Gatanga MP Eng. Joseph Nduati Ngugi flags off the 16 Wings To Fly scholars from the larger Thika District for the year 2020.
Gatanga MP Eng. Joseph Nduati Ngugi has raised concern over the manner foreigners are taking up almost all the technical and blue-collar jobs available in the country at the expense of local youth who lack the requisite technical skills.

Speaking in Thika Town during the 2020 “Wings To Fly” flag-off ceremony, Nduati noted that despite the government creating so many job opportunities within the building and construction sector, the bulk of these jobs were being taken up by foreigners, leaving the local to do the menial jobs.

“If you look at the SGR for example, a big percentage of the technical skilled jobs have been taken up by foreigners. Our youth lack the skills to take up these jobs. It is high time parents stopped keeping their children at home as they wait for white-collar jobs that are no longer available,” he said.

Nduati noted that out of over 647,000 candidates who sat for this year’s KCSE exams, barely 130,000 students managed to qualify for university admission, leaving out over 400,000 students.

“Where will these children go if everyone craves for university education with an eye for white-collar jobs? It is the high time we embraced technical training. There are so many job opportunities for those with technical skills, both locally and abroad and the time to take advantage is now,” said the MP.

He added that the government was laying so much emphasis on technical education and this year, any student being admitted to technical colleges (TVETs) was being awarded a Sh. 30,000 scholarship on admission, and another Sh. 40,000 in form of a loan.

“For the Sh. 40,000, the government will deduct Sh. 26,000 to cater for your tuition fees and the student is left with the balance of Sh. 14, 000 to cater for his own needs as pocket money,” he explained.

He asked his Gatanga Constituents to apply for this year’s Sh. 40 million bursary allocation that his CDF office has set aside to cater for fees to needy students in secondary, colleges and universities.

Thika Equity Branch Manager Sammy Karanu said that out of the 250 applicants this year from the larger Thika District that consists of Thika West, Thika East, Gatanga and Gatundu North sub-counties, they selected 16 beneficiaries.

“This is usually a very rigorous exercise due to the very limited vacancies. We do surprise home visits so as to ascertain the level of poverty and after evaluating each case by its own merits, we pick the most deserving cases that we believe have no chance of joining secondary school without external assistance,” Karanu explained.

Karanu termed the 11-year programme as a great success as it had produced so many professionals in different fields over time.

“This year alone, over 90% of our wings to fly products in Thika will join different universities both locally and internationally. This is a great achievement by any standards,” he concluded.

Among those in attendance was Mercy Wanjiku Kuria, a 2015 Wings To Fly beneficiary from Gatuanyaga Location in Thika East.

Wanjiku scored 377 marks in the KCPE 2015 exams and joined Kahuhia Girls High School in Murang’a County courtesy of the programme. This year, she sat for KCSE and score an A aggregate of 82 marks.

She attributes her success to the assistance she was accorded by the Wings To Fly Scholarship which she says, without it, she would have never made it through the secondary education.

She challenged those selected to join the programme not to take it for granted and work hard so that they achieve the goals they had in life.

Sarah Wambui, a mother of four, could not hide her joy after her last-born son was among the selected beneficiaries. For this resident of Mabanda Location in Gatanga Constituency, it was a dream come true, having missed in three of her previous attempts to have her children benefit from the programme.

The Wings To Fly Programme awards a comprehensive secondary school scholarship that includes tuition and boarding fees, books, uniform, and transport to and from school as well as pocket money for the four years of secondary school.

Furthermore, the scholars receive mentorship from outstanding role models from the academia, public service, entrepreneurship, non-profits and influential captains in various industries.

Thika residents have been challenged to collectively own up the challenges facing them and together, seek solutions to problems facing them.

Leaders and stakeholders made this call during a street families rehabilitation day that was organised by Thika District Business Association (TDBA) in partnership with the office of the Thika Town MP, Thika West Deputy County Commissioner, Lil Magic Foundation and Samuel Mutonga’s family.

The Monday morning event brought together over a hundred and fifty street children at Mama Ngina Garden who were fed and groomed by various businesspersons and stakeholders working within Thika.

Speaking during the event, Thika West DCC Douglas Mutai attributed the street families menace to a weak society and challenged men to fully take responsibilities to the children they sired.

“Each of the children belongs to a family and unless each one of us takes responsibility to get them off the streets, this problem will never end. I am also challenging the business community as well as all other stakeholders to adopt those willing to go back to school and walk this journey with them until they are independent,” he said.

The DCC oversaw the registration of these families, each stating the reasons they came to the streets and how they wanted to be assisted off the streets.

Thika CDF Chairman Mr. Huruko Njau, who was representing the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina challenged every resident to own up this problem as it affected them in one way or another.

“We must learn to be our own brothers keepers. The responsibility to get rid of street children belongs to all of us. Feeding them is not enough. We need to chart out a comprehensive road map to eradicate them all from the streets,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by TDBA chairperson Alfred Wanyoike who called on the business community to join hands and come up with a comprehensive programme to rehabilitate the kids.

Dr. Susan Gitau called on organisations dealing with street children to employ an open door policy where they complimented each others’ efforts and those of other stakeholders to come up with a sustainable programme that would ease the street families problem.

On behalf of the Mutonga’s family who were the brains behind this event, Samuel Mutonga called on the strengthening of the family institution as weak family set ups bore the most blame for the street children menace.

Among those who donated foodstuffs, clothing and other services included; Del Monte Kenya, Kenblest, Capwell Industries, Kenya Red Cross Thika Branch Thika water & Sewerage Company (THIWASCO), Lil Magic Foundation, Nomad Dental Centre, Africana College, County Government of Kiambu, Jungle Nuts Thika Barbers Association, Thika Town Today – 3T, Kiambu County Government and the office of the Thika Town MP.

BY: Juma Hemedi

Of all the plans we ever made with the 'ghetto boys club' none excited us like swimming in Chania river but nothing else had more adventure like "hanto" (hunting) . The day before Christmas we had planned to go hunting 'mbele ya kwa jeshi' we went to 'Zambia' (where Bakari Temwa lived) to ask 'Mandao' to allow us to go with 'Tarino'. Tarino was the toughest dog in Majengo apart from the two other dogs belonging to 'Swajo'. Tarino once faced a cobra snake eye to eye 'Kwa Reli' until the cobra blinked.

So Mandao agreed that he will give us Tarino the following day and since most people were busy cutting bougainvillea trees and decorating them with cotton wool and some gift wrappers and balloons to make Christmas trees, we knew no one would be looking for Us. Wamash also came with a dog whose name we cannot remember and so did Kimani. We now had three dogs and a bunch of boys who included Iddi and Daddy.

We did a quick survey and gathered that some three homes would be making 'chapos' and we needed to be back on time to celebrate by eating to our fill. We left the girls looking for balloons and 'shine shines' (whatever those were). Wakapogy arrived and the adventure started. The first stop was 'Kwa Daame' (Broadway Bakery) to ask for the 'spoilt' bread.

We then crossed to 'Kenya Peei' (Kenya Paper Mills) to collect 'firita' (Rubber bands) for making 'feeya' (i dont know the English word for it) We crossed the road from the thickets near leather industry and went to the other side of the road, our three dogs in tow.

We passed the engineering battalion gate and we were now at the forest next to it (today the forest is landless estate) the chase for rabbits 'sukumo' started and Tarino was the first to spot one, it gave a chase and we followed it into the forest. Whatever Tarino was chasing went and dived into some hole and we caught up with Tarino as it tried to dig with its fore legs.

It was an exercise in futility and the dog that Wamash had come with started chasing something that looked like a 'swaro' (antelope) Tarino joined and before long we were running deep into the forest, running after something we couldn't see. Iddi suggested that we stop chasing and start shooting 'dush' (pigeons) since it was past lunch hour and we were all hungry.

After several trials we were not successful and so we decided to sit under a tree and wait for Tarino and the other dogs to bring whatever it was chasing. We must had dozed off since Tarino and the other dogs were there when we opened our eyes.

"What is that? Iddi asked me.

"It's a tree" I answered.

"Not the tree 'Hapo juu ya mti'?, he responded.

We all looked up, there was a huge snake that seemed like it was coming down. Without blinking we were all running like mad people, there was no number two in that race because number two would have been the last one, meanwhile the snake had coiled itself into something like a tyre and was somehow rolling and throwing itself.

If you have never ran and overtaken a dog, then you have never ran. We were now almost at the tarmac but this snake was still following us, a blue Chevrolet pick up appeared from the Munyu side and the driver stopped in the middle of the highway and waved at us to get in.

We jumped onto the back of the pickup like we were diving into a swimming pool and the driver sped towards Makongeni, the snake landed on the tarmac and slithered to the other side of the road. The driver dropped us at Makongeni bus stage (today Madaraka market) and we started walking back to Majengo through pilot.

It was almost seven o'clock in the evening when we arrived home. All the places where chapatis had been made were cleaning the utensils, but that was not our worry. Our biggest worry was who will tell Mandao that we had lost his Tarino? Mandao was not the guy you would win a fight against, his head was extra large and he was rumoured to have some powers in his head, and if you know Mandao then you know Mandao.

As people marked boxing day we were still holed up in our houses, afraid of venturing out just in case we meet with him. We heard later that day that some visitor had been chased by Tarino. Indeed God works in mysterious ways. Tarino was back.

That's how we missed Christmas Chapos. If any of you is making Chapatis Today remember to invite this son of the Ghetto.

Merry Christmas.

Juma Hemedi

BY: Juma Hemedi

If you grew up in Thika and you have never heard the story about the day the pineapple train "fell", then you probably haven't met those who were still around when the pineapple train derailed.

The day before the train derailed, we had been taken to the shop at Jamhuri market belonging to "Nyaganga Aduwa" to have our clothes 'measured' (kupimisha Nguo). The shop had his name inscribed just above the entrance door.

Nyaganga Aduwa was the only man North and South of the Garissa highway who was the most popular 'fundi' for clothes. No one really knows when he migrated to Thika but the man had an eye for details and style. So all of us had been taken to his Shop to get our uniforms sizes taken and then Nyaganga would embark on the production and manufacturing process. This process would take many weeks and once in a while one of us would be sent to go check on whether Nyaganga had finished making the clothes and every time we would bring the feedback which was very simple, "bado angalia Kesho".

'Fundi wa Nguo' and "watu wa picha"  had one thing in common, their products took forever to be complete, and we had no option other than wait for them. These guys had monopolised the business.

Anyway all of us were 'measured' for clothes and we were back home, but I was left at the KANU youth Office where there was "the trial of the century". I can't remember all the details but someone had stolen slippers belonging to their neighbour and the other one was found wearing someone else's trousers and the complainant and defendants needed to prove that those items were indeed theirs.

The following morning the 'boys club' gathered to plan the program for the day in our assembly point. There had been rumour that we needed to "impeach" our defacto leader 'wakapogi. Gitau had brought the motion on the floor of the meeting base. But before the motion could be seconded, Wakapogi appeared and Gitau froze.

Wakapogi told us that people are going "chini" at river Chania, and that others are coming up with cans of pineapples and that they are saying the train had "fallen". We abandoned the "Impeachment motion" by Gitau and hurried to follow Wakapogi.

We passed Biafra, Fort Jesus and before long we saw it. It was so long and part of it was on the rail and the other part had overturned and cartons of pineapple cans were all over.

Everyone from Majengo, Starehe, Ofafa, Biafra was there, even the 'changaa' people were there too.

I Saw Amadi Binza walk past us carrying somethings under his jacket he was followed by Swajo who had a sisal sack full of items his two dogs in tow.

The train was transporting canned pineapples from Kenya Canners (Del Monte) and derailed there.

It was a field day as everyone carried cans of pineapples while others ate from the site. Our fearless Gitau pushed his way through and came back with some cans which we opened using stones and started eating. The work of carrying the pineapples took the whole day until the police arrived later.

That evening as we were all asleep, we heard loud knocks on the doors, apparently the police had mobilised their colleagues from nearby stations and were having a door to door operation recovering every tin of pineapple that was missing and was to be found, it was the end of "pineapple parre after parre" . I never knew that we had some in the house since none of us had carried any, but I later learnt that Amadi Binza had passed by and gave mum a few cans.

And just like that "mananasi ya mkebe" went. We continued visiting the place where the train "fallen"  hoping that another one would derail and pineapples would be on board but none has ever "fallen" since. And thats how the "impeachment motion" for Wakapogi was defeated he continued to lead the 'boys club' and myselefu remained his loyal assistant.

Blessed Festive season and happy New Year.

Juma Hemedi

MKU acting VC Prof. Peter Wanderi (right) and MKU Council Chairman Prof. David Serem (left) launching the revised scheme of service for staff
Mount Kenya University has collaborated with Stag Africa to construct 3,000-bed hostel units for its students at the university’s Happy Valley land in Landless Estate, Thika at a cost of Ksh. 2.5 billion.

Speaking during a party to bid farewell to long serving vice chancellor Prof. Stanley Waudo, MKU Founder and Chairman Dr. Simon Gicharu said that the construction would start next month.

He said the project would help improve accommodation for an increasing number of students.

“The project is part of our vision and strategic plan for the next 10 years to make this university an ultramodern main campus. We will receive a delegation from Stag Africa next week, led by the brother to former South Africa President- Pete de Klerk,” said Gicharu.

Gicharu added that the university on Saturday launched a review scheme of service of its workforce to ensure the institution attracted and retained competent and dedicated staff. He also noted that an enabling environment is key to staff motivation and productivity.

“I’m pleased to note that the University management will borrow from the founding vice-chancellor who has appreciated all the members of staff through a token of appreciation.”

The chairperson said the university would also have Centres of Excellence to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.

“The current Main Campus facilities will become a teaching and referral hospital to support the College of Health Sciences and the Government Agenda on Universal Health Care,” he said.

Through MKU Foundation, the university has also established the Chancellor Scholarship Fund to sponsor needy students. The Chancellor has initiated the Ksh. 100 million kitty with Ksh. 1.25 million.

This semester alone, the foundation will spend Sh 5 million to facilitate studies of the needy students in all MKU campuses.

“I was really touched by a case of a student who was willing to sell one of her kidneys to pay school fees, this made me start this foundation so that we can reach to other similar cases,” the chairman said.

Police in Gatuanyaga, Thika East on Saturday collected the of an unidentified person that was retrieved from a stream around Tosha area.

According to eyewitness who was at the scene, some youth who were fishing on Friday spotted a body stuck in the stream and they called a village elder who informed the area chief.

Efforts to remove it on Friday were futile but this was done on Saturday.

The body, which is suspected to be that of a man, had started decomposing and had parts missing especially the arms and his private parts. It is not clear whether the missing parts were as a result of murder or he had been mauled by wild animals or stray dogs in the area.

The bottom of his body was bare and it is unclear whether he met his death without his trousers.

The deceased was dressed in dark green vest, blue T-shirt, a black shirt and a black coat or jacket. On his arm, he wore a black bungle.

The decomposing bodies of a middle-aged woman and her daughter were on Sunday found inside their rented house in Abduba Estate Thika opposite Mount Kenyatta University Pavilion Grounds.

Neighbours reported the matter to the police after a foul smell started emanating from her house and with the 31-year old reported missing over the past few days they had gotten concerned.

The police broke into the house where they found the woman and her 11-year old daughter lying dead with several stab wounds

The body of a man suspected to be that of the husband was a while later found dangling inside another rented house in Kisii estate, which is a relatively short distance from the other house where the two bodies were discovered.

It is suspected that the man may have hanged himself after killing the two.

Their bodies were moved to General Kago Road Funeral home as investigations into the mysterious killings got underway.

Samuel Owen, a resident of Ngoingwa estate making his contribution during a public participation forum organised by Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) at Ngoingwa chief’s camp to discuss the construction of the Kiambu-Thika Road.

Residents of Thika’s Ngoingwa area have supported government's plan to construct a 14km dual carriageway from Junction B30/A2 Thika Superhighway (Njomoko) to Mang’u.

While speaking at Ngoingwa chief’s camp during a public participation forum organised by Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the residents said it would ease congestion in Thika town, improve businesses and help road users to connect to Nakuru and Kiambu towns faster.

The road, which is currently in design stage, will be 40m in width with a pedestrian footpath and a cycling path.

(See Related Story: Plans to construct Thika-Garissa Dual Carriageway at very advanced stage)

It is part of a 62km road that commences on Junction B32/B30 (Kiambu Road opposite Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology –KIST) through Kirigiti, Riabai, Ngewa, Kibichoi, Nembu, Ichaweri, Gatundu, Kang’oo, Mang’u and ends at Junction B30/A2 Thika Superhighway (Njomoko).
Upon completion, this road will improve journey times between Kiambu and Thika towns, it would become a preferred route in the area. This will take traffic off other local roads.

Other than the Riabai – Ngewa and the Njomoko – Mang’u stretches that will be dual carriageways, the other sections of the road will be single carriageway of rural road standards with a 2m shoulder. The Ngewa – Riabai stretch will also include 4.5m service roads (matatu lanes) on selected sections in Kirigiti area.

The officials noted that residents living within the stretch between Njomoko and Kisiwa Primary might not be affected by the construction of the road as none was within the targeted road corridor. However, some people might be affected especially between Kisiwa Primary School and Mang’u where the corridor was not enough.

The officials assured them of compensation that would be calculated using the current market rates.

The residents requested KeNHA to ensure that the road had enough provisions for drainage to avoid flooding in Thika and also bear safety measures that would reduce road carnage along the road.

They also requested that the contractor to ensure minimal disruption of businesses along the road during the entire expansion exercise.

(See Also: First Phase of Garissa Road expansion to be complete in two months – KeNHA.)

On behalf of the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina, his Personal Assistant (PA) John Mwangi Njuguna appealed to Thika residents to support the project as it would eventually benefit them upon completion.

He appealed to KeNHA to ensure prompt and just compensation on anyone who will be affected by the construction.

“The main objective here is to reduce congestion on our roads, help our people to easily get around and open up new opportunities for business. The existing road which is a single carriageway is an impediment to flow of the high traffic experienced between Nairobi and Thika town. It therefore requires upgrading to dual carriageway to absorb and serve this traffic and support the socio-economic growth of this area and at the same time bring business opportunities and employment,” said Mwangi.

A vehicle being pulled from a pit along Corner 1 – Corner 4 road that is in a very bad state.
Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has promised to solicit for funding to arrest the flooding menace that has dogged Kiganjo estate for decades.

Speaking during a tour in the area to assess the extent of damage caused by the recent floods, Wainaina said that it was quite unfortunate that the residents kept facing the same problem every time it rained and it was now time the problem was solved once and for all.

He added that over and above his own initiative to control the flush floods, he would mobilise for funding from the government to ensure the area got more drainage and accessible roads.

“Kiganjo has a very great potential to become the next frontier in this region. For this to happen, we must cure this problem (of flooding) once and for all. I will also seek funds from the government to create an elaborate drainage system as well as more tarmacked roads here,” he said.

The legislator noted that his tour had identified that most of the flush floods spilled from the trench at Corner 4 and therefore efforts would be made to divert this water before it crossed the road into people’s residence.

He promised to do some rehabilitation works of the Kiganjo Corner 1 – Corner 4 road that was in a very deplorable state before he sought some government funding to upgrade it to bitumen standards.

He also appealed to the Ministry of  Irrigation to devise ways to harvest rain runoff so as to the stored water could be made useful even after the rains.

“The government needs to come up with a very elaborate programme to harvest all this water instead of watching all of it go to waste and in most cases, cause wanton destruction to property. The stored water can later be utilised for irrigation, domestic and commercial purposes,” he said.

Wainaina also challenged the county government to connect the residents of Kiganjo and surrounding areas with the main sewerage system.

Floods victims in Giciiki village Kilimambogo have appealed to the authorities to help them relocate to the plots allocated to them by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.

The residents claim that one of the main reasons they were still stuck on the lowlands bordering Athi River was that some people went to court and blocked their relocation to the said plots, claiming that the land belonged to them.

They also claimed that only 25 people out of more than a hundred residents were allocated land, leaving the rest unaware of their fate once the relocation was implemented.

They were speaking during a damage assessment visit by the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.

Wainaina promised to follow up the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that once all was done settled, he would assist each family with 10 mabatis to help them put up their homes.

He appealed to them to accept relocation and only leave the shambas on the river belt for farming only.

“Let’s all agree to leave these shambas once we get relocated. Let’s use them for farming alone to avoid all these losses incurred every time it rains,” appealed the MP.

In the meantime, he promised to seek some temporary remedy to drain off the excess overflow of the river to ensure the waters never again rose to cause extensive damages to homes as experienced recently when homes were completely marooned by the floods.

The MP donated some foodstuff and blankets to the victims to help them cope with the harsh conditions after the floods as a permanent solution was being sought.

The Thika Branch of the Kenya Red Cross also donated kitchenware to the affected families.

By Paul Kaweru

Among the many popular memes that aimed to encourage people to storm Area 51, a highly classified and heavily protected US Air Force facility in Nevada, was a highly popularized concept considered the most effective entry strategy among a majority of enthusiasts – ‘Naruto’ Running. The concept is extrapolated from the Naruto Uzumaki fictional Japanese anime and manga, where Naruto runners sprint with arms locked straight and stretched out behind their backs. The distinctive running gait has increasingly become an integral part of viral memes to convey a ‘speedy’ technique that might probably help to the target objectives by circumventing the existing ‘hurdles.’ In Kenya, ‘Naruto Running’ can be considered a ‘staple anime fandom,’ a strategy aimed to achieve some political objectives.
Ruto’s presidential ambitions can be inferred as ‘Naruto Running,’ a strategy that may not be effective in the end. While his ‘populist’ political demeanor seems to strengthen his grip in Mt. Kenya region, some critics have argued that this strategy is short-lived, as it is merely built with a focus on 2022 presidential inspirations. Ruto’s influence in Mt. Kenya, according to some political analysts, depends on the extent to which he will be able to maintain close ties with his Mt. Kenya allies to back him in the next elections. “Galvanizing this support is not a funfair, as it is subject to constitutional limits,” posits Makau Mutua. His vehement push of 2022 political agenda culminates in premature campaigns, which might subsequently widen the hitherto burgeoning schism between “Kieleweke” and “Tangatanga” factions within the Jubilee party. In other words, Ruro’s political strategy can be inferred as a ‘Kamikaze act.’ His interference with Central Kenya’s politics in his endeavors to become the next president by capitalizing on Mt. Kenya’s votes can be regarded as a desperate ‘politically-suicidal’ act.        
            To win the support of Mt. Kenya’s electorate, Mr.Ruto ought to learn from the precedents. The region’s hypocritical demeanor is silent shaming, notes COTU boss Francis Atwoli. Raila Odinga was also branded ‘Jamba’ sometimes ago. He was their favorite, simply because he kowtowed to Kibaki, their then favorite candidate. How he lost the region’s support is a difficult conundrum for many. If you want to become a president in Kenya, probably you should avoid committing a cardinal sin: the holier-than-thou attitude. Humility appears to take precedence over any other considerations,” reiterates Atwoli.
Dear Ruto, think different! Re-strategize! Avoid premature campaigns. These people do not hate Uhuru. They are probably ignoring him because he appears to have forged ‘bonds’ with their historical foe – the Odingas. The moment Uhuru decides to wage war against you, trust me, it will render your supportive brigade helplessly useless. The influence of many members of a cohort of your seemingly strong battalion is merely ephemeral. On the ground, Central Kenya and Uhuru Kenyatta are inextricably intertwined. Do not defy Uhuru’s orders. Those who think that they can ‘go against the grain’ to succeed Uhuru as the region’s kingpin are just myopic. My ‘fren’ Ruto, you are my favorite politician in Kenya. Stop Naruto running. Slow down. Do not fall for a Kamikaze attack!

The writer is a Mechanical Engineer graduate from Moi University and a Political Enthusiast.

The newly launched 150KWP Solar PV system launched by Simbi Roses in partnership with Ecoligo and GIZ Kenya. The 454 ground-mounted solar system was launched on 6th December 2019 at the Simbi Roses Farm in Thika.
Simbi Roses Limited has ramped up its green credentials by unveiling a 150kWp solar PV system in Thika, Kiambu County.

The ground mounted solar system consisting of 454 solar panels and 5 inverters is set to save up to 144 tonnes of Carbon dioxide (CO) emissions per year. The System will help Simbi Roses reduce it overall power costs and carbon footprint.

The Self-consumption solar PV systems are well suited to cover the daytime energy needs of the flower farm. As the flower industry relies on the natural environment, Simbi Roses aims to be a trendsetter towards sustainable energy use in the industry, which is a vital pillar of environmental protection.

The project has been achieved through a meaningful partnership between Ecoligo; a Germany-based solar company with a subsidiary in Kenya in cooperation with its Kenyan-based installation and service partner Technolectric; with technical support from the Project Development Programme under the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

Speaking during the unveil event Simbi Roses Executive Director Grace Nyachae gave said, “I would like to thank Ecoligo and the PDP of the German Energy Solutions Initiative being great partners on this project. With the new Solar PV system, Simbi Roses will be able to drastically reduce our overall carbon footprint and power costs. It is my hope that more flower farms may implement more renewable energy systems in order to reduce carbon levels in our environment and reduce operational costs.”

Since its inception, Simbi Roses has established a modern and efficient crop management system and high-quality control within their growing infrastructure. These include the propagation of their own plants, and the state of art irrigation and spraying systems, combined with the ideal climate and water availability, allows Simbi Roses to produce superior Quality Roses.

Currently they are producing over 13 different varieties of roses for the international market, which include Bellerosa, Red Ribbon, Good Times, Sonarisa, Vanilla Sky, Marie Claire, Mario, High & Magic, and Upper Class.

An earlier photo of the suspect Charles Mbogo.

Detectives in Thika West Sub-County have arrested the suspect who allegedly shot dead his brother's wife in Landless estate Thika last week.

They have also recovered a zceska pistol believed to have been used in the murder.

The suspect, Charles Mbogo, is said to have shot the deceased, Hellen Njoki, in head after a quarrel within their family house in Happy Valley Landless.

Immediately after the incident, the suspect went into hiding and has been on the run since then and was nabbed on Sunday in his hideout in Shanzu area, Kisauni Mombasa County.

According to residents, Mbogo worked as a welder in the area and none was aware that he possessed a gun or whether he was a licenced gun holder.

The deceased and her husband had just settled into the homestead a day before the incident from their rented house in Ruaka Kiambu County.

Njoki, who is in her mid twenties, was a nurse in Nairobi and left behind a 2-year toddler.

Mbogo will be arraigned in court tomorrow.

Gitau Wanyoike of KTN Kenya taking a fair shot while reporting about the floods that have hit the region following the current heavy rains
An exclusive live coverage by a Thika-based news reporter on Tuesday showing the Kenyan police helicopter rescuing a fisherman who had been sandwiched between the raging flash waters of Athi River feature on Reuters, a recognition of his great works internationally.

Gitau Wanyoike, a reporter for KTN Television, covered the dramatic rescue mission of Vincent Musila, who had spent three nights stuck on a river islet surrounded by flood water before a helicopter saved him.

Musila had gone fishing at the river when it burst its banks. He said floodwaters came in "suddenly" while he was fishing from a small patch of land in the middle of the river, outside Thika town.

"Within seconds water was everywhere and I could not cross. It's been terrible over the last three days being stranded here in the cold and rain. I was hungry and went through a lot," he said after the rescue.

Crowds watched helplessly for three days as they waited for emergency services to rescue him.

The body of the young boy from Kiganjo Estate who drowned yesterday has been retrieved from the water near Kamuthi, barely a few metres from where he fell.
The recovery exercise that was done by the locals and coordinated by the area chiefs, took over 18 hours due to lack of proper equipment.
It is alleged that the Standard 5 boy died as he attempted to save his friend who had drowned.
A group of boys from Kiganjo estate had gone to Kamuthi area swim when the incident happened.
The deceased is said to have been swept off balance by the raging waters and submerged into the deep part of the stream before he was dragged downstream towards Athi River.
His colleague was however rescued by people passing nearby and rushed to Thika Level 5 Hospital.
Locals who spoke after the retrieval of the body called on the government to support those who risked their lives to recover the body of the deceased without even having the right apparatus for the job.

CS Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Peter Munya this afternoon officially commissioned the Sh. 1.2 billion BIDCO Land O'Lakes animal feeds manufacturing plant in Nakuru.

The plant has a processing capacity of 28 tonnes per hour and incorporates new technology to test every load of ingredients for quality aiming for zero aflatoxins or other harmful elements while ensuring the right mix of nutritional elements.

BIDCO Land O’Lakes plant will plans to introduce four products into the Kenyan market; Pro Calf Starter, Pro Heifer Developer, Pig Starter 4-4-4 and Pro Calf Milk replacer.

Renting some commercial space in Thika has become damn expensive and deterrent especially for small traders and business start-ups who in most cases start businesses with money borrowed as loans, from long-term savings or from proceeds from sale of some property.
These people hit the ground with very high expectations and hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Unfortunately, in reality, they are hit by the damn reality of very exploitative rents that are extremely very high.
If you take stalls for instance, the amount demanded by landlords is extremely high and very few businesses survive for more than 6 months.
Stalls facing the road are going at 50,000/- per month and one is expected to pay 6 months advance. That's a cool 300,000/- even before buying any stock. Other overhead costs might bring the figure to around 500,000/-, notwithstanding the fact that one might have an employee. This simply means that one needs almost a million shillings to kick off.
This is just too much and many are not able to cope considering the fact that these traders are expected to cough around 60,000/- in monthly rent and overhead costs.. How many businesses will earn you a daily profit of 2,000 plus now what will call your net on top?
Our survey in Thika has revealed that only about 20% of those who rent them go beyond that period. Most of them freeze away after six months when the deposit expires, close shop and leave or sell the "goodwill" to another person. It is a fact that these stalls keep exchanging hands so very few people note that.
The landlords don't care since the moment one is unable to pay, they take up that other one who is dying to start and the cycle continues.
As much as we blame the government for collapsing businesses, we too are our own enemies... Sucking others' blood to the last drop and yet expect them to survive. No wonder we are always complaining of too much insecurity, drug abuse and alcoholism since we ain't promoting a conducive environment to do business.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has expressed his support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report save for a few reservations which he says should be relooked to help benefit the common mwananchi once implemented.

Speaking at the Bomas of Kenya before the official presentation of the report to the public, Wainaina said he was happy with the fact that the recommendations in the report could be implemented without subjecting the country to a referendum.

“There is a possibility that the recommendations could be passed in Parliament without necessarily subjecting the country to a referendum. Plebiscites in this country have a history of very negative political and ethnic divisions. It is also quite an expensive and time-consuming exercise, which will plunge us to another election mood at the expense of development. I wouldn’t really want that to happen now,” he said.

However, the Thika legislator said that the report fell short of addressing some of the most important aspects of the lives of the common wananchi who is most affected by the high wage bills.

“I can see there are proposals to add more political seats which have heavy financial implication. Nothing much for Wanjiku,” he said.

Wainaina noted that Kenya had of late become a dumping ground for numerous products from other countries. This, he said, was a major reason why most companies in the country were collapsing.

“I would have wanted to see a proposal to re-fence local production to protect them from unfavourable imports and dumping of substandard goods into the country. This will help grow young local companies and create more wealth and jobs,” he noted.

He also took a swipe at the unlevel playing field between local and foreign contractors with the latter getting a fair deal in contracts from both the Kenyan government and their mother countries. 
Wainaina said foreign contractors were better protected and their contract paid in time.

“Local contractors face so many hurdles as compared to their foreign counterparts, forcing some of them to bribe their way to win contracts. Most of our contractors are facing very hard times since getting paid for work done takes years, leaving some of them bankrupt,” he said.

He also cited the issue of high bank interest rates that disadvantaged local contractors, a major hurdle that pushed most of them away from contracts that ended up with foreigners.

“For instance, the Chinese government guarantees loans for their contractors for as low as 2%. This is unlike in Kenya where contractors acquire loans at 24%. With such an imbalance, how do you expect these two to compete for the same contracts? It’s impossible,” he said.

Wainaina said that he would propose a review of the laws to see to it that local investors get bank guarantees of 30 days so that in case the government failed to pay in good time, the contractor would just walk to their bank and get their payment, leaving the banks to follow up with the government. 

This way, he added, there will be more money in circulation, which will translate into more wealth and more job opportunities.

“After this exercise, I will organise with my constituents to deliberate on this document. We will analyse it together with Thika people and make a unified opinion that I will then present in 
Parliament as the view of Thika people on how they want to be governed,” he concluded.

Kenyans believe the system is rigged and that it rewards cronyism and corruption as opposed to production and hard work.
Corruption is today the greatest risk to Kenya’s cohesion and security. Tackling corruption is the single important mission Kenya has today
1. Free Kenya from the capture of cartels through an action plan to break the cartels and severely punish the culprits.
2. Target bankers and banking executives who are promoting money laundering and make them pay heavy fines and do jail terms.
3. Promote whistle blowing by giving rewards of 5% of recovered proceeds to persons who give information on corruption deals.
4. Promote ethics by making incorporating ethics and performance assessment training in every Public Service course required for promotion.
5. Include ethics and civics as part of every educational curriculum from the lowest to the highest educational levels
6. Include the fight against corruption as part of the performance contracts of Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries
7. Enhance the freedom of the media and whistle blowers to report on corruption
8. Ban all public officers from doing business with the government. They also must not engage in business outside government unless the activities they wish to engage in are approved.
9. Conflicts of interest must be declared whenever they arise especially regarding spouses and children of public officers when they have to deal with a public agency that employs their their husband/wife/parent.
10. Make all wealth declaration forms open to public scrutiny and all wealth above Kshs. 50 million must be explained. Potential conflicts of interest must also declared.
11. Leaders must take political responsibility where negligent or poor quality government actions have led to disasters by resigning
12. Make Kenya a 100% e-service nation by digitalizing all government services, processes, payment system and record keeping.
13. Strengthen the Judiciary as an anti-corruption tool by
i) Create the position of Special Magistrates and Judges to deal with the most grievous cases of drug trafficking, corruption, terrorism, and other serious criminal offences and make special security arrangements for these magistrates and judges to be provided for by the State.
ii) The powers of the Judicial Service Commission to discipline judges should be expanded so that the Commission can legally deal with lesser disciplinary offences by judges that affect the value of justice delivered without resulting to the Constitutional measure of removal from office.
iii) Strengthening the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman to make the office more responsive to the people and accountable to it. It should be revamped and made more accessible and responsive to the public
iv) Give Kenyans a choice to take their complaints to the Judiciary ombudsman or the Commission on Administrative Justice
 v) Together with other independent commissions by promoting internal accountability by separating powers of appointment and promotion from that of interdiction and censure

The devolved system of government was aimed at decentralizing power and increasing access to services across the country.
In terms of creating a major departure in governance in the country, it has largely been a success. However, it is frustrated by serious challenges which if not addressed will raise questions about its political and economic viability.
To address these challenges, it is proposed as follows:
1. Retain all the 47 counties but encourage and assist counties to form regional economic blocks.
2. Increase resources to the countries by between 35-50% of the last audited accounts.
3. When dividing revenue between the counties, use a formula that focuses on ensuring services reach the actual settlements of people so that resources are not allocated on the basis of un-inhibited land mass.
4. Finalize the transfer of functions from the National to County Governments and eliminate all duplicity of functions between the two levels of government.
5. Follow the maxim “money follows functions” in allocating money between the two levels of government.
6. Parastatals carrying out County functions should be either wound up or restructured. This should be synchronized with the implementation of the already completed parastatal reforms policy.
7. Consider how Ward representatives can have oversight of funds intended for bursaries only, while ensuring that CDF funds do not clash with the development imperatives of Counties
8. The running mate of every candidate for the position of Governor should be of the opposite gender.
9. Where a county fails to appoint a deputy within 90 days of a vacancy, the Speaker of the County Assembly shall, with the approval of the County Assembly, do so.
10. Limit arbitrary, nepotistic or crony recruitment of human resources that ignores merit and inclusivity by replicating the independence of the Public Service Commission in every County Service Board.
11. Transfer the health sector personnel element from County Governments to an independent Health Service Commission to enable sharing of the very limited health experts.
12. Employ austerity measures at the National Hospital Insurance Fund in order to reduce the amount of money it spends on administrative costs and release more funds to assist counties deliver on health.
13. Draft and adopt a patient’s bill of rights to standardize the quality of health care across all counties .
14. Strengthen the oversight independence of County Assemblies by ensuring that the transmission and management of County Assembly budgets are insulated from arbitrary or politically-motivated interference by County Executives;
15. Limit the number of persons that a county government can employ in relation to the number of people it serves and the functions its discharges.
16. Require new governments to complete the projects initiated by former governors by Treasury withholding funds for new projects unless old projects are completed. A Governor who wants to abandon an old project must have credible reasons to do so.
17. Counties to budget more development money to respond to specific needs in the Wards rather than granting a lump sum to Counties or constituencies. Commission on Revenue Allocation to change its revenue allocation formula to target wards in the County budgets.
18. Biashara mashinani — There should be high-priority efforts by every County to support local groups to develop businesses through partnerships. The County Government should ensure that small and emerging businesses are easy to start, and that they find it easy to navigate regulations and bureaucracy and to get their goods to market in a timely way.

To stop elections from becoming a do or die event, we must have a more inclusive political system where more communities get a chance to play a role in governing Kenya.
We should therefore:
1. Change the nature and structure of the national executive to make it more inclusive and ensure as many Kenyan communities as possible feel part of the government by ;
 i. Establishing the position of Prime Minister in the same model as used by Tanzania. He shall be appointed by the President from the Party or Coalition of parties that are a majority in the National Assembly, and if no party has a majority, the person who appears to have the support of majority of the members of the National Assembly. He must be confirmed by the National Assembly. He may be fired by either the president through a decree or by the national Assembly through a vote of no confidence
ii. Establishing the office of the Leader of the Opposition who will be the runner up of the presidential election. He shall become an ex-officio Member of Parliament. If the runner up forms a coalition with government, then the leader of the Opposition shall be the person who leads the coalition of parliamentary parties not represented in government. All political parties not in government shall be deemed to be in the opposition.
iii. Providing that the Cabinet shall be a mix of elected members of the National Assembly and technocrats. Where appointed, technocrats will be ex-officio members of parliament. The president shall determine the ratioof elected members and technocrats in the cabinet. When members of parliament are appointed as ministers, they will only get an extra responsibility allowance and not a second salary. iv. Renaming the position of Cabinet Secretary back to Cabinet Minister because Kenyans have over the decades associated the word “Minister” with authority in the National Executive. v. Where necessary, the president can appoint some members of parliament as Ministers of State to assist Cabinet Ministers in their work at the National Assembly. This assignment will not come with any additional salary.
vi. Abolish the position of Chief Administrative Secretary
2. Ensure that the system of representation accords to the following principles that guarantee that Kenyans are fairly and equally represented.
a. All nominations and elections are free, fair and transparent
b. All persons to be included in party lists must go through a system of vetting that involves the public
c. As much as possible ensure that each vote has the same status and power.
d. Whatever changes may be made to constituencies, save the protected constituencies as they are key for representation in sparsely populated area.
e. All nominations to parliament and county assemblies must be done in a transparent process.
3. Enhance the capacity of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to deliver free and fair elections by;
 i. Removing all current Commissioners and establishing a new Commission for the next election.
ii. Provide that all IEBC staff serve on 3 year contracts that can be renewed only once, so that every new Commission can determine its own direction rather than become a captive of the IEBC Secretariat.
iii. Hire all Returning Officers through a system similar to that of hiring Commissioners.
iv. Returning officers should be contracted on a part-time basis and should not oversee more than one general election.
v. Open up qualifications for the Chairmanship of IEBC so that it is not a preserve for lawyers. A chair should be anyone with at least 15 years’ experience in a senior management level
vi. Make the Chairman of IEBC the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission so that he is not undermined by the Secretary who is currently the CEO.
vii. Give the leaders of political parties a role in the recruitment of IEBC Commissioners to enhance support for the Commission from political contestants

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