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Trucks parked in various parts of Kitengela town. County government seeking to relocate them away from town in readiness of town beautification after acquiring municipality status. 

 A major standoff looms in Kitengela town between the Kajiado County government and truck owners following the devolved unit’s decision to relocate trucks and tractors from the town centre to pave way for the beatification of the town. 

Last year, Kitengela town was elevated into a municipality. A board headed by former OlKejuado County Council Chairman Julius Ole Ntaiya was appointed to oversee the transition process.

The county government has ordered all trucks out of the town centre. More than 30 heavy machinery are also set to be relocated from the town. On a normal day, dozens of trucks are parked in designated areas within the town.

The county government is seeking to plant trees and flowers to beautify the town. This town grew from a small livestock trader's stopover in the 1980s to one of the largest growing towns in Kenya without proper planning and basic amenities like sewer lines. 

Last December, the Kajiado County government carried out several public participation forums where it informed the truck owners of the decision to relocate the vehicles by December 15, 2022.

Truck drivers, who are reluctant to leave the town centre, have engaged the police in running battles. On December 23, 2022, officers from Kitengela Police Station had to fire in the air to disperse irate water bowsers owners who were opposing their eviction from the town centre.

"We are not opposed to relocation but we want to be shown the new designated location. It’s a pity the county government is using the police to harass us. Trucks remain among the biggest revenue earners for the devolved unit,” said Mr John Wanjiku.

Trucks pay an annual operations fee of Sh8,000. Livestock manure and tiles transporters pay cess fees of Sh3,000 and Sh500 per trip respectively. 

However, some unscrupulous county officials are said to be colluding with the transporters to pocket Sh5,000 per truck annually. 

Kitengela Transporters Association Chairman Peter Nderitu said the re-location exercise ought to be carried out non-selectively.

"We want the exercise to be conducted in a humane way and non-selectively. We do not want sacred cows during the exercise. We do not want our members to be harassed by either police officers or county reinforcement officers,” he said.  

Also to be affected are business owners who display their wares outside their shops including welders, furniture sellers and food outlets who operate outside their premises.

 In a notice issued on November 28, 2022 and signed by the ward administrator, the traders were given seven days to stop displaying their wares on pavements. 

"It has come to our attention that you have caused obstruction by displaying goods on pavements reserves/parking which is illegal,” the statement read. They were given seven days to clear, failure to which they would be charged Sh17,000 monthly by the county.

Kajiado East Sub County administrator Bruce Likama told Nation.Africa the deadline for trucks to relocate had already expired.

He said development partners have already donated more than 2,000 trees and flowers to beautify the town.

"The truck owners are supposed to move from town. We cannot run a municipality like a shanty. There must be order. These trucks have been causing traffic snarl-ups by parking along service lanes and feeder roads,” he said.  

Mr Likama said the lorries will be relocated a kilometre away from the town near a private ballast quarry along Namanga road towards Isinya.

"Those lorries which will not fit in the designated area will be given an alternative operating ground away from the town,” he said.

However, a spot check by Nation.Africa on Wednesday realized that the area where the trucks are supposed to relocate to is already occupied by construction materials dealers. 

Some unscrupulous county reinforcement officials have allegedly allocated the traders the space at a fee.

The space can only accommodate less than 50 trucks against 500 trucks operating in Kitengela.

"I paid a county official Sh10,000 for space last year like everybody else. They are lying to truck and water bowsers owners that there is space,” said a truck driver.  

 This stretch along Namanga Road proposed for trucks is a black spot. 

Several Kajiado satellite towns including Ngong, Kiserian, Ong'ata Rongai, Kajiado and Isinya have been recently elevated into municipalities.  By Stanley Ngotho, NMG

  • Investigative journalist John Allan Namu during an interview in 2018. DAILY NATION 
  • Renowned investigative journalist John-Allan Namu landed a plum job with a United Kingdom-based media organisation, Reuters. 

    The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Uncensored who is known for his in-depth investigative productions was on Wednesday, January 4, appointed Chief Course Instructor by Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

    Namu is expected to use his wealth of knowledge in investigative journalism to train journalists in Rwanda.  

    "Hone your investigative skills with our brand-new course for journalists working in Rwanda (Kinyarwanda language)," Thomson Reuters Foundation announced on Twitter. 

    African Uncensored founder John Allan Namu (right) and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali
    African Uncensored founder John Allan Namu (right) and Nyali MP Mohammed Ali.
    TWITTER

    Thomson Foundation revealed that Namu will serve as an instructor, even as the organisation called on African Journalists to apply to join the course.   

    The organisation expressed confidence that Namu is equal to the task that was accorded to him. 

    In fact, Thomson Foundation rode on Namu's famous quote that, "sources are the lifeblood of journalism. Without them, there is no story," while announcing his appointment. 

    Namu is leading Africa Uncensored whose ambition is to be the premier source of unique, important, and incisive journalism. 

    The investigative journalist served as special projects editor at the Kenya Television Network (KTN News) before co-founding Africa Uncensored.

    At KTN News, Namu was heading a team of the country’s best television investigative journalists including the now-Nyali Member of Parliament (MP) Mohamed Ali, popularly known as Moha Jicho Pevu.

    On Friday, December 3, 2022, the veteran investigative journalist was honoured for his work in defending human rights in Kenya. 

    Namu won the Human Rights Defender of the Year in Kenya Award from the Working Group on Human Rights Defender of Kenya.

    Boniface Mwangi (left) and Allan Namu (center).
    Boniface Mwangi (left) and Allan Namu (center). FILE  By Mark Obar, Kenyans.co.ke
     
 

The crumbs that fall off the East African high table find their way into the stomachs of the thousands of folks who are invisible to the eating chiefs. ILLUSTRATION | JOSEPH NYAGAH | NMG

The advantage of a country that is not as big as the Democratic Republic of Congo or Tanzania is that you can buzz around it quickly. In three days, we dashed from the Uganda-Kenya border, north to the Uganda-DRC border, and west to the Uganda-Rwanda border, taking in as much of the Northern Corridor as we could.

Making this journey is a study of how East Africa’s long-distance truckers have shaped the routes they have driven for decades. Many towns on the Northern Corridor were born because truckers stopped there to rest. Little restaurants, tiny bars, and a thriving commercial sex industry often followed.

There are also the small things, often overlooked, that come to be — especially when the sanguine practical-mindedness of the long-distance trucker collides with the fluidity of the border peoples.

Lwakhakha is a trading town at the Kenya-Ugandan border. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was famed as an uncontrollable free cross-border trade (to the powers that be, smuggling) town. In recent years, the Uganda government has poured money into quite a good road to the border, and it has grown into a significant border crossing for the trucks ferrying goods from Kenya to South Sudan and the northwest Democratic Republic of Congo and returning from there.

One will notice young men clutching plastic bags lined up on the left side of the street to the border crossing into Lwakhakha on the Uganda side. A rush will break out when a fuel tanker approaches. One lucky lad will jump onto the truck and sit on the toolbox or any perch he can find as it drives along. Quickly, he will siphon fuel from someplace — it seems the tank — and jump off just as the truck hits the borderline.

It looks like theft until you realise you are the only one paying attention to it. The truck driver is seemingly unconcerned, only hinting he’s aware of what’s going on by slowing a little bit. The townspeople don’t pay attention, and the police at the borderline act like they have seen nothing. 

Another fuel tanker comes, another rush, and another, and another. After a while, each of the young men has several polythene bags full of fuel that they will sell to the boda boda (motorcycle taxis), local workshops, and generator owners.

What is happening is that the folks on the lower rungs of the East African Community food chain are feeding on the leftovers of regional trade. The trucks will have delivered fuel to depots and filling stations in Uganda, South Sudan, and DRC and are returning with remnants in their tanks. Additionally, now that they are nearing home, they can afford to donate a litre or two from their supply to the East Africans who have been consigned by economic difficulties to be bottom feeders.

There is an elaborate network built around these leftovers on the Northern Corridor. From the northern Ugandan city of Lira to the northwest city of Arua, which is near the DRC border, as you drive in, every now and then, you will catch a few jerrycans placed discreetly on the side left, which the valves of the returning fuel trucks will be facing.

The operation at Lwakhakha will be repeated several times, with everyone taking their turn to suck a few helpings of the fuel remnants, leaving some for the comrades ahead.

In this way, the crumbs that fall off the East African high table find their way into the stomachs of the thousands of folks who are invisible to the eating chiefs.

It’s a subset of a vast system, some of it not so benign. On the way to Arua is Pakwach town, nestled along the western bank of the Albert Nile. For reasons hard to fathom, in the first half of the 20th century, before independence, colonial borders became set in stone. Many Kenyan Luos migrated to Pakwach, forming one of their largest communities outside Kenya. Some say they came to fish. Others that they came to build roads and ferries.

Apparently, Pakwach is a blurry borderline that marks a happy zone for the East African car theft network. When a car is stolen from Tanzania or Kenya, and it enters Uganda, you can recover it — until it crosses Pakwach. When it does, kiss it goodbye. It is almost certain to disappear in a vast underground universe stretching from the Uganda borderlands and covering the sparsely governed extensive territories of DRC and South Sudan. A DRC or South Sudan plate will be slapped on it, and it crosses the borders, where it is again registered.

As the now deceased Eriya Kategaya, who was Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, liked to say, East Africa’s thieves formed a federation years ago as the politicians were twiddling their thumbs over regional integration. In that northern Uganda-DRC-South Sudan axis, they have created a vortex where things mysteriously disappear.

Proximity has also led to local subversion. There are weekly battles in Arua as the police and Uganda Revenue Authority chase down unregistered or Congolese-registered boda bodas. In Bududa, a busy town inside Uganda not too far from Lwakhakha, there are many Kenyan-registered boda bodas. There, they no longer wage war against them. There is a parallel universe there, where borders don’t exist. It looks like the future of East Africa 25 years from now. Charles Onyango-Obbo is a journalist, writer, and curator of the «Wall of Great Africans» Twitter@cobbo3 By Charles Onyango-Obbo, East African


 

On January 2, a number of local gospel icons, and supporters of various gospel events, who were previously nominated for the Rise and Shine World (RSW) Awards, emerged winners.

RSW seeks to recognise and honour people in different categories for their work and efforts in spreading the word of God, and winners were announced ahead of the international annual ceremony and gala dinner for the RSW Awards which will be held on February 18, at John McVeity Centre, Australia.

Among them were Israel Mbonyi, who won the Africa Male Gospel Artiste of the Year, and gospel duo Vestine Ishimwe and Dorcas Kamikazi, alias Vestine and Dorcas, who scooped the award for Africa Best New Gospel Artiste of the Year. Last year, the duo had many successes to their name, and this year, their hard work continues to pay off as they beat other artistes from different countries.

RSW also recognised gospel digital platforms, like Rwanda’s All Gospel Today, a group of people from different churches, which won the Africa Christian Digital category, and the RSW gospel supporters’ award went to national carrier RwandAir in the Africa Airline Gospel Supporter of the Year category.

Other winners were Rev. Canon DR Antoine Rutayisire who won Role Model Gospel Leader of the Year, Apostle DR Paul Gitwaza who scooped Church Achievement Award of the Year and Rev Pastor Primitive Mukankera who won the Promoting Godly Parenting of the Year 2022 award.

In addition to other East African countries, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa also won in other categories. Other countries include the USA, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and UK, among others.

 

Rev Canon Dr Antoine Rutayisire
Rev Canon Dr Antoine Rutayisire

 

Apostle Dr Gitwaza
Apostle Dr Gitwaza

 

Pastor Primitive Mukankera
Pastor Primitive Mukankera

 

Vestine and Dorcas
Vestine and Dorcas     By , New Times

 

  • Kenyans waiting for service at Helb offices  BUSINESS DAILY 
  • National Assembly leader of the Minority, Opiyo Wandayi, raised concerns over President William Ruto's plan to disband Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and replace it with another body.

    Through a statement, Wandayi questioned the move arguing that it will affect continuing students being financed by the venerable body.

    He explained that HELB disbandment would force continuing students to defer studies for more than six months - a move he claimed exceeded an academic semester.  

    "As you disband HELB, what happens to the poor university students who are due to report for their new semester this month?

    Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.
    Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi. TWITTER  OPIYO WANDAYI

    "Do they also defer their studies for six months, which is historic?" Wandayi questioned. 

    On the other hand, Kileleshwa Member of County Assembly Robert Alai faulted the move arguing that it was a plan to halt funding to public universities.

    "They won’t fund public universities and they will abolish HELB?" Alai questioned.

    A section of Kenyans online also castigated the Head of State, arguing that abolishing HELB would affect funding for students from less fortunate families.

    They asked the President to reform HELB in order to make it more accessible to Kenyans.

    "After removing education capitation making Education so expensive, he now wants to abolish HELB which happens to be the reason most of us were able to go through college education," Richie wrote on Twitter while appealing to him to rethink his strategy.

    However, others faulted Azimio for castigating Ruto, insisting that the President's plan to abolish HELB was meant to increase student capitation. 

    While speaking on Sunday, January 1, Ruto vowed to establish national skills and funding council to connect the two levels to provide a credit transfer framework and to support academic progression.

    He added that National Education Fund will mobilise grants, bursaries, and scholarships from private and public sponsors to cover non-tuition costs.

    "To bridge the current higher education funding gap of up to 45 per cent, the government will establish the National Skill and Funding Council that amalgamates HELB, TVET, and University Funding Board," Ruto stated.

    "This immediately doubles the current Higher Education Loans Board funding from Ksh11 billion to Ksh22 billion and eliminates interest on HELB loans," he added.

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