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  • President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the National launch of BBI signatures collection exercise. November 25, 2020.
  • The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has received yet another blow after the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday, June 23, announced the scheduling of the boundaries delimitation process to 2024.

    In a statement, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati explained that the delimitation of boundaries, which would lead to the creation of new constituencies, would not be possible before the 2022 general election.

    BBI had proposed the creation of 70 new constituencies that would see the number of elected MPs increase from the current 290 to 360.

    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.
    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.

    Article 89 of the constitution requires the commission to review names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than 12.

    On May 13, a five-judge bench at the High Court ruled that the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, alias BBI - was unconstitutional, null and void.

    However, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga through their lawyers filed appeals to the ruling at the Court of Appeal. 

    Justice Daniel Musinga, the President of the appellate court, stated that all cases would be heard on June 29 and 30, and July 1 and 2 by a seven-judge bench.

    The BBI bill also faces time constraints as according to the constitution, a referendum cannot be held one year before the general election.

    Supporters of the bill are hopeful that the court will make a judgment in due time to enable IEBC to prepare for the referendum.

    IEBC launched a pilot study in four counties ahead of boundaries review in January 2021. These were Nakuru, Turkana, Isiolo  and Kwale.

    In May 2020, IEBC was allocated over Ksh150 million in Supplementary Budget II to start the process of delimitation of electoral boundaries ahead of the 2022 general election.

     The delimitation or fixing of  boundaries was last conducted in 2012 which means that 2024  is the deadline for the boundaries review.

    Chebukati announced that the commission had developed the Boundaries Review Operations Plan (BROP). However, implementation stalled due to the outbreak of coronavirus. attempted to contact BBI Secretariat Chairman Junet Mohammed for a response but he was unreachable.

    Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru submit signatures at IEBC headquarters on December 10, 2020
    Suna East MP Junet Mohamed (left), and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru (right) submit signatures to IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati (centre) at IEBC headquarters in Nairobi on December 10, 2020

Poem By David P Carroll

Our world has changed
Like never before and it's so sad
Every day because our lives have changed
So much in life today and so many families suffering
Like never before and this killer virus is here to stay
And we were all caught unaware and it's sadness
In the air and isolated from our loved ones every day
And there's no happiness or joy in our lives today
It's just another loved one who's sadly passed away
And coronavirus walks among us every day
And we try our best to struggle through
This horrible coronavirus storm
Trying to stay safe and keep ourselves warm
And the pain and hurt it's brought us and
There's nothing much to gain and our
Peace and love has all gone away
And it's just a lonely tear rolling down my face and I've been
Crying inside this cold lonely old place
And all the pain running through me every day
Coronavirus coronavirus when will you ever
Just go away and I cry for the loved ones who's sadly
passed away and I'm still cocooning away and
Every day and I'm lost without you in my life
The world has changed so much
Coronavirus every day in our life
And the darkness surrounds the world today
And it's so cold and painful every day and
I feel the chill up and down my spine every day
And our warm hugs and soft kisses
Have just all faded away and
Just like our loved ones fading away
And nobody to hold at night
And nobody to whisper I love you good- night
And as a lonely tear rolls down my face
I try to smile and remember your beautiful face
As coronavirus has slowly taken you away
And I promise you all I'll love
And pray for everyone
Who's been suffering from coronavirus
Every day.


When the European colonisers wanted to justify their colonial endeavours, they propagated the claim that Africans were a people without history, reflecting an image of Africa as a blank canvas that any imperialist could impose their personal goals on. The idea that we were a people without a history meant that it could be concluded that we were also a people without a future.

During the colonial conquest, most records of African history were burned and destroyed, several pieces robbed and shipped to overseas territories, where the colonisers could showcase, with pride, the souvenirs from their violent wins. This, in line with the other often propagated claim that history is always told by the hunter, meaning for majority of the hunted, their realities and dreams will often be overlooked and confined to the periphery in the memories of our heritage.

Archiving, the process of preserving and conserving living and found tools that can mirror the pasts back to us, revealing clues on who we are and who we were, is a natural human behaviour. Historically, it has taken many forms, through written formats such as articles and stories, to folktales as expressed through song and poetry. Archiving has also in the recent centuries been practised through more visual formats such as through documentaries, photography and films.

Preserving and archiving has historically been greatly a role more emphasised for historians, archaeologists and anthropologists. But in this age, it is apparent that archiving cannot be left alone to the scientists and artists; archiving should be everyone’s responsibility.

Existing academically-recognised literatures, especially those in the form of ethnographies, have often been a task for the privileged, able to travel distances away, embed and accommodate themselves in other cultures, be able to publish their works, and without protest, have their short-hand observations be considered with great merit as true knowledge, even erasing or not recognising the role of informants in giving information.

Racist and sexist views in the archiving process have meant that our histories have greatly marginalised the voices of many of the world’s communities, identities and realities. In our own country, this can be reflected in the way that many of the African places and features are recalled in the names of the European colonisers, as opposed to the names and language of the local community members.

Marginalisation is also highlighted in the lack of attention to the role of African women in resisting colonial invasions. Though some truths have already been lost, there is still the opportunity for us to take our history to our own hands.  History has not always been in written form, it has also been in audio forms, such as through songs and storytelling. 

Older generations would pass on their history as told by those before them. In the case, for example, of those who fought for freedom during the colonial times, much of their experiences are not recorded in the books, especially since most of the ones available are written or interpreted by foreign academics. In attempting to fill the gaps in the recollection of our country and communities in the colonial period, there is still hope for us in gathering this information from the living veterans who still hold these stories in their memory.

The task of simply sitting with the elderly, recording them and engaging them in conversation, listening to them like they listened to those before them, would be an opportunity that enables us to save the libraries of memories erased from the books that we read. More so, by capturing the lives of our elderly, we can also record their languages, those that are often overwritten by the tongues of foreign languages and dialects. To know the ways of the old, it is our responsibility to sit with the old, and to embrace them and their stories.

Through the use of modern technology, we can rediscover our history, record our present, and save it for the future. In several ways, we are already doing this without recognising it. With over half a billion mobile users in the continent, most of them with access to social media, are constantly uploading snippets for archive purposes.

Through posts that reveal people’s own thoughts and opinions, or through vlogs and live-video that record and capture current moments and actions, the modern mobile user is recording material that can be used in the future to reveal parts of our future histories.

For this reason, the use of modern technologies as a means of preserving and representing ourselves is an avenue that assists in democratising the process of archiving personal journeys. Granted, access to internet and power can undermine the ability for all communities to be truly present digitally, hindering the opportunities to stand out globally.

Everyone deserves the liberation to tell their own story as they want to tell it. In a world that pays attention to some and not to others, we, as Africans, have to write our own stories, write our own songs, speak our own languages, live our own values, and let whatever we choose, be accessible to our futures. We have grown in the world as a lost people, separated and isolated from the history that made us. To stop this from happening to others, we have to ensure that we preserve our present, so that the future can know it also.





 The first impression of Heather Owen is her love for Zanzibar. Normally, that fondness for Tanzania's sister islands (Pemba and Zanzibar) has a tourist twang. Tourists flocking to the spicy archipelago always praise the beaches, the food, the warmth of Zanzibari people plus the general joy of being in an exotic East African garden. 

 Zanzibar remains one of the most special places in the world. However, with Heather Owen she was (and is) well beyond such outsider's fascination with a place. She lived here, she was involved in day to day things, made friends, knew locals personally and she....well, she noted the plastic waste. Hey! We have all done it! 

We go somewhere we fancy, take photos, go home, show friends and family, etc. We’ve been there, done it. Historical places, animal reserves, theatres, giant stadiums, new countries, towns, villages, sights, snaps and well, memories stored in our phones and albums. Heather saw the plastic. 

I have personally seen the plastics too, not just in Zanzibar, across East Africa. All over mother earth. My best snaps are of goats feeding on the plastic in Zanzibar. They have tortured my conscience for decades. So, what did this London tourist do? 

In 2017, Heather Owen, visited Zanzibar liked it very much and kept returning. She was soon volunteering in one of the local hospitals in Kivunge ...north area for six months. And boom....she began noticing things “ she would have never seen before...”and ….that changed her life. 


She says, she was: “Overwhelmed by the amount of plastic and that there wasn't anyone to as we were living in a village I was very fortunate to meet so many amazing people in the community and talk to them about it...and since plastic is relatively new in the island, they wanted to do something about it. “ 

Eventually Zecobricks was born. The idea is to recycle the clean and dry plastic and “stuffle” it into a clean and dry plastic bottle which forms bricks. Ms Owen says London based architects, Feilden Clegg, an award -winning firm, designed a new school in Nungwi, north Zanzibar.  

The building is made of these Zeco-bricks...which she feels will empower the community into creative thoughts.  Normally plastic is burned in Zanzibar. But using recycled plastic to build instead of turning it into toxic ashes is better. Also using the school to teach English will develop education indirectly via (and as a result of) the local recycled plastic project. 

As a professional teacher, Heather 's second strand is developing language skills of pupils in Zanzibar (the zealous Briton admits feeling very much at home in Nungwi), and when the youngsters get older they have a chance of employment via the booming tourist industry of Zanzibar. So, you can see how an individual initiative has blossomed. Heather Owen is of course not alone.  Backed by a team of volunteers, both from  the local Zanzibar hamlets,  mainland Tanzania and the UK., the one year old Zecobricks project remains mostly self-funded. 

There is one particular company, a local based salt making company called Zalt, who provide monthly funds, i.e. a £100.  Zalt's vision is to shape “an ecosystem for sustainable growth...” and considers itself the first coastal salt company mindful of the environment while empowering communities. 

The hundred pounds goes to the mothers. Local mothers seem to be the backbone of the project. Of course, a 100 pounds (around $141 Dollars, or a Million and half TZ shillings) is not much. The plan is for these mothers to have a much better reliable, consistent income. There are volunteers from the resonant tourist industry, e.g. Stone Town too. Plus official contacts from the District Environmental department. 

Since Covid -19 has made travelling difficult, Heather has maintained London as base, where she also works. With lack of sponsors, she relies on her own salary as a teacher ...em plus... personal contacts. Plus goodwill hoping bigger companies will subsequently give a financial hand. Inshallah. 

So far Zecobricks is a baby and very much a budding plan in progress. Let us hope its wings continue to mushroom. Right now we are in a historical period. The United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 the “Decade on Ecosystem restoration” - meaning - we are in the deadline for the sustainable development goals “ and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic  climate change.” 

That is why efforts and projects like Zecobricks are fundamentally necessary and heroic. They should be supported by all of us, who , earnestly care, for our one and only,  home. Nest, Mother Earth.


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The burnt truck in Mandera on June 21, 2021/Photo Courtesy  Star
In Summary
  • The gunmen abducted the truck driver and his turn boy working on a road in Mandera South, Mandera County in the latest attack by the militants.
  • In a separate incident, an attempt by the gunmen to stop a miraa van turned tragic when one of them was run over and killed by the speeding vehicle in Jabibar area.

At least three people were Monday killed in an attack by Al-Shabaab militants in Jabibar area, Mandera county.

The terrorists also burnt a truck in a separate incident after hijacking the crew who were constructing a road in Mandera South.

The gunmen abducted the truck driver and his turn boy working on a road in Mandera South, Mandera County in the latest attack by the militants.


They also torched the lorry before they escaped towards the Kenya-Somalia border.

In a separate incident, an attempt by the gunmen to stop a miraa van turned tragic when one of them was run over and killed by the speeding vehicle in Jabibar area.

Witnesses and police said the gang had tried to stop the vehicle but the driver sped over them killing one of them.

The driver and his turn boy stopped a few kilometres ahead and escaped on foot leaving the vehicle behind in the drama.

Police said no casualty was reported. A team was pursuing the two crew who were abducted after the attack on the road.

North Eastern police boss Rono Bunei said more personnel had joined in the hunt on the gang that is operating in the area and harassing motorists.

“Locals can help us tame this trend. We urge them to help us in dealing with the menace,” he said.

This comes in the wake of concerns the persistent attacks are grounding operations in the region.

Lorry that was torched after driver and his turn boy working on a road in Mandera South, Mandera County were abducted on June 21,2021
Image: Handout

Two weeks ago, officials at the Mandera County Government stopped the movement of their vehicles over increasing terror-related incidents in the area.

At least four attacks have happened in the last two weeks in the area and left at least six people dead and 15 others injured.

The attacks have been linked to both Al-Shabaab terror group and local inter-clan fights over boundary issues.

There are fears of more attacks after locals reported sighting more gunmen roaming in separate places while planning to strike.

Mandera County Secretary Abdinur Hussein released a memo on June 10 and explained strict regulations to be followed in the movements of their vehicles.


“As you are aware, the current prevailing security situation is very volatile and we, therefore, have to exercise extra caution on the movement of our official motor vehicles.”

“To this end, you are advised to strictly observe the laid down regulations as concerns movement of county motor vehicles,” he said.

He told the county executive committee members to take full responsibility for the vehicles under their care by ensuring no vehicle is on the road past 5 pm on any weekday.

Hussein said until further notice no vehicle will be authorized to travel to the sub-counties unless on emergency missions such as ambulances, health utility vehicles or Covid-19 pandemic responses, firefighting trucks, skip loaders and sanitation trucks.

On June 9, at least three people were killed when a Kenya Wildlife Service vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device in Qoqay area, Takaba.

The bomb is believed to have been set up by militants operating in the area with impunity. The attackers torched the vehicle that had the victims after they had shot at the survivors as they escaped.

On June 6 when gunmen who locals think are Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked two passenger buses and killed three people including two police officers.

The gang also torched a police vehicle after the ambush in Banisa, Mandera County. Officials believe the attack was staged by local militia who have an agenda.

At least seven police officers and 11 civilians were injured in the attack.

On the same day, another gang shot into a police camp in Kutulo, Wajir in what is believed to be a recce mission.

The area of the attack, which is northern part of the county has been a safe area since 2013 but has lately been a soft target.

Police have been mounting operations in the areas to deter their plans. The terrorists have been targeting security installations in the area in a series of incidents destroying them.

This has affected among others the education sector forcing tens of teachers who are non-locals to flee.

The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals. The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross at will and stage attacks before escaping back.

Al-Shabaab insurgents have been attacking places in the region especially in Mandera and Garissa after breaching security zones, which left dozens of civilians and security officials dead or wounded.

They have been planting explosives on the routes used by the security agencies and attacking them. By Cyrus Ombati, The Star

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