August 2018

Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria.

There is no end in sight to the water crisis in Murang’a County with the dispute pitting Governor Mwangi Wa Iria against former Equity Bank Group Chairman Peter Munga painting the grim picture of the perennial yet unresolved issue of the management of water companies in the county. 

While speaking exclusively to Thika Town Today on Thursday, Gov. Wa Iria warned that his government would no longer sit back and watch as a ‘few individuals’ exploited Murang’a residents in what he described as a devolved function of provision of clean and safe drinking water.

He blamed the current water crisis on private water companies whose sole aim was to fleece people instead of providing water which was a fundamental right of every citizen.

“How can a person wake one day and decide to decide to deny water services to the residents? This is unacceptable! Water provision is a responsibility of the devolved governments and we cannot allow an individual to trade with water. I have said enough is enough!” scoffed the governor.

Wa Iria accused the management of Murang’a Water And Sewerage Company (MUWASCO) of lacking transparency and accountability in the managing public resources.

“What we are demanding as the county government is accountability and transparency in the management of public resources. The company has borrowed loans amounting into billions which is paid by the public and therefore it does not qualify to be termed as a private entity,” said Wa Iria.

Consequently, the governor instructed all Murang’a residents to stop paying any water dues to MUWASCO until an all-inclusive stakeholders’ meeting was convened to deliberate on the way forward in the matter.

“Water in Murang’a County from today henceforth is free and no one should charge you for water until the day I tell you pay. We must first sit down as Murang’a people and MUWASCO and deliberate on how we want water services to be handled,” he said.

He instructed all those whose homes are not connected to water to register with his office so as to enable his government to embark on a proper mechanism to ensure every citizen got access to clean and safe drinking water.

The high-speed expressway, the first of its kind in Kenya, will allow uninterrupted speeds of 120 km/h, cutting travel time from the current 10 hours to just four hours.
Kenya and the United States have signed a pact to build a state-of-the-art superhighway connecting Nairobi and Mombasa.

The project, known as the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway project, is due to be built by US construction firm Bechtel Corporation.

President Donald Trump and his counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta also announced that their governments had established direct flights between Nairobi and New York.

The high-speed expressway, the first of its kind in Kenya, will allow uninterrupted speeds of 120 km/h, cutting travel time from the current 10 hours to just four hours. 

It will initially have four lanes, expandable to six, and have a closed toll system with 19 interchanges, another hallmark of the impressive mega projects done during the Jubilee administration.

The planned superhighway is divided into three main sections with the first section (174km) starting at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi and ending at Kibwezi town in Makueni County.

The second section (132km) will be built between Kibwezi and Voi, while the third section (160km) will be constructed between Voi and Mombasa.

The expressway will be built by US engineering and construction firm Bechtel Corporation at a cost of Ksh300 billion ($3 billion). 

The company, which boasts of having completed completed more than 25,000 extraordinary projects across 160 countries on all seven continents, opened a regional Africa office in Nairobi in 2017. 

It estimates that the road project will generate nearly twice the money spent on the project over a period of 25 years. 

The highway expansion project, which forms part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 development programme, is expected to be complete in 2023.

On top of reducing logistics costs and addressing road safety between the two cities, the expressway, alongside the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) are expected to promote development in East African countries such as Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

(Source: Tuko)

A police officer attempts to clear curious onlookers who had flocked the scene of accident.

Several people who included students who were reporting back to school for third term sustained minor injuries after the  bus they were travelling in rolled several times at the Kenyatta Highway roundabout near Bonjour Total Petrol Station in Thika on Wednesday afternoon.

According to eyewitness report, the accident happened at around 1:40pm as the bus belonging to Joy Kenya Bus Limited was heading towards Thika town.

Those who spoke to Thika Town Today said that the bus rolled under unclear circumstances occasioning injuries to the occupants since according to them, it could not be described as a case of overspeeding.

While narrating the ordeal to the traffic police officer who was at the scene, a visibly shaken driver said that as he approached National Bank area, he realised that the brakes had failed occasioning him to try everything possible to avoid crashing onto a few vehicles that were ahead of him.

“When I realised that the brakes had failed, I swerved the bus to the sides to avoid crashing onto some vehicles that were ahead of me. As a result of the impact of hitting the pavement, the bus overturned and rolled several times before landing upside down across the road,” he said.

According to him, the bus was almost full to capacity at the time of the accident.
Those who were near the scene, they heard a loud bang and immediately rushed to assist those who were in the bus.

“Majority of them just sustained minor cuts and bruises, with a few with suspected to have sustained internal injuries. We helped them get out through the rear windscreen and assisted them to get to Thika Level 5 Hospital for checkup,” explained one of the witnesses.

Sources close to the hospital indicated that they received about 14 casualties with several of the students said to have vanished in the thin air.

“Some of the students who were inside the bus just got out and ran helter-skelter towards the town centre. Unfortunately, we cannot tell anything about their condition,” he added.

Some of the people we talked to faulted the beautification programme along the highway saying that the raised pavement obstructed drivers especially those driving small cars from seeing vehicles joining the roundabout from the town centre.

“One of the reasons why vehicles jam here (at the roundabout) is because this pavement blocks the view of motorists driving small cars from seeing vehicles getting onto the roundabout from town. This forces them to slow down until the reach the roundabout and can see all the way through to town,” explained a tuktuk driver.

A matatu owner who did not want to be named blamed the frequent accidents by PSV vehicles on some rogue drivers.

“I fully blame some of these accidents on our drivers. It is very easy for a driver who messes around in one Sacco to get employment in another since matatu operators never make any efforts to dig into their history. This creates some impunity among matatu crew who are guaranteed of employment elsewhere, leaving the vehicle owners with burden of the mess they (drivers) have created,” said the matatu operator.

He suggested that time was ripe the matatu industry came up with a data of all their crew in order to make available, all the information regarding to their crew regardless from which Sacco they belonged to.

As we were going to press, the driver of the bus was locked up at Thika Police Station on charges of careless driving.

Mahiga Homes Group of Companies Director Joseph Ruhiu addressing investors in Kimunyu village Gatundu South during the handing over of 12 self-contained houses to their owners. Looking on is Madam Gladys Chania who was the chief guest (left) and the group's Managing Director Patrick Muchoki (right).  
A real estate developer has urged the government to review the cost of building materials downwards if at all they want to succeed in the implementation of President Uhuru Kenyatta' BIG 4 Agenda.

Speaking in Kimunyu village Gatundu South during the handing over of 12 self-contained houses to their owners, Mahiga Homes Group of Companies Managing Director Patrick Muchoki lamented that the high cost of building materials was hindering the growth of real estate industry thus jeopardising the government's goal of affordable housing which was one of the key pillars of the BIG 4 Agenda.

Muchoki noted that the price of steel has risen by 30% between January and August this year while the cost of Timber has also risen by 100% and that of iron sheets by 100% since the ban on logging was implemented and fuel has gone up by more 20 %.

“All this put together is affecting the cost of construction by 23% making it a little bit difficult for us to be able to offer more offer more affordable options when it comes to housing. We would therefore request the government to involve players in the industry in the development of policies that affect the industry” he said.

He added that the government decision to increase the prices of fuel had a ripple effect on the building and construction industry as it will increase transportation costs of building materials.

His sentiments were echoed by Madam Gladys Chania who said that it was alsmost impossible for the government to realise its dream on affordable housing if policy makers didn’t stop coming up with punitive policies.

She advocated for tax incentives being extended to real estate developers including access to cheap loans to enable them supplement government efforts on affordable houses to Kenyans.

Mahiga Director Joseph Ruhiu said the company  has constructed over 200 housing units in Kiambu County this year.

The first phase of Kimunyu houses started in February this year and have taken a record six months to complete.

"The second phase consisting of 28 units is expected to be complete by the end of this year," he said.

A mysterious fire that broke out at dawn on Monday, reduced a multi-million plastic factory in Thika into ashes.

There are reports that fire that broke out at around 4am at Afroplast Limited near UTI estate might have been an act of arson.

According to Kiambu's Head of Fire Department Samwel Kahura, his team arrived shortly after the fire alarm was raised by neighbours but by the time the fire engines arrived at the scene, already half of the factory had been consumed by the infernal that took them over 3 hours to put off.

“Being a factory that manufactures plastics, the fire spread very fast and consumed machines and plastic wares worth millions. We however did not register any casualties although we had to break into the factory to put the fire off as it was threatening to spread to the adjacent premises," he revealed.

Maina Kiama, the prioprietor of the firm, said that he recieved the distress call at around 4.00am and by the time he got to the scene 10 minutes later the factory was engulfed in huge flames.

“Right now we even don’t know where the watchman is as he has been missing from the time the fire started, we did not manage to salvage anything, everything has been razed to the ground,” quipped the visibly distraught Kiama.

The factory that manufactures U-PVC Pipes and plastic containers was totally consumed.

Police have launched investigations and are looking for the watchman suspected to have disappeared immediately the fire started.

Thika OCPD Willy Simba speaking from the scene of fire said that they were yet to establish the cause but had already launched investigations to unearth the mystery.

He added that KPLC personnel on the ground and has ruled out electrical fault as the cause of the fire.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina being shown around some of the ongoing projects at Ndula Secondary School by the school Principal. 

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has reiterated his commitment to improving education standards in the constituency by supporting schools’ infrastructural development and motivating both the learners and teachers.

Wainaina noted that it was through standard facilities that children would be exposed to good learning environment hence boosting their competitiveness in national examination.

The legislator made the remarks at the end of the week when he toured various public schools in both Thika East and West Sub-Counties, the MP emphasised his plan to transform the quality of education and to make it more inclusive through partnership with other stakeholders in the area.

“Human capital is a great asset to any nation and that is why my leadership will continue giving high priority to inclusive and quality education in all our schools. Something has to be done because some of our schools are in very deplorable conditions something that affects the general performance of learners and the teachers’ morale,” he said.

The MP also promised to upgrade and install street lighting along all roads leading to learning institutions so as to make them more accessible and secure for both the learners and the teachers.

Wainaina appealed for patience from all residents as he continued to roll out the street lighting programme and road improvements stressing that he would eventually cover all corners of the constituency.

“I am aware that there are so many areas that need street lights and grading of roads. We are doing all what we can with the limited resources that we have, starting with the sections that have inaccessible roads and those that most insecure and urgently need street lighting. Otherwise, I promise Thika residents that we will eventually cover all the corners of the constituency. So do not worry if we have not yet come to your area. We will definitely come,” he concluded.

During the tour, the MP visited Ndula Primary and Secondary Schools in Thika East and Kimuchu Secondary School in Thika West sub-county.

CASK Project Leader, Prof. F.W.Muregi of Mount Kenya University.
Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK), an Association that fosters dialogue between science and religion that is hosted by Mount Kenya University (MKU) has organized a two-day regionalconference themed Interaction of Science and Religion in Africa: Current and Future Perspectives”.The conference will be held at the Sweet lake Resort, Naivasha from Wednesday August 29, 2018 to Thursday August 30, 2018.
According to the Project Leader of CSAK is Prof. Francis W. Muregi of Mount Kenya University, the Conference is to be attended by high key scholars in the field of Science and Religion. The Chief Guest is Professor Mwenda Ntarangwi, the Commission Secretary and Chief Executive Officer for Commission of University Education (CUE), Kenya. Notable speakers at the Conference include Professor Andrew Briggs, Head of Nano materials Department at the University of Oxford; Professor Oyewale Tomori, past President of the Nigerian Academy of Science; and Professor Joseph D. Galgalo, a Cambridge University-trained theologian and Vice-Chancellor, St. Paul’s University, Kenya. During the Conference, a famous play by a renowned actor Andrew Harrison titled “Mr.Darwin’s Tree” will be showcased.
Overview of Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK)
Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK) is a professional, non-sectarian, non-political Association geared towards facilitating synergetic interaction between science and Christian Faith. It is jointly funded by The Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. (TWCF Inc.) and Mount Kenya University. It brings together practitioners of science and Christian Faith with the aim of exploring how interaction between the two in the African context can best synergize each other. Since its establishment two and a half years ago, the Associationhas realized tremendous growth in membership that spreads across the nation drawn from 35universities and several research institutions.
Apart from the Project Leader of CSAK is Prof. Francis W. Muregi of Mount Kenya University. Other CSAK leaders including Prof. Bernard Boyo of Daystar University, Prof. Eunice Kamaara of Moi university and Prof. Michael Ntabo Mabururu of Rongo University, among others.
Prof. Muregi says that the genesis of the Association was due to the controversies that have been experienced in the country in the recent past on conflicting opinions between the policy makers and religious actors. For instance, within the past few years the country has experienced heated debates on diverse subjects such as on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and immunization campaigns for Polio and Tetanus vaccines. A section of the Church has opposed immunization of children alleging it is a form unconsented birth control which leaves many Kenyans ambivalent on whether to embrace immunization drives or not.  Prof. Muregi avers that it high time universities guided the masses on such matters of public interest, making the latter active players and not spectators. “Universities must demolish the silos that hinder interdisciplinary interactions” he asserts. He fails to understand why fields like social sciences, philosophy and theology cannot be housed in the same space with biomedical specialties. This is the only way we shall begin to address in a holistic manner the social challenges of our people, he argues.
The Association emphasizes capacity building of its members and holds annual national workshops and trainings, public debates, and national essay competitions on interaction between science and religion in the African context. In 2016, 150 CSAK members receive advanced local training on the dialogue between science and religion by the renowned Faraday Institute for Science and Religion of Cambridge University, UK.In the last two years, 6 CSAK members have also been trained at same Institute.  Currently, Prof. Muregi and Prof. Boyo are participating in a two-year Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) Programme as a part of selected global scholars in the area of science and religion.
Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya draws its membership from universities and research institutions in Kenya. Membership is open to university scholars, postgraduate students, clergy and researchers with an interest in the area of intersection of science and religion.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina explains a point to Women Reps. Gathoni Wamuchomba (Kiambu), Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira) and Esther Passaris (Nairobi) at one of the stands during the “MamaCare Cottage Industry Exhibition” at Mang'u High School Thika on saturday. 

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina wants the government to destroy the over 1 billion kilogramme of sugar that was over the past one year imported into the country, regardless of whether or not it is fit for human consumption.

Wainaina said that the over KES. 4 billion sugar which was allowed in duty-free, spelt doom to the local sugar industry, thus jeopardising President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dream of creating more jobs for Kenyans as envisaged in his ‘BIG 4 AGENDA’.

While speaking at Mang’u High School on Saturday during the “MamaCare Cottage Industry Exhibition” that had been organised by Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba, the MP noted with concern the manner in which the contraband sugar report by the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives  was shot down by the house without any valid reason.

“This report was killed by the Lords of Impunity, a cartel that is out to sabotage the (Kenyan) economy. If we allow this sugar into our shelves, we will be definitely be killing the local sugar industry,” he said.

The MP appealed to the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to push for its reintroduction into the house, asking him to ignore the sideshows fronted by the cartels who have imported this sugar.

“This report must find its way back in Parliament for debate. I am therefore appealing to the NA Speaker not to get carried away by these sideshows and do what is best for Kenyans,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Wamuchomba who categorically stated that the contraband sugar was unfit for human consumption.

Wamuchomba added that it was unfortunate as Kenyans were debating about the sugar, another consignment of ‘contaminated’ rice and cooking oil was on its way to Kenya.

“How can we even talk of job creation if all we do is to import products that are already being produced locally? This unacceptable and we will not allow a few people to kill our economy through their greed,” she said.

Others who spoke against this illegal importation and graft in the country included Women Reps. Esther Passaris (Nairobi) and Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira) who said that that the corrupt should be left to carry their own cross.

Present at the fete were Kiambu deputy Governor Dr. James Nyoro, Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe and the Witeithie MCA Julius Taki Macharia.

The chief guest was Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya Ms. Brenda Muntemba.

Police in Thika have arrested 6 suspected illegal immigrants in a rented house in Section 9 Estate after some tip off from the members of public.

The six, all Egyptian nationals, were rounded up in a in a two bed-roomed house and taken into custody at Thika Police Station to ascertain the validity of their passports and other documents found in their possession.

Confirming of their arrest, Thika OCPD Willy Simba identified the six as Ahmed Sayed (20yrs), Mohamed Radwan (25yrs),MaherGamal (26yrs), Mohammed Assar (23yrs), Mustafa Abdelhamid (30yrs) and Samir Sabry (24yrs).

He added that they were going to hold them custody as they waited for officials from the immigration office  to verify the authenticity of their documents.

The action comes on the heels of raids across the country targeting undocumented immigrant workers, barely two days after Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i announced that foreign workers without proper work permits should leave the country.

The CS also suspended application of foreigners work permits on arrival in Kenya.
“If you have a job, or you have applied for a job to come to Kenya and work in a regional branch of an international company, you apply for a work permit from where you are,” Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said.
On August 15, two Egyptians were jailed for seven months for hawking without work permits.
Ahmed Nasr and Muhamed Hassan were found with 11 cooking pots which they were hawking to residents of Nyeri town.

Head of agribusiness at Bidco Africa John Kariuki talking to farmers in Kikopey, Gilgil, on Saturday.

Bidco Africa Group plans to partner with more than 25,000 small-scale farmers to boost the production of soybeans and sunflower locally so as to meet their demand for edible oils.

Speaking at a farmers' field day in Kikopey, Gilgil, on Saturday, head of agribusiness John Kariuki, the country is facing a shortage of the two crops forcing manufacturers to import the raw products from neighbouring countries for processing.

He pointed out that the country barely produced 50% of its edible oil needs despite a ready and lucrative market.

“This initiative is aimed at empowering farmers financially. Many farmers have been growing maize but it is time they changed to sunflower and soybeans whose returns are higher than what is realised from other crops notwithstanding that the two crops are drought-resistant crops that can grow in any part of the country,” explained Kariuki.

He acknowledged that the firm requires over 10,000 metric tonnes of sunflower and soya annually against an estimated supply of 5,000 metric tonnes, forcing them to rely on neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania to bridge the gap.

Kariuki added that they were seeking to engage more than 50,000 farmers across the country by next year.

“Bidco will contract the farmers, offer them technical support, logistics and an uptake market once the product is ready for harvesting,” he said.

Michael Nderitu, who is in charge of contracting, said Gilgil had a conducive environment to grow the crop.

He said crops on eight acres which had been put on trial had performed beyond their expectation and hence the move to seek more farmers.

“The crop is also ideal for this region because it is rarely attacked by pests, livestock or wildlife,” he added.

Ayub Mugo (78) and his bride Teresiah Njoki (60) during their wedding ceremony on Sunday, August 19. 
It was all song and dance at St Marks ACK Church in Murang'a County, when 78-year old Ayub Mugo exchanged marriage vows with Teresiah Njoki, 60 on Sunday August 19.

It was quite a spectacle as the two lovebirds walked down the aisle in the presence of jubilant relatives, friends and curious passersby who came to have a witness as they said “I do!

Mugo, who has been living alone for last ten years, was very optimistic of his new marriage and hope that it would bring happiness once again into his life.

The two met in 2017 while the groom was on a private business in Thika town.

“It was love at first sight. She appeared very special to me, a strong feeling of love hit me and I decided to follow her,” he said as he recollected how he met his sweetheart.

“I stopped and asked her out for a cup of tea which she obliged. While at the restaurant, we exchanged contacts and an intimate conversation followed a few days later,” he added.

From then, he kept praying for their reunion and eventually called all his five children and informed them about his new love.

As fate would have it, none of his children objected to their relationship.

On her part, the bride was a bit hesitant but later caved into his advances.

“I have been praying to God all my life to give me a husband despite my advanced age. Now that I have met him, I am so happy. I love him so much,” Njoki expressed her joy after the union.

The couple were however categorical that they had no intentions of bearing any children together and their union was all about companionship.

“Old widowers and widows are at the risk of dying of loneliness and stress and I advise them to marry,” advised Mugo.

Police in Ruiru have arrested one suspect and recovered electricity installation equipment worth about KES. 20 million stolen from Kenya Power from a private residence in Membley Estate. 

The suspect, Joseph Kihara, is believed to have been sub-contracted by Chinese Electrical Engineering Company to take the equipment to Loiyangalani Kenya Power in Turkana County.

Among the impounded at Kihara’s residence include electrical cables, electric poles, meter boxes, transformer assembling parts and aluminum conductors. A number of cables had already been dismantled in an attempt to conceal their source.

Confirming the arrest, Kiambu Police Commander Adiel Nyange said that police were still investigating the matter to establish where exactly the equipment were stolen from.

“We are also investigating to establish if this suspect has been working in collusion with Kenya Power staff,” he said.

He decried that the power company loses over Sh. 200 million equipment per year to theft.

Last year alone, Kenya Power lost Sh. 19 million to transformer thieves after 38 of the company transformers went missing mysteriously.

The arrest of a contractor comes in the wake of the rot at the power company that led to the arrest of the company bosses among them former Power MD Ben Chumo, current MD Ken Tarus, company secretary Beatrice Messo among 12 others over corruption at the utility.

A businessman has been left counting losses after suspected arsonists on Saturday torched 13 buses in Thika town, Kiambu county.
The buses belonging to Chania Special Travellers sacco, had been parked overnight in at a garage in Kenyatta Road estate, Juja.
A caretaker at the garage said he heard a huge explosion before the fire engulfed the the facility burning down the buses a lorry.
“I was awoken by a huge explosion and when I came out of the house all the buses were on fire. It was so huge I could not put it off on my own,” said the caretaker.
The owner of the garage, Joseph Kamau, believes it was not an accident and suspects arson.
“I was alerted by the caretaker and I called the firefighters from Kiambu but unfortunately all buses had burnt. These buses were burnt by someone with a certain intention,” said Mr. Kamau.
Police have launched investigations to establish the cause of the fire that has reduced a multi-million shillings business to ashes.
(Source Citizen Digital)

Thika Level 5 Hospital Superintendent Patrick Nyaga (right) visits one of the fire victims at the ICU on Friday evening to ascertain his condition.
One person died and 17 others injured on Friday afternoon after a fire outbreak at a Thika manufacturing plant.

According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, the blaze at Junglenuts Macadamia factory broke out at around 3:30pm when one of the boilers burst into flames just a few seconds after the resumption of electricity following some power surge earlier in the afternoon.

They said that two among those injured sustained serious injuries with one of them succumbing to his injuries upon arrival at the Thika Level 5 Hospital.

“The two, both men, were the ones operating the machine when the accident occurred and therefore had the worst injuries. I hear that one of them has died on arrival at the hospital,” explained one of our sources.

The facility had about 200 workers at the time of the accident, most of whom managed to escape unscathed through the company’s security exits.

While responding to questions from the press, Joseph Murigi, the company’s Human Resource Manager (HR), said investigations were underway to establish the real course of the fire even though he pointed out that it might have been as a result of an electric power fault after some power surge.
Thika Level 5 Hospital Superintendent Patrick Nyaga confirmed of the death of one male patient on arrival at the hospital adding that only one victim was admitted in ICU.

Nyaga allayed fears that the victim was in danger saying that he had incurred about 20% burns as his case was mostly inhaling of the fumes and had the doctors had to detoxify his respiratory system from the smokes.

“We have received a total of 18 patients, 2 of them critically injured one of whom has just succumbed to his injuries as they arrived at the hospital. The other patient is in ICU with multiple injuries but in a stable condition,” said Dr. Nyaga.

The medical Superintendent added that the other 16 were in different stages of diagnosis and treatment but were all out of danger.

“Quite a number of them are just in shock and just need to be calmed down and allowed to go home. In fact, most of them are here with minor injuries gotten as they were trying to run away since they were not at the point of the accident,” he said.

KURA official explains a point to Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina during the physical survey of the various Thika bypasses and link roads on Thursday.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has appealed to all those who have erected buildings or structures within the road corridors to relocate them in order to pave way for the construction of the much awaited bypasses and link roads.

Speaking on Thursday while accompanying officers from Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) on an inspection tour of the proposed road corridors, the MP was shocked to find so many people encroaching on the road reserves, something he said would have a ripple effect on the construction works.

He warned that failure to adhere to this directive, officials of KURA will have no alternative but to pull down all these houses. However, he appealed to KURA to first issue formal notices to all those affected instructing them to remove these structures after the survey works are done.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina have a word with KURA officials at the junction of the proposed extension of Kenyatta highway and Oloitiptip Rd. (BAT-Del Monte rd.) as it crosses over towards Umoja estate.
“I know it will be painful but public good supersedes individual interests. Let’s look at the bigger picture and appreciate that these roads will be of benefit to so many people including all those who are affected,” said Wainaina.

During the field survey, it emerged that so many houses had been built on road reserves especially in Umoja Estate and from the British American Tobacco (BAT) junction all the way to Kiganjo Corner One in Kiganjo where one of the by-passes is meant to pass.

The MP hoped that the BAT-Kiganjo road will be complete within the next 6 months and thus appealed for patience from the residents.

He termed the extension of Kenyatta Highway to link up with Garissa Road at Kivulini and Mid Oil Petrol Station in Makongeni as a great milestone to as it will ease traffic in and out of Thika.

An aerial view of Thika Town as seen from Del Monte where the proposed link road from the Thika main bus terminus towards Del Monte near Imani School via Thika River will pass.
“We are also looking into possibilities of having a link road from the Thika main bus terminus towards Del Monte near Imani School via Thika River to be used by PSV vehicles getting out of 
Thika. Plans are at a very advanced stage and very soon we will offload all commuter service vehicles from our other outlets,” he said.

The MP assured the residents that he will continue with the ongoing Jungle street lighting and road upgrade programmes so as to improve the lives of his constituents as the lights improved the security and business situation in the area.

“I appeal to Thika residents to be patient as we embark on these two programmes. Though the CDF office does not have a kitty to do this work, I plan to do what I can with the little money I have and what I get from friends to ensure that eventually all corners of Thika are accessible and are well lit,” said Wainaina.

Police Thika yesterday unearthed a racket where emergency food relief said to be from Daadab refugee camp in Garissa County was being repackaged for sale.

Thousands of bags containing relief food packaged in World Food Programme (WFP) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were found when the police raided the store in Ngoingwa estate.

Workers at the store were busy packaging the rice in to new bags some of which had been branded ‘Tana River County Government Relief Food'.

Police said they acted after getting a tip-off from the public that some rice meant for relief food was allegedly being repackaged for sale at the store.

The rice was being repackages in 50kg bags.

However, the owner of the store where the relief food was found refuted claims that the rice had been stolen from Daadab refugee camp.

He said he had bought the rice from some businessman in Garissa town who had in return bought it from the refugees.

And even though bags containing the rice were clearly written it was not meant for sale or exchange,the owner said he had all the documents needed to transport the food from Garissa to Nairobi.

Among the documents is a letter written by Officer Commanding Station Garissa Police Station informing the police along the Garissa-Nairobi highway to allow the trucks carrying the food pass as they had the permission to transport it.

He said that was normal adding they have been buying the relief food after the refugees sell them.

“It happens all the time. The refugees do not normally want to eat the relief food that they are given. 
The sell it and buy other food stuff that they want using the money that they get,” said the trader.

On the rice being packaged to Tana River County Government branded bags, the businessman said he was fulfilling the wish of the county that he packages the rice in such bags.

He said he had been contracted by another person who had won a tender to supply food to thousands of residents in Tana River County who were recently displaced by floods.

 He said he had bought more than 2,000 bags of the relief aid rice from Garissa

He said he was approached by a man who had got a tender from Tana River County Government to supply rice and beans for the flood victims who were displaced recently.

“I have already supplied 4,000 bags of  rice and remaining with a deficit of 6,000 bags which i am in the process of supplying,” he said.

Tana River County Director of Communications Steve Juma confirmed they had issued a tender to be supplied with rice for the flood victims.

Mr Juma however added that they did not know the source of the rice saying they gave out the tender after the businessman competitively won the bid.

“The police should be left to do their job in probing the matter. However, if the trader will be found to be engaging in illegal business, we will blacklist him from engaging with us,” said Mr Juma.

It was not clear if the rice impounded was that which was in July donated by South Korea to help more than 1.5 million refugees.

Sources however claimed that the rice which had come from Daadab refugee camp was part of the relief food donate by Korea.

 In July, South Korea donated 33,000 metric tons of rice to Kenya to help provide food assistance to more than 1.5 million people.

The donation, received by World Food Programme (WFP) was earmarked to be allocated to refugees living in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

South Korea Prime Minister Lee Nak- yon handed over part of the consignment to WFP’s representatives at a warehouse in Nairob during his maiden trip to the country last July.

"The rice provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea may not be enough to solve the entire hunger issue, but I hope that it can help to ease refugee hunger," Lee said. 

WFP said this was the first-ever rice donation received from Korea adding that it will be of great help to 400,000 refugees living in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

It is projected to sustain the food needs at the various camps for at least four months starting August.
Several people including the owner of the store were arrested and taken to Thika Police Station for questioning.

Kiambu County Police Commander Adiel Nyange said a multi-agency team was in the process of carrying out investigation to ascertain the source of relief food.

Nyange said among the agencies which will be involved in the probe will be Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), WFP and USAID.

He added those arrested were also helping the police with investigations in to the matter.

(Source Standard newspaper)

Officials of TBSA receive the certificate of registration from Eliud Makumi (member). From left is Eunice Mbuthia (Secretary), Humphrey Mbuthia (Secretary General), Kennedy Lumbasi (Chairman) and Benjamin Mungai (V. Chair.) 

Thika beauticians and barbers have formed an association whose primary objective is to help members to grow, expand and remain competitive in an increasingly complex and evolving market.

Speaking at a Thika hotel during their first meeting, Thika Barbers and Salons Association Chairman 
Kennedy Lumbasi said that the association also offered them a collective voice to tackle the challenges that they faced within their individual units as well as expose them to a variety of business opportunities and resources.

“We have been so disintegrated and disenfranchised to a point that most of our colleagues end up closing shop due to various challenges. By coming together, we ease the burden by fighting common challenges that keep on killing our businesses,” explained Lumbasi who is the proprietor of Kenz Cutz Hair Clinic in Makongeni Thika.
Chairman Kennedy Lumbasi making his maiden speech.
Lumbasi added that one of their agenda was to pool together resources in order to assist the association buy goods in bulks and resell them to members at subsidised prices. This way, they will be able to furnish their businesses with the requisite equipment at very low costs.

He noted that one of the main reasons salons and barber shops were failing was as a results of poor managerial skills among their proprietors. To address this anomaly, Lumbasi said that they had scheduled a series of seminars and workshops for capacity building among its membership.

A section of the membership that attending their first official general meeting.
His sentiments were echoed by Secretary General Humphrey Njenga who said that other than supporting members grow financially, the group was also working to protect the public by ensuring that their members upheld and maintained the professional health and safety standards and policies of the barbering industry.

“Due to the services that we offer, barbers and beauticians are among the most respected people. It is our firm belief that our contribution in this industry will raise and maintain the standards of the beauty industry not only in Thika, but also countrywide,” said Njenga who is the proprietor of Thika Hair Art Masters.

“We are optimistic that we will grow very fast and meet our goals. Membership to our association is open to individual beauticians and barbers in Thika and beyond,’’ Njenga concluded.

H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired the Third Cabinet Meeting for 2018 today at State House, Nairobi, during which the Cabinet considered and approved the following Cabinet Papers:
  1. Revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line as a Mechanism for Growing the Blue Economy

Cabinet approved the proposed revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) as a mechanism for growing the blue economy. The company which is owned by the Government together with three other foreign shareholders is nearing insolvency on account of lack of business. The recovery strategy proposed among other things, giving the company the sole mandate to handle Government cargo. 

 2. Nuclear Regulatory Bill, 2017 

Cabinet approved the proposed Nuclear Regulatory Bill, 2017. The proposed Bill is aimed at repealing the Radiation Protection Act and providing a comprehensive regulatory framework for radiation and nuclear safety, nuclear security and safeguards to control radiation sources, nuclear materials and associated waste. 

  1. Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2018
Cabinet also approved the proposed Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2018. The Bill places emphasis on human rights approach towards the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities in Kenya, and social responsibility to protect and promote them.  

  1. The National Policy to Support Enhancement of County Governments’ Own-Source Revenue and the County Governments’ (Revenue Raising Process) Bill, 2018

Cabinet approved the National Policy to Support Enhancement of County Governments’ Own-Source Revenue and the County Governments’ (Revenue Raising Process) Bill, 2018. The proposed policy is geared towards addressing the challenges County Governments are encountering in revenue collection, mitigating their negative effects and assisting the Counties to optimise own-sources revenue.  

  1. Approval to Restructure the National Youth Service (NYS).

Cabinet approved the proposed restructuring of the National Youth Service (NYS), to deal with the serious managerial and operational challenges that have been reported at the Organisation in the recent past. It is proposed that a raft of measures be put in place. Key among these are the establishment of an oversight board which will effectively make the organisation a body cooperate with a Director General as the CEO. It is also proposed that a clean-up of the Supply Chain Management function as well as budgetary and Internal Audit reforms be undertaken, among other measures.

  1. Kenya’s Candidature to the United Nations Security Council for the Term 2021-2022

Cabinet granted approval for Kenya to vie for a non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for two years (2021-2022), at the elections to be held during the 74th session of the UN in 2020. Membership of the UN Security Council will enhance Kenya’s influence in international decision making, particularly matters of peace and security for the benefit of the nation and the region at large. A campaign strategy has already been drawn. 

  1. The Privately Initiated Investment Proposal for Likoni Cable Car

Cabinet approved a privately initiated investment proposal to develop a cable car system to address the human traffic challenges across the Likoni channel. The project which will be sponsored by a Kenyan and Austrian company will be capable of moving 5,500 passengers per direction per hour (or 11,000 passengers per hour in both directions). It is estimated to cost Kshs.4.1 billion and will be implemented as a 25 years Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) PPP.  

  1. Establishment of the National Kiswahili Council

Cabinet approved the establishment of the National Kiswahili Council. This proposal is in line with Article 137 of the East African Community Treaty which provides that Kiswahili shall be promoted, developed and used as “Lingua franca” of the Community. The Council will be a consultative body whose functions will include improving Government Policy on developing, protecting and supporting Kiswahili and coordinating the work of national and regional associations, cultural entities, educational and other Organisations working in the area of Kiswahili  

  1. Host Country Agreement between the Government of Kenya and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA)
Cabinet approved the elevation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed earlier between Kenya and TMEA into a Host Country Agreement. TMEA was set up by the participating development partners of the EAC as an agency or multi-donor vehicle for joint coordination, and execution of partners’ support of the integration of the EAC.  

  1. Hosting the 123rd Session of the International Coffee Organisation’s Council Meeting in April, 2019

Cabinet granted approval for Kenya to host the 123rd Session of the International Coffee Council which is scheduled to be held from 8thth to 12th April, 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The International Coffee organisation (ICO) is the main Inter-Governmental Organisation for Coffee which brings together Coffee producing and consuming countries to discuss Coffee issues. The International Coffee Council is ICOs governing body. The meeting will provide an opportunity for Member Countries to discuss wide ranging issues in the Sector as well as crate an opportunity to market Kenyan Coffee. 

 11.The 24th International Grasslands Congress (IGC) and 11th International Rangelands Congress 

Cabinet approved the hosting of the joint 24th International Grasslands Congress (IGC) and the 11th International Rangelands Congress (IRC) to be held in Nairobi from 24th to 31st October, 2020. Hosting the joint IRC and IGC congress in Kenya will aid in reigniting and galvanising interest and investment in range and grassland research and development for the betterment of the livestock industry. 

  1. Hosting of the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi 26th – 28thNovember, 2018
Cabinet granted approval for Kenya to host the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi from 26th to 28thNovember, 2018. The Conference will bring together over 4000 participants to discuss issues pertaining to a blue economy strategy that promotes people Centered Sustainable Investments in the Sector. By hosting the Conference, Kenya will affirm its appreciation of the importance of conserving and using sustainably our Water resources.   Hosting all the above Conferences will not only create an avenue for exchange of experiences and ideas but will also help in promoting Kenya as a favourable tourism and conferencing destination. The local hospitality industry will also benefit from increased business that will come with the many local and foreign delegates that will attend. 

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