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Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Tharaka ward representative Muthengi Ndagara have asked the government to offer adequate compensation to people likely to be affected by the proposed Sh425 billion High Grand Falls Dam, which will be the largest project in Kenya after the standard gauge railway (SGR).

It is among six projects to be undertaken under Kenya’s and the UK’s new strategic partnership mainly targeting the agriculture and energy sectors.  

But speaking yesterday during a funeral ceremony in Itunguni village, Tseikuru sub-county, the leaders dismissed plans to relocate people to a settlement scheme. 

Mr Musyoka said though he supports the project, which is part of the Sh1.5 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor projects, the affected residents must be given adequate compensation.

“People must be given adequate monetary compensation so that they can choose where to resettle and not be forced into a settlement scheme,” said Mr Musyoka. 

The two leaders said there was a proposal to settle people relocated from Gakombe in Tharaka ward to neighbouring Meru National Park and insisted that they will not allow such a move.

Mr Ndagara said the Tharaka community in Tharaka Nithi and Kitui counties will be the most affected by the project, with at least six locations in Tharaka constituency – Gituma, Maragwa, Kirukuma, Kamwathu, Kamarandi and Marimanti – to be completely or partially swallowed by water.

“If people must be relocated to allow construction of the dam, they must be handled with dignity and paid enough money that will help them settle in other places comfortably and not be forced to a settlement scheme inside Meru National Park,” Mr Ndagara said.

The leaders said there must be enough public participation so that locals who are against the project can be convinced of its importance.

Mr Ndagara said it would be inhuman for residents to be forced out of their ancestral land by the government in order to construct the dam. 

Sh500 billion

The government of the United Kingdom recently agreed to finance the dam as one of six Sh500 billion projects to be undertaken under a new Kenya-UK strategic partnership mainly targeting the agriculture and energy sectors.

Work on the dam will start in 2024 and will take between three and five years. Some 400,000 hectares are targeted for irrigation and the dam will generate 1,000MW of electricity.

A feasibility study conducted in 2012 by the Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) indicated that at least 4,500 households would be affected in Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Kitui counties.

Tharaka Nithi leaders, led by Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara, have demanded a fresh feasibility study in order to capture every detail.

Mr Murugara said many things had changed since 2012 and the data was not reliable, especially for adequate compensation.

“We are demanding monetary compensation and a fresh feasibility study must be conducted,” said Mr Murugara in an interview with the Nation.Africa last week. By Alex Njeru, NMG
 

 
US identifies three terror suspects. [Fathiya Noor, Standard]

The United States has identified three suspected Al Shabaab terrorists.

However, the US embassy in Kenya says the three; Mahad Karate, Jehad Mostafa, and Ahmed Diriye are still at large.

In a statement made on Monday, November 14 afternoon in Nairobi, the US has also offered a Sh 1.2 billion [$10 million] reward to persons with information on their whereabouts. 

““To our Kenyan and regional partners, the United States is offering reward money for information that will lead to the identification and disruption of Al-Shabaab’s revenue sources and funding. This is huge information on Al-Shabaab’s exploitation of local natural resources and financial donors and facilitators,” an official at the US embassy said.

According to the US, the trio who are leaders of the terror group are responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Kenya, Somalia, and other neighbouring countries.

The attacks have led to the loss of lives in hundreds. 

“We know that Al-Shabaab receives money through a plethora of illegal activities that go on around the world to fund their operations and to fund the killing of hundreds of civilians every year,” he added.

The informants are urged to submit the information through Signal, Telegram or WhatsApp to +254-71-87-12-366 (Kenya) or +252-68-43-43-308 (Somalia).  

The US embassy in Kenya has also promised to protect individuals who give information that will lead to the arrest of the three suspects. By Winfrey Owino, The Standard

Olivia Komugisha

OLIVIA KOMUGISHA is an NTV journalist and social media influencer, who told Quick Talk how first son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s tweets sent her into depression for months...

Hello, Olivia! I hear you refer to yourself as a small goddess...

Yes, I am [laughs our loud]. 

To the point; what led you into a Twitter quarrel with the first son?

I don’t want to call it a quarrel, because I was in the newsroom and NTV had a one-on-one with Kakwenza [Rukirabashaija, the activist/writer allegedly tortured on the first son’s orders].

I went to the library and looked through the footage from that interview. I saw the cutaways of how his body looked like and the damage and scars that he had on his body. I felt for him. I wasn’t involved in any Twitter battle, but that day when Kakwenza left the country and posted that he was in Malawi, having travelled through Rwanda, that’s when the first son posted about his call with President Kagame trying to find out whether Kakwenza was in Rwanda.

I responded [to that tweet] and said, instead of addressing the issues that have led to Kakwenza fleeing the country you’re more concerned about his whereabouts and calling him a young boy...

That attracted many other opinions!

Yeah. Before I knew it, everyone had jumped on the tweet. I think someone called KK Melon on Twitter. I can never forget that name because, I was a bit depressed because of the things they said about me, body shaming me and all those things; so, when the general said something like, ‘KK Melon handle her’...

Eeh!

...He threw me to the wolves and all these people who probably want to please him came for me. They abused me they body-shamed me; they dragged my family into it and all that nonsense. So, it wasn’t a quarrel for me. It was just a concern like any other journalist who will respond to a minister and ask them why is this happening this way?

But maybe I got him on the wrong day. [KK Melon and others] threw me into a long spell of depression. When you see someone who has never interacted with you, doesn’t know anything about you have an opinion about you, it’s different. I remember what caused Kakwenza problems was body-shaming the general. 

So, having these people body-shame me because I am small, didn’t make any sense. Why are you doing something that you don’t want to be done to you? It was hypocrisy. I was depressed and for a while I had to seek professional help.

Sorry! For how long were you depressed?

It was more than a month, because at some point I’d be on my recovery journey and then someone brings it back on social media. It also made me feel like my confidence was compromised, but one day I woke up and was like, wait a minute; who are these guys who are lashing at me? They don’t even know me. I have taken time to grow; who are they to make me feel less important?

Was the ‘small goddess’ nickname one way of fighting depression? 

It wasn’t a way of fighting depression; it was self-awareness. Knowing that, look, you are beautiful; there is nothing that this guy is saying that should put you down.

Tell Quick Talk about your choice of journalism.

When I was younger, my grandfather used to listen to the radio every evening and I enjoyed being around him. So, I grew up liking the job. When I went to secondary school, I would anchor news at assembly. It became a thing and when it came to applying for what I wanted to do, it was very easy for me to choose journalism. I joined NTV in 2017 as a second-year student at Makerere University; so, this is my fifth year.

Any challenges so far?

Of course, the challenges are quite many in this profession, but being a female – and I don’t want to play that card – there is so much you must do to prove that you deserve a position and there are a lot of pressures that come with this job.

It is said that young female journalists are subjected to sexual harassment. What has been your experience?

I was lucky enough that the person who brought me into NTV was Josephine Karungi. She wasn’t a boss; she was like a mum. The day I entered the newsroom, she sat me down and told me the realities of the newsroom, the profession, the challenges I would face, and how best to handle them. So, even when I go to the field and people make advances – sometimes really ugly advances – I can’t submit to any.

Would you date a journalist?

No; not that I’m despising them, but when I get into that space at the office or even with colleagues for me, it is strictly work. It would take a lot of work to sweep me off my feet as a fellow journalist because that’s not my portion. I do not have a journalist crush. My ideal man is my man; the current man I have is an ideal man for me.

So what did you consider when choosing this man?

He is friendly; he is my friend, most importantly. Respectful, honest. Hardworking and many things. You see there is one thing about our generation: we don’t like the idea of putting our eggs in one basket, but I am very comfortable putting all my trust in one person.

Do you hang out?

I love fun and if you ask any of my friends, they will tell you I show up when it’s fun time, because work is already hard and there is more to life than just being worried about what the future holds. I enjoy talking to people. I love traveling and experiencing new places, new people, and new cultures.

Do you do sports?

I don’t do sports, but I enjoy sports. Football is my favourite. I am a fan of Manchester United.

What is your weird confession?

I fear injections so much. I’ll put up a fight before I’m injected and probably cry...Also, on the outside, I look like a very talkative, stubborn, and outgoing person, but I love being alone.

Who are your best artistes?

Mowzey Radio will always be up there. For females, I think currently it is Azawi. For comedians, Amooti Omubalanguzi is unmatched. But [I also love] Anne Kansiime. I am a Mukiga, [don’t call me] tribalistic; she’s very funny. Internationally, I love Adele; I love sad music and she gives me just that...

In this day and era, how have you maintained your natural skin colour?

Why would I change my skin colour? What’s wrong with this chocolate skin? It’s knowing that you’re beautiful and comfortable in your skin and how you look. No one else should define beauty for you.

Who is special to you, but is not a relative?

He is Abbas Mpindi, the CEO of Media Challenge Initiative. He was my boss, then became a mentor and then a friend. He is someone who doesn’t want to see anyone stagnating. If he sees opportunities, he is the first to hook you up. By DAVID MWANJE,The Observer

ETHIOPIAN and Tigrayan leaders agreed to allow humanitarian access to the warzone and form a joint disarmament committee on Saturday, extending a truce agreed last week.

The commanders, who since Monday have been meeting in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, signed an agreement mandating disengagement from all forms of military activities.

Both parties have agreed to protect civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the region of more than five million people.

The agreement states that disarmament will be “done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-[Ethiopian military] forces” from Tigray. Since the beginning of the war in November 2020, troops from Ethiopia’s northern neighbour Eritrea have assisted the government in fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the rulers of the Ethiopian region.

Ethiopia’s lead negotiator Redwan Hussein said the talks had established a conducive environment for ongoing peace negotiations and suggested that the next round would “most likely” be conducted in Tigray itself followed by a meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Both sides blame each other for the outbreak of the civil war, which followed Tigray’s decision to proceed with elections the central government had ordered postponed because of the Covid pandemic.

The brutal fighting in Tigray, which spilled into Amhara and Afar regions as Tigrayan forces tried to break the military blockade of their region, reignited in August after months of lull that allowed thousands of lorries carrying humanitarian aid into Tigray.

The TPLF’s decades-long dominance of Ethiopia’s government, which ended with the election of Abiy Ahmed as president in 2018, means it is regarded with suspicion by central authorities who have accused it of seeking to re-establish national power.

A study by Belgium’s Ghent University last month found the war to be the largest ongoing conflict in the world involving up to half a million troops and a death toll estimated at between 300-600,000, including hundreds of thousands of civilians. Both sides have been accused of war crimes.

Phone and internet connections to Tigray are still down, and foreign journalists and human rights researchers remain barred, complicating efforts to verify reports of ongoing violence in the region.  Morning Star

A teacher with his pupils in Turkana County. The government plans to build two classrooms and an omnibus laboratory in every school with the cost of a classroom put at Sh800,000 and a lab estimated at Sh4.5 million.

 

President William Ruto’s bottom-up economic model will require Sh2.67 trillion to implement in five years even as it emerges that the new administration made unrealistic commitments during the campaigns. 

A report by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) shows that some of the figures assigned to key programmes by the current administration will require huge adjustments to be fully implemented.

The budget office says roads will gobble up the largest amount at Sh823 billion, followed by education (Sh635 billion), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSME (Sh398 billion), healthcare (Sh259 billion) and agriculture Sh250 billion.

A total of Sh473 billion will be required to finance the economic plan in this financial year.

The report also warns that slashing the 2022/23 financial year budget by Sh300 billion could have major economic implications. 

 

“Cutting expenditure in the existing fiscal framework while accommodating the cost of implementing the manifesto proposals may prove an arduous task,” the report says.

In his recent address to the National Assembly and Senate, Dr Ruto ordered the National Treasury to slash Sh300 billion from the budget as part of austerity measures and to relieve the country from the borrowing pressure.

In transforming the MSME, the report – “An Assessment of the Cost Implications of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Plan 2022 to 2027” – states that the government would require Sh397.7 billion.

The Kenya Kwanza administration made a commitment of Sh250 billion for the next five years but a critical review by the PBO shows the plan will require additional Sh148 billion.

Key costing assumptions include a Sh50 billion annual Hustler’s Fund, Sh2 million for construction of each of the 290 MSME Business Development Centres in every constituency, equipping the 457 Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions at Sh3 million each as well as the putting up of 457 industrial parks at a cost of Sh40 million each. 

The report observes that some critical interventions, including ending criminalisation of work and addressing bureaucracy may not be fully costed.

Their impact could have a bearing on revenue collection.

“For instance, the capping of total licences at 1.5 per cent of turnover will lead to loss in tax. It is further noted that these interventions require significant cooperation from county governments as they are expected to provide land for the MSME business development centres,” states the report that was made public on Friday.

In implementing interventions to transform agriculture, Kenya Kwanza made a financial commitment of Sh250 billion for the next five years.

Under affordable housing, the five-year plan entails committing Sh250 billion as it targets to deliver 250,000 units every year.

The plan by the new government entails growing the number of mortgages from 30,000 to 1,000,000 by enabling low-cost mortgages of Sh10,000 and below while at the same time giving developers incentives to build affordable houses.

In realising the affordable housing programme, the government plans to provide Sh50 billion through budgetary allocation while Sh200 billion will be tapped from the pension scheme.

But the report notes that the government will have to allocate Sh57.9 billion for the five years in order to unlock Sh200 billion from pension funds and the private sector.

The budget office adds that the government would need an additional Sh5 billion to establish the settlement fund. 

“The amount required for these interventions is higher than the commitment of Sh50 billion in the manifesto,” the report says.

The office adds that while the government has not made any financial commitments to the proposed interventions in education, it will require Sh635.3 billion to fully fund the sector.

According to the report, some 70,000 in-service teachers would be trained every year at Sh6,000 per tutor.

Another estimated annual recruitment of 20,000 primary and 38,000 secondary school teachers will be undertaken with an estimated average annual cost of maintaining a primary school teacher placed at Sh300,000 and that of a secondary tutor at Sh480, 000.

The government plans to build two classrooms and an omnibus laboratory in every school with the cost of a classroom put at Sh800, 000 and a lab estimated at Sh4.5 million.

School feeding will require an additional Sh1.9 billion to increase the number of beneficiaries from the current two million to four million.

In realising universal health care, the report says the government would require Sh258.98 billion for the identified interventions to be fully implemented.

The bottom-up plan by Dr Ruto’s administrations classified some of the interventions as largely budget neutral but the budget office says the government will require billions of shillings to implement them.

Some of the key costing items are employing 3,895 health workers annually over five years at a cost of Sh600,000 per community healthcare employee.

Further, the government will have to hire 4,000 health officers – laboratory technologists, medical officers, clinical officers, nurses – every year. 

It estimates the cost at Sh600,000 for a laboratory technologist, Sh2 million for a medical officer, Sh1.2 million for a clinical officer and Sh1 million for a nurse.

The commission for management of human resources for health will require approximately Sh1.9 billion to be operational while the retired officers medical scheme would have to be allocated Sh10 billion every year.

The report says the co-funding of strategic programmes for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, family planning and reproductive health would require Sh20 billion a year.

For the digital superhighway and creative economy to be fully implemented, the Kenya Kwanza administration has committed Sh40 billion.

Under the plan, the government will provide Sh2 billion per year for the digitisation and automation of critical state services.

The government will require Sh100 million annually for the establishment and maintenance of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology.

“It should be noted that interventions in the creative economy are largely policy and regulator in nature and therefore cannot be fully costed,” the budget office says in the report.

Kenya Kwanza made a financial commitment of Sh200 billion on top of a proposal to securitise the road levy to mobilise more resources for road construction.

The budget office estimates the cost of completing ongoing national government road projects at Sh823.3 billion.

The amount is inclusive of pending bills, estimated at Sh140 billion.

The bottom-up blueprint does not expressly indicate the amount to be devoted to energy. 

But a review by the budget office indicates that the government will require about Sh20.9 billion.

The report projects that the state shareholding in Kenya Power will be reduced from 51 to 15 per cent in the first year in what is likely to lead to more revenue.

The cost of drilling and exploring the Suswa Phase I project is estimated at Sh22.9 billion to be undertaken in five years.

Constructing 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations – 700 in urban areas and 300 on highways – could cost Sh3 billion in the five years, the report says. 

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