July 2017

Just a week to the general elections, Kenyan politics is now a red-hot oven where anyone can get roasted, especially for politicians and their close allies.

The rivalries politicians are whipping up and the violence associated with Kenyan elections are at fever pitch. Candidates are pulling out all the stops and undermining their opponents by unethical or illegal means to ensure victory. 

Politicians in Kiambu County has perfected this art. There is lot of dirty politics and mudslinging moving around. They have started creating misleading, distorted or false impressions against their competitors. Politicians are now squaring off through negative campaigning.  

The residents are currently witnessing publications aimed at showing the electorate the ‘risks’ associated with some of the candidates and exploiting people’s fears to manipulate and lower the impression voters have of the opponents. The electorate is being fed with so much false information with the perpetrators hoping that they will use it to win support.

Majority of these politicians are currently using the youth and rogue older women to launch their evil attacks on against their competitors.  Some have turned to bloggers who they feed with offensive content to discredit their opponents and to champion negative campaigning.

Fake publications and newsletters are now being scattered within residential areas with intent to discredit particular candidates. 

These same candidates are using the political rallies and ‘meet-the-people’ tours to make malicious verbal attacks against their political opponents, simply to place their opponent's campaign machinery in disarray and eventually convince the electorate to see the perpetrators as the bright stars and vote them into office.

They are spreading outright lies and other evil tactics to divert attention from being scrutinised for their failures. These rogue candidates say nothing about what they will do if elected but only flood the air with bad, crooked, dishonest and corrupt brand of politics, taking advantage of people’s ignorance and the public’s tendency to entertain those who flirt with fantasies.

The truth of the matter is that lying is wrong for any leader. If it is ok for us when politicians lie and distort the facts during campaigns, then we should embrace the same when they get into office. One should hope as a matter of personal virtue and integrity that this should not be the case. 

While the effect of negative campaigning motivates the base of support, it leaves our politics totally in the hands of rotten people. The consequences are catastrophic. Politics need people with credibility because it is only by their presence in the political arena politics will bring good values and practices.

We must promote the good politicians and work to have them elected into office. We must ensure that we push into office, politicians who are known for their honesty, ability and concern for the welfare of all. What we should be seeking are leaders who see themselves as servants and not masters of the people. We should make politicians accountable to us the electorate and always make them to work for the common good. 

Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle addressing worshipers at Chrisco Church Thika where he asked Thika residents to ignore all kinds of rumours peddled against him by his competitors on Sunday. He visited several churches where he also called for peaceful elections and appealed for their votes come August 8. 
Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle has condemned what he called a gang up by politicians against him due to his rising popularity in Thika Town Constituency that has rubbed them the wrong way.

Speaking in various churches on Sunday, the engineer said that, for months now, a section of Kiambu County Jubilee Party leaders had launched a massive negative campaign against him, with the hope of denting his developmental record and instilling fear among the people.

He described the ongoing smear campaign launched against him as deliberate misinformation, designed to mislead the gullible public and set the people against him during the August 8 election.

“It is only at the tree loaded with fruit that lads throw stones. When you see all these politicians come to Thika to throw stones at me, it is because I am a good tree full of fruits. They have seen a lot of harvest in me and I won’t go down to their level by throwing the stones back to them. I will simply throw them these fruits so the seeds of our good work may inspire them to change their ways,” said Wainaina.

He pointed out that being voted in as an Independent Member of Parliament did not necessarily mean that one was in the opposition nor were they any different from the other MPs nominated by parties. He added that the current parliament had four independent MPs, with three among them; Wesley Korir (Cherangany), Gatobu Kinoti (Buuri) and John Serut (Mt. Elgon) who always voted with the Jubilee government in Parliament.

“I will be no different. I will be steadfast in supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government in his development agenda for this country.”

He reminded Thika residents that it was virtually impossible for one to both peddle propaganda and initiate development projects as the two would never go together. Wainaina reckoned that propagating falsehoods against independent candidates was detrimental to the development of this constituency and the country at large as this would only expose the people to a leadership that only cared about themselves.

“My mind is fully focused on my agenda to improve the lives of our people. I have left propaganda to those who have nothing to offer. And let me warn you that between now and election day, they will create all sorts of propaganda and smear campaign against me but I know Thika residents are wise to differentiate between facts and falsehoods,” he said.

Wainaina lamented that none of these politicians really cared about youth unemployment in the region because they benefitted most from the desperate young people for political expediency. He said that instead of doing something about this dilemma, these leaders had designed a scheme to exacerbate it, relying on young voters to continue their apathetic ways.

“Where have they been all that time when you the youth suffered from joblessness? The importance of providing young people with employment pathways cannot be underestimated. Without the right support you are going to cycle in and out of mental health services and prison systems,” he explained.

“For the last 10 years, our job as Jungle Foundation has been to create jobs. I intend to use my new position as an MP to sponsor bills in Parliament that will address long-term unemployment problems among our people.” 

First dates are usually tough and rather tricky.  And as the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression! 

No matter how well you get along with someone online, everyone knows that nothing really happens until you get in front of each other.  That’s when you’ll find out if there is enough chemistry to lead to romance.  And that can put a lot of pressure on both people.

The way you look, behave and communicate all have a huge impact on whether your first date will lead to a second. A great first date can make all the difference. It’s therefore important to present your best self to make sure that things go well.

To help you, not only get through your first date and also enjoy it, we provide the following road map; -

1. Choose a perfect place.

This first meeting is an experience, not an interview, where do you go? The place you choose to go on a date has a lot of do with your age and also expectations out of the date.

It is always advisable to pick a place that will let you walk and talk at the same time. This will provide readily available talking points.  It’s the connection that’s important, not what you do. 

The ideal meeting place is somewhere neutral and public. Stay away from movies or other activities that will make it hard to talk to your date. Attending events or participating in fun activities together will help you both loosen up, and you can reserve some time afterward to have some one-on-one interaction.

Do something cheap: the park, zoo, a promenade, the museum.  All of these will give you ample things to look at and chat about, all while creating a fun, shared experience that will be memorable for both of you… and open the door for a heart connection.

2. Keep the date personal. 

If you want to know what to do on a date, stop thinking about what others think. Plan the date keeping both your interests in mind. Do both of you like a band that’s playing in your city, or would your date prefer trying a new cuisine, or would you prefer to play it safe and just go for coffee? Plan the date keeping both your intimacy levels and comfort in mind.

Involve your date. It’ll make them feel appreciated and more involved. In most cases, girls expect the man to come up with all the plans. But to start with, ask your date for suggestions or places she’d be interested to go to. 

The key here is to keep your date’s comfort in mind.

3. Make yourself presentable.

Take a hot shower, wash your hair and brush your teeth. You are going to want to make sure that you are clean, fresh and ready to put your best foot forward from the skin outward. It can be awkward going on a date with someone who smells bad or has food stuck in their teeth, so start by taking care of your basic hygiene needs.

Dress to impress on a first date. Like it or not, most people judge books by their covers. So make sure you look fabulous! Pick an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident but isn’t too revealing. Instead go for the casual, classy look. Jazz up your outfit with some accessories and killer shoes!

4. The rules of dating. 

Don’t be late on a date, and don’t ever stand your date up. Not only will it demonstrate that you are taking the date seriously, it can also give you a chance to get comfortable with the setting and mentally prepare for your introduction.

If you are the guy, behave like a gentleman and treat your date like a lady. If you are the girl, be the damsel around your date and help him feel more like a man. It’s just a few of the most important dating rules you need to remember to have a perfect date. 

5. Be polite. 

Manners say a lot about a person. In addition to simply acting friendly, show your date that you are a gentleman (or a lady) by being considerate. Guys should hold open doors, pull out chairs and offer to pick up the bill, if it pleases the girl. Both people should practice good manners when eating and speaking to keep from making the other uncomfortable.

Common courtesy is a must, but it may be off-putting to some people to have things done for them. See how your date reacts to little gestures before forcing more of this kind of behaviour on them.

During the date, keep your cellphone on silent mode and answer only urgent calls. Leaving your cell phone out on the table during a date could ruin your chances of making a serious connection. A cell phone detracts from intimacy. Most importantly, say “please” and “thank you.”

6. Show an interest in your date. 

Give your undivided attention to your date so that they know you have taken a genuine interest in them and what they have to say. Maintain eye contact when talking, and nod or make small verbal confirmations like “mmhm” and “I agree” to signal that you are really listening. When people feel that they are interesting to others, they become more confident and more comfortable as a result.

Don’t dominate the conversation or constantly turn it around to be about yourself. Let them talk while listening intently, then share your thoughts when the discussion comes around to you. Get a feel for your date’s mood during the course of the date. Be mindful of considerations like “is he/she comfortable?” “Am I talking too much?” etc.

7. Keep the Conversation Interesting.

Conversation is one of the most important parts of a first date and it's often pretty difficult to navigate. Conversation on a first date needs balance between impressing someone and learning about them.

Things like hobbies, travel, movies, culture, sports, etc., are all suitable topics. Stay away from personal and sensitive matters, there will be plenty of time to talk about your past relationships, family issues and political views in the future.

Never plan out what you are going to say ahead of time. Rehearsed lines and jokes end up having a negative effect on the date. Think about what you can do to make sure that your discussions are not the boring but not risky type. Just have a pleasant conversation with your date and keep the happy conversation going.

The key is creating a “shared experience” that establishes a lasting, romantic connection from the get-go.  Avoid common mistakes like asking stereotypical questions or dominating the conversation and instead up the ante a bit by asking some riskier questions.

Save your real or perceived problems and flaws until you know she/he is deeply interested in you or at least interested. The goal of a first date is to have a good time and to contribute at least 50% of the effort toward achieving that goal.

8. Make your intentions clear from the start.

Avoid playing games. If you are looking for something serious and get the same feedback from your date, then keep the end of the date PG-rated. Give yourselves the luxury of having something to look forward to.

But remember, you are not going to propose to them. So, there’s no need to go overboard on the first date. Keep the first date light, fun, and romantic. 

9. Create memories. 

A first date has to be memorable. You have to keep in mind that your date will definitely have a conversation about this date with their friends the next morning. The more special you make them feel that evening, the more their friends will speak in your favour the next morning. Look for ways to create something memorable and happy during the date and the date will tilt in your favour no matter what.

10. Focus on having a good time. 

Remember to relax and think of the date as a treat rather than an obligation. First dates can sometimes be nerve-wracking, but stay positive and try to have fun. Keep your date (and yourself) laughing and don't take the occasion too seriously. Get absorbed in your conversation and shut off the part of your brain that's constantly analysing whether the date is a success. Whatever your reasons are for dating, the most important thing is for you and your date to enjoy each other’s company.

If you feel like your date isn't having a good time, switch up your activities. If you both feel awkward talking over drinks at a fancy bar, for instance, pay the bill and go for a long walk outside, or find something else to do to take the pressure off. You may just need a change of environment.

11. Use the "Right" Amount of Eye Contact.

When we lock eye contact for too long, the other person might see that as forced dominance. This is usually not something you want to exude on a first date because it's confrontational. Too much eye contact was actually counterproductive therefore balancing the right kind of eye contact is crucial.

The right amount of eye contact is about 7-10 seconds of eye contact at a time. Hold your gaze, look away briefly at a window, waiter or other table, then return the look.

12. Mind Your Body Language

Body language can reveal all kinds of things about another person and how you present yourself is equally as important. Whether you realise it or not, we read a lot into a person's body language, so you want to make sure you are not sending out the wrong signals.

Don’t assume an unattractive pose. That means that men should not pretend to a macho style where they strut about and assume a truculence as a way of looking strong. Neither should women seem aloof. It comes across as snobbery.

Both should also not pretend sophistication. It is intimidating rather than appealing.
Just keep your body language relaxed and comforting. It is suggested that you keep your movements subdued at first. Remember that you are seated next to a stranger, so use small gestures, slower movements, and don't crowd them.

Once you are comfortable together (and you are no longer seen as a threat) you can make faster, more animated gestures. Basically, show interest in what your date's saying and doing, but don't go all Kramer on them.

13. Stay in the moment.

One of the things that makes first meetings so nerve-wracking is how much stock we place in them. Even though it might be hard not to think about the future, stay grounded in the present moment.

It might be tempting to discuss things like marriage and children, especially when you have had good rapport with someone online.  Take the pressure off yourself by letting them initiate any such discussions.  Doing so gives you the advantage of truly seeing where their mind is at and what they think of you.

14. Look for things you have in common. 

As you’re talking to your date, pick up on similarities between the two of you. Perhaps you are both pet lovers and can bond over pictures of your pets, or you might discover that you are both die hard supporters of the same sports team. Highlighting what you have in common is the best way to establish a deeper connection. It can also take some of the pressure off conversation starting out, as you will find that you have much more to talk about.

Learn to appreciate your differences, too. If your date doesn’t happen to share your viewpoint on something, don’t automatically count in as a strike against them. Think about how their opinions speak to their character.

15. Saying Goodbye or See you later.

If things have gone well, ask your date if they would be willing to see you again at the end of the night. Be assertive and make it known that you have had a good time with them. Leave your phone number with your date and encourage them to call or text you, or ask for their number if they seem open to giving it to you. If you have made a good first impression, you could be on your way to forming a strong, lasting relationship.

If you want to see them again, don’t end the evening with a handshake or a hug.  If you like them, let them kiss you. Just let it happen. You want to establish a romantic feel to your interactions with them from the outset. Be assertive in signaling you would like to go out or go out again. This could mean calling to say you had a wonderful time or enjoyed meeting or sending a note, text or email. Be genuine. 

16. Follow-up.

Call your date the next day and thank them for a lovely evening and if things clicked for you two, ask for a second date. If they are not there, leave a message thanking them and ask them to call back.

If they don’t call back within 48 hours, give another call. If they still don’t call back, learn to take a hint and pursue other options. And absolutely under no circumstances do you text, Facebook, or tweet their date to follow up with them.

17. If it didn’t work, accept and move on.

If you are not enjoying yourself, trust your instinct and don’t hesitate to call it a night. If your date can’t appreciate the wonderful person you are, don’t waste your time; you are bound to find someone who does.

But it is also advisable to give a person at least two dates (especially since the first one isn’t really a date!)  If you decide they really aren’t for you, keep it simple and gracious. Say, “Thank you for a nice time. I enjoyed meeting you, but I feel we are not a match.”

Be prepared for rejection too — it happens. Get really good at handling it. If you suffer a major loss, grieving is necessary. But not getting a second or third date isn’t major loss. It is the opportunity to move on and find the person who does want to be with you.


The main point is to be yourself and work toward and believe in a positive outcome. When you do, dating will be pleasurable and the outcome that follows will be healthier and more productive.

 KNUT Thika Branch Chairman John Kuria (left) and the Executive Secretary Joe Mungai who led a full BEC meeting that unanimously endorsed the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Thika Branch has unanimously thrown its support behind the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto ahead of the August 8 general election.

Led by their chairman John Kuria and the Executive Secretary Joe Mungai during a full Branch Executive Committee (BEC) meeting in Thika, the teachers distanced themselves from the stand taken by KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion which they said was personal and unrepresentative of the position of the Kenyan teacher.

The teachers said President Uhuru had demonstrated his commitment to lift the lives of Kenyans by investing billions of shillings in development projects.

“The Jubilee administration has delivered on most of its promises to Kenyans including free primary and secondary education, teachers’ remuneration, improvement of healthcare, expansion of infrastructure network, increasing access to electricity and improvement of the country’s security among other achievements. That is why as the teachers of this nation, we are fully throwing our weight behind the reelection of President Uhuru and his deputy,” said Kuria.

Kuria acknowledged the fact that whatever the president and his deputy had achieved all this development in the short span of four years thus their reason to opt to walk with the government on the path of development, unity and progress.

The chairman added that the Jubilee’s plan to offer paid internships graduates from Universities and technical training institutes would help them gain experience and expertise required for the job market.

On his part, Joe Mungai promised to mobilise teachers in Thika, Gatanga, Juja and Ruiru who fall under their jurisdiction to rally behind the president and his deputy. He added that teachers were willing to volunteer as the president agents during the polls to ensure that he sailed through victoriously.

However, Mungai pointed out that their support was exclusively for the president and his deputy and they would leave teachers to make independent decisions on whom they would support in the other seats.

“Let me make this clear that our support is exclusive for the president and his deputy. Teachers are at liberty to make their own independent decisions as to who they want to lead them in the grassroots. Otherwise, we appeal to our members to exercise maturity and express their political stand responsibly as they have always done before,” said Mungai.

Present at the meeting was the branch treasurer Julius Chege, the gender representative and all members of the BEC.

Esther Nyambura and her two lovely children Precious Joy Njeri and Godwill Ndung’u who she gave birth after 13 years of torment and shame.  
Getting pregnant is never a guarantee as many people would want to believe.

After getting married, and just like any other woman, Esther Nyambura began trying to conceive but it never occurred to her that this was going to be a long financially and emotionally draining period of her life.  13 years of marriage without a child of their own and having tried everything to get pregnant, was one of the most tormenting experiences of their lives.

“At first we thought that our problem was as a result of us living separately as I was working away from home. We therefore worked out my transfer but nothing was forthcoming even with us staying together,” said Nyambura.

This childlessness brought about friction in their young family as the husband got pressured by his kins and friends to have a child of his own. It also dealt a blow to her self-esteem, making her feel worthless.

“I was so depressed and lived a life of loneliness and pain. Apart from the pain and stigma that comes with it, it makes you ashamed for not being able to get pregnant. Some of my husband’s relatives started gossiping that I was denying their kin a child because I didn’t plan to spend my life with him. I was also being pressured from side of the family too. I desperately tried everything but in vain,” she said.

Nyambura visited so many hospitals in vain until one day a certain gynecologist diagnosed her problem. She had blocked fallopian tubes. The doctor told her that her only option was in vitro fertilisation (IVF) popularly known as test-tube babies. He recommended a certain hospital in Nairobi where she started undergoing some corrective treatment before the actual implant of the embryo into her womb.

IVF is the fertilisation of a woman’s eggs outside her body in a laboratory, resulting in what has been termed a test tube baby. It involves extracting a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm and conducting fertilisation in the laboratory. The fertilised eggs are left for two to five days to develop into embryos and then inserted into the woman’s uterus.

After a series of tests and taking fertility-enhancing drugs to boost her chances of conceiving, Nyambura was given an appointment to visit the doctor, but this time, accompanied by my husband. They were taken through the whole procedure of IVF and scheduled to return in a few days’ time for the actual implant.

After the embryo was implanted, she was instructed to undergo a complete bed-rest for about a fortnight where the doctor broke the good news to her. She had already conceived.  

Due to the delicate nature of the pregnancy, she had to continue with her bed-rest under very strict instructions never to attend any chores that would make her abdominal muscles strain as this would interfere with the development of the embryo and its connection with the mother.

As fate would have it, her husband gave up on her and went their separate ways. Alone with no one to look after her, Nyambura lived at the mercy of neighbours and a few relatives who occasionally came to nurse her in her home.

“By the time we separated, he didn’t know that I had already conceived. He gave up on me and just left,” she said.

A few days later, a Nairobi hospital confirmed to her that she was carrying a set of twins.

“I could not believe my eyes when I saw them through the scan. I prayed to God and promised Him that I will dedicate my children to serving Him as they both would be gifts from the Lord,” explained Nyambura as she shed tears of joy.
Precious and Godwill in an earlier picture.

Six months into her pregnancy, she developed some health complications which forced the doctors to prematurely administer a caesarean section to save both the mother and her unborn kids.

“Three months later, I was so happy to leave the hospital with a baby boy, Godwill Ndung’u and a girl, Precious Joy Njeri. The shame and ridicule of being branded a barren woman were now behind me,” she exclaimed.

Nyambura explains that her two kids, who are now 4½ years old now, live a normal life and they are not different from any other child.

“You cannot tell any difference with any other child born in the normal way. They are very active and bright in school and not unless I tell you how they were born, you cannot notice anything out of the ordinary,” she said.

Having gone through so much pain in her marriage, she resolved to it wise to open up and tell her story to other people in the society, hoping that her efforts might help one other woman who is undergoing the same tribulations as she went through during her initial childlessness stage of her marriage.

“I had promised God to dedicate my life in serving Him for what He had done to my life so I decided to use my experience to enlighten other childless woman that there was still hope.”

It was in this regard that she started an organisation called “Blessed Womb Organisation” whose objective is to bring together women living childlessness for counselling and guidance on what they can do to get their own children. It has also taken up the responsibility to solicit funding to assist women undergo medical examinations and correction in order to boost their chances of conceiving.

“We realised that majority of these women die childless because they cannot afford the costs implications of these procedures. I was lucky I could afford to access a loan of KES. 600,000 to undergo the complete cycle of medication and birth. But how many mama mbogas can afford that? So, we usually use this forum to appeal for financial assistance to those who we identify need help,” she explained.

The organisation, that now has a membership of 40 childless women, meets monthly at Thika Level 5 Hospital to share their experiences and encourage each other among other issues. They also hold public forums to sensitise the society about infertility and assure them that there is still hope for childless women to have children of their own.

Her appeal to the government is to assist such organisations through facilitation and funding. She also hoped that the Ministry of education develops a curriculum that will incorporate the subject of infertility in schools as most of the causes are preventable if only the victims were armed with the right information.

The World Health Organisation data reveals that more than 180 million couples in developing countries suffer from primary or secondary infertility. In sub-Saharan Africa, infertility is caused by infections in more than 85% of women compared to 33% worldwide, which underscores the importance of infertility prevention programmes on the continent.

Precious and Godwill during the interview.
Although, Kenya has made great strides in birth control programmes, the same cannot be said of the treatment of infertility. It is estimated that 2 in every 10 people suffer from one form of infertility or another.

Kenyan childless couples are going to great lengths and expense to have children. Unable to have children, some couples are taking out huge bank loans, selling property, withdrawing all their savings and investing the millions in baby projects. They will try every artificial method to conceive.

Others get lured by fake pastors, astrologers and other traditional medicine men to have a child only to realise that they had been taken for a ride.

Juja Town Parliamentary candidate George Koimburi talking to traders of Juja Market when he toured the area on Thursday to discuss issues affecting them. Koimburi warned residents to be on the lookout for those who were going round buying ID cards from the youth.
A Juja Town Parliamentary candidate has warned voters from the larger Mt. Kenya Region to be on the lookout of some NASA supporters going round purchasing IDs cards with intention of denting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chances of re-election.

Mr. George Koimburi Ndung’u, who is vying for the seat on a Farmers Party of Kenya ticket, appealed to security agent in the area to be very vigilant and apprehend these criminals.

“Today at Kihunguro area in Ruiru Town Constituency, it was reported that there were some people who were buying ID cards from youth at KES. 1,000. These people are promising these youth that their IDs are safe and also telling them where they will collect back their IDs on the 10th of August,” said Koimburi during a tour of Juja Market and its environs on Thursday.

Koimburi said that the rationale behind this scheme was to target about 8,000 ID cards in every Jubilee Party strongholds in order to deny the bearers of these cards their right to vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He asked the residents to be alert and notify the police immediately they suspected any illegal ID trading in the region.

The candidate added that he had already notified the OCPDs from both Juja and Ruiru who promised to investigate on the matter as it was grave serious.

“We cannot afford to sit back and watch the opposition to misuse our youth by capitalising on their poor economic status to their advantage. It is wrong and against the law. I will mobilise our people to arrest anybody found buying these cards,” warned Koimburi.

Koimburi exuded confidence that he will win the seat following the support of Juja residents who he said had embraced his efforts to rehabilitate former alcoholics in the area and mobilise initiatives for both the bodaboda sector and women.

He said that his priority as Juja MP was to work with all stakeholders to create more jobs.

“I intend to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we create as many jobs in Juja as we can. I have already started a company known as Juja Creameries Ltd whose main objective activate the dairy sector in the area,” he explained.

In this project, youth will be given dairy cows, with other being provided with ATM milk machines to milk in affordable units and in a more hygienic way.

M-PESA Foundation’s CEO Les Baillie (left) taking Education CS through the operations of the institution. Looking on is Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has identified the M-PESA Foundation Academy in Thika as a key institution to assist his ministry in actualising its goal for a new curriculum.

Speaking to press after a tour to the facility, the CS revealed that they will organise a day’s training at the academy which he said reflected the module the new curriculum was set to shape to.

Matiang’i reckoned that the institution had adopted an innovative pedagogical approach that mainly focused on professional development of students which was in line with his ministry’s vision of the curriculum. He added that they will adopt a learning model similar to this as they developed the new system of education.

The CS expressed his admiration for the institution’s learner-centred system approach to teaching which he said nurtured talent.

“What we have witnessed here is mind-blowing. Students are given the opportunity to discover things on their own. This is what we want in our schools. This is what I intend to achieve in changing our curriculum. We want to introduce the academy’s system in other institutions countrywide,” said the CS.

He urged the foundation to increase its enrollment from the current 290 to 490 students, 6 from each county, promising to finance the additional students.

“We want to produce thinkers, doers and leaders in our learning institutions and the government is working round the clock to ensure we give quality education,” he said.

However, the CS acknowledged that the country’s education system was still facing various challenges among them limited resources but underscored the fact that there still lied great potential in enhancing the system. He reckoned that the scarcity of resources in the government hindered establishment of institutions like the M-PESA Academy, but said they would partner with the private sector to set them up.

“The current teacher-students ratio is higher than required and the ministry is working on how to enhance resourceful learning. We shall bring 20 principals from various schools on a benchmarking tour of the academy.

Foundation’s CEO Les Baillie said their institution, that is currently hosting students in Forms one and two, recruited six bright, needy students from every county. He said that even though they had a capacity to admit 900 students, they were only limited to host 290 currently due to financial implications.

He added that the academy established at a cost of 50 us dollars was seeking avenues to establish a kitty for students from the institution who after form 6, would like to venture into business.

Those who accompanied the CS to the academy included ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

M-PESA Foundation Academy offers a world-class, well-rounded learning environment to develop the future leaders of the African continent. The Academy places great emphasis on the holistic development of all learners not just in academics but also in technology, music, sports, the arts, outdoor pursuits and community service. It serves talented but economically disadvantaged students with demonstrated leadership potential.

Learners are exposed to the latest in technology with the use of iPads and our Learning Management System as part of the day-to-day teaching. The school focuses on molding future leaders and entrepreneurs by incorporating the core values of Curiosity, Leadership, Accountability, Innovation, Responsible Citizenship and Excellence (CLAIRE) into every sphere of learning within the Academy.

The Academy is an inclusive learning environment and qualifying students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Admission is evaluated on academic excellence, leadership and entrepreneurship potential, financial need, responsible citizenship, critical thinking and problem solving.

The admissions cycle runs from May to November each year and consists of filling and returning an application form and, a multiple stage evaluation process including, telephone and in person interviews, for selected applicants.

Thika West OCPD Willy Simba talking to the press in his office where he confirmed of the death of the 7 year old boy in Kiganjo Estate Thika.
A middle-aged woman who allegedly murdered her 7 year-old son in order to get married was rescued by Makongeni Police from an attempted lynching in Kiganjo Estate, Thika West Sub-County.

It took the intervention of the Makongeni police who had to use force to disperse the irate crowd which was building by the minute to quell the lynching attempt after the crowd had overwhelmed the few officers from the area.

Angry residents had gathered in one of the residential plots after Mutethia’s neighbours started screaming upon her release from the police on Tuesday following her arrest on the previous day on suspicion of murdering her son and dumping his lifeless body a few metres from where they lived.

Locals immediately responded to the distress calls and threatened to take the law in their own hands before police from the nearby AP police post came in to her rescue. Some of the women we talked alleged that they were hurt by these police who they accused of being compromised to release the woman without pressing charges against her.

“These policemen have been compromised! How do you release a murderer just like that? And when we attempt to eject her from this premises for fear of the safety of our own kids, they come here and start attacking us with kicks and blows,” retorted one woman.

Homicide detectives who visited the scene yesterday had a very rough time trying to convince the neighbours to record statements that would assist them to gather enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. The neighbours claimed that this was an exercise in futility as the suspect will just be released scot-free.

“I cannot record any statement with the police. What for!? Will that bring back the boy to life? I earlier on reported of his mistreatment but no action was taken. Now that he is dead, what do you want me to say?” asked a neighbour.

According to the neighbours, the suspect, who is a single mother of two, rented her current house slightly over 2½ months ago. At first, she had been selling some yams and cassava for a living but later stopped and began staying idle.

Mutethia is said not to be social with her neighbours and spends most of her time away from the house only for her to come back home to chew ‘muguka’. She is also alleged to entertain some male friends into her house on various occasions, especially in the evenings.

The neighbours also alleged that the lady was recently engaged to a certain man who is said to be the biological father of the younger child who is about 9 months old. The man is said to have declined to marry this woman as long as she had a son from another father.

The neighbours believe that it is for this reason that the woman schemed to eliminate the poor boy.

“The boy’s body is full of fresh scars emanating from burns inflicted by his mother using red hot knives and pieces of metallic wires. We have tried to seek justice for him through the local security leadership but nothing has been forthcoming. The boy continued to suffer in silence,” said a neighbour.

At around 7pm on Sunday, Mutethia is said to have claimed that her son was missing after she had sent him to the grocery to buy some lemon. The neighbours claim that she seemed not bothered at all by his absence and went on with her chores as though nothing had happened.

“To be sincere, we never saw the boy for the whole of Sunday. In the evening she came and asked us if we had seen her son but even after not receiving any positive response, she got into her house and locked herself in till Monday morning as though nothing wrong had happened,” said another neighbour.

She is alleged to have woken up the following morning and did some laundry that included clothing belonging to the deceased son.

Later in the day, the lifeless body of her son was spotted a few metres from where they lived. The boy had head injuries inflicted by what looked like a blunt object. His skull had been pierced with a nail, probably to make sure that the job was thorough.

“He had been hit by an iron rod on the head. I also saw a nail stuck in his head and his eyes gouged out. I was just so scared. The boy must have died a very painful death,” said one woman who lives just next to where the body of the boy was discovered.

Police from the crime scene department are said to have collected samples from the scene of crime and from the woman’s house, including the clothing that had been washed by the suspect that morning.

Confirming the incident, Thika West OCPD Willy Simba said that investigations were still ongoing to ascertain the cause of death for 7 year old and appealed to anyone with information to come forward and assist the police to unearth this puzzle. He also confirmed that the mother had reported the loss of her son on Sunday evening at the Makongeni Police Station.

“As we speak, no one has come forth to record any statement but we are still investigating the real cause of the death. We are therefore appealing to anyone with information that can help us nab the culprits to come forth and assist us,” said the OCPD.

He however, dismissed allegations that the boy had any visible fresh injuries on his body saying that he only had a nail pierced through his skull.

“No. the boy had no injuries on his body other than a nail that had been stuck on his skull. His eyes were intact unlike what people are saying that they had been gouged out. Otherwise, we are awaiting for the postmortem results to further verify his cause of death,” explained Simba.

He appealed to the residents to take the initiative to always inform the authorities about any cases of child abuse before they went out of hand.

The residents on their part appealed for justice for the innocent boy.

Some school children in one f the Thika schools carrying some of the mattresses donated by Jungle Foundations to pre-school units in an effort to imrove their learning conditions. During his tour in schools yesterday, Wainaina Wa Jungle promised to work with all stakeholders to improve the education standards in the region.
Thika Town Constituency candidate on an independent ticket Eng. Patrick Wainaina Wa Jungle has underscored the importance of education in promoting the wellbeing of the less privileged in the society.

Speaking during a tour of schools within the constituency, Wainaina pointed out that education had the capacity to change the constituency and the country’s fortunes for the better and delivering a stronger economy.

“Each and every child deserves quality education and opportunities to succeed. My emphasis in this sector for the last 10 years reaffirms my vision and ambition to create the best environment for education and training institutions in the area. My dream is to see them become the best at providing opportunities for our children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Wainaina.

He added that he aimed at ensuring that students in middle-level colleges and polytechnic obtained the best skills and knowledge to support the growing economy.

“We want to ensure that learners are equipped with the skills and knowledge that they need to achieve their potential and to participate fully in society and the economy. In doing so, we are fully aware of the environment in which we operate and we will respond appropriately to the opportunities and challenges this presents,” he said.

Wainaina stressed the need to work with all stakeholders in the sector for a comprehensive approach to better support school children, their families and their neighborhoods through a system-wide adoption of the public schools strategy.

“Our children depend on all of us to gain the tools necessary for success. Because of this, we need to work together on their behalf, particularly as families and communities are still struggling during these difficult economic times. This very important goal cannot be achieved through classroom experience alone, but requires the delivery of primary services, particularly in economically distressed communities,” said Wainaina.

The businessman said that he intended to redefine the relationships and the responsibilities between the school community and other stakeholders in an effort to have a greater impact on the lives of the students and their families.

“A child struggles much more to focus on a lesson if he’s hungry or his family is in unstable housing. We need to come up with new strategies and approaches to help overcome the obstacles that can stand in the way of a child’s ability to come to school, ready to learn — and schools can’t do that important work alone. We must ensure that all stakeholders that have an impact on children’s lives are aligned to support these kids. We need to organise systems around children, and not the other way around,” he explained.

On matters politics, Wainaina castigated some of dirty tactics being applied by one of his opponents who were sending people to various areas to hoodwink them that he was organising a rally. This ploy, he said, was intended to brand him as a liar every time he failed to turn up for those fake meetings.

“It is sad that one of my competitors have stooped so low in politics to a level of sending their people to cheat residents that I will be attending political rallies that I even don’t know of. They are gathering people from morning and keeping them glued to the venue for long hours then incite them against me by branding me a liar and someone who cannot be trusted. This is a leader with no agenda for the people and can only survive in dirty politics and propaganda,” he said.

He asked his supporters to ignore anyone who came to make statements on his behalf unless they were his accredited assistants or were in his official branded vehicles. He asked the residents to always confirm with him or his personal assistant, every time some came round claiming that he was to hold any rally or function in a particular area.

“Ignore all these people and their dirty tricks. Wainaina’s visits are planned and executed by my team which always come in my branded vehicles and announce in public that I am on my way coming,” he said.

On national politics, Wainaina reaffirmed his commitment to support President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto and promised to support the duo’s agenda once he went to parliament.

“Let’s not belittle Wanjiku and assume that they are fools. In Parliament, independent candidates are at liberty to support their preferred coalition depending on their affiliations. We in the Mt. Kenya region are steadfast behind Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and we will work with him for the benefit of our people and the country as a whole. All uncouth propaganda going round should be taken with the contempt they deserve as they are of no benefit to the mwananchi,” he said. 

Wilson Riitho at his workshop, he is one of the veteran tent makers in Thika.

Wilson Riitho is one of the veteran tent makers in Thika, with an experience spanning more than a decade; he is one of the pioneer tent and design makers. His workshop Riwans Tents and Design is located at Makongeni Estate, along Garissa Rd 300 metres from Delta Petrol Station. He has specialised in making tents such as dome tents, car port, shade, flower stands, gazebos, parasols with a huge clientele ranging from chama’s, churches, event organisers.

1. Did you grow up in Thika?
No I was born, raised, studied in Nyeri, I came to Thika to seek for employment.

2. What do you like about Thika Town?
Thika is growing it has a lot of potential as compared to Nairobi, in the coming years it should be a town to watch out for, I have to say  my business has grown because of this town that is why I love it.

3. Why tent making and design?
I love designing things, when I ventured into this business I wanted to challenge myself to do things that would set me apart from other designers in this business, this business has given me life it has enabled me to invest a lot on a personal level.

4. What sets Riwans Tents & Design apart from other Tent makers?
At Riwans Tents and Design we are the only tent makers who go an extra mile to educate our clients on what material to use in terms of quality, what designs to explore all this is geared towards offering services and products that give them value for money ; another thing is that compared to our competitors we can boost and say we are pioneers in this business, many of this tent making business that are coming up cannot compare with what we have to offer we make and design dome tents, carports, parasols while they only seem to specialise in small tents.

5. Can you say that Thika people support what you do?
Yes they have supported me very much it is through my clients that I have gotten referrals from places as far as Eldoret, Nyeri, Meru, Nairobi, Kisumu, without such support my business couldn’t have thrived at all.

6. What kind of training & skills do you require in this business?
Well, this business requires a lot of precautions, there are certain things that one should put into consideration if you want to be successful, such as basic knowledge of metal fabrication and wielding, a bit of design, ideally if you love structures and you have love structural engineering this would be an ideal job for you, but most importantly you should be having a zeal and passion to pursue this career.

7. What would like to change about Thika?
The way event organizers carry out their trade in this Town is abit wanting, I would like to see that this has been improved on people need to see the value of investing in good quality tents for their events to be successful avoid going for short cuts, another thing is that I mostly  rely on electricity to make tents the high cost of power is hurting my business, I would appeal to the powers that be to help me & other micro business people and lower the rates especially in Thika.

8. Who are some of the high level clients that you have dealt with?
Well my clients primarily are churches, event organizers, who are wide spread across Kenya from towns and cities such Kisumu, Nairobi, Lamu, Eldoret.

9. Where do you see Riwans Tents & Design in 5years time?

I would like to be see my business grow in leaps and bounds, I would love to venture into the larger East and Central Africa market, and make Riwans Tents & Design a house hold name.

To get in touch with Riitho Call him on 0720 531 663

An aerial view of the Kenyan National Assembly in progress.
Article 99, 137 and 193 of the Kenyan Constitution and the Elections Act in Section 22 to 30 provides for the post of the President, Senator, Member of National Assembly, County Representative and the Women representative.

Article 85 of the Constitution basically states that any person is eligible to stand as an Independent Candidate (IC) for election if the person is not a member of a registered political party and has not been a member for at least three months immediately before the date of the election. It also adds that there are other certain requirements depending on the elective post.

The rationale behind ICs was to expand the democratic space of the Country.

Roles of an IM.

The role of an Independent member (IM) of Parliament (or County Assembly) is no different from members of a legislature who is a party nominee only that they are not be limited by party discipline of course. All MPs, including IMs, have the same possibilities.

Please note, this is not the first time we are having ICs in parliament. The current parliament had four Members of Parliament were elected as ICs. They are; - Wesley Korir (Cherangany), Dr. Patrick Musimba (Kibwezi West), Gatobu Kinoti (Buuri) and John Serut (Mt. Elgon).

Just like their counterparts who are elected on parties, an IM of Parliament or a County Assembly, a person may not join a political party while in office without losing their seat and having to stand for election afresh – Article 103(1)(e)(ii).

Though the Constitution says there must be law defining “resigning from a party” it does not say there must be law saying what “joining a party” is! Would agreeing to vote with a party amount to joining a party? Probably not - but campaigning in elections for a party member might.

Previously, it has been appreciated that not every party formed can cater for the needs of all citizens. In Kenya, most voters are not members of any political party mostly because there are few parties or none of the parties have any ideology that defines them.

It is out of this that the constitution of Kenya provided for ICs to contest for various post in the elections, and to give options to the Kenyan voter to vote for individuals rather than party sponsored candidates.

Mature democracies.

In mature democracies ICs are regarded highly because they bring unbiased opinions on matters of national interest and this should be encouraged in Kenya since most ICs are highly qualified and are mainly from marginalized/disadvantaged groups.

Candidates, especially those who feel threatened of losing out in the general elections, are trying to justify the exclusion of independents on the basis of a need to strengthen political parties. Insinuating that the independents might hold the President at ransom and force him to agree to their demands is a blatant lie.

ICs are linked in a sense to political parties or at least to the ideology associated with a party as in the history of the Kenyan politics. After formation of assemblies, all these MPs, Senators and MCAs will go back to their political affiliations. Furthermore, nothing stops Parliament from running its affairs or the President to veto what he does not like as enshrined in the constitution.

The naked truth about this whole matter is that it violates the freedom of association (which includes the right not to associate) and interferes with the right to participate freely in the government of one’s country.

Rubber stamp MPs.

There is a general feeling among the electorate that there is little party democracy at present and some party candidates were thrust upon them by the party or its leaders. This might lead to voters electing feel an IC who is really local, is their choice and not the parties’.

There is also a school of thought which believes that the present parliamentary system is actually party-cracy, not democracy. The MPs cannot vote as per their own thinking or directives of the constituents. They have to dance to the tune of the party leaders in order to obtain party ticket in the next election. … MPs are really rubber stamps for the party leaders.

ICs give the people the possibility of participating in the governance of the country without being restricted by the limited imaginations of others, and on the basis of one’s own moral choices, which could be offered to the electorate. Some of our concerns are more local, and people would rather have a representative whose commitment is to those concerns rather than to a national party (for which read “leader”).

ICs and people's representation.

ICs makes it possible to bring out issues and policies affecting your people without having to have a whole party thinking on the same lines. It is good to note that majority of parties in Kenya are not about principles or policies but about personal advantage — of national leaders, and of those of the people.

The notion that independents seems must be linked to a desire to a particular person or divide is being spread by leaders who believe that their positions are at stake just to create fear among the electorate by branding ICs as the enemy of the nation.

Surely, Kenya is in serious need of people whose motivation to join politics is not just to attach themselves to ethnic leaders, and to “eat”, but people able and willing to use their own judgment and work for a better Kenya. It is not a secret that most parties are more of an obstacle than a support for people who have much to offer in the public service of being a legislator.

Elections are the only chance for the masses to dictate how and who should govern them. The constitution of Kenya provides for ICs to contest for various post in the elections, and to give options to the Kenyan voter to vote for individuals rather than party sponsored candidates.

ICs good for proper governance.

Genuinely ICs in both the Parliament and county assemblies, will offer a breath of political fresh air in our politics. These individuals will not have to toe party lines and submit to hero worship they will have their eyes on the ball; serving those who elected them. They will therefore have only one loyalty ... directly to the Kenya Citizen individual voter.

IMs can perform more effectively in what the Constitution describes as “exercising oversight” of the executive (Articles 95 and 96), than members who are closely tied to the executive through party membership. This is could be our solution to control corruption without depending upon the government in any way.

The thirst for independents is a protest may be a protest, or start out as one, but at the same time be a sign of hope that people care about their political system and want to be engaged. The party system has now largely abandoned the principles that once defined it and the ruling parties have almost become modified versions of a dominant neo-liberal economic ideology. Breaks in the dominant order are necessary for the reintroduction of genuine choice.

A file picture of a hostel in a Nairobi university.
A housing cooperative society has announced plans to put up hostels in order to curb the shortage in accommodation among the increasing number of students joining Murang'a University students.

According to the Chairman of Broad Borders Housing and Land Cooperative Society Ltd. Mr. Jeremey Keremeri, the organisation was currently engaging its members to finance the construction of hostels. The actualisation of this dream will bring to an end years of suffering among students who face a hard time finding accommodation near the campus or are forced to pay high rent.

Currently, the number of students admitted into the university is not determined by the bed spaces available, a factor that has resulted to a high demand for accommodation. The situation has been aggravated by the mushrooming middle-level colleges which have disadvantaged students from poor backgrounds who cannot afford accommodation outside the university. This has seen a number of students being forced to seek alternative accommodation in shanties thereby jeopardising both their security and education. 

“We intend to provide these students with an appropriate environment for living as well as studying and also opportunities for informal academic and social interchange. These student need privacy and quiet place where they are living in close proximity and are sharing facilities,” said Keremeri.

Keremeri added that each unit will cost Sh. 650,000 to build but a member must contribute Sh. 200,000 to own it.

“Our members will be required to contribute the Sh. 650, 000 in nine months for a 20 square meters’ section. When complete, the students will pay between Sh. 4,000 and Sh. 5,000 per unit depending on the size,” he said.

Off-the-campus accommodation currently costs about Sh. 7,000 per month, more than twice what the university charges.

He pointed out that this new investment will involve building flats and apartments to also allow its members to own single housing units.

According to the director, the mass construction will be cheaper compared to individual construction of single units.

“It is rather very expensive when people build such houses individually due to the logistics involved. A unit such as this one might exceed Sh. 1,000,000.”

The chairman acknowledged that the lack of accommodation within the university was the reason why landlords in Murang’a town exploited students with their exorbitant rents that did not match the rooms students paid for and could also be among reasons why insecurity was an issue in the region.

“Most of the rooms available for the students are very small and at times students are forced to stay more than the required number in order to foot the bill or for security reasons which at the end hampers their studies,” he noted.

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