December 2017

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina converses with Thika Equity Branch Manager Sammy Karanu during the flagging of the region's Wings to Fly beneficiaries. (INSET) Beneficiaries of the programme being escorted to the bus by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina and his counterpart from Gatanga Eng. Joseph Nduati.
Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has challenges companies and businesses in Thika Town to emulate Equity Bank and adopt bright children from poor backgrounds in a similar model like the Wings to Fly.

While acknowledging the fact that the bank’s programme could only admit a very small percentage of all deserving cases, the MP said that it was wrong for companies to take a back seat as bright brains within their jurisdiction went to waste for lack of fees.

Wainaina reminded them that investing in education was critical to fostering growth and innovation for generations to come and it was everyone’s duty to build and coordinate systems of support so that the most vulnerable children succeed from cradle to career.

“The society must address the needs of students in low-income who face challenges to success to ensure they all get the opportunity to succeed in school and the workforce. When we empower these kids, there will be change not only in their homes but also the whole of Kenya,” said the MP.

“I hope that other partners will come in and support students who have missed out of the Wings to Fly programme because the government and Equity can do so much. We all need to put a hand in improving the quality of education in our country,” he said.

The MP also challenged private academies that excelled so well in primary school education in the region to also put up private secondary schools that will accommodate all the students into Form One. This, he said, will improve the Primary-Secondary transition rate in the region.

Wainaina promised to use resources at his disposal to add more classrooms to the existing secondary schools in the area as a remedy to the same.

Gatanga MP Eng. Joseph Nduati promised to join hands with his counterpart from Thika to come up with a comprehensive programme that would improve education standards in the two neighbouring constituencies.

He encouraged parents whose children missed out on university and secondary admissions this year to enroll the in village polytechnics and other technical based tertiary institutions so as to gain the necessary skills to advance in life.

This year, only 16 pupils were selected to join the Wings to Fly Programme within the larger Thika region that comprises of Thika East and West, Gatanga and Gatundu North sub-counties. This is despite the branch receiving 222 applications from deserving students.

Thika Branch Equity Senior Business Growth & Development Manager Mr. Sammy Karanu said that 16 whose secondary school education will be catered for by the scholarship, were selected through a fair process by the Community Scholarship Selection Board.

He asked the parents and guardians of the beneficiaries not to abdicate their duties as parents especially now that their children had received full scholarships. To the beneficiaries, Karanu asked them to use the scholarship opportunity to work hard in school and uplift the economic standards of their households. 

Anthony Koinange (left), brother to slain Joseph Ng'ethe Kiarie explains a point to Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina when the legislator visited to condole the family at their Komo home on Thursday.
The family of Joseph Ng'ethe Kiarie, the 33-year old former Maseno University student leader and Thika High School alumni are accusing some powerful personalities for trying to frustrate them in pursuing for the perpetrators of this heinous act.

One of the deceased brothers Anthony Koinange Kiarie said the family were initially taken round in circles at the Kasarani Police Station before the police reluctantly accepted to follow up the matter. 

He added that until the time of going to press, no arrests had been made despite the culprits being well known to the police.

Speaking to the press at their Komo home, in Thika on Thursday, Koinange said the initial police statement concerning his death had indicated that Ng’ethe had died from injuries caused by mob justice only for them to retract and change after the family protested and demanded for the correct version of the statement.

According to him, the postmortem results showed that Ng’ethe was hit at the back of his head using a blunt object.

“It took us almost two days for the correct version of the police statement to be signed by the police. 
In fact, the stamping was done after the post mortem at the Kenyatta University Morgue,” he said.

They are now questioning the motive behind the dilly dallying by the police and why no one has been arrested till now.

“We don’t care who owns this bus. All we demand is justice for our brother,” said Koinange.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina who had gone to condole the family wondered why NTSA was dragging their feet even when there was great public outcry over this matter.

He described the incident as very unfortunate and an exhibition of high level impunity.
Wainaina also called on the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to suspend Zuri Genesis Sacco and Marimba Investment Sacco, which ply the Zimmerman-Roysambu route until the management of the Sacco handed over the driver and touts for beating up the victim to death on Christmas Eve in Nairobi after an altercation following a minor accident.

“These are heartless criminals who seem to be well protected to commit crimes against innocent Kenyans. We cannot let such murderers go scot-free and we demand NTSA to suspend this Sacco until the culprits are apprehended and brought to book,” said the MP.

According an eyewitness report, an altercation ensued between the victim and the bus driver when his vehicle was grazed by the minibus in Zimmerman as it joined Kamiti Road.

The former Maseno University student leader complained that the driver of the minibus was in the wrong but he was outnumbered in his quest for compensation for the damage to his vehicle. It alleged that he was attacked by a number of drivers and touts and pronounced dead on arrival at the Nema Uhai Ruaraka Hospital, located opposite Kasarani Stadium.

A driver who tried to come to the aid of the victim was also injured during the altercation and is in hospital recuperating from injuries he sustained while trying to help.

It is alleged that the minibus in question belongs to a police officer.

Before his death, Kiarie was a marketing manager at Sparks Fresh Water. In the August General Elections, Ng'ethe unsuccessfully vied for the Gatuanyaga Ward seat.

Former Transitional Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wa Mwangi.
Former Transitional Authority Chairman Kinuthia Wa Mwangi has opposed the idea of centralising water services as mooted by the in Kiambu County Government saying that the move will instead complicate water and sewerage services especially in the densely populated areas.

While admitting that some of the water companies in the county were not commercially viable, Kinuthia reckoned that sub-counties such as Kikuyu, Thika and Ruiru needed to run their own water companies due to the high number of people they served.

“The primary objective of devolution was to promote social and economic development and the provision of proximate, easily accessible services at the grassroots. As an expert in devolution, I will not sit down and watch people take us back to where we were before the new constitution. Let’s not spoil the gains we have already made by creating havoc,” said Kinuthia during an interview after attending the end of year party of THIWASCO staff.

Reacting to reports that the county government was planning to centralise all water companies within its jurisdiction with a view to salvage ailing companies that were making loses and unable to provide adequate and quality services to their clients, the former devolution boss argued that the limitations of this model were obvious and centralising water services will not solve the challenges faced by the companies that were operating in losses but compound the services of those that had outstanding services to their clients.

He added that Kenyans gave devolution a strong vote of confidence in the new constitutional dispensation against the backdrop of failures to deliver services that was the hallmark of the centralised government.

“Decentralisation increases effectiveness in service delivery. Each town should be allowed to run its own water company to enable them to offer more responsive public services attuned to local needs. 

(Related story) THIWASCO 1 billion programme to quench the thirst of Thika residents.)

"This is because every area has its own unique challenges and combining urban management with rural management will only cause more problems,” he said.

He instead asked the county government to seek solutions to salvage the ailing water companies and help them manage their water resources and services well so that they could contribute significantly to the people’s social and economic growth.

Kinuthia served the defunct Thika Municipality as the Town Clerk between 1979 and 1988. 

Curious members of public peep through to see what remained of the room that James Kioho killed his two children in Kiganjo Estate Thika. Neighbours had to break down the door and window in order to gain access into the house after Kioho refused to open the door.
In a rather horrific incident, a 32-year-old man has killed his two children before turning the same knife on himself on Tuesday night.

According to the shocked neighbours, James Kioho Wanjiku allegedly stabbed to death his seven-year old son and two-year-old daughter at his house in Kiganjo Estate Thika at around 7:30pm.

His sister told us that Kioho had just returned to Kiganjo from their rural home in Narumoru in Nyeri County accompanied by the two children, leaving the wife behind. She added that, before leaving home, her brother had reportedly quarreled with his wife and left in anger.

The sister continued to say that Kioho later in the evening called his mother warning her that he would commit suicide by taking poison and then kill their two children.

“Immediately after the phone call, my mom called me and we rushed to the home only to come face to face with the tragedy,” she said amidst some sobs.

Kioho's neighbours acknowledged hearing the children screaming but never took it serious at first. They were aroused when the screams turned to groaning as though the child was being strangled to death.

“Yes, I heard the screams but at first I thought it was a mother disciplining her kids. But then I heard some funny noise similar to a child getting strangled and dashed out of my house. It is then I saw three people outside the suspect’s door pleading with him to open the door,” narrated one of the neighbours.

Their attempts to plead with him to open the door fell on deaf ears and so they decided to break the door.

As they were doing so, Kioho threatened to burn down the house and went ahead to light his gas cooker before stabbing himself on the chest.

Luckily, the neighbours managed to force themselves into the room before the house caught fire but not in time to save the children.

“By the time we gained entry into the house the kids were already dead. We found bodies of the girls lying in a pool of blood,” said a visibly shaken neighbour.

Confirming the incident, Thika West OCPD Willy Simba said that the suspect is in their custody and will be arraigned in court once he recuperates and is in a position to stand trial in court.

“Once he is out of hospital we will arraign him in court and charge him with the murder of the two minors and attempted murder,” said the OCPD.

Sources told Thika Town Today that the couple have been living in constant quarrels and in August this year, the wife was forced to leave with the children and go to Narumoru to live with her in-laws.

The suspect is now fighting for his life at Thika Level Five Hospital with the bodies of kids being preserved at the General Kago Road Funeral Home.

A 55-year old woman was on Christmas morning stabbed to death by an unknown number of people outside her house in Makongeni Phase IV Thika.

The victim, Lucy Nyambura Kang’ethe, is said to have gotten out of the house to light a jiko in preparation for a Christmas luncheon for her family at around 6am when the incident happened.

While narrating the unfortunate incident, the deceased's husband Moses Kang’ethe Kaniaru who was visibly traumatised, said that they had no idea what had happened.

“We just got out to find her on the ground. She had no enemies... I have no idea why she was killed.”

He however admitted to hearing some screams outside but it never crossed his mind that they were from his wife since such distress calls are common in the area especially from young people getting back home from night entertainment.

“I did not for any reason think that she was the one because for one, it was already morning and I had no reason to suspect anyone could harm her whatsoever. But within a few minutes, one of my neighbours rushed to my door and asked me to get out as my wife had been stabbed by unknown assailants,” explained the devastated husband.

Upon getting out of their residential plot, they found Lucy on the ground and writhing in pain. She had sustained four bad deep knife-stub injuries on the ribs and stomach which led to over bleeding and her death.

They immediately rushed her to the Thika Level 5 Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Her death still remains a mystery because according to her husband, she has never complained of any threat to her life notwithstanding that nothing was taken from her.

“I really don’t know how to explain this because it cannot be classified as robbery. Her death is still a puzzle to me,” said Kang’ethe.

The deceased was a fruit vendor at Madaraka Market.

“She goes out to work earlier than this and at times comes back late in the evening but I have never heard her complain of any attack, and then this happens. It’s such a shock. It’s shaken the whole family.”

However, Kang’ethe admits that the area is common with petty thieves and young boys who attack residents at night and at dawn.

“I have lived here for the last 12 years and petty thefts and mugging are the order of the day around here. People get attacked every day,” he said.

He now appealing to the police to step up security patrols and mop out all suspicious characters in the area. He is also calling for thorough investigations to apprehend the killers of his beloved wife.

Lucy’s body is now lying at General Kago Road Funeral Home.

The deceased has left behind three children.

Snapshots of empty Kenyatta Highway, Uhuru Street and Kwame Nkrumah Road on Christmas day.
To the average Kenyan who lives and works in an urban area, the festive season brings a sigh of relief for all manner of odd reasons and residents can’t wait for December to break free and visit their rural homes (or the coast for some).

This year has not been different.

25th December 2017, the streets of Thika have been left virtually deserted as the town undergoes its annual Christmas exodus - leaving the CBD like a ‘ghost town’. The ever busy streets like Kenyatta Highway, Uhuru Street and Kwame Nkrumah Street had no people except families walking helter-skelter with travelling bags heading to the main bus station and bus termini destined for upcountry.

Travelling upcountry for Christmas came with a steep cost on Sunday and Monday after matatu operators increased fares. Operators cashed in on passengers heading to Murang’a, Embu, Meru, Nyeri and Nakuru counties.

Even after the fares were raised, most of these passengers remained stranded due to the scarcity of passenger vehicles.

However, Nairobi bound matatus had very little business as few people were heading in that direction.

Thika superhighway bore the blunt of this exodus as motorists and commuters especially those who were heading to the Murang'a direction had to bear with a 30km long traffic jam from Juja to Kabati in Murang’a County.

The situation on Thika Superhighway and Thika main bus station on Christmas Day.
Business within the CBD was very minimal save for a few shops and supermarkets that remained open. Areas near these outlets were abuzz with activity as residents made last minute rush in securing foodstuffs and other items for the Christmas celebrations.

Shop attendants in a number of supermarkets we visited said the number of shoppers and the magnitude of shopping had increased significantly compared to previous years. Every supermarket we visited was packed to the brim with long queues witnessed at the cashiers’ desks.

Hawkers too had a booming business as they cashed in on customers.

Those remaining behind breathed a sigh of relief as they enjoyed the relative calm on roads free from 
the usual thronging crowds of people.

Majority thronged entertainment joints and churches with family for merry-making and worship while some decided to enjoy some good time at home with family and friends.

Nonetheless, some residents had no luxury of celebrating Christmas with the rest. Bodaboda riders, hawkers and attendants of entertainment joints and supermarkets were still working during the festive period.

Majority of those who were self-employed said they could not afford to miss the opportunity to make a quick buck as they expected increased business as residents stock up on food and buy clothes to celebrate with their families.

PSV operators said that they were better off on the road instead of spending Christmas with his family.


“We are busy ferrying people going to have fun or going upcountry. The biggest issue is that celebrations require money and to get money you need to work. But I will be off tomorrow so I will see how to compensate,” said one matatu driver.

It was the same story with John Njung’e, a bodaboda operator who said he was eager to cash in on the holidays.

However, for Jane Mweni, a shop attendant within the CBD, she had to attend duty as she had no choice.

“We were warned not to miss work today (Christmas) otherwise we will lose our jobs. I really wish I could spend time with my family but you see I have no money and have to wait for my salary,” said Mweni.

Thika Water and Sewerage Company (THIWASCO) has laid a 2-year projection that when implemented, will be able to satisfy the demand for water under their water catchment area.

Through the various projects in the pipeline, the company targets to cancel the current deficit of about 8,000m3 (8 million litres) of water daily, easing pressure on the existing plant that supply fresh water to Thika and its environs.

Currently, the treatment plant pumps out about 37,000m3 of water daily against a demand of about 45,000 m3 daily.

This was revealed by the company’s Chairman Board of Directors Eng. Joseph Mukora Kimani during their End of Year Staff Party.

“For the last few years, Thika’s population has surpassed 200,000, thereby outstripping our existing capacity both in terms of water supply and sewer collection system. In this regard, we have laid down various projects to overcome this shortfall,” said Kimani.

Kariminu Water Project.

Among those projects include the Sh. 850 million Kariminu Water Project near Maryhill School that is expected to inject into the system, about 15, 000m3 of water/day. This project that is currently in procurement stage will benefit areas such as Kianjau, Kiandutu, Kiganjo, Muthara and Athena.
It is funded by the World Bank under performance based project through the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB).

The chairman also highlighted about 8 boreholes earmarked for drilling, equipping and upgrading with a view of injecting 6, 000m3 of water/day. They include the borehole at Kimathi Estate, Victory Plaza (CBD), Makongeni, Maryhill, Bendor, Maki and Section 9.

The Maguguni and Gatuanyaga borehole reticulation system will be upgraded with interconnection works done to the Kimuchu and Thika Primary School Boreholes.

THIWASCO, under DANIDA, is doing a feasibility study aimed at increasing water supply and construction of sewerage services along the Northern part of Thika town. This project will include the rehabilitation and upgrading of the existing systems.

This latter project will solve the water deficit in the low lying areas along the Chania River basin such as Ngoingwa, Riverside and Landless estates.

Water Bills.

The company has also started implementing the Mobile Field Assistance (MFA) in their metre reading that has greatly improved metering management that has ensured more transparency and accuracy in their billing system. This system is expected to improve accuracy and reliability of their metre reading and consequent customer satisfaction.

The issue of high water bills has been a big issue in the recent times with so many clients complaining of ‘inflated bills’.

“For decades, so many people have been paying bills calculated on estimates and not the actual metre readings. This had seen so many of them being undercharged. With the introduction of the new billing system, we have now been able to give them the actual readings which at times may mean them paying higher amount than they were doing previously,” explained Kimani.

(Related story: EXPLAINED: THIWASCO Responds to Concerns over High Water Bills.)

He says that they have also started replacing nonfunctional metres with the highly tamper-proof meters which has contributed to reduction of non-revenue water and increase in revenue base.

Call center.

To improve on customer care services, THIWASCO is in the process of introducing a toll-free customer care number and a USSD code that will enable customers to query their bills and make payments at ease.


The implementation of the World Bank funded sh. 3 billion sewerage system in Thika South is in advanced stage. This project will be supplement with another one that is funded by DANIDA which will serve the low lying region along Chania River on the Northern parts of Thika Town.

Upon completion within the next two years, the two projects will service the entire Thika catchment area with a sewerage network. 

Central Region Deputy Manager John Parteroi (centre) leads a team of  NTSA officers in inspecting PSV vehicles in Thika on Saturday. 
Very many PSV vehicles operating within and without Thika town are faulty and have no valid documents required of them to operate and carry passengers.

This shocking and worrying revelation was unearthed on Saturday as the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) conducted a random road safety awareness campaign on matatu SACCOs operating from the various matatu termini.

The sensitisation campaign that was spearheaded by the Central Region Deputy Manager John Parteroi, Thika DCC Tom Anjere and Township MCA Andrew Kimani targeted members of the public, passengers and PSV operators.  

Among some of the faults included lack of functional speed governors, no seat belts as some had no TLB licences or some of the requisite documents such as a valid insurance cover or road licences. Some drivers and conductors were found not to possess valid documents to allow them to work as PSV operators.

Matatus operating town services were the worst hit by being unroadworthy with some having not gone for inspection for more than a year.

Parteroi encouraged PSV operators to ensure that their vehicles were compliant by following all the road safety rules.

Members of public, especially commuters using public transport to travel upcountry for the Christmas and New Year festivities were asked commuters to lodge their complaints with the body should they encounter unsatisfactory service.

“You got to demand for proper services from the crew. If you feel that the vehicle is being carelessly driven or the matatu crew mishandles you, just call our hotline numbers 0718-555-999 or 999/991 and you will be assisted immediately,” said Parteroi.

Thika DCC assure residents of adequate security saying that they had intensified police patrols both within the CBD and in the estates.

Township MCA on his part urged PSV to respect the sanctity of life and not endanger their customers out of selfishness and greed for quick money.

Saturday’s exercise comes barely a week after 18 people died near Kilimambogo after a 14-seater matatu rammed onto a lorry.

The accident elicited the ire of Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina who chided NTSA and traffic officers for the negligence that caused those unwarranted deaths.

“It is quite unfortunate that this accident happened just a short distance from where police officers had mounted their roadblock. We fail to comprehend how the matatu passed through all those roadblocks unnoticed and how it evaded NTSA without a functional speed governor,” said Wainaina at the Thika Level 5 Hospital as he assisted the victims to get emergency medical attention.

A Wembley Genjor gun, police torch and handcuff key recovered by APs  in Witeithie estate.
A middle-aged man was early Friday morning rushed to Thika Level 5 Hospital after being hacked by suspected thugs while he was on his way home in Kibute area of Witeithie in Juja sub-county.

According to residents, he was found lying along the road in a pool of blood oozing from a deep cut in the leg and a head injury that appeared to have been caused by being hit with a blunt object.

His injuries are said to possibly be life-threatening.

For quite a while now, residents of Witeithie Estate have been living in fear following a series of attacks by a marauding gang of young men armed with crude weapons including knives and clobber's needle.

Last week, the area Administration Police officers (APs) recovered a Wembley Genjor gun, a police torch and handcuff key in a suspect's house in Athena estate. They also recovered assorted goods believed to have been stolen.

This is following a tip off from the suspect's estranged wife. Police are now hunting down the suspect who has also been accused of assaulting his father in law.

Komo chief Muchui Muiruri has blamed the area residents for the escalating cases of insecurity saying that they were uncooperative especially when a suspect has been apprehended by the police.

“Each time the police arrest suspects, the complainants and witnesses fail to turn up to help in their identification or to record statements. In the absence of a complainant, the officers are forced to let the suspects go scot-free for lack of evidence,” he said.

However, majority of the residents prefer administering ‘mob justice’ or the police shooting dead the suspects as the believe that the law agencies are so lenient on the culprits, something that has brought about some level of impunity among these criminals.

LG Electronics General Marketing Manager Moses Marji presents Ulinzi’s Stephen Waruru his award of SJAK Player of the Month for April 2017 as former Royal Media Services Sports Editor Mutwiri Mutuota .
Stephen Waruru has signed a one-year contract with 2009 champions Sofapaka after a nine-year stint at Ulinzi.

Ulinzi’s top scorer last season with 11 goals snubbed an earlier opportunity to join 11-time champions Tusker FC calling it a day on his military career.

The ace striker hit media waves early this month when he revealed that he was trading the gun for the boot, and his transfer to ‘Batoto Ba Mungu’ has finally put an end to his transfer saga.

Waruru says he believes the move to Sofapaka was the right one even as he looks to win more team and individual titles. He fell out with his former club after he found less play time towards the end of the campaign.

Sofapaka finished second behind the champion, Gor Mahia in the just ended Kenyan Premier League season.

Waruru said that he opted to change careers by resigning from the Kenya Defence Forces, ending what has been a modest career with the military outfit.

Waruru aims at being the league’s top scorer once more and also winning a trophy with Sofapaka.

“I left because I wanted a normal life. I think it is a pretty good move for me. I picked on Sofapaka because of the platform the club offers. They are ambitious and want to win trophies next season and I think their targets align with mine,” said Waruru.

The eight years at Ulinzi have seen him win the league once, on his maiden year in 2010, the KPL Top 8 Cup in 2011 and clinch the Golden Boot Award in 2012, then finishing third in 2017.

“I want to be top scorer again, but first I will have to learn and adapt to my new team and their style of play,” he said.

“They have been the best years in my life. With Ulinzi I have seen the world. I have traveled to many different countries both playing football and in my career as a soldier and I don’t regret. I want to thank all the players I have played with in my career there because they have played a part in shaping my career,” the former Thika United man added.

He believes that he would have scored more goals this season if Ulinzi had offered him more playing time.

The move is a blow to Ulinzi as their other striker, Samuel Onyango, is on the brink of sealing a deal with record 16-time Kenyan Premier League champions, Gor Mahia. The two attackers combined to score 17 goals between them in the ended campaign, as Ulinzi finished seventh on the log on 48 points.

This will be the second time the soldiers are losing a marquee talent after several years of service in the army. Last season, top scorer John Mark Makwatta ditched them for Zambian outfit Buildcon FC.

Church leaders led by Bishop Moses Mbugua of the Redeemed Gospel Church Thika (in red shirt) on Thursday holding an interdenominational prayer service at the spot where at least 20 people perished in a grisly road on Sunday night. 
Various church leaders in Kiambu yesterday held an interdenominational prayer service at the spot where at least 20 people perished in a grisly road involving a lorry and a KINATWA 14-seater matatu near Kolping Educational Training Centre, Kilimambogo.

Led by Bishop Moses Mbugua of the Redeemed Gospel Church Thika, the leaders called on all agencies to be vigilant and curb road carnage especially during this festive season when some PSV drivers have thrown caution out of the window in pursuit for quick money.

Bishop Mbugua reckoned that it was unfortunate that people had to lose lives for mistakes not of their own especially out of the drivers’ recklessness and over-speeding.

“As the church we rebuke the spirit of death and especially those caused by drivers over-speeding and not being mindful of the lives aboard their vehicles. We also call upon the relevant agencies to be very vigilant and curb unnecessary deaths on our roads. On top of that we have decided to seek for spiritual intervention,” he said.

Thika East DCC Thomas Senkei, called for caution on the roads but warned drivers that the police will not hesitate to take stern action against any driver found flouting road safety rules.

He blamed majority of these accidents on over-speeding in the part of drivers.

Among those present were Ngoliba MCA Joakim Njama and Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina’s Personal Assistant (PA) John Mwangi Njuguna who also called for caution on the roads.

They promised to approach the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) in order to erect speed bumps on some of the dangerous hotspots along the Thika-Garissa Highway which they claimed had claimed so many lives.

Last Sunday night, 18 people died when a 14-seater PSV matatu rammed onto a lorry killing 11 people on the spot.

The accident, which occurred at around 7pm, is said to have happened when the driver of the KINATWA SACCO matatu KCG 851L tried to avoid hitting a motorcyclist veered off its lane and rammed onto an oncoming Isuzu lorry Reg. No. KAR 343S.

The KINATWA matatu was heading to Kitui from Nairobi direction heading to Kitui.

By midnight, 18 people, who included the matatu driver and ten of his passengers, among them two minors; a boy and a girl had been confirmed dead.

Others casualties were the motorcyclist who caused the accident plus a pedestrian who was caught up in the mix. The truck driver, who was trapped for hours in the cabin, also succumbed to his injuries on arrival at Thika Level 5 Hospital. It took the efforts of the Fire brigade to untrap him from the wreckage.

Lil Magic Foundation Patron Tony Munene flags-off the Xmas Caravan drive organised by the foundation together with other partners at the Thika Red Cross grounds.
Certain outskirts of Thika Town come alive when the inaugural Xmas Caravan got underway on Friday morning. More than 100 volunteers drawn from various Non Profit and profit based organizations used this event to spread the Christmas cheer to hundreds of less fortunate families and children homes within the sub county.

The caravan started at the Thika Red Cross Branch grounds, passing through Kenyatta Highway and snaking itself to Goshen, Umoja, Gacagi, Kiandutu villages and finally stopping at Community grounds in Starehe.

The incredible generosity of the people of Thika saw hundreds of foodstuffs raised to help put a smile on the faces of the less fortunate in the society. Organized by the newly established community based organization Lil Magic Foundation, whose primary work revolves around health,young,youth empowerment and community service programme they had launched a food stuff donation appeal fundraising appeal and within a matter of days nearly 50 bales of Unga had been donated.

Tony Munene patron of the charity, said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the incredible generosity everyone has shown.

“I am truly touched, the kindness of people has been brilliant. Seeing how much people value putting smiles in other peoples faces has been very touching.”
A volunteer helps in distributing food stuff donated to Lil Magic Foundation by well wishers during the Xmas Caravan.

 According to the organisers over 200 people received the Christmas goodies.

Kiambu County Director of Land Survey and Geo Informatics Zaverico Kinyua Gitonga (centre) responding to questions from the press after a stakeholders engagement workshop at a Thika hotel.
Kiambu, Thika and Machakos towns are in the process of implementing a physical address system that will make it possible for anyone to very easily identify the location of a plot or dwelling on the ground.

The system will entail ‘assigning an address’ using a system of maps and signs that will give the numbers or names of streets and buildings, making the towns more ‘user-friendly’ and enable people to get around the city more easily.

This emerged from a stakeholder’s engagement workshop at a Thika hotel facilitated by both the national and county governments.

Speaking at the workshop, Kiambu County Director of Land Survey and Geo Informatics Zaverico Kinyua Gitonga acknowledged the fact that the demographic explosion of people into urban settlement had presented challenges in the identification of locations because more than 50% of the towns’ streets had no names or addresses.

“Houses need a distinctive marker that is easily recognisable through a system which defines their address. This can be done using the street number of the house on the street and the city or town it is in,” explained Kinyua.

He reckoned that at the moment there existed no system of street coordinates or baseline information to help one find their way around a constantly growing town.

“How do you dispatch ambulances, firemen, and law enforcement personnel quickly? How do you locate urban facilities and infrastructure? How do you pinpoint breakdowns in water, electricity and telephone systems? As we talk now, it is very hard for emergency service providers to respond to distress calls in some areas due to lack of a distinct identification system,” he said.

Kinyua added that the system provided an opportunity to create a map of these towns that can be used by different service departments and conduct a systematic survey that collects a significant amount of information about the city and its population. Such information, he said, would make it easily locatable.

“This database, which can take the form of a GIS (Geographical Information System) is the major innovation of street addressing initiatives, particularly in countries with rapidly growing urban areas where devolved governments have lost control of the urbanisation process,” he explained.

Reacting to this new development, Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Chairman Alfred Wanyoike welcomed the initiative which he said will go a long way in boosting business. He called upon the government to hasten its implementation.

“This system will enhance easier location of business premises and ease the movement of people. This will translate to more business as potential customers can locate you from anywhere in the world,” said Wanyoike.

The Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) has thrown out the case filed by Thika United FC, challenging the play-off criteria between them and Ushuru FC.

The two sides were to settle it out in a two-legged play-off on December 6 for the first round, with the return leg four days later, but Thika rushed to court protesting the move.

However, the local sports arbitration body threw away the case, reinstating an earlier clash as set by the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).

Thika United had argued the play off decision was not communicated at the beginning of the season and therefore it was only effective from next season but the court determined that the grounds of Thika United’s case had no merit.

The Thika side was also slapped with the penalty of meeting the cost of the case.

Thika have been hesitant about participating in the playoffs arguing that the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) must honour the 2015 agreement they had with league sponsor KPL over the manner in which teams are to be promoted and relegated from the top-tier competition.

The ‘Milkmen’ finished 16th in the table log, just one place above automatic relegation spot, while Ushuru came third in the lower National Super League (NSL).

Following this ruling, the two sides will have to square it out to determine who plays in the Kenyan Premier League next season. This is the first time NSL and KPL sides are facing off in a playoff.

Lands CS Jacob Kaimenyi addressing the press outside the Thika Lands Registry after making an impromptu visit on Wednesday. 
Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has expressed displeasure in the bad records management at the Thika Lands Registry which could be attributed to the loss of files and time wastage.

The CS was also shocked to discover that officers at the registry lacked some of the vital documents required for them to do their job effectively.

Speaking to the press after making an impromptu visit on Wednesday, Kaimenyi promised to immediately dispatch to the registry, all the requisite data avail to ensure that its staff did their according to the law.

“Every land registry must have copies of National and Policy, recent land laws which include the Land Law Amendment Act and Community Land Act,” he said.

The visit, which caught the staff unawares, exposed the rot in the department with members of the public accusing the office of poor service delivery.

Kaimenyi said that his visit was necessitated by a series of complaints related to fraud at the registry especially on matters concerning land registration and transactions, missing records and poor service delivery.

To address this, the CS said that the government was in the process of digitising all operations at the Ministry of Lands at a cost of Sh. 17 billion in order to improve service delivery and wade off brokers.

“The digitisation of all land registries in Kenya will minimise face-to-face interactions which will go a long way in fighting the cartel and brokers who have been having field days at these registries,” said Kaimenyi.

The digital process, he said, would enable Kenyans to make land rent payments, apply for titles and application for valuations and processing online.

He added that the ministry will also introduce a Biometric Access Control Card to confine registry staff at their work stations and restrain them from interfering with operations of other departments.

The Thika Lands Registry, which one of busiest in the Mt. Kenya region, has been accused to have been infiltrated with fraudsters and cartels who have been working in cahoots with some lands officers to deny landowners access to essential services and documents.

“This place is usually jammed with brokers who collude with some unscrupulous staff to fleece Kenyans a lot of money. These are the people behind missing files. It is now over three months since I started pursuing the replacement of my mother’s title deed to be processed at this registry but nothing is forthcoming until now,” claimed Joseph Mwangi from Kabati whose mother lost a title deed.

This visit, says Mwangi, was their sixth time at the registry since they embarked on the pursuant of this crucial document early in August.

The members of the public we spoke to called on the Ministry of Lands to transfer officers who have worked at the station for years, arguing that the move will improve integrity and break cartels and brokers.

They complained of the tedious process involved at the registry offices and welcomed the idea of digitisation of records which would mean that Kenyans will not have to go lands registries to obtain certain very basic services.

“If the ministry can avail core services online, some of these problems will be eradicated and cases of land fraud will be a thing of the past,” said Njoroge Mwaura from Juja Sub-County who has been at the registry to obtain a title deed for a piece of land he had bought from a land buying company.

Former Kamenu Ward MCA Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein greeting Gretsa University Chairman Governing Council Professor Francis Ndung'u Kibera after she graduated with a Diploma in Social Work and Community Development.
Immediate former Kamenu Ward MCA Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein has blamed the high level of unemployment among the GEMA communities to an attitude problem brought about by their high regard to ‘getting rich’ at the expense of advancing in education.

Speaking after graduating at Gretsa University with a Diploma in Social Work and Community Development, Muthoni reckoned that literacy was an essential tool for individuals to be competitive in the new global economy and so many positions within the region had been taken up by people from other regions of the country due to inadequacy of competent local personnel.

“I am really worried over the low number of locals in certain positions in most sectors of our own economy due to our lack of requisite technical skills. These jobs are being taken up by people from other regions because as a community, we have given the value of education a wide berth and given preference to venturing into unskilled entrepreneurship,” lamented the former MCA.

Though acknowledging that there was nothing wrong in prioritising the search for money and wealth, the region was faced with a great danger of fully depending on ‘expatriates’ to run their affairs, condemning locals to merely casual and menial jobs.

“The just concluded Supreme Court presidential petition was a warning shot to us as we toiled with our much coveted tyranny of numbers with NASA teasing us with their ‘tyranny of brains’. The opposition was jammed with endless numbers of very qualified lawyers compared to just a handful from our own. We need to think twice as the situation replicates itself in majority of sectors,” she said.

She castigated the move by Kiambu County to cap job opportunities according to ethnicity saying that the move was retrogressive as it would alienate the GEMA Community and wedge animosity that is counterproductive. She suggested that instead, the county should invest more in education and the teaching of technical skills so as to make its people more marketable in the job market as well as in job creation.

“Literacy not only enriches an individual’s life, but it creates opportunities for people to develop skills that will help them provide for themselves and their families. Increasing the emphasis towards education positively impacts on the people’s standard of living and facilitates employment, helping the wider economy and community to thrive,” she explained.

Muthoni said that she opted to go back to school in 2016 due to her passion for service to the community and in pursuit of empowering people to meet their basic needs especially those of the vulnerable and the oppressed in the society.

During the graduation ceremony, 975 students graduated. The chief guest was Chancellor Dr. Kibathi Mbugua.

The wreckage of the vehicles that were involved in an accident near Kilimambogo junction killing 18 people on Sunday night.
The death toll in the Kilimambogo road crash involving a 14-seater PSV matatu and a lorry on Sunday night has risen to 18 after several more people succumbed to their injuries.

The accident, which occurred at around 7pm, is said to have happened when the driver of the KINATWA SACCO matatu KCG 851L tried to avoid hitting a motorcyclist veered off its lane and rammed onto an oncoming Isuzu lorry Reg. No. KAR 343S killing 11 people on the spot.

The KINATWA matatu was heading to Kitui from Nairobi direction heading to Kitui.

By midnight, 18 people, who included the matatu driver and ten of his passengers, among them two minors; a boy and a girl had been confirmed dead.

Others casualties were the motorcyclist who caused the accident plus a pedestrian who was caught up in the mix. The truck driver, who was trapped for hours in the cabin, also succumbed to his injuries on arrival at Thika Level 5 Hospital. It took the efforts of the Fire brigade to untrap him from the wreckage.

Those at the scene blamed the high number of casualties to the delay in arrival of ambulances which took more than two hours to arrive at the scene.

The scene was so horrific as bodies lay scattered all over the road.

Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina arrived a few minutes after the accident and assisted in transporting the injured to hospital.

Thika Level 5 Hospital was a beehive of activity as the doctors did all they could to save those who were injured.

According to doctors at the hospital, 9 people survived with 2 of the survivors being transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital in very critical condition, while 1 is in the hospital’s ICU unit. 6 of the injured have been admitted with various injuries in the general wards.

It is alleged that the matatu had on board 22 passengers with the lorry carrying 3 passengers.

Eye witness account accused the matatu driver of overspeeding notwithstanding that it had carried more passengers than the recommended 14.

Eng. Wainaina pointed an accusing finger to traffic police officers and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), failing to understand how this matatu managed to pass all the roadblocks without being put to account.

“I fail to understand how a 14-seater matatu passed all the roadblocks with 22 people on board. Furthermore, it seems not to have a functional speed governor something that brings to the question the work of both the police and NTSA. These roadblocks are just cash cows for unscrupulous officers,” lamented the Thika legislator.

Monday morning, it was a sombre mood at the Thika Level 5 Hospital and General Kago Funeral Home as relatives of those involved flocked to know the status of their loved ones.

Thika-Nairobi commuters have a reason to smile after Kenya Mpya Bus Company rolled back on Friday after almost two weeks following suspension by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

NTSA suspended the bus company on December 8 following a series of complaints of indiscipline and speeding by its crew. The authority had announced the action during a crackdown along Thika Superhighway targeting non-complaint public service vehicles, catching many travellers unawares.

Speaking to the press after a sensitization workshop with drivers and conductors of Kenya Mpya, NTSA Central Region Deputy Manager John Parteroi had said that the company had been given a number of conditions to fulfil before they were allowed back to business.

Among those conditions included taking the entire fleet of 100 buses for inspection to certify that they were in good condition and their speed governors were operational.

“Other than the inspection, we are here today to train their drivers and conductors on road safety matters as well as sensitizing them on courtesy on the road aimed at behavioural change,” explained Parteroi.

The DM assured them that once the company fulfilled all the conditions, NTSA would lift this suspension.

Following the ban, many commuters have been having a rough time reaching their destination.

Monday evening after the weekend suspension, their Munyu Road terminus in Nairobi was packed with hundreds of stranded commuters waiting to board a bus to Thika, some of whom had to wait till 10pm to be lucky.

The situation was not much better at the Thika main terminus in the morning and along the 42km stretch as very many stranded commuters could be seen at various bus stops on either side of the Thika Superhighway.

Those who managed to catch a bus had to pay Sh. 150 for the same distance which on a normal day is charged Sh. 70.

For the past two weeks, Thika-Nairobi commuters have been experiencing a very hectic period especially during the rush hours.

For some time now, Neo Kenya Mpya and Joy Kenya have not being sharing the Munyu Road stage in Nairobi due to internal wrangling between the two managements. Neo Kenya had been forced to start their own along Accra Road. 

One person died and three others were injured in a head-on collision along the Thika-Garissa Highway near Kivulini in Kisii Estate Thika.

The collision happened Saturday evening when the driver of a saloon car attempted to overtake but before it could get back onto its lane, slammed head-on into an oncoming tractor shovel.

The four passengers in the small vehicle were rushed to at Thika Level 5 Hospital, but one of them was pronounced dead on arrival.

The grader driver was also slightly injured.

The evening accident caused heavy traffic snarl up along the busy highway as police had a hard time trying to pull out the wrecked car which had been trapped in the shovel.

The car was later towed to Makongeni Police Station.

KURA Chief Corporate Communication Officer John Cheboi addressing members of public at Kiang'ombe Social Hall during a forum to discuss the proposed Thika Bypasses. With him is Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.
About a dozen buildings along Oloitiptip road (BAT-Kiganjo) could be demolished in a new construction plan are earmarked to free Thika town from traffic congestion.

The properties to be affected are in Makongeni and Kiganjo especially near the Kamenu Makongeni Stage.

Responding to questions from stakeholders during the 6th Thika Bypass public participation forum in Kiang’ombe Social Hall, Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) Chief Corporate Communication Officer John Cheboi said that any construction on road corridors will be marked and the owner asked to give way for road construction.

“KURA will not compensate anyone who has encroached on road reserves. Once we give these people a formal notice to vacate, we do not expect them to delay the road construction otherwise the government will forcefully pull down these buildings at their cost,” said Cheboi.

The Chairperson of the 800 member Thika Mwalimu Housing Sacco Readeani Ndaani had sought clarification from KURA on the exact route-map as part of the original survey indicated that the current BAT-Kiganjo road had been changed to pass through their 100-acre parcel of land.

“We bought this land in 1998 and according to the map in Survey of Kenya, this road cuts through our land. We are there requesting you to avoid the same mistake and relocate the road where it is supposed to be as per the map,” said Ndaani.

Ndaani continued to say that a lot of the buildings along that road had been built on road reserve, forcing the contractor who did the current road to push it about 20 metres to the East.

In the past, several demolitions of buildings have been carried out to pave way for road construction in the country. In November 2008, giant retailer Nakumatt supermarket in Thika Road was demolished and thereafter lost over half a billion shillings worth of stock.

Cheboi explained that the bypass had put into consideration all road users and upon completion, it will address the decade old traffic menace in Thika.

“The construction of these roads will include a non-motorised cycle lane, pedestrian footpaths, drainage and street lighting in a bid to cater for all the road users,” he said.

(Related story: Government allocates KES. 1.5B for link roads to ease Thika traffic.)

Thika MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina warned that he will not tolerate any arbitrary misuse of public money during the project and called on the contractor to be awarded to work with speed to complete the job.

He added that, as a condition, local residents should be given priority in both the tendering and the construction works.

“We will resist foreigners from being given preference over locals and I am encouraging local contractors to lobby for the tenders once they are floated. Otherwise, this does not mean that we will condone shoddy work or theft of public resources. No! Let us believe in ourselves and work for the best interest of our people,” said the MP. 

KCB Heist suspects Shem Karani, Halford Munene, Charles Mwangi and Julius Ndung'u before the Thika Chief Magistrate Teresiah Murigi on December 14, 2017 where they faced additional charges of being in possession of stolen property.
Matters compounded for the four suspects charged with stealing Sh. 52 million from Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Thika branch last month after they were charged with additional crimes.

Shem Karani Karimi, Halford Munene Murakaru, his brother Charles Mwangi Murakaru and Julius Ndung'u Wainaina had earlier applied to have the court to review downward the Sh. 4million bond that had been slapped on each one of them after failing to raise the amount in order to secure their freedom.

However, Prosecution Counsel Stella Oyagi opposed the review saying investigations saying that the ongoing investigations had unearthed more crimes by the accused.

She informed the court that the ongoing investigations have been able to expose 200 identity cards in the possession of the accused and the prosecution was in the process of establishing their owners who were likely to become potential witnesses in the case were ongoing.

“The prosecution fears that reviewing the bail terms that will pave way for the release of the accused will lead to them interfering with the ongoing investigations,” said Oyagi.
Munene, Mwangi, Ndung’u and Karani were charged with being in possession of suspected stolen property.

Munene, Mwangi and Ndung’u were charged with being in possession of 200 identity cards, 200 orange SIM cards, 1239, MTN SIM cards, seven CPUs and 305 telecommunication authority cards suspected to be stolen property.

Karani was charged further for being in possession of three identity cards also suspected to have been stolen that were found with him in Mtwapa Mombasa where he was arrested.

While representing the first three accused Defence counsel Waithera Mwangi, requested the court to order the prosecution to furnish her with copies of the charge sheets, witness statements and all exhibits to be used against her clients so as to allow her argue her case sufficiently.

She argued that her clients hailed from a humble background and the amount of bail was way too high above their reach.

“My clients are requesting that you consider reviewing their bond term as none of them can afford such an amount. Furthermore, they are unlikely to flee as two of them are married with very young families while the third accused is currently engaged,” said Ms. Murigi.

In November this year, the accused were arraigned in the same court and charged with the theft of Sh52, 650,000 between November 18 and 20 that were in different currencies.

They were accused of stealing 95 Australian dollars, 185 Euros, 1,630 British pounds, 271,000 Tanzanian shillings, 947,000 Ugandan shillings, $5,781, five Canadian dollars and 40 South African rand.

The first three respondents were also charged with handling stolen property at Joy Land estate in Juja town, Kiambu County, they handled $1,311, Sh17 million, 340 British pounds, 3,660 Euros, five Canadian dollars, 85 Australian dollars, 40 South African Rands and 20,000 Ugandan shillings.

Thika Chief Magistrate Teresiah Murigi adjourned the case to December 20 when the pre-bail report will be tabled.

MKU Chairman Prof. Simon Gicharu (left) flanked by Board of Directors member Jane Nyutu and Council Chairman Prof David Seremthe on arrival at the graduation arena during the University’s 13th graduation ceremony held at MKU Pavilion on Friday.
A section of the Mount Kenya University (MKU) leadership has faulted a motion passed by the Kiambu County Assembly to compel all public and private institutions within its jurisdiction to ensure that at least 70% of its workforce constitute of locals (read Kikuyus).

Led by Chairman of its Board of Directors Prof. Simon Gicharu during the institution’s 13th Graduation Ceremony, the leaders termed this law as retrogressive and in bad spirit of nationhood.

“This motion was ill-advised and does not promote national integration. It is advisable when is implementing some of these policies to allow diversity and competence to override all other interests. National integration can never be achieved if we restrict our people to only live and word in their areas of origin,” said Prof. Gicharu.

He reckoned that instead of such a move, the county government should have advocated for a jobs exchange programme that would ensure that all counties in Kenya tapped the best talents and skills, consequently attracting rapid growth, not only in Kiambu but in all the 47 counties in the country.
Gicharu added that, as an institution, MKU will continue to hire the best personnel in the world regardless of where someone came from.

“I want to assure Prof (Stanley) Waudo that your job is safe despite the fact that you hail from another region of this country. As MKU, we will not respect that law and we will continue to hire staff from any part of the world. What matters to us is their qualifications and competence,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by MKU Governing Council Vice Chairman Vincent Gichuru Gaitho who challenged the county assembly to revisit the matter and instead work on ways to create more employment opportunities instead of setting up policies that would alienate locals and ignite tribal animosity among the communities living in Kenya.

“The county assembly should think bigger than that. We cannot use knee-jerk resolutions to solve our problems. Instead of attempting to arm-twist employers into employing people from a certain ethnic community, they should prepare programmes geared towards creating more employment opportunities for their people. And by the way, who qualifies to be referred to as a ‘local’? There are non-Kikuyus who have been born and brought up in Kiambu and we cannot afford to discriminate them for reasons of ethnicity,” said Gichuru.  

The Kiambu County Assembly passed a motion compelling public and private institutions and businesses operating in the region to get 70% of its workforce from the dominant ethnic community in what they argued an attempt to create employment for the local people.

The MCAs said a staff audit will be carried out and employers found not to have complied will be required to take action, failing which they will lose their operating licences.

Earlier, Governor Ferdinand Waititu insisted that the recruitment of vice chancellors for universities in the county to be conducted by the regional assembly, to ensure locals are given priority.

While making the proposal, Waititu argued that the majority of employees at Kenyatta University (KU) and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) were non-locals.

Meanwhile, MKU has unveiled a new logo to culminate its rebranding, ten (10) years since it became a fully-fledged university.

In a colourful ceremony held after their 13th graduation, Chairman Board of Directors Prof. Simon Gicharu said that time was ideal for the institution to re-invent itself into one of the best universities in the world.

During the launch, the university changed it MOTTO from the previous ‘Scaling The Heights of Education’ to ‘Unlock Infinite Possibilities’.

“Time is ripe for us to reinvent ourselves. After scaling the heights of education for the last 10 years, now we can unlock our infinite potential. My vision of MKU is to become the best university in the country, in Africa and in the world,” said Gicharu.

To achieve this, Gicharu challenged both staff and students to play their part in ensuring that the institution remained credible and upholding integrity in all they did.

The institution also launched a retirement provident scheme for the payment of lump sums and other similar benefits to employees when they leave employment or to the dependents of employees on the death of those employees.

All MKU workers will from now henceforth contribute a portion of their salaries towards the fund as the institution contributes a certain percentage on behalf of her workers.

“You will no longer have to worry about your retirement. This fund will ensure that each one of you is financially secure after you call it a day,” said Gicharu.

The occasion was graced by the Secretary of Communications in the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) and State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu among other dignitaries.

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