November 2019

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

Del Monte Kenya Managing Director Stergios Gkaliamoutsas in a previous press conference. 

Del Monte Kenya has welcomed the decision by National Assembly Lands Committee’s ordering the Director of Survey, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to re-survey the land within the confines of our farm.

In a letter by it’s Managing Director Stergios Gkaliamoutsas, the company says that they were confident that this move would dispel the false and malicious claims that they were farming more land than was registered in their title deeds.

“As we have previously stated, we strictly farm within the confines of the areas as demarcated in the deed plans annexed to the titles we hold. The titles which were issued in 1970 and 1973 respectively, had been confirmed by the Director of Surveys and that is the reason we have never had a single land dispute from the time they were issued until now when the leases are subject for renewal. Any member of the public can access the deed plans from the Director of Surveys and check the acreage by google maps,” said part of the letter.

Stergios reiterated their readiness to engage relevant stakeholders with a view to reaching reasonable settlement on the land leases issue.

The Kiambu Public Health Department has cleared Soko maize flour as safe for human consumption, saying they have complied with stipulated standards.

In a letter dated 25 November 2019 to Capwel Industries Ltd, Kiambu Chief Health Officer Kamundia Ndung’u said an inspection conducted across the 12 sub-counties between Nov. 18 and Nov. 22, 2019 to ascertain the level of inflatoxins on maize flour brands, SOKO, AMAIZE maize flour brands and dry maize from the factory were found to be in compliance with food standards as stipulated in the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act. CAP 254 L.O.K.

The action by the county follows an earlier memo by the sub-county Public health department that served an alert on high levels of aflatoxins in some samples of SOKO Maize flour collected on diverse dates within Kiambu County.

DCI detectives from Thika West have arrested a 43-year old woman for stealing a 4-days old infant at Thika Level Five Hospital yesterday.

Joyce Wambui is said to have stolen the baby at around 2 pm after its mother requested her to it for a moment as she photocopied some documents only to turn around and find her gone.

Acting on intelligence, the detectives were able to trace the suspect with the baby today at around 1am at Ngararia village in Kandara, Murang'a County.

The child has been reunited with its mother and having medical attention.

The suspect in is being held at Thika Police Station awaiting to be arraigned in court.

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati Ngugi in a File Photo

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati Ngugi is recommending for the hiving off of the Eastern part of Kiambu County to create a new county that will constitute of Thika, Juja, Ruiru, Gatundu North, Gatundu South and Gatanga constituencies.

While expressing his opinion on the eagerly awaited BBI report over the weekend, Nduati said he supported its release and hoped that it will give Kenyans an opportunity to find solutions to some of the teething challenges they experienced with the current constitution.

He noted that the current political arrangement disadvantaged densely populated regions especially when it came to resource allocation.

Citing recent census report that showed Kiambu County with over 2 million people and with constituencies like Ruiru with over 370,000 people, Nduati said that it was very hard for leaders in such areas to serve their people adequately considering the fact that they received similar allocations with areas that were sparsely populate.

“If you also take Gatanga Constituency with a population of 187,000 people, we get the same CDF allocation of Sh. 130 million with a constituency that has a population of 30,000 people. While I am struggling to share this money amongst my people, this other MP has excess money to even offer students’ scholarships to study abroad. That is unfair distribution of resources,” he explained.

Nduati explained that the same disadvantage was felt amongst counties with bigger population such as Kiambu, thus his reasoning for a review of both county and constituency boundaries.

“We need to push for a new county hived off from the larger Kiambu to ease such challenges of underrepresentation. The new county can constitute Thika, Juja, Ruiru, Gatundu North, Gatundu South and Gatanga constituencies which share similar demographics and are conveniently located to complement each other,” he said.

The legislator also wished the BBI report should help change the Constitution to allow Cabinet secretaries being appointed from among sitting MPs. He argued that MPs were more conversant with the challenges facing their people unlike the current set of CSes who operated purely on theoretical policies.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina welcomes Deputy President William Ruto to address congregants at a church function in the constituency.

Plans to make the Thika-Garissa Highway a dual carriageway is in top gear with the construction of a 10-kilometre stretch between the Thika flyover near Njomoko and Ananas Mall in Makongeni road set to begin early next year.

This was revealed during the visit to Thika of Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday.

While responding to a request by area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina, the DP said that one of the Jubilee government agenda under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta was to transform this country through infrastructural development that would ease transportation of goods and people.

The expansion of this road is believed to be the solution to frequent traffic snarl-up in Thika town which is a major transit point into both the Mt. Kenya Region and the Lower Easter and North Eastern Regions of the country.

The DP, who spent the better part of the day with congregants at AIPCA Maguguni Church in Thika East, PCEA Makongeni Church and Akorino Alter Israel Church in Kiganjo Thika West Sub-Counties, also promised to persuade the president to help improve several roads within the constituency that were in deplorable state.

He added that the government was allocating billions of shillings to technical and vocational training colleges to ensure the youth in the country gained the requisite skills to enable them get employment and take advantage of the government’ Big 4 Agenda projects.

“As a government, we have allocated Sh. 30,000 each to cater for youth training in polytechnics and technical training colleges. I am therefore urging the youth in Thika to take advantage and enroll in these colleges. That is the only way they will fully benefit from the Big 4 Agenda projects,” said DP Ruto.
Ruto urged Kenyans to read the BBI report once it is released on Tuesday and discuss it with a very sober mind.

“If it (BBI report) has what is good for us as Kenyans, we will pass it. If it has some contentious issues, we will sit down and rectify where we feel it does not serve us,” he told the residents of Makongeni during a stopover near Ananas Mall.

On his part, area MP Wainaina said he was not opposed to the BBI but wished it did not create two centres of power as this was recipe for chaos as witnessed in some previous arrangements.

Wainaina suggested that the power to elect the head of state or government should only be vested to the people, as they were supreme when it came to deciding on how they should be governed.

He promised to continue working for the people of Thika to ensure that their lives were improved.

Among those who accompanied the DP in his Thika tour included Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, several MCAs and immediate former area MP Alice Ng’ang’a.  

Thuku Joan Wanjiru from ACK St. Lukes Academy in Makongeni who scored 429 marks in KCPE 2019 to emerge top in Thika. 
Thuku Joan Wanjiru from ACK St. Lukes Academy in Makongeni has emerged Thika’s 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) champion after scoring 429 marks in the just released results by the Kenya National Examination Council.

Munyi Rachel Wandia of Thika Bell House Academy followed her very closely with 427 marks.

Stepping Stone Preparatory with 8 candidates, dominated the list of the 18 candidates who managed 418 marks and above.

The number of girls who made it to the list tied with that of boys at 9-9

The following is the full list of candidates who managed to score 418 marks and above in Thika:-



















Bishop David Kariuki Ngari has expressed his disappointment with elected leaders from Mt. Kenya Region who he said were very quick to blame President Uhuru Kenyatta even for their own shortcomings and inability to perform the duties that they were elected to do.

Ngari, who is popularly known as Gakuyo, said that it was quite unfortunate that even though most of the services and programmes that had stalled fell squarely in their dockets, the leaders had opted to use the presidency as a whipping boy to cover for their failures.

“All this hue and cry by elected leaders is aimed at forming an opinion that the president has failed his people. Leaders should not seek for scapegoats for their own failures because most of the programmes they are referring to have been devolved and lie squarely within their dockets. Everyone should carry their own cross,” said the bishop.

Ngari added that the main problem with the leaders was that majority of them were so preoccupied with succession politics that they had no time to think about the people who elected them.

“Is there any programme or memorandum that they have ever presented to the president but he failed to honour? The only thing Kenyans are demanding from their leaders is proper representation and delivery of services. These leaders should be fighting to achieve the goals of Agenda 4 within their own areas. That’s what will bring the change Kenyans are yearning for,” he said.

The bishop pointed out that the challenges facing coffee, tea, milk and other sectors only called for proper policy formulation by the legislators who in turn should pass the baton to the governors since agriculture was a devolved function.

He also called for prudent use of the resources entrusted to these leaders since there was too much wastage of public resources both at the constituency level and within county governments.

He challenged governors to convene a regional caucus that will articulate the challenges facing their regions and then present their memorandum to the president for action.

“Most of these leaders never go to the grassroots to get firsthand information from the people on the ground. Theirs is to shout from Nairobi and arguing their case from information gathered on social media and media houses. Some of them even block development projects initiated by others so as to point out the failures and blame their opponents as they branded themselves as the people’s advocates,” he concluded.

MKU Council Vice Chairman, Dr. Vincent Gichuru Gaitho
Entrepreneurship is today acknowledged as one of the key drivers of economic change all over the world, Ugandan First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports, Janet Museveni has said.

While speaking at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda during the launch of Makerere University Business School Incubation and Innovation Centre, Museveni said that entrepreneurship involves starting businesses and producing goods or services that society requires.

“This process of startup is also a process of job creation and s goods and services are created and sold, income is generated. Entrepreneurship therefore, is a crucial in any economy. It is important to note however, that entrepreneurship is driven by innovation. Innovation is the generation of ideas that finally lead into starting up of businesses.”
She added, “It is for this reason that the Ministry of Education and Sports supported the establishment of incubators in Public Universities. The Minister appreciates the partnership of African Development Bank which has supported entrepreneurship development in Uganda.”

She said universities have researchers who generate ideas and need to transform these ideas into products and services.

“This process for transforming ideas into products is what is popularly known as incubation. Incubation involves nurturing these ideas and finally turning them into products and services. Therefore, I was pleased to learn that MUBS had planned to launch its incubation activities and also open the Incubation Centre Building,” said the Ugandan First Lady.

She said Ugandan Government was faced with a large number of young people who are unemployed including graduates.

“Without jobs and incomes, these young people are a burden to the economy. Therefore, this initiative is timely because it will contribute to solving the unemployment challenge. MUBS pioneered the teaching of entrepreneurship in the early 1990s and I have been informed that the school has formal academic programmes including Diplomas, Undergraduates and Master’s Degrees in Entrepreneurship,” Museveni said.

In a speech read on his behalf by MKU Council Vice Chairman, Dr. Vincent Gichuru Gaitho, MKU Founder and Board of Directors Chairman, Prof. Simon Nyutu Gicharu urged Africa to train its young people on entrepreneurship so that they develop the requisite mindset that will enable them to see opportunities available in Africa, thus discourage them from risking their lives while going to seek “greener pastures” in foreign countries.

Prof. Gicharu said that Africa should help the youth to strive to harness the abundant opportunities available in the Continent. “With an entrepreneurial mind-set, the youth in Africa will become competitive and get to belief in themselves and become active job and wealth creators for socio-economic growth of our great Continent.”

He said it was unfortunate that many young people lose their lives in Africa while trying to migrate to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

“Many of these African youths are swept-off as they use crude transport means to cross the vast Sea. But why do these persons try to run away from their motherland? The reason is because their potential entrepreneurial skills have not been developed, they are dormant,” the Chairman said.

He added, “We are all aware about the infinite resources available in Africa. Unfortunately, these youth due to lack of guidance, they do not see these opportunities. At the same time, many other foreign nationalities are flocking into Africa to take advantage of the available resources. What is the implication in this? The implication is that we, therefore, need to train our young people on entrepreneurship so that they develop the requisite mind-set that enables them to see opportunities and strive to harness the abundant opportunities available in Africa.”

He said that MKU and MUBS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake joint project that will help hundreds of young people in East Africa to embrace job creation. The MKU-MUBS East Africa Business plan competition will see the winners come to this centre, which we are launching today for further training and to get funding.

“I am happy to reiterate that I have pledged to Makerere University Business School a donation of USD 6000 towards the project. We are, therefore very sure that, this new initiative will be of significant impact in East Africa and more countries across the continent will be able to emulate it,” said Prof. Simon Gicharu.

Prof. Simon Gicharu said the success of the said MKU-MUBS East Africa Business Plan competition would be best achieved when many stakeholders come on board especially as sponsors and therefore we invite the industry and philanthropists to join this unique initiative.

The occasion was among others attended by Eng. Isaac Ngobya, Chairman, University Council, Makerere University Business School, Prof. Waswa Balunywa, Principal, Makerere University Business School (MUBS).

FILE: Acting Kiambu Governor Dr. James Nyoro in an earlier function.
Acting Kiambu Governor Dr. James Nyoro has said that the county government is looking for 50 acres of land in Thika to set up a tannery and leather manufacturing plant.

While speaking to the press at Thika Technical Institute ground after the closing ceremony of the Central Region SME Conference & Expo 2019, Nyoro pointed out that Kiambu County and in particular Dagoretti Market, produced the highest amount of hides and skins. However, he said, the bulk of these products was either neglected to waste or are sold at throwaway prices.

“Our priority as a government is to revive the leather industry. In this regards, we are sourcing for 50 acres of land in Thika where we will invest in tanneries and leather manufacturing plants to produce shoes for our armed forces and the general public, handbags, car seat cushions, jackets, leather garments and even industrial gloves,” explained Nyoro.

Nyoro added that the revival of this sector had the potential to turn around Thika’s economy and those of the people supplying these hides and skins

“This tannery has the potential to stimulate local employment and wealth creation in the leather industry in line with the president’s Big 4 Agenda.”

Nyoro said that his government was also focusing on ways to create conducive business environment especially for the small traders who struggled to make ends meet.

“We will invest on model kiosks and identify areas where we shall put them. Before that, we need to come up with other solutions that will be favourable to both the hawkers and those in formal businesses,” he said.

The Ag. Governor added that plans were underway to set up a multi-million Muguga Agripark in Kikuyu sub-county that will support the agribusiness sector in the county.

“We are about to sign an MOU with KARLO to support the investment with professional support on aspects of quality feed with regards to ingredients, sources of materials and use of new technologies.”
Nyoro said that they were in the process of reviving Uplands Bacon Factory in Lari Sub-county to ensure the pork sub-sector was up and running for its economic contributions to the county and also increase incomes and jobs creation.

He also pointed out that Kiambu County was among eight counties selected by the American Government under the Kenya Investment Mechanism (KIM) programme, which seeks to strengthen direct trade and investments between the United States and select counties.

“The programme focuses on what counties value most, it's sustainability to facilitate a decent life for its residents and an increase in financial self-sufficiency. This will go a long way in promoting direct trade for our agricultural products; tea, coffee, avocado, pork, macadamia nuts, and poultry with emphasis on value addition. For Kiambu, the Americans chose to support our coffee sector,” he explained.

Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya (centre), flanked by Ag. Kiambu Governor James Nyoro (right) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia (extreme left) getting explanations from one of the participants of the Central Region SME Conference & Expo 2019 at Thika Technical Institute grounds

Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said that the government will start to guarantee commercial loans issued to SMEs by commercial banks as an initiative to counter the depressed credit to SMEs.

Under the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme SMEs will start accessing credit without being subjected to complex application procedures and collateral requirements.

While speaking at Thika Technical Institute grounds during the closing ceremony of the Central Region SME Conference & Expo 2019, Munya said that the scheme will unlock the potential of small businesses and was critical to production of competitive goods and services.

The Cs added that, as a ministry, they were also coming up with an SME Policy that will spell out the roadmap for the operations of small, micro and medium businesses.

“Over and above these measures, on the 29th of this month, we will launch 35 constituency industrial centres at Othaya in Nyeri with a target to having similar centres across all our constituencies. These 35 centres are the ones that are ready. Then from there, we will roll out a 100 days of completing another a 100 constituency industrial centres with a view to help SMEs with space to do business,” he said.

He appealed to county governments to cooperate with the national governments to ensure that all these programmes succeeded.

“We have already rolled out a handbook on investment that is intended to give county governments an idea of what they needed to do to set up their investment units and create landmarks for investment,” he said.

Munya said that the government had also rolled out an investment policy that gives the various investment decisions that the government had done to support and protect both local and foreign investors.

“And within this policy document, we have identified what we are referring to as the negative list that protects certain sectors of local investments after realising that we needed to give space for SMEs to thrive in business,” he said.

He challenged the Mt. Kenya governors to kick-start the process of starting the regional economic block which he promised that will get enough support from the national government.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday met all elected leaders as well community leaders from his Mt. Kenya backyard at Sagana Lodge in Nyeri County to help ease out the tension among the leaders and map out a way forward for the region, especially on matters development and seeking solutions to the challenges facing its people.

Uhuru challenged the leaders to take personal responsibility for their roles in solving some of the challenges facing their people and not always hiding behind the veil of the presidency even for their own failures and omissions.

He said that every leader had the right to their opinions but pleaded with them to avoid letting their differences in opinion create animosity among the people by using words that could plunge this country into anarchy.

While retracing the steps this country had made since the 2007-8 post election violence Uhuru, acknowledged the fact there can never be any development without peace. He therefore urged Mt Kenya leaders to focus on their work instead of succession politics.

"Let us work together for the development of our people and not just engage in insults. Unless you just want to be featured in newspapers so that you can tell your mother to check the newspapers," Uhuru said.

Uhuru added that, he would meet all the elected leaders next week to discuss all the challenges facing the region and map out a roadmap to solving them. He also said that he would, beginning with a tour of Meru County, visit the entire Mt Kenya region with an aim of discussing individual challenges and seeking to develop this region.

President Uhuru said that even though his party candidate Macdonald Mariga lost in the Kibra by-election, he was very happy that peace was maintained during the campaign period and on Election Day.

“If an election can be done in Kibra and people do not lose their things or their lives, that is already a victory and people must learn from this. The events in Kibra made me believe that we are winning and the country is coming together where Kenyans are uniting and respecting each other," Uhuru said.

The president dispelled rumours that the BBI was about creating positions, either for himself of for his handshake partner Raila Odinga but insisted that it was to bring peace to the country and the future of our children

He told off his critics of the handshake (and BBI) who insinuated that his association with Raila Odinga was about isolating his deputy William Ruto.

"When I talk to this other man, I never told him that we are talking so that he can get a big position. I told him that we are talking because of the peace of this country and the future of our children," Uhuru said.

“Election time will come. But have you ever heard me say that I have left my party and gone to another one? Have you ever heard me say that you should elect this one and not this other one? Why do some people think that they should remind me every morning? Who has asked you?" he continued.

Uhuru insisted that had never seen the BBI report and was ‘still waiting to see it’. He added that some of the things he would wish were in the report included how to make all votes equal and to have all corrupt individuals completely kept off leadership positions.

BY Juma Hemedi

Of all the ninjas we were with in primary school, Chos was the "ninjaest" of them all. He had the ability to convince you to follow him into the valley of mischief and get you out of it in one piece.

Chos lived near the place where 'Kaengo', Ntoiti, and 'Aron' used to sell the twigs from the slopes of Nyambene around the hills that sorround Maua town. These twigs had their names that included 'giza asili', kangeta, and 'Alele'. All these were names given to 'miraa twigs' to separate them from each other and give them class. "Giza" were short miraa twigs that would be packed in about eight and ten small bunches and then rolled into one big bunch reffered as "kilo".

Kangeta twigs were a bit longer, they were given that name because of the place they were grown, a small stop over town on your way to Maua town, called Kangeta. Kangeta was a bit more classy and more expensive than 'giza'. It belonged to the people with class and money. 'Alele was the most classy and most expensive. Anyone chewing' Alele' miraa had to be given his respect. Some high class hotels in Nairobi and Thika had designated places where this category of people would sit undisturbed and chew away their twigs as they engage in conversations. If only all these conversations and ideas that were being generated during these chewing sessions were fully implemented, then Kenya would have achieved the vision 2030 before we even knew what the vision was about.

The family of Chos owned a 'hotel' called Biafra Super Cafe. Located near 'Ngabu Hotel' along the walls of Bible fellowship church. You should know that during those days TVs were scarce commodities especially in the Ghettos where we grew up. The entrepreneur spirit of chos and the family had helped solve a very big gap of providing a hall, seats and a 21 inch colored TV and a 'Video' (VHS) for showing movies at a fee of five shillings.

Reuben or 'Rube' was the no nonsense guy tasked with ensuring the operation of the video place was conducted in order. Reuben had made his name as a mechanic near Jamhuri Primary School. He was the only guy who had engraved a lion tattoo on his arm. Rumour had it that he did it himself. He was also rumoured to be a 'black-belt' karate thing and that he had once beaten three guys himself and broke some few bones in their bodies. Those guys had refused to pay for mechanical services rendered and had instead 'talked bad'. He also watched a lot of karate movies and would sometimes confuse himself for a movie star. He walked like the guys in the movies, talked like them and even wear their attitude at times.

Reuben was the only guy who would interpret Indian movies to us. We all believed he not only knew 'Kihindi' but also understood it and had spent some time in the land of Mahatma Ghandhi. So when the movie called 'Ajooba' was released featuring 'Amitabh Bachchan, Reuben would even translate the songs in the movie.' Ajooba was the Indian version of the movie "mask of Zoro" that had this outlaw character saving guys from tyrants and overzealous rulers and oppressors.

Anyway compulsory morning and evening tuition had been introduced when we were in class seven before we repeated. So since obviously we did not want to remain in class people had made a habit of jumping over the school wall into the 'chochoro' that would lead to U-Shop and would disappear into Majengo. Some enemy of development also known as 'kamati ya roho chafu' had alerted Mr. Kabuka, the toughest headmaster this part of the country. He decided to lay trap.

Chos came and told me "twende home" (lets go home) that meant we skip the evening preps. Some other fellows heard that too and followed chos and I in disappearing into Majengo, but chos wanted us to go to his home, where we found his mum. She had prepared some nice tea and 'mkate na blue band'. When we were through with eating Chos suggested we go back to school since the mum was around we couldn't stay there.

We were just on time to be back in class since Mr. Kabuka came a few minutes later and took the names of those who were in class. The following morning he came and said that "if you know you were not in class yesterday evening, come forward before I call out your name". The names of those that were in class were read out loud and you should have seen the shock on the faces of the other 'ninjas' who had followed Chos the previous day in going home.

The beating they received that morning did not pain them as much as the question of how Chos and I were not part of those receiving the beating. Chos the ninja had saved the day. Or was it the 'mkate blueband' that had brought us back to our senses?

Juma Hemedi

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