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Visually impaired persons from Thika on Wednesday to the streets protesting what they termed as discrimination in government aid especially during this tough COVID-19 period. They walked to the Ministry of Labour, Culture, Gender and Social Services offices, demanding to for answers as why they never benefited from the national safety net programme populary known as Inua Jamii.

They claimed that only the rich but well connected persons benefited from the kitty. Speaking to the press, Ann Mwema claimed that the money set aside by the government to benefit the disabled was diverted to less deserving people if not ending up in pockets individuals within the government. Jecintah Syombua said that despite of her advanced age, she had never accessed "Pesa Kwa Wazee" a fate she said was replicated in most of her colleagues. They pleaded with the relevant government departments to intervene and save them from the discrimination they are are facing.

4 MPs drawn from Kiambu and Murang'a counties are calling on the Director of Survey to expedite the re-surveying of Del Monte Land whose 99-year lease expires in 2022.

Eng. Patrick Wainaina (Thika), Joseph Nduati (Gatanga), Simon King’ara (Ruiru) and Jude Njomo (Kiambu town) say that the delay in renewing the lease has affected the multi-million company’s investment decisions and development.

They added that the delay could lead to loss of at least 34,000 direct and indirect jobs especially if the company’s land lease is not renewed.

They regretted that the delay in renewing the lease even after Del Monte applied for the same 12 years ago could see the country lose Ksh 10 billion in foreign exchange including Ksh 7.5 billion on supplier’s backward linkage.

The company that enjoys a turnover of over Ksh 10 billion annually owns 22,000 acres of land.

Should the company be found to be having land it does not use, Wainaina said the parcels would be converted into public use where an industrial park, schools, cottage industries, low-cost housing and hospitals could be built to benefit the public.

The multinational company has been embroiled in a tussle with lobbyists under the patronage of the Kandara Residents Association, Kiambu and Murang’a Counties.

Blue Nile Rolling Mills Limited, is set to get a Sh. 862 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to restructure its operations and fund the construction of a galvanised wire plant.

The company, which manufactures the Kifaru brand of steel products, plans to raise Sh. 1.5 billion aimed at setting up Kenya’s first galvanisation wire manufacturing plant in Nairobi, capable of producing 26,580 tonnes per annum.

The Thika-based plant currently produces its steel and wire products. It has a capacity to produce 100,000 metric tonnes of steel products and 15,700 metric tonnes of wire products.

The construction of the galvanised wire plant has since been completed and the factory has started production. Blue Nile launched operations in 2006 by acquiring a steel wire product manufacturing facility in Kikuyu.

In 2016, the company began exporting its products to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Detectives yesterday arrested 3 suspects over a fraud syndicate where M-PESA operators across the country have been defrauded of their cash.
One of the suspects, Jacktone Odhiambo Opondo, was nabbed in a house at Belbur Nobility Flats in Egerton, Njoro - Nakuru County, where over 3,000 Safaricom lines, both registered and unregistered recovered.
His arrest led the detectives to two of his accomplices, Millicent Wanjiru Maina and John Karuku Kabue, who were later arrested at Muigai Inn in Juja, Kiambu County.
It has been established that the gang has been getting ID numbers from a loans App known as Scoppe, and thereafter using the same to illegally register the acquired sim cards.
To execute their fraud, the suspects approach MPESA Agents as dealers in pretext of selling sim cards and other products at discounted prices and in the process switch the agents' MPESA phones before flushing their float.

The three are in custody for processing and other legal procedures.

A major crackdown on clubs and liquor joints operating illegally within Thika West Sub-County saw liquor worth about KES. 300,000 seized.

A multi-agency security team led by the Thika West DCC Douglas Mutai and the Thika Sub-County Admin Ng'ang'a Nyoroku on Thursday stormed into these illegal outlets in Makongeni and Kiganjo areas.

Speaking after the operation Mutai singled out Makongeni bus park area as very notorious in the sale of alcohol illegally, warning them they would intensify their fight against these joints until the area was free from those who risked the lives of others.

"We are ranking very high in COVID-19 infections and we need to trend very carefully to avoid a spike in the number of infections. No bar is allowed to operate and those who wish to sell wines and spirits must obtain the requisite licences from the County Government of Kiambu," he said. 

He reminded them that the government only gave out licences for wholesale and distribution of wines and spirits and not for sit-in clients 

My Fellow Countrymen,

Today marks the 21st day since I last addressed you on the 6th of July 2020. On that day, in order to enable our economy to open, I reduced some measures we had taken against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This action was made alongside a national call to individual and collective ‘civic responsibility’.

This process of de-escalating the measures against the pandemic needed all citizens to be far more serious with wearing masks, sanitising often, and keeping social distance. We have had 3 weeks to assess the response.

This morning, I chaired the Fifth Extraordinary Summit of the National and County Governments. This was third consultation we have had on where we stand as a country against one of the greatest health and economic threats faced by humanity in the last century.

The results are in. The surge of the infections has continued for the last 21 days, and in some areas accelerated sharply. The virus has now infected Kenyans in 44 counties.

Nationally, 17,603 persons have so far tested positive for the virus. My greatest concern at the moment is the aggressive surge of infections among young Kenyans who are in turn infecting their elders.

Contact tracing of the recent surge of infections indicates that our socialising without regard for protective behaviour, particularly in environments serving alcohol, is becoming a high risk factor.

We are fortunate that our Case Fatality Rate, at 1.6%, is much lower than the global average. Perhaps it is this relatively low rate that is giving some Kenyans false comfort that this is not a serious health risk to them and their families.

Those are the people who have interpreted the de-escalation of the measures as a green light to pay no heed to the guidance by our health authorities. Their reckless actions are endangering those around them, and our whole country.

I must remind Kenyans that the Government cannot police the morality of its citizens. Citizens must balance between their individual rights and their responsibility to each other.

We cannot have a policeman at every street and in every village to enforce the rules. We need, as citizens, to hold ourselves and one another accountable.

If someone enters your shop without a mask, insist that they wear one. If a waiter in a restaurant is not complying with the health rules, speak up, report them, and even refuse them your business. Do your part knowing that it will keep you and your loved ones safer.

These are not normal times. Countries whose citizens have taken a careless or relaxed attitude have suffered greatly. Let us not follow their example.

Some who have the most extensive and advanced medical facilities have been completely overwhelmed.

Their sick, by the tens of thousands, have suffered loneliness as comforting visitors are kept away to prevent infection. They have lacked sufficient space in their morgues.

They have dug graves by the tens of thousands for lonely, scary burials as health authorities limit the numbers who can mourn at the graveside. We cannot allow this to be Kenya’s fate.

We mourn the 280 Kenyans lost to this cruel virus as of yesterday. Unfortunately, there will be more. The only question is whether we shall emerge with a low number of deaths or shall suffer a catastrophe.

The harsh reality is that we are at war. With an invisible, ruthless and relentless enemy.

In war, no mercy is shown by either side. In war, survival is key. Self-preservation is the priority for all in a theatre of war.

This is precisely the level of danger we find ourselves in today. COVID-19 will only be defeated if Kenyans stand shoulder-to-shoulder and take up arms.

In war, victory is assured by united armies that pursue the singular aim of subjugating the enemy. Our victory will be to suffer minimal harm, and to shorten the length of the war.

It is time to get realistic as parents, brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Look at those around you that you love dearly and care about.

They are the people that your actions are going to impact going forward. You do not want to mourn them, and they do not want to mourn you.

The power is in your hands to save them. Wear a mask and wash your hands because you are a responsible and caring person, not because the Government is telling you to do so.

We all have to step up to being responsible. This is especially the case with leaders, particularly the elected ones.

All measures announced today shall be applied to all citizens regardless of their social or political standing.

When we de-escalated 21 days ago, I said that I would not hesitate to re-escalate again if reckless behavior is widespread.

Accordingly, in response to today’s resolutions from my consultation with the Governors, and on the advice of the National Security Council and the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, I further order and direct as follows:

I. The Nationwide Curfew shall remain in force for a further 30 days.

II. There will be no sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in eateries and restaurants across the Territory of the Republic of Kenya, effective at midnight today, for the next 30 days.

III. The closing time for restaurants and eateries has been amended from 8pm to 7pm, starting today at midnight, for the next 30 days.

IV. Bars shall remain closed until further notice.

V. That the Inspector–General of the National Police Service shall cause withdrawal of all licenses for bars operating in breach of this directive.

VI. That the Inspector General shall file a weekly return of all bars whose licenses have been withdrawn to the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government.

VII. That the Inspector General of Police shall ensure that his officers spare no mheshimiwa, or individual, regardless of social status or rank, who is either out after curfew or who flaunts the health protocols without being an essential worker. The rules are for all of us, and rank or status does not exempt you from them.

VIII. That the National Government Administration Officers and the National Police Service will strictly enforce Ministry of Health protocols on public gatherings, and particularly funerals.

IX. That strict personal sanction will ensue to all police and National Administration officers in whose areas of jurisdiction there is breach of the set guidelines.

X. That the Ministry of Health will develop a protocol to temporarily retain retired anesthetists and ICU staff to support the medical staff assigned to dealing with serious COVID-19 cases in the Counties.

XI. That any Government Institutions including all sporting facilities, stadia and educational institutions and other Government facilities, upon designation by the Cabinet Secretary for Health as a public health facility, shall be availed to the Ministry of Health for Isolation and Quarantine purposes.

If, and when, necessary, these measures will be made even more stringent. We will do this without hesitation because we hold precious the life of every Kenyan.

We also understand that our economic health as a country is ultimately tied to keeping our infections and fatalities as low as possible. There will be little tourism, scarce investment and falling trade if our 6 headlines start to match those of countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

I want to thank the Governors for the efforts they are making. I have been encouraged to note that over 70% of County Governments have met the set irreducible minimum we agreed on a few weeks ago.

This is only the start. I have urged them to do more to reach full compliance and to go even further. I have promised to work with them to help keep Kenyans working and producing as much as possible during this time.

Let me remind Kenyans that this is not a competition, not between counties and National Government, not amongst counties, not between political groupings, this is a war that we shall either drown together of hold each other up and see the glory of God as we celebrate victory against this invisible enemy.

In closing, let us salute the sacrifices made by our frontline staff the medical care workers who have unflinchingly sustained our war against COVID-19.

We honour the soul of the first health care worker to succumb to the coronavirus: Dr. Doreen Adisa Lugaliki. May perpetual light shine upon her oh Lord and grant her family and particularly her twins, who have been robbed the gift of a mother too early.

We extend our gratitude too to our law enforcement officers for their valiant acts. 36. We thank God for his Grace and Mercy, and pray to him to save the souls of those we have lost this pandemic.

Thank you.

Mount Kenya University (MKU) is the recipient of the Talloires Network Innovative Civic Engagement Award, 2020.

The award winning project titled “Co-creation strategies for improving the health of children and access to safe water in a time of crisis” is part of the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement, a program established by the Talloires Network in partnership with Open Society Foundations.

After a competitive review process, the Selection Committee was impressed by the partnership, and wishes to recognize and support (Mount Kenya University) continued civic engagement work. The University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement aims to discover, learn from, and support the leadership of novel university civic engagement partnerships that connect universities and local communities in ways that contribute to more equal and more inclusive societies. MKU has been awarded in recognition of the involvement of the students, staff and University leaders in implementation of community-based activities in Kenyan communities in partnership with Partners for Care (PFC).

Some of the joint activities considered during the award process include distribution of over 10,000 water backpacks that provide access to safe water transport and storage for hundreds of thousands of people; treatment of over 1000 jigger infested pupils and eradication of jigger infestations in Marsabit leading to improved school performance; and involvement of students and members of staff in community outreach programs. anti-jigger campaigns in Marsabit and Watamu, safe water programme using the water backpack as well as the mobility programme.

The joint activities are managed through a joint MKU/PFC committee of 5 members, 2 nominated by each institution and a committee chairperson nominated every two years by the head of either institutions on a rotational basis. The committee is currently chaired by Dr. Peter G. Kirira, Ag. Principal College of Graduate Studies & Research. As part of the award, the University will receive $20,000 to support distribution of water backpacks and hand wash units during COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the country and to reach an additional 3,500 pupils with jigger infestation in Watamu, Kilifi County. In addition, Talloires Network will sponsor a member of the University faculty to the Talloires Network Leaders Conference at Harvard University in September 2021. Other recipients of the award include Meridian Global University, Cameroon; Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico; National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and the University of Zimbabwe.

23/07/2020
BY :JUMA HEMEDI

In 2004 One of my colleagues, in the program I was working in asked me whether We would like to join them for a movie. I was in Oslo, Norway and the Norwegians have a funny way of inviting you, especially when they really want you to be there. She told us that the new movie would premier in Oslo and that we had to book in advance.

The movie titled Troy, revolved around the story of ancient Greece and the epic battle between ancient kingdoms of Sparta and Troy. While paying a visit to the Spartan King, Menelaus, the Prince from Troy, Prince Paris, falls for Hellen, the wife of King Menelaus and takes her back to Troy.

King Agamenmon, brother to King Menelaus uses this as an excuse to declare war against Troy, the last kingdom preventing his control over Aegean sea.

In the past few years and lately in the last few months, we have heard leaders all across the country, tell us that so and so is not good for the country or for the county, and that they do not have Wanjiku or Kenya at heart. And that so and so comes from a family of colonial collaborators or people who cannot be entrusted.

As many of you students of history will remember, there are many places and moments in Kenya where our destiny has been decided and shaped. Many of these places and moments were sights of war, demonstrations and riots, while others are sights that symbolises the daring characters of Kenyan people. Places like Kamukunji Stadium, Uhuru Park, Karura Forest, and the Mt. Kenya forest.

Other places are symbols of defiance, peace, debates and reasons. Places like Ufungamano house, Bomas of Kenya, Jeevanjee Gardens, the Lancaster House, University of Nairobi, Parliament and Nairobi Serena Hotel.

The land of Kenya in the last 100 years or so has seen a lot of things, the indignity of colonisation and tribal wars, the tyranny of oppressive regimes and the push for the boundaries of freedoms and democracy, The yoke of political intolerance and the death of many Kenyans in the ensuing violence and the determination of Kenyans.

For the love of country and future generations, our forefathers determined to get rid of Colonisation left their families, went into the forest and waged a war against the colonial oppressors.

The Love for Country is not a preserve of a few. No one can claim to be more Kenyan than the other. Neither can anyone claim to love this country more than the other. Loving this country cannot be monopolised.

The destiny and pride of this country has been shaped by ordinary men and women who were not of high status or esteem and not from one tribe or religion. These men and women had faith in God, Love for their Country and Hope for the future Generations. They had no big physique, armies or elected offices, but they led a Nation.

Loving this Country requires the occasional disruption the willingness to speak up and being self critical. It requires shaking the status quo. Loving this country requires the realisation that we do not hold the monopoly of knowing how others should love it. Or to compel others to love it the way we do. Loving this country requires more than just wearing a T-shirt written "I love Kenya".

The Kenyan spirit, dreams and hope that led the MauMau to pick up farm tools and weapons to fight the Colonial regime, is the same spirit that led the likes of James Orengo, Paul Muite, Reverend Timothy Njoya, Jaramogi Odinga, and Kenneth Matiba to pick up the microphone, brave the teargas and batons, and fight the one party rule in Kenya to push the boundaries of freedom.

It's the same spirit that led Wangari Maathai to stand up against the grabbers of Karura forest and Uhuru park. It's the same spirit that led Davinder Lamber, Prof Kibutha Kibwana, Kephta Ombati among others to push for Electoral reforms and the change of constitution.

The Kenyan spirit the MauMau had, Is the same spirit that resides in Catherine Ndereba, Paul Tergat, John Ngugi, Abbas Magongo, Henry Mutego and the Danson brothers. It is the Same spirit that resides in Mama Kayai, and Inspekta Mwala.

This is the same spirit that led Kenyans to migrate across the borders and the seas to 'dare abroad' . From the Arab deserts to the Rocky mountains of Afghanistan. From the fields Laikipia all the way to the Russian snow and the Mogadishu weather.

Kenya is not some fragile glass that would break if all of us were allowed to love it equally. We are the Country of the Mpesa innovation that has defined financial access even to the first world countries such as Sweden. We are the country of Wangari Maathai the Nobel peace prize winner and Eliud Kipchoge who proved No human is limited.

We are the land of Kimani Maruge who despite his age of 80 years answered to the call of education in the introduction of Universal access to primary Education. We are the land of Simon Gicharu who defied the odds to create the biggest private University in Kenya and arguably East Africa.

We are the land of Peter Tabichi, The Global Teacher Prize winner who has been giving away 80 percent of his Salary to educate the poor.

We are the land of Donatus Njoroge, the Global innovation award winner who developed a way to manage post harvest losses in grains. We are Kenyans, that's who we are.

If we are to measure up to the dreams of our fore fathers and the hope for the  future generations, then we are called upon to posses a sense of moral imagination. We are called upon to understand that none of us can claim the right to love this country more than the others and none of us can stop the other from loving this country.

We must stop this behaviour of thinking that some of us are more Kenyan than the others. It will not help address our challenges in education and access to justice. It will not help address the climate change, environmental challenges or food security. It will not help us develop the economy of the Kenyan people.

We must refuse the temptation to use every opportunity to look for an excuse to fight each other.

Juma Hemedi

Thika West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Douglas Mutai has expressed his concerns over the manner in which residents behaved so casually despite the danger posed by COVID-19.

Speaking during a function to receive food hampers donated by the staff of Thika's Equity Bank Kenyatta Highway Branch, Mutai pleaded with the people to really take care as the number of those infected was skyrocketing each day.

"We are sitting on a timed bomb, fighting an enemy we cannot see, touch nor feel but which is very real. COVID-19 is here with us and mostly hitting the young and very productive segment of the society. We cannot afford to treat this disease normally as it is likely to wipe out a generation," he said.

He cautioned that the recent cases of COVID-19 infections at Thika and Makongeni Police cells were a cause for worry and could erupt into a menace if people were not careful.

On Friday 17th July, 20 out of the over 70 inmates whose tests were done from Thika and Makongeni Police stations have turned positive of the coronavirus.

Out of these cases, 17 are from Makongeni Police Station with Thika holding 3 of the results that have already been released.
The DCC thanked the staff  at the branch for their gesture which he said would go a long way in cushioning those who were hardest hit by the COVID-19 socio-economic purge.

"From this donations, we target to feed about 50 widows and orphans across the sub-county. The situation out there is very dire as very many people still need food assistance," he said.

The branch Manager Isaac Kamau said that their gesture was driven by the urge to contribute to the well-being of the residents they served after realising that majority of them suffered from the effects of the pandemic.

He promised to continue assisting where they could, both as a company and as individuals.

Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Chairman Alfred Wanyoike acknowledged Equity Bank's contribution towards the welfare of both the residents and business community in Thika. He urged them not to relent and also promised to render the community support when called upon.

20 out of the over 70 inmates whose tests were done last week from Thika and Makongeni Police stations have turned positive of the coronavirus.
Out of these cases, 17 are from Makongeni Police Station with Thika holding 3 of the results that have already been released.
The cases are expected to rise after all the results are received. The stations are yet to receive the outcome of the rest of the inmates and those of 25 police officers who were tested last week following the discovery of the initial two cases.

The 20 are now receiving treatment at the Thika Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) Isolation Centre.

On July 9, two people held at the two stations tested positive for COVID-19 and transferred to KU Referral Hospital.

Considering that these latest victims are convicts and remandees who have to be taken to court now and then, there is concern among the officers that there might be a spike in the spread of the virus within and without the stations. The same officers who interact with the inmates on a daily basis later mingle with fellow officers and the general public.
Those who spoke to 3T in condition of anonymity feel the need for the Ministry of Health and the Public Health Department to conduct some mass testing among the officers as well as any of the suspected contact.

Kiambu Gov. James Nyoro says Thika Municipality, which basically constitutes of Thika and Juja constituencies, will benefit from Sh. 305 million infrastructure, sewer and street lighting projects this financial year with support from the World Bank under the Kenya Urban Support Program( KUSP). The projects include: ☞ Re-carpeting of 2.5Km Kenyatta Highway ☞ Re-carpeting of Upper Rd-KRA-Stadium roads ☞ Tarmacking of Makutano-Muguga township access roads (2Km) and street lighting. ☞ Installation of 100 streetlights within Thika town and repair of another 100 streetlights along Kenyatta Highway ☞ Construction of a 4.7Km secondary sewer distribution system at Muigai Inn Daima Estate ☞ Installation of 187 streetlights at various areas in Juja. While in a tour in Thika East and West sub-counties, the governor acknowledged the fact that Kiambu was the second most populous county in the country, and with it, urbanisation had become a great issue. This, he said, necessitated for a big budgetary allocation towards roads and urban development. "The County Government has appreciated fully the principles of devolution and embraced the concept of urban management as envisaged in the Urban Areas and Cities Act (UACA)," he said. "In that regard, the government has enacted and gazetted Municipal Charters for the six municipalities Thika, Limuru, Kikuyu, Karuri, Kiambu and Ruiru. With support from the World Bank under the Kenya Urban Support Program( KUSP) the County Government has initiated projects such as construction of urban roads, installation of security lights, bus parks and pedestrian walkways," he added.


By Dr. Gaitho

Finally after witnessing the pendulum behaviour of our education leadership with regard to resumption of schools and the uncertainty of when or whether the final exams will be conducted, the Cabinet Secretary has spoken and asserted that the academic calendar year 2020 is lost.  The die has been cast, the candidates and other learners now have a glimpse of their education path.  The parents are relieved, they can now plan.
 
We in the academia are of the opinion that there is a lot that need to be done as we move forward since education is here to stay.  While we cannot rule out a recurrence of a similar scenario whether caused by a pandemic or act of God,  the current scenario must be a lesson to us and should it replay in future, the lessons learnt shall be applied to avoid “losing” yet another year.

KNEC involvement
KNEC has been absent throughout the school life of learners. It is high time that this body was called upon to rethink how to be involved in every examination throughout the school terms of a student and not wait at the tail end for eight (8) and (four) 4 years to examine candidates.  You see, KNEC waits for all the work to be done by various stakeholders and appear at the tail end of a pupil or student’s education life and then appear to determine the future of their education.

The question is, how much does KNEC participate in students' education progression to appear as a sieve and hence judge and condemn or otherwise the success or failure of a long journey that it was never involved in?  Is KNEC main purpose for its existence to determine who through a single exam deserve to progress to the next level?  KNEC should ponder along this line and maybe may see the light. 

We need to look at different systems of education like the way IGCSE/GCSE system of education is synchronized (I stand corrected). In Kenya we could have a hybrid that will have a mutual benefit to the learners.  This way, the candidates are awarded grades to progress to the next level based on progression throughout the schooling life and not a one-off examination that will determine the eight or four years spent in school.

We have a lot of hope and support for the success of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) system because in it there is a chance to up the game and salvage what appear to be a desperate situation not only for learners but education stakeholders.


Dr Vincent G. Gaitho, Ph.D.)
Pro Chancellor – Mount Kenya University
www.mku.ac.ke

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