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 By FLEVIAN MUTIE

Creativity and innovation are the key cornerstones of growth and sustainability in any business. Business owners keep inventing new techniques and technology to try and do things differently, so as to evade competition and remain outstanding.

Kenyans, especially in Kiambu have been left with mixed feelings, others with mouths wide open, wondering whether to embrace an entrepreneur’s technology or run for their dear lives. This was recently after a young innovative barber Julius Mwangi reinvented his barbershop business and took it to a higher level.

Julius decided instead of using the normal clippers or shavers to cut hair, he would use an axe instead. Mwangi says this was March last year, after the deadly COVID-19 pandemic left not just his business, but more others, with only a few clients or with none at all, risking closure and failure.

 

Julius, speaking to IEA Media, says when he saw that his business would sink, he began a door-to-door campaign for haircut- services but the fear displayed by most of his clients’ was a greater risk, with most suite premises not befitting of his operations.

“I was not even welcome in some homesteads, as some of these clients would always mistake me for a trespasser.”  “I launched the door- to- door campaign because of some demand, where some of my clients, decrying COVID-19 pandemic would ask me to go to visit their houses and offer my services from there, so I just resolved to give more comfort to them, in order to retain them.” he says.

I have quite an ardent experience as I have been a barber since 2014. I began using an axe to shave hair at Kings barbershop. Like other hairstylists, I strived out of curiosity to set my business apart from the competition in town and invented an axe which came after seeing a man shave with an axe.

Curiosity is the trick which pulls most clients to me, while fear drives the rest away, but with time, my customers always overcome their fears.” He says, adding that it is out of his unique thought he provides for his family and meets other basic needs.  

 “Offering door to door services fetched better for me but I still pushed to retain my shop. That’s how the demand for flexibility came, and I resolved to have a mobile barber shop, where I invented the van and joined hands with my colleague to run a mobile hair salon. Sometimes I could land on more potential clients who never complained of the cost even when I hiked it a little bit, to foot the cost of transport among other inconveniences.

 

“I landed on referrals from Nairobi’s rich suburbs like Karen and Lavington who also introduced me to others, and that is how I ended up implementing my idea of a van for business- a mobile barber shop, and inside is also a provision for a salon, it’s not a luxury as some would think.” Mwangi narrates. 

He adds that every business has its challenges where for him people would think ill of a youngster wielding- axes in a van since he had not marketed and established himself therefore spreading fear within communities which was a risk.

“The mistake that most entrepreneurs make is that they focus on the problems and the challenges they face. Some are driven by fear, fear of collapse, competition amongst many other factors they encounter. This should not make them shun and desist from pursuing their dreams or making innovations.  They should not procrastinate because time waits for no one.

IEA randomly speaks to Mwangi’s clients, and one David Masika says he fears for his dear life.  “I have had the ever bone chilling shave of my life, and my thought is never again can I risk, as the barber may be having a bad day, and that’s how death happens.” says Masika.  

James Maina says he would never entrust anyone with an axe over his head with the current rate of depression rate in Kenya.   “As for me, I can only take selfies with the axe but not dare the shave.” He adds.  John Muthama, a Kiambu resident told IEA Media that from experience, a shave from an axe is way more- smoother than using the shaving machine itself.

“ I found it cool, but the thought that an axe is being used on my head sends shivers down my spine.” He says

A forensics officer secures the scene of a blast next to the central police station in Kampala, Uganda, Nov. 16, 2021. Photo Nicholas Bamulanzeki/AP

 

Life in Uganda’s bustling capital city of Kampala was upended Tuesday morning when two suicide bombings exploded downtown.

“In total, six people have died, including the three suicide attackers,” Uganda police spokesperson Fred Enganga told reporters.

According to CCTV footage shared by police, a man carrying a bag approached the exterior of the central police station at 10:03 a.m. Soon after, a blast went off. 

“By the time people called us, of course, the scene was very terrible. People were really scampering and scattering,” Irene Nakasiita, spokeswoman for the Uganda Red Cross, told The World from Kampala.  

Three minutes later, according to CCTV, two motorcyclists approached Parliament Avenue, where another explosion went off not far from Uganda’s parliament building.

Police said more than 33 bystanders were injured in the explosions. Five were critically injured, including police officers.  

“There are those that had big wounds, there are those that were not breathing so well, required resuscitation, required oxygen,” Nakasiita added. “But also, they will require additional psychosocial support because the trauma was a lot.”

The suicide bombings are the latest in a string of explosions that have plagued Uganda in recent weeks. 

Last month, at least two people were killed in separate explosions at a restaurant and on a bus. 

“Our intelligence also indicates that these are domestic terror groups that are linked to ADF,” Enganga said. 

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) originated in northern Uganda in the 1990s as an Islamist, anti-government movement. But it’s since based out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has waged brutal attacks on civilians. 

Earlier this year, the United States designated the ADF as a terrorist group and called it an ISIS affiliate.

While the exact nature of that relationship remains unclear, it’s evident the ADF continues to pose a threat to Uganda.

"The bomb threats are still active. Especially from suicide attackers. We believe there are still more members of these domestic terror cells,” police spokesperson Enganga said. 

Meanwhile, in neighboring Kenya, authorities have said they have heightened security at the borders following the attacks. - Halima Gikandi, The World

FILE - Opposition leader and former  presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, speaks  at a news event in Kampala, Uganda, June 14, 2021.

 

By NANGAYI GUYSON

KAMPALA, Uganda Maria Nakyanzi, 61, a resident of Kyango-Kazo cell in Kasaali Town Council, Kyotera District, was attacked on September 2, 2021 at around 8 p.m. by machete wielding assassins who sliced one of her arms and she is undergoing treatment in Kalisizo Hospital in the southern part of Uganda.

“I had just finished my household chores,” Nakyanzi told IEA over the phone through her son Chris Mussengabi. I was sweeping the compound at 7:00 p.m. when I began to feel huge blows to the head, which forced me to fall to the ground, and this man began cutting me with the intention of slicing off my head. I simply used my hands to defend myself. After several minutes of struggling, I believe he concluded I was dead and abandoned me. I was bleeding too much and my neighbors found in a pool of blood. They came to my rescue, which is why I'm in the hospital.”

Joan Nalubega, 38, a resident of Kimanya B, Kimaanya- Kabonera constituency in Masaka City, was also killed in a separate incident on the same night by machete wielding assassins. They gravely injured the baby she was carrying on her back.

In an earlier incident on August 26, Madi Mulindwa, 47, was assassinated at his new house in Kisaaka Village, Kimaanya –Kabonera Division, Masaka City, on the border of Masaka and the districts of Lwengo and Bukomansimbi which was still under construction by machete wielding assassins.

"The killers attacked Kisaaka at around 10:30pm," stated Robert Mukasa. They chopped him to death."

“Some of our people are fleeing to neighboring districts since the situation is getting worse by the day, and we don't see security officers in our areas,” Mukasa told IEA on a phone interview. 

The incidents stated above, which Mohammed Nsubuga, the Southern Regional Spokesman have confirmed, are just a few of many.

“Yes, all of these attacks have occurred,” he told IEA, “but we're working closely with sister security organizations to ensure the area is protected and the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Ugandan Authorities confirmed that unknown machete-wielding assailants have killed at least 30 people within the months of July and August in central and southern parts of the eastern African country.

The motives behind these attacks are unknown, leaving Ugandans fearful and with many concerns about could be these attackers. But President Museveni, on the other hand, has accused the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group with Islamist roots operating in eastern DRC, of being behind plans and orders to kill Ugandans, and has said he is in talks with his DRC counterpart, President Felix Tshisekedi, to allow Ugandan forces to attack them. 

“The planning and orders for killing our people are coming from the terrorists in Eastern Congo,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni remarked on August 26 during the funeral of Lt Gen Paul Lokech, also known as the lion of Mogadishu. We're still talking to HE Felix Tshisekedi on how to get rid of that cancer.” Adding that that he will meet with UNSC members to discuss measures to deal with the ADF threat, stating that it was inappropriate for the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO) to coexist with the terrorist organization.

“Our soldiers are prepared to assist in the eradication of these parasites. We just need the Congolese government's approval,” he explained.

Showing his determination to invade Eastern Congo in search for the rebels, a very quick meeting with United Nations Security Council was arranged and on September 2, 2021, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni held a consultative meeting at State House in Entebbe with the five Ambassadors representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council which he later described as fruitful. 

On the same topic, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will address the nation next week about the crime epidemic in Masaka City driven by machete-wielding bandits known locally as “Kijjambiya”.

The Ugandan Police have Charged two members of parliament in connection to the rampant machete-wielding attacks.

The director Criminal Investigations Paul Kato Tumuhimbise, confirmed to IEA that police on August 3, 2021 summoned politicians Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) in connection with the larger Masaka murders and have since been charged with murder and terrorism charges. 

“We found it necessary to summon the two Members of Parliament to help us in the investigations. It’s too early to talk about which cases they have but I can confirm to you that we summed them” He told IEA. 

Muhammed Ssegirinya, a Kawempe North Member of Parliament (MP), has expressed surprise at police summons in connection with murders. 

“I'm outraged that the cops are dragging me into murders like this. I was in the Netherlands for the last three weeks and only returned on September 3. I've never been to a location where people are being killed. I'm not sure why they've summoned me.

Ssegirinya told IEA, "This is merely a political witch hunt." “The regime of President Museveni used to blackmail political opponents. If you disagree with them, they will do everything they can to pull you into a high-profile case so that you become their prisoner or your reputation is destroyed. I'm perplexed that someone can turn against the people who have asked to vote for him and begin chopping them up. “I have no idea what the cops are talking about, but I will go there and listen to what they have to say,” Allan Ssewanyana Member of Parliament for Makindye west in the Capital Kampala told IEA earlier before his arrest.

MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Sewanyana of the National Unity Platform (NUP) were charged with three charges of murder and one count of attempted murder before the Masaka Magistrates court, according to their lawyer Elias Lukwago.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been accused of terrorizing the Greater Masaka region for rejecting him in previous elections, according to opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine. He claims that every time a region rejects Museveni in an election, bloodshed ensues, as seen in Acholi and Kasese, among other places.

Bobi Wine also said that the murders in the Greater Masaka region are part of Museveni's attempt to discredit political opponents and persuade people to back the regime.

"Those who know Museveni and how he operates would not be surprised if the entire purpose of these homicides is to blame political rivals and sow dread in the region and country” Bobi wine told IEA. 

Because of the escalating killings of people in the area by Machete-wielding assailants, Kira municipality member of Parliament Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda believes that the Ugandan government has failed to provide enough security to the residents of the greater Masaka region and the surrounding districts, and has advised the government to give out guns to the people of Masaka to protect themselves.

 

Forum Democratic Change’s Secretary General Ssemujju Nganda raised the subject on the floor of Parliament on the 31st of August plenary session, expressing his concern to save the lives of Masaka citizens who are losing their lives on a regular basis, adding that the government is taking the situation for granted while people are dying.

“If it had been a protest, commandos would have been deployed all over the place, but this shows that power is more important in Uganda than people's lives; when there were problems in northern Uganda, people were asked to form groups, moved from arrows, and given guns; if people holding guns are unable to protect the people of Uganda, let people be given guns and protect themselves," Ssemujju informed Parliament.

Ugandans, have been disillusioned by security organizations, which claimed to have security under control when people are continuing to be killed. The country's military announced on Friday 26 August, 2021, that a suspected suicide bomber who was intending to attack the funeral of a key army commander had been apprehended in northern Uganda.

The suspect, Katumba Abdul aka Ben, was apprehended during an operation in the Pader district, according to the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF).

According to UPDF spokesman Brig. Flavia Byekwaso, the suspect had a variety of explosive devices in his possession, including ball bearings, detonators, switches, and suicide vests.

 

 By PHOEBE RUGURU

Everybody loves a new beginning. We love the feeling that we are working on a new slate and always for the better. It is why when new years approach we set these new goals and objectives that we aim to achieve, in order to facilitate and fuel the belief that we are going to do better and be better.

But nearly every year, most people find that when the new year dopamine effect fails and the motivation for the fresh start fades, the determination to achieve new goals fades, and more often than not, we fall back to old ways and forget to aspire for our better selves. As this year comes towards its end, below are 5 ways you can catch up with the abandoned goals and shape yourself to better achieve your resolutions.

Remind yourself of ‘Why’

Along with healing all wounds, time can also make us forget our ‘why’. Why did you want to climb a mountain? Why did you want to run the marathon? Why did you want to move to a new city? Why did you want a new job? We often find ourselves paying attention to the tasks and the actions, without paying the same attention to why we want to do these things, or why we even want or need them in the first place.

Part of you remembering and achieving your goals is to look back at them and remind yourself of why you wanted them in the first place. Doing this will renew your sense of responsibility for yourself. Importantly, it will also help you realize if this is something you wanted for yourself or for others. Is it something that you put on your list because it was in line with what others around you were doing? Is it something that you wrote down because it was expected of you? Remembering the why will enable you to reflect on whether your resolutions mean anything to you

Check in on Your Peers

It has been said that people learn more effectively when they are teaching others. The same applies to accomplishing those new year resolutions now hanging by the thread. When you cause yourself to check on your peer’s progress to hold them accountable, you also do it for yourself; after all, you don’t want to be the person who holds others in high regard, and not hold yourself to the same standards.

In addition, checking in on your peers and their resolutions should remind you that you are not the only one working on some goals; community in achieving goals go along way, and you might even find that they have the same goals as you. Your peers’ own experiences and plans might inspire you to get going and perhaps even present opportunities to share knowledge and resources that could spearhead those achievements.

Break it Down

When setting these resolutions, most of us tend to list each goal, but with little attention to the direction of how we are going to achieve them. Some people go as far as to say that when you have a goal but not the broken-down steps on how to achieve it, then it is not a goal, but a dream.

And for the most part, resolutions tend to be dreams, because they capture the aspirational ideals that we aim for. But even the most conceptual goals (such as “Be more present” can be broken down to smaller pieces (listen to meditations for 15 minutes a day). So, if you set high resolutions but did not break it down to smaller do-able steps, perhaps now is the time. You might be surprised at how achievable the resolutions can seem all so suddenly!

Accept Change

When we set our resolutions, we don’t anticipate that we are going to change our minds. Yes, perhaps we are somewhat aware that we will probably abandon some of the goals, but altogether, we assume that our mentality will remain static. But that’s often not the case. Throughout the year, we are exposed to different people, different cultures, different challenges, and much more. These experiences shape us in a way that can alter our life’s purpose, altogether, as well as, subsequently, our resolutions and goals.

When that happens, you should feel perfectly fine to accept it. You can look at your list of your resolutions and embrace the fact that it’s possible and perfectly fine to let go of resolutions or goals that you no longer feel connected to. For this reason, learning to adapt better to situations should probably be a permanent goal on our resolutions!

There is Time

As much as we embrace the beginning of the year as an opportunity for a fresh start, we don’t face the end of it with the same optimism; sometimes the end of the year can seem like the end of things, including time. You may check your list of resolutions and find that you realistically do not have enough time to complete everything that you intended to. And that’s perfectly fine. It happens that we find ourselves chasing after achievements or labels or positions, so much so that we rarely marvel in our own presence and our own fulfilment.

In a world where hyper-productivity and displaying achievements is so prevalent, it is easy to feel like what you have achieved is not enough. When looking at your resolutions, remember to take time to check in on your own happiness. Achieving goals and resolutions can give some motivation and propel your life goals, but it is entirely possible to achieve milestones and still not be fulfilled. It is therefore essential for you to highlight the aspects of your life that make you happy and bring great purpose to your life. To achieve your resolutions, there will always be time. But to make yourself be fulfilled and present, the time is now, and it should always be.

Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut during an interview with Standard on a hospital bed at Mediheal Hospital in Parklands, Nairobi where he undergoing treatment after he suffered injuries following an accident in a city hotel. November 14, 2021. Photo David Njaaga/Standard

 

Ainabkoi Member of Parliament William Chepkut is a humorous man. He never fails to attract attention.

Apart from his colourful suits while on official duties, he wears another hat whenever he attends dowry negotiations or wedding ceremonies back in the village; he cracks ribs with his comical jigs.

On some occasions, he ignores the high table and settles in kitchen behind the tents to prepare tea for the visitors; actions that have endeared him to many. But for several months now, Chepkut has been missing in action.

Unknown to many, the MP has been recuperating in hospital following an accident at a city hotel. He says he missed a step at a staircase and rolled down sustaining serious injuries on his knees.

When The Standard caught up with him on Sunday afternoon at Mediheal Hospital in Parklands, he was talking to university students who had paid him a visit. 

Even though his humour is still intact, a tinge of sadness flashes across his face as he adjusts the hospital bed to share his ordeal for the first time.

“In July, I missed a step at the hotel and rolled down several metres to the ground; I fainted and was rushed to Nairobi Hospital where I received treatment was discharged,” he explained.

Afterwards, Chepkut says he went to Dubai for further consultation and was told that he had to undergo surgery to treat his knee.

“I took it lightly and came back home and then proceeded to Uganda for other duties. But in a shocking twist of fate, around the same time I suffered two other accidents that totally grounded me.”

He says that in the last accident, he fractured his hand and was rushed to Mediheal Hospital in a critical condition where he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit. He later underwent a 36-hour surgery on his legs and the injured arm.

“Being in hospital bed for this long has taught me a lot. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and how people have sacrificed their time to come and see and pray for me. I got a call from President Uhuru while he was in United States. Deputy President William Ruto has also reached out.”

For some time now, Chepkut has branded himself as the only leader who speaks the truth.

“There's another incident that happened in 2002, but I have kept it a secret. It was during the change of regime when I was poisoned. Some of my organs were badly damaged that I had to undergo a kidney transplant,” he reveals. 

“It was one of the worst time's of my life but I survived it. At the time, I had not even settled in life but former President Daniel Moi extended a helping hand and that’s how I started my journey in life.”

The MP says he will spill more secrets in a book that he is authoring but he is quick to add that surviving such ordeals made him change his perspective in life.

On why he likes grabbing attention at events and ceremonies, Chepkut says he has learnt from the Bible which is placed on a simple table beside his hospital bed that there is time for everything.

“I'm a simple politician and I celebrate with those who celebrate."

He concludes: “I really miss those moments. I miss weddings and other ceremonies."

Chepkut may be in hospital for another one month. - Pkemoi Ng'enoh, The Standard

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