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Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Anchor February 2011- Final Post


OPINION
Kenyan media needs a new strategy
for preservation of national interest

By Ezekiel Mutua

The critical role of the media in any country is to set the agenda for crucial issues affecting society. In the School of Journalism, University of Nairobi, they taught me that the role of the media is not to tell people what to think, but rather what to think about.
But watching the performance of our media on a number of recent happenings in Kenya, one gets the feeling that they are obsessed with negativity to a point of being blind to anything good. In-deed, the media analogy that when a dog bites a man it is not news but that when a man bites a dog then it is, appears to be the guiding criterion for news media in this country.
Take for example the overzealous manner of the recent reporting and analysis on the war on corruption, the alleged drug trafficking expose, The Hague debate and the WikiLeaks cables. One gets the feeling that the reporting of these matters, important as they are, runs the danger of obfuscating the good story of Kenya, ultimately hurting the country’s national brand.
The Government has made it abundantly clear that it is resolutely committed to the war on graft, lending it the vital ingredient of political will at the very top. But the good news of all these efforts and achievements is in danger of being lost in the incredibly negative din that is the seriously inane - some-times in-sane - manner in which the media report, comment on and analyze the war on corruption.
It is a fact of life that for every corrupt individual Kenyan, there are thou-sands who serve family, country, nation and world selflessly and excellently. We need to hear much more about these positive developments in the multimedia news columns, editorials, comments and features headlines.
The anti-corruption drive has seen a large number of investigations launched and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority is performing wonders under the new and eminently proactive leadership of PLO Lumumba. But the screaming headlines and screeching editorials would have you believe that very little is happening in the war against graft and that only the public sector harbours the corrupt or is the disproportionately corrupt.
Worse still is the fact that even the citizen journalism of the blogosphere is failing the country seriously and contributing to the denting of the nation’s brand at precisely the moment when Kenyans should be brimming with unalloyed confidence and national pride, particularly since Kenya be-came a new republic by promulgating a new constitution late last year. Kenyans’ Internet chatter, both locally and in the Diaspora, is shameful.
It is too full of ethnic special-pleading and name-calling when it comes to discussing the anti-graft drive.
Add that to the noise emanating from the civil society about corruption and violation of human rights, and you get the feeling that Kenya is dead in the high waters.
Our media need to know that there are other countries where corruption, crime and moral decadence are the order of the day. But this is reported without endangering local, regional, international and even global perceptions of the nation brand. In America, for instance, there are numerous congressional hearings at any one time looking into such di-verse sordid activities as drug dealing, gunrunning, money laundering, human trafficking, government procurement fraud, electoral fraud and cybercrime, human rights violations, among many others.
But the US media handle re-porting, commentary and analysis of anti-corruption in a manner that never militates against the patriotic imperatives of love of one’s country and the integrity of the nation brand.
My extensive and deep reading has opened my mind to the fact that a rule of thumb in the Western media is that the bad news is never allowed to over-shadow the good news, not even in war-time! And I don’t mean manipulation here. A working, functioning nation is, above all, a self-confident nation.
National self-confidence and good reputation must never be sacrificed at the altar of instant gratification by the media of news gathering and dissemination.
How to find a balance between ex-posing the ills of our society and the integrity of Kenya’s nation brand is one of the most urgent issues facing journalists. One of the major challenges that public communicators charged with selling Kenya, including myself, face whether at home or abroad is how to deal with the negative perceptions created by the me-dia.
Kenya’s good news story must be told with conviction and spontaneity by all these officials in a ferociously competitive world. But this is no easy task when one is trailed by an over-kill emphasis in the local media focused on the corrupt and the criminal in our midst; indeed, it can be daunting to the point of intimidation, particularly when addressing a foreign audience.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for the Kenyan media to invest in seminars, workshops and in-house training to instill in the minds of well meaning journalists the fact that negative developments in our country must be covered without hurting the nation brand. It’s important to find out how others do it and the Brand Kenya Board may want to guide this engagement.
As of the time of penning this piece, the original James Bond star, actor Sean Connery, now aged 80, was facing fraud charges brought against him in a Spanish court in a US$51 million suit. The reporting of this case has been proportionate and dignified and has not lost sight of the fact that, though he is one of the world’s most famous, richest and longest-lasting cinematic franchises and comes originally from Scotland, he is an individual. The 007 brand and the Scotland nation brand do not come into it. Food for thought!
The writer is the Director of Information and Public Communications - email: emutua@information.go.ke



EDITORIAL

Why State must empower
citizens to produce own food


In a swift turn of events, some parts of the Kenyan State are facing starvation, barely months after some of the areas were grappling with how to dispose of excess maize that they could not store properly.
This has forced the government to go back to the drawing board and come up with an emergency strategy to feed its famished population.
This situation is precipitated by the drought that is raging in parts of the country after the failure of rains in the just ended season.
That the rains were doomed  to fail was not a surprise as the Kenya Meteorological Department, shaky as their predictions may be, predicted rightly that the rains would be unreliable.
Apparently, the government does not seem to have anticipated that there would be a shortfall of food supply, water shortage and need to find ways of feeding hundreds of livestock in drought affected areas.
This is what has resulted in leaders and citizens joining a deafening  din of calls, pleas and appeals for food supply to one or another part of the country to prevent  possible loss of lives  of citizens and their livestock.
It is encouraging that these pleas have not landed on deaf ears. The Government has responded by providing  famine relief supplies in affected areas. Citizens now receive food and in other places, the government has even provided water to alleviate human suffering.
Indeed, the government has also come up with a livestock Off Take programme that aims at buying off threatened livestock for slaughter at the Kenya Meat Commission, thus cushioning livestock farmers from the possible loss of incomes as a result of the death of their herds.
It is thus encouraging, for which we laud the government, that it has responded well thus far. But what is inescapable is blame based on the fact that there seems to be no long term plan to rid this nation of intermittent episodes of famine
Most parts of Kenya have long relied on rain-fed agriculture. Some parts of Kenya get adequate rains, thus making it reasonable to rely on rains for agricultural activities that take place there.
But there are those parts of Kenya that have historical rain shortage that makes it laughable when the government expects residents of those areas to rely on unreliable rains to produce enough food for their families and get a surplus for sale.
These areas face perennial shortage of food and water, yet the State only appears ready to keep on providing relief food rather than creating a framework where the residents can embark on irrigation fed agriculture.
For each of these regions have big rivers where water flows freely t the Indian Ocean with the fail of even the slightest of rainfall. Why has the State not identified the retention of this water a priority if it is keen on alleviating food and water shortages among its citizens?
Does the State find pleasure in having a section of its citizens who have to rely on it periodically to food and water handouts such that it can not institute measures to empower them?
It needs to be stated here that the culture of having citizens rely on famine relief from the government, relief agencies or whoever it is, is very dehumanizing experience.
People who have to rely on these hand outs find themselves humiliated and marginalized to levels where it becomes difficult for them to play their roles in the governance processes. They are permanently impoverished, lose their sense of direction and end up electing the wrong leaders to represent them  in Government because they are deeply disoriented.
This sate can explain why these famine relief zones are so marginalized and chose wishy-washy leaders-from the civic to parliamentary levels.
In a sense, even as the State thinks it is helping citizens by offering the food handouts, it is actually subjecting them to horrific injustices whose impact may never be reversed in this generation.

Raging famine sends shivers in
Ukambani  as effects of poor farming emerge

Experts are saying there is going to be an estimated 90 per cent crop failure in Makueni, Machakos and Kitui counties as a result of the prevailing dry spell due to failed rains.
The massive crop failure has put the lives of tens of thousands residents in the semi arid Ukambani region at high risks of starvation.
The experts are attributing the expected crop failure to what they termed poor distribution of rains this season.
The dry condition has also led to drastic reduction of water levels in local rivers, forcing residents to dig deep wells to reach the commodity for drinking and their livestock.
A survey in the three counties revealed that even the so called drought resistant crops had succumbed under the scorching sun.
Despite a bumper harvest last season, it emerged that most families are depending on food from cereals shops after they sold off what they had harvested.
In  Kalawa in Mbooni East ,Kathonzweni, Nguu, Makindu and Kibwezi districts hungry residents are crying out for relief food as the situation threatened to go out of hand.
In Malunda location,Kalawa division,a 35 year old woman sits under a tree outside her mud grass thatched hut as she painfully watches her drying maize crop in desperation.
Ms Christine Mueni  is among thousands residents in the larger Ukambani who are staring hunger in the face after an estimated 90 per cent crop withers due to the prevailing dry spell the area is experiencing.
The single mother of three and her mother had just taken lunch, the only meal the family takes daily when  our reporter visited their home.
‘’We only take lunch and eat air like crocodiles for supper and breakfast”,she said as she showed us their empty granary. 
Their next door neighbor has lost hope on his drying maize crop on his two and half acre freshly cultivated farm.
“Even if it rained hail stones rain said Nzomo Musyoka.He  added that he had  uprooted his beans crop and fed it on his cows instead of letting it dry completely. Villagers are now calling on the government to urgently put measures in place in order to ensure the starving residents are provided with relief food.
A chief in Kalawa division confirmed the government send 200 bags of relief maize to Kalawa and Athi locations where residents received two and half kgs.
The Kalawa Divisional Agricultural Extension Officer  James Runji said the area received very little rain for only one week and it has never rained again.
He said beans started withering at the flowering stage due to the drought conditions as a result of poor distribution of the rainfall.
Runji said area residents were depending on food they bought from local cereal shop after selling all their last seasons harvests.
Makueni District drought Management Officer Daniel Mbuvi termed the situation pathetic, adding a team of government officers would visit the region next week to  access the food crisis.
Local leaders have raised the red card over the worsening situation and sent out an appeal to the government and the international community to intervene.
The leaders, including Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo warned of hunger related deaths if the necessary action is not taken.
Agriculture assistant minister Gedion Ndambuki called on those still storing part of their last seasons harvest not sale it.
Members of the provincial administration in the area have been put on high alert and asked to compile a list of the most affected residents for assistance.
Meanwhile the government is advising farmers in Ukambani region to upscale cultivation of sorghum. Farmers are being asked to target the Gadam, Serena and Seredo varieties which had become very marketable.
 ‘’With the onset of the short rains, they [the farmers] take advantage and increase the acreage under the crop for improved earnings and food security,’’ an official of the ministry of agriculture reiterated the advice to the residents yesterday.
 ‘’The three breeds are drought tolerant hence suitable for the Ukambani the region which is prone to erratic rainfall,’’ noted the Mwala district agricultural officer Mr. James Kariuki. He said the three types of the grains had guaranteed market.
 ‘’The EABL had started purchasing huge stocks of the Gadam variety for brewing purpose while WFP was interested in buying the Serena and Seredo types to feed populations in world countries engulfed by severe food deficits as a result of drought and other calamities,’’ the official explained at Mwala divisional agricultural office where he  oversaw distribution of the three varieties of the sorghum seeds to local farmers.
 The government donated 5 tonnes of Gadam sorghum and 5 of the Serena and Seredo varieties for free issuance to farmers in mwala district this planting season who are affiliated to active farming groups. ‘’Priority is being given to farmers who belong to operational groups with regard to issuance of the seeds,’ the DAO explained.
 He said WFP had entered into partnership with 40 farmers groups in the district under the ‘’purchase for progress’’ program.
  He said the ministry of agriculture was training the organized farming groups on agronomy i.e. land preparation, maturing or use of fertilizer, timely planting, spacing, weeding, pest control, post harvest management and storage. 
’As for the price rates, EABL will offer SH 17 per a kilo of the Gadam sorghum,’’ Mr. Kariuki said quoting revelation by the leading beer manufacturing firm in the east African region. He said WFP had not yet disclosed how much it will offer the farmers for the Serena and Seredo produce.
 ‘’But there is hint that its [WFP] price rate will be determined by the prevailing market conditions and how much the government will be paying the farmers when replenishing the national strategic grain reserves,’’ went on the agricultural officer adding the global organization bought grains from countries with surplus food stocks for donation to those which fall in food crisis as a result of drought and disasters.
  He said local farmers who heeded advice by the agriculture ministry to expand cultivation of the three sorghum types last planting season were a smiling lot. ‘’They earned good money,’’ Mr. Kariuki noted.
 He said majority of the local farmers had neglected cultivation of sorghum owing to lack of market in the past but urged them to resume its growing in big style because the venture had reliable income nowadays owing to the EABL and WFP intervention and nutritional supplement considering that most people were drifting towards eating of traditional foods rather than industrialized ones.
 Mr. Kariuki said the vulnerable farmers will in addition be issued with 100 tonnes of fertilizer donated by the state and three international donors, namely the World Bank, European Union and Food Agricultural Organization [FAO] to boost production of other food crops. The fertilizer types include basal for planting and Calcium Ammonium nitrates for topdressing, he added.
 The joint venture between the government and the three key donors is aimed at assisting farmers to discard the traditional farming practices in favor of the modern techniques for increased productivity. He reiterated the government, through the ministry of agriculture and support from donors was keen to empower farmers to upscale productivity and alleviate hunger in line with the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs].

Where villagers
face starvation

As food shortage crisis looms in the country, some areas of Ukambani region have signaled starvation threat.
Parts of Machakos county  need urgent attention to reduce the threat of starvation A survey revealed that  some families in Kinanie and Kimongo near Athiriver town are at the verge of starvation due to lack of food.
The area suffered about 80 percent crop failure this year and leaders  have started seeking food to feed the hungry. Only last year maize was being destroyed by ‘aflotoxins’ due overproduction and lack of storage facilities.
The fact that the very same people who could not store their maize well for future use are the ones faced with starvation is a statement that Kenya has got it wrong in food security. Although Kenya suffers from recurring drought, the situation during the past three years has reached alarming levels. 
 The Kenyan government is failing to adhere to its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international and regional human rights instruments.
The families have been going without  food. This is not the first time the zone has been hit by such a calamity as  it has happened in the past but this time round the victims say the situation is worse.
The families have been living in poverty for the last few decades as no meaningful rain has ever poured in the area adding that little attention had been drawn to the problem despite the persisted drought.
 Most families  visited were headed by women who said their husbands fled the homes  following the calamity and little had been heard about their whereabouts.
 ”I dont have enough energy to feed my children and therefore some days we go without anything to eat’’ one of the residents  said.
 ”We are now waiting for the worst to happen  since the only a half kilogramme of flour that was left got finished this morning when I prepared uji for the kids’’ she added.
  The residents said they used to depend on charcoal burning to get their daily bread but when the government banned the business, they were left with no alternative for their survival. At another home we found  Nathan Mutinda 58, with his wife and their twelve children most of whom suffered malnutrition due to lack of balanced diet.
 Mr Mutinda said their children rarely reported to school due to lack of food. ”You don’t expect a child to sit in a classroom with an empty  stomach and understand anything’’ said Kinanie civic leader Florence Kathoki.
 She said the families suffering had become a tradition for years with little attention drawn on them. ”It appears the government neglected these people who are yet part of the country’s taxpayers and voters’ ‘said the councillor.
 ”These are also human beings who deserve equal attention like that extended to the other parts of the country’’ she added warning that if meaningful and urgent measures were not taken in two weeks time incidents of starvation will be reported in the area.
 The civic leader at the same time made  a passionate appeal to NGOs to assist the government in shapping up the lives of the hunger victims. Since River Athi is drying up the water shortage also added a burden to the hunger victims as they trekked ten kilometers to and fro to get water from  Athi River which is not clean.
 Kathoki noted the  food shortage problem was coupled with the acute water shortage which she appealed to well-wishers and the government to address both the problems simultaneously.
 ”At least I hope the government will address the matter as serious as that of IDPs’’  she said adding that the families have been without adequate  food for long due to rain failure.


Civic men lose fight to block
New Machakos Town Clerk

By Our Reporter
For the past few weeks the municipal council of Machakos has had wrangles between the councilors and residents and its employees over a move by the councilors to reject the newly posted Town Clerk.
The councilors who objected the transfer of the former Town Clerk Ngei Mutinda faced stern opposition from the council employees who were so happy to receive the new clerk whom they said would look into their being misused by the civic lot.
All this misunderstanding  stems from among other issues the employment of 47  low cadre workers who are close relatives to the councilors.
It is alleged that each of the 15 councilors, chief officers, influential town residents and senior civil servants were allotted slots to bring in relatives of friends to fill in the vacancies.
Each councilor had up to three slots. Some councilors brought in three relatives each while others brought in one relative and sold out the two slots for as much as Sh 150,000 to those in need of jobs. It is alleged that the jobseekers were treated to a sham interview that the council leaders planned to coincide with a public consultative fo-rum where they residents were informed of plans to sink over Sh 3m into a slum upgrading programme in the municipality.
Uproar over the recruitment also coincided with illegal approval that the council had tacitly given to the family of leading Businessman Abed Makau to have him buried in his plot, in contravention of the council's by-laws.
Matters have not been helped by the feeling that the leadership at the municipality, much as it has many good plans coming up is probably the worst in years as the municipality is losing in a key area where it has held a high national rating. A walk on the streets of the town shows a rising culture of mushrooming kiosks that the council has allowed on pavements, off streets and inside buildings. It is believed that the structures are being constructed with the approval of council officials but without the requisite charges being raised.
Two months before the departure of Mr Mutinda, another Town Clerk Mr Kiao Mbulusi had been posted to Town Hall and the civic leaders had teamed up to ensure that he did not take over even after he reported.
It is in this background that  a decision to remove Mr Mutinda was reached. He was asked to  move to Suba and the civic leaders went berserk, vowing not to allow the new Town Clerk from Nakuru to take over.
This is the folliness that informed the drama when Mr. A. S. Abdullahi  reported to town Hall. Council workers, tired with the selfish posturing of the civic leaders decided that enough was enough. One morning, they decided to halt the bad manners and lock out the councilors from Town Hall   so that  Mr Abdullahi takes office.
Faced with the option of being send to the wards where the council pays for non ex-is-tent offices, the councilors relented and opted to take their grievances to Jogoo House. The PS, Karega Mutahi refused to listen to them and were given audience with the Secretary for Local Government who gave them a hearing and asked them to leave and await a communication. They are yet to hear from him and The Anchor has been informed that their wait will be long.
What they will see is more than they asked for. An Inquiry is coming to the municipality to investigate the extend of nepotism and corruption at the council. So deep is the twin malaise in the council that Chief Officers can never confide in a member of staff as the worker is likely to be a brother, sister, mother or wife of a councilor.
After Mr. Abdullahi came in he called for a stake-holders meeting whereby he vowed to them that they would work as a team for the betterment of the council.
Residents who spoke at the meeting see a council which is rotten with taking bribes, over-charging taxes, misusing the powers in-vested to them a by the local authority as everything is being done so corruptly.
Human Rights activist Mr. Fred Lau said that the residents of Machakos have paid for taxes over a long du-ration but yet the charges which has kept on going up all the time has never been put in the right usage for benefit of the tax payers.
He lashed at the council for hiking all charges from the municipal council ambulance that was donated by the metropolitan ministry from Sh 3,000 to 10,000 shillings for its ser-vices “ it should be used for free or charged so little but its charges are so high that no poor man can ever afford, it should be called a staff ambulance” Lau said.
Simecor Merchants Managing Director Mr. Simon Kitheka said the exploitation rate is too high and something needs to be done to re-duce the impunity  in Machakos municipality. He singled out the councilors who have been fighting any clerk who comes to their territory and fails to go their way.
The stakeholders also complained about the harassment by the council askaris and mistreatment at the established court which has been termed as the court for the exploitation of the poor.
The clerk assured them that he was going to examine all the claims and make appropriate action. The business fraternity warned of going to a strike so that the council would know what is the purpose of the tax they pay since they are paying a lot for very poor services.


Concerns as pupils
reject top schools


Mwala DC Ms Florence Amoit has called for investigations into the activities of a local church suspected to be a cult. The DC expressed concern that followers of church were intoxicated with retrogressive beliefs.
 "Am told followers of the church don’t go to hospital when they fall sick,’’ Ms Amoit said of the members of Jehovah Witness church which operates in Masii township.
 The administrator was angered by the case of two orphaned children who declined to join Maseno boys and Limuru girls’ high schools citing their devotion to the church.
The two Kevin Kelly and Mercy Mwende, a brother and sister who scored 407 and 404 marks in last years Kenya Certificate of Primary Education at St Josephs Academy and Masii DEB primary school respectively securing admission at the two prestigious national schools but they turned down the offer citing their commitment to the church.
 They instead opted to join the nearby Kikelenzu day Secondary School so as to continue worshipping at the church where their parents are devoted worshippers."What a weird Christian fanatism/fundamentalism,’’ Amoit remarked of the children’s decision which she said must have been inspired by their step parents through the fanatical church doctrines.
 Mercy and Kevin were inherited by Geoffrey Mutisya Muange, according to Mrs Amoit after their mother succumbed to Anemia for refusing to seek medical attention owing to the weird convictions. Muange later remarried another woman, with whom they have been fostering the orphans, she added.
 Amoit regretted that the standards of education the two could have acquired at Limuru and Maseno schools had been compromised. ‘’it’s a dream cut short for the two teenagers by succumbing to primitive way of thinking inculcated on them by the parents who appear not to have good intentions for them.’’ She regretted.
 She said it was even more hurting because a certain sponsor had offered to cater for the children’s fees up to the university level. ‘’He [the sponsor] had even presented two cheques bearing total amount of school fees for the two in the whole of this year,’’ the DC regretted, saying the assistance will be withdrawn.
 She said Kikelenzu was not the right place for the two bright students. Being a form 6 leaver, the stepfather was expected to be more informed of the quality education the two hardworking students deserved. ‘’It appears he has been brainwashed by the extremist doctrines of the church,’’ Amoit said.
 ‘’Investigations must be done because the behavior of some of the church’s faithful is ominious,’’ noted Amoit who was flanked by Masii District Officer Ms Metrin Wafula in her office.
 Ms Wafula said frantic efforts by the Machakos District Children Officer Mr. Joram Kamau to have the children rescind their decision not to join Kikelenzu dint sire any fruit. ‘’Mr. Kamau had sought the assistance of a counselor only to find the two had already enrolled at the local school.
 The D.O who equally strove hard to convince Mercy and Kevin not to let the rare opportunity slip away said the two appeared abnormal when they appeared in her office. ‘’They were adamant that they cannot be separated with the church,’’ Ms Wafula said adding mercy who is 13 years old told her she puts spiritual matters first before anything else while Kevin vowed not to bother with learning if he were to be taken to Maseno boys which is distance away.
 She said Geoffrey had suffered a string of misfortunes with his first wife and two housemaids committing suicide at his homestead in Uthini village. She said mercy and Kevin were so much against their elder brother Raphael Mwendwa who was pushing to have them join the two prestigious institutions who ended up being chases way by the step parents.
 ‘’The children’s officer tried the best he could but it’s like he chasing the wind,’’ Wafula said. When a church member dies, other worshippers are barred from carrying the body; according to area councilor Charles Mutinda who was equally appalled by the teachings of the church. Efforts to get a comment from the head of the denomination Mr. Laban Mutiso Kyaitha were futile
 Geoffrey was arraigned at the Machakos law courts last week where he was charged with obstructing the children’s right to education contrary to the children act of 2005. He was released on a cash bail of Sh 150,000 which he was unable to raise. However, the chief magistrate Mr. Munguti reduced it to Sh 40,000 which he paid and released.
 He was arrested by Masii OCS Mr. Antony Mbogo who stormed his home in the company of the Ms Wafula  and the Children’s Officer after they learnt of the children’s plight.

An open letter to PLO Lumumba


KATHONZWENI – MAKUENI DIS-TRICTS
ELDERS STEERING COMMITTEE
P.O. BOX 150 – 90302,
KATHONZWENI.
26TH JANUARY. 2011.
TO
DIRECTOR KACC                                      
INTEGRITY CENTER
NAIROBI.
Dear Sir,
RE: COMPLAINTS FROM VOTERS  RESIDENTS OF KATHONZWENI DISTRICT & WOTE DIVISION OF MAKUENI CONSTITUENCY:
Our letter dated 19/01/2011 addressed to the chief Executive, CDF board and copied to you refers.
The following is detailed information on corruption by the Makueni Constituency development funds committee as your office required.
1. Fy. 2008 / 09 - Kshs. 1.5 Million set aside for seeds was not utilized, instead Kshs. 960,000 was awarded to Danma construction – company owned by Daniel Kivuva Masika, the constituency office manager to scoop Kwa Kimatu earth dam which is in his own land. The balance not known how it was utilized. Only two CDF officials ie. Treasurer and secretary sat to award the tenders, which is unprocedural against the procurement and disposal act. Note that this company has benefited from several tenders since 2008.  See other payments  Kshs. 935,650, Ksh. 1.2m, Kshs. 420,000, Ksh. 826,400. Danma   Di-rectors Phone  No. 0721 254 358.
2. Fy 2009 / 10 Kwa Masaa drift situated near Kalamba market. Money for constructing this drift was given to Hellen Ndinda a wife to Daniel  Kivuva Masika, the constituency office manager, Esther Nzula, a staff at the DDO’s office. Its worth to note that this work done was shoddy and already the project has been washed away. Cheque given was worth Kshs. 500,000.
3. Fy 08/09 Tulima Earth dam  which was allocated Kshs.  1.2m and the project  cost as stated 2.9m. The foreman to the project was one Jeremiah Masila, a CDF coordinator, Mbitini Division and also an uncle to the area MP. A lot of vital  information as pertains this project is hidden. Contact Jeremiah Masila 0720 309540
4. Fy 09/10 Kwaleli water project supply of ma-te-rials awarded to a relative of the mp who called the  CDF coordinator,. Matiliku Division on a Sun-day to receive the materials contact Stancilus Kyama 0734 343907.
5. Fy: 07/08: There are several projects which were allocated funds for development. When the current CDFC took over office these funds have never been released and the community has never been told about the status  of these funds they include: -
i) Kaiti sand dam Ksh. 2 million
ii) Kikumini water project 1.5m. Its worth to note that materials for this   project was supplied and lying at Good sherpherd Girls Secondary school.
iii) Tree planting Kshs. 750,000.
iv) Mwilu disabled Kshs. 500,000 (see letter of com-plaint)
6. Fy 07 – 10 Kwa Muasa Earth dam originally allo-cated Kshs. 200,000 for repair but cost ex-aggerated to Ksh. 1.7 million with fy 09/10 getting Ksh. 700,000and work done by Ndaisi General Mer-chants.
NB. This company has benefited from several ten-ders since 2008 including Wote open air market worth Ksh. 5.5 million. See other payments Kshs. 495,000, Kshs. 1,450,000.
7. Fy 08/09 – Ngangasa sand  dam supplies of ma-te-rials for construction awarded to the body guard of the area mp one Ndunda Matoi Allas Muthoka. He was paid directly by the PMC.
8. All financial years since 2008 to date an employee of K.N.U.T. Makueni branch office Mr. Joseph Muia has been receiving salary from Makueni CDF for services not shown and rendered.
NB: There are very many more  which will be un-earthed   when investigations are  done es-pe-cially in water sector.
SIGNED:
1.         JAMES MBITI
2.         SAMMY MASEKA
3.         LIVINGSTONE WAMBUA
4.         PETER MWANIA
5.         CCLR. FRANCIS MUTUNGI.
Muthama's battle
 to be Chief Whip
Should PNU look for another Whip?
The failure by President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and its affiliate parties to convene a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting to confirm Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama as the Joint Government Chief Whip now exposes the floppy side of PNU hardliners.
For even as the PNU hardliners want support accorded to Kibaki as President, they seem equally unwilling to honestly share power with others who genuinely support Mr Kibaki.
Analysts see the case of Muthama as they best example. Muthama has been holding the position in acting capacity for close to a year since the former Government Chief whip George Thuo lost his Juja Constituency seat in April last year, following  a successful petition for some now confirmed irregularities.
William Kabogo who had filed the petition won the by election late last year.
PNU and affiliate parties Members of Parliament have continued holding business as usual and Muthama has perfectly upheld the seat even as some PNU MPs from Central Province grumble openly like hungry lions.
The earlier push and struggle  to remove Muthama may have died for now. But the grudging faces of Maina Kioni and other MPs have not quite disappeared as Mr Muthama puts up a show that clearly gives him an edge over any other PNU leaning MP who would want to be Chief Whip in the party.
The first term MP has won the support of majority of MPs due to his sometimes friendly and other times fierce methods of operations inside and outside Parliament.
A spot check at the Government Chief Whip’s office when Muthama is present is proof that he is a man of  ways and means as the number of MPs entering keeps on swelling. They come to consult and con-front intricacies of unrelenting coalition partners.
And when there is a matter he wants to push support from the MPs, Muthama goes an extra mile to convert his office into a meeting hall for lobbying and strategizing. At times he hosts the MPs in his private office or in hotels at his expenses.
An ardent supporter of Muthama who wants him confirmed as the Government Chief Whip says they are all prepared to endorse him for the post but could not understand why the decision had not been made.
“Muthama has performed well in the position in acting capacity and I am wondering why it has taken that long before a Parliamentary group meeting is convened to confirm him. After all next year’s general elections are around the corner and failure to confirm him can strain the unity among parties within PNU National Alliance whose can-di-date wants to take over from President Kibaki”, said the MP who declined to be named.
Muthama has led an onslaught to popularize PNU National Alliance which is a group of parties headed by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (ODM-K), Deputy Prime Ministerand Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (Kanu), Prof George Saitoti (PNU) among other affiliate parties all geared to-wards ensuring that Prime Minister Raila Odinga does not make it to State House in 2011.
Muthama is a key ally of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who is the Leader of Government Business in Parliament and there are fears that should they fail to confirm him could annoy the VP who is credited for agreeing to form an early coalition government with President Kibaki in 2008, when he was declared President, but lacked the required number of MPs to push government agenda in the House.
Critics of Muthama say PNU can not let him be the Chief Whip since he comes from the same community and party with the Vice President and Temporary Deputy Speaker Prof Philip Kaloki. They forget that Kibaki is President and the former Whip came from the same region with Mr Kibaki.
The team has also been cooperating with Eldoret North MP William Ruto who has re-belled against the Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Ruto has pulled al-most all the ODM MPs from Rift Valley to a rebellion in ODM but has refused to leave the party as he is afraid of facing a by-election
Muthama who does not shy away from spending his resources in winning a political agenda has made inroads in different parts of the country selling the idea of progressing President Kibaki’s development records by electing the person who would be nominated as his successor.
On the local scene, Muthama has declared interest in contesting for the Senate post in the Machakos County, a move which has sent shivers and panic among those who wanted to contest the seat.


Sh 3.2m aid for disabled in
Machakos, Kitui and Makueni


The National Fund for Disabled of Kenya has donated kits worth Sh. 3.2 million to 224 disabled persons Ukambani region.
 The items which include tri-cycles, knitting and sewing machines, wheelchairs, masonry, leatherwork, carpentry and hair saloon tool kits will go to beneficiaries in 6 districts according to the Fund’s Property manager Mrs.  Joyce Mutua
 27 of the selected beneficiaries in Mwala district got 16 wheelchairs and another 3 one tri-cycle each. 2 others received a knitting machine each while a similar number was awarded a carpentry tool kit each.
2 more got a leatherwork tool kit each and another 2 a hair saloon tool kit each all valued at Sh. 370,935  the official said in Mwala district  today while presenting the machines to the disadvantaged outside the DC‘S office. The function was witnessed by District Officer One Mr. Gathungu Machira.
 Referring to a summary of the donations to the six districts Mrs. Mutua said another 12 tool kits worth Sh. 195,850 were distributed to 12 disabled persons in Kangundo district.
Flanked by Mr. Francis Kosgey and Ms Tabitha Miari, two other officials of the fund, Mrs. Mutua said the team went to Machakos and Makueni districts  and distributed similar items to 87 beficiaries valued at Sh 1.3 million.  " Sixty six beneficiaries in Makueni got donations worth Sh. 1,020,690 million while  21 in Machakos received kits worth Sh 298, 285,  Mrs. Mutua remarked. The team headed to Kitui and Mwingi districts and dish out similar assistance to 92 beneficiaries worth Sh 1.3 million as well.
“In Kitui 49 disabled persons got help worth Sh 706,218 and a similar number in Mwingi  got assistance worth Sh 623, 044 all totaling Sh 3,215,122 million. She said the government allocates Sh 100 million every financial year to cater for the needs of people with disabilities countrywide.
 Speaking during a meeting inside the DC’S office before she presented the donations to the 27 beneficiaries in Mwala, NFDK official said in addition to providing the disabled with mobility kits the fund was also meant to empower the lot economically by issuing them with working gadgets to venture into income generating activities. “Thus why apart from the wheelchairs and tri-cycles, we are issuing some applicants with working equipments like knitting and sewing machines,  masonry, leatherwork, carpentry, and hair saloon tool kits for income generation,’’ Mrs. Mutua went on.
 Out of the 27 selected beficiaries in Mwala only 10 turned out to collect the items which Mr. Machira attributed to logistical challenges in reaching the district headquarters but assured that their donations which were left behind for them to collect later will safely be kept. The D.O 1 was responding to concern by Mrs. Mutua that in some cases such machines went missing after being left under the custody of government officials.
 Present during function also was the District Gender and Social Development officer Mr. Paul Randiek. Mrs. Mutua expressed concern that most disabled persons in Mwala district were keen on applying for mobility kits only instead of those which could facilitate them to undertake income generating projects like the knitting and sewing machines and leatherwork and air saloon tool kits.
  “I would like to advise the disabled people in this area to focus on income generating tools as well to become self reliant and stop depending on support from their relatives. she said where else people with disability in places like central province were keen on farming equipments, majority of those in Ukambani were interested none income generating facilities like wheel chairs and tricycles which she attributed to lack of awareness on the scope oft assistance offered through the NFDK kitty.
 Reacting to the comment Mr. Machira pledged that the provincial administration will embark on sensitizing the people with disabilities in the district on the various forms of assistance they could apply from the kitty. “NFDK`S aim is to facilitate the mobility of the disabled persons as well as uplift their economic welfare by issuing the with working tools in addition to the mobility ones to facilitate their engagement in entrepreneurial ventures,’’ explained Mrs. Mutua said adding that the items being donated now were purchased using the allocation factored by the government during the 2010/2011 financial year.
 She cited the case of an applicant from Kitui district who had applied to be issued with a she goat which was approved. ‘’This is the kind of assistance I want the disabled people from this region to start soliciting for to attain self reliance,’’ Mrs. Mutua noted .She said most disabled people in Ukambani were unaware that NFDK runs a non revolving  grant scheme from which they can seek free funding to start or expand their business ventures. She urged the affected to form self help groups and register with the government through the Gender and Social Services Ministry the scheme. “The money is not repaid as is the case with the other state funded loan revolving schemes,’’ the official remarked.
.
Munyaka, Mbai and
Kilonzo cry over Muthama

As the scramble for elective seats take shape before next year’s general elections, Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama’s development records
has raised the take for those interested in be-coming the next MP too high.
Even though Muthama, the Acting Government Chief Whip, has opted for the post of the Machakos County Senator, despite the Kangundo seat being now free for all, anyone interested in be-coming the next MP will have to match the development record he has put in place.
Since he became the MP in 2008, Muthama, a wealthy Gemstone dealer commonly referred by his well-wishers as ‘Kiamba’ has devoted his
money to developing the constituency and says any-one interested in taking over as the next MP must embrace the same development initiative.
On Education by end of his five year term next year, he would have fully sponsored from his Parliamentary salary the secondary education
of 120 best boys and girls from Kangundo. The first batch of ten boys and ten girls he is financing their education graduate from form four this year.
The MP prioritized education among his development agenda for the constituency even be-fore he was elected area legislator. Apart from
the best Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates, Muthama also finances the education of needy students in the
constituency and also gives cash tokens to the teachers whose schools perform better than others.
Teachers of the overall winner receive sh75,000, second , Sh50,000 and the third Sh25,000.When schools reopened recently, Muthama hosted education stakeholders from both Kangundo and Matungulu districts at his Tala home where he gave cheques worth over Sh1 million. In attendance included several aspirants for Kangundo Parliamentary seat, Education officer Murithi Nyagah, Machakos Town Mayor Fidelis Kimuyu, Kangundo Town Council chairman Sammy Mweki , several councilors,  and head teachers from 67 primary schools in the constituency among other stakeholders.
Muthama challenged those who want to vie for Kangundo Parliamentary seat in 2012 to accompany him during his tour of schools in the constituency to help students and the institutions.
“I will walk with those who talk development”, Muthama said adding “If you want the Kangundo seat you should go to every school in the area
and help the institution in moving forward.
Since Muthama declared to vie for the Senate of Machakos County Senate, he has started extending his development gesture to different
parts of the region.
And to start the gospel rolling, he has sensitized the residents of the county on what to expect from the leaders they elect to represent
them be it in Parliament, Senate or County.
“Before to you consider electing anyone to any post, be it councilor, Member of Parliament, the Senate or the County demand he/she prints a
book let detailing what he would do to the constituency in terms of development”, says Muthama.
He has funded a series of meetings of professionals from the county to brainstorming sessions to strategy on how the devolved system of government and more so the efficient management of taxpayers’ money in the counties. His attention further centres on empowering the residents economically and wants residents of Machakos County to tap from Kangundo constituency the development agenda that he has initiated. Other than Kangundo, Masinga constituency was the first to feel his charitable work when he donated 20 wheel chairs to the disabled.
And during Christmas holidays, he also donated 20 wheel chairs blankets and cash tokens to residents of Machakos town. He was flanked by among others area MP Dr Victor Munyaka and mayor Kimuyu.
Muthama’s move to extend his generosity  and he spreads his campaigns for Senator post in other constituencies of Machakos county has not gone down well with a section of MPs. Already Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo, his Masinga counterpart Itwiku Mbai and Machakos Town MP Dr Victor Munyaka have panicked and crying foul
claiming that Muthama is touring their constituencies and providing goodies to the constituents in their absence.
The three instead of coming out openly they claimed that Muthama who is a close ally and financial supporter of Vice President Kalonzo
Musyoka is to blame for the VP’s dwindling following in Ukambani region.
Muthama's efforts in Machakos County are sending panic to the MPs, forcing them to openly accuse him of interfering in their constituencies and appealing to the VP to intervene. The VP is reported to  have no idea on how to keep the balance between Mr Muthama and the MPs and is believed to be keen to let matters sort themselves out in coming days.
   But Muthama has always invited the respective MPs whenever he visits their constituencies. Owing to the discomfort expressed by the MPs, it is not  surprising that Muthama failed to attend an event in Masinga after Mbai complainedto the VP that he was being undermined as the area MP.
However wheelchairs, boda boda operators reflector jackets were presented in the name of Muthama and his campaign for the Senator was clearly on  focus, his absence notwithstanding.

Minister blamed for
mess in  CDF kitty

By Dorah Nesoba 

Planning and Vision 2030 minister Wycliffe Oparanya is on the spot over his handling of the CDF kitty
The Institutive of Social Accountability (TISA) accuses the minister of not being sincere when he says he does not understand why MPs have not claimed CDF cash.
This comes after revelations that millions shillings are lying unused in banks because the Planning Min-is-try which is the parent min-is-try of the Constituency Development Fund has failed to publish the CDF Review Task Force report that would have over-hauled CDF especially removal of members of Parliament from the fund.
1.Minister Sitting on CDF Taskforce Report:
The minister has been sitting on the report of the CDF Re-view Task Force established in June 2009 by his ministry. Had this report been released, it would have fed into the long term strengthening and stream-lining of the fund. We await the publishing of this report and hope that it will address the fundamental flaws in the fund’s design.
The CDF task force received numerous constructive recommendations on how to stream-line the funds’ operations, this report is much awaited and the Minister of Planning owes members of the public who participated eagerly in the taskforce proceedings an up-date of its progress.
2. MPs need to get out of CDF
With particular emphasis on the MP in CDF, a study by TISA and her partners under the Social and Public  Accountability Network (SPAN) titled “Harmonization of Decentralized Development in Kenya: Towards Alignment, Citizen Engagement and Accountability 2010” found that the role of politicians in implementation directly undermines oversight and accountability and promotes political patronage over development goals.
The report also cited too much power over CDF wielded by MPs as the reason for the failure of the fund to achieve optimum results.  The study recommended that MP’s need to get out of the implementation role of CDF. The minister should move fast to publish the Task Force report and en-act its provisions through the regulatory powers of his Ministry.
The fund presently devolves power to MPs rather than to local communities. The MPs role in CDF undermines the parliamentary oversight role by undermining the ability of parliament to perform its oversight function independently and effectively, since Parliament cannot be expected to hold itself to account.  It is high time the role of the executive and legislature were separated as stipulated by the Constitution of Kenya 2010 thus giving MP’s strong oversight tools and granting the implementation arm of local governance freedom from political interference.
3.CDF performing poorly in most parts of the country;
A social audit of CDF funds in four Nairobi Constituencies by TISA in conjunction with Shelter Forum and Ufadhili Trust in June to October 2010 found that CDF suffers from low project completion rates, low citizen participation, abuse of procurement processes, nepotism and poor citizen participation. There were numerous stalled and incomplete projects in Kasarani and Embakasi pointing to an acute problem in the management of CDF in these two constituencies.
  CDF completion rates in the four constituencies ,We remind the minister that the CDF law is very clear that the Minister shall table an annual report on the activities, operations and expenditure of CDF under the Act. As an institution, we have been unable to obtain any of these reports, if they indeed exist beyond the preliminary reports pre-pared in 2003/4 and 2004/5.
4.CDF Board has failed Kenyans – They should resign
The National Management Board of CDF has representatives from esteemed professional and religious bodies’ among them esteemed bodies such as the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, NCCK, Kenya Episcopal Conference and SUPKEM.
However, the CDF Board is very weak in enforcing discipline in CDF funds management resulting in misuse and abuse of CDF by some MPs and their committees. It appears that the members of the Board have been co-opted into a conspiracy of silence around the abuses of CDF.
In failing to condemn failures in CDF management, in accepting unlawful practices, failing to call Parliament and the Minister of Planning and in failing to give a report to the public, the Board has betrayed their mandate and betrayed the trust of the public whom they represent.
If these institutions are not able to enforce discipline in the fund they should use their national stature to compel parliament to streamline the fund. If these bodies are not able to use their mandate to compel performance in CDF they should resign and force Parliament to restructure the fund.
 5.Put a Stop to Parliamentary Impunity
We are bitterly disappointed with The Minister of Planning and the CDF Board because it is under their watch that CDF has been mismanaged. We ask them to redeem themselves by releasing the CDF Task Force Review report and resigning from their CDF duties to put a stop to parliamentary impunity.
ABOUT TISA
The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA) has been working on devolved funds for the last three years. Using the Social Auditing method of the So-cial Accountability model, we have sought to increase the levels of citizens’ participation in the iden-ti-fi-cation, prioritization, implementation, moni-toring and auditing of projects funded by different de-volved funds especially CDF. dorah.nesoba@tisa.or.ke


How to get best prices for
 your top grade mangoes

Techno-serve, a non profit development organization is advising mango farmers in Ukambani region not to sell their produce to middlemen but to deal with buying outlets which are offering better prices.
 ‘’With the onset of the harvesting season, you should avoid dealing with the brokers and instead come together in groups and target reliable buyers including the juice manufacturing firms and honest individual mango traders who are ready to offer you reasonable price for the popular fruit,’’ Ms Jane Biashara a representative of the NGO in Mwala district whose mission is to help small entrepreneurs to build ventures which create income for them and their families  urged farmers in the Ukambani region.
 She regretted that for long, local farmers had not enjoyed any economic boom from the venture yet the majority produced high quality mangoes fit for export to the international markets. She attributed the problem to lack of reliable market and overexploitation by middlemen who offer the farmers depressed prices but resold the fruits three or four times higher in Nairobi and the surrounding urban centers making huge profit.
 ‘’Presently, middlemen are buying grade one of the apple mango variety which should be preserved for export at about Sh 15 which is low compared to what thee same would fetch at the international market,’’ the regretted adding Tommyatins and Ngowe which are the other two high grade varieties were fetching as little as below sh 5 and utmost sh 10 which was outright cheating. She said production of local breeds like Batawi, Sabre, Peach, Harries and Dodo had diminished because most farmers had adopted grafting to enhance quality.
 She accused the middlemen of taking advantage of the farmers’ ignorance and impoverishment to exploit them. However, she was optimistic that the government through the Horticultural Crops Development Authority [HCDA] and other relevant agencies were working to strengthen the market for mangoes and other horticultural crops by creating linkage between the lot and the lucrative market outlets both locally and internationally.
 Ms Biashara was presiding over the official launching of the new Mwala mango farmers association in Mwala town which has a membership of 1,400 farmers drawn from Masii, Mbiuni, Mwala and Kathama areas. The farmers decried their long suffering due to exploitation by the middlemen and commended efforts by stakeholders to revamp the sub-sector. ‘’We appreciate the government efforts and those of techno-serve in particular for coming up with strategies to ensure we get reliable market for our produce and production of quality fruits which meets standards at the lucrative global markets,’’ said Mr. Kennedy Muli Kivai who was picked chairman of the new forum.
 Techno-serve has trained several groups of the mango farmers on productivity and marketing of the produce as well as venturing into new outlets for which she provided them with a list of 40 potential mango buyers and reliable traders with whom they could consult for selling of their mangoes or linkage to the other domestic and overseas markets.
 Mr. Kivai regretted that their counterparts in Kangundo and Makueni districts were the most affected by exploitation by the brokers for failing to join hands in cooperative societies where they were better placed to bargain for better prices for the fruits. Ms Biashara advised the farmers to be conducting market evaluation to avoid been cheated by the unscrupulous traders.

Big battle looms for
Makueni senator's post

The battle lines for Makueni Senator’s race are shaping up with four key leaders emerging to fight to the slot.
Kaiti MP Gideon Ndambuki, Retired Judge Kassanga Mulwa, Kilome MP John Harun Mwau and former Cabinet Minister and DP Chairman Joseph Munyao are the names that may end up on the ballot box to de-fine what may be a battle of ti-tans.
 Munyao made the declaration as he opened his party’s offices in Wote (See story elsewhere in this paper)
Though Mr Mulwa has not formally de-clared his in-terest, he has been making drills through out the county that have left send residents believing that the re-tired judge, who is a former MP for the larger Makueni, will seek the seat.
The drills include many civic education meetings were he has been using his knowledge of the law to educate residents on the gains they will make within the new constitution
Ndambuki announced his bid after a meeting with a section of Makueni County Councilors in Machakos Town, though many residents see him as a better can-di-date for the position of Governor of Makueni.
He told The Anchor that he plans to retire from Parliamentary Politics after his third term as Kaiti MP and seek a new role as Senator. “If I lose the bid, then so be it”, Mr Ndambuki said and added that he believes that he had made his contribution as a Member of Parliament and that time had come for him to move on and offer his contribution elsewhere.
Mwau who is also the Kilome MP declared he would vie for the seat come 2012 gen-eral election.
Mwau popularly known as the boss  claims he has what it takes to win the Senate seat and assured Makueni county residents that he would deliver. This assurance would have to be backed with distinct actions and it re-mains to be seen if he will have delivered in the small Kilome constituency (where he is rarely seen anyway)  before casting his bespectacled face to the larger Makueni terrain.
Mwau urged the residents to elect a com-pe-tent and visionary leader for the post of Governor.
On his alleged involvement in drugs, the former assistant minister pleaded his innocence, saying he has never engaged in the illegal trade.
Mwau said he has never seen cocaine in his naked eyes and therefore linking him to drugs was a shocker. His name came up in a dossier by US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger which was tabled in parliament leading to his resignation as Assistant Min-is-ter.
An interim police report handed by Police Commissioner Mathews Iteere and debated in Parliament says there was no evidence- for the time being- to link Mwau and other legislators to drug trafficking.

Plans to revamp cassava farming
kick off in Kathonzweni District

By DANIEL KITUKU

Farm Concern International, a non governmental Organization is helping farmers in setting up a cassava processing unit in Mbuvo location in Kitise Division of Kathonzweni district.
The NGO’s project manger Mr. Kennedy Okech noted that the machine will benefit thousands of small scale farmers engaging in cassava farming in the Kathonzweni and neighboring districts
Mr. Okech was addressing 460 cassava farmers from Mbuvo Commercial Village today when he handed over a mobile cassava chipper machine valued at Ksh 185,000 and donated by the NGO to the farmers.
Eager farmers are keen to see how cassava chipper works
 ”the processing machine to be run under Mbuvo cassava village processing project is part of the Farm Concern International interventions to support small holders farmers in east and central Africa” he underscored.
He said that the NGO will donate cassava dries to the farmers at village levels for proper storage of the chipped cassava before being trans-ported to the pro-cessing unit.
He said that Farm Concern International will link the Mbuvo Commercial Village farmers to buyers in efforts of trans-forming them into commercialized cassava farming, along side increasing food security in the semi arid region.
 He encouraged the local farmers to engage into mass production of cassava saying that it conforms to local climate and could help change their livelihood.
Farm concern international programmes officer in charge of gender and youth development  Julliana Atemi challenged the youth to engage in farming to curb unemployment and idleness that may lead to immorality. She also noted that the cassava plant requires little rainfall citing it best for farmers in Makueni. She also advised farmers to other plant other drought resistant crops like green grams, cowpeas, millet, sorghum and sweet potatoes alongside cassava adding that this shall  help them fight hunger.
Chairman of the Mbuvo Commercial Village Mr. Joseph Masyuki disclosed that Kenya Agricultural Research Institute [KARI] which also supports the organization will donate to them a cassava milling machine.
 “We have 15 acreages under cassava cultivation planted last November –December rain season and we intent to increase its cultivation to 600 acreage by the end of the year” the chairman said. He noted that KARI sold 32,315 of a new variety of cassava cuttings to the farmers at subsidized prices and the farmers’ were optimistic of high yields soon.

Why Govt can't stop
land grabbers in Mavoko

Rampant  land invasions and grabbing of private and Government land in Athi River district is sending alarm signals far and wide.
This has prompted the  Lower Eastern Regional Commissioner Mr Joseph Otieno to express the government’s concern about the rising trend of land invasions by people posing as squatters, yet they are  greedy land speculators.
He warned that the Government would not allow any invasions into private and government land in Mlolongo and Mavoko  towns.
The RC was addressing public barazas at Mlolongo and Athi Rivers Makadara grounds to address the increased cases of land invasions.
Mr.Otieno who was accompanied by Assistant minister and Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti ,Athi River DC Loyford Kibaara and Mavoko Mayor Patrick Makau said anyone transacting land business must follow the laid down legal procedures.
The RC  warned buyers of land in the area to be wary of marauding land speculators out to fleece them of their money by selling to them non existing land.
Otieno regretted that fake title deeds were circulating in the area and advised would be land buyers to first verify the authenticity of the documents with the ministry of lands.
Kibaara admitted that land grabbers and fraudsters  had invaded Athi River district and were cashing on unsuspecting wananchi by fraudulently selling non-existent land.
The DC said the former Beacon Ranch owned by Kenya Meat Commission, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), East African Portland Cement Company and Numerical Machines lands which were Government lands had been invaded by grabbers.
However, The Anchor has information that the ongoing land issues in the area can not move on without the involvement of the provincial administration, government officials and some council workers.
Word has it that some current and past administrators in Athi River are the architects of land grabbing and have been conniving with lands officials, some councilors and council staff to produce, Deed Plans, Part Development Plans and duplicate Title Deeds for sale to gullible land seekers. And the fact that the known cartels are never arrested is proof that state operators are the real  authors of land scandals in Mavoko.
Wavinya and mayor Makau sought to distance themselves from allegations they were spearheading grabbing of Government and private land in the area. The two denied any involvement in the land crisis and laid blame on officials in the ministry of lands in Nairobi.
 Ms Ndeti said fraudsters had invaded Mavoko municipality brandishing title deeds with which they use to collect  money from unsuspecting wananchi in the guise of selling them land.
The assistant minister blamed top Government officials charged with implementing land law for failing to work honestly.
The mayor  dismissed as falsehood allegations that he was involved in illegal sale of land .
He challenged anyone with evidence linking him to the land scam to avail it to the police for action instead of tarnishing  his name and those of other local leaders.
 During a another public baraza held at mlolongo,area councillor Peter Mbiti said land grabbing and dubious sale of land by mushrooming land companies had increased tremendously in Mlolongo.
 He hit out at some fellow councilors whom he accused of opening land companies and offices in Mlolongo where they transact illegal land deals during the night.

Makueni way ahead in
housing County Govt

By DANIEL KITUKU

MAKUENI County may well be ahead of Kenya's Counties in housing arrangements for the devolved system.
Though the plan relates to the old set -up the nearing completion of over 200  modern housing units makes Makueni County the place to be for public officers serving in the emerging county governments.
The dream to live in decent houses for civil servants working at Makueni district headquarters is just a stone throw away to be realized, as construction work of completing of the multi million shilling district head quarters and civil servants housing project at Wote town that stalled 21 years ago is at the final stage.  The anxiety of ever seeing the mansions complete has been a puzzle only the first contractor could solve. The work was left at a delicate stage and civil servants didn’t know that the next step would come after decades.  
It is a dream that nobody can expect to abort even the town dwellers who have been wondering how the government can abandon such a major project, only for thicket to grow in them.  
The up coming decent modern quarters situated adjacent to the district administration block is set to accommodate over 200 public servants at the district  The only hope came mid last year when the government released Shs. 800 million for the completion of the stalled project.
Uneasiness of the civil servants was swept away when the construction company Unispan then moved on site mid last year to commence the work of completing the 203 units scheduled to be done within the two year contract  between the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Housing  and the Unispan building and construction company.
The project is one of the 224 stalled government housing projects country-wide, but currently the construction of 179 houses have already been completed.  Speaking in his office, the site manager Mr. Dexter Jhikas said that the  units are in four categories with each unit on its site.  The sites includes that of  the District Commissioners residence which stands a one floor mansions  enclosed in  a quarter acreage  with a parking bay and a garden. At the D.C’s residence also stand some other ten units each with a four bed room house in a secluded enclosure that has also a self contained servant quarter with parking bay and flower garden.  The ten mansions will house top seniors government officers in the district. There is a shared basket ball court and parking bay for visitors.  The second site which is 300 meters away from District commissioner’s house has thirty mansions each with a three bed room house which also has servant quarters and a flower garden.  The thirty houses are meant for district departmental heads. This site has also a common basket ball court and parking bay for visitors.  The third and fourth sites which lie adjacent to each other have two floor flats of ten and seventeen units respectively. Each unit has six houses of two bed rooms. Mr. Jhikas said the Third and fourth sites will house middle class public officers including security officers. These sites have common parking bay, play ground for children and a basket ball court.  The civil servants quarters will be installed with water, electricity and modern facilities including solar water heating system.  Over 400 local youth have been engaged by the Unispan, majority of them providing unskilled work. “We are also using local skilled workers” says the engineer.  However the contractor faces a big challenge of water scarcity forcing the company to hire water dealers to ensure constant supply. The project stalled sometimes in 1992 where almost ninety percent work done before the contractor withdrew. The sites were left unattended exposing it to vandalism and damage. Construction materials were stolen.. ”Thanks to NARC government for its decision to complete government stalled projects and that we are soon shifting to decent houses” said Maxwell James, a youth officer working at the district headquarters. The quarters once completed will change the face of Wote town. The Multi- million housing project is a land mark view in the town.  How-ever landlords at wote town who collects rents from the civil servants stand to lose when shifting civil servants move en-mass from their rented houses to government houses.


Learn from Egyptians,
Bishop tells Kenyan leaders

Machakos Catholic Diocese Bishop Martin Kivuva has urged political leaders in Kenya to learn from the Egyptian crisis and follow the provisions of the new constitution to the letter to avert a similar crisis in the country.
He said that the political stand off between the two principals and MPs from their respective parties had polarized the nation and slowed down Government activities in the country due to political bickering.
He said the bickering over the implementation of the constitution showed political leaders had not changed with the time and were still perpetuating their selfish interests and not the welfare of the citizenry.
Bishop Kivuva was speaking to the press at the Lady of Lourdes Cathedral when he presided over a baptismal mass for 563 children.
 He supported the findings of an opinion poll that showed that wananchi had lost faith in political leaders and that if elections were held today most of them would not regain their seats.
 Bishop Kivuva warned MPs that those who had not demonstrated good service to their people in the four years of their term would not be able to make a difference in the remaining time before the next elections.
 Bishop Kivuva said politicians thought that the constitution which they championed for would favour  them but were  now waking up to the reality.
 ”The champions of the new constitution are the same people who are flouting its implementation and trying to bring back impunity. They must implement it to the letter because that is what Kenyans chose”, said Bishop Kivuva.
 He said Kenyans wanted a new dawn of good governance in the country and leaders must embrace genuine change or be swept by the wind of change sweeping across Northern Africa.
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