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Greedy MPs want allowances increased

By Francis Ngige, June 30 2008
A section of legislators are now pushing to have their mileage allowances increased. Several MPs said they plan to demand that the Sh38.70 per kilometre paid to them as mileage allowance be raised to reflect the rising cost of fuel.

They said the amount set six years ago was not enough since the price of petrol was now more than Sh100 per litre. At the time, fuel averaged Sh40 per litre. If the proposal is accepted, taxpayers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to cater for the demands, even as the country reels under rising food prices and inflation. More>>>

anti kimunya MPs
Demo against Kimunya on: From left, MPs Cyrus Jirongo, Kiema Kilonzo, Gideon Konchella, Mithika Linturi and Charles Kilonzo talk to deputy OCPD Richard Muguai about today's demo. More>>>

Court of Appeal can't cope

By Nyakundi Nyamboga, June 30 2008
The Court of Appeal has raised the red flag that it is unable to cope with the large number of legal cases awaiting determination. Appellate Judge, Justice Erastus Githinji, said last month that the court is "overwhelmed by so many appeals and applications" that they could hear "only deserving matters". The Judge’s remarks call for a reflection on staffing at the highest court in the land. The Court of Appeal, when full house, should have 11 judges excluding the Chief Justice who is both a Court of Appeal and a High Court judge. More>>>

Libyan firm a front for Kenyan conmen

By our correspondent, June 30 2008
The Grand Regency Hotel sale saga took a new twist as it emerged that the hotel changed hands at Sh1.85 billion and not Sh2.9 billion as claimed by the beleaguered Finance Minister Amos Kimunya.

The Minister for Lands James Orengo made the revelations late at a news conference, even as Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Kimunya, who is at the centre of the storm over the controversial sale of the hotel, remained locked up in a meeting at Treasury building in Nairobi. Orengo, who first blew the whistle over the secret sale, opened a new dimension by claiming that the firm that bought the hotel is Kenyan. More>>>

grand regency's new owners
Unmasked: One Arab and two Kenyans are the directors of Libyan Arab African Investments that bought the hotel, holder of Passport No 004428, holder of ID Card No 6104260, holder of Passport No 298071 and CBK Governor Njuguna Ndung’u who witnessed the sale agreement.

Maize prices up by 31%

By our correspondent, June 28 2008
Agriculture Minister William Ruto said his ministry had increased the price of maize from Sh1,300 per 90-kg bag to Sh1,700 to address the farmers’ plight. The minister said agriculture was central to development and should receive more attention.

He said it was time members of the coalition government buried their differences and worked towards delivering pre-election promises. More>>>

sugar farming in mumias
Sugar harvesting in Mumias, Kenya

Sabaot militia offered amnesty

By Bernard Kwalia, June 28 2008
Members of the Sabaot Land Defence Force and their financiers will be given amnesty if they turn themselves in, Western provincial commissioner Abdul Mwasera has said. Speaking at Kapendo forest in Cheptais Division during a peace tree-planting ceremony yesterday, Mr Mwasera said the joint security operation by the army, General Service Unit, regular and Administration Police, had so far recovered 98 guns and 1,200 rounds of ammunition. More>>>

Mumias-Tarda project runs into resistance: Even before Mumias Sugar can break ground on an ambitious Sh3 billion sugarcane growing venture on the Tana delta, environmental activists are threatening to rain on its parade. Under the banner of Kenya Wetlands Forum, the NGOs want the project revoked. More>>>

Demo planned against Kimunya, Libya

By Isaac Ongiri, June 29 2008
Prime Minister Raila Odinga entered the Grand Regency controversy with the announcement that he has summoned a Cabinet sub-committee on Finance and administration to discuss the matter. And the heat was upped on Sunday for the beleaguered Finance Minister Amos Kimunya as it emerged that he faces a tough week ahead even as he remained defiant last night, showing no signs that he would buckle under pressure to pave way for investigation. He is lined up for grilling by a House watchdog committee on his role in the scandalous sale of the hotel; an MP is preparing to bring a censure motion against him while some MPs plan to hold a demonstration against him and the Libyan Embassy. More>>>

Sabatia workshop attracts top guns

By Isaiah Lucheli, June 28 2008
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has brushed off politicians who are re-aligning themselves for the 2012 General Election. Mudavadi said yesterday it was too early for politicians to start preparing for elections yet the Coalition Government was just a few months old. He told leaders to instead focus their energies on reconstructing the country, more so because of last year’s disputed elections and destruction resulting from the violence that followed. "It is a total contradiction. The same people who told us to stop this debate are now spending too much time talking about 2012," he said. Mudavadi was speaking in Sabatia at a workshop that brought together leaders from the constituency. More>>>

Found: Kibaki's letter to Gaddafi

By our correspondent, June 28 2008
As the Grand Regency saga remains unresolved, The Standard archives show that the history of the Libyan connection with the Government dates back to President Kibaki’s first year in office. In November 2003, The Standard found a letter written by the President to his Libyan counterpart, Muammar Gaddafi, appointing his nephew, Alex Mureithi and a Mr Joe Kamau to spearhead efforts aimed at attracting Libyan investments into Kenya. Questions were raised about the activities of Mureithi, who died last year, and who was then approaching governments to solicit investments and business opportunities for Kenya outside established channels. More>>>

Politics locks out Nyanza from national cake

By Dennis Onyango, June 28 2008
Nyanza has been missing out on the national cake because of its political stand over the years. This has left the region lacking in many development issues with a bulk of its people being jobless.

When Prime Minister Raila Odinga told his supporters in Nyanza that time had come for them to change their attitude and realise they were in Government, he was addressing a matter that is causing headache to some of his MPs, although they may never tell him. When he went to Equity Bank and asked people to go for loans, the results were instant and far reaching.A number of MPs from Nyanza concede poverty in Luoland is taking a turn for the worse and the culture of handouts, which cuts across, is at it worst in Nyanza. They are calling for a "Marshall plan" to revive collapsed firms, agriculture, fishing and livestock industries.More>>>

fishing village in nyanza
A typical fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Nyanza. Nyanza has no fish processing plant despite being a major source of fish production.

Kimunya back stabs Orengo

By G. Mathenge, June 28 2008
As murky details of the scam that is the sale of the Grand Regency Hotel ooze from the Ardhi House vaults, it has emerged that Lands Minister James Orengo bitterly fought off attempts to transfer the hotel to the shadowy buyers for two weeks before losing the battle on Wednesday afternoon. More>>>

Grand corruption in Grand Regency sale

By David Ohito and James Anyanzwa, June 27 2008
The mask has fallen off the Grand Regency Hotel saga: It was sold to the Libyan Government in a deal between Presidents Kibaki and Muammar Gaddaffi. The minister, who came out on Friday after his colleague exposed a secret ‘discharge’ on Thursday, said the offer by the oil-rich State was "too sweet to resist".

The controversial sale, initially denied by Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, now presents President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga yet another test on their commitment to power-sharing deal, team-building and anti-corruption war.

Before Kimunya’s confession, the Grand Coalition Cabinet had split on the matter along the traditional Party of National Unity and Orange Democratic Movement fault line.

The sale is yet another chapter in the multi-layered story now on the 15th year. Built on stolen public funds by businessman Kamlesh Pattni of the Goldenberg notoriety, the disgraced architect of one of the country’s biggest scams returned it in exchange for termination of court cases lined up against him. More>>>

grand regency hotel
Anglo Leasing II: Grand Regency Hotel sold to Libyans under the cover of secrecy at a price that is 10 years old.

Maseno's Otula named principal of the year

By Jibril Adan, June 27 2008
The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association conference ended on Friday with two heads from Maseno and Wajir, winning a laptop and Sh100,000 each in a contest.

Mr Paul Otula from Maseno School was named Principal of the Year while Mr Hassan Salat Mohamed from Wajir was crowned Teacher of the Year in a contest organised by KSSHA.

The prizes were presented to the winners by the Basic Education Minister Sam Ongeri at the close of a conference, which was attended by 4,000 principals. More>>>

Power bills goes up by 60%

Kenyans will dig deeper into their pockets to pay electricity bills beginning Tuesday, July 1. Power tariffs have been increased by an average 24 per cent. The monthly fixed charge for domestic consumers has been raised from Sh75 to Sh120 or 60 per cent.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which made the announcement on Thursday, said to improve transparency in the new tariff structure, consumer categories have been divided into five segments: Domestic, small commercial, commercial/industrial, the interruptible and street lighting. Heavy power consumers will pay a fixed charge of Sh11,000 a month and an energy charge of Sh4.10 a kilowatt hours (kWh). More>>>

angry man
The face of anger. Passions about the disputed presidential polls are still running high as this man was evicted from the Kriegler review hearings in Nairobi

Kenya army may be excluded from UN duties

By Maseme Machuka, June 25 2008
As the world marks the Torture Day on Thursday, Kenya risks being barred from peacekeeping missions over allegations of human rights abuse in Mt Elgon where military forces have been accused of torture. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, said the officers behind the torture claims in Mt Elgon should be excluded from any participation in UN peacekeeping missions. More>>>

Libyan link in secret Grand Regency sale

By our correspondents, June 26 2008
The prestigious Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi has been sold for Sh2 billion, Lands minister James Orengo said on Thursday. The minister said the deal was sealed on Wednesday despite the hotel being the subject of investigations by a parliamentary committee.Sources at the ministry disclosed that one of Mr Pattni’s lawyers was seen at Ardhi House on Tuesday in the company of a CBK lawyer. It is believed this was the time the charge was removed. More>>>

shem with the girls
Leggy: Shem Luchiri basks in celebrity with Formula One girls at Silverstone
shem luchiri
Shem Luchiri is well wheeled as he admires the car of his hero, Lewis Hamilton

Kalenjin radio station to be shut

By our correspondent, June 26 2008
Kass FM has until this morning to show cause why its licence should not be revoked for allegedly airing inflammatory content. Information PS Bitange Ndemo on Wednesday accused the vernacular radio station of broadcasting material "prejudicial to national security, national cohesion, national peace, healing and reconciliation".

Ndemo told its owners to give an acceptable answer why the Communications Commission of Kenya should not withdraw its operating licence. But the Media Council of Kenya reacted furiously to the threat. The council chairman, Mr Wachira Waruru, said the PS should have presented his reservations with them instead of writing directly to Kass FM. More>>>

Teachers to get pay rise

By our correspondent, June 26 2008
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has promised teachers they would get a salary raise. However, the package comes with reduced allowances.

The Chief Executive of TSC Gabriel Lengoiboni, and the chairman Ibrahim Hussen, on Thursday told head teachers meeting in Mombasa they were negotiating with the Government to harmonise their salaries. They also tried to demystify the performance contracts, which the teachers have rejected. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who officially opened the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association conference, promised to prioritise the teachers’ grievances. More>>>

Mudavadi on coalition course with councillors

By our correspondent, June 26 2008
The coalition Government faces another litmus test as Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi moves to de-gazette the nomination of more than 100 councillors. The planned revocation in a week’s time is so serious that some PNU leaders went over-drive on Wednesday to lobby President Kibaki to intervene and stop the move. Mudavadi’s action is likely to have serious implications in some civic authorities, especially Mombasa, where the mayor, Ahmed Mondhar, is one of the councillors whose nomination is disputed. More>>>

In Luhyaland, finger pointing disrupts review hearing

By our correspondents, June 24 2008
The Independent Review Commission meeting chaired by retired South African judge Justice Johann Kriegler turned stormy in Busia and Mumias as ODM and PNU members heckled each other. At the Busia Town Hall, Kriegler was forced to call for order due to interruptions by hecklers from the two camps on Tuesday. At one time, Kriegler threatened to close the session when the heckling became unbearable.

The commission’s vice-chairman Justice Imani Daoud Aboud, and Prof Marangu Marete watched as ODM and PNU supporters accused each other of having fuelled post-election violence following last year’s disputed Presidential election. In Mumias, the shouting got out of hand, forcing a commissioner, Francis Angila, to intervene in the local Luhya language. More>>>

suzanne owiyo
Ohangla star, Suzanne Owiyo will perform at Mandela's 90th birthday bash in London's Hyde Park. The star-studded bash is billed as the calendar event of the year.

Kombo severs links with Kibaki

By Abiya Ochola, June 24 2008
President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) has taken a hard knock hardly seven months after the General Election. Ford-Kenya, a PNU affiliate party, has resolved to pull out of PNU and to field its own candidates in by-elections.

"Ford-Kenya will be operating as a party. We will participate in elections and take positions on national issues independently," said party chairman Musikari Kombo on Tuesday, after an independent convention where the National Executive Council and Parliamentary Group met. "The two-day convention gave us the opportunity to assess the party’s position in the coalition," said Kombo, who is a PNU nominated MP. More>>>

Ohangla star at Mandela's 90th birthday party

Ohangla star, Suzanne Owiyo will be among a galaxy of stars at the headline 90th birthday party of Nelson Mandela in London. She will join leading Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), music maestro Papa Wemba to represent Africa.. More>>>

Once bitter, pilipili returns sweetness to Nyanza farmers

By Jane Akinyi, June 24 2008
For many years, African farmers did not regard chilli as a horticultural crop. It was better known as an appetiser, and left to grow in the wild. But the chilli, popularly known as apilo or pilipili, is fast becoming a major cash crop in western Kenya, thanks to demand in the international market.

In the remote village of Kager in Homa Bay District, farmers are making huge returns from the crop. The African Birds Eye (ABE) chilli fetches thrice as much as other crops, becoming a source of income for the more than 400 farmers. The farmers have ditched other crops to specialise in it. To them ‘apilo’ is a viable crop that gives prompt payment and whose production is less labour intensive and gives bumper harvests twice a season. More>>>

pilipili farming
Ms Grace Nzogu, Kenya Horticultural Development Programme manager, assists Mr Isaaih Ogutu harvest chilli in Kochia, Homa-Bay District

PNU, ODM hold secret talks over amnesty

By our correspondent, June 24 2008
Key parties in the Coalition Government are holding secret talks over the unending amnesty debate. PNU and ODM representatives are engaged in a series of meetings over the continued confinement of youths linked to post-election violence. And so urgent is the matter that it has been listed as priority in the next Cabinet meeting, The Standard has learnt.

The secret discussions are focussed on whether the suspects of post-election violence should be granted a blanket amnesty and those already charged in court pardoned. As this emerged, some politicians lobbying for the blanket amnesty told the police to account for all the missing youths. More>>>

Orengo withdraws controversial land fees

By our correpondent, June 24 2008
The Government has suspended the official search fees in land registries. Kenyans will now not have to pay the Sh3,000 fee the Government had levied per search. Lands Minister James Orengo told Parliament the fee that had been increased from Sh100 to Sh3,000 had been suspended due to a public outcry. More>>>

From left: Gladys Iminza, Dr Musa Ndengu, Beatrice Khamasi, Owen Amambia, John Baraza, Stella Lihavi, Awinja Baraza, John Magero, Mrs Magero, Patrick Makwaka, Cathy Conron, Wangula Khasiani and Susan Kivayi
Outreach team on a support mission included from left: Topi Lyambila, Gladys Iminza, Cathy Condron, Dr Musa Ndengu, Susan Kivayi and Owen Amambia. The event took place at Stella's home in South London on Sunday June 22 2008
From left: Stella Lihavi, Beatrice Khamasi, Achieng, John Baraza and Wangula Khasiani
Having a hymn time from left: Susan Kivayi, Dr Musa Ndengu, Wangula Khasiani and Stella

Voice from Kakamega: Let MPs hire election commissioners

By our correspondents, June 23 2008
The President should only appoint ECK commissioners who have been short-listed and approved by Parliament, former ECK vice-chairman Gabriel Mukele told the Independent Review Commission (IRC). Mukele said ECK commissioners should be sourced through an open and competitive hiring system. The IRC team, chaired by South African retired judge, Justice Johann Kriegler, was in Kakamega yesterday with other commissioners among them Ms Lucy Kamboni, Mr Francis Angila and Horacio Boneo to Kakamega while the vice-chairman, Justice Imani Daoud Aboud, Prof Marangu M’Marete, and Ms Catherine Mumma were in Bungoma. More>>>

school principals
Irregular disbursement of funds has forced schools to abandon projects that were already underway, the principals said. Schools had also reduced the number of employees and instead opted for multi-talented staff.

Free secondary education, or is it?

By Jibril Adan, June 23 2008
The advantages and disadvantages of free secondary education introduced early this year became clear on Monday at the beginning of the head teachers’ annual national conference.

Many of the more than 4,000 teachers attending the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association meeting in Mombasa praised the programme, but cited hitches they said must be resolved for it to succeed. The school heads were unanimous that the delay in releasing money to schools and non-funding for some activities were a letdown. More>>>

Kidney failure grounds young graduate

By Susan Anyangu, June 23 2008
Completing university education usually gives graduates an opportunity to explore the job market. It is an exciting end to a long struggle in college, marked by social and academic challenges. But for 25-year-old Tom Shikorire, his dream has been cut short by a debilitating health condition.

Having pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural Technology (JKUAT), Shikorire has long desired to make a name in environmental science. Unfortunately, none of his prospective employers, including those who offered him internships, want to employ him. This is because they are afraid of the medical expenses they would incur due to his condition. In 2005, Shikorire was diagnosed with kidney failure. Today, he struggles to raise Sh10,000 every week for dialysis. More>>>

tom shikorire
Tom Shikorire is down with kidney failure but he's certainly not out as he remains optimist someone will help him.

Shock as post election arrested youth go missing

By our correspondent, June 23 2008
Following the unending row over amnesty for suspects of post election violence, police now say the youths are not in their hands but in the jurisdiction of the courts and prisons. Police also admitted for the first time that many of the youths thought to have been arrested were missing.

This emerged on Monday as police said they are taking charge to establish the exact status of the problem that is now developing into a security threat and political crisis. Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said no youths were in police custody and those in question were either in remand, jailed or missing. More>>>

Nyagah against Raila's annointment as Kikuyu elder

By Joseph Murimi, June 23 2008
Plans to install ODM leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga as a Kikuyu elder continue to draw varied reactions. ODM Pentagon member and Cooperatives minister, Mr Joseph Nyagah, has joined a group of Raila’s allies from Mt Kenya region who oppose the ceremony slated for next month. Speaking yon Monday, Nyagah said he had advised Raila not to attend the ceremony that had created uproar in parts of Central Province. More>>>

Polls probe team heads to Western province

By Dave Opiyo, June 22 2008
The committee set up to probe last year’s disputed General Election resumes its hearings on Monday after a weekend break. Led by retired South African judge, Mr Justice Johann Kriegler, the commission will, in the next two days, hear Western Province residents’ views on the poll.

Members of the commission are expected to visit Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Mumias districts before returning to Nairobi to conduct hearings at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Wednesday.

johanh kriegler
Johann Kriegler, the chairman of the independent polls review commission is heading to Western Province this week.

St Mary's Girls in Mumias in decline

By Titus Maero, June 22 2008
An acute shortage of teachers at one of the oldest secondary schools in Western Province has compromised performance in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination. St Mary’s Girls Secondary School in Mumias District urgently needs 15 teachers to save it from posting poor results in national examinations. The headmistress, Mrs Joan Busolo, says the school has only 34 teachers out of which the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has employed 29 while the Board of Governor (BoG) has hired two. Mrs Busolo said there is need to have more teachers for the critical subjects, including maths, sciences and computer.

The school has been performing poorly in the disciplines. Speaking during the parents day on Friday, the headmistress said if the anomaly is not rectified, committees and teachers will not be able to salvage the detoriating academic standards. “The curriculum is not covered in time as teachers are few. With this kind of situation, students end up missing some lessons,” she said. The event was attended by Mumias MP Ben Washiali, BoG chairman George Odongo and PTA chairman Osman Siro. - Kenya Times

Jirongo, Namwamba fault MPs opposed to taxation

By our correspondents, June 22 2008
Grand Opposition lobbyist Mr Cyrus Jirongo has criticised Members of Parliament opposed to the proposed taxation of their allowances. He asked Finance Minister Amos Kimunya to implement the policy and faulted critics of the proposal as "selfish" and "enemies of development".. "Let us be serious with the welfare of Kenyans. MPs are not exempted from paying taxes," said Jirongo.Budalang’i MP, Mr Ababu Namwamba, and his Mumias counterpart, Mr Ben Washiali, said Marende should allow the event to be broadcast live so Kenyans can see those opposed to it. More>>>

Change of guard cripples CDF

Incomplete projects, which could turn into white elephants, now dot several parts of the country following fallout between former and current MPs over CDF cash. Suspicion over the state of CDF accounts has delayed the official handover in many constituencies. MPs have declined to take over some projects, demanding to be furnished with details.

The situation is made worse by delay of Sh7.3 billion under the current financial year. The delay, CDF spokesman Mr Nixon Ng’ang’a, said was caused by change of office bearers after the passing of a new Act on the management of the funds. More>>>

Atwoli brands MPs thieves

By our correspondents, June 22 2008
Cotu Secretary General, Mr Francis Atwoli, said it was ridiculous for the MPs to claim they were overburdened yet they had constituency development funds for public projects. Atwoli said the MPs’ attitude confirmed that they were selfish individuals out to "loot public coffers" under the pretext that they represented the interests of poor Kenyans. "Whoever does not pay tax is a thief. We shall not let them get away with this," he said.

Atwoli said Cotu was in the process of mobilising Kenyans to reject MPs who oppose the Bill when it is tabled in the House.

LSK vice-chairman James Mwamu advised the MPs opposed to taxation to borrow a leaf from two leading US politicians, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, who had to declare their income tax details to the public. More>>>

Trans Nzoia lost shs2b in violence

By Osinde Obare, June 22 2008
The business community in TransNzoia District lost Sh2 billion to post-election violence, a report by local Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has said. According to the report, more than 20,000 people lost their business during the violence that rocked the country after the disputed presidential results.

The Kitale KNCCI executive officer Martin Waliaula said the organisation commissioned the research to assess the impact of the violence on local business. The worst hit areas include Gituamba where 70 shop premises were torched and items worth Sh500 million destroyed. Other business centres affected were Salama, Makutano, Saboti, Kimondo, Kalaha and Kachibora. More>>>

nyanza's garbage
Nyanza's garbage: Ten of Kenya's worst performing councils are in Nyanza. Last month, Local Government minister Musalia Mudavadi put non-performing councillors on notice, saying councils that could not sustain themselves would be merged.

Nyanza councils are rubbish

By Mangoa Mosota, June 22 2008
A new performance report released by the Government indicts civic authorities in Nyanza over poor performance. The province has produced eight of the ten worst performing local authorities. Besides, the region’s 37 local authorities did not feature in the best ten among Kenya’s 175 local authorities.

According to the evaluation report released last month by President Kibaki, the poor performers are the town councils of Keroka, Nyamache, Masimba, Yala, Ogembo and Suneka. Others were Homa-Bay County Council and Migori Municipal Council. According to experts, the poor showing is a result of the authorities’ small sizes. "Ten out of the 27 civic authorities in the region are categorised as ‘small,’ hence their limited viability," said Nyanza Provincial Local Government Officer, Mr Isaac Kirui. More>>>

Private students to get loans

By Samuel Otieno, June 19 2008
The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has received Sh1.5 billion in this year's Budget, Sh500 million more than last year. Consequently, the board will consider giving loans to self-sponsored students in the so-called parallel degree programme in the next academic year, Helb Chief Executive Benjamin Cheboi said on Thursday. He said the self-sponsored programme had more than 10,000 students who had sought loans from the board.

"The money will be advanced to the needy cases, as it is insufficient to meet the demand," he said. Cheboi went on: "We will give priority to students who may have lost jobs in the course of their studies or have had their source of finance disrupted." More>>>

gladwell otieno
Like mother like daughter: Former Transparency International Director, Ms Gladwell Otieno was sacked for being her own person. She is the daughter of the fiery Wambui Otieno and the late criminal lawyer, SM Otieno. Wambui famously took on a whole clan over the burial of her husband.

TI appoints new director

By Isaac Ongiri, June 19 2008
Transparency International - Kenya has a new executive director. Mr Job Ogonda, formerly of TI-Berlin, replaces Mr Mwalimu Mati, who was sacked. The position has been vacant since last June. TI-Kenya board, headed by Dr Richard Leakey, announced the appointment.

The watchdog has witnessed turbulent times following the controversial sacking of Mati and his predecessor, Ms Gladwel Otieno. The two were dismissed when they separately differed with the board.

Ogonda, like his predecessors, has signed a three-year contract within which he is expected to steer the organisation that has been hit by a leadership crisis following managerial disputes. Mati and Otieno were sacked within nine months in unclear circumstances. More>>>

Fury greets MPs tax resistance

By our correspondent, June 19 2008
Kenyans were united in fury against MPs opposed to the taxation of their allowances even as the Government insisted public servants must make a date with the revenue collector. Separate statements by the Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura and Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua left no doubts a major battle was looming between the Government and the MPs opposed to taxation of their allowances. "There is a strong feeling in Government legislators should participate in taxation," said Muthaura.

Some Kenyans, however, challenged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to give directions on the tax debate, saying only the two top leaders were being taken seriously. Muthaura and Mutua said MPs worldwide were paying taxes and local lawmakers should not be exempted.

A cross-section of Kenyans told the MPs to lead by example and stop belittling other citizens by apparently "laughing" at their plight and financial burdens complicated by high inflation and spiralling prices of consumer goods. More>>>

kenyan vegetables
Maryam Imbumi of Bio-university International explains types of vegetables found in Kenya to the UN head of Habitat, Anna Tibajiuka, President Kibaki and Agriculture Minister William Ruto during the FAO 25th regional conference for Africa at the UN, Gigiri, Nairobi, on Thursday.

Sabaot militia financiers nicked

By our correspondents, June 19 2008
The Government has turned the heat on suspected financiers of the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) as it battles the remnants of the rag-tag Mt Elgon militia. So far, five civic leaders, among them the chairman of Mt Elgon County Council, Mr Benson Chesikak, have been arrested in the past month over links with the militia.

After the death of SLDF commander Wycliffe Matakwei last month, Western PC Abdul Mwasserah warned SLDFÕs financiers to surrender or be arrested. He said some sponsors were known, and they could choose between surrender and arrest.

A councillor, Mr Rofas Siyoi of Chepkube Ward in Cheptais Division, was arrested three days ago at the Malaba border as he boarded a vehicle in Bungoma town. He was taken to the Kapkoto army camp near Cheptais More>>>

Marende cautions MPs over quorum

By Philip Mulee, June 19 2008
SPEAKER Kenneth Marende yesterday accused legislators of causing quorum hitches in the House . Marende consequently directed Deputy Leader of Government Business and Justice Minister Martha Karua to ensure MPs were in the House to transact business. The leader of government business and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is out of the country. The Speaker was annoyed by lack of quorum, which made the House break earlier than expected on Tuesday and Wednesday interrupting the budget debate.

As a result the budget debate which is allocated seven days lost two days. In a communication from the Chair, Marende urged ministers and MPs to take their job seriously by attending sessions and more so the budget debate. He said half of the 2008/2009 Budget to run Government affairs must be approved before June 26, 2008, but this might not be possible if the slow pace continues More>>>

US to upgrade Kibera slum

By Emmanuel Onyango, June 19 2008
Prime Minister Raila Odinga took the case of Nairobi’s dilapidated housing to the United States Congress and was rewarded with assurances on slum upgrading. Raila in particular raised concern over the non-remittance of funds by multi-lateral donors who pledged to sponsor slum upgrading projects.

New York state representative to Congress Nita Lowey assured Raila that Kibera Slums was still eligible for low cost housing funding and said the slum upgrading would be hastened. Lowey visited Kibera in April this year. The PM explained that the 100 new units in Kibera were almost complete and decanting sites would be modernised and have access to schools, markets and workshops. More>>>

Why was Arungah sacked but Muthaura retained as PS?

By our correpondent, June 19 2008
A Cabinet minister caused uproar in Parliament yesterday when he said that President Kibaki had appointed six permanent secretaries who are above the mandatory retirement age of 55 years. Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno named the six as the Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Francis Muthaura, who is 60 years old, Mr Joseph Kinyua (Finance), Prof Karega Mutahi (Education),  Mr Patrick Nyoike (Energy), Dr James Nyikal (Public Health) and Dr Mohamed Isahakia (PM’s Office). But Ms Abdallah asked the minister to explain the criteria used to retain the “white-haired men” while women were sent home. The MP named some of those sent home as Ms Joyce Nyamweya, Prof Maria Nzomo and Ms Rachel Arunga. More>>>

Uganda gives land to Kenyan refugees

More than 1,800 Kenyan refugees in Uganda have each been allocated a one-acre piece of land for temporary cultivation. Their spokesman, Mr Joseph Githu, told The Standard on telephone that they had been allocated land in Kariondong scheme in Masindi District of Western Uganda.

"When we were moved from the Mulanda transit centre near Tororo in Eastern Uganda to Masindi a few weeks back, we were all registered and allocated an acre of land.

Mr Emanuel Nyabera, a local spokesman for UNHCR, on Wednesday said the Ugandan system of hosting refugees was slightly different from the Kenyan one. "In Kenya, refugees live in camps, but in Uganda they are offered land for temporary cultivation to support themselves," he said. Githu said that despite the refugees having been given the land, some were ready to return home and that they were concerned over the Kenyan Government’s failure to assist them. More>>>

Kenyan refugees in Uganda have been given one acre plots land to cultivate their own food as Operation "Rudi Nyumbani" fails to to assure returnees safety.

Huge cloud hangs over safety of Kenya's airspace

By Shad Bulimo and Beauttah Omanga, June 17 2008
A huge cloud of doubt hangs over the safety of Kenya's airspace. During the requiem mass for the late Road Minister, Kipkalya Kones yesterday, anger against the suspect record of Kenya's air safety was palpable as National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende called, for the second time this week, for accountability by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Former Roads Minister Kones, Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso, Bett and pilot Christoph Schinerr died last week on Tuesday in a plane crash near Narok town, on their way to Kericho.

Marende said the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) owed Kenyans answers on the safety of the local airspace. "Kenyans are waiting for answers from KCAA. We want to know how secure our airspace is and those responsible should stop passing the buck," said the Speaker. More>>>

Khalwale threatens to name Goldenberg MPs

By INGONEWS Reporter and Alex Ndegwa, June 17 2008
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Dr Bonny Khalwale, has accused Kangundo MP, Mr Johnstone Muthama of being one of teh main beneficiaries of Goldenberg scam in which the country lost billions of shillings. On a day of heated exchanges in Parliament, Mr Muthama sparked outrage when he supported the proposal to tax MPs allowances, saying he was aware it was not popular among MPs "but I am not here to befriend anyone."

His remark angered MPs Bonny Khalwale (Ikolomani, New Ford-K) and Charles Kilonzo (Yatta, ODM-K) who said individuals who had reaped from ill-gotten wealth were the ones calling for tax cuts "now that they had enriched themselves".

Khalwale accused Muthama of having benefitted from Sh40 million of the multi-billion shilling Goldenberg scandal. The Temporary Speaker, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, had a hectic time controlling the House as debate got nasty. Khalwale threatened to table a list of beneficiaries of the scam, "who include Muthama", to expose leaders' dishonesty. More>>>

Big boys don't cry but Rift Valley Kingpin, William Ruto is overcome with emotion during the requiem mass for Kipkalya Kones in Nairobi yesterday.

Abisai urges women to support new land policy

By Lucianne Limo, June 17 2008
Women have been urged to push for the adoption of the draft National Land Policy. Policy and Advocacy Program officer Nancy Abisai said the policy addresses injustices women have faced in the past with regard to land ownership. "We should rally behind the enactment of the policy because problems of succession, land ownership, access and control of land will be a thing of the past," she said.

Abisai was speaking at a workshop on the gender implications of the draft National Land Policy organised by the Regional Centre for Stability, Security and Peace in Africa, at a Nairobi hotel on Wednesday. "The draft policy protects the rights of women and outlaws customs that discriminated against women in regards to land ownership," she said. The proposed law stipulates that women, as key producers, should get equal rights with regard to family or matrimonial property. More>>>

Frustrated Prof Adeniji gives up

By Isaac Ongiri and Abiya Ochola, June 17 2008
Mediated talks co-chair Oluyemi Adeniji could leave by the end of the month as negotiators resolved to wind up the talks next week. Agriculture Minister William Ruto, who chaired the talks in the absence of Prof Adeniji, on Wednesday said Adeniji might not be available throughout the remaining sessions. He said Adeniji, who is in Addis Ababa to brief the African Union on the talks, is expected to attend another session scheduled for Monday More>>>

New law of bankruptcy on the way

By Moses Njagi, June 17 2008
The Kenya Law Reform Commission has prepared a Bill to counter the abuse of the Bankruptcy Act by litigants ordered by courts to pay complainants. Commission chairman Kathurima M’Inoti said litigants ordered to pay costs and damages took advantage of the Act to have courts declare them bankrupt to avoid paying debts. M’Inoti said when that happens litigants do not suffer the full consequences of bankruptcy as required by law. More>>>

Burnt to death in own homes

By Jane Akinyi, June 17 2008
Six people, four of them members of one family, were burnt to death in separate house fires in Homa Bay and Migori districts. In the Homa Bay tragedy, a businessman died with his two children and a relative, a Form Four student, when fire gutted their Sango estate house at 1.30am on Wednesday. Mr Moses Dimba and his children, Sheila Adhiambo, five, Randy Patrick, four, and a relative, Mouline Anyango, a student at Lala Secondary School, died as neighbours tried to rescue them. . More>>>

Pattni must face the law - Wako

By David Ohito, June 17 2008
The Government will not drop Goldenberg-related charges against businessman Kamlesh Pattni, Attorney-General Amos Wako has said. Wako told a parliamentary committee that the Government would not drop criminal cases involving Pattni and was ready to revive them next month.

Wako was answering questions by the committee, which has expressed fears that the Grand Regency Hotel may have been sold secretly by well-connected individuals. The Finance, Planning, Trade and Tourism Committee chairman, Mr Chris Okemo, complained that Government officials were taking his committee round in circles as they allegedly tried to conceal the truth of the sale and handover of the hotel. More>>>

The sign reads 10kms to Mumias, soon this will be 38MW as the sugar firm ventures into electricity generation. It has already signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power & Lighting Company. The Tarda project, set to roll out over 24 months, would make Mumias one of the largest independent power producers in Kenya.

Mumias to produce power

By our correspondent, June 17 2008
Mumias Sugar Company has signalled its intention of making new forays into the power industry after the National Environmental Management cleared its multi-million joint venture with parastatal Tarda.

On Tuesday, the chief executive Evans Kidero told to the Nation that Mumias would produce 38 megawatts at the $341 million (Sh2 billion) Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority project, of which 26 to 28 megawatts would be delivered to the national grid. The firm, currently entirely based in Western Kenya, is implementing another co-generation project to be on stream later this year. More>>>

Adulterer banged dead in the act

By Robert Nyasato and Nick Oluoch, June 17 2008
A middle-aged man paid the ultimate price after he was allegedly caught in bed with a married woman. The woman’s in-laws, who caught the duo in the act, descended on the man with blows, kicks and sticks, beating him to death.

The incident occurred at Amabuko, Rigoma Division, Masaba District on Monday night. The woman’s husband had earlier been arrested and was locked up at Keroka Police Station for illegal possession of chang’aa (illegal brew). "It seems to man’s relatives were bitter that the wife was having an illicit affair with the deceased," said Mr Lawrence Mwaura Njoroge, the local OCPD. Police took the body to Gucha Hospital mortuary. More>>>

poor kenyans
Members of the civil society charged in court for questioning just how many Kenyans can afford a shs100 lunch.

Six 'witches' saved from lynch mob

By our correspondents, June 17 2008
A quick intervention by a DO saved six suspected witches from a lynch mob in Kitutu Chache, Kisii District. Mosocho DO Joseph Mwangi Wamuti acted swiftly and saved the six from a mob baying for their blood in Nyamondo village on Monday.

"I received a call that a suspected witch was about to be lynched and rushed there. We found the mob torturing the suspect whom we rescued and took to Kisii Police Station," he said.

Recently, 15 suspected witches were killed in the neighbouring Marani Division and 53 houses torched. Scores of suspects were arrested for allegedly lynching the witches. More>>>

ann wafula
Ann Wafula-Strike: ambassador par excellence

Ann Wafula: Living proof disability not inability

By Kenya London News, June 16 2008
Anne Wafula Strike is an Ambassador for AbleChildAfrica.  As a disabled woman who was born and grew up in Kenya she has first hand experience of what it is like to be a disabled girl growing up in Africa.  AbleChildAfrica specialises exclusively in advocating for and supporting disabled children and disabled young people in Africa. 

On 18th June Anne will attend a reception at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Fowler to raise awareness about the need to improve the education of disabled children in Africa.  AbleChildAfrica estimates that 1 in 10 children in Africa, that’s up to 52 million children, are living with disability.  Whilst 63% of African children are now finishing primary school in some countries only 2% of disabled children reach this stage.  Those few disabled children in Africa who do attend school face multiple challenges; a lack of specialized equipment, lack of parent and community involvement, inaccessible school facilities and learning environments, poorly trained teachers without the awareness of the needs of disabled children and negative attitudes amongst their peers. More>>>

Pattni stuns House watchdog

By David Ohito, June 16 2008
Businessman Kamlesh Pattni surrendered the Grand Regency Hotel in return for amnesty, he has claimed. The revelations were made before the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning, Trade and Tourism, which is investigating the sale of the five-star Nairobi hotel. The committee chairman, Mr Chris Okemo, said Pattni’s claims stunned his committee.

"We will seek further clarifications from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Kenya," he said. He said Pattni testified that he would not give up his hotel at a third of its value when the market price was Sh7.5 billion. More>>>

Fish economy under threat

By Ann Ndung’u, June 16 2008
Fishing contributes about 5-10 per cent in food security, Fisheries minister Paul Otuoma has said. Otuoma said more than 300,000 people worked in the sector either in fish processing or boat making.

He added that an estimated five per cent of the country’s labour force depended on fishing for their livelihoods. The minister noted that the annual harvest was on the decline due to uncontrolled access, increased pollution and siltation in rivers and lakes. Otuoma said the decline in water levels in most lakes in the country had also adversely affected fishing. “Currently there is a decline of water levels in lakes Victoria, Baringo, Turkana and Naivasha,” he disclosed. More>>>

Kisii upgraded to provincial hospital

By Oanga Oyugi, June 16 2008
THE Government has secured a Sh1.2 billion grant from the Japanese government for the construction of an outpatient wing at the Kisii District Hospital, which has been upgraded to provincial status.

Medical Services minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said works on the project had been projected to commence in January, but were delayed due to the post elections violence. Nyong’o said the upgrading to be undertaken on the Kisii level 5 hospital would ensure provision of quality services not only in the larger Gusii region but in the larger South Nyanza districts and south Rift Valley districts. More>>>

Marende: Sack aviation officials

By our correspondents, June 16 2008
Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has demanded that top aviation officials be sacked. Marende said this would help inject professionalism in the industry. He said the Government should overhaul the industry since it was dogged by lack of confidence.

"We must be prepared to sacrifice some people in the industry if we are to restore the confidence of Kenyans in our air space," Marende said. He added: "If it means doing an overhaul in the industry, so be it." The Speaker was addressing the Press after condoling with the families of Cabinet ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso. More>>>

raila and akasa
Bunyore looks: Sophie Akasa from Ebusikhale Epang'a in Bunyore with grandfather, Raila Odinga in London enroute to USA. More>>>.

45,000 IDPs frustrate 'Rudi Nyumbani'

By our correspondents, June 16 2008
More than 45,000 displaced People (IDPs) have refused to go back home for fear of their lives. Special Programmes minister, Dr Naomi Shaban, said the Government had resettled 190,000 IDPs.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Secretary, Mr Moses Gitari, at the opening of a workshop on the National Platform on Disaster Reduction in Mombasa, the minister termed the operation a success. Meanwhile, Nyanza PC, Mr Paul Olando, has said the Government would not continue to help IDPs who have declined to be resettled under the ‘Rudi Nyumbani’ programme. He said the 998 displaced people still at four camps in the province would miss out on aid meant for those who have been resettled. More>>>

Where can I learn Oloogoli?

June 16 2008
I am a Maragoli aged 30 born and raised in Nairobi and I am ashamed to admit that I cant speak my mother tongue and so I was wondering if there is a place I can go to learn (like a class) I figured if there was someone who would know it would be you guys. Do you know if there is a place like that, please help - Patrick Amugo, Nairobi.

Does anyone know of any Luhya language classes in Nairobi or anywhere? - Editor

Student stranded in London appeals for help

June 15 2008
I am a Government sponsored Kenya student, currently studying in the UK. My first academic year is ending June 2008. The next academic year starts September 2008. About two  weeks ago, l lost my passport here in UK and l have reported the matter to the police station. l had already booked my air ticket back home for holidays.

Due to time factor l could not get a new passport on time instead the Kenya Embassy has give me travel documents which have to be approved by Home Office. The Home Office says the document will take upto 4 weeks for approval. My flight is on 26/6/2008. l stay in the hostels Furzedown Hall of Residence SW17 9 BB and by 5/7/2008 am supposed to have vacated the hostels. Am looking for anything/something to do so that l can earn some money to cater for private accommodation while waiting for the travel documents to be approved. My fears are also if l dont travel on the indicated date l will loose the ticket. Or what can l do?. Your advise will be highly appreciated.
Evans Mulanda Chanzu, London June 15 2008. Contact Evans

kibera slum
Kibera slum in Nairobi will be no more once plants to upgrade it are implemented

Shs883b earmarked for slum upgrade

By Marion Wambugu and Samuel Otieno, June 15 2008
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (Kensup) is one of the key Government undertakings aimed at addressing urban housing and its challenges. It includes the construction of houses to improve living conditions of the 5.3 million slum dwellers.

The programme’s overall goal includes upgrading living standards of slum dwellers, at an estimated cost of Sh883.76 billion. It signifies the Government’s commitment to the fulfilment of Kenya’s National Housing Policy, the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. However, to facilitate swift implementation of the programme’s objectives, the Kenya Low Cost and Infrastructure Fund (Kensuf) has been established to mobilise funds. The pioneer settlement-upgrading programme comprises 12 villages, covering approximately 225 hectares of land, with an estimated population of 500,000 dwellers. More>>>

Kenyan woman held over shs113m cocaine haul in Mauritius

By our correspondents , June 15 2008
A Kenyan woman is being held by police in Mauritius, together with six Tanzanian sportsmen on suspicion of smuggling drugs into the country. The woman was caught with a bag containing four kilogrammes of cocaine worth $1.8 million (Sh113 million).

According to African Press Agency, Ms Pilisila Wanga Ndiritu and the six Tanzanians were arrested on Thursday night in a hotel in Quatre Bornes, 15km from the capital, Port Louis. Mauritius police said she was arrested at Port Louis after flying out of Nairobi on Tuesday last week on the same flight with the Tanzanians. A police superintendent in Mauritius, Mr Dev Ramasawmy, indicated that the suspects were in custody for importing four kilogrammes of heroine in pellet form to the island. More>>>

Tax wars engulf MPs, judges

By Ben Agina, June 15 2008
Finance minister Amos Kimunya has opened tax wars on two fronts - and he is unlikely to win, The Standard can report. Two roadblocks lie in the path of his ambition to tax MPs - tasked with making or amending laws - and High Court judges, who are constitutional office holders. The Finance minister’s move appeared to set the Government and the Judiciary in a collision path and open conflict.

Until now, judges have kept their grievances to themselves aware that public silence is the price they must pay for their special position in the Constitution. But yesterday, sources in the Judiciary intimated that there was disquiet among judges over the Kimunya proposals, with a section wondering why they should be taxed alongside MPs. Unlike the legislators, they say, they are not allowed to engage in any form of business or private practice. More>>>

wako for charity
Shedding the pounds: From smiling to sporting, Attorney General, Amos Wako (in shorts) is flanked by legislators - Danson Mungatana and Esther Mathenge - in a 10km walk in aid of persons with disabilities in Nairobi.

Foreign help sought over land

By Joel Okwayo and Philip Mbaji, June 15 2008
THE Government will seek help from foreign experts to find a solution to the thorny land problem, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has said. Mudavadi said Agenda Four of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation talks would require foreign land experts. "Agenda Four cannot be resolved at the Serena Talks as it involves developing Bills to be presented to Parliament for further debate," said Mudavadi. Mudavadi said the issue might require a commission similar to the one led by retired South African judge, Johann Kriegler. Mudavadi was speaking at Moi Girls Vokoli in his Sabatia constituency. More>>>

kones death scene
Investigators at the scene of the air crash that killed ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso.

Shocking questions over Kones, Laboso death

By our correspondent, June 14 2008
Investigators are asking hard and shocking questions on the Tuesday air crash that killed Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones and Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso. Barring the paranormal, fate, and the unlikelihood of sudden power loss they are agreed the four who died would have landed in Kericho, were it not for certain ‘human factors’. he questions range from, according sources familiar with the preliminary investigation, claims the plane could have undergone an engine change. That the one it was flying on the day of the crash isn’t the one it was inspected and certified to fly with. "Was the plane flown on the fateful day 5YBAM or 5Y BVE?’’ he asked. More>>>

Mudavadi at Keveye

Deputy PM, Musalia Mudavadi addressed parents and teachers at Keveye Girls Secondary School at Chavakali in his Sabatia constituency over the weekend. More>>>

What Kimunya did not tell you

By Gakuu Mathenge And Ben Agina, June 13 2008
Finance Minister Amos Kimunya’s failure to allocate funds for the comprehensive constitutional reforms, which constitutes the bedrock of the National Accord, has sent tongues wagging. Along with the absence of a clear-cut statement on the funding for the legal and political reforms, failure to outline the sources of funding for political parties through the Exchequer in line with the new law also ruffled feathers.

It is what was not in his Budget Speech, more than what was, that has raised the red flag on President Kibaki’s Government’s commitment to resolve the review stalemate that almost uprooted his Government in 2005. The leading institutions targeted by the reforms include the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Judiciary, and the police, all of which were blamed for the flawed December presidential elections. More>>>

kibaki, raila, kimunya
Finance Minister, Amos Kimunya flanked by the principals, President Kibaki and PM, Raila Odinga (right). Budget made no provision for new political dispensation.

Principal robber is headmaster

By Robert Nyasato and Jane Akinyi, June 13 2008
A head teacher suspected to be the ringleader of a gang is among 20 suspects arrested over highway robberies in parts of Nyanza Province. Officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit picked the principal from his house in Miruka on the Nyamira/Rachuonyo border. Police said accomplices, arrested earlier, implicated the head teacher.

They told the police that he was their ‘team leader’ and bankrolled their activities. Nyamira Officer Commanding Police Division Lawrence Njoroge Mwaura confirmed the arrests and said they were compiling evidence to prosecute the suspects. Local Divisional Criminal Investigation Officer Jacob Muchai said a search in the head teacher’s house unearthed a gunny bag used to carry a rifle but the weapon was missing. They also recovered gun oil. More>>>

VAT on food scrapped

By Kairo Thuo, June 12 2008
Some tax measures proposed in the Budget, not to mention the main pillars around which it was formulated, make a mwananchi Budget in long time. Though bread and rice are not particularly the staple food, they are a preferred and fast option in many instances.

For the minister to propose the zero-rating of the same indicates that the Government is conscious many people depend on bread and rice. Another proposal that is definitely not a window dressing effort is the VAT zero-rating of motorcycles with an engine capacity of 250 cc and below. The move will make the motorcycles cheaper and they could easily become the preferred mode of transport for the middle and lower income citizens. More>>>

slum economics
Koffi Anan, five, demonstrates against high food prices in Kibera slums. Kimunya has removed VAT on food

Budget won't reduce inflation

By Gladys Makumi, June 12 2008
In anticipation of this year’s Budget, I came up with a wish list, top among them being that taxation on fuel would reduce. But this was not to be. As much as the minister is eager to reduce inflationary pressure, he seems to have ignored the multiplier effect of fuel prices.

The prices of manufactured products are unlikely to decline, meaning that the mwananchi’s monthly spending will not change. As the cost of operating a business increases, it is inevitable that the consumer will to suffer more. This means inflation is unlikely to get to the teens any time soon. This is one of those years when we throw all rationale to the wind and think about the effects of the budget from a personal perspective. More>>>

Winners: Transport, education, IT

By Samuel Otieno, June 12 2008
The transport sector, which has suffered in the hands of dubious contractors and also experienced setbacks during post-election violence, may be on the road to recovery after Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, allocated Sh52 billion for infrastructure bonds. They will finance the rehabilitation and expansion of the road network, the enhancement of energy and water supply capacities, and further roll out the ICT infrastructure. In addition, a sum of Sh65 billion has been allocated to construct new roads, rehabilitate dilapidated ones and routine maintenance of various roads. More>>

Benga maestro dies

By Ochieng’ Ogodo, June 12 2008
Benga maestro Omondi Tonny is dead. Omondi died at the Coast General Hospital where he had been admitted after a road accident in Bamburi, Mombasa. His brother and head of Limpopo Band, Mr Musa Juma, confirmed that the artiste was involved in a car crash on his way to a performance venue. He succumbed to injuries, his brother told The Standard. He said plans were underway for fundraising concerts to offset bills and funeral expenses. Fans will recall Omondi’s latest album Jacky wa Tonny. His other household hits include Akinyi Judy.

nairobi slum
Budget ignores social injustices: The budget failed to address critical issues, which include economic reconstruction, creating employment and developing human capital. More>>>

Were murder case begins

By our correspondents, June 12 2008
The State has lined up witnesses to testify in a case in which four suspects are charged with the murder of former Embakasi MP, Melitus Mugabe Were. Senior Principal State Counsel, Mr Vincent Wahoro, told the court on Thursday that they would present 22 witnesses. Wahoro said this shortly after four suspects were charged in court. James Omondi alias Castro, Wyclife Walibwa Simiyu alias Zimbo, Paul Otieno Omondi alias Baba and Mary Muthoni Wamaitha, however, pleaded not guilty. More>>>

kilgoris violence car burnt
Ethnic violence flares up in Kilgoris as 14 houses and property belonging to one ethnic comunity were torched. More>>>
odm wnners
Winner takes it all: ODM winners from left: Wilburforce Ottichilo - Emuhaya, Benjamin Langat - Ainamoi and Mohamed Gabow -Wajir North

Ottichilo wins Emuhaya for ODM

By our correspondents, June 11 2008
ODM has won three parliamentary seats as its rival-cum-partner Party of National Unity ran away with two in the just-concluded by-elections. The Wednesday polls were largely peaceful although armed police kept vigil at various tallying centres. ODM clinched Ainamoi, Wajir North and Emuhaya constituencies while PNU won the Kilgoris and Embakasi. In Emuhaya, Wilbur Otichilo of ODM got 10,947 beating Kaddu’s Julius Ochiel, who managed 8,488 votes as Narc-Kenya candidate Prof Norah Olembo came third. ODM’s Benjamin Langat is the new MP for Ainamoi taking over from his late brother David Kimutai Too. Langat got 17,276 votes to beat UDM’s Dr Paul Chepkwony who managed 16,266 in the hotly contested by-election. More>>>

Emuhaya candidate alleges fraud

By INGONEWS Reporter and agencies, June 11 2008
Mr Julius Ochiel, the Kaddu candidate for Emuhaya has cried wolf that there were plans to rig today's elections. He claimed that his agents were attacked and robbed of mobile phones and money by supporters of his rivals at the Muchio polling station in Ebutongoi. "Such attacks cause low voter turnout because people fear violence," said Ochiel.

He criticised the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), claiming it had failed to take action against some of its officials who held meetings with a candidate to plot how to rig the poll. Speaking after voting at Mundabala polling station at around 11am, Ochiel said ECK officials were still supervising the election even after he had tabled evidence of their secret meetings to the Commission’s top officials. More>>>

kones death plane
The Cessna plane in which minister Kones and Lorna Laboso perished

Emuhaya attracts record number of candidates

By INGONEWS Reporter and correspondents, June 11 2008
Emuhaya constituency with 81,000 registerd voters is notorious for attracting one of the largest contigent of aspiring politicians. In yesterday's by election, some 18 candidates were cleared to contest the seat although one, Billy Nyonje of Vipa Progressive Alliance pulled out to back Sheeldon Muchilwa, the former MP.

In last year’s General Election, Emuhaya had 28 candidates, second only to Kitutu Masaba, which had a record 33. The elections were hotly contested with Kenneth Marende (now National Assembly Speaker) winning with 5,313 votes. Ochiel and Otichilo closely followed with 5,017 with 4,980. This by election witnessed a low turn out. In Ebusirande polling station, which has 3,000 registered voters, only 64 people had voted by 2pm, yesterday. The same was experienced at Waluke polling station where only 146 voters had turned-up by 2pm out of the registered 600 voters. Returning Officer Joshua Musungu said election materials were delivered to the 150 polling stations on time. More>>>

Tiger's 2030 vision

By James Anyanzwa, June 10 2008
Kenyans braved a chilly morning in Nairobi to usher in an ambitious economic blue print that could grow the battered economy to double digit level in the next two decades. President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga led the nation in unveiling the country’s historic Vision 2030 plan aimed to increase the annual gross domestic product (GDP) rates to an average of 10 per cent and create 800,000 jobs every year. The high-powered event was also attended by, among others, Cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, members of parliament, representatives of development partners, private sector and civil societies. More>>>

No quick kill as Safaricom dips

By our correspondent, June 10 2008
Safaricom shares eased on their second day of trading as retail investors sold their Initial Public Offer (IPO) allocations, brokers said on Tuesday. In the early hours of trading, the average price for the mobile phone operator stood at Sh7.13 a share in off-exchange trading, a three per cent fall from Monday’s closing price, brokers said, noting that the trades were in a wide range between Sh6.65 and Sh8. "It has come down. Most of the sales have been done below Sh7," said one broker who declined to be named. A second broker said 61 million shares were on offer against bids of 1.5 million. More>>>

Govt ditches duty on maize imports

By Kenneth Ogosia, June 10 2008
The Government has removed the 35 per cent import duty on maize and wheat flour with immediate effect, Agriculture minister William Ruto has said. Mr Ruto made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that the move was aimed at reducing the cost of food prices, especially the staples.

He said the Government would import three million bags of maize from South Africa and Zambia to check the rising food prices. Two weeks ago civil society groups took to the streets  protesting against the skyrocketing food prices in the country. More>>>

konesThe late Kipkalya Kones: Bomet MP
raila and mudavadi
PM, Raila Odinga overcome with grief upon learning of the death of two ODM ministers as deputy PM, Musalia Mudavadi watches in disbelief.
The late Lorna Laboso: Sotik MP

By elections clouded by death of two ministers

By INGONEWS Reporter and agencies, June 11 2008
As Kenyans go to cast their votes in today's by elections in Emuhaya, Kilgoris, Ainamoi and Embakasi, the death of two ministers in an air crash yesterday will no doubt put a damper on the process. The nation was last night stunned by the death in a plane crash of Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso, an Assistant Minister in the Office of the Vice-President. That the ministers died on the eve of five by-elections, two occasioned by the brutal killings of two MPs - Mugabe Were (ODM, Embakasi) and Kimutai Too (ODM, Ainamoi) - gave the tragedy an even more ominous twist. It would appear that the jinx that so much dogged the Kibaki administration in his first term as President had returned to wreak havoc on the Grand Coalition Government. More>>>

Atwoli accuses LSK, KAM of slave driving

By our correspondents, June 10 2008
Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Kenya has taken the battle over implementation of new labour laws to the international front and sought for technical and financial assistance to fight enemies of the amended laws. The union’s secretary-general Francis Atwoli singled out the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), he accused before an International Labour Organisation (ILO) gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, of being hellbent to frustrate the new laws with a view to continue exploiting workers. More>>>

Kombo gives away some of his party privileges

By Fredrick Odiero, June 10 2008
FORD-KENYA chairman Musikari Kombo has announced plans to amend the party constitution to allow any member to vie for the presidency. Kombo said the current constitution only allowed the chairman to vie for the top seat. He said the party’s national executive committee would soon meet to ratify the amendments. Kombo said the new development has been occasioned by members’ wish to have any party member, besides the chairman, to vie for the post. He was speaking in Emuhaya where he had gone to drum up support for the party candidate Jirus Amayi in the today’s by-election. More>>

Jirongo says it's Luhya's turn in 2012

By Fredrick Odiero, June 10 2008
Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo has called on other communities in the country to support a presidential bid by a member of the Luhya community come 2012. Jirongo said the community had over the years supported successive regimes, adding that it was time one of its own ascended to the highest office. The KADDU chairman was speaking in Emuhaya while on a campaign trail to woo voters to back the party’s candidate Julius Ochiel Sikalo in the poll. He noted that going by the history of successive regimes, the Luhya community had proved they were not tribal and told the community to support his party, saying it would take care of their interests ahead of the 2012 General Election. More>>>

kipkalya kones
Kipkalya Kones: crashes to death

Breaking News...

Two ministers die in air crash

By INGONEWS Reporter, June 10
ODM suffers further loses as Roads minister, Kipkalya Kones (left) and Lorna Laboso, assistant minister for home affairs were killed today in a plane crash in Narok. Ms Laboso is the Sotik MP while Mr Kones is the MP for Bomet. It was not clear whether the plane was on a campaign trip ahead of tomorrow's by elections in Kilgoris.

lorna laboso
Sotik MP, Lorna Laboso is one of the few Kipsigis women to make it in male dominated political landscape
sammy and cathy kieti
Cathy Kieti from Ukambani is marrying Sammy Kitoto from Maragoli on 9/08/08

Try marrying a Kamba girl

By Shem Luchiri, June 10 2008
In the Kamba tribe marriage rituals and customs are quite unique. It all starts when the young man is attracted to a young woman and they begin to date. They keep it between themselves and on a later stage manifest their love. The man asks for her hand in marriage and the woman has all the supreme power to accept or reject the proposal and if she accepts the traditions begin. The couple retreats and the family takes over making the necessary arrangements for the wedding.

The negotiation consisting of the bride price or dowry consists of commodities such as goats, cows and money in most African societies. The basic point of a marriage gift in African society is that it expresses gratitude on the bridegrooms family for having the honour and priviledge to have the woman for a bride to their son. Before the actual ceremony it is customary that the bridegroom and his family would go to the brides home and prepare a meal for them and dine together and finalise the dowry. Once all this is said and done all the necessary preparations are made by both families towards the wedding day.

People in Nyanza are starving

By Jane Akinyi, June 9 2008
Nyanza Province has been hit by hunger following high food prices. Most families can barely afford basic food and are going hungry as the effects of inflation continue to bite. A survey by The Standard shows that rural families without steady income are the worst hit and surviving on one meal a day. Prices of grain, vegetables and other necessities have doubled. A two kilogramme tin of maize is selling at Sh60, up from Sh30 four months ago and Sh50 a week ago. The same amount of beans and green grams is selling at Sh180 up from Sh100 in the last two months. The price of a kilogramme of rice has risen from Sh50 to Sh75. Vegetable prices are not any better with less than 10 leaves of sukuma wiki selling for Sh5. A cabbage costs Sh35 up from Sh15. More>>>

machakos market in nairobi
Machakos Market in Nairobi. Prices of foodstuff has doubled causing starvation in most parts of the country.

$10billion grand budget unveiled Thursday

By James Anyanzwa, June 9 2008
Finance minister, Mr Amos Kimunya, will this Thursday present a Sh594.7 billion inaugural Budget, under the Grand Coalition Government. Against the backdrop of rising inflation, a bloated Cabinet, hurting internally displaced persons, and high unemployment levels, Kimunya will no doubt be walking on a tightrope. The minister is widely expected to inject a stimulus package to jumpstart the economic recovery following the devastating effects of post-election violence while at the same time ensuring no further financial strain to taxpayers, whose purchasing power has gravely been eroded over the last five months due to escalating prices of basic commodities. More>>>

Khaniri, Keya and Bifwoli yet to receive letters of appointment

By INGONEWS Reporter and agencies, June 9 2008
Three Luhya assistant ministers are yet to receive official letters of appointment and as a result, their names are missing on the payroll two months after being named to the Cabinet. The embarrassing details are but symptomatic of the disfunctional grand coaltion government. The three are: Athanas Manyala Keya (ODM): Lurambi MP, Asst. Minister for Gender and Children; Sylvester Wakoli Bifwoli (PNU): Bumula MP, Asst. Minister for Lands and George Munyasa Khaniri: (ODM): Hamisi MP, Asst. Minister for Information and Communications. They are part of an army of 52 assistant ministers appointed by President Mwai Kibaki in a negotiated government of national unity. More>>>

raila and njonjo
Power lunch: Former power broker, Charles Njonjo and PM, Raila Odinga share ugali and fish at Kosewe Restaurant in Nairobi. Raila is to be enthroned as a Kikuyu elder in a ceremony on Nyeri on 20 July, the purpose of which is to promote inter-ethnic harmony.

Raila to be enthroned as Kikuyu elder

By Peter Orengo, June 9 2008
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Attorney General Charles Njonjo had a rare lunch meeting in the city to discuss peace. Njonjo and Mr Peter Kuguru, a businessman-cum-politician, invited Raila to the popular Ranalo Restaurant on Kimathi Street for the meeting.

Business at the restaurant, popularly known as Kosewe, came to a standstill as the three sat among other diners for lunch. Njonjo and Kuguru briefed the PM of plans to honour him as a Kikuyu elder in a symbolic gesture to reconcile him with a community that voted heavily against him. The ceremony is scheduled for July 20 in Nyeri town.

A press release indicated that one of the objectives of honouring Raila would be to "cultivate inter-tribal and cultural unity and reconcilitation". Addressing the Press after the meal, Raila said he had accepted the invitation by Njonjo and Kuguru as a gesture of brotherhood. Present at the restaurant was famous Kikuyu cultural and gospel musician, Mr Joseph Kamaru. More>>>

Safaricom investors 45% richer

By our correspondents, June 9 2008
It was a day of mixed feelings for Safaricom’s new 860,000 investors when their shares hit the market for the first time on Monday. After months of anticipation and anxiety, the shares finally began trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange at Sh7.25 a share, 45 per cent above the offer price, before closing at Sh7.35 a share. The Government sold 25 per cent of its stake in the company - or 10 billion shares - to local and foreign investors, at an offer price of Sh5 and Sh5.50 a share respectively. More>>>

Kenya catches up with electronic world

By Dave Opiyo, June 9 2008
A new electronic data bank on personal information for all citizens in the country is being developed. It will contain details on an individual’s gender, marital status and occupation among others.

While launching the process in Nairobi on Monday, Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’ said the new system, to speed up foolproof identification of individuals, would in the long run address challenges posed by such acts as terrorism and human trafficking. It would also help to prevent and detect fraud more efficiently. More>>>

Kitale Council cuts out water firm

By Abisai Amugune and David Musundi, June 9 2008
KITALE Municipal Council is the process of establishing a new water firm after severing links with Nzoia Water Company (NWC), according to Mayor Joshua Werunga. He said the formation of the water company would enable the council to achieve its objective of providing clean water to the residents. The mayor added that the NWC had been giving the council a raw deal forcing it to withdraw from the cluster that comprises Webuye, Kimilili, Bungoma and Mt Elgon districts. More>>>

11 MPs threaten to pull out of govt over amnesty

Kipngeno Cheruiyot and Stephen Ngetich, June 8 2008
Eleve legislators, a majority of them from Rift Valley, yesterday sought the unconditional release of youths arrested during the post-election violence and threatened to frustrate Government efforts to resettle the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the province if the demand was not met.

The 11 also said the continued incarceration of the youths may force them to reconsider their position in the coalition government. “The continued incarceration of the youths was not making matters any better for the coalition government and may force us to reconsider our support ”, they said.. 

The MPs included Assistant Ministers Charles Keter, Haroun Mwau and Peter Kenneth, MPs Prof. Margaret Kamar, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Isaac Ruto, Dr. .Julius Kones, Ababu Namwamba, Magerer Langat and Peris Chepchumba Simam among others. More>>>

fake goods
A police officer displays jerry cans of fake herbicides found in a house in Flamingo estate in Nakuru after authorities smashed a racket on counterfeit medicine.

Fake goods flood Kenya

By Ken Opala, June 8 2008
Kenyans are spending as much as Sh4 billion a year on cheap or fake products that have flooded the country, it can be revealed. Lives ar risk or have been lost as a result. More>>>

25,000 squatters to invade farms in Trans Nzoia

By John Oroni, June 8 2008
Over 25,000 squatters in Trans-Nzoia district have threatened to invade idle land in the area. The squatters warned they would invade private and State owned land ,saying the Government had failed to resettle them.

“We are ready to die, we have suffered a lot yet some people have huge chunk of unused farms,” said Christopher Mutashe, the chairman Trans-Nzoia Squatters Alliance. The squatters spoke at the Kitale Immaculate Catholic Church during a civic education seminar on National Land Policy organised by the church’s Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC).

A squatter, Ms Florence Nasimuyu, broke down into tears as she narrated how her husband deserted her because of poverty. “He just walked out of our rented room in Kiminini and left me with five children after life proved to became unbearable,” Nasimuyu said. More>>>

Wetangula loses bid to stop petition

By Nyakundi Nyamboga, June 8 2008
Mr John Koyi Waluke made waves by becoming the first person to file an election petition disputing last year’s General Election. Waluke, who was a parliamentary candidate on an ODM ticket, challenged the election of Mr Moses Wetangula as MP for Sirisia. Wetangula is the Foreign Affairs minister in the coalition Government.

However, before the petition could be heard, Wetangula and Omwangwe moved the High Court seeking orders to have it struck out. Their applications, filed in March, are the subject of this ruling. More>>>

Oparanya takes swipe at Gema

By INGONEWS Reporter and correspondents June 8 2008
Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, the Planning and National Development Minister, has taken a swipe at efforts to revive Gema. Mr Oparanya who is also the MP for Butere said revival of Gema was against teh spirit of national reconciliation. Oparanya was speaking in Emuhaya where he accompanied deputy PM, Musalia Mudavadi and minister for Medical Services, Prof Anyang' Nyong'o in campaigning for Wilberforce Ottichilo, the ODM candiadte for Emuhaya's by election. Nyong’o said Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces should unite and support Prime Minister Raila Odinga.More>>>

Dreaded militia leader arrested

By Robert Wanyonyi, June 8 2008
One of the most dreaded commanders of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) has been arrested in Bungoma District. Mr Moses Chemwotei alias Kamaliza, accused of chopping off ears of his victims, finally fell in the hands of police at Kamukuywa market after being on the run for more than five months. Police arrested the militia leader following a militia deserter’s tip off that Chemwotei was staying in a hideout in the district. According to police report, Kamaliza used to command a large regiment of SLDF militiamen in Kopsiro division before he went into hiding when Okoa Maisha Operation was launched. More>>>

Mt Kenya university launched

By our correspondent, June 6 2008
Kenya's 9th private university was launched yesterday. Mt Kenya University, formerly Thika Institute of Technology received a Letter of Interim Authority from Higher Education, Science and Technology Assistant Minister Kilemi Mwiria. "Science is a major area of learning that if tapped into is key in promoting speedy research and innovations that will enable Kenya to achieve Vision 2030," he said. Kilemi was speaking during the award of the Letter of Interim Authority to the Mt Kenya University, yesterday.

He asked the universities not to lag behind in research and development. Accepting the award, Mt Kenya University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stanley Waudo said it was a milestone for the institution. More>>>

norah olembo
Karua in Emuhaya: Prof Norah Olembo on a campaign trial at Esibuye in Emuhaya helped by Narc-Kenya chairperson, Martha Karua. Prof Olembo is seeking to replace House Speaker, Kenneth Marende as Emuhaya MP on Narc-K ticket.

Kisumu airport meets clan resistance

By John Oywa, June 6 2008
Fears have emerged over the disruption of the Sh2.9 billion Kisumu airport expansion plan. A clan has threatened to "break the law" if they were not compensated for the airport land at meeting three ministers attended. Members of the Kogony clan also booed Ministers Chirau Mwakwere (Transport), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Medical Services), Lands Assistant Minister Gonzi Rai and senior Kenya Airport Authority officials. Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch also insisted that the clan be compensated. The clan is demanding Sh2.6 billion from the Government for the land they claim was taken away for the construction of the airport before independence. More>>>

Kirubi charged with fraud: Business magnate Chris Kirubi and eleven other prominent personalities have been charged with fraud. The flamboyant businessman is accused of selling Uchumi fraudulently. More>>>

Zim dollar crashes to new low

Todays exchange: $US1=Z$1,000,000,000

By our correspondent, June 6 2008
Zimbabwe's currency plunged to a new record low yesterday, trading at an average Z$1 billion (about Kshs60 on the bank rate) to the US dollar on a recently introduced interbank market and triggering massive price increases.
Traders were quoting the currency at between Z$995 million and Z$1.45 billion against the greenback in morning trade yesterday, up from an average Z$700 million at the beginning of the week. The currency has depreciated by about 84 percent since the central bank effectively floated it early last month, after years of an official peg. More>>>

UK's oldest in 112 years old

By a correspondent, June 6 2008 | Watch video
Britain's oldest man, thought to be one of three surviving UK World War I veterans, is celebrating reaching his 112th birthday. Henry Allingham, who was born in London on 6 June 1896, is also the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force - formed 90 years ago. Mr Allingham, from Ovingdean, near Brighton, will celebrate at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, Lincolnshire. More>>>

zimbabwe's poor billionaires
Smile if you're a billionare, even a poor one:
In Zimbabwe even street boys are billionaires. No wonder he's smiling oblivious of the fact that his one billion zimbabwe dollars can only fetch one US dollar or Shs60 as the beleagured currency crashed to new low with inflation running at 200,000 percent..

Minister, army chief to be quizzed over Mt Elgon

By Philip Mulee, June 5 2008
Defence minister Yusuf Hajj and Chief of General Staff General Jeremiah Kianga are expected to appear before a Parliamentary oversight committee to respond to reports that Army officers are responsible for human rights abuses in the ongoing operation in Mt Elgon. The committee has also launched investigations to verify claims of torture by suspected members of the outlawed Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) militia that has reigned terror in the area over the last two years. More>>>

Sacked for calling boss at night

By Brenda Kageni, June 5 2008
A woman who has been sacked for calling her boss after official working hours is appealing to Cotu to help her get her rightful dues. Mrs Lectar Achieng Apudo, a security guard with a company in Nairobi, claims she lost her job after calling one of her superiors at 8pm to ask for a one-day extension of her leave to allow her to travel from Oyugis to Nairobi. But the call has cost her the job. On arriving in the office on the due date, she found a summary dismissal letter informing her that her employment had been terminated. More>>>

Grabbed land to be repossessed

By our correspondent, June 5 2008
The Draft National Land Policy moved a step closer to becoming reality, paving way for the Government to seize grabbed and idle land. The draft, which has been steeped in controversy since it was launched mid-last year, seeks, among other radical measures, to repossess tracts of land described as idle or illegally acquired, and to re-distribute them to deprived or dispossessed people. Lands Minister, James Orengo on Thursday presided over the final forum on the Draft National Land Policy before it is submitted to the Cabinet for approval and to Parliament to be passed into law. More>>>

obama's grandmother
PROUD GRANDMA: Mama Sarah Obama and one of her grandsons, Mr Wycliffe Omondi at her Kogelo village home, Siaya District.

'Mungiki' executes pastor

By Vincent Bartoo, June 5 2008
A pastor was found dead with his throat slit and face half-skinned in an estate in Eldoret town. The killing is suspected to be a Mungiki execution. The pastor, who also doubled as a taxi operator, was found in an open field hardly 500m from an Administration Police post near his home on Thursday, morning. The chilling murder sparked demonstrations by Huruma Estate residents, who stormed the AP post complaining that the officers allegedly refused to respond to the man’s distress calls. Members of King’s Church, where the deceased was a pastor, said neighbours heard him screaming for help at around 8pm on Wednesday night. Meanwhile two suspected followers of the sect were lynched by wananchi in Nairobi while another was stoned and seriously injured in Nairobi’s Umoja Estate before police rescued him. More>>>

Four bishops support opposition

By Joel Okwayo and Peter Mutai, June 4 2008
Four bishops from Western Province have asked Cabinet ministers and their assistants to desist from threatening MPs calling for the formation of a grand opposition. The bishops said the Government cannot function effectively in the absence of an opposition, adding that Kenyans required a watchdog to check on the performance of ministers. Bishops Simon Oketch, Titus Khamala, Nicholas Olumasai and Simon Obayo said Parliament would not operate effectively without an opposing side. They said Prime Minister Raila Odinga should not fear an opposition as the majority of MPs were from his party. More>>>

Western Kenya explodes

By our correspondent, June 4 2008
ECSTATIC celebration exploded in western Kenya and most parts of the country as international broadcasters announced the victory of Illinois Senator Barrack Obama as the presumptive presidential nominee for the White House race on the Democratic Party ticket. Senator Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant Barrack Obama Senior, entered the annals of history as the first African American to win the presidential nomination of a major party in the United States. As the news filtered through early yesterday morning, ecstatic and frenzied celebrations rocked Kisumu, Bondo, Kakamega, Eldoret and Mumias towns as residents poured into the streets. More>>>

obama in kenya
Obama's relatives swell

By our correspondent, June 4 2008
The number of people claiming to be related to Obama also increased as the news of his victory filtered into Nyanza. Mr Tom Ombaka, a Kisumu businessman, said: "Everyone now claims he or she is a cousin of the senator. I have met more than ten people this morning who tell me they are Obama’s blood relations." Amid song and dance in the sleepy village of Alego Kogelo, Obama's grandmother, Mama Sarah (above with Obama) announced she was preparing for an epic journey to America to witness the swearing in ceremony of her grandson as the country’s first black president. More>>>

Envoys want Kivuitu's team punished

By our correspondent, June 4 2008
Twelve diplomatic missions joined the amnesty debate and called for the punishment of the election officials who bungled last year’s elections. They also criticised calls for blanket amnesty for suspects of capital offences. The diplomats, however, called for the release of youths arrested during the violence for petty offences, such as demonstrating. Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Ross Hynes, who spoke on behalf of the envoys, said there should be no impunity. More>>>

Kivuitu flops at gag attempt:

Efforts by the Electoral Commission of Kenya commissioners to gag The Standard have been thwarted. High Court judge, Justice Hatari Waweru, on Wednesday dismissed applications by the commissioners, led by the chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu, after they failed to appear for the hearing. More>>>

Kenyans congratulate Obama

By our correspondent, June 4 2008
Kenyans have welcomed Senator Barack Obama’s nomination as the Democratic Party candidate for the November US presidential elections. Congratulatory messages continued to pour to The Standard newsroom from Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Garissa and even Moyale, with Kenyans wishing the Illinois senator the ultimate victory in the November election. President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were not left behind.

In a statement from Arusha, President Kibaki congratulated Obama, saying the victory was a manifestation of the faith and confidence the Democratic membership had in his leadership. On his part, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Obama’s victory was a momentous occasion in history. More>>>

Champs Kimilili hammer Mangu

By our Correspondent, June 4 2008
National Secondary School handball champions Kimilili High from Western Province continued with their winning ways as they booked an early ticket in the semi-finals. The holders registered an impressive 35-26 win over Mang’u from Central Province in the ongoing national secondary schools games at Kisii High School.

n netball, St Cecilia Misikhu Girls of Western Province and Tetu Girls from Central Province were the first ones to book places in the semi-finals after negotiating through the preliminaries successfully. St Cecilia beat Kisumu Girls 32-28. More>>>

matakwei buried
The coffin of Wycliffe Matakwei is lowered into the grave at Kiptii village, Cheptais in Mt Elgon. The militia leader was shot dead by the military three weeks ago in Mt Elgon.

Militia leader buried on explosive land

By Roselyne Obala, June 4 2008
No tears were shed during the burial of Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) leader, Wycliffe Matakwei, in Mt Elgon District. Granted, a huge crowd turned up on Wednesday at Cheptais to witness the interment of a man who led a group that has killed hundreds of people in the clash-torn district.

Family members were shocked by the huge attendance, given that Matakwei had terrorised residents for more than two years. Matakwei was buried at Mulatiwa village, a few hundred metres from his father’s homestead. Matakwei’s father, Mr Patrick Komon, 75, did not pay the final respects to his son. He is in police cells following his arrest last week over SLDF-related activities. Four brothers did not also attend as they have been on the run since the military launched a security operation in the district two months ago. More>>>

Were, Washiali support youth amnesty

By our correspondent, June 3 2008
Two ODM MPs, Mr David Were (Matungu) and Mr Ben Washiali (Mumias), supported calls for amnesty of youth arrested during the post election violence. Were and Washiali said releasing the youths should be given priority to enhance unity among ministers and supporters of the Government.

The legislators said President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should work out a formula on releasing the youths instead of issuing conflicting statements. "The conflicting statements from Kibaki and Raila and even ministers over the fate of the youths is not healthy for the Government and the country," he said.

Were said prisons and police cells were congested because of the massive arrests of youths after elections. "The Government is divided because the ministers are issuing conflicting statements over the fate of the youths," said Were. More>>>

Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barrack Obama radiates the energy that says "am ready for the big job" as his wife, Michelle cheers on after clinching the ticket to White House race.

It's Obama, man of destiny!

By our correspondent, June 3 2008
In less than a year, Barack Obama went from being an obscure, first-term U.S. senator to the projected Democratic presidential nominee. On Tuesday, Obama became the first African-American to head the ticket of a major political party, beating out Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was hoping to become the first female nominee. When Obama declared his candidacy in February 2007, he faced an uphill battle. Clinton, a former first lady and New York senator, was the favoured candidate. Eleven months later, Obama proved the cynics wrong. More>>>

UN chides Kenya over human rights

By Jeff Otieno, June 3 2008
Kenya is on the spot over extra judicial killings said to have occurred in the past 16 months, this time by the UN. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights also accuses the Kibaki administration of failing to respond to a letter seeking an explanation on human rights violations which occurred between December 2006 and March this year. More>>>

Siaya goes gaga: Siaya errupted into a frenzy upon the news that a local boy, Barrack Obama is poised to become the most powerful individual on earth. Obama's father was born in Alego Usonga, Siaya District. His grandmother still lives here.

Fake title deeds at lands ministry

By Peter Atsiaya and George Olwenya, June 3 2008
Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission detectives have moved to the Lands ministry headquarters to investigate widespread graft. One of the scams involves printing of fake title deeds. Lands minister, Mr James Orengo, said the officers were investigating the scam allegedly perpetrated by ministry officials. "I directed Kacc to launch investigation into the matter and I am certain they will bring to book public servants behind the scandal," he said.

Orengo said some corrupt officials were manufacturing fake title deeds and selling them to land grabbers. He said the investigation would spread out to Lands offices at the district. More>>>

Matatus on strike in Nairobi. They are protesting against a directive barring them from entering central Nairobi.

Tout shot dead as matatu strike grounds 3,000 Nairobi commuters

By Cyrus Ombati and Brian Adero, June 3 2008
Police shot dead a matatu tout and two vehicles were damaged as public transport operators went on strike in Nairobi’s Eastlands. More than 3,000 matatus were grounded as operators protested at a ban stopping them from entering the city centre.

The routes most affected were Buru Buru, Umoja, Embakasi, Kayole, Outer Ring, Kariobangi, Dandora, Komarock, Pipeline, Donholm and Savanna. The tout was shot dead on Jogoo Road at 1pm as he and others barricaded the road to prevent public service vehicles from resuming duty. More>>>

It costs more in Kenya

By John Oyuke, June 3 2008
Kenyans face an acute hike in the cost of living afte rising food and fuel prices pushed inflation to a historic high of 31.5 per cent last month. The country’s annual inflation rate - a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services over time - increased from 26.6 per cent in April to 31.5 per cent last month. This is the highest since the early 1990s, when increased spending (electoral greasing) in the run-up to the 1992 General Election put it at 31 per cent.

As the Government prepares the Budget for the new financial year, which starts this month, measures to cushion the poor against the effects of high inflation will top the agenda.More>>>

Awori appointed Narc-K leader

By INGONEWS Reporter and agencies, June 3 2008
Former Vice President, Dr Moody Arthur Awori has been appointed leader of the revamped Narc-Kenya in a move viewed as rebranding and nationalising of the party ahead of the Kibaki succession. The fiery Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Ms Martha Karua was appointed chairperson in a jumbled up leadership structure that clouds who between the party leader and chairperson wears the trousers. Dr Awori who lost his Funyula seat to Dr Paul Otwoma, has already announced his resignation from politics and it's not clear why he would want to head a political party. He recently rejected his appointment by Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, as the chairman of the Prisons Reform Committee. More>>>

Slain Sabaot leader burial today

By Roselyne Obala, June 3 2008
Slain Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) leader, Wycliffe Matakwei, will be buried today. Relatives took the body to Cheptais Division in Mt Elgon District Tuesday evening. His widow, Ms Salome Chepkemoi, and five relatives picked the body from Webuye District Mortuary.

They almost postponed the burial after the Government’s promise of free transport failed to materialise.

Western PC Abdul Mwasserah, had earlier told The Standard that the Government would provide the family with transport to Cheptais when the family was ready. The body was, however, picked at 5.30pm, after a Good Samaritan donated money for burial arrangements. More>>>

Kitale business hampered by curfew

By John Oroni, June 2 2008
Saboti member of Parliament Eugene Wamalwa and Kitale mayor Joshua Werunga have appealed to the Government to lift the curfew imposed in the town and its environs which they said had impeded business operations in the area. Speaking in the town during Madaraka Day celebrations, the duo also urged the government to beef up security to enable internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in Gituamba and Kalaha camps to return to their homes. But the District Commissioner Francis Mutie and nominated councillor Janet Nangabo differed with the duo, saying the curfew was necessary to curb insecurity in the area. More>>>

When in Rome look out for Mugabe

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged nations to seize an "historic opportunity to revitalise agriculture" as a way of tackling the food crisis. But it is the presence of Robert Mugabe that is grabbing headlines. More>>>

Jirongo chides anti opposition forces

By Fredrick Odiero, June 2 2008
LUGARI member of Parliament Cyrus Jirongo has termed critics of the proposed grand opposition enemies of multi-party democracy in Kenya. He said the grand coalition government would not be allowed to drag Kenyans back to the days of single party era.

He said the country’s Constitution allowed many parties and wondered why grand opposition should not be given a chance. He said those opposed to the formation of grand opposition were people bent on perpetuating graft without checks and balances. More>>>

naomi campbell
Supermodel Naomi Campbell in some of Yves Saint Laurent designer gear
Saintly death: Saint Laurent was a great innovator, helping to revitalise haute couture while making ready-to-wear design popular. The editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, said he had helped democratise fashion.
yves saint laurent

World of fashion mourns design saint

By our correspondent, June 2 2008
Yves Saint Laurent, considered by many as the greatest fashion designer of the 20th Century, has died in Paris at the age of 71. Saint Laurent changed the face of the fashion industry when he became chief designer of the House of Dior at 21.

He designed clothes that reflected women's changing role in society: more confident personally, sexually and in the work-place. He retired from haute couture in 2002 and had been ill for some time. Saint Laurent died on Sunday evening in the French capital, the Pierre-Berge-Saint Laurent Foundation announced. French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Saint Laurent's "creative genius". More>>>

Where eagles dare, Kampoucha goes

PNU, ODM sharpen knives over violence youth

By our correspondent, June 2 2008
President Kibaki came under a barrage of "friendly fire" from Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Cabinet minister, Mr William Ruto, as the question of amnesty for post-election violence suspects returned to haunt the fragile Grand Coalition Government. It would seem that the country has slowly wriggled itself into a situation where the events immediately following the declaration of the December 27 presidential election have again split the protagonists into ODM and PNU camps.

With this, one group’s so-called freedom fighters and liberators are now being viewed as terrorists by the opposing group and vice versa. The outcome appeared to threaten another stalemate similar to the one that crippled the country early in the year as international mediators battled to broker a political settlement out of the impasse. Last night, those in the Prime Minister’s camp seemed to suggest that no reconciliation would be possible without the release of innocent protesters, as at least six MPs, three Assistant ministers and a second Cabinet minister also joined the fray. More>>>

Bunge veterans demand payment: Former MPs, led by Mr Ngala Mwendwa (left) and Martin Shikuku (right), address journalists in Nairobi. They are part of 12 former MPs who have asked the Government to implement the Justice Majid Cockar Commission recommendation that granted them an Sh1 million ex-gratia payout. They said they had been waiting for the implementation of the commission’s recommendations for years.

Security scare as President, PM bodyguards clash

By Cyrus Ombati and David Ohito, June 2 2008
Two top commanders of President Kibaki’s security detail were summoned for manhandling Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s security officers at Nyayo Stadium on Madaraka Day. At the same time, the embarrassing incident has been blamed on wrangles over the pecking order between Raila and Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

The Standard established that Raila does not have a security detail while on private or official functions outside the country, while Kalonzo does. And on Monday, the Presidential Escort Unit Commander, Mr Benson Kibue, and the in-charge of the security unit, Mr Kizito Mutoro, appeared before Commissioner of Police, Maj-Gen Hussein Ali to explain the incident. More>>>

UK abandons Mobitelea probe

By Davdi Mugonyi, June 2 2008
Hopes of tracing the true owners of Mobitelea were dashed when the British Government said the case was difficult to investigate. The British admitted that investigations into dealings between Vodafone UK and Mobitelea, a shadowy firm with a stake in Safaricom Kenya, had hit a brick wall. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which tried to carry out an investigation, said hopes of unearthing any dealings between Vodafone UK and Mobitelea were remote. More>>>

Toasting to Prof Miriam Were ( headscarf) in Japan. Prsent were:Minister for Planning and Development Mr Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, Dr Edward Sambili, Nobel Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai Kenya's ambassador to Japan, Dennis Awori and the Japan-based academic, Dr Lubanga Makanji
JME Simekha: campaigning on issues and values

Land rates go up

Kenyans will pay more money for land transactions after the Lands minister, James Orengo, increased fees charged for application of title deeds and sub-division among other services. More>>>

Emuhaya: Simekha, Echoka defect

By Shad Bulimo, June 2 2008
Mr Joseph Simekha and Mark Echoka, losers in the ODM nominations for Emuhaya Constituency, have defected to other parties. Mr Simekha is now the official Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate while Mr Echoka will pitch his political fight on a PICK (Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya) tickect. The hot ticket in Emuhaya is ODM which was won by conservationist, Dr Wilberforce Ottichilo. The seat in Emuhaya fell vacant after the incumbent, Mr Kenneth Otiato Marende was elected the Speaker of National Assembly. The elections will be on Wednesday, June 11 2008. Other candidates are Dr Norah Olembo (PNU) and Ochiel of Ford Kenya.

In a press statement, Mr Simekha said: "Of all those in the contest, I am the candidate that has insisted on competing on the platform of values and issues of people's livelihoods, and not money. I need your support urgently so that we may be able to run this campaign to the end successfully. Please support my campaign by making a donation today. Nothing is too little to accept. Contact me directly on the details provided in the signature below or by visiting my blog www.simekha4emuhaya.wordpress.com."

Expired title deeds still valid

By INGONEWS Reporter, June 1 2008
President Kibaki yesterday moved to contain tough new laws expoused by Lands inister, James Orengo which required that expired titles deeds and land leases should be surrendered. The President said that land is one of the most important resources that Kenya has.  Land rights which are entrenched in the Constitution and the laws of Kenya are clearly among the most important matters in the lives of all Kenyans. 

There should, therefore, be no ambiguity on the security of land rights for any landowner in Kenya.  Title deeds, leaseholds, and letters of allotment should be respected by all.  The processing of these documents should always be expedited by relevant Government offices, and their sanctity protected in accordance with our laws and regulations governing the administration of land. In this regard, those who have leaseholds or letters of allotment that have expired should proceed to renew them in the normal way, and there should be no reason for panic. More>>>  

Women to own land

By Alex Ndegwa, June 1 2008
Women will have equal rights to land should the proposed land policy become law. The radical reforms will grant wives the right to own land jointly with their husbands. Daughters will also have equal rights with sons to inherit their parents’ land, contrary to some traditions that allow only male children to take over property.

But the campaign to dismantle the patriarch land system will only be realised if Parliament passes the Kenya National Land Policy. The rights of widows, widowers and divorcees will be protected through a new law on the joint ownership and division of matrimonial property to replace the 1882 Married Women’s Property Act of England. More>>>

landless woman
A displaced, landless woman poised to have land rights in new laws.

Kibaki, Raila clash over amnesty

By our correspondent, June 1 2008
President Kibaki appeared to seal the fate of hundreds of post-election violence suspects with the declaration that they will face the law. While the edict could end debate on an issue that could as well divide his Cabinet down the middle, with anti-amnesty ministers ranged against a pro-amnesty group comprising mostly Rift Valley ODM MPs and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, it is still bound to have far reaching political ramifications in future.

The controversial call for blanket amnesty for youths arrested during the violence seems to be the biggest issue that could split the Cabinet and threaten the fledgling Grand Coalition Government. While ODM ministers have demanded the unconditional release of their supporters, their PNU colleagues insist they should face the law. Raila told a lawyers’ forum on Thursday that the youths should be released unconditionally "because they committed no crime." More>>>

premier band
Pomp and colour was provided by Premier Band during Madaraka Day

Fertiliser racket in Kitale:
By Osinde Obare, June 1 2008
Subsidised fertiliser imported by the Government is on sale in shops in the North Rift. A businessman was on Saturday arrested in Kitale with over 200 bags of CAN fertiliser. The fertiliser was supposed to be sold from National Cereals and Produce (NCPB) stores.