June 2017

The lifeless body of one of the suspected gangsters who were gunned down by the police yesterday in Ruiru.
Three suspects were gunned down by the police in Ruiru on Thursday evening while another suspect escaped with injuries after a fierce exchange of fire.

The suspects are believed to have been on their way to execute a robbery before the police intercepted them after some tipoff from the members of public.

According to Ruiru OCPD Isaac Thuranira, the suspects were driving towards Thika at around 4pm in a Honda airwave saloon car registration number KBZ 075V.

Upon reaching Kihunguro area in Ruiru, they realised that they were being trailed and immediately diverted towards Kihunguro centre.

Thuranira said that when the police challenged the armed men to stop, they drew their pistol and started shooting at the police officers.

In the ensuing shootout, 3 gangsters were felled while the forth one escaped into the nearby Kihunguro slums

Police were have since recovered a Cesar pistol, a magazine loaded with 10 - 9mm bullets, a bullet proof vest, car ignition keys and an empty 9mm cartridge.

The bodies of the deceased have since been moved to city mortuary with the police still searching for the suspect who escaped.

UK-based alumni Harpal Punia (centre) hands over part of the IT material donated to the school by The Thika Alumni Trust (TTAT) to the Principal Peter Kariuki (in dark suit), Kiambu County C.E.C for Education Ms. Esther Ndirangu, parents, BOM members and students of Chania Boys High School. 
The excitement of seeing students browse through the computer for knowledge was palpable at the Chania Boys’ High School e-learning centre on Thursday afternoon. Their joy could be felt from afar as they received computers and digital material worth KEs. 1.5 million that had been donated by The Thika Alumni Trust (TTAT), ex-students of M P Shah Central High School (now Chania Boys’ and Girls’ High schools).

Harpal Punia said that he plus other alumni of the school living in the United Kingdom (UK), joined hands to form TTAT, a charitable organisation aimed at giving back to their former schools.

“As ex-students of Chania (Boys & Girls) High School in the UK, we came together and raised money to assist the school improve its infrastructure and enable the students get better education. When we talked to the principal, he informed us that one of his key priority was to have a school e-learning centre. We developed some really modern technology called RACHEL for the centre,” said Punia, one of the brains behind the whole exercise.

RACHEL or Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning is one of the most innovative technology solution for delivering free educational resources to developing communities, a prototype of a free offline digital library, a collection of leading educational resources, rebuilt as software that can be installed on any computer.  

It is a collection of leading educational websites, rebuilt offline, for use in communities without internet. RACHEL content contains an encyclopedia (Wikipedia), video lectures (Khan Academy), textbooks (CK-12), educational games, coding programs, medical resources, and much more.
TTAT has also delivered free Wi-Fi that makes it possible for the teachers and students to access the internet and assist them in their studies.

“We have delivered wide range Wi-Fi connection that is available to teachers prepare their lessons before they come to class and run through it,” Punia explained.

Chania Boys High School is actually the first school in the country to enjoy this world-class technology.

Kiambu County C.E.C for Education ICT, Culture and Social Services Ms. Esther Ndirangu was a guest at the function was so impressed with the comprehensive learning content in the new system and the simplicity of its content delivery to the learners.

“What has impressed me most is that these computers are very well equipped with all the educational materials needed by the learners. The programming is very user friendly, there are a lot of explanations in there and ample revision exercises to do after every concept learnt,” said the CEC.

She acknowledged that this initiative would boost teaching and learning in the school as it assisted learners to learn at their own pace and at their own leisure.

She appealed to alumni from other schools to emulate this gesture and work out similar initiatives for their former schools so that we could improve the education standards of Kiambu County and guarantee a great future for the children.
Harpal Punia explains a point about the operations of the new systems to the CEC Education Esther Ndirangu as some students browse through the systems.

The school Principal Mr. Peter M. Kariuki thanked the donors for their continued support to the school over the last few years.

“We are so grateful to these group of alumni who have been assisting us through various programmes. They started by donating KES. 100,000 worth of books for our library and later supplied furniture worth KES. 64,000 for our Dining Hall. They have today supplied 30 computers and e-learning material worth KES. 1.5 million,” said Mr. Kariuki.

He explained that this latest project would assist in occupying the boys and incorporating them into the global village. He acknowledged that the school was now at per with other world topnotch schools in terms of accessibility of learning content, a factor that will go a long way in improving the students’ grades and their adaptability to the global environment.

“Our teachers now have a resource centre for use in lesson preparation. It will also ease the burden of teaching and learning. I believe that in a few years’ time, Chania Boys High School will be among the leading learning centres in the country,” acknowledged the principal.

Independent candidate Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle has promised Thika Town constituents that, if elected as their next MP, he will put in place some radical and ambitious plans that will take the constituency back its heydays of the early 80s and mid-90s.

Speaking at Kimuchu Estate after donating helmets and reflectors to about 200 bodaboda riders, Wainaina said that the area had all it takes to be a world-class commercial and investment hub only that it lacked leaders to guide its people to unlock their potential.

“My dream is to have to see Thika begin to compete with other cities in the world in terms of job and wealth creation. If we can assist young people like these bodaboda riders to invest and increase their income, we will help grow our economy and attract massive external investments into our town. I believe that is the future,” said Wainaina.

He said that he was so passionate in the development of infrastructure such as good roads and electricity because they acted as catalysts to economic growth and improvement of security.

“I want to set some precedence in this region where leaders compete to sell development agenda and programmes that empower Wanjiku. I want my opponents to gaze in awe when they observe Thika from its outskirts. I want its people to get empowered so as to free them from political manipulation. That’s my dream and I believe it’s your dream too,” he told Kiganjo residents.

The business magnate said it was quite unfortunate that some of his competitors were sabotaging his projects regardless of the fact that they were all meant for the good of the same people they intended to lead. This, he added, was a clear indication that they preferred to ride on the people’s predicaments for political expediency.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own. We shall be judged by our fruits. What moral authority therefore does one have to ask for reelection if they didn’t do anything during their tenure in office?” asked Wainaina, adding that he would no longer take lying down as his competitor sent goons to destroy his projects.

He distanced himself from any association with any of the local leaders pointing out that as an independent candidate, he had an independent mind devoid of anyone’s manipulation.

“I am vying as an independent candidate and am not campaigning for anyone here. In fact, I am only championing for the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. The rest should sell their candidature in their own capacity,” he said.

However, he promised to work with all those leaders who will be voted into office once he wins the Thika Parliamentary seat.

Small traders almost causing a stampede as they run into Mama Maize Millers in search of  the GOK subsidised unga on Tuesday morning. There has been complaints of discrimination and hoarding of unga by some of the big millers and traders in Thika, a reason why residents are unable to get this precious commodity.
A section of Thika residents have blamed the current shortage of the G.O.K. subsidised maize floor on some unscrupulous millers and traders who they accused of hoarding this precious commodity to make quick cash. They are also pointing an accusing finger to some officers working in the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPD) for conspiring to selectively supply excess unga to these millers.

Tuesday morning, the Thika Town Today crew visited various millers within the sub-county to ascertain the real course why there was still no unga on the retailers’ shelves despite the government importing into the country millions of bags of maize. The situation in most of them was the same as we came across so many prospective customers waiting outside the gates hoping to get at least some maize floor.

At one of the millers, Mama Millers Ltd., we found tens of disappointed customers outside the gate, some of whom were nursing mothers desperately hoping to buy any little unga they could get.

There was almost a stampede when the management opened the gate so as to explain to them that they had not yet received any maize from the NCPD. The people typically run into the company to line up for unga. And probably anticipating possible chaos, the management had called in the police to ensure their safety in case the traders got unruly.

We came to learn that due to the intensity of the problem, the management of the plant had opted to accommodate all types of buyers.

Christine Ndunge, a kiosk retailer in Maguguni, Thika East Sub-County said that they preferred to buy from this particular miller because they allowed them to buy in the amounts each could afford, including in packets.

“The big reason why you see so many of us here is because Mama Millers does not discriminate us. Here it’s first-come-first-served and you are allowed to buy as little as in packets. The other millers won’t sell to you if you don’t buy at least 50 bales of unga,” said Ndunge.

She explained how some of them had camped at the gate from as early as 5am in the morning hoping to get at least some unga since that last time they did was on Wednesday last week.

The traders accused some millers of forcing them to buy other commodities before they were allowed to buy the subsidised unga.

“The big millers are not selling to us the small traders nor anyone who doesn’t have an account with them. They are telling us that their ration has been set aside exclusively for their regular customers,” said Simon Maina Kuria alias Maish Mundu, a trader in Majengo Estate Thika.

He claimed to have ran into losses due to the time wasted looking for the floor, adding that he had also lost some of his customers to other traders who were able to get this unga.

(Related story: REVEALED! This is the reason you aint getting the KES. 90 GOK UNGA.)

We also heard that some of the big millers were also milling the subsidised maize and packing them in sacks instead of the recommended 1kg. or 2kg. Bags by the government.

“These millers are packing the unga in sacks and selling them to selected supermarkets and wholesalers for this is fetching them more money. You should also know that the same traders are repackaging the flour into polythene bags and selling it in smaller quantities for a higher price,” explained one of the traders.

And for sure, in one of the companies we visited, we met a pick-up van getting out of the gate carrying about twenty 70kg bags of maize flour.

While responding to the press, the Managing Director of Mama Millers Ltd. Mr. Bernard Wainaina Mwangi reckoned that they have been having challenges getting maize stocks from the NCPB as whatever they got was never enough.

“We expected some maize today (Tuesday) from the cereal board but when our trucks went there this morning, they were told that they couldn’t get any for they were carrying out some stock taking. We have no choice but to explain to our disappointed customers that there is no unga,” said the MD.

He explained that the company received its last batch of maize over a week ago which lasted for just three days.

“We have a capacity to grind about 1,700 bags daily but we have been receiving about 3,000 bags weekly which is way below the demand currently,” added Mr. Wainaina.

The management of Capwell Millers Ltd. too complained of scarcity in the rations they were currently receiving from NCPB, forcing them to close down one of their milling plant. They warned that if the situation escalated, they would be forced to lay off some of their workers.

However, they remained non-committal on the amount of unga they received, rather directing us to The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) for details.

“Whatever maize we receive from the cereals board we mill and supply it to our customers who are basically supermarkets and wholesalers. But it will be okay if you get details of the whole rationing from the Secretary General of CMA. They are the ones who deal with the government directly. We only receive what has been allocated to us though the NCPB,” said one of the directors who did not wish to be quoted.

However, he hoped that the situation will improve by the beginning of next month when more rations will be received.

Efforts to reach the management of Kenblest Millers were fruitless as we were not allowed to access the premises.

The management of NCPB Thika Branch declined to give us any official response as they claimed they were unauthorised to speak to the press. They referred us to the head office in Nairobi for detailed response.

Ruiru Town Jubilee Parliamentary candidate Simon Ng’ang’a King’ara has advised independent candidates to shelve their ambitions and support the Jubilee Party and President Uhuru Kenyatta as they would all be accommodated in the government.

Speaking at the Calvary Chosen Center in Thika after attending an all denominations prayer meeting, King’ara said that it was wrong for independents to complain when the president and his Deputy William Ruto campaigned for party candidates as the duo was obliged to drum up support for their members. He added that though the independent candidates were free to back the president, they should not expect a return of favour from the ruling coalition.

“I personally have no problem with independent candidates or their support for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto but they should not expect the two to campaign for any other candidates other than those belonging to Jubilee Party. They should instead of complaining shelve their ambitions and join us. The government is big enough to accommodate all of us,” said King’ara.

He praised the Jubilee’s manifesto describing its launch at the Kasarani gymnasium as a declaration of intent by President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to continue delivering on their agenda on development to transform the lives of Kenyans.

He admitted that UhuRuto had done a lot for this country and their commitments to the future of this country were actually built in on programmes that had already started and their relentless in its pursuit of goals

(Relate story: Jubilee parliamentary candidate’s house burnt under mysterious circumstances.)

“The country cannot develop without a plan. These commitments to the future are actually built in on programmes that are already started, that are being signed for,” he said.

He predicted that this year’s elections would be peaceful. Nonetheless, he called on all candidates to accept the verdict of the electorate saying that the destiny of this country will only be decided via the ballot box.

Rev. David Kariuki Ngari addressing the members of press at the Calvary Chosen Center, Thika during a prayer session. He is being franked by tens of Bishops and pastors from different denominations across the country. 
Religious leaders drawn from different denominations have devoted 20 days of prayer and fasting for the nation in the run up to the elections in August.

The more than 200 bishops and pastors said that beginning July 2nd to July 21st  2017, they would retreat to Abel City Retreat Centre and intensify their prayers to ensure the sustenance of peace and tranquility in the country, before, during and after the elections.

Speaking on behalf of the clergy at the Calvary Chosen Center in Thika, Apostle John Kimani said that the retreat will culminate in a mega prayer rally dubbed the National Peace and Prayer Rally at Uhuru Park Nairobi on the 22nd of July.

“As the church, we are going to use prayer to break the cycles of bloodshed and turmoil in this country especially during the elections. We will not sit back and watch as Kenya gets polluted through witchcraft,” said AP. Kimani.

The men of the cloth blamed the spirit of tribalism on the politicians who they accused of reviving negative ethnicity every election year. They called on the Hon. Francis Xavier Ole Kaparo-led National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) team to zero in on all leaders who spread hate and incited the public against fellow Kenyans.

“We fail to understand why the issue of tribalism only emerge only during election time. These are the same people who congregate together in churches, live harmoniously in residential area and work together in in the workplaces. What then changes when it comes to elections?” asked Rev. David Kariuki Ngari popularly known as Gakuyo.

“Ole Kaparo and your team in NCIC. All our eyes are on you. Nobody is above the law and you must not allow politicians to divide us on tribal lines. Your team and the police should take charge and manage peace in this country,” Gakuyo added.

He condemned recent sentiments by NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga at a rally in Kajiado in which Raila said that should he win the elections, his administration would empower the community to stop them from selling their land.

Raila is said to have called on the Maasai people to evict others from Kajiado when he said Maasai should not sell their land to those who continued to impoverish the community.

Davie seen here at his work place Davies Hair Care located at Rafiki House 1st floor Mama Ngina Street, he has handle an array of clients from politicians,business people and magistrates since his began his career in hair and beauty in the early 2000's.

David Gitau is the founder of Davies Hair Care-Thika, he started out his business with one plastic chair, one blow drier and four mirrors, he used to hire out a blow drier at a cost of Kes 1,000 per month, but with the increase in clientele he would be forced to purchase a plastic chair from the supermarkets in order for him to accommodate them as his business expanded.

He encourages parents to allow their children to pursue a career in beauty and hair care, and shun the stereotype that beauty shops are a den for gossipers, and a career in this profession only suits one gender. 

1. How did you start your career in Hair and Beauty care?

I started way back in AIC Chebisaas Boys High School-Eldoret, while  in Form Two, I used to shave guys at school, in fact the school administration bought me a shaving machine and allocated me a slot as a prefect in charge of hair care, it was a double dividend for me because my school mates got an opportunity to save on time they would opt not to seek permission to go and get a shave at the nearby Kinyozi, and come to me, I was also exempted from pursuing other Co- Curriculum activities.

2. What Kind of skills do you require in this career?

You need to be creative, many are the times a client comes to me with a photo of a certain hair style and they want you to make them appear almost the same as the person on the photo, this requires you to visualise through it and embark on delivering it, also being a service oriented job it is important for one to cultivate customer care skills, work etiquette, hygiene are also key, you cannot be grooming people and yet you appear shabby, also there is need to be versatile and learn new and emerging styles and most importantly discipline.

3. What kind of training do you need in this career?

In every career it is important to acquire some training, most of my staff members have undergone training in various areas such as cosmetology, beauty therapy and customer care, I usually also go out of my way to train them on matters concerning beauty an hair care.

4. Who are some of the high level clients that you have dealt with?

If I can recall politicians such as former Thika Deputy Mayor and EALA MP Hon. Mumbi Ngaru, Kiambu County Assembly Nominated MCA Hon. Flozie Ngeru, Magistrates, key business people in Thika that I cannot mention here for obvious reasons, I have also being part of high level events such as Mr/Mrs Club Vybster, back in the days, high profile weddings such as Rocky’s wedding that made Thika come to a standstill late 2016, baby showers and birthdays too.

5. What is the biggest challenge of running a beauty shop?

 The biggest challenge is recruiting the right criteria of people to work for you, imagine if a client walks inside your beauty parlour and demands that they want to rock a certain hairstyle that they’ve seen on a magazine, and one of your staff members cannot  come anywhere close to achieving it, you might end up losing a client. Pricing is also crucial to you don’t want to erode a market by charging your clients a low figure so that you can be the talk of town.  The cost of electricity at times is also a challenge because sometimes you would get a bill that is so huge, and you are left to wonder who will lower the cost of fuel production for us?

6. What happens when after offering your services and a client is not pleased by the results?

First as a team leader I always listen to the client, give them time to present their grievances and if it’s a genuine concern we explore various options such as having the hair redone at no cost at all, and try as much as possible to and persuade them to allow somebody else to handle her hair.

7. Where do you see Davies Hair Care in 5years time?

I would like to sharpen my skills and venture into consultancy many are times the client doesn’t really know what they want, some are not aware of certain aspects that we consider in this industry such as somebodies skin texture, type of hair, I’d love to seat down with them and offer them some professional advice on the do’s and don’ts before embarking of any beauty and hair care procedure.

8. Why Davies Hair Care?

 Because it is the best in Thika, because it has the best team of hair dressers in this town, its the home of trendy hair styles, we have flexible opening hours , we are all rounded from hair care, beauty and fashion.

Connect with Davie on Face Book /davies.care
Cellphone 0721 879661

Just days after 300 women endorsed the candidature of Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle for the Thika Parliamentary seat, hundreds of Muslim faithful in Thika have followed suit and declared their support for the Thika-based businessman.

Speaking after the IDD prayers in Thika Sub-County Stadium to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, the Muslims also called for peaceful and mature campaigns.

Mzee Abdullahi Shaiya, the Chairman of the Thika Muslims, said as a community, they have opted to support Wainaina because of his development agenda and his close association with the Muslim community in Thika.

“As a religious community, we have endorsed this young man (Wainaina) because of his development agenda and his close links with us as Muslims. He has tried so much to change Thika with his projects and we believe that he is the right leader for Thika,” said Mzee Abdullahi.

These sentiments were echoed by the former deputy mayor Yassin Osman and youth leaders Bakari Wa Beaver line and Mohammed Abdi who said that Wainaina has been working very closely with the Muslim faithful and had shown his willingness to work with everybody without discrimination.

“Previously, I have not been supporting him, but his recent actions and today’s gesture towards the Muslim community has won my heart. I totally declare my support for him and will campaign for his candidature from now henceforth. As the Muslim community, we do not follow material gains but what a man stands for. Wainaina is a man with a big heart and we shall definitely vote for him,” said the former Majengo Ward Councilor.

Abdi reckoned that the Muslim community were people who kept their promises and they would fulfil this one by voting in Wainaina as a block to ensure he won the seat.

“Win or lose, we, the Thika Muslims will sail in the same boat with Wainaina. We will walk with him to the ballot. Inshallah! He will be our next MP,” said Abdi.

Bakari said that his support for Wainaina emanated from the businessman’s devotion to assisting the poor in the community and his cooperation with the Muslims.

While accepting this endorsement, Eng. Wainaina said he had been humbled by this gesture adding that he did not take for granted.

“To be accepted and supported by Muslim faithful from all the 7 mosques in Thika Town is not a small fete and I cannot take it for granted. I thank you all and promise to work with you to make 
Thika great again,” he said.

Wainaina donated blankets and foodstuff to the less fortunate in the society as a way to help them celebrate IDD. He wished all the Muslims EID Mubarak and a great future.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto will tomorrow unveil the Jubilee manifesto as they seek their second term in office, a document that is likely to capture successes of their government in the past four years.

As they make their case, the big question pondering in the mind of the electorate will be if the Jubilee government has delivered on its pre-election pledges.

The jubilee administration ride on the just completed Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that resulted in the launch of Madaraka Express train that operates between Nairobi and Mombasa significantly reducing travel time for both goods and passengers.

Besides the railway line, jubilee would be dangling its list of achievements in the construction and expansion of roads, with electricity connection to homesteads under the last mile connectivity project increasing not forgetting the street lighting programme in urban centers.

In the education sector, the government can boost of having restored confidence in the national examinations which for years has been shrouded by irregularities.

It has also began the pilot program as part of the journey in scrapping 844 in favour of 2-6-3-3-3 whose full roll out is expected to begin in January.

Its major flagship program of provision of laptops for class one pupils has however been slow in implementation and one whose roll out has been low key.

Free maternity services for expectant mothers and reduction of mother and child mortality is another front that the Jubilee administration has put its energy into.

However they have faced major challenges in the health sector due to the 100 day doctors’ strike that paralysed the health sector a situation that remains a thorn in its flesh with nurses currently on strike for the third week demanding better pay.

The 2013 jubilee manifesto promised to secure the country through equipping and modernising the security forces for effectiveness. For the first time in history Kenya Police force has armored personnel carriers and more helicopters under the jubilee government. The government through a lease arrangement has provided the police with assorted vehicles for easy ground mobility.

On the flipside, the Jubilee’s pledge to grow the economy to double digits is yet to materialise and the cost of living remains way beyond the reach of the common Mwananchi.

Food insecurity remains yet another challenge with a pledge to fully shift to irrigation farming appearing not to have made impressive progress following drought that exposed nearly 2 million Kenyans to starvation.

The government still has a lot of convincing to do as food prices remain at an all-time high. A month ago the government was forced to import maize and subsidize the cost of maize to millers in a bid to bring the cost of a 2kg bag of maize flour from KES. 150 to KES. 90 for access to the common mwananchi.

One of the banners that have elicited some heated debate in Thika Town Constituency with a section of  residents interpreting it as an endorsement to discard President Uhuru Kenyatta's call for a Jubilee 6-piece vote in August.
The omission of Kiambu Senator Paul Kimani Wamatangi on the Jubilee Party advertisement billboards has sparked outrage amongst his supporters who claim that their candidate is being sidelined by his colleagues in ‘United 4 Kiambu’ (U4K).

Giant billboards strategically mounted at various spots around Thika Town Constituency bear the portraits of what seems to be the official Jubilee Party line-up fronted to the electorate for the August 8 General Elections. In the poster Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu alia ‘Baba Yao’ is being fronted as the party’s gubernatorial choice with Gathoni Wamuchomba and MP Alice Ng’ang’a as the Kiambu Women Representative and Thika Town MP respectively.

Others are Andrew Ndirangu (Township Ward), Dunson Mburu (Hospital Ward), Raphael Chege (Kamenu Ward), Cecilia Wamaitha (Gatuanyaga Ward) and Joakim Mwangi (Ngoliba Ward). There is no portrait of any senatorial candidate in what is presumed by Wamatangi’s supporters as a silent rejection in favour of the independent candidate and Ngewa MCA Karungo Wa Thang’wa, who they say has been in the U4K team before.

“As a resident of Makongeni, I was shocked to see this billboard that is purported to be that of the Jubilee Party line-up mounted here without the image of Senator Wamatangi. Isn’t he a Jubilee candidate? Are they in a way telling us to ignore the president’s call for a Jubilee 6-piece vote?” asked Kimani Mwangi, a trader in Madaraka Market.

Another trader in Madaraka Market who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal, described the Jubilee Party outfit as a ‘tattered suit’ that could not attract any buyer.

“Let me be frank with you. We are just waiting for the polling day and express our dissatisfaction by voting out some of these leaders you see on this billboard. Kama wenyewe hawavai suti, sisi ni nani tuambiwe tupigie kura suti imeraruka? (If they themselves won’t dress in suits, who are we to be coerced to vote for a tattered suit?)” she asked.

Her colleague accused some of these leaders of deserting them only to reappear whenever the traders were in trouble. This, she said, was to take advantage of their adversities for political expediency. She reckoned that Madaraka Market traders had suffered for quite a long time and it was time they elected leaders who would always be there for them and who would listen to their plight.

Ken Mwangi, a resident of Kiandutu, was a bitter man as he expressed his disappointment with the billboard at the Gatitu junction. He argued that if the trio did not want to support Hon Wamatangi, then they should let Thika electorate to choose their leaders without being bothered with party politics.

“Whoever designed this banner must have been driven by the resolve to blackout Hon. Wamatangi in favour Karungo Wa Thang’wa, who has been associating with Hon. Alice and Hon. Waititu in their fights with Governor (William) Kabogo,” said Ken.

The poster, which has been trending on social media over the past few days, first caught online attention and sparked some heated debate on social media, with some users arguing that there was disunity in the party’s operatives. Some other school of thought argued that some of those candidates in the U4K were uncomfortable with Wamatangi’s candidature due to his independence in decision making and his firm stand against the misuse of county funds.

Ever since, social media has been abuzz with a section of users terming the move as sign of infighting within the local party ranks with some saying that these leaders were indirectly advocating for a ‘broken suit’ in the August polls.

Canadian high commissioner Mr. Luke Myers (Left), President of Canadian food grains bank Mr. James Cornelius, ACK Bishop of Mt. Kenya Central Rev. Timothy Gichere together with Canadian delegation and farmers at Kambirwa village of Gikindu location in Murang’a County where the team had toured a conservation agriculture project sponsored by the Canadian government through the Anglican Development Services (ADs)
Canadian Government, in partnership with the Anglican Development Services (ADS), which is the development arm for the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Mt. Kenya Diocese, has set aside USD. 14 million (KES. 14 billion) to introduce an alternative methods of farming that help in stabilising yields and improve production over the long term.

They are now introducing conservative agriculture (CA) to the farmers as a way of mitigating drought in the semi-arid areas, targeting over 50,000 farmers in five counties in Kenya and some parts of Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Speaking during an inspection tour of a CA project in Kambirwa village of Kiharu constituency in Murang'a County, Canadian High Commissioner Luke Myers said that their government supported the initiative as part of the Canadian food grans bank programme meant to alleviate hunger in semi-arid regions.

He was satisfied in the progress made so far, adding that his delegation to Murang’a presented him with a great opportunity to interact with the farmers and see first-hand the results of their interventions.

He expressed his joy to see farmers realising increased yield and quality harvest even with the prolonged dry drought.

President of Canadian Food Grains Bank Mr. James Cornelius, who had accompanied the high commissioner said that the Canadian Government had pledged to continue funding them for next five years so as to ensure the programme was sustained.

“This programme is being rolled out in Machakos, Makueni, Nakuru, Busia and Murang’a,” explained Cornelius.

ADS training officer in charge of Gikindu area Mr. Godfrey Githinji said that they were is targeting 3,000 farmers within the county, distributed in three different semi-arid areas of Gikindu, Makuyu and Ithanga. He added that, with the help of the Murang’a Agricultural Livelihood Improvement Project (MALI), each of these area would benefit 1, 000 farmers.

“Continuous tilling of land destroys soil health status hence the observation of minimum tillage. We have therefore been training Gikindu farmers on the three principles of conservation agriculture, namely; no digging, maintaining the soil covered and crop rotation in good agronomic practices,” said Githinji.

He advised farmers to always weed their shamba by slashing the weeds and planting with precision using a planting rope. He also suggested the use of domestic ash, organic manure, fertilisers as well as mulching so as to guarantee good soil cover.

Githinji asserted that CA was the key to food security not only in Murang’a’s semi-arid areas but also in Kenya at large.

“With conservative agriculture, a portion of land measuring 20 by 15 meters can produce about three bags of maize in 300 square meters of land,” said Githinji.

The Bishop-elect for Mt. Kenya Diocese of the ACK Rev. Timothy Gichere acknowledged that the ADS would spread its wings on CA and upscale the program to other dioceses. He thanked the Canadian government for the initiative, pointing out that he had observe positive signs in the programme.

Susan Wanja and Josephine Nduta, both beneficiaries of the programme, could not hide their joy as they narrated their experiences with this new method of farming.

“We use less labour due to mulching which also help to guard our crops against severe weather conditions. Compared to what we were practicing previously, we are now anticipating to earn better yields. The difference is so conspicuous,” explained Wanja.

Wanja confessed that she had never had it easy time with her farm the way she had with this new method.

“You cannot compare my farm with those of my neighbours who are still using the traditional tilling methods. In fact, I have ended up being a trainer on conservation agriculture where farmers have been trickling to my farm for training,” she added.

Conservative agriculture method of farming that encourages less tilling of land. Instead of hoeing the soil, the farmer leaves the dried stalks and leaves from the previous crop on the surface. They plant seed directly through this mulch.

Conservative agriculture guarantees less work and higher yields while reducing production costs, maintaining the soil fertility and conserving water. This makes the farmer more independent and a confident member of the community

Residents of Witeithie Estate, Ngoingwa and Mang’u in Juja, Thika Town and Gatundu North Constituencies respectively have a reason to smile after the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) started inviting bids for the construction of more footbridges along the Thika superhighway.

Further still, motorists are headed for an easy ride along this highway as the lack of footbridges has forced authorities to erect barriers on the busy superhighway, thus slowing traffic clearance.

At the moment, motorists on Thika Road have to slow down to allow pedestrians to cross at several sections along the highway which still have bumps and rumble strips. This has resulted to the death of pedestrians and bodaboda riders by hit and run drivers causing major traffic snarl ups.

“The Kenya National Highways Authority invites tenders from eligible candidates for provision of construction of pedestrian crossing facilities across the Thika Superhighway (A2s) at Witeithie and Mangu Road,” read a notice published by the agency earlier this week.

The procurement follows a February High Court ruling that directed the KeNHA and City Hall to remove bumps and rumble strips along the superhighway within 60 days.

The ruling by Justice George Odunga followed a petition by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who had sued the two agencies arguing that the bumps and rumble strips were the cause of traffic jams on the busy highway.

In November last year, residents of Witeithie area near Mang’u High School barricaded the highway after the death of a bodaboda rider leading to a 6km traffic snarl up.

Anti-riot police later disbursed the angry protesters. The number of pedestrian fatalities caused by human errors or careless driving has been rising since completion of the road in 2012.

The growth in the population of people living along the busy highway has made the need for footbridges even more urgent to avert further loss of lives. There are also a number of institutions of higher learning are located along the road, further escalating the need for footbridges to avert fatalities.

There are 18 footbridges along the highway with 10 others designed but yet to be build due to budget constraints. 

A Section of River Chania that is heavily infested by the green like vegetation.
Experts are pointing an accusing finger to industrial pollution discharged from factories and waste water released by residents into River Chania as the two main reasons for the fast growth of the water hyacinth that is now threatening to choke the town's largest river.

River Chania is now on the verge of extinction following increased invasion by the notorious water weed on parts bordering some of the manufacturing industries in the area, especially the area below St. Xavier Girls’ High School near UTI Estate.

The river has been heavily polluted by the industries effluents and raw human waste water freely flowing into it illegally.

“The plant thrives on fresh water bodies that have been polluted by chemical effluents containing nitrate fertilizers which explains why the weed spreads so rapidly along parts of the river bordering some of these manufacturing industries,” explained Mr. Donatus Njoroge, a researcher at the Mt. Kenya University (MKU).

Some residents working nearby however believe the plant may have been accidentally or voluntary thrown into the river upstream before it was swept downstream by unsuspecting persons or by people who knew what they were up to since it is rare in the area.

“The plant must have been brought to the river by someone accidentally or voluntarily and thrived well on the parts that have huge nitrates deposits,” said James Mumu Thika resident.

However, Njoroge refuted this saying that as much as it could be true, it was not definite. He added that the plant may have as well been washed downstream into the area from other parts of the country where the plant thrives before spreading along Thika area due to the high rate of nutrients deposits into the river without having been brought there by a particular person.

“The impact of this on the residents is increased cases of malaria and waterborne diseases like bilharzia. The weed is a good breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. It also interferes with irrigation activities and water treatment works," said Mr. Njoroge.

Water hyacinth has been branded as the world’s worst aquatic weed due to its invasive potential, negative impact on aquatic ecosystems, and the cost it necessitates to control it. Removing this weed is usually very difficult because once it is established in a water body, it spreads through wind propulsion of floating plants (or plant fragments), through water currents and on the feathers and feet of the numerous species of local and migratory water birds. 

Following the enactment of the Community and Neighbourhood Association Engagement Act 2017 that was sponsored by Kahawa Sukari Ward MCA Eng. Peter Karanja Geche, it will now be mandatory for Kiambu County Government to collaborate with residents associations on various issues aimed at enhancing service delivery.

The meeting was attended by over 70 representatives of various Resident Associations and community based organizations in Kiambu County. Both the County Assembly and County Executive of Kiambu County Government were well represented by senior officers who engaged and competently responded to the various questions raised by participants.

Residents of Kiambu have been therefore encouraged to take advantage of the law to address the various service delivery challenges they have been facing.

Speaking at the meeting organised by the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) with Resident Associations in Kiambu County to discuss key highlights of the Act, its benefits and effective implementation, the Chief Officer, Department of Land, Housing and Physical Planning Mr. David Gatimu, expressed optimism that the law will streamline participation by Resident 
Associations on matters affecting them hence leading to better services.

On his part, KARA CEO, Mr. Ochieng’ had this to say: “We are determined to strengthen the voice of resident associations on the governance agenda in Kenya and having a law recognizing and promoting their engagement is one way of doing so. We intend to have all the Counties enact and implement similar laws.”

The key objectives of the Act include:

  • Establish a legal framework for the engagement, promotion and facilitation of community and neighbourhood associations in their support, co-operation and collaborative efforts with the County Government in the delivery of services.
  • Enhance public participation in the decision making by the County Government especially with regard to service delivery and thus give effect Articles 10 and 174 of the Constitution.
  • Recognise and facilitate community and neighborhood initiatives in complementing county government’s services including security, waste management, water, sanitation, public health and other utility provision.
  •  Establish a recognition framework for the community and neighborhood associations.
  • Provide for competencies and responsibilities of the community and neighborhood associations.
  • Establish framework for strengthening capacities and synergy of community and neighborhood associations to enforce regulations aimed at enhancing service provision.

Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle has received a major boost as he seeks to clinch the Thika Town Parliamentary seat after 300 women from across the constituency agreed to back his bid.

At a prayer function convened by women from different ethnic groups and denominations to pray for peaceful elections held the St. Balikudebe Pastoral Center next to General Kago Primary School, the women acknowledged Wainaina’s transformative agenda, regarding him as the best placed person suited to make Thika great again.

They emphatically stated that they had resolved to support his candidature due to his vision for the people of Thika and his endeavour to create jobs for the youth.

Speaking on their behalf, Victoria Muthoni, a resident of Kisii Estate in Kamenu Ward, said Wa Jungle had all what it takes to become their next MP, adding that he was capable transform their lives if Thika electorate helped him ascend to power in August. 

“As women of Thika Town Constituency, we have resolved to rally behind Wainaina as he promises to be the best option to bring back Thika Town’s lost glory of the heydays. We take no pride in the kind of leadership we have experienced in the last few years. It is time we make the change we deserve and that change is Wainaina Wa Jungle,” said Muthoni.

Muthoni reckoned that Wainaina was accessible and his development record was evident for all to see.

Joyce Kisingu, a resident of Hospital Ward, said that they were tired of endless fights that translated to no development.

“When we cast our votes in 2013, we expected all our leaders to work in harmony and pool together the county resources for the benefit of the mwanachi. But instead, they started washing their dirty linens in public, and entangled us in their personal differences resulting to very little development in the region,” said Joyce.

“As Thika people, we are tired of these fights. We just need leaders who will initiate development programmes. And as the women who suffer most in all this, we have resolved to change tact and vote for Wainaina who has shown all signs that he will deliver if given a chance,” she added.

Grace Atieno from Kiganjo Estate applauded Wainaina’s leadership skills adding that this time round they were uninterested in party politics as their choice of leaders would be driven by individual candidate’s abilities.

Responding to their endorsement, Eng. Wainaina thanked the women for the overwhelming support they had accorded him and assured them that his victory would be a win for the people of Thika. He added that he was well prepared to battle it out with the incumbent MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a, noting that the women’s support was a clear indication of victory in the upcoming polls.

Wainaina also appealed to all his supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that will give Thikarians the confidence to entrust the mandate of leadership into the hands of development conscious leaders.

He castigated the behaviour of grassroots Jubilee leaders whom he said had attempted to create a wedge between leaders from other parties and the president.

“A scene like what we saw on Sunday at Thika Stadium during the president’s visit was regrettable and a sign of mediocrity. The president came to visit the people of Thika and not a chosen few. Attempting to shield him and branding others as enemies is a clear sign of cowardice and defeatist. If one is very sure of winning, why fear your opponents?” he asked.

He thanked the residents of Thika who stood their ground forcing those who had attempted to throw him out of the podium to chicken out.

“When God is on your side, all things will work out for the glory of His name. Your standing by me at that moment of shame was a clear testimony that we are walking this journey together and I will not let you down,” said Wainaina.

“These fellas calling themselves as ‘Jubilee Diehards’ are just a bunch of selfish individuals who are only interested in safeguarding their positions. They aint doing much to solicit votes for the president. And by the way, President Uhuru Kenyatta needs all our votes regardless from which camp they come from,” quipped Wainaina.

The footbridge along Thika Super highway near Mang'u High School that is just a few metres away from where the traffic police officers were nabbed by EACC detectives.
There was pandemonium next to the Witeithie Estate Bridge along the busy Thika-Nairobi Superhighway on Thursday morning as EACC detectives arrested six traffic police officers for allegedly taking bribes.

The officers, believed to be from Thika Police Station, put up a spirited fight to avoid arrest in the 9am incident.

According to eyewitnesses, five officers including, one of them a female, were first apprehended by the anti-corruption officers but some quick response from their colleagues team from Thika managed  to secure the escape of two of them  who included the female cop. Another female police managed to escape in the ensuing confusion that attracted local residents at the scene.

Two of those who escaped left behind their caps and badges in the incident.

The EACC officers were forced to fire several shots in the air to disperse the officers who were very determined to rescue the remaining colleagues.

There are reports that some rowdy youths took advantage of the melee to break into a cash-in-transit vehicle and stole an unknown amount of money. The vehicle had been forced to stop during the confrontation.

After the operation, the EACC officers sped off as more police officers arrived to help their colleagues.

Confirming the incident, EACC Deputy CEO Michael Mubea said that his officers recovered KES. 10,000 from the officers which he said would be used as evidence against them in court.

“The money will be presented in court as evidence. We are pleading with members of the public to work with us to ensure we end corruption in the police service,” he said.

It is alleged that a traffic police in a bike unsuccessfully attempted to lure truck drivers to block the highway so that the EACC officers do not leave with the suspects.

Motorists who spoke to Thika Town Today after the incident said that the move had been long overdue.

Hospital Ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi alias J BEE addressing participants at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) at the Umoja Social Hall to discuss the proposed construction of the Thika Bypass on Wednesday. 
The encroachment of road reserves and grabbing of pathways has been identified as the main cause of traffic snarl-ups in Thika Town.

This was revealed at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) at the Umoja Social Hall to discuss the proposed construction of the Thika Bypass.

Speaking at the forum, Hospital ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi alias J BEE explained how former leaders in the defunct Thika Municipal Council colluded with unscrupulous investors to grab land along Kenyatta Highway, thus diverting its original route leading to congestion on internal roads within the town.

J BEE said that original maps at the local authority show that vehicles destined for Nairobi are supposed to leave the town via Section 9 Estate and pass next to St. David’s Academy where they turned left to join the Thika Superhighway at the old underpass on the flyover near Ngoingwa Estate.

However, along this pathway stands high-rise flats, as the land was grabbed and sold to real estate developers, some of whom are unaware that their multi-million investments are sitting on a roadway.

“Some of those very beautiful houses you see in Section 9 near the flyover are sitting on Kenyatta Highway. According to the original plan, no vehicle is supposed to exit Thika town from the Gatitu junction. That section of Kenyatta Highway was designated as an entry point from Nairobi only,” explained the MCA.

J BEE added that the same scenario applied to the same highway as it joined Garissa Road near Kivulini in Kisii Estate.

He explained that the Kenyatta Highway was designed to go straight past Thika Cloth Mills, through to Bhupco Ltd, pass behind Broadways Bakery and Matharao slums. It was then to cut through the Del Monte-BAT road on its way through Umoja Estate and Gachagi Slums to eventually branch to 
Garissa Highway at Leather Industries Ltd.

“Kenyatta Highway does not branch at the UTI junction near Pilot Estate. That part that people refer to as the highway was meant to be a feeder road to serve companies like Broadway Bakeries, Nampak and Kenya Nuts Ltd., either as they join Garissa Road near Engen Petrol Station or as they get to town via Kenyatta Highway,” he said.

In this section of the road, there is a wall erected next to Matharao Slums that has completely blocked the road’s path. Some of the developments in Umoja Estate, Gachagi Slums and the playing field purported to belong to Leather Industries Ltd. are said to be on the road reserve.

Meanwhile, participants at the meeting heard that plans were at an advanced stage to construct the Thika Bypass whose idea was to de-congest Thika Town.

According to the designs presented by KURA, the bypass would exit the Nairobi-Murang’a Highway at the Del Monte shop near Thika Sports Club, run through the company’s farm, branch towards Makongeni Estate near its factory offices to join Garissa Road at the BAT junction.

The proposed design of the Thika Bypass whose construction is targeted for early next year to take two years of completion.
KURA Ag. Director General Eng. S.M. Kinoti said that the construction works are scheduled to begin early 2018 and go on for the next two years. It was revealed that this road had earlier been planned to start co-currently with the one at Kivulini but its programme got delayed due to financial and logistical constraints.

This consultative meeting is the first of several others that the authority plans to hold with the members of public before the actual construction of the bypass begins. This is geared towards ironing out any contentious issues involving its constructions in good time in order to avoid any impediments once the work begins.

Similar meetings will be conducted with affected residents living across River Chania on the Murang’a County side of the border.

Kiharu MP Irungu Kang'ata along with other Jubilee supporters seen angrily confronting independent candidates at Blue post hotel in Murang'a county on Wednesday morning.
Chaos and bitter exchange of words between Jubilee Party members and nominees on one side and independent candidates on the other, may have forced President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto to skip a planned stopover at Blue Post Hotel at the border of Kiambu and Murang’a Counties.

Patrons and guests at the hotel were on Wednesday morning treated to a rare drama as Murang’a leaders nearly exchanged blows prior to the president’s visit.

The president and his entourage were scheduled to briefly stopover at the hotel before starting his Murang’a tour with his ‘Meet-the-people’ tour in Mabanda, Gatanga and finally a major rally at Ihura Stadium.

Chaos have erupted at Blue Post hotel in Thika where President Uhuru Kenyatta and the DP are expected to meet Murang’a leaders and candidates.

Trouble started when Kembi Gitura who is vying for the Murang’a Senate seat, Gatanga MP Dr. Humphrey Kimani Njuguna (Roho Safi) and Waithira Wa Muithirania who running for the Murang’a Women Rep ‘gatecrashed’ into the event. The bone of contention is that the three are vying as independents, thus being perceived as ‘enemies’ of the president’s party.  

Led by Kiharu MP Irungu Kang'ata, the Jubilee brigade demanded the three, together with Business tycoon Peter Munga leave the meeting with immediate effect.

Kang’ata, who is the Jubilee nominee for the Senate seat, argued that the function was exclusively a Jubilee Party affair and therefore no ‘outsider’ was welcome.

Business and running of the hotel was brought to a standstill as the Jubilee members started chanting “Kembi must go! Munga Must Go! They also waved banners with the words ‘Jubilee only’ printed on.

“All independent candidates must go. The President is coming to address Jubilee candidates. We will not let them into our discussion with leaders since they left the party,” shouted one supporter.

MCA aspirant Mwangi Kifeeti said: “Our President will address us only after all independent candidates leave the premises. We will stay put until President Uhuru arrives.”

Among those present included Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, all Jubilee nominees and several MPs from the region.

The region experienced massive irregularities during the primaries in April culminating to more than 50 candidates to seek election as independents.

Two lady M-PESA attendants lost KES. 55,000 at gun-point near the Witeithie Estate Stage in Juja Constituency when two armed thugs raided their shop on Monday evening.

Confirming the incident, Juja OCPD Patricia Narsio said the criminals went to Mujenya Investment Ltd M-PESA around 6.30pm posing as customers. One of them pretended to withdrawal KES. 500 while his accomplish requested to have his cellphone charged.

As one of the attendants opened shop’s door to take the phone, the thug drew a pistol and forced himself in as his accomplice kept guard at the entrance. Within a fraction of a second, he emptied the cash box and starched the loot in his pockets.

Narsio said the thugs were cajoled to shoot in the air to clear the way after one of the attendants raised alarm. Traders at the busy stage suffered losses after their property was destroyed as members of public scampered for safety after hearing the loud bang from the gangster’s weapon enabling them to flee.

Nobody was injured during the incident.

By Tuesday morning, no arrest or recovery had been made.

Kiambu County Agriculture CeC Monica Waiganjo handing over the trophy to Urithi Saccos team during the expo. Looking on is Deputy Governor Gerald Githinji (in a white cap). 
Urithi Housing and Premier Saccos stole the show in the just concluded two-day North Eastern Africa’s largest exhibition in Thika after being named the best Saccos offering agricultural based products.

Urithi emerged victorious after an overall evaluation of the exhibiting companies where they had the best projects in the Housing and supportive loans in the Premier Sacco.

According to the Kenya Agricultural Industry Network (KAIN) Secretary General Patrick Kimani, who was also the organising Secretary of the expo, said that the purpose of awards was to motivate and enlighten the other Kenyan brands to grow and support local investments like Urithi had shown.

“We have evaluated all the exhibitors in the two days and decided to settle for these two Saccos as the projects they are educating the members of public and farmers in general on are agricultural oriented. We are sure that their competitors in the Sacco sector are aiming higher to achieve the same next time,” he said.

He lauded the move by Urithi Housing Sacco to support agriculture despite being a real estate company adding that it was a good gesture to ensure the lives of Kenyans are not at stake by utilising all the land on housing.

“This is a real estate group that is venturing and encouraging people to venture into agriculture and we are delighted to have positive thinking Kenyans who are fighting to ensure equality in land use. We hope other people could emulate them and ensure there is still land left for agriculture,” Kimani said.

Urithi Premier Sacco was also lauded for offering affordable rates of loan products to the agribusiness clients and thus promoting agriculture across the country.

“With such investors across Kenya we are sure that we will never starve because as we build houses 
for Kenyans we are also giving them an opportunity to produce food for the country,” he added.

Earlier last month, Urithi Housing launched an agri-business concept to ensure they supplement the government efforts of producing enough food for the country. The project dubbed Urithi Farm (URIFAM) is aimed at assisting the farmers produce food by using green houses.

Urithi CEO Kelvin Majau discouraged the idea of land buying and abandoning it calling on Kenyans to venture into agribusiness.

The two day Exhibition provided an open platform where value chain actors showcased Agricultural based products and services including extensive technologies, value added products, resource materials and other relevant merchandise.

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