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The government plans to start distributing 5 million free avocado and macadamia seedlings in efforts to help farmers tap already secured market in Asia and South Africa.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri says that the government plans to put up hundreds of water pans across the country to avail water for domestic use as well as support farming activities.
According to the CS, the government will supply horticultural farmers across the country with 5 million seedlings of avocado and macadamia adding that Kenya already has a ready market for its horticultural produce in China and South Africa.
Billions of shillings has been spent on irrigation projects in Baringo, Embu, and Murang’a and is expected to cover the entire country progressively.
The Cs added that the ministry of Agriculture is revisiting irrigation and projects around the country that had stalled as a result of insufficient funds and less-than-through-jobs done by contractors. Some of these projects that had stalled include Lower Kithengi in Embu County that is 67 percent complete. 
He added that they will progressively expand the capacity of irrigation schemes to increase food productivity.
Meanwhile, local seed companies will from next year start selling seeds across the COMESA region after member states endorsed a common label.
COMESA regional seed programme coordinator John Mukuka says the labeling is aimed at weeding out counterfeit seeds from the market and increase trade between member states.
Trade in seeds across the globe is valued at 8 trillion shillings with the COMESA region only accounting for 2 percent of the total trade. 
Among issues slowing trade in seeds in the COMESA region has been poor quality produce.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina receiving a peace dove from a group of Kiambu residents.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina have decided to shelve some of their differences and work for the benefit of Thika residents.

While speaking at Thika Sub-County Stadium during the 55th Jamhuri Celebrations, the two leaders pledged to seek consensus on their ideological differences for the ultimate development of the area.

There has been ranging rivalry between the duo especially concerning the acquisition of the over 600 acres of Del Monte Kenya Limited by the County Government of Kiambu, issuance of title deed to Kiandutu slum residents as well as the modalities on construction and distribution of affordable houses to Jamhuri, Ofafa and Starehe (JAMOFASTA) estate residents.

“I am very happy that the governor is working out the issuance of title deeds to the residents of Kiandutu but I would not allow people from elsewhere to come and acquire ownership at their expense. Once they get their titles, I will organise with them so that we can put up descent houses for them as county government works on improving on the necessary infrastructure and basic amenities,” said Wainaina.

On the issue of Del Monte, the MP was of the opinion that the land given to Kiambu be utilised on developing public amenities such as industrial parks, markets, hospitals, jua kali sheds and stalls instead of sub-dividing the land for individual use.

However, the governor assured Thika residents that his administration will ensure that all these processes were conducted with utmost transparency and only bona fide beneficially will benefit from them.

“The 110 acres in Kiandutu will only go to those who own houses and those who have lived there for generations. The few who will not get a plot of land will be the ones we settle on the Del Monte land along with the others from various slums across Thika,” explained Waititu.

Waititu added that he will ensure that his government gave title deeds to all the residents living in Gachagi, Matharao and other slums in Thika. He assured JAMOFASTA tenants that they will get the first priority to own the proposed affordable houses for free as the rest were sold to potential clients.

Others who spoke included Kiambu Deputy Governor Dr. James Nyoro, Kiambu Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndichu, Kiambu County commissioner Mr. Wilson Wanyanga and the Thika District Business Association Chairman Alfred Wanyoike among others.

Wednesday’s fete was the first of its kind for Thika to host the county celebrations which traditionally have been taking place in Kiambu Town.

An aerial view of the Thika Sub-County Stadium courtesy of Aerial Affairs.
Following widespread complains about their dilapidated state and inspection by members of the Stadia Safety and Security Committee (SSSC), the Kenyan Premier League has banned five stadia complex from hosting any of its league matches.

The sports body’s tough verdict axed Thika Municipal Stadium, Ruaraka, Mumias Sports Complex, Camp Toyoyo and Chemelil Sports Complex until the stadia undergo some facelift to the satisfaction of the SSSC.

They advised all those teams that registered the grounds as their home grounds to seek alternative venues. The ban comes at a difficult time when most clubs are kick starting their campaigns in the KPL after the start of the new season.

However, it will not be a big concern for Thika United who were relegated to the National Super League after a poor campaign in the KPL last season. The team had already selected Ruaraka Grounds for their home matches.

The Camp Toyoyo ban will certainly affect a number of teams with Posta Rangers, Kariobangi Sharks, KCB, Mount Kenya United and Mathare United hosting some of their league matches there last season. Chemelil Sugar will also have to seek an alternative home ground after the ban of the Chemelil Sports Complex. 

Kakamega Homeboyz regularly used the Mumias Sports Complex last season alongside Vihiga United. But the upgrade of Bukhungu Stadium may offer the two Western-based clubs an alternative venue in the current campaign that kicked off last weekend.

In 2014, Thika Stadium was banned with the SSSC report saying that its playing surface was in bad shape and the goal posts were not of the recommended size. The facility also lacked changing and washrooms for players and officials and didn't possess enough washrooms for the general public.

The stadium was later cleared to host league matches by KPL matches in 2016 after the rehabilitation and upgrading funded by the then Kiambu County Government through the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports and Communication.

A signpost erected by Kiambu County Government during the period between 2014 and 2016 when they were undertaking the rehabilitation works on the facility.
The following are the SSSC’s findings-:

  1. THIKA SUB-COUNTY STADIUM – Uneven playing surface and faded markings.
Thika Sub-County Stadium was inspected on Tuesday, December 04, 2018. The team was taken round by Ms. Njeri, the Sub-County Sports Officer.


The facility was found to have recently hosted a musical event that left its surface in a sorry state. It is regretted that despite short-comings cited in previous visits such as the bumpy turf and other areas which promises were given would be attended to, same have so far not been acted upon, even as the league went on throughout the 2018 season.

The following must now be done before any matches are hosted at the ground:

  1. The playing turf that remains extremely bumpy and un-even, to be urgently run over by a 5 to 7 ton roller, the whole length and breadth to try “level” it for the safety of both the players and match officials. (During Thika United FC match against Gor Mahia FC at the ground, it was noted with regret that a Gor Mahia FC player was injured due to the bumpy and un-even surface. An assistant referee was also injured as he run along the touch-line for the same reason.)
  2. The goal-posts to be given a new coat of white paint for visibility.
  3. Several areas of the turf are depressed and can act as a collect a lot of rain water that will not augur well when it rains before or during the match as they will turn into small ponds. Such areas either need to fill up or made level when the ground is run over by a heavy roller as suggested in No.1 above.
For the sake of safety and security of the players and match officials, the Committee hereby suspends Thika Sub-County Stadium from hosting KPL matches with immediate effect until such time the playing turf will have been appropriately attended to, in the best interest of players and match officials. Any Club [s] that had earmarked the Stadium as their home ground and/or alternative ground are directed to look for an alternative venue. Meanwhile, the Club [s] wishing to use the facility are encouraged to liaise with County Government of Kiambu to press for correction of these defects, which once done, a re-inspection will be carried out at the Club [s] own cost.

A hatchery bought by Jungle Foundation to help Hewapa Women Group boost their Kienyeji Poultry farming.
Slum dwellers from the sprawling Kiandutu village in Thika, Kiambu county have now ventured into farming a program that is geared into transforming lives as well as fighting poverty in the crime prone area.

The program initiated by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina has seen many youths abandon their past criminal activities and mothers reaping heavily in Kuku-Kienyeji poultry farming.

Kiandutu smart farmers youth group members are now busy participating in weeding and other chores under the program that is bringing food in every households table. They are growing vegetables such as sukumawiki, spinach and others in a 50 by 100 small farm that sits under the shanty village.

Poultry farming by HEWAPA women group is making a substantial contribution to household food security through out the slum village and other traders who come to buy chicken and eggs.

For Eunice Wanjiru, a mother of three from Kiandutu slums, joblessness, poverty, hopelessness and sheer lack could not allow her desert her dream of kicking out poverty and live a happy life in a serene place.

She joined the cluster group of 12 other women from the slums to form HEWAPA group, the unseen became what is now the hit song of Thika town.

Formed early this year, the group started by making contributions which they saved for a few months before the delved into what turned to be their game changer.

Through a special contribution of Sh 1,000 each, the poor women who earlier survived on hawking second hand clothes bought 100 chicks and a sack of chick feeds.

Motivated by calls to form cluster groups to benefit from government funding, the group withstood teething challenges to raise the young birds which brooded and more chicks were hatched to form a poultry empire that has become the talk of town.

From a hundred chicks, the group’s strong resolve to succeed in the venture catapulted their ambitions so far managing to hatch and rear over 500 chickens which they sell to Thika hotels, supplying eggs in public primary schools for ‘egg Monday’ program started by the local MP in January this year and chicken for home slaughtering at a cost of Sh 1,500 each.

The group has specialized in the selling of chicks at the age of one month and this they say is due to the high demand and the quest to maximize profits.

They sell a one month old chick at Sh 300, eating eggs at Sh 20 while hatching ones go for Sh 30. This guarantees them profits that now place them in a position to expand their business.

Their earnings from the business have assisted them to fend for their families and at the same time educate their children.

Traditional methods of hatching the chicks has however been their main challenge as the process is time consuming and could have negative results.

As their business expanded, the venture forced them to scale up their efforts such as ensuring that they provide a more enabled environment for their business to thrive.

Taking advantage of being in a self-help-group, the group has been able to solicit funding from local Member of Parliament Patrick Wainaina who bought them a Sh 600,000 worth poultry hatchery machine able to hatch over 1,500 chicks per set up.

“We hope to scale our business to other levels because we now have the capacity. We have a dream of purchasing plots for every one of us where we can bring up our children. Kiandutu is good but a more serene environment will help us wipe our toil,” said Wanjiru.

Their broad vision is to tap into the wider marker and endear themselves as the biggest suppliers of chicken in Kiambu County to enable them attract more customers.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina while presenting the hatchery machine accompanied by renowned gospel artist Kevin Bahati lauded the women for embracing the economic empowerment program and making maximum use of their little resources to better their lives.

Wainaina said that the poutry business has ensured a smooth supply of the essential commodity increasing the rate of school attendance in public primary schools.

“The crime rate has also gone down and we hope to continue empowering more groups to achieve their dreams,” he said.

The MP in January started a program dubbed Egg Monday which has seen each pupil enjoy a boiled egg every Monday morning.

11-months down the line, Wainaina said the programme has not only improved the general health of pupils but also class attendance in schools.

Thika Barbers and Salon Association officials during the press conference.
Over 269 members of Thika Barbers and Salon Association have rejected equipment loaned to them by Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba saying the Mamacare project was a sham and need to be probed.
Speaking at Thika during a press conference just a day after president Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project at Kiambu, the barbers and salon association officials accused Wamuchomba of wanting to exploit them by selling the items to them triple the market price adding that the items were substandard.
Kenedy Lumbasi (chair), Affrey Njenga (Sec. general) and Catherine Mbindyo (treasurer) led the other officials in disassociating themselves with Wamuchombas Mamacare program saying the woman rep. was exploiting them at the expense of helping them.
They alleged that a drier costs Ksh 8,000 but Wamuchomba is giving them at a higher purchase loan of Ksh. 15,000 double. A barber's shaving machine which retails at Ksh 2,000 is given to them for Ksh. 3,500  with a salon sink fbeing sold to them for sh. 1000 instead of the retail price of ksh. 300.
The members appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to withhold funds meant for the project as they read a lot of ulterior motives in the whole project. They pleaded with him to protect them from being exploited by greedy politicians advising him to monitor all government moneys as most of it does not benefit them.
Contacted for comment, Wamuchomba said that politics were being played in her program and asked them to write a letter to her saying they don’t want the equipment. 
Wamuchomba further said their actions were politically motivated saying her political enemies were behind the barbers and salonists who denied the allegations saying their association was non-political.

Angela Ambitho is the Founder and CEO of Infotrak Research and consulting.

According to an opinion poll released by Infotrak on Sunday, more than half of Kenyans have are satisfied with the government renewed fight against corruption.

The poll shows that 52% of Kenyans believe that the government is serious on the fight against graft with 42% having a feeling that the government is not doing enough due to what they termed as “no action taken against the corrupt and lack of high profile convictions.”

The respondents cited the arrest and prosecution of high ranking individuals being led by Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji.

They further recommended that stolen assets be recovered, in a bid to fight the long-time national problem.

Kenyans living in the North Eastern region are optimistic with ongoing crackdown at 68% followed by Nyanza at 59% with Central region coming third at 58%.

The Coast region at 52% is not optimistic about the latest efforts to get rid of the menace.

Those of the contrary opinion cited rampant corruption at 52%, others felt that there is no action taken against the corrupt (29%) and lack of high-profile convictions (19%).

To eliminate the vice, sampled Kenyans recommended that the Government “should sanction the corrupt individuals (24%), recovery of all stolen assets (24pc) and arrest of high-profile people accused of corruption (17%).”

Others want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to be empowered more, regular audit of all institutions while 3 pc believes only prayers can slay the corruption dragon.

Some 1,500 people underwent a telephonic interview within 24 Counties, during the study conducted between November 29 and December 1.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has warned of arrests on any motorist driving vehicles bearing foreign number plates or those bearing numbers like X-GK, X-KA, X-Diplomat etc.

The authority has raised concern over an influx of unduly registered vehicles in the country and warns that they would launch a massive crackdown to weed out unregistered vehicles.

“We wish to clarify that vehicles bearing number plates like X-GK are not registered and therefore operating illegally. Operating a vehicle which is not duly registered is an offence as it violates the provisions of Section 6 (1A) of The Traffic Act Cap 403 of the Laws of Kenya,” read a statement by NTSA to the public.

They have consequently asked the owners of such vehicles to duly register them before they are used on the road.

Those driving motor vehicles bearing foreign number plates have been requested to ensure that they have all the necessary documentations allowing these vehicles into the country.

These include clearance by the immigration department, KRA and foreign vehicle permit from NTSA and insurance coverage.

“The police will be enforcing the law on all vehicles found to be operating without due registration or vehicles bearing foreign registration found to be in country without necessary documents,” concluded the statement signed by the Director General Francis Meja.

MKU founder and Chairman Dr. Simon Gicharu introducing one of the 4,540 graduants, Starehe MP Charles Njagua Kanyi alias Jaguar to the audience at  the Graduation Pavilion Grounds along the Thika- Garissa Road on Friday.

Mount Kenya University (MKU) founder and Chairman Dr. Simon Gicharu has challenged the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs to establish a bloggers institute that will tap the talents and skills of the youth currently engaging in blogging.

While speaking during the university’s 15th Graduation Ceremony at their Graduation Pavilion Grounds along the Thika- Garissa Road on Friday, Dr. Gicharu said he was saddened by the manner leaders and especially politicians misused and later dumped these young people immediately they were done with their mission.

He noted that it was for this reason that the same youth turned against these leaders and started using the same platforms to hit back.

“I feel very sad when we use young people to do our work especially politicians and business people and once we finish with them we just leave them. When again they start hitting back through their blogs, we demand for their arrest. Gagging them is not really the solution. The government should go beyond and create an institution or an academy of bloggers so that we can be able to tap into the innovation of these young people instead of harassing them,” he said.

The chairman also challenged the youth and especially those graduating from various learning institutions against the culture of wanting to get rich very quickly because it is ruining careers of so many youth in the country and landing some of them in jail.

“Let us not destroy our institutions because of greed. We should build them. We should deviate from this idea of getting rich quickly. You can start small and grow rich,” he said.

Gicharu promised to strengthen the institution’s incubation centres to enable their students to commercialise their inventions. He added that they will connect these students with financial institutions that will support such projects.

In a bid to support the Kenyan government in its quest to provide Universal Health Care, he said that MKU will award 10 scholarships to students at their College of Health Sciences. He challenged other universities to follow suit and support the government in this noble course

The chief guest Professor Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha challenged universities to promote research and innovation so as to catalyse growth in the local and global markets.

Chacha, who is the Chairman of the Kenyan Commission for University Education (CUE), challenged the graduants to utilise the knowledge and skills learnt to venture in creation of jobs rather that toiling in search of white collar jobs.

Starehe MP Charles Njagua Kanyi alias Jaguar and his Jomvu counterpart Badi Twalib were among the 4,540 students graduated in various faculties.

Jaguar graduated with a degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution while Twalib did Bacheror of Business Management.

Another notable graduant was Chief Francis Kariuki from Lanet Umoja, Nakuru North sub-county, the globally recognised “Tweeting chief” is known for embracing technology.

President Uhuru Kenyatta having a light moment with Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina and Kiambu Women Rep. Gathoni Wamuchomba at the Jungle Investors' stand in Ndumberi Kiambu.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was on Wednesday very impressed by a potato value addition project by some Thika youth who participated in the young start-ups exhibition at Ndumberi Kiambu when he was officially launching the “Huduma Halisi” programme.

When the president stopped at the stand belonging to Jungle Investors Potato Project and got explanations of what they do, he got so amazed and exclaimed, “This is exactly what I need for jobs and food security!”

He spent about 10 minutes asking questions and digging the facts about the youngsters’ project about the project where he acknowledged that it was with similar initiatives that his government could achieve two of his pillars namely manufacturing which leads to job creation as well as food security.

The president promised to support the group with Ksh. 5 million to do a cold-room. To juice it up, the Ministry of Youth has also promised funding at various stages.

The group that comprises of 28 youngsters from Thika is a beneficiary of the Jungle Empowerment Programme under the stewardship of Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina that is geared towards economically empowering the community.

Though in its piloting stage, the group has already employed the 28 youth and bear a very ambitious goal of employing a workforce of about 300 employees once it is fully fledged.

The company sources potatoes from Nyandarua County during peak season when produce is cheapest.

Once the produce reaches their plant located in Makongeni’s Phase 13 area, the potatoes are first cleaned and then peeled. The next stage involves slicing them into a variety of shapes and sizes before they are saline treated, dried and vacuum packed. All these processes are semi-automated.

This treatment enhances the potato’s shelf-life and can remain fresh for about twelve months.

According to the members, the returns are attractive.

Among other projects, Jungle Foundation has a pretty successful “Mayai Monday” with a value chain starting from Hatcheries with Clusters selling chicks to the fellow clusters, production of kienyeji hens, and finally eggs for primary schools within Thika Town Constituency.

Seedlings project supports clusters to realise the country's 1 million macadamia seedlings a year dream.

Central Regional Commissioner Geoffrey Njega addressing residents of Gatundu on Wednesday.
The dreaded Mungiki gang is regrouping and recruiting boys especially those undergoing rite of passage in central Kenya. 
Central Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega revealed this while speaking at Gatundu where he led the residents in an exercise to destroy illegal betting machines and equipment used to prepare illicit brews.
Njega cautioned that the government  would do everything possible to root out Mungiki members whom he said have infiltrated bobaboda and matatu businesses and imposing illegal taxes to poor Kenyans.
The commissioner however blamed parents for abdicating their parental responsibilities and leaving their children at the hands of strangers. He added that the sect members have been traversing counties around the Central Kenya region into homes where these boys had undergone circumcision and instructing their to keep off the initiation to adulthood as it was a taboo for parents to get near their newly circumcised boys.
Njega blamed parents for abdicating their parental role and leaving their children with bad elements in the society. He called on the parents to use this long festive holiday to talk to their children and help them in counseling in order to become good citizens.
He further said the dreaded squad had taken over both bodaboda and matatu businesses and were actually the ones manning bus termini and imposing illegal taxes on the operators.
He warned them that their days were numbered adding that there was an ongoing crackdown aimed at flashing them out of the transport industry.

A file photo of students being admitted to Form One previously.

Education CS Amina Mohamed has warned principals found charging illegal levies to students joining Form One next year that they will be dealt with decisively.

The CS advised parents to only pay the amount in the fees structure and report incidents of any students turned away for not paying higher fees to their respective regional education coordinators, county directors of education for action.

She reassured parents and guardians who have reported such cases that the ministry is taking the relevant action against the affected schools saying victimisation of learners, parents and guardians who engage the ministry as a result of illegal levies by schools will not be tolerated.

Amina said charging illegal levies will be treated as a crime of corruption and measures taken against the culprits.

She said cases of lethargy with this vice on the part of education officials will also be dealt with decisively.

And as far as Free Day Secondary Education is concerned, Amina said all learners in public day schools receive Sh. 22,244 yearly.

She also said all Form One entrants next year will also be supplied with new core text books akin to the 2018 class.

Students reporting to public secondary schools in January 2019 will be the second group to benefit from the National Hospital Insurance Fund cover that commenced in May this year.

The Ministry of Education has already released the list of candidates who were shortlisted to join Form One in national schools in 2019.

Candidates who scored more than 400 marks all got admission as more were selected compared to last year.

The ministry has set up a way candidates can check what schools they have been admitted to by sending an SMS to 22384.

The format for the message should be formatted as follows: LNK#Indexnumber. For example, LNK#0471247885.

The service is available for all mobile phone carriers an also attracts a charge of Kshs 25.

Admission to Extra County and County schools will be released on December 5 and will also be available through the same method.

For those with an internet connection, the selection can be accessed on the ministry’s website

Data from the ministry shows that the available spaces in the 103 national schools stood at 29,712.

In 2018, 12,273 candidates scored 401 marks and above and, therefore, guaranteed slots at some of the prestigious schools.

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo is sponsoring a bill in Parliament that seeks to curb ‘professional’ sperm donors and the thriving surrogate mothers business.

If approved, the bill will make surrogacy for women below 25 illegal and any man who donates sperm will not claim child ownership.

While briefing the National Assembly Health Committee about the Bill on Tuesday, the legislator said the intention of the proposed law is to deal with cheats who emerge after death to claim that they were children of so and so.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill proposes the formation of Assisted Reproductive Technology Authority that will develop standards, regulations and guidelines on assisted reproductive technology, establish and maintain a confidential national database on persons receiving the services or providing sperms and embryos for use, among other functions.

The bill will also oversee donation of sperms and ova storage.

The bill specifies who qualifies for the service and instil discipline among the practitioners who carry out artificial insemination.

This is the second attempt by the third-time legislator to push for the bill that intends to regulate issues surrounding In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).



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