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Thika residents are still grappling with the mysterious disappearance of a prominent trader who went missing a week ago.

Julius Gitau Wanyoike alias Gitau Wa Mali who runs a wholesale shop behind the Thika main bus stage disappeared last Monday morning and has not been seen since.

According to the Thika Main Stage Traders Association Chairman John Tumbo, Gitau drove himself in one of his distribution trucks and abandoned it near the Blue Post flyover. He then called his driver on phone and told him to go for the vehicle.

One of Gitau's employees, David Kaloki, says that when the driver arrived at the scene, he only found the truck with the doors unlocked and the ignition key inside.

Gitau is said to have left a handwritten note inside the vehicle that read;
"Hey family. Hii maisha imenishinda. Sitaki kutafutwa na watu wasijisumbue kunitafuta niko kwa maji. Family nawapenda sana"

A search team comprising family members and police combed Thika River but failed to get him. Gatanga sub county Police Commander Peter Muchemi under whose jurisdiction the matter was reported said police were still treating it as a "missing person report."

Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Chairman Alfred Wanyoike appealed to whoever with any information that might assist in finding the missing colleague to volunteer it to any police station nearest to them.

Consequently, TDBA has summoned the Thika business fraternity a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday Sept. 29th) at 4 pm at Three Shades Hotel Hall - Main stage to deliberate on the way forward.


Kiambu Governor James Nyoro

Kiambu County Government has completed spatial plans to make Thika Municipality the model city within Kiambu town.

This was revealed by Governor James Nyoro in an exclusive interview where he said that they had already engaged a consultant who had developed a 50-year spatial plan for the industrial town.

"The 50-year (spatial) plan for Thika town is already complete.However, this will first involve a 10-year plan. In the next 2 years, we want to make this town a model city within Kiambu with all the major infrastructure in place," explained the governor.

Nyoro said that the plans involved the expansion of the road network within and around the town, installation of street lighting as well as traffic lights and expansion of the water and sewerage network within the estates.

"We have already started resurfacing works for Kenyatta Highway that will go up to the Stadium roundabout, then Huduma Centre and to the KRA roundabout. We will also use the Sh. 157 million from the World Bank to light up the CBD streets," he said.

This project, combined with the Sh. 1.8 billion project being undertaken by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) on all link roads within the CBD, will see Thika get a very smooth road network.

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

"The president (Uhuru Kenyatta) promised us 4km of road into Juja Farm and we as a county government will push this road up to Mastoo area. Eventually, plans are that this road will link up with Thika-Garissa Highway at Muguga in Gatuanyaga through Ndarugu, Athi, Komo and Githima, thus opening up this area and decongesting Thika Road," he added.

Nyoro said that they were also in the process of filling up the missing board members at THIWASCO to enable the company embark on its water and sewerage expansion plans. 

"The company, through assistance from DANIDA and the World Bank, plans to increase its water supply capacity from the current 32m3 to 52m3," explained the governor.

The expansion will benefit Ngoingwa, Kisii, Landless and other estates within THIWASCO coverage areas with more water and sewerage connection.

The governor said Gatuanyaga and Ngoliba would also get more water through the sinking of boreholes as well as water drawn from Thika river.

25 percentage back

Nyoro also promised residents living within quarry mining areas that his government will henceforth inject back 25% of the revenue collected from these quarries to assist in development projects. Areas poised to benefit from this arrangement include Ndarugu, Witeithie, Komo, Githima and Bob Harris that host the bulk of these quarries.

He also said that the county government had set aside Sh. 60 million for street lighting programme across the county.

"In our supplementary budget this year, we have set aside Sh. 60 million for our street lighting programme. This will be boosted by another Sh. 60 million from the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), enabling us to install 50 street lights in every ward."

Thika Municipality which includes Juja Sub-County will also benefit from road, water and sewerage connection at Theta, Juja town, Kalimoni and Witeithie.

The county also plans to put up another hospital in Juja very soon.

Mount Kenya University (MKU) has recalled all its final year School of Medicine students and ordered them to report to their campuses beginning this morning.

University's Registrar, Academic Administration Dr Ronald G. Maathai  says this follows the authorisation of face-to-face learning for final year Clinical Medicine Students by the  Clinical Officers Council.

"In view of the foregoing, the reporting dates Bachelor of Science in Clinical Medicine and Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Surgery Final Year Students  will be from the 28th of September, 2020 to the 2nd of October, 2020 for  phase one face-to-face teaching, which will resume on Monday, the 5th October, 2020," he said in s statement.

Also recalled are Bachelor of Pharmacy and Diploma in Pharmaceutical Technology Final Year Students on similar dates after the Pharmacy and Poisons Board authorized classroom learning for final year Pharmacy Students as opposed to online learning.

All universities were been advised to recall all final year students who are unable to sit final examinations online.“These are students pursuing science-based courses and who are about to graduate and may not do practicals,” said Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

Final year medical and dental students have already reported to universities for face-to-face learning ahead of their national examinations.“For the rest of tertiary colleges, we are waiting for the larger stakeholders to concur with us. We want Teachers Training Colleges to open soon,” said Prof Magoha.

For primary and secondary schools, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) directed all teachers to report to school today, with firm instruction to prepare for the opening.“We have deliberated this as a committee and agreed that teachers report to schools by September 28 for the eventual opening of schools,” said Nancy Macharia, TSC chief executive officer.

Dr Loice Ombajo, head of Infectious Disease Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and a member of the education stakeholders, said last week coronavirus cases had hit below five per cent infection rate for the past one week.

“Covid-19 cases have gone down. Positivity rate is going down and community infections have gone down. So it is safe to open other spaces. But we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others,” said Dr Ombajo.

On Thursday sept 24, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Health and Education ministries are working together to ensure strict protocols are observed before re-opening of schools. During a briefing on Covid-19 status, Kagwe said the first phase of the re-opening will give learners time to acclimatise with the health protocols in schools before learning starts officially.

A Thika Court has sentenced Elizabeth Wambui Kamichar, a former Thika administrator, to three months imprisonment for fraudulently obtaining a land ownership document.

Delivering the judgment, Thika Senior Resident Magistrate Benmark Ekhuli termed as a “brazen act” the backdating and altering of land registry documents by the accused leading to the commission of the offence.

He overruled a probation officer’s report that was in favour of the accused and handed the 61-year old mother of three a custodial sentence.

The accused had denied that on December 6, 2011 at the Thika lands registry, jointly with others not before court obtained certificate of lease number Thika Municipality Block 9/430 by falsely pretending that the said plot was allocated to her by the government.

She also faced a second count which stated that September 30, 2014 at Thika township in Kiambu County, jointly with others not before the court, willfully and unlawfully damaged a gate valued Sh 30,000 belonging to Cecilia Wamaitha Mwangi.

The former District Officer has 14 days to appeal against the sentence.

Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga has sent a stern warning to criminal gangs operating within Kiambu that their days were numbered.

While speaking in Nyacaba area within Juja sub-County, the Nyagwanga particularly warned a gang calling itself 'Gaza' that was terrorising area residents that security agents would deal with its members ruthlessly and without mercy. He also directed security apparatus from Juja sub-county to stem out indiscriminate sale and consumption of alcohol and bhang in the area.

"The government through Kazi Mtaani has recruited around 22,000 young Kenyans to cushion them from unemployment. I don't understand why the so called Gaza don't go for such opportunities and instead engage in criminal activities. We shall deal with them ruthlessly in accordance with the law," said Nyagwanga.

He added that the establishment of Witeithie Division and the placement of the Assistant County Commissioner (ACC) would bring all Government services closer to the people and propel development projects in the area. 

Nyagwanga was speaking when introducing George Maina as the pioneer ACC for the new Witeithie Division.

Kiambu County Commissioner (CC) Wilson Wanyange directed NEMA to conduct a serious audit on quarry operators in the area and root out all those who disregarded the laid down protocols to operate thus endangering people's lives and polluting the environment. He cited recent incidents where several people have lost lives out of negligence by the operators.

Central Region Police Commander Patrick Lumumba said that a divisional police headquarters would be established in the area with a full fledged police station to boost security. 
Area MCA Julius Macharia Taki described these quarries as death traps. 

Among those present included area criminal investigation Chief Jeremiah Ikao and Juja Sub-County DCC Charles Murithii among others.

Renown Kiambu politician and Counseling Psychologist Gladys Chania has called for a ceasefire amongst Kiambu leaders over the endless political infighting.

Speaking exclusively to Thika Town Today - 3T on Tuesday, Chania said that the county had lost so much time and resources due to political intolerance and unnecessary impeachment debates.

"We wouldn't want to start those impeachment sessions again. Kiambu County went through a very difficult period during the (former Governor) Waititu-Nyoro tag of war. Then came COVID-19 that hit so many of our people economically and straining our resources. I therefore appeal for ceasefire and beg all the warring camps to resort to dialogue. Let all sides listen to each other, at least for now. If there is a better leadership awaiting the county, we can afford to wait until 2022 to make the changes we want," she said.

Chania noted that the 36 MCAs who have already appended their signatures in preparation to table an impeachment motion against Governor James Nyoro were yet to hit half the assembly membership which has 92 MCAs and should instead focus their energies towards alleviating the suffering Kiambu residents were going through.

"It's also my hope and prayer that the electorate have learnt their lessons by now. They should never again gamble with their vote. They should always choose a good executive officer because to correct another person's work is very difficult. All these gaps are generated from election ballot box," she concluded.

Kiambu County Peace Forum Chairman Samuel Njenga speaking to the press in Thika. He is flanked by his deputy Aboo Norein.

A section of Kiambu residents have lamented about the never-ending political squabbles in Kiambu County noting that over the years, the county has never had peace due to toxic politics.

While speaking in Thika during the International Day for Peace celebrations, the residents blamed politicians and a section of the clergy for the mess that has dogged this devolved unit ever since the inception of devolution.

"It is harvest season for the clergy who have started organising harambees and inviting politicians to bribe their way into the 2022 leadership through the church. The church is in the forefront in sanitising wayward politicians for elections and selling out their followers. What they are doing is to set pace for another 5 years of crying and gnashing of teeth. They are selling their people to the highest bidders," explained Samuel Njenga, the chairman of Kiambu County Peace Forum.

Njenga lamented  that ever since Kiambu became a county, the county has experienced unending political noises that has seen it have three governors in a span of  7 years, yet with no solution on sight.

"It is quite unfortunate that Kiambu County has never experienced any peace since 2013. The first governor was voted out after a very noisy four years. His successor barely completed two years before he was impeached. The current governor is barely a year into office yet the squabbles and infighting are unbearable. These are indicators of poor leadership," he said.

He blamed visionless leadership for the mess in the county, blaming the leaders for nurturing an environment of anarchy and disorder in order to remain in power or seize it.

"These leaders don't want an empowered society because it will be very difficult for them to manipulate them. They want us to ever remain poor and dependent so that every time we run to them for help and handouts," said Njenga.

"With all its rich resources, how comes Kiambu youth are still suffering in poverty? What have these leaders done to empower their people? How many jobs have they created?" he asked.

He challenged the people demand from their leaders, policies and agenda for development and shun those who thrived in disunity and propaganda.

His sentiments were echoed by Dr. Samuel Karanja Kamau, the director of Family Matters Foundation who demanded transparency and sincerity among the leaders and the people to open up to issues that mattered to them.

"If we don't handle the root issues, we will keep on dealing with the fruit issues. Peace begins with the individual. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to bring stability in the situation we are going through," explained Dr. Karanja.

He challenged leaders to inspire people in issues of truth and embrace diversity in ideas.

"People are free to speak what they think but those listening to them should be able to gauge what is valuable to them. Our people need civic education to be able to differentiate between the truth and deception," he said.

Winnie Njeri, the Secretary to Kiambu County Peace Forum noted that women and children suffered most in all these conflicts thus needed to think twice before they voted in anyone to lead them.

Huduma Centre Thika Branch Manager Sharon Nzau has blamed NTSA system downtimes for the long queues at the centre.
Explaining our earlier concern, Nzau pointed out that they could not allow customers to the Centre when when they couldn't serve them. 
"We keep on informing them on the progress though, but some insist on waiting," she said. 
"Currently, the NTSA system for enrollment (photo and fingerprints) is down and customers have already being informed," she added.
The centre has of late been experiencing an influx of clients and long queues outside its gates with numerous complaints of people being turned away without being served. 

Police in Thika had to be deployed at Thika Level 5 Hospital on Wednesday afternoon to quell possible ugly confrontations after some Kiandutu residents stormed the facility demanding answers to a case of a newborn child whom they claimed missed mysteriously immediately after birth.

The residents were protesting about the manner in which the hospital administration handled a case where on of their lost a newborn baby after the mother gave birth through cesarean section only to be told that she was dead.

According to the father, Joel Maina, everything was okay and there seemed to be no signs of a stillbirth on that material day.

The baby seemed okay and played well in its mother's womb on Friday. But when I came back the following day, I only found the mother without the child. She was still unconscious and we could not talk, he explained.

He expressed his disappointment with the hospital administration who he accused of taking him in circles whenever he demanded for answers.

Maina now wants to view the body of his child and DNA tests done to ascertain the hospital's explanation in relation to its death.

“When my wife was admitted, the infant was playing in the mother’s womb. She was taken to theatre for CS operation, and I hear the child was born well. When I visited on Saturday, the hospital blocked me at the gate despite identifying myself, he lamented.
Despite the mysterious death of his kid, Maina also has to bear the pain of seeing his wife Angelina Wanjue fight for life at the intensive care unit after developing complications when undergoing caesarian section.

He alleged that no one in the hospital bothered to inform him that the wife had to undergo CS during delivery, despite leaving his contacts at the hospital.

“On Sunday, they still blocked me only to force my way to the hospital on Monday to find my unconscious wife in need of another operation. They told me to sign documents which I obliged to save her as her condition was worsening,” he added.

Responding to these allegations, Medical Superintendent Dr. Jesse Ngugi said that this was a stillbirth and the body was at General Kago Road Funeral Home.

He sighted COVID-19 regulations as some of the reason why Maina could not access the facility as much as he would have wanted.

He added that they were doing everything possible to make sure the woman recovers.
“The child was a still birth and the woman developed high sugar levels after the CS operation that is why he was taken to theatre again,” said the Med Sup.

Godfrey Gitu Njoroge, a rabbit farmer for the last 10 years in Kiganjo estate Thika

Rabbit farmers have blamed logistical challenges and the lack of enough public awareness on rabbit rearing to the low intake and production.

While speaking to the press on Wednesday, Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya (RABAK) Chairperson Peter Waiganjo noted that even though the demand for rabbit meat was so high, both in the local market and internationally, commercial rabbit farming in Kenya for meat production was yet to be taken seriously with only a few farmers currently engaging in this venture.

He said that there was need for increased awareness if at all this business was to make a positive impact on the lives of the majority of subsistence rural and peri-urban population. Waiganjo lamented that even though there existed a very big demand for rabbit meat, the supply was still not adequate due to so many logistical challenges. 

"Currently, the Thika abattoir is the only public rabbit slaughterhouse in the country. This has given us some big challenge for most of the rabbit farmers are scattered across the country and it becomes so uneconomical for a farmer in Eldoret or Nyeri for instance to travel all the way to Thika to slaughter 20 or so rabbits. This forces them to sell them through the traditional way and thus lose out on the high-end market," he explained.

He suggested that the all government departments involved in agriculture to come up with small abattoirs across the country or refrigerated vehicles to help farmers take advantage of this very lucrative venture.

Godfrey Gitu Njoroge who has been rearing rabbits for the last 10 years at his quarter of an acre piece of land in Kiganjo estate Thika encouraged jobless youth to venture into this business which he said was very viable and demanded very little input.

"I do not need to stay at the farm for the whole day. Rabbits rearing has allowed me to do other work as rabbits do not need too much attention. All you need is hay, some pellets and enough water," explained Gitu.

(Related Story: Rabbit farming, an unexploited ‘Goldmine’ that is greatly overlooked.)

He added that female rabbits normally bore about 2-10 babies, but could have as many as 16 with each litter. Considering that one rabbit could litter 5 times in a year, Gitu said that this was a sure way to increase one's earnings in a very short time.

Nutritionists say that rabbit meat offers the best source of protein and is healthier than most alternatives like beef, pork, turkey and even chicken. It also provides calcium, vitamins, energy and is characterized by a less amount of cholesterol, sodium, and fat unlike other types of meat.

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