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Student injured in Chavakali school fire

Chavakali High School in Vihiga
Chavakali High School in Vihiga County where a weekend fire incident left one student injured. Photo: STANDARD

By Derick luvega, March 25 2015
One student was injured and five mattresses burnt at Chavakali High School when a fire broke out in a dormitory some minutes before 8pm on Tuesday night. Principal Kahi Indimuli, who spoke to the Nation via telephone, said the fire started in the dormitory after a power blackout. “We noticed fire in the dormitory when the generator was turned on. Students were undertaking their evening preps and we quickly moved in to put out the fire before it could spread,” said Mr Indimuli. He said the injured student was hit by a glass as the school was fighting to put out the fire; the cause of which is yet to be established.. “We cannot tell who may have lit the fire. We cannot tell whether it was an electric fault because we are yet to see any destroyed cables or sockets,” said the principal.

He said the school was still in the process of sorting out where the five students whose mattresses had been burnt would sleep. The principal further said the school would first investigate if the fire was caused by an electric fault before it would allow students to spend the night in the dormitory. The affected dormitory, Mr Indimuli said, was being used by Form Four students. Teachers were immediately summoned to the school to help address the incident.

Source: STANDARD

Chris Okemo and Noah Wekesa back in public service

Chris Okemo of NambaleNoah Wekesa
Chris Okemo (left), the former Nambale MP and Dr Noah Wekesa, former Kwanza MP have been appointed to public service positions.

By Gerald Andae, March 20 2015
Former energy minister Chris Okemo has been appointed to the board of Kitale-based Kenya Seed Company for a period of three years. The appointment of Dr Okemo was made by agriculture secretary Felix Koskei, who also appointed former minister for Wildlife Noah Wekesa the chairman of the Bukura Agricultural College. “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6(1) (e) of the State Corporations Act, the Cabinet secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries appoints Chris Okemo to be a member of the board of the Kenya Seed Company for a period of three years,” reads the gazette notice. The appointment of Dr Okemo takes effect next week Monday, while that of Dr Wekesa took effect on March 16.

Dr Okemo is wanted in the United Kingdom after a warrant of arrest was issued by the Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey in April 2011, who has accused him of money laundering and corruption. The Jersey Chief Justice issued the arrest warrants over alleged “concealing of transferring the proceeds of crime amounting to Sh900 million” between 1986 and 2002. Dr Okemo was Energy minister from 1999 to 2001 and Finance minister from 2001 to 2003. He is accused alongside Samuel Gichuru who was the managing director of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, now Kenya Power, between 1983 and 2003 when it was partially privatised.

Source: Business Daily

New Kakamega bishop coronated

Joseph Obanyi Sagwe
The newly coronated bishop of Kakamega diocese, Joseph Obanyi Sagwe from Kisii greeting the Catholic faithful shortly after the ceremony at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega. Photo DPPS

By Elias Makori, March 9 2015
Three spanking new showroom four-wheel-drive vehicles, one bull, several sheep and goats along with a Sh2 million cash gift to complete his predecessor’s retirement home are some of the gifts Kakamega’s new Catholic bishop was showered with after his consecration in Saturday’s colourful ceremony. And Rt Rev Joseph Obanyi on Monday celebrated his first Mass as Kakamega’s second bishop after replacing the 77-year-old Bishop Emeritus (retired) Philip Sulumeti. Bishop Sulumeti was the chief consecrator at Bishop Obanyi’s installation at the Bukhungu Stadium. Bishop Obanyi, 47, was appointed bishop by Pope Francis on December 5 last year and becomes Kenya’s youngest Catholic bishop. On Saturday, Deputy President William Ruto said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta would soon hand over a 4x4 utility vehicle to the new bishop, this after Rt Rev Obanyi was presented with a new Mitsubishi Pajero by the Diocese of Kisii where he was born and also served. His new Diocese also offered him a new vehicle. “I and President Kenyatta will bring you a good four-wheel vehicle for your ministry. We also have put together Sh2 million so that you can complete Bishop Sulumeti’s retirement home so we can visit him at a decent address,” said Mr Ruto.

Over 20,000 faithful who included two former Vice-Presidents Musalia Mudavadi and Moody Awori, over 20 MPs, several MCAs, four Senators, three governors, 23 Catholic bishops and hundreds of priests and nuns attended the function. President Kenyatta’s cousin Mr George Muhuho, a former Catholic priest, and Constitution Implementation Commission chairman Mr Charles Nyachae were also present. Celebrating his first Mass yesterday, Bishop Obanyi drew huge cheers from the diocesan priests when he said they would remain and continue serving with him in the diocese. The Catholic Church’s tradition dictates that when a new bishop is consecrated, he brings his own team of priests, replacing those serving under the outgoing bishop.

Source: NATION

Namwamba fights for survival over Raila secret tape
Ababu Namwamba, Budalangi
Budalang'i MP, Ababu Namwamba fields questions from reporters over his secret recording of a meeting with CORD leader, Raila Odinga. Photo: Diana Ngila, NATION

By NATION TEAM, March 8 2015
A group of ODM lawmakers is planning to push out embattled party Secretary-General Ababu Namwamba in the wake of revelations that he secretly recorded a meeting with party leader Raila Odinga. Sources close to the former Prime Minister said the Budalang’i MP’s action had raised questions about loyalty and trust, placing Mr Namwamba’s position as ODM Secretary-General and chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in jeopardy. However, Mr Namwamba vowed that he would not go down alone, declaring that he would spill the beans on corruption in National Assembly committees to clear his name. The latest drama around Mr Namwamba come as National Assembly investigations into corruption allegations against the Public Accounts Committee start today. Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi (Kanu), who will chair the House Business Committee investigations as directed by Speaker Justin Muturi, said the team would hold its first meeting today to lay the groundwork for the investigations. He told the Nation that his team would reduce the period of the investigations from the 21 days they were given by the Speaker.

Outside Parliament, a section of ODM legislators were expected to meet Mr Odinga on Sunday evening to discuss Mr Namwamba’s conduct and the issues the recording had raised. Sources said that even though the recording did not portray the Cord leader trying to cover up the allegations raised against the Budalang’i MP, it would be difficult for him to rally his party members behind Mr Namwamba. MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Abdikadir Aden Omar (Balambala), Ibrahim Abass (Ijara), Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) and TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka) expressed their reservations about the recording and urged the National Assembly’s Powers and Privileges Committee to move quickly and make the final decision on PAC. Mr Mohamed, who is also ODM’s elections director, was critical of Mr Namwamba’s conduct and said the party would meet to make a decision in the wake of the allegations. He was highly critical of the secret recording.

“It is wrong to record our party leader. It is unacceptable and the height of insubordination. If one can do this, how far can he go?” he asked in a telephone interview with the Nation. He revealed that on the evening of February 22, Mr Namwamba invited him and Mr Odinga to a meeting at the Fairview Hotel to seek the former PM’s help against the vote of no-confidence he was facing as PAC chairman. Mr Namwamba was in the company of Nakuru Town West MP Samwel Arama, a former PAC member. “He told us how people have ‘eaten’ money yet he was being blamed for it. The (former) PM was not aware he was being recorded. How do you go to seek help and end up recording your party leader?” asked Mr Mohamed. He accused Mr Namwamba of holding ODM to ransom over the past two years, beginning with party elections and now the corruption allegations within PAC.

“It is time he gave us a breather. PAC issues should be sorted with PAC. Going forward, now within ODM, people will not be allowed to a meeting with phones, cameras or keys,” he said. But Mr Namwamba warned that he had been silent for long and was now ready to speak out to root out corruption in government. “I don’t need to be the PAC chair, but I will remain fighting injustice. The national government should brace for a real war beginning next week,” he said. He said the recordings would exonerate him against the corruption claims levelled against him by some MPs.

“I have not been supported to a good extent by my party leader or Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Senate Minority Leader) as many media outlets have been reporting. Starting this week, I am going on an offensive aided by the truth,” said Mr Namwamba in an interview with the Sunday Nation. Some members of the PAC, usually chaired by an MP from the main Opposition party, have been accused of receiving bribes running into millions of shillings to doctor reports on corruption investigations in key government departments. Mr Namwamba is also accused of leaking confidential information to the media, allocating himself foreign trips and soliciting bribes. Mr Aden accused the Budalang’i MP of being driven by ill intentions to record a meeting with Mr Odinga and asked him to fight his own wars within PAC. “He should carry his own cross and stop dragging the party leader into it. His conduct as secretary-general is now in question,” said the MP.

Reported by Bernard Namunane, John Ngirachu, Linet Wafula and Timothy Kemei

Mumias Sugar sacks 300 workers in a bitter-sweet revival plan

Paul kebati and Evans kidero must be prosecuted
Angry sugarcane farmers demonstrate March 5, 2015 to demand the arrest of former Mumias Sugar managers. Photo: Isaac Wale, NATION

By Ramenya Gibendi, March 6 2015
Up to 300 Mumias Sugar Company workers will be sent home as part of a Sh5 billion plan to revive the company. Those to be sacked include top managers and half of the board of directors. Kenya’s biggest sugar producer employs about 1,900 people but has been limping due to mismanagement. In what could come as a relief to farmers and shareholders of the miller, the government agreed to release Sh1 billion with the balance being raised by shareholders. Kenya National Federation of Farmers chief executive Francis Waswa welcomed the plan. “It needed this kind of action from the government,” he told the Nation by phone. Mr Waswa said the firm urgently requires good management to turn it around. Deputy President William Ruto on Friday chaired a meeting that arrived at the strategy. The meeting was attended by Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thuge, Mumias Board Chairman Dan Ameyo, chief executive Coutts Otolo and representatives of lenders. “We have to take these measures so that farmers can be paid for their cane,” Mr Ruto said. The deal will see a change in the entire top management.

Audit firm KPMG has been appointed to oversee the changes and to prepare the firm for a rights issue to raise Sh4 billion. This comes just a day after farmers held violent demonstrations to evict the management. The Treasury will release the Sh1 billion next week upon KPMG moving in to take charge of the turnaround. The government is the majority shareholder. In January, government gave the miller Sh500 million in a desperate attempt to boost its cash flow. There were fears that lenders were planning to have the company placed under receivership.

It now means the government has yielded to demands by lenders who collectively are owed in excess of Sh5 billion. Last year, the lenders Ecobank, KCB, CfC Stanbic, Barclays Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa and Proparco of France appointed KPMG to review the firm before a request to restructure its debts. The review concluded that the company was still a viable business but needed a shake-up of its top management and board. “Unless this is done, any debt restructuring plan put forward will not have credibility with lenders,” reads part of the report by KPMG. A forensic audit carried out early last year at the request of the board revealed massive theft by previous managers. The report revealed how employees exploited and profited from loopholes at the miller in what could be the reason why the once economic giant of western Kenya remains a shell of its former past. The forensic report blames management teams under Dr Evans Kidero and Mr Peter Kebati of disregarding information from auditors that there existed abuses of procedure which needed fixing. “We noted that Mumias Sugar Company’s internal auditors, external auditors and the board of directors consistently notified the management of non-adherence to policy and procedure and gave recommendations, which should have been acted upon,” reads the report. Non-compliance with policies and suggested changes, said the KPMG report, exposed the miller to losses.

The company has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since the exit of current Nairobi governor Evans Kidero as managing director in 2012. It has consistently posted losses. The turnaround strategy is thus the first bold move by the Jubilee administration to rescue Mumias Sugar Company and revive the hopes of millions who depend on it for their livelihoods. In the half year to December 2014, the miller had a Sh1.5 billion loss. In the period, the company spent Sh3.4 billion on operations yet it only made Sh2.7 billion. In its 2013/14 full year results, Mumias posted a Sh2.71 billion loss. Farmers and other stakeholders have been pleading with the government to step in. On Friday, it did just that. In 2013, a lobby group called Western Development Association (WEDIA) petitioned Parliament to launch an inquest into the challenges facing the local sugar sector to save it from collapse. The agriculture committee finalised the study but is yet to table the report to Parliament for debate amid reports that members of the committee had been compromised to alter it. “It is clear that unless the government moves in to salvage Mumias and the sugar sector by extension, farmers and consumers stand to suffer the consequences,” WEDIA chairman, Joseph Barasa told the Nation. Mr Barasa welcomed the rescue plan saying that the need for new blood to take charge was long overdue.

Source: NATION Media

Francis Chahonyo charged over Anglo Leasing fraud

 Samuel Bundotich, Senator Chris Obure and Francis Chahonyo
The ghosts of Anglo Leasing finally in the dock. From left: Samuel Bundotich, Senator Chris Obure and Francis Chahonyo

By Paul Ogemba, March 4 2015
Seven Anglo Leasing fraud suspects were on Wednesday charged before a Nairobi court with abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud the government. Those charged include Kisii County Senator Chris Obure, former postmaster-general Francis Chahonyo and former permanent secretaries Dave Mwangi and Sammy Kyungu. Others were former financial secretary Samuel Bundotich and former State officials Joseph Magari and David Onyonka. They all denied the charges before chief magistrate Hellena Ndung’u and were released on a cash bail of Sh1 million each. The magistrate issued an international warrant of arrest against two foreign Anglo Leasing suspects, Brian Mills and Bradley Birkenfeld. A hearing on the case was set for March 18. Meanwhile, High Court judge Justice Luka Kimaru has ordered three other Anglo Leasing suspects, Chamanlal Kamani, Deepak Kamani and Rashmi Kamani to appear in court on Thursday to plead to the charges.

Source: Business Daily

Kakamega school closed after 'evil spirits' attack pupils

By Jackline Inyanji, February 25 2015
Eleven pupils of Shiraha Primary School in Kakamega are living in fear after being attacked by alleged ‘evil’ spirits for a second time this year. They were allegedly attacked while at school and the incident disrupted learning the whole day. It is reported that the pupils fell on the ground in what looked like an epileptic fit. They were allegedly calling out names of unknown people and pleading with them to spare them from being strangled. The school headteacher Gilbert Otaro confirmed the morning incident saying one Standard Seven pupil fainted while they were at the parade. “It started with this girl who fainted at the parade. Before we could attend to her, some pupils also started to behave in a weird manner,” said Otaro. He said those affected screamed loudly alerting the whole village as neighbours ran to the school to witness the strange incident. “People were attracted by their screams. I have never witnessed such incident in my entire life,” he said. Otaro said they called in Administration Police (AP) to calm angry parents, who demanded answers from the school administration. Otaro added that that county education officers. He said quality assurance officers came in and accessed the situation and the school was closed to pave way for investigations. More...

Kidero exonerates himself over Mumias financial woes, blames new management

Evans Odhiambo Kidero
Dr Evans Odhiambo Kidero, the Nairobi governor has come out fighting allegations of financial improprieties when he was CEO of Mumias Sugar Company between 2003-2012.

By Felix Olick, February 17 2015
NAIROBI Governor Evans Kidero yesterday blamed the managers of the Mumias Sugar Company for its dwindling fortunes and insisted that his nine years as CEO reversed its “steady loss-making path”. Kidero issued his statement in response to media articles that followed a report by audit company KPMG, and a statement issued at the Nairobi County Assembly last week by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko. Kidero maintained that he left the company in a sound financial state, having made Sh48 billion as cumulative profits. “The people who have since been charged with running the company should answer questions on the woes betiding MSC. With insignificant changes here and there, the Board of directors remains the same as it was when I joined the company,” Kidero said.

“The present Managing Director (Coutts Ottolo) was a member of the Board and the chairman of the Finance and Audit committee of the Board. It is deceitful for any one of these directors to feign ignorance on the things they approved while I served under them,” said Kidero. Kidero insisted that when he was MD, MSC had clean audits and its operations were aboveboard. He said that if the dubious deals had been the practice, both internal and external auditors would have captured them and raised queries. “While the KMPG draft report remains just that – a draft report – it’s disturbing that it forms the basis for unfounded, highly damaging and actionable allegations,” Kidero maintained. “Allegations of unilateral award of tenders, sale of export sugar on the local market and irregular procurement are entirely devoid of any grain of validity.”

Coutts Otolo earns sh2m per month

Kidero said Mumias was in a management crisis before he took over and made a loss of Sh244,858,000 in 2002. Kidero was the Managing director between October 2003 and June 2012. “In June 2012, I left MSC in a very sound financial state. In my last financial year as MD, the company made a net profit of Sh2.6 billion,” Kidero said, warning that the explanation for the company's floundering fortunes would not be found by pointing fingers at “innocent people”. He revealed that the Board has since increased the chairman's stipend to Sh450,000 per month while the MD pockets Sh2 million monthly. “Board members collect sitting allowances of KSh45,000 per sitting per member. They sit almost every day. It’s not difficult to tell what ails MSC,” he concluded.

Last week, Senator Sonko tabled documents in the county assembly to prove that a network of people who had been involved in irregular deals in Mumias have now camped at City Hall, with their companies taking many tenders. He named the people behind the companies as Kidero's chief of staff George Wainaina, Kula Mato, Yunis Ibrahim Khalif and Peter Hongo. YH Wholesalers had a contract with Mumias to obtain 13,450 tonnes of sugar at a discounted price of Sh1.14 billion. It has since been given various tenders by the Nairobi City County Government. One of the directors of YH Wholesalers is Ibrahim Khalif Mohamed who is also a director at Alpha Grain Millers, which shares the same offices as another company doing business with the county government, Sifa Bins. Sifa Bins, which has a contract to collect garbage in parts of Nairobi, has been managed by Peter Hongo, a former business development manager at Mumias Sugar.

The three directors of Sifa Cleaning and Bins services include Joseph Kula Mato, who is also a director of Quids Enterprises Ltd. Another director of Quids is a company known as Lopiding Transporters Ltd, whose postal address is 69 Lokichogio. This is the same address registered to another company, Loki Merchants Limited, whose directors are George Wainaina and John Njogu. Wainina and a relative, John Wainaina, are also the directors of The Cups Limited, which has also been doing business at the county. Sonko also questioned why lawyer Tom Ojienda, who is Kidero's family lawyer, has been appointed a Nairobi County lawyer. More...

Meet the faces behind Mumias' Shs1.2b sugar scandal

Benson Sande Ndeta
Benson Sande Ndeta, the former managing director of East African Portland Cement, who hails from Mumias.

By Paul Wafula, February 9 2015
High flying businessman Benson Sande Ndeta was relaxing in the US with his family during his Christmas holiday when the email came. The email hit his inbox on December 14, 2012. It was from Mumias Sugar Company and the contents went straight to business: “We are formally requesting you to quote for the supply of sugar (import) from a Comesa country to the tune of 100,000 tonnes in one year starting from January 2013.” The email author was Mumias Finance Director Chris Chepkoit. What Mr Ndeta did not know then was the missive was the beginning of a Sh1.2 billion importation scandal that would later haunt the millionaire. Upon receiving the email, Ndeta had to cut short his holiday and hopped onto the next flight back to Nairobi.

The millionaire, who is the most significant outside link to the importation scandal, arrived in Nairobi several days later to be handed the controversial contract that left Kenya’s biggest miller bruised and bleeding. Ndeta, the chairman of Savannah Cement comes from Mumias and has a long standing relationship with the sugar company. The land on which Kenya’s biggest sugar miller sits on in Mumias is understood to have belonged to his grandfather. Ndeta who is mentioned and has seen a copy of the top secret forensic report by audit firm KPMG, however, finds it ridiculous that ‘journalists’ would focus on him yet he is mentioned in less than 10 pages in the 338 page report. An architect by profession, Ndeta likes to come out as a man of means. In an interview with The Standard which he conducted via phone after returning our call announced he was overseas but agreed to discuss the dossier. He maintained that he was just helping out Mumias which “was going through a rough spot”. Ndeta said he owns 100 per cent of Dantes Peak, a company that was handed the sugar import deal despite never having imported even a kilogramme of sugar in the country before. His firm, who’s other shareholder is listed as Yvonne Katusime, is registered as a cement and ballast company. He had no sugar importation licence.

The management gave Ndeta’s firm the deal long before going to the board for approval in contravention of procurement procedures. Had the deal gone on as planned, Mumias was to make over Sh300 million to boost its profitability. But everything went south almost as soon as the ink on the contract had dried. According to KPMG, Dantes lacked the financial muscle to deliver on the deal but Mumias executives went ahead to vary the quantities to be imported to the detriment of the miller. Ndeta strongly refuted these allegations. “Mumias approached me to import sugar on their behalf. They gave me a contract of 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar. I brought the first 10,000 metric tonnes with my own money and Mumias was supposed to sell and give me back my money. I am the one who ended up losing money,” Ndeta told The Standard in the telephone interview. Eventually, Mumias was left in a position where it took direct responsibility and all liability for all actions with regard to importation including those it did not initiate. The transaction resulted in Mumias incurring losses of Sh531 million without taking into account contingent costs of Sh233 million.

KPMG says that when these losses crystallise, the total losses in the importation racket alone could balloon to approximately Sh765 million. “This loss was occasioned by paying higher than agreed costs for the imported sugar as well as sales of the same at values that were significantly lower than the cost of the sugar,” KPMG says. “As at the date of the board approval, MSC management had already confirmed to Dantes Peak that they would be the importers of the sugar on MSC’s behalf, the quantity of sugar to be imported and the estimated date of arrival of the first shipment,” the report reads. Ndeta confirmed that he had seen the copy of the report and admits he indeed owned Dantes Peak in full. See Also: Mumias Sugar faces lawsuit over Sh45m security claim However, he dismissed claims that his firm lacked the financial muscle to effect the contract and instead charged that he was in fact “doing Mumias a big favour” in going ahead with the contract in which he ended up losing money. “I am 100 per cent sure that I assisted Mumias and in the process ended up losing Sh80 million when I delivered on my responsibility. Mumias was to pay for the taxes and the rest,” Ndeta said. “I import large quantities of clinker per day. So I may never have imported a kilogramme of sugar but that is a nullity because I delivered the sugar in the time frame agreed,” he charged before threatening to sue The Standard in case his name was maligned. According to the KPMG forensic audit, Dantes was selected by Finance Director Chris Chepkoit without due diligence. More...

Mumias Sugar to sue Kidero-era managers over corruption

Coutts otolo and Dan Ameyo
Coutts Otolo (left) the Mumias Sugar Managing Director and its Chairman, Dan Ameyo during a press conference where they announced that past managers would be prosecuted over corruption. Photo: Collins Oduor - STANDARD

By Moses Michira and Nicholas Waitathu, January 31, 2015
Mumias Sugar will fire and prosecute its management in a decisive twist that could also have current and past managers surcharged to recover stolen funds. Agriculture Secretary Felix Koskei, has told The Standard on Saturday of an elaborate plan to revive the firm, including immediate replacement of top management, months after audit firm KPMG unearthed major scandals that forced the country’s largest miller to its knees. “The legal process has taken its course on each and every individual that has been found culpable in whatever manner on what has brought Mumias to its knees,” Mr Koskei wrote. Already, the firm has announced vacancies to head all departments – almost seven months since chief executive Peter Kebati and commercial director Paul Murgor were fired. Board Chairman Dan Ameyo, told ‘The Standard’ in June last year, that the duo were involved in criminal activities including illegal sugar importation in a scam that cost Mumias more than Sh1.1 billion. No charges have been brought before the two, while we could not determine if any progress had been made on threats of surcharging them.

But yesterday’s decision to sack even more executives was reached after years of investigation into the collapse of the miller by the agriculture committee of the National Assembly. A final report is, however, yet to be tabled amid claims of a split in the committee orchestrated by people who were implicated in the scandal, several committee members have told ‘The Standard’ in separate interviews. In an attempt to show fresh resolve, Mr Koskei added that the State would ‘not watch as they walk free and enjoy ill-gotten wealth’ in his threat. He, however, did not reveal any names, but was specific about a board directive to replace top managers. “The MSC board has already approved the advertisement and recruitment of staff with requisite competences, work ethics and culture to drive the company back to where we would all want to see it.”

Towards turning around the fortunes of the firm, Mr Koskei said that the State had come up with a bouquet of measures that would reverse the miller from the downward spiral it is on. Among them is a Sh500 million bailout that would be released within the week to enable the firm in settling its current overheads. “We intend to engage all Government agencies such as KRA and KPLC to whom Mumias is heavily indebted to support the bail-out process by putting on hold any precipitate action a commitment that has already been demonstrated by other key lenders,” Koskei said of the firm’s saving grace. Mumias is heavily indebted to the power distributor for outstanding electricity expenses, and to the Revenue Authority for unremitted taxes. The firm has sunk to its lowest, turning losses for successive years and losing more than half of its market share locally. In just two years, the miller has reported Sh4.3 billion in cumulative losses – attributing the poor performance to illegal imports of sugar that complicated its marketing. Even with the claims from the management and board, Parliament had evidence that the firm’s bosses were culpable in the very fraud. More...

What Mumias owes

The company currently has borrowings totaling a whopping Sh6.2 billion comprised of Sh 4.6 billion term loans and Sh1.6 billion in working capital facilities that it is currently unable to service. In addition, the company owes approximately Sh5 billion to other creditors including outgrowers (Sh424 million), Kenya Revenue Authority (Sh2 billion). and customers and distributors Sh533 million. Kenya Power is owed Sh47 million but has also claimed Sh953 million as penalties for purported failure to supply power under a power purchase agreement the two parties signed several years ago. More...

Luyia man to head electoral body

Ezra Chiloba Simiyu
Ezra Chiloba Simiyu, the new boss of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya. Photo: STANDARD

By Wilfred Ayaga, January 13, 2015
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) has appointed Mr Ezra Chiloba Simiyu as the Commission Secretary and Chief Executive Officer. A statement by IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan to all newsrooms yesterday said that Chiloba was “the most successful candidate in the interviews.” The new CEO who will steer the commission through the next General Election in 2017 is currently the Deputy Team Leader, DAI (Drivers of Accountability). He has previously served as Governance Analyst and Project Manager for UNDP Kenya. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Policy from the Central European University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi, and is a senior fellow at the Policy House and a member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). Before the late announcement of Simiyu’s appointment, Hassan and other commissioners were held up in day-long interview sessions with the four candidates, including the current acting CEO Beatrice Sungura Nyabuto. The position fell vacant following the suspension of James Oswago in August last year.

The four were picked by PriceWaterHouse Coopers from a short-list of nine candidates who had applied for the position. The post of CEO was advertised in August following the suspension of the former CEO who was hauled to court on charges of abuse of office and irregular procurement of electoral kits by the IEBC. Oswago, together with four other former officials, is accused of presiding over an opaque procurement process that resulted in the malfunctioning of electoral kits in the last general election. All five accused have denied the charges. The interviews lasted late into the evening. The current acting CEO later spoke to The Standard and said she was waiting for the results of the interviews. “I have been interviewed and we are waiting for the outcome,” said Nyabuto. The first task of the new CEO will be to preside over the Homa Bay County and Kajiado Central constituency by-elections to be held next month.
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000147658/ezra-chiloba-simiyu-appointed-new-iebc-chief-executive-officer

Why the Wanga have not tasted power since Nabongo Mumia

nabongo Peter Mumia II
Nabongo Peter Mumia II, the regnant sovereign of Wanga Kingdom. Photo: STANDARD

By Grace Wekesa, January 2 2015
The proud and mighty Wanga people of Mumias once called the shots, dominating and riding roughshod over smaller communities in Western Kenya during the dynasty of Nabongo Mumia. But they seem to have faded into political oblivion and are today ‘led’ by the Luo, Maragoli, Bukusu and the Samia they once lorded over.

Such is the reversal in their fortunes that they have never been ‘rewarded’ with a full cabinet position since independence. Neither have their sons or daughters held even remotely powerful positions in government, perhaps since retired Justice Benna Lutta - Nabongo‘s grandson - was appointed Solicitor General and Judge of the defunct East African Court of Appeal.

More telling is that the Wanga, who privately consider themselves ‘superior‘ to other Luhya sub-tribes, have never organised themselves into a political party since independence. As a result, their weight of numbers across the three constituencies of Mumias East, Mumias West and Matungu has never been felt either on the political or economic fronts.

Martin Oloo, a lawyer and political analyst, attributes this state of affairs to, clanism within the Wanga community, that prevents them from forming a recognisable politcal outfit. “It is impossible for leaders or locals to speak in one voice. Unity cannot be achieved where clanism is fronted,” observed the analyst.

Oloo, who hails from Mumias, notes that although Mumias Sugar Company (MSC), which is the economic backbone of Mumias and the wider western region, is in their backyard, and the fact that they have highly qualified people, the Wanga have not been able to assume leadership of the company because their leaders are preoccupied by petty squabbles and the quest for self aggrandisement.

The giant sugar miller has thus been managed by people from other communities since inception, a thing that would not be taken kindly in other parts of Kenya.

Nabongo Mumia Shiundu
Nabongo Mumia Shiundu (1849-1949), the most powerful Wanga king ever.

Nabongo Peter Mumia ll, who is the current leader of the Wanga ‚kingdom, however dismisses those calling for a local to be appointed MD of the ailing sugar company, saying it is a private entity and that anyone competent can head it. “No one has barred a Wanga from heading Mumias company. The shareholders expect good results and anyone qualified is at liberty to be at the helm,” says Peter, a former accountant.

But Prof Amukoa Anangwe, a political scientist, one time Butere MP and lecturer at Dodoma University, Tanzania, observed that the Wanga culture of welcoming and accommodating other communities within their ranks, has made them less aggressive in demanding their stake in key leadership positions in politics and the economy of the region.

“Lack of aggression in demanding for positions sets them aside from other Luhya sub-tribes who will always make noise and even demand that their children be placed in key positions,” noted Prof Anangwe.

Justin Mutobera, a political advisor in the office of Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, said the lack of political initiative among the Wanga has also caused them to be overlooked in discussions surrounding the unity of the larger Luhya tribe, which Anangwe separately dismissed as a mirage.

Mutobera noted that many of the leaders pushing for Luhya unity hail from sub-tribes that have traditionally showed aggressiveness in the political arena.

“We have been overlooked yet we are an important voting bloc in the region. Current leaders in the political arena are not interested in true unity because they don‘t extend invitations to other Luhya sub-tribes,” stated Mutobera.

He also claimed that previous leaders in the area kept to themselves, never reaching out to neighbouring communities in Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia counties, adding that this is one reason MSC is suffering.

“Our leaders have been selfish and unable to mobilise the western Kenya community to fight for the sugar company or agitate for a Wanga managing director. Those who raise their voices do it for personal gain. It is high time someone from the community is appointed to the helm, but we know there are cartels locking out potential individuals from the community,” he stressed.

But Prof Anangwe ‘warns’ that the Wanga vote is critical in Western region, despite their slow and cautious approach to political issues.

“The people of Mumias determine what happens in Luhya politics and cannot be wished away in the area‘s political structures. Wanga people tend to take a common political stand whenever the need arises and many a times, they will take a collective decision that is good for the clan when required to rise to the occasion,” he says.

Why do they then seem unable to assume their historical place as leaders of the wider Luhya community? Oloo observes that this could be because Wanga leaders shy away from firebrand politics. He said the Wanga people must borrow a leaf from other Luhya clans such as the Bukusu and Maragoli who are not only aggressive, but will always support and rally behind their leaders.

Source: THE STANDARD

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