JJ Shiundu ready for top UN post
Juvenal Shiundu, the only African candidate for the plum post of Secretary General of UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Elections will be held June 30, 2015. Photo: NATION
By Aggrey Mutambo, June 11 2015
A Kenyan is banking on his longtime experience to be the next Secretary-General of a UN body charged with managing global maritime safety.
The 40-member Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is set to elect a new boss on June 30 and Mr Juvenal Shiundu says his past job at the organisation can stand him in good stead.
“I am fully aware of what the office entails and requires of me; and I am prepared to take on the varied challenges, having been deeply associated with the Organisation for almost 30 years, both as an outsider and as a staff member,” he told a gathering of diplomats in London on Wednesday evening, according to a statement.
“I possess the right combination of competencies in terms of education, skills, and experience to guarantee executive leadership delivery backed by diplomacy. I am a Naval architect with previous roles in maritime administration, flag and port-state implementation,” he pitched his candidature.
Mr Juvenal who is currently the Deputy Director of the Technical Cooperation Division at IMO, spoke at a dinner hosted to launch his campaign, and which was attended by Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Mr Macharia told the audience that the Kenyan government had full confidence in the Kenyan candidate.
If he gets it, he will replace Japan’s Koji Sekimizu, whose four-year term is expiring, to be the eighth Secretary-General of IMO.
But he is facing competition from five other candidates, four of whom come from countries catogorised by the IMO as having the largest interest in providing international shipping services.
He will be against Cypriot Andreas Chrysostomou who currently works as the Acting Director of the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS); Mr Andreas Nordseth of Denmark who is the Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority, Mr Maximo Mejia of Philippines (head of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Russia’s Vitaly Klyuev who is the Deputy Director of the Department of State policy for maritime and river transport) as well as Mr Lim Ki-tack, who manages a ports authority in South Korea.
In his speech though, Mr Shiundu told a gathering of diplomats and UN representatives that background as a naval architect will steer IMO to tackle current sea transport.
The maritime transport is currently facing challenges of illegal migrations through seas on rickety boats, illegal dumping of wastes in high seas as well as sea piracy.
The IMO is supposed to set standards on safety, security and environmental issues surrounding shipping. For example, it may determine the design, material, communication language and equipment, qualifications for operation and disposal of sea vessels to ensure safety.
Although it may create regulation, the 171-member UN body relies on members to execute its plans.
Mr Juvenal says he will focus on cooperation with other global bodies and States to compensate for IMO’s weaknesses in reach.
“I hail from an African developing country that has made great advances in fighting terrorism and piracy; enhancing economic growth and effective governance in the maritime sector with the support of IMO Member States,” he argued.
Mr Shiundu, a naval architect, studied at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom and the World Maritime University in Sweden.
He has 17 years in development co-operation work technical assistance programmes within the UN.
His CV also boasts of having been involved in drafting the concept paper for the Lamu Port Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, having campaigned to establish IMO’s regional presence in Africa through offices in Kenya, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
Recently, the Pan African Association for Port Cooperation (PAPC) endorsed him for the post.
Marende, Jirongo form new party as Mudavadi cries foul
Kenneth Marende, the former speaker of the National Assembly (left) and Musalia Mudavadi, the leader of Amani National Congress (right) exchange pleasantries during the halcyon days. Now the two political heavyweights from Luyialand are squaring for a political duel after Marende teamed up with Cyrus Jirongo to form a new party to rival Mudavadi's. PHOTO: NATION
By our correspondent, June 2 2015
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has called the creation of a new party by former Speaker Kenneth Marende an attempt to fight his rise in national politics.
He accused Mr Marende and former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo of being political mercenaries.
Mr Mudavadi said the two leaders and their newly formed United Democratic Party were motivated by selfish interests.
In a statement sent to newsrooms through his spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi, Mr Mudavadi referred to Mr Jirongo, Mr Marende and Vihiga Senator George Khaniri as “turncoat recruits unhappy with ANC’s growing popularity”.
“Parties are vehicles for political expression and governance.
"They should never be created for the express purpose of undermining the right of any Kenyan to aspire for office,” said Mr Mudavadi.
He went on: “This says a lot about the machinations afoot to derail me and ANC from gaining the goodwill of Kenyans.”
He accused Mr Jirongo of waging endless political wars against him, saying Kenyans already know his “dirty history”.
Bungoma County culture director dies
Florence Lukosi, the deceased Bungoma Gender and Culture director.
By John Nalianya, May 19 2015
Bungoma gender and culture director Florence Lukosi has passed on.
Lukosi, 51, died on Wednesday morning at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, where she had been rushed for urgent treatment.
She is survived by a husband, four children and one grandchild.
The body is at Lumboka Memorial Hospital, Bungoma.
Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said Lukosi was hardworking and has left a legacy in matters of culture.
Bungoma women’s representative Reginalda Wanyonyi said Kenya has lost an inspirational leader.
Source: THE STAR
Pan African body drums up support for Kenya's candidate for top UN post, JJ Shiundu
Juvenal Joseph Muka Shiundu, Africa's only candidate for the post of Secretary General of the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO).
By John Iwori, Lagos, May 3 2015
Apparently toeing the line of African brotherhood, Pan African bodies are seeking support for Kenya’s candidate, Mr. Juvenal Shiundu for the post of Secretary General in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The support by the Pan African maritime organisations for Shiundu is coming on the heels of more African member states in the global maritime watchdog joining forces to drum support for Shiundu for the post of Secretary General.
Election for the coveted seat is scheduled to hold in the forthcoming biennial conference of IMO scheduled to take place later this at its headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
Following the recent close of nominations for the prime position, Shiundu remains the only African vying for the seat.
Already, the Pan African Association for Port Cooperation (PAPC) is soliciting support for Shiundu, pointing out that he has a chance to occupy the coveted seat that has never been occupied by any African since the formation of the United Nations (UN) specialized agency decades ago.
Communications Officer of PAPC, Mr. George Sunguh in a statement obtained by THISDAY, said that Shiundu, Africa’s only candidate, is contesting against five other candidates from Europe and Asia.
The association noted that since the establishment of the IMO in 1958, Africa has not yet had the opportunity to occupy the post of Secretary General.
It said that the bold step taken by the Republic of Kenya to present Shiundu as her candidate would give Africa her maiden opportunity to produce a Secretary General of IMO.
A naval architect by profession, Shiundu has what some stakeholders described as an “extensive wealth of experience in the maritime industry” in his home country, Kenyan and overseas.
Shiundu seemed to be well cut out for the job as he also experience and exposure within the IMO itself where he has served in key positions over the years.
These include the Head of Africa Section in charge of technical cooperation and presently, Deputy Director in the Technical Cooperation Division, Programme Management.
The Communications Officer of PAPC stated that Shiundu has over the years and till now worked extensively in the IMO in support of Africa’s cause for maritime institutional and human capacity building.
According to Sunguh, Shiundu is credited with the successful establishment and running of IMO’s Regional Presence Programme which has resulted in the opening of three sub-regional offices of the IMO in Accra (Ghana), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Nairobi (Kenya). These offices have brought the IMO to the door-steps of Africa and facilitated the deployment of IMO technical assistance to the maritime sector.
He noted that ports and maritime administrations of all countries of Africa have benefited variously from IMO’s technical and human capacity building as a result of the proximity of the IMO through its Regional Presence Offices.
“It is in the light of the above that the secretariat of the PAPC believes that when elected Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Shiundu will leverage his rich experience of the maritime industry, his high level expertise in effective programme management, and above all, his affection for the cause of Africa as a developing continent, to take the IMO to a higher level and further boost the ongoing efforts of the developing world and particularly Africa to harness the potential of the blue economy as an untapped resource for sustainable economic development.
“In this regard, PAPC member ports are kindly requested to use their esteemed offices at the country level to urge their respective governments through national maritime authorities and sector Ministers so support Africa’s candidate Mr. Shiundu for election as Secretary General of the IMO”, he added.
THISDAY had reported that the election of the Secretary General of the IMO is done by only the 40 member states who are members of the IMO’s Council.
Out of this number, Africa is presently represented by four countries in the UN specialized agency which has a mandate to oversee maritime matters globally.
Apart from the four African countries on the IMO Council, PAPC member States and governments were enjoined to leverage their good diplomatic bilateral and multilateral relations to lobby the remaining members of the IMO’s Council to support Shiundu.
“The PAPC believes that Africa’s turn is due for it to serve the IMO at the apex level as Secretary General. Therefore, while wishing Africa the best of success in this election, we look forward to your massive support for Africa’s candidate”.
Vihiga deputy governor faces ouster over botched Singapore trip
Caleb Amaswache, Vihiga County deputy governor. Mr Amaswache is facing calls for his ouster over a botched trip to Singapore in which it is alleged he was deported over insufficient documentation. Photo: NATION
By Derick Luvega, April 30, 2015
Some residents of Vihiga are collecting signatures to impeach Deputy Governor Caleb Amaswache.
The official is in the eye of a storm following allegations that he misbehaved while on a foreign trip.
Events surrounding his trip to Singapore have put him on the spot. Mr Amaswache arrived in Singapore on April 14 but returned to Nairobi on April 16 because he lacked of travel documents.
He addressed a press conference and denied claims that he was ejected for being drunk and disorderly.
The deputy governor also dismissed allegations that he had an inappropriate exchange with an air hostess.
Mr Amaswache claimed he forgot his travel documents.
“I left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on April 13, for Singapore and arrived on April 14 around 2.30am. During a security check at Changi International Airport, I realised I had forgotten some documents. Security officers denied me entry,” he told journalists on April 20.
The acting Lands and Housing executive was to attend a three-day conference on affordable housing.
The deputy governor admitted that he drunk alcohol on the flight, but said he did not become disorderly.
“Alcohol is served on flights, and being drunk should, therefore, not be a reason to deny one entry into a foreign country,” he said.
“I have heard all manner of things being said about me. Some people said I was drunk and others said I was half-naked. Others said that I was following an air hostess,” the deputy governor told a county assembly probe team.
The matter has become a major subject of debate in Vihiga. On Wednesday, Governor Moses Akaranga defended his deputy but advised him to check his conduct while in public.
Mr Akaranga said he knows that his deputy enjoys his beer, but asked him to be cautious when conducting county affairs. The governor appealed to the people collecting signatures to stop, saying he would address their concerns.
17 Luyia invited to Jubilee feast
Former cabinet ministers Musikari Kombo (left) and Soita Shitanda are among 17 Luyia individuals appointed to government positions.
By our reporter, Apri 27, 2015
The following is a list of Luyia individuals who have been invited for a feast at the Jubilee Government High Table for a period of three years. The list includes old timers like former ministers, Musikari Kombo and Soita Shitanda but also nondescripts who have dovetailed with the ruling class. The new appointments to state corporations come hot on the heels of the appointment of Eugene Wamalwa to the cabinet as CS for Water and Irrigation. Amani leader, Musalia Mudavadi declined an appointment to teh cabinet seeking instead to support the Jubilee government from outside. But the earliest invitees to the feast include former Cabinet ministers, Dr Noah Wekesa and Chris Okemo. Dr Wekesa was appointed Chairperson of the Board of Bukura Agricultural College while Okemo was gifted as a board member of the Kenya Seed Company. Since Jubilee came to power in 2013, only one Luyia (Prof Judi Wakhungu) had been appointed to the cabinet. This brings to 17 the total number of Luyia tribesmen and women invited to eat with Jubilee.
Musikari Kombo - chairperson, Water Services Trust Fund
Shoita Shitanda - chairperson, Agricultural Development Corporation
JOASH WAMANG’OLI - Chairperson of the Board of Directors Nzoia Sugar Company Limited
Kennedy Simiyu Chumo - Nzoia Sugar Company
Raphael Wanjala - Board member, Kenya Animal Genetics Resource Centre
SUSAN WAKHUNGU - non-executive Chairperson of the Kenya Yearbook Editorial Board
Kibisu Kabatesi - Board member, THE NATIONAL DROUGHT MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
Pacifica Wekesa - Board member, National Irrigation Board
Hudson A. Liyai - Board member, THE JOMO KENYATTA FOUNDATION
Vincent Shilaho - Board member, THE KERIO VALLEY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Dr. Gelas Simiyu Mose - Board member, Kenya Forests Service
Walubengo Waningilo - Board member, National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation
Charles Oluchina - Board member, National Environmental Management Authority
SEE FULL LIST of appointments
Troubled Mumias to close loss-making water plant
Mumias Sugar Company's Board Chairman Dan Ameyo answers question from stakeholders during the company's AGM held at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu on December 5, 2014. Struggling Mumias Sugar Company may close its water bottling plant to cut down on costs. Photo: Tonny Omondi (NATION)
By Patrick Langat, April 12 2015
Struggling Mumias Sugar Company may close its water bottling plant to cut down on costs.
This will see Sprinkles drinking water leave the market after only three years.
Board chairman Dan Ameyo who spoke during the annual general meeting on Friday said the miller does not earn much from the water plant.
The company also announced it will suspend all its corporate social responsibility projects until it is back on its feet.
Shareholders approved a Sh4.6 billion rights issue during the meeting at Tom Mboya Labour College, Kisumu.
Mr Ameyo asked farmers, contractors and other stakeholders to be patient as they work to revive the company.
“We need to evaluate our business outlets and do away with those that are not profitable. That is why we want to dispose off the water project,” Mr Ameyo said.
The company launched the water plants in 2012 hoping to increase profits.
Production of ethanol is however still viable. This project started in 2009, stopped in 2012 for maintenance before resuming.
“I can tell you ethanol is the next big thing. That is why we are keen not to leave it out,” Mr Ameyo said.
“The board will form a committee to look into the welfare of farmers.”
Mr Ameyo said the company can no longer sponsor corporate projects because of its current financial woes.
“We will only do what will sustain the company and the corporate projects must be put on hold until we regain our footing,” said Mr Ameyo.
He urged stakeholders to support ongoing efforts to revive the company and exuded confidence the miller will be profitable again.
“Mumias will get back to its old, glorious days even though people who brought the company down are hitting back,” said Mr Ameyo
“The people we want punished for killing the company are powerful and are always hitting back every time we go for them,” he told journalists after the AGM.
Mrs Alice Naliaka, a farmer, accused the company’s board of directors of failing to address challenges facing sugar cane growers.
Bungoma loses10 students in Garissa terrorist attack
Grief-stricken relatives of Garissa University College student Tobias Barasa at their home in Bumula Constituency, Monday. Barasa’s brother was killed at Makerere University in 2010. Photo: Titus Oteba (STANDARD)
By Titus Oteba, April 9 2015
A family in Kabula village, Bumula Constituency, is mourning the death of their son who was killed by terrorists at Garissa University College. Tobias Sifuna Barasa's death comes five years after his brother was shot dead during protests at Makerere University in Uganda. Ignatius Nyongesa was killed in 2010 during student election campaigns that pitted a Kenyan against a Ugandan candidate. He was shot dead alongside another Kenyan by security guards on duty after a commotion in one of the hostels. They had hoped their first and second-born children would graduate to pursue their chosen careers but instead were brought home in body bags. Now the family of peasant farmers has vowed never to take any of their children to university. The wounds had not healed for the family of Godfrey and Elizabeth Barasa since the death of the first-born son, a Bachelor of Laws student, when they received the sad news of the demise of their second-born. Shaken to the core by the brutal killings of his children, Barasa has now made a drastic decision. "I will never allow any of my children to join any university after losing my two sons through the traumatising incidences," he asserted. Sifuna was a second year Bachelor of Education student and the family was optimistic that one day, he would rescue them from the jaws of poverty.
"We have now lost our two sons under such circumstances and we fear that sending our children to university is a harbinger of bad luck. Let the Government help us in the transportation and burial expenses because we cannot afford it ," said Mr Barasa. And at Namusimbi village in Kabuchai Constituency, a family is mourning the death of their kin, Abel Mukhwana, who was also killed in last week's Garissa attack. His tearful mother, Mrs Jane Chepkemboi, had high hopes for his son, who was studying business administration. "He was the only person in our village who had managed to join a university. We were hopeful one day he would help change the fortunes of our society," she said. Bungoma County lost 10 students in the Garissa terror attack.
Read more at: More...
Prof George Eshiwani is dead
By Alex Wakhisi and Kiprotich Chepkoit, April 6 2015
Kenyans are mourning the death of renowned professor and scholar George Eshiwani who died on Saturday afternoon while undergoing treatment at Yala Mission Hospital. According to his brother, David Aloyo, the professor of mathematics started feeling bad in the morning of Saturday but the situation worsened later in the day, forcing them to take him to hospital where he later passed on. "He complained of fever in the morning. The situation worsened later in the day. He died at around 3pm," said Mr Aloyo. Aloyo said his brother has been suffering from high blood pressure for the last two years. Recalling the last moments before his father died, Sammy Eshiwani said his dad dedicated his life and time to the education sector in the country. "His death is a great loss not only to the family but also the entire nation. We have lost a great scholar whose contribution has been felt especially in the education sector. He has inspired many people and indeed, it is a great loss to us," he said. See also: Former Kenyatta University VC Prof George Eshiwani dies Retired President Daniel Moi condoled with the family, describing Prof Eshiwani as an accomplished mathematician, prolific author and an astute university administrator.
Former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi eulogised Eshiwani as a pragmatic scholar. "I have suffered a personal loss because Eshiwani was not only a personal friend but an inspiration to me and many other Kenyans. He rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of education excellence and management," said Mudavadi. He added: Many have wondered how a mathematician would dub into fish farming. But Eshiwani was a pragmatic scholar who applied knowledge to practical solutions. A mathematician, he applied his know-how to solving social problems – a rare fit." Other leaders including Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli were among leaders who sent their condolences to the family and the education fraternity.
Until his death, Prof Eshiwani was the chairman of the council at Technical University of Kenya (TUK). He was the President of African Virtual University and pro-chancellor of Mt Kenya University. He had worked closely with Moi as he was a key figure in political and education sectors. Eshiwani was born in 1941 in Butere, Kakamega County. He had his primary education at Ekambuli Primary School in Khwisero and later on joined Namosoli Intermediate School in Butere. He later joined the then Government African School (current Kakamega High School) from where he sat for both his "O" and "A" levels. In 1967, he graduated from the The University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Chemistry. He briefly taught at Alliance Boys High School before proceeding for further studies in the US where he joined Stanford University in California where studied for both his master's and PhD degrees in mathematics in 1969. After completing his studies, he served as principal of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and was later on appointed vice chancellor of Kenyatta University by Moi. Sunset days But at the advent of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government in 2003, he was retired after serving for 12 years as the vice chancellor, Kenyatta University.
He retired into fish farming but maintained his public life when he served as chairman of the Council at the Technical University of Kenya (TUK). He also served as a pro-chancellor at Mt Kenya University for eight years. He is survived by two widows, Doris and Rebecca, 10 children, six sons and four daughters. He will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 18 2015 at his Mulwanda home, Khwisero sub county in Kakamega.
Student injured in Chavakali school fire
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.
Chris Okemo and Noah Wekesa back in public service
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
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.
Namwamba fights for survival over Raila secret tape
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
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
Keveye Girls conquers academic giants in Western Kenya
Students of Keveye Girls High School in Vihiga County celebrating 2014 KCSE results in which the school emerged the top in Luyialand. Standing in the middle is the school principal, Mrs Judith Ngome.
By Cotron Alumasa and Evans Jaola, May 3 2015
Friends School Keveye Girls has registered an impressive performance with a mean score of 10.35 beating all national schools and emerging the best in Western region.
Bunyore Girls had mean score of 9.6 while Chavakali Boys’ high has been associated with exam cheating.
The two schools which were elevated to national status recently have been associated with exemplary performance in the region.
Keveye Girls’ school principal Mrs. Judith Ngome said the sterling performance was a result of determination and hard work among the students and teachers.
“We completed our syllabus in March, and therefore gave more room for internal revision and joint exams with other schools,” said Mrs. Ngome.
Flanked by her deputy Mr. Evans Agaya, she said the school had 13 A, 87 A-, 56 B+, 27 B, 8 B- and one C+ .
“All the 129 students who sat for the exams last year got the university entrance grade of C+ and above,” said Mrs. Ngome.
She said that they had improved their performance as compared to 2013 when they achieved a mean score of 8.7.
“We have been setting our mean score targets every year and surpassing them,” she said.
She said they hope to achieve more in terms of performance in the coming years and outshine the top schools that have been seen as champions in the region.
“We will rekindle our glory by re-engineering our teachers to beat more records,” said the principal while addressing the press in her office.
The principal said that the school with six streams has 33 teachers employed by the TSC against 1313 students.
“The school should have a minimum of 69 teachers and we have been forced to hire other 14 teachers to help us,” said Ngome.
The principal was posted at the school from Chango Secondary in Vihiga Sub County in 2007 when the School had a mean score of 5.6.
Francis Chahonyo charged over Anglo Leasing fraud
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
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, 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.
Mumias Sugar to sue Kidero-era managers over corruption
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, 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, 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 (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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