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Two boys aged 13 years and 5 years last night (Friday 23rd October) perished at Gachagi Slum in Thika when the house they were in caught fire at around 11pm.

According to those living nearby, the mother, who is an alcoholic, had locked the two boys from outside before leaving for a drinking spree. 

It is suspected that a candle that was left on as the two children went to bed may have been the cause of the fire.

The neighbours say that by the time they realised that the house was on fire it was too late to save the kids. 

Both of them seemed to have suffocated to death as they attempted to break out of the locked door before being consumed by the fire.

By the time neighbours traced the mother, she was too drunk to comprehend what had transpired.

The bodies of the deceased have been taken to General Kago Road Funeral Home.



Following complaints from by traders operating within Thika Central Business District (CBD) over various issues affecting them, Kiambu County Government through the Thika Sub-County office, has come up with a raft of measures to address their grievances and create an enabling environment to doing business.

In a meeting chaired by the Sub-county Admin David Ng'ang'a Nyoroku and attended by officials of the Thika District Business Association (TDBA), the traders complained that the County government had ambushed them when serving them with court bonds for late payment of business licences. They also complained about the issue of hawkers whom they accused of killing their businesses through unfair competition.

Among the traders grievances included:

- The traders wanted the county government to offer them some grace period to raise the licence fees since they had just resumed business after the COVID-19 pandemic.

- They accused the hawkers of creating an unhealthy competition since they sold the same product with the hawkers who were not paying any fees. This accorded the hawkers an unfair advantage that allowed them to sell their wares at a cheaper price, forcing some of these traders out of business. 

- The hawkers had a tendency of blocking their shops and completely interfering with their businesses even as early as morning hours.

Having listened to these grievances, the sub-county admin directed his officers to conduct business in a very humane way. He however notified the traders that despite these hard conditions, it was mandatory to pay business licences as this was the money the devolved government used to offer the services they needed.

He noted that out of the 5,000 traders who had not cleared their licences on time, 4,000 had already done so during the grace period and it was only about 1,000 traders who were yet to pay for their licences.

It was therefore agreed that the remaining lot to pay their licences by the end of this month failure to which, the county government would not hesitate to take legal action against any of the defaulters.

The following were the resolutions that were agreed upon;

- Anyone who has not paid for the 2020 business licence has up to October 30th 2020 to clear their debts.

- The County Government of Kiambu has waived all penalties for late payment of business licences.

- In case any trader has a challenge clearing their licence fee, they can visit the Sub-County Finance Officer, make a formal request and agree on a payment schedule to clear their dues.

- Pending a lasting solution to the issue of hawkers, NO hawker will be allowed to display their merchandise for sale before 5pm everyday.

- No hawker will be allowed to display their merchandise in front of an open shop, block pedestrian walkways or display them on the tarmac where vehicles pass. They should always leave a gap between themselves and the shops and also leave enough space to allow human traffic. If they find all the designated spaces occupied, they will have to go home and try their luck the following day.

- Any hawker who will breach any of these rules will have his/her merchandise seized without notice.

- All structures that are being illegally put up on pedestrian walkways and in front of other shops within the CBD will be impounded.

- Old structures that have been operating before but have slowly encroached on the pedestrian walkways must shift backwards to where they were originally allocated. Any structure found blocking the road or pedestrian walkway will be impounded.

- Structures that have blocked the entrances to other shops must be redesigned to their original allocation to allow free movement into the affected shops.

- Bodabodas, tuktuks and bicycle operators found blocking the road or pedestrian walkways will be impounded.

- Matatus and other PSVs found occupying more than their allocated parking space will be impounded.

Present at the meeting included Thika Sub-County officers in-charge of finance, administration and enforcement. Others were TDBA officials led by the Chairman Alfred Wanyoike.



Residents of Gatuanyaga Location in Thika East Sub-County on Wednesday could not hide their joy after the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) kick-started the process to upgrade Gatuanyaga Ringroad into bitumen standards.

The first ever stretch of tarmac in the area and in extension Thika East, will cover 24 kilometres, stretching from Muguga-Ngurai-Munyu-Githima-Kang'oki-Kisii and back to the Thika-Garissa Highway.

The residents were ecstatic because they said they felt successive governments had marginalised the area for decades by failing to develop its infrastructure.

While speaking during a stakeholders consultation meeting organised by KURA to collect views and opinions from the members of the public, area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina expressed his joy that years of lobbying for the road had eventually paid off.

He thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for allocating KES. 1 billion for the project.

“This is a milestone project. The people of Gatuanyaga have suffered since independence especially during rainy season. It is a blessing to my electorates and we expect the economic viability of the area to shoot threefold,” said Wainaina.

He added that the road construction works would start in November 2020 to take up to 30 months to complete.

This is a Class B road whose construction is able to withstand heavy trucks for the next 20 years. It will be 6.5 metres wide with provision for pedestrian walkways and a lane for the cyclists. I have also promised the residents that I will source for street lights once the project is complete, explained the MP.

(Related story: Thika to benefit from KES. 1.7 billion worth of road infrastructure)

He requested anyone that might have encroached on the road corridor to vacate otherwise the government would demolish their houses to pave way for the construction.

Wainaina also appealed to the contractor, Interways Contractors, to ensure they gave job opportunities to the local youth and ensure they did some quality work.

The tarmacking of this road is among projects being implemented by the national government through the Kenya Urban Roads Authority in Thika Town Constituency. The government has also set aside KES. 700 million for the maintenance of the Thika Town CBD roads which will also happen over the same period.

Broadway Group of Companies Managing Director (MD) Bimal Shah

Kenya observes Mashujaa Day today, Tuesday 20th October 2020. Mashujaa is Swahili for ‘Heroes’ thus Mashujaa Day is simply the Swahili version of Heroes’ Day. 

Previously before the adoption of the 2010 constitution, the Day was celebrated as Kenyatta Day, named after Jomo Kenyatta, who was first Prime Minister and then President of Kenya. Kenyatta was a prominent campaigner for the independence of Kenya from British rule.

It is a public holiday to honour all Kenyans who have contributed towards the struggle for Kenya’s independence. The day is typically commemorated to celebrate past and present heroes who have contributed, those who have sacrificed greed, selfishness, personal comfort and advancement at the altar of the greater good of the general public and the nation at large.

Kenya has so many of such heroes and Thika to has not lagged behind in bringing up such Mashujaas.

One such Shujaa is Broadway Group of Companies Managing Director (MD) Bimal Shah and the man who has held the company's mantle since the demise of his father who founded the company.

Broadway is a household name within the region, both in business and community service. Located in the heart of the Industrial Area of Thika, the company has been in operation since 1958

Bimal Shah was born in Thika over 70 years ago and has lived in the town all his life. He is an alumni of Gatumaini Primary School and Chania High School.

For over five decades, the Broadway Group which constitute of Broadway Bakery, Bakex Millers and Capwell Industries Ltd. have always been assisting needy and vulnerable persons residing in Thika with food rations, education scholarships and other humanitarian aids. 

BROADWAY HIGH SCHOOL

The Broadway family has assisted in building Broadway High School, a public secondary school at the heart of the sprawling Kiandutu slums that is supported by the family as  development partners.  

So far, they have built tuition blocks, laboratories and a modern library block, geared towards enhancing teaching standards in the school. They are currently constructing 24 wash basins at a cost of KES. 500,000 to assist the government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

They also plan to set up 4 more classrooms to assist students maintain the recommended social distance during lessons.

The current student population at Broadway High School is now 1000. 

The company also sponsors bright students for university education once having completed their high school.

Four of their scholars are already working at the company after completing university studies. Several others have been employed in various fields both in government and in the private sector.

Every December, they accommodate Form 3 and 4 students to work in their company as a way to instill the working culture and also assist them raise some money for their own use in school and at home.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

However, at no other given time has the Broadway Group come out so evidently to assist than during the 9 months the country grappled with the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the President Uhuru Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans of goodwill to come out and assist fellow Kenyans affected by the pandemic, the Broadway family set aside KES. 25 million for the mission to be shared between the national and county governments.

Out of this, they gave Kiambu County Government KES. 5 million towards the county Rapid COVID-19 Response programme as well as 1,000 bales of maize flour to feed about 6,000 families.

They also donated another 9,000 bales of maize flour to 18 other counties across the country, each getting 500 bales to feed 3,000 families each.

ADOPT-A-VILLAGE

Later, the Broadway family joined in the Kiambu County Government initiative dubbed "Adopt-A-Village, Feed A Family" where they adopted 200 needy and vulnerable families within Thika West Sub-County to feed them for the next 3 months from July 2020 to October 2020.

The Visa Oshwal Community then joined in and adopted another 300 families for the same period.

Each family received 32kg of food ration per month which basically included all the food necessities. 

The company has also been feeding about 100 families whose breadwinners have been living with terminal diseases.

The family insists that in case the COVID-19 situation does not improve, they are ready to continue assisting these families and others who might find themselves in need of food assistance.

However, Bimal insists that food donations might not be a sustainable solution to the people's problems and thus says that they are ready as a family and as a business community, to assist the County Government of Kiambu to buy fertilizers and seeds that can be distributed to 3,500 people to plant in their own home gardens and farms.

ASSISTING IN HEALTH SERVICES

The company also supports a number of other medical, environmental and social support programmes in the country. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broadway Group donated 100 beds and mattresses worth KES. 1.5 million to Wangige Hospital in Kiambu County.

BROADWAY GROUP

Broadway Group of Companies (Broadway, Bakex and Capwell) have directly employed  850 employees. 

Bimal says that none of them was laid off during this hard COVID-19 period.

BIMAL'S PARTING SHOT

Bimal insists that money is not everything in business. He calls upon other businesspersons to work to improve the lives of the people around them and those who give them business.

He also advises Thika residents to keep off retrogressive politics that only end up ruining their lives.

"Politics come and go but we all have a life to live. As residents of Thika, we should desist from politicians out to cause conflict among the people. Politicians should help to improve the lives of the people they lead. Too much politics only ruins the lives of the people. Let's all think about how we can grow our agricultural and industrial sectors," he says.



The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), in partnership with Takataka Ni Mali and Kiambu County, through the Directorate of Environment and Waste management, on Friday launched a waste sorting and segregation pilot programme in Thika Sub-County.

The programme is aimed at enlightening stakeholders, business community, private garbage collectors and the community at large, about the advantages of waste sorting and segregation as well as proper disposal for recycling and value-addition to waste, thus creating employment.

The county received 50 sorting bins from KAM and Takataka Ni Mali which shall be placed in the Sub-Counties.

The directorate encouraged the community to form Waste Sorting and Segregation groups who shall be supported by various partners and the county as well. They were informed of the importance of making it as easy as possible for your people to correctly segregate their waste through proper labelling and making it clear why segregation was so important. 

They were encouraged to Create recycling chains which involved collection, sorting and separation, washing and shredding among other processes all which required manpower translating to job creation/employment.

Over 50 stake holders were trained on this initiative.

Waste Segregation is the first step in a compliant waste management plan that will help the environment and also help make money out of recycling and value addition. For many business, the most common form of segregation is separating out recyclable waste such as paper, plastic and glass from landfill and compostable waste. 

The inclusion of other types of waste in recycling containers causes several problems, all stemming from the fact that contamination reduces the quality of recycled paper and plastic products.

Post-collection segregation takes longer, costs more and can wind up harming the environment if it leads to recyclable waste being sent to landfill. The simplest way to solve this problem is to solve it before it starts by practising proper on-site segregation of waste. Clearly-marked containers for different kinds of waste and well-understood recycling procedures can save space, time, money and effort in recycling your business’s waste products. 

The Chief Guest was the CECM Environment Water Natural Resources and Climate Change David Kuria accompanied by Director Environment Patrick Theuri, Kenya Association of Manufacturers Central Chapter Chairman Maina Ruo, Deputy Head Policy Research and Advocacy KAM Miriam Bomet, Taka Taka ni Mali CEO Eliazer Mabwai, Maureen Kwamboka - Nema , County Assembly Environment Chairman Lawrence Kariuk,MCA Kamenu Ward and other Environment officers.

 


BY: JUMA HEMEDI
14/10/2020

A few weeks ago I joined some of my fitness friends on a 22 KM endurance walk through the Del-Monte pineapple farm. We were admiring the Road tarmacking works that were on progress on the road from BAT Thika, through Del Monte factory and farm and linking the Thika-Nyeri highway at the Del Monte shop near Blue post hotel. The talk suddenly moved to global and local politics and how voters make their choices.

There have been elections campaigns and In the next few weeks the United States will be going to an election to choose its next President or give the current one another term of 4 years. The two political sides of democrats and Republicans have engaged each other on key issues that are at the heart of the American voters, among them;

1. Healthcare

2. Climate change

3. Economy and taxes

4. Trade and tariffs

5. Gun controls

6. Immigration

7. Child care

8. Foreign policy and the Iran agenda

9. College and student debts

Each candidate has addressed themselves and given their thoughts and pledges on these items. This is the list of items that forms a score card or social contract for each candidate should they win, based on the promises they make during the campaigns. Of course the USA has been experimenting their democracy for over 200 years. These experiments have resulted in some level of political maturity and a sense of common purpose.

The USA is not alone. Sometime back I visited one of the Scandinavian countries at a time of their election. Nothing was of notice that the country was going through an election, apart from TV debates and a small line of about ten people I saw at a mall, and a few volunteers dishing out fliers. I inquired from my host and was told that the small line was people who were voting early. 

In a mall? You can imagine my shock. No police, no commotion, no noise, no insults, no gatherings. Every one queuing there knew what they wanted, who they were voting for and why. And they had complete faith in the electoral system.

I quietly thought to myself. When will my beloved Kenya get here?

In an article titled: Kenya’s Election 2017; unique concerns for a unique country, by Douglas L. Kivoi and Steven Nduvi dated 4th August 2017 and published on the Brooking's institution website, brookings.edu the following were some of the issues that formed the National debate in the presidential election in 2017 in Kenya;

1. Whether august 8th would be the voting date

2. When to appoint a new team of commissioners at IEBC to take office with enough time to prepare for the elections

3. Issues over the role of IEBC in tallying and announcing presidential votes

4. Disagreement over the procurement and printing of presidential ballot papers

5. Auditing of voter register to remove deceased voters

6. Questions regarding the provisions for resignation of civil servants running for office

None of these issues had anything to do with the Kenyan voter and frankly speaking Kenyans didn’t ask for anything from their aspirants. There was no question on education, water, Environment, Health, peace and security, food security and Agriculture, and quality representation. And because we didn’t say or knew what we wanted, we therefore shouldn’t complain over what we got.

Our collective sense of complaining has become like a career, in fact it should now be taught in colleges and universities. We make an emotional decision on the ballot then we complain for five years. Then we repeat the mistake again with someone else then we complain for another five years over the decision we made. Should we even be allowed to vote?

We must remember that it is not just a ballot we are casting for someone or a political party during elections. On that ballot there is the Education for your children and whether they will have access to it…, there is water for your community and whether it will be available to you…., your health is on the ballot…, your security is on the ballot….., your environment and its protection is on the ballot…, your quality representation is on the ballot…., your food, taxes and your economy is on the ballot.

Perhaps we should take time to find out what exactly it is we want for ourselves. Then we should take time to interrogate those that are seeking to represent us. But if we know what we want, I’m sure we will know who can deliver it for our collective purpose.

Juma hemedi

A photo of Kwame Nkrumah Street Thika whose traders were singled out as the most notorious in noise pollution.  

Following numerous complaints by residents and traders about too much noise pollution especially within the Thika Central Business District (CBD), Kiambu County Government (KCG), through the Department of  Water, Environment & Natural Resources, has set a raft of measures to control noises emitted by business premises, churches and clubs.

In a stakeholders' meeting chaired by the Director of Environment  Mr. Patrick Theuri, it was resolved that all traders must regulate the level of noise they produced and none should exceed the maximum decibels (dB) allowed by law and for commercial areas, the decibels should not exceed 45dB.

The meeting singled out Kwame Nkrumah Street as the most notorious in noise pollution with the players involved disregarding the rights of neighbouring businesses affected by the noises they produced. There was also the concern of those using such promotions of blocking the road, other people's business premises and also overlapping other people's reserved parking without their consent.

Theuri clarified that the issuance of noise pollution permits was not an automatic licence to infringe on the rights of others, thus could be revoked any time if the beneficiaries were found to have abused these privileges.

He said that a survey conducted by his officers last week revealed that 53% of those who played the loud noises did that illegally as none had applied for the same. The director noted that this practice denied the county government of over KES. 80,000 in revenue daily, translating to about KES. 30 million annually.

He added that even though they were not about to curtail the rights to advertise and conduct business promotions, his office would henceforth regulate the licencing of noise pollution to restore order within the town and promote a conducive business environment.

Among the resolutions passed during this stakeholders meeting include:-

- All noise permits will henceforth be issued by only authorised officers from the Department of  Water, Environment & Natural Resources

- All environment officers should wear their job identification cards at all times when on  duty to avoid masqueraders calling themselves environment officers and going round harassing the traders.

- All noise pollution permits MUST be displayed in the premises licensed for to avoid transfer of the same to other people.

- The Department of Environment will conduct a sensitisation forum for all players in order to craft a road map on the way forward. The dates, venue and time will be communicated to traders beforehand.

- The Director of Environment will discuss the issue of promotions with the Planning Department and other relevant departments within the sub-county to avoid conflicts at work.

- Traders and residents can air their complaints directly through the office of the Director of Environment in case of infringements of their rights or harassment by any officer purporting to enforce the law on noise pollution.

Those present included officers from the sub-county environment office, officials of the Thika District Business Association (TDBA) led by the chairman Alfred Wanyoike and senior officials from Safaricom PLC.


Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya on Friday told farmers from tea growing areas of Kiambu that the government has prepared a raft of reforms in the sector that were aimed at benefiting the farmers.

While speaking at Ndiko primary School, Gatundu North, during a sensitisation exercise attended by hundreds of small holder tea farmers from Kagwe, Kambaa, Theta, Ndarugu, Gachege and Mataara tea factories, Munya said that the tea sector reforms would ultimately lead to increase of money in the pocket of the farmer.

The reforms which follows the directives given by President Uhuru Kenyatta seek to place tea farmers, the primary stakeholders in the tea value chain, at the center; ensuring that they get a fair share from their contribution to the value chain.

In summary, the government has set out to implement the following reforms:

⮚ Reduce the managing agency fee levied on the factories from 2.5% to 1.5%

⮚ Requiring managing agents to bear the costs for staff seconded to the tea factories

⮚ Smallholder tea factories to appoint own company secretary or outsource the services

⮚ Remuneration of tea broker by a smallholder factory limited company and tea buyer not to exceed 0.75% of the gross sales, i.e. 0.2% from tea factory and 0.55% from the tea buyer

⮚ Payment to farmers of at least 50% for the green leaf delivered every month within 30 days from receipt of the proceeds of the sale of tea

⮚ Tea factory Board to have a maximum of three members

⮚ The Board to be elected through democratic process of one man, one vote

⮚ Tenure of the Board to be a maximum of two terms of three years each

⮚ Value addition of at least 40% of annual exports

⮚ The Auction Organizer to establish an electronic trading platform for the auction of tea

⮚ All teas manufactured for export market except orthodox and purple teas to be offered for sale exclusively at the auction floor

⮚ Factory limited companies to participate directly at the auction

⮚ Auction trading rules and regulations to be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for approval before application.

The CS also launched avocado, coffee and tea seedlings distribution programme to farmers.

Among the leaders present included host MP Anne Wanjiku Kibe, her Thika Town counterpart Eng. Patrick Wainaina, Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, EALA MP Mpuri Aburi, Kiambu County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga, Gatundu North Deputy County Commissioner Buxton Mayabi, MCAs Mwangi Nduati and Kibicho , KTDA directors among other local leaders.

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