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Markets come in all shapes and sizes, from traditional set-ups to online farmers markets. In South Sudan, the World Food Programme (WFP) has rolled out a 'retail in a box' pop-up initiative in Gorom refugee camp that is spurring on local businesses while helping refugees buy their foods of choice.

Gorom, some 21km south-west of the capital city of Juba, is home to 2,200 refugees spread across 11 villages. The camp was set up in 2011 to host refugees displaced from Ethiopia's Gambella region.

To create the new market for the refugee community, WFP installed portable storage containers in the camp, transforming the metal structures into shops and booths with proper doors, windows, ventilation and security measures -- ensuring a comfortable shopping experience for the camp's residents.

Local suppliers were selected and trained by WFP on food safety and quality, cash management and customer service.

"We really like working with WFP," says Mursal Samater, one of the suppliers that WFP contracted to bring food to Gorom. "We get a steady stream of customers" -- who have confidence in what they are buying.

To guarantee fair and stable prices, WFP negotiates a monthly fixed price -- based on local market rates -- for each commodity. WFP's field and market monitors keep tabs on the market regularly, making sure food is always available in the right quantity, variety and quality.

The retail-in-a-box initiative has proven a big hit with the refugee community of Gorom camp -- people no longer rely solely on WFP's food rations.

For Ariet, a refugee from Ethiopia, there is nothing more normal than preparing home-cooked meals for her three children: breakfast, lunch and dinner. After her circumstances changed, freedom of choice became a luxury she could no longer afford.

"I fled my own country to escape from warfare and to find safety," she says. "When I arrived here conditions were basic, and I felt as if I was living out in the open. With time, things became more accommodating."

Across from Ariet's home now stand a series of retail shops that sell a variety of foods and other essential items to serve the needs of thousands of refugees living in the camp. The newly built shops have livened up the camp, with children playing around the stalls after school.

Ariet and other refugee families can now buy food using WFP cash transfers, which offer people choice and the ability to diversify their diets at a low cost, supporting the local economy in the process.

"Before these shops were built, we used to receive monthly rations -- now, I can choose what I want to buy and cook for my family and children," says Ariet.

Maize flour, rice and beans are the most popular foods that Ariet and her neighbours like to buy. Prior to this WFP initiative, refugees in this city had access to only sorghum, lentils, vegetable oil and salt.

WFP looks for innovative solutions that facilitate people's access to essential goods, while also spurring on the local market economy, kickstarting retail networks that support affected populations while giving those refugees a measure of normalcy in their lives.

Where possible, WFP provides cash instead of food assistance to empower people with the choice of buying what they want and strengthen the local economy.

"Now we have evidence that we can positively impact markets to help people have cheaper and better access to food, and we want to continue to do that across South Sudan," says David Thomas, Head of Innovation at WFP South Sudan.

This year, WFP plans to scale up the retail-in-a-box project to at least three new regions in Lakes, Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states in South Sudan. This will allow more people to receive cash from WFP and for them to choose how to prioritize their immediate needs.

With similar efforts, more parents like Ariet will be able to provide varied diets for their families, bringing a little taste of home back into their lives.

Supporting refugees with cash assistance is possible thanks to generous contributions from ECHO and the governments of Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the US. - ReliefWeb

  • An image of International Life House (left), former President Mwai Kibaki's Ksh400 million Nyeri home (above) and Norfolk Towers. CANVA 
  • The family of Kenya's third president, Mwai Kibaki, is arguably one of the richest in the country and has quietly accumulated wealth across various industries for a period of more than five decades. 

    Their vast wealth amounts to billions, emerging from business interests in real estate, agriculture, and shares in blue-chip companies. 

    Research by indicated that when Kibaki breathed his last on Thursday, April 21, he left behind a multibillion empire worth at least Ksh150 billion. 

    The gate of former President Kibaki’s Kanyange home in Othaya
    The gate of former President Kibaki’s Kanyange home in Othaya. DAILY NATION

    Here are the details: 

    Muthaiga Homes 

    Kibaki spent the better part of his final moments at his Muthaiga home, where he also lived for most of life alongside his family.

    He was among the first Africans to settle in Muthaiga - previously a whites-only neighbourhood before Kenya attained independence in 1963. 

    The exquisite estate is home to the who's who in the society including the likes of Jimi Wanjigi,  business magnate Manu Chandaria, and Kibaki’s former political nemesis - Charles Njonjo. 

    It was in Muthaiga that Kibaki played his favourite sport where he was a member of the Muthaiga Golf Club. A long time resident of Muthaiga, Kibaki had two homes; one where he and his family lived and a neighbouring unit which he rented out.  

    Among his tenants include renowned economist Makhtar Diop who rented the house while serving as Kenya’s World Bank country director in the early 2000s. 

    In 2005, Kibaki’s wife, First Lady Lucy Kibaki was reported to have stormed the house rented by Diop as the World Bank employee was hosting a party that turned noisy.  

    The Nation reported the incident, prompting a furious Mrs Kibaki to storm the newsroom at night, allegedly assaulted the journalist who had penned the story, in one of the dramatic moments of the Kibaki regime. 

    Conservative estimates place the value of the property owned by Kibaki in Muthaiga at Ksh600 million. 

    Othaya Rural Home

    In his Othaya rural home, where he will be buried alongside his late wife Lucy Kibaki, the former President has a 20-acre farm. 

    The land initially consisted of about 10 acres and a farmhouse which he often stayed in while visiting the constituency while serving as Othaya MP. 

    However, after he became President, the state upgraded the home to meet the standards of a Head of State.  

    The upgrade involved the purchase of the neighbour’s lands to expand it to its current size of about 20 acres. It currently includes an airstrip, a police post, the family houses, a tea farm, and about two acres of avocado trees. 

    About a kilometre from the Kanyange family home, on the outskirts of Othaya town, is another 10-acre farm where he grows tea. 

    An image of the Ksh400 million house in Nyeri county belonging to Kenya's third president Mwai Kibaki.
    An image of the Ksh400 million house in Nyeri county belonging to Kenya's third president Mwai Kibaki. THE STANDARD

    Mweiga Retirement Home

    After passing the leadership baton to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, the majority of Kenyans expected Kibaki to retire in Mweiga, Nyeri County.

    The state had built the massive home as a retirement gift to the former president. The house, which cost taxpayers Ksh400 million, sits on a 100-acre piece of land which was donated by a corporate where Kibaki was a shareholder. 

    Among the features of the state house-like home are a state of the art guest house, a helipad, expansive gardens, a secretariat office and a canteen block for staff. The house was also to have a petrol station which a parastatal had offered to build - but the retired President turned it away. 

    During his plush retirement home, Kibaki opted to instead spend much of his time at his house in the lavish Muthaiga home in Nairobi County. 

    Close associates of the politician detailed that he preferred to be in an urban and cosmopolitan area as opposed to life in the rural areas. He, however, spent the better part of his retirement weekends travelling to Mweiga with his children and grandkids. 

    Nairobi CBD Buildings

    Kibaki was among the early Africans to invest in the Nairobi Central Business District(CBD). He, alongside the elite public officials of the 1970s, formed an investment company, Heri Limited, that owns strategic buildings and gated estates in Nairobi

    Through Heri, Kibaki had shares at Norfolk Towers, College House and Kolobot Gardens. His fellow shareholders at Heri included former Ministers John Michuki, Njenga Karume, Charles Njonjo, Ken Matiba, Dr Njoroge Mungai. Former CBK Governors Duncan Ndegwa and Philip Ndegwa also had shares in the investment vehicle. 

    The veteran politician also had interests at International Life House which he co-owned with fallen businessman Chris Kirubi. 

    In a past interview with the Business Daily, Kirubi stated he faced it rough when trying his businesses in the 70s and 80s and hence sought political protection by incorporating then Vice President Mwai Kibaki as his business partner. 

    The former Vice President’s son, David, sits on the board of International Life House although the two families have had a dispute on sharing of their joint wealth. 

    “I have no problem with Kibaki. It is just that some members of his family wanted more than they were entitled to,” Kirubi was quoted by the Business Daily in 2014. 

    Kibaki previously owned Union Towers (the building housing Pizza Inn in Nairobi’s Moi Avenue) but sold it in 2014 to Mt Kenya University - at a cost of Ksh800 million. 

    Former President Mwai Kibaki (right) enjoys a piece of cake during a past celebration.
    Former President Mwai Kibaki (right) enjoys a piece of cake during a past celebration. FILE


    The former President was among Kenya’s biggest landowners, with at least 30,000 acres of land - mostly acquired in the 1960s and 70s when he served as Finance Minister. 

    In Laikipia, he owns the 20,000-acre Lombara Ranch in the outskirts of Rumuruti - the expansive ranch extends over ten kilometres towards Nanyuki town. The land is worth at least Ksh40 billion going by market rates for land in Nanyuki town and in Rumuruti. 

    In 2016, the family was forced to abandon part of the land after the farm manager - the former President’s nephew John Mwai - was attacked and suffered gun shot wounds over suspected feuds over grazing fields. 

    A few kilometres across the road from his Mweiga retirement home, Kibaki owned the Rware Wheat Farm which is about 600 acres in size. 

    The land is worth at least 600 million after the state recently built the Narumoru-Kanyagia road cutting through it in Solio Ranch. The road connects Narumoru town to the Nyeri-Nyahururu highway and had increased the property’s value. 

    When news broke in 2016 that Bahati constituency was getting a gated community, Nakuru residents were filled with excitement due to the billions of shillings that would be poured into the county in a bid to establish a one-of-a-kind estate. 

    In what is arguably the Kibaki family’s flagship project, the former President set aside 200 acres off his 10,000-acre farm located on the outskirts of Nakuru City. 

    The estate along the Nakuru–Nyahururu road, will offer a spectacular view of the scenic Menengai crater and is expected to expand into a fully independent mini-city. 

    "The idea is to establish a gated community with more than 800 homes, a shopping complex, schools and other social amenities," a representative of the holding company, Gingalili Limited said of the project. 

    Developing is still ongoing with an acre of land going for Ksh11 million and Ksh1.5 million for an eighth. The ranch is estimated to be worth at least Ksh90 billion.

    Bahati Member of Parliament Kimani Ngunjiri was quoted by the Standard, as stating that the vast land would present a great opportunity for the residents in the constituency, but urged for the prices to be lowered to accommodate the common mwananchi. 

    "It is a smart move by the former president to sub-divide and sell the land but the pricing is not right. One thing I want to acknowledge is that sub-division of the land will open up Bahati in a big way," he stated.

    Other Investments

    The departed President also had multiple properties at the coast including beach plots in Nyali and Diani - as well as shares in some buildings in Nyeri town. He also invested in stocks worth billions of shillings in bluechip companies listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).

    An image of Heri Heights located inside Kolobot Gardens.
    An image of Heri Heights located inside Kolobot Gardens.

Azimio La Umoja- One Kenya Alliance flag bearer Raila Odinga has been dealt a blow by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declined his request to extend the deadline for picking running mates. 

The IEBC stated in a letter dated Friday, April 22, to the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance Coalition Party that presidential candidates must submit the names of their running mates by Thursday, April 28, the specified deadline.

Chebukati stated that it was the electoral body’s authority to establish timetables for the August 9 elections, noting that doing so would assist the commission in fully preparing for the General Election.

“It must be appreciated that election is a process and not an event as was elaborated by the Supreme Court at paragraph 224 of its judgment in Raila Amolo Odinga & another vs Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission & 4 others & Attorney General & another. Pursuant to the foregoing, it is worth noting that nomination forms an integral part of the election process,” The letter read in part. 

Additionally, the IEBC’s president noted that the selection of a running mate cannot be separated from the political parties’ nomination of presidential candidates.

“The nomination of a candidate for President and Deputy President is conjoined and the process respecting the nomination of the two cannot be divorced from each other,” IEBC explained. By Ezra Nyakundi, KDRTV

Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) in Uganda on April 25, 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY | UGANDA'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni on Sunday held bilateral talks in Kampala.

The two leaders agreed to push for regional peace and stability by jointly addressing the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of the East African Community. 

The talks came on the backdrop of last week’s meeting in Nairobi by the bloc’s Heads of State in which they agreed to set up a regional military force bent on ending decades of insecurity in eastern DRC, caused by militia groups.

DR Congo in early April signed the treaty of accession into the EAC, becoming the seventh member of the bloc.

President Kagame did not attend the Nairobi meeting last week where leaders discussed regional security, but was represented by Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta. By JONATHAN KAMOGA, The East African


The principal judge Dr Flavian Zeija on Saturday survived a gun attack by unknown gunmen along the Kampala-Masaka road. The incident happened at Mitala Maria in Buwama town council, Mpigi district. 

Jameson Karemani, the public relations officer of the judiciary said Zeija was attacked at about 8 pm while on his way to Kampala. According to Karemani, the gunmen were staged in one place and opened fire at the two vehicles (Zeija's vehicle and the security vehicle). He adds that the side mirrors of the judge's car were slightly damaged. Karemani says neither the principal judge nor his security team was hurt.

"The honourable principal judge was returning from a private function - just past a place called Mitala Maria when the gunmen opened fire on his convoy, and lucky enough, both vehicles managed to drive through without the tires bursting and none of the occupants of the two vehicles was hurt. Karemani says the motive behind the shooting is unknown but added that judicial officers are vulnerable due to the nature of their work," said Karemani.

On Sunday, detectives from the police bomb squad and forensic department as well as army officers visited the crime scene and cordoned off the area comprising of a residential area to gather necessary information. The principal judge is third in the judiciary hierarchy after the chief justice and deputy chief justice and oversees the operations of the High court and judges.  

The incident happens at a time when the judiciary is preparing for the annual Joan Kagezi Memorial Symposium which starts next week on Monday under the theme Human Trafficking Challenge: Addressing Emerging Trend. Kagezi, a former state attorney was shot dead in March 2015 by unknown gunmen while on her way to her home.

Last year in June, Works and Transport minister Gen Katumba Wamala survived an assassination attack that claimed his daughter and bodyguard in Kisasi, a Kampala city suburb. Similarly former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi was shot dead on March 17, 2017 also in Kisasi. - URN/The Observer

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