabbers as the land was a public utility meant for their children.

They vowed to write a complaint letter to the relevant authorities and if need be, send a copy to the President’s office as well. 
A notice sign erected on the fence by the residents warning against any unauthorised encroachment of the piece of land in dispute.

“Our children no longer have anywhere to play leading them to hover and idle around the estates. This is one reason why our youth are being driven into drug abuse and we cannot entertain such kind of greed at the expense our future generation,” said Aboo.

Monica Wanjiku Muiru and David Muiru Kibinge have lived in Section 9 since 1970. They say that the land has been used as a children’s playground since time in memorial.

“In 1974, the then authorities allowed The Lions Club of Thika to rehabilitate and improve the ground. They fenced the ground, planted trees and put up basic necessities for children to play in. They have maintained the facility ever since,” explained Wanjiku.

Kibinge however says that it has been a challenge for the Lions Club and the residents to control thugs who have continuously vandalised the equipment within the ground, notwithstanding leaders who have on several occasions attempted to grab the land.

They have now vowed to fight to their last drop of land to safeguard the playground adding that they were in talks to have other basic facilities such as toilets and bathrooms be constructed so as to make the ground more useful.

The land in question is sitting on a very prime area whose value runs into hundreds of millions of shillings, probably the reason why it is making so many people to salivate.

Some tuktuk operators parking outside the Thika Police Station's gate on Monday in protest over the murder of their colleague.

It was business unusual on Monday morning in Thika town after tuktuk operators downed their tools to protest the murder of their colleague.

Up to a 100 tuktuks stormed Kiandutu AP Post and later sort audience with the Thika OCPD Willy Simba to demand better protection and seek justice for one of them who was struck with a blunt object as he waited for client to board his tuktuk on Sunday night.

Before heading to the police, the operators had attempted to arrest the suspect who was known to the residents, but their attempts were thwarted by some youth who repulsed them and threatened to get violent.

Cornered, the tuktuk operators retreated and went to the area AP camp where they demanded the arrest of the suspect who was still holed up in his hideouts.

With the help of some residents, the police smoked out the suspect simply known as Kinyua and frog matched him to the divisional headquarters.

According to them, the victim Kabiru aka Sagna, had gone to pick up a client in Kiandutu slums at around 9pm on Sunday.

As he waited for his client to board his tuktuk, some youth appeared from the dark and one of them hit him on the head with what appeared to be a huge stick, sending him sprawling on the ground instantly. His client plus another of his colleague rushed to assist but the attackers vanished into the dark alleys, living him at the mercy of fate.

They rushed him to Thika Level 5 Hospital but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries at around 1am Monday morning as he was about to be transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital.

His death elicited some anger among his colleagues who vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.

“The murderer is known as some people saw him hit Sagna on the head. He is a former convict who was recently released from Naivasha Maximum Prison on a similar assault case. He seems to be thirsty for blood and quite dangerous,” yelled one operator.

The operators said that they were fed up with being targeted and called on the police to increase patrols in Thika area. They admitted that they were scared on the streets especially while working at night, forcing them to avoid venturing into some estates, especially after 8pm due to insecurity. 

According to them, several operators have been victims of criminals posing as passengers but argued that the government was doing little to curb such incidents despite reporting these incidents to the police.

“For how long are we going to bury our own? It is unfair for innocent people to be killed and we have police officers who should be protecting us. These drivers are worried because they are out alone at all hours. All they want is an assurance they are safe at work,” said one of them.

Area OCPD Willy Simba appealed for calm and assured them that investigations in the matter were underway.

He asked members of the public to assist the police with the investigations.

The 17-year old victim narrating his predicaments to the press at the Thika Police Station.

Police in Thika are holding a 40-year-old woman for allegedly defiling a 17-year-old blind boy.

Catherine Syokau was arrested on Monday morning in Kiandutu slums following an outcry from residents living with disability.

According to the boy (name withheld), the suspect committed the offence about two weeks ago at his cubicle which neighbours hers.

“She sneaked into my room at around 1am, undressed and pinned me onto my bed, threatening to harm me if I dared raise alarm,” explained the boy.

He added that he kept this secret to himself for fear of reprisal until two days ago when he started developing some abdominal pains around his bladder as well as some itchiness as he passed urine. 

Out of fear for the worst, the boy confided to a neighbour who is a friend to his guardian who then notified her of his predicaments.

When pressed to explain, he admitted that the mother of four has been pursuing the boy ever since he came to his auntie in Kiandutu.

“She has been very social and friendly to me ever since I came here. But of late, she has been asking me to be her husband since she is lonely and needs someone to help her fend for her kids,” explained the victim.

The boy said that she has been persuading him to start begging in the streets as many of his blind colleagues do, that way, he will have money to cater for her needs and those of her children.

However, when asked, Syokau vehemently denied and termed this as a set up to have her arrested.

Jane Wanjiru Nyaga, one of the blind people who had accompanied the victim to the police station bitterly lamented the manner in which persons living with disabilities were treated by the society. She said that their children were segregated and treated with contempt by their neighbour in what she described as ‘the blind can do nothing’ attitude.
Some of the blind parents who had accompanied the victim to the police station in a show of solidarity.
“The contempt has been extended to our own children who have been segregated and discriminated upon just because they are born from blind parents. His case is not an isolated one for in the past, we have lost some of our colleagues from similar attacks that ended up being fatal.” Said Wanjiru.

Eunice Mwangi, a community health volunteer based in Kiandutu concurred with her and lamented the lack of support to persons living with disabilities whenever any one of them was in any form of trouble.

“People have always looked down on them whenever they come out to complain of some injustice against them. No one takes them seriously as they are considered a liability even by the authorities,” lamented Eunice.

Thika OCPD Willy Simba assured them that they will arraign the suspect in court once they were through with their investigations.

Township MCA Andrew Ndirangu Kimani addressing worshippers at the ACK Mugumo-ini Church Thika on Sunday where he pledged commitment to serving his people.

Thika Township MCA Andrew Ndirangu Kimani has assured of his commitment to serving the interests of the people who voted for him, pledging that he would not shirk his responsibility in ensuring the development of his ward.

Speaking on Sunday at ACK Mugumo-ini church Thika where he donated three LG 43” television sets to the church, the MCA hoped that before his first term in office ends in 2022, he would have brought some positive changes to the area and Thika in general.

“We have a responsibility to help our youth engage in decent and honest income generating ventures. I hope and pray that before 2022, thousands of youths in Thika will have started their own businesses in order to sustain their livelihoods,” said Andrew.

He called on the residents to always seize the opportunities that presented themselves from both the national and county governments, saying that this was one way of solving unemployment in the area.

The county legislator added that, as their representative, he would fight for improved basic infrastructure within the wards so as to ensure that every resident enjoyed living in a decent environment.

He said that he would continue working closely with both levels of government for the benefit of his electorate.

Some of the scenes at Kimuchu Health camp organised by The Thika Town Constituency health department over the weekend.

More than 2000 people in Kiganjo and adjoining estates within Thika West Sub-County on Saturday received free medical treatment that saw them checked and treated for various diseases.

The event, which was organised by the office of the Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina in partnership with other stakeholders, was held at the Kimuchu Primary School ground.

Long queues were witnessed leading into the school compound as the medical staff raced against time to attend to patients who had come to seek treatment for various ailments.

Patients were given deworming medication as they registered and thereafter taken for medical check-ups in various rooms where doctors were stationed. They were examined in the discipline of general medicine, pediatrics, eye (ophthalmology), diabetes detection and blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) as well as some dental checkups.

They were also given a free health talk on how to protect themselves from common ailments and lifestyle illnesses, voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and family planning, emergency action and care during accidents and fire outbreaks among others.

More than 20 patients were diagnosed for further treatment and were issued with referral letters to Thika Level 5 Hospital.

A post event discussion with the doctors revealed that the most common problem faced by the residents was respiratory tract infections and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

Speaking on this very important initiative, Wainaina acknowledged good health as central to economic progress as healthy populations were more productive and saved more.

He added that he decided to organise the camp after realising that majority of the people could not afford the cost of medical procedures or access to them due to the cost implications.

“We have received so many old people with a number of illnesses who could not make it to hospital just because they cannot afford to pay for health treatment. Conducting such a health camp is of utmost use to them. We want to ensure we have a healthy society for people to successfully contribute towards economic growth,” said the MP.

Wainaina promised to endeavour to provide necessary medical attention to the needy sections of society and help make their lives easier.

“We are planning to extend this activity to other regions as well. Such camps increase awareness of the people’s medical condition and if need be, help them take necessary medical steps,” explained Wainaina.

He urged residents to take charge of their health and go for frequent checkups, adding that one’s first prevention was awareness.

Locals who benefited in the exercise praised the medical camp and their MP for taking initiative in ensuring their health was well taken care of. Other than medical checkup, they were sensitised on drug and substance abuse, emergency care and fire rescue drills.

Among those partnering with the office of the area MP to make the camp a success included, doctors from Thika Level 5 Hospital, Meridian Medical Centre and Annam’s Dental care, Huduma Centre, Red Cross Thika Branch, Lil Magic Foundation and Thika International Centre Of Technology (ICT).

Present in the camp was the area security and administrative agencies led by the Thika Municipality Assistant County Commissioner Mugambi Itobi.  

Doctors at the Thika Level 5 Hospital attending to one of the patients in one of the isolation wards set aside for the Nyaga cholera victims.  

Two people have died and more than 50 others treated in various hospitals in Kiambu and Murang’a counties following a suspected Cholera outbreak at Nyaga Village, Kihumbu-ini Location in Gatanga, Murang’a County.

The two are believed to have succumbed due to continued vomiting and diarrhea, one of them while on his way to hospital, as the other one was receiving treatment in Thika Level 5 Hospital.

County Executive Member for Health Dr. Joseph Ng’ang’a Murega said 14 patients admitted in the hospital have been isolated to prevent spreading of cholera to other patients.

“We have set the samples to our labs so as to ascertain exactly what the cause of the outbreak is. We have also isolated the patients to avoid more infections,” said Dr. Murega.

The CEC added that they were working hand in hand with their counterparts in Murang’a to ensure that the disease was contained at the source.

While visiting the patients at the hospital, Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati Ngugi assured the residents of the area that both the national and the county governments would all things possible to ensure normalcy was restored and they would also assist the victims in clearing of the hospital bills and in burial arrangements.

“We are also looking into the problem of water in Kihumbu-ini Location and very soon we will sink several boreholes to supplement the available water supply network,” said the MP.

According to the victims we talked to, it was suspected that they consumed contaminated water from Gathwariga River where the residents draw their water. They said that all those affected had consumed water from this source.

“This water has been so contaminated. Those living upstream wash their clothes, bathe and even wash cars and motorbikes from this river. This water flow downstream and is consumed by people around Nyaga area,” said John Ndung’u Mwangi whose mother, father, nephew and two of his in-laws are admitted for vomiting and diarrhea at Thika Level 5 Hospital.

There are those who suspect that the problem emanated from those who are currently constructing the Gatanga-Nyaga road for contaminating the river water while drawing water with their machines.

Kiambu CEC for Health Dr. Joseph Ng’ang’a Murega (centre) during a media briefing on Sunday afternoon. With him is his Chief officer Dr. Joshua Toro (right) and Thika Level 5 Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Patrick Nyaga.
“The water they are drawing from the river is being distributed to these people at Nyaga trading centre using their tankers after the main water pipes were damaged during the construction,” said one resident.

Another resident suspect that the water was contaminated after one of the resident killed and dumped a neighbour’s dog into the river about two weeks ago.

“This problem did not start today. The first batch of patients was brought to Thika Level Five Hospital two weeks ago with similar symptoms,” he added.

Murang’a County Health Department has set up a screening center at the Kiunyu Health Centre to prevent more referrals and contain the situation.

By the time of going to press, more victims were being brought to Thika Level 5 Hospital and we expect the number to rise as more people are referred to the facility.


Thika Police on Friday seized bhang with an estimated street value of Sh. 300,000 from a rental house in Biafra Estate following a hint by residents.

The bhang that was in over six bags was found in a single-room house with some already rolled like cigarettes ready for sale.

Confirming the incident Thika OCPD Willy Simba said that they had established that the drug had been sourced from a neighboring country which he declined to reveal.

The OCPD said they had leads that will lead to the arrest of the owner of the consignment.

“A member of the public volunteered to help the officers trace the house where the bhang had been stored. Unfortunately, the suspect managed to escape our dragnet but we will surely get him,” said Simba.

He added that they had notified border patrol officers of the matter and they shall be on the lookout to avert further smuggling of this drug into the country.

While thanking members of the public for volunteering information to the police, the OCPD said that his officers will intensify patrols in order to curb crime in the area.

For the last few weeks, officers from Thika police station have nabbed quite some amount of bhang as its being transported from one place to another including along the Thika superhighway.

Drug peddlers are said to disguise the drugs as common food while transporting them in motorbikes.

Maendeleo Chap Chap Party leader Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua and the August 2017 MCCP candidate for the Embu gubernatorial seat Lenny Kivuti.


Machakos Governor, Dr. Alfred Mutua's Maendeleo Chap Chap Party (MCCP) on Thursday received a major boost in Embu after its gubernatorial candidate successfully petitioned against the election of Governor Martin Wambora. 

High Court Judge William Musyoka nullified Wambora’s August 2017 win on the grounds that there existed massive irregularities that compromised the integrity of the whole process.

The MCCP candidate in the race was Lenny Kivuti. 

The court further ordered IEBC to pay Kivuti sh. 2 million and Wambora sh. 1million. 

This follows another case in a Narok court where a MCCP MCA Sialo Natanya Tasur was awarded the county assembly nomination slot that had been given to a KANU candidate Anne Potisho Kapasar.

Deputy registrar Wilbroda Juma said MCCP was entitled to one nomination seat of the 13 available going by their performance in the August polls. 

A fortnight ago, Governor Mutua emerged victorious after the high court dismissed a petition filed against him by Wavinya Ndeti. Buoyed by his court victory, Mutua has now strengthened his resolve to contest the presidency in 2022.

The governor has also consolidated his support by wooing Wiper members in the Machakos County assembly who have promised to closely work with him to spur growth in the county and roll back poverty ahead of completing his second term and taking a stab at the highest office in the land.

Since his entry of into elective politics, Governor Mutua has done a lot that the people of Ukambani especially those from Machakos County appreciate.

The contributions in terms of development he has done to the people of Machakos such as construction of roads, creation of more job opportunities to the youth and drilling of boreholes to reduce the scarcity of water in the region.

All this developments and many others have earned him a great name in the region.

On several diverse occasions, sections of Ukambani leaders have announced their support for the Machakos governor to become the region’s political torchbearer.

In the latest episode, the decision by NASA co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka to skip Raila Odinga's swearing-in angered some influential groups in his Ukambani backyard with representatives of the Ukambani national youth council expressing their disappointment at Kalonzo. The council declared ‘a shift of political allegiance’ to Governor Mutua.


2018 KCPE Candidates from Gatumaini Primary School-Thika comparing notes during the launch of the Alumni Mentorship project at their school.
Close to 180 Grade 8 pupils from Gatumaini Primary School -Thika are set to benefit from a Mentorship Initiative organised by former pupils. 

The eight sessions mentorship programme are aimed at imparting soft skills such as personal branding among the candidates under the theme: nurturing holistic citizens who can give back to society

Speaking to Thika Town Today project Public Relations and Liaison Officer Mr Paul Dalizu said “We have realized that these pupils have great potential as they prepare for their national examinations, there is a lot that we have in store for them to make sure that we encourage these young minds, and what better way for us former pupils of this great school to come back and help out,”.

 Lauding the initiative Gatumaini Primary School Deputy Head teacher Mrs Margaret Maruri said, "We have seen significant improvement with the 2017 KCPE candidates for the first time in many years we had the leading candidate who was a boy. Parents are beginning to appreciate the efforts of these mentorship sessions and they have assured us of their support even in 2018."

The alumni have committed their time at least once a month during the weekends. Each mentor has been assigned a group of pupils who they mentor all the way to the exam day. 

There are ground rules however: the pupils must keep time and maintain discipline during the sessions between mentors and them.


The next Mentorship Project will take place on Saturday 24th March 2018 at the school's main hall.

Mepa Punja Shah during the opening ceremony of their new construction in 1957.
At the beginning of the last century, the first people of Asian descent started migrating from India to Kenya in dhows.  By then, Thika was a main centre after embarking at Mombasa.

The earliest to settle in Thika – Shah Meghji Ladha and Meghji Kanji – coming to the area in 1910.
Later some more Indians settled in Thika, near the present day Blind School, with others settling in Makindi which was about 7 kilometres away.

They lived in wooden and iron sheet houses and used water for their domestic use from the nearby Chania River. There was no electricity until 1924 and Thika Water Works also started thereafter.

They had a passion for business in their blood and soon started small scale businesses after the First World War. In the old clock tower still planted at the roundabout (Githaa-ini) on Kwame Nkrumah Road, stood provisional and agricultural stores.

They later built shops and homes out of iron sheets. The first shop in old town was started by Jamal Hirji Ojami in 1914.

Towards the end of the 19th century, outsiders began to settle in this outpost as a convenient resting spot between Nairobi and the upcountry highlands for British settlers.

Majority of the settlers who came to the area were of British aristocracy, of British English Anglo-origin. By 1913, it was already a favourite camp for big-game hunters and beyond it there was only bush and plain.

Other whites came to Thika shortly after that and started coffee plantations.

By 1933, the Asian population had grown to nearly 280. Premchand Vrajpar, Meghji Kanji, Ladha Khimji, Vershi Mepa, Meghji Lakhamshi, Hemraj Ladha and others got together and formed the Oshwal community.

With this, Shree Visa Oshwal Jain Gnati Mandal was established in 1934 and the name was later changed to Shree Visa Oshwal Gnati.

They approached the then Town Advisory Board for land to build their own community hall. The Board agreed to give one acre of land in the name of ‘Jain Church Committee’.

(Related story: THE HISTORY OF THIKA TOWN)

On 18th February 1935, Hemraj Ladha laid the foundation stone for the buildings.
Education at that time was at the Government Indian Primary School (now Gatumaini Primary School) and for higher education, Oshwals had to go to Nairobi where they stayed at the Oshwal boarding.

Most of these Oshwals were in small retail businesses including garment manufacturing, but others were more enterprising and ventured into industry.

In 1934, Meghji Pethraj, Premchand Vrajpar and Hemraj Nathoo formed the ‘Kenya Tanning Extract Co. Ltd’, the first factory in East Africa owned by Oshwals.

Bark from trees like Mimosa was extracted and exported as solid wattle extract to 25 Countries in the World. This was a very prosperous venture. Later, Kethshi Nathoo joined this factory in 1945 and stayed on for 28 years until the factory was sold to local Africans in 1973.

Shree Jain Youth League was established on 1st April 1941 under Shree Visa Oshwal Gnati. Its first chairman was Devshi Mepa Shah who continued until his demise in 1960.

He was awarded the M.B.E by the Queen of England in recognition of his social and charitable work. His secretary, Shree Keshavlal Ladha Bid, was presented with a gold medal for his selfless and dedicated service. He was instrumental in spearheading the Shree Jain Youth League lottery scheme to raise funds.
Most of the Oshwals were in small retail businesses including garment manufacturing, but others were more enterprising and ventured into industry.

By 1941, more than 100 businesses within Thika, ranging from wholesale produce shops to retail shops dealing in household goods, textiles, hardware, restaurants, cinema hall, food stuff and groceries, were owned by Oshwals.

The only entertainment at that time was to play cards or chopat (board game played with shells), which was mainly played outside the shop verandas.
In 1947, Hindi Mahila Mandal was inaugurated by Thika Gnati to bring together our Oshwal ladies and other Hindu ladies.

During the 1950s, Bhagwanji & Co. purchased Nath Brothers (a textile mill) in Thika. After a few years the name of Nath brothers was changed to Thika Cloth Mills Limited.

During this time, though Kenya was under the British colony, a lot of political activity was taking place with the Mau Mau revolution and emergency being declared. Thika, being the epi-centre of political activity in central province, Oshwals had to be very careful in their day-to-day activities and their relations with both the local African and British rulers.

By the time Kenya gained its independence on 12th December 1963, the Oshwal population had reached about 1,000 people. All Jain and Hindu religious functions were held with both communities together supporting each other.

Between 1968 and 1972, most Oshwals closed down shop and migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) for fear of a backlash after the Kenyan government started introducing Kenyanisation in businesses owned by Asians of British origin.

However, from 1978, other Oshwal industries started, mainly in baking, wheat and maize flour milling, sweet factories, vegetable oil factories, etc. Today Thika Oshwals own some of the biggest industries in Kenya.

In 1980, the Thika Shree Visa Oshwal Community held the first Shah Free Eye Camp. Due to the tax exemption status of Shree Jain Youth League, it was agreed to revive it and since then, all the preceding Eye and ENT Camps have been held under the banner of Shree Jain Youth League.

The Shah Free Eye and ENT Camps have been the biggest medical camps outside India. For the last 30 years Thika’s Oshwal, Dr. S.K. Savla from Bombay, has been giving his voluntary service as the team leader of all the doctors from India. Thousands of poor Kenyans with sight and sound ailments have benefited from this great humanitarian work.

(Info courtesy of Thika Oshwals website.)

From a complete make over for Sammy and Virginia to a flight to Mombasa.

To many women in Kenya, a good salary and owning a home is just but the minimum standard criteria that most men must meet for women to be interested. This was however not the case for Virginia Njeri who fell in love with Sammy Githae, popularly known as Blackie.

Sammy & Virginia met two years ago at Central Park which they eventually made their matrimonial “home”. Blackie, who has been on the streets since 2012, was forced out of his home while in Standard Four because he was the “black sheep” of the family while Njeri was left an orphan. She abandoned school in Form One.

Sammy has a driving licence and hopes that one day he might land a driver’s job. On the other hand, Virginia wishes to pursue a career in catering, a dream that lights up her “hubby’s” face.

The couple are street ‘kids’ whose resolve to hold on to love was inspiring, not even the pangs of poverty or uncertain future deterred their zeal to do life together. After some interactions with the couple, Muchiri realised that beneath all the dirt, tattered clothes and slurred speeches there lies beautiful individuals who would thrive like the rest of us if we offered them the opportunities. Love doesn’t discriminate.

This Valentine’s Day, one photographer, Muchiri Frames decided to do something different. They decided to give the two love birds whose desire to be together defies all odds, a Valentine’s gift of a lifetime.

Pictures from the photo-shoot after Muchiri treated the couple to some complete makeover including their meal on Valentine’s Day at a top restaurant went viral on social media touching many Kenyans who have offered to assist.

Yesterday, Bonfire Adventures and Events rewarded the two lovebirds with a fully paid 3-days flying package to Diani in a 4-Star Hotel on an all-inclusive meal plan. They will be accompanied by their best friend plus Muchiri.

After holiday Bonfire Adventures will pay their rent for 5 months, including their friend to kick start their life off the streets.

For now, both the couple is being housed by one of Muchiri’s friends as they thrash out details of the help from well-wishers.

Jane Wangari (centre) addressing the press where they threw their weight behind Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria's bill on hawkers.

A section of hawkers who ply their trade in Thika Town have supported the proposed bill to the National Assembly by Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria seeking to protect informal traders terming it a move in the right direction.

Speaking to the press during a press briefing, the hawkers said that the bill was long overdue as they have over the years suffered a lot for lack of a comprehensive programme to accommodate them.

“We are basically ignored by the authorities when it comes to planning. This has led to many of us to fall prey to county askaris who take advantage of the confusion to fleece us and confiscate our merchandise causing us huge losses,” said Jane Wangari who vends eggs and sausages.

She reckons that hawkers are an integral part of urban economies and a source of livelihood to very many youth and women.

Wangari appealed to legislators in the current Parliament to support the bill as this will help the authorities to come up with the right modalities to not only regulate vendors, but also identify specific areas for hawking with no restriction. 

“The hawking menace can never be solved through hunting us like criminals but through an organised stature across the country where we get facilitated to work and also generate income for county governments through the payment of trade licences,” suggested Kelvin Mwaura.

Mwaura also suggested that hawkers be given identity cards and a regulatory environment be created for their activities.

“In my opinion, this bill should come up with modalities to identify areas for hawking with no restriction or areas with restriction in regard to day, time and area which would be marked as no-vending zones as previously implemented in Nairobi City,” Mwaura added.

In regard to allocation of space, Mwaura proposed that county governments should be guided on how to regulate allocation of space based on proximity to potential clients.

“The county government can secure some land within the proximity of the CBD which is easily accessible and near majority of the residents. To match the number of applications with the number of spaces available, the county government can construct a storey market so as to accommodate as many of us as possible,” said Mwaura.

Caroline Wangui, a fruits vendor, narrated some of the tribulations they undergo in the pursuit of their daily bread. She says that the hawking business had been turned to a cat and mouse game where one had to live with if they wanted to survive.

“Each time they arrest you, you get fined between sh. 500 and 1000, which at times is equivalent to the total cost of the goods in question. This means that you end up opting to let go of your goods as it makes no sense following them,” she says.

Governor Wa Iria said last week that he plans to sponsor Hawkers Bill in Parliament to protect informal traders arguing that they were major economy drivers.

Wa Iria argued that micro Economic intervention empowered the grassroots. He pointed out that most urban spaces were not designed to empower people or provide vibrant places where opportunities for small entrepreneurs and informal activities (hawkers) could trade and manufacture at viable locations.

To solve some of the biggest challenges facing urban centres in Kenya, the governor suggested that authorities needed to tackle the issues of unemployment through the provision of viable areas for self-employment opportunities as well as improving the quality, standard of living and infrastructure.

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