Ministry Orders Probe On Kisumu Boys’ School Fire

The Ministry of Education has called for speedy investigations to unearth the cause of a fire that razed down three dormitories and four classrooms at Kisumu Boys High School.
Property of unknown value was destroyed in the Saturday morning inferno which has displaced 250 students.
The fire started from one of the dormitories when the students were in class and quickly spread to the entwined classrooms and adjacent dormitories.
Basic Education Principal Secretary (PS) Julius Jwan said various State agencies have been deployed to establish the cause of the fire.
The PS said the teams would also come up with a detailed report on the extent of damage as various stakeholders move in to partner with the school to restore normalcy.
Speaking at the school on Saturday, the PS said the report would assist the ministry come up with a way forward on fixing the destroyed infrastructure.
“The ministry will only come in after we have established the cause of the fire. The Kenya Power and Ministry of Housing teams have asked for time to conclude the investigations,” he said.
“I have said this before that the government cannot allocate funds to rebuild the infrastructure if for example it is found that the fire was started by the students,” he added.
He said all the 1,652 out of 2,300 students who reported back to the school on Friday after the half term break were safe since nobody was injured in the inferno.
The school management, he said, has resolved not to send the students back home adding that the Kenya Red Cross has offered to deliver twenty tents to help manage the situation.
Ten of the tents, said the PS, would be used as classrooms while the others shall be converted into temporary dormitories.
“The school has liaised with their contractors and suppliers who have promised to donate mattresses and beddings for the affected students,” he said.
He asked parents to remain calm adding that the school would communicate to them on the way forward.

Source: Kenya News Agency

The Journey Of Bungoma Governor-Elect, Ken Lusaka

“This far, I attribute the success of my journey to the Almighty God through whom I have moved mountains and crossed deep oceans of life,” Bungoma Governor-elect Kenneth Makelo Lusaka told KNA in an interview on Thursday.
Lusaka was born on 18th September, 1963 in Kamukuywa, Bungoma County in the former Western Province.
He attended his primary school at AC Mapela Primary also known as Kamukuywa primary where he sat for his Certificate of Primary Education examination.
“My life in primary school was normal, just like any other child’s life, scandals here and there but I ensured I was always on the right,” Lusaka said.
Lusaka then joined St. Mary’s Kibabii High School for his ‘O’ levels and later Chesamisi High School then Friends School Kamusinga for his ‘A’ levels.
“After my ‘A’ levels in Kamusinga, I joined University of Nairobi for a degree course in Literature which I then dropped because it was very involving and I had no passion in teaching,” said the governor.
Lusaka then took up a course in Political Science and History which propelled him into active politics at the university.
“I wanted to vie for University students’ organization president in 1987 but I dropped my bid after all the contestants were involved in a scandal that led to their expulsion from the university,” Lusaka said.
Lusaka was also a very active actor and comedian while at the university. “If I had not joined politics I would have been a very serious actor and comedian,” Lusaka added.
Lusaka said he was blessed with a charisma in imitation whereby he only needs a few hours with you then he can enact exactly as you do.
He participated in a travelling Theatre where various literature set books featured as a form of supporting his life on campus. “I used to play various roles in different books both lead roles and minor ones too,” Lusaka added.
“I played as Wamala in The Burdens, Anthony in The Merchant of Venice and Mulili in Betrayal in the City,” Lusaka said.
According to Lusaka, he acted in both Swahili and English plays such as Betrayal in the City and Usaliti Mjini in order for him to improve his command of both the two languages.
“Art is critical in all spheres of life because it is the only way to handle reality and nature without realizing the harder and bitter side of it,” Lusaka added.
“I also suffered joblessness after university for several months before someone who was dear to me called me for an interview where out of over 100 people I was among the 10 who were successful and posted by the Public Service Commission,” Lusaka added.
He worked in Muhoroni as a District Officer before he was transferred to Homa Bay.
“I was then sent to the Netherlands for a master’s degree in Policy and Administration,” Lusaka narrated.
He served as a District Commissioner when he came back before becoming the first secretary of provincial administration in the Office of the President during Kibaki’s tenure in 2008.
The ex-Senate Speaker then served as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock after the sacking of Patrick Khaemba.
In 2013, Lusaka vied for the Bungoma gubernatorial seat alongside the then Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang’ati, Maurice Makhanu, Jack Tumwa and Wabwoba Walinywa. Lusaka won the race and served as the first governor of Bungoma.
In 2017, Lusaka contested for the race once more but lost to Wycliffe Wangamati after which the Jubilee party fronted him for the senate speaker’s candidature.
Lusaka won the senate speaker position in the second round by garnering 42 votes against his competitor Farah Maalim who polled 25 votes.
“I can say that the Elgeyo Marakwet senator Onesmus Kipchumba Murkomen was the senator who was always on my neck but I like his credibility and that resilience in him,” Lusaka spoke of his tough moments as the senate speaker.
“Furthermore I can say that the people of Elgeyo Marakwet have a leader in that gentleman and I thank God that he is now one of our members in Kenya Kwanza,” Lusaka added.
In this year’s General Election, Lusaka ran for the Bungoma County gubernatorial race once more on a Ford-Kenya party ticket against Wangamati who beat him in 2017 on the same Ford Kenya party ticket.
Lusaka overturned tables on Wangamati in the race by garnering a total of 244, 298 votes against his competitor Wangamati of DAP-K party who bagged 137,378 votes.
“I thank my outgoing governor Wangamati for two things; one for conceding defeat and two for holding my seat safely for the last five years,” Lusaka said.

Source: Kenya News Agency

71-Year-Old Gets Elected As MCA

When he entered into competitive politics in 1997, Raymond Chelulei did not know one day he would become a Member of County Assembly.
25 years later, Chelulei of UDA party trounced his youthful contenders to clinch Singhor-Soba MCA seat in Tinderet Constituency in the recently concluded general election.
The 71-year-old MCA elect garnered 12,501 votes becoming perhaps the oldest elected leader in the country.
Nandi has been known for electing youthful leaders in the region having produced the youngest Governor, Senator and MCA in 2013 and 2017 elections.
Governor Stephen Sang was first elected as the Senator at the age of 27 years in 2013 and five years later, he became the youngest county boss.
The County further produced the youngest legislators; Senator Samson Cherargei and Kilibwoni MCA Cynthia Muge, aged 28 and 24 years respectively. Muge is now the current Women Representative.
Narrating his political journey which had ups and downs, Chelulei attributed his victory to his ideal development agenda that gained popularity among the locals adding that electorates accepted his agenda despite his age.
“It has been a long and tough journey. I entered into politics in 1997 but I thank God my consistent efforts and prayers have enabled me to clinch the seat,” he said.
The County has 30 MCAs elected in the August election, 25 from UDA party, 3 from ANC and 2 are independent.
Chelulei rode on his popular political mantra ‘boyot komas kazit’ which loosely translated means ‘let the old man do the work’, and he garnered support across the social age sets.
In 1997, the now elated MCA first battled out for the Tindiret parliamentary seat using the then Raila Odinga-led party, the National Development Party (NDP) and lost to former minister Henry Kosgey.
“In 2013, I returned to politics and vied for the same position using United Democratic Party (URP), the popular party in the region, but I didn’t manage,” he stated
And the just concluded election, he tried the MCA seat and won with a big margin. Chelulei noted that his goal was to give back to the society by eliminating illiteracy and poverty.
“I come with vast experience having worked for various sectors in the country. I promise to change the living standards of locals and fulfill all the promises I made during my campaign,” he said.
Elsewhere, 24-year-old Edwin Kiprop of UDA was elected to represent people of Nandi Hills becoming probably the youngest Member of the County Assembly in the County and country at large.
Kiprop completed Form Four in Kabote Secondary school in 2017 then proceeded for tertiary education where he graduated with a Diploma in general agriculture in one of local colleges.
“I had passion in leadership and I got support from friends and well-wishers in campaigns, and my humble background could not deter me from achieving my objectives of representing the youths,” he stated.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Outgoing Governor Calls For Unity Among Leaders

Outgoing Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok has called on the recently elected leaders to work together to champion development and deliver equitable services to the residents.
Speaking during a burial ceremony of his brother Thomas Narumbe Nanok in Lodwar, the Governor noted that the election is over and leaders should embrace one another to serve the electorates.
“Leaders should not harbour electoral differences, but forgive one another and work together to promote service delivery and development,” he said.
The late Narumbe, who worked as a driver with the County Government, was eulogized as humble, respectful and God fearing who carried out his duties diligently. He is survived by two wives and five children. His death came as a shock to family, friends, colleagues and relatives as no particular cause of his death has been identified.
The Governor who was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Nanok, called on civil servants to stick to discharging the duties of their offices, stating that politics should be left to the politicians.
“Your ultimate duty is to serve the residents through your offices and support development in the county,” he noted.
He reiterated that a Kenya Kwanza Government would invest in high potential sectors such as livestock and fisheries production, invest in small businesses to create jobs, revamp and expand existing social programmes supporting vulnerable groups of people, adding that most of development funds would target hustlers where half of the money would go to women.
Nanok also said that the Ruto-led Government would address water issues in Turkana by developing the aquifer water project for commercial and domestic use.
The Governor thanked residents for trusting his leadership of 10 years through election of almost 20 UDA MCAs out of 30 and four MPs including Woman MP out of seven, saying that his track record in development should be emulated by the incoming County leadership to further improve livelihoods.
The ceremony was also attended by the outgoing Trans-Nzoia County Governor Patrick Khaemba, First Lady Lydia Khaemba and family members.
Turkana Central MP elect Joseph Namuar, Woman MP Cecilia Asinyen Ngitit, MCAs elect and former MCAs also spoke during the ceremony.
Senior County Government officials present included Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro, County Secretary Peter Eripete, Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, County Attorney Erastus Ethekon, TCPSB Chairman John Teria Ngasike, CECs Jane Ajele (Health), Jeremiah Namuya (Public Service), Alex Losikiria (Lands), George Emoru (Agriculture) as well as a host of County Chief Officers.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Aljazeera Journalist Triumphs In This Year’s Elections

Veteran Aljazeera journalist Mohamed Adow won the Wajir South parliamentary seat after garnering 13,900 votes in the just concluded August 9th General Elections.
He beat two other contenders from his Mohamed Zubeir Somali sub-clan from the larger Ogaden community who predominantly lived in the constituency where smaller ethnic communities of Makabul and Garre sub corner tribe offered the needed swing votes that propelled him to victory.
He vied under the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket that was part of the Azimio la Umoja one Kenya Coalition.
Adow, who comes from a humble background, went to County high school in Garissa town before he joined Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) to shape his journalism career and upon graduating in 2000, he took his internship with Kenya News Agency in Garissa.
He later joined Daily Nation Newspaper as a print journalist before being absorbed by the BBC Somali service at the Nairobi office where he worked for several years before he moved to Aljazeera international TV station in Doha in the United Arab Emirates.
Adow who did his Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations at University of London joined politics earlier this year under the push to uplift his community from the morass of want and bad leadership.
He is married with four children and when both of his parents passed on, he was left as the only bread winner for his siblings.

Source: Kenya News Agency

County Prioritizes Provision Of Clean Water

Vihiga County Government intends to collaborate with development partners in an effort to facilitate provision of clean and safe water drinking water to the residents.
The Governor-elect Dr. Wilber Ottichilo said plans were underway to ensure that at least 70 percent of the residents have access to clean and safe water in the next two years.
Dr. Ottichilo lamented that the people have in the past been using water from unprotected wells which posed a threat to their health.
He said this while meeting a delegation from Water Is Life (WIL), a non-governmental organization, paid him a courtesy call on Friday.
He stated that his administration has completed and commissioned Buhani water project in Mungoma ward in Vihiga sub county.
The county head explained that the project has a 105,000-litre reservoir stationed in North Maragoli hills from where the water moves by gravity to reach the residents.
He pointed out that he commissioned another such project in June this year in Ipali ward of Emuhaya sub county that has connected about 100 households to piped water.
“Access to clean and safe water is one of my government’s priorities and our aim is to ensure that every household in the county is connected with tap water to relieve them of the burden of walking long distances to fetch water from wells and rivers,” he stated.
The residents, just like many in other parts of the country, have for a long time been drawing water from unprotected wells.
The organization’s operations manager Nancy Sikuku, who led the delegation, said they were going to sink bore holes in various parts of the county.
“In order to ensure steady supply of the water, we shall install solar power for pumping the commodity from underground thereby cutting the operation costs that would arise from using electricity,” she stated.
She added that the water projects would promote food security through irrigation of crops on the farms.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kenya: Odinga wants to challenge his electoral defeat in court

Historical opponent Raila Odinga, an unsuccessful Kenyan presidential candidate last week, announced a legal action on Saturday after the results of the poll, which he described as a “joke” after the victory of the vice-president outgoing William Ruto.
Last Monday, after six days of interminable waiting for the 50 million Kenyans, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC), an independent body that appeared deeply divided, announced the victory of William Ruto with 50.49% of the vote against 48 85% for Raila Odinga. Mr. Odinga rejected those results on Tuesday.
Monday evening, to everyone’s surprise, four of the seven commissioners of the IEBC had rejected the results a few minutes before their announcement, accusing Wafula Chebukati, the president of the IEBC, of his “opaque” management and his lack of consultation.
“We want justice to be done so that peace can be found,” Odinga said from his home in Nairobi on Saturday after meeting with religious leaders.
“We decided to use the law to go to the Supreme Court (…) to show that it was not an election but a joke,” he added.
This election constitutes a fifth defeat in a presidential poll for Mr. Odinga, even if his candidacy was supported this year by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ruling party.
No presidential election has been free from contestation in Kenya since 2002 and disputes have sometimes led to bloody clashes.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court overturned the presidential election after Mr. Kenyatta’s victory was rejected by Mr. Odinga. Dozens of people had been killed by police in protests.
The aftermath of this year’s poll has been closely watched, seen as a test of democratic maturity in the country which has East Africa’s strongest economy.
In 2007, an election also very close, Mr. Odinga had also, without going to court, refused the result, which had triggered the worst post-election crisis in the history of the country, with more than 1,100 deaths in inter-ethnic clashes.
Any motion to challenge must be filed by Monday August 22 with the Supreme Court, which then has 14 days to render its decision. If it orders the annulment, a new ballot must be organized within 60 days.
“We are doing this to defend democracy and our country,” Odinga said.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Alarm bells as Somalia’s new president sours relationship with Ethiopia

The new government in Somalia that won elections held in May has got off to a rocky political start in its relations with the relatively powerful and influential neighbour, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia enjoyed warm relations with the previous government in Somalia. But recent incidents have soured relations. First was that Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, bypassed his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed during visits to regional capitals in May, June and July.
Then, during a visit to Cairo, Hassan Sheikh waded into the controversy between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egyptian ruler Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hinted at a press conference that Somalia and Egypt saw eye-to-eye on the contentious dam.
The final stroke appears to be Hassan Sheikh’s unexpected decision to appoint a former Al-Shabaab commander, Mukhtar Roobow Mansuur, to Somalia’s new cabinet. Mansuur was the former deputy of the militant group Al-Shabaab. This appointment was met with a mixture of shock and disbelief at home and in the region and beyond.
The fiercest reaction came from Ethiopia, which dreads Al-Shabaab and its radicalised elements. Successive Ethiopian governments have always expected a menace from Somalia. Addis Ababa was nevertheless taken by surprise when Al-Shabaab launched a cross-border attack on Ethiopian forces in late July. It showed that the militant group could easily dent Ethiopia’s capability to control the border with southern Somalia.
Ethiopia’s reaction
Ethiopian authorities responded to Mansuur’s appointment by engaging directly with leaders of Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions instead of with the central government. They embarked on approaching Southwest, which now has a political tension with the new government in Mogadishu over the recent dispensation of power in the cabinet. Like the Ethiopian authorities, Southwest authorities were unacceptable to Mansuur’s ministerial appointment.
Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen, the president of Southwest, was flown to Addis Ababa by the Ethiopian army. He was reported to have held secret talks with the Ethiopian military intelligence at an army base outside Addis Ababa.
Lafta-Gareen is a staunch ally of former Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” and his former chief spy Fahad Yasin Haji Daher.
Lafta-Gareen then flew to Jigjiga, the regional capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, where he met the region’s president Mustafe Muhumed Omer, who distrusts the past links between Hassan Sheikh and the deposed Tigray leaders in northern Ethiopia.
Lafta-Gareen, together with other regional presidents, including Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland in northeast Somalia, will form an Ethiopian-supported strong opposition to the new government. This will make it harder for the government to consolidate its power and build a peaceful state.
Wider tensions
Political tensions in the Horn of Africa rose after Hassan Sheikh bypassed Ethiopia during a flurry of state visits even before he formed his government. He visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Turkey, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea. Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his government advisers interpreted this as hostile.
Hassan Sheikh’s visit to Egypt came at a critical time when Cairo was galvanising Arab solidarity against Addis Ababa in their dispute over the exploitation of the Nile River. Appearing side by side with El-Sisi, the Somali president publicly sided with Egypt against Ethiopia.
An additional factor behind the tensions is that Abiy enjoyed close ties with Farmaajo, whom Hassan Sheikh ousted. And Hassan Sheikh was close to the ousted leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front when he served as president between 2012 and 2017. It came as no surprise that the Front, which was recently at war with the Ethiopian government, quickly welcomed Hassan Sheikh’s re-election.
This explains the Ethiopian government’s renewed policy of engaging directly with regional governments. This is likely to further weaken the prospects to restore a functioning Somali state. It will also hinder the state authorities’ attempts to reach out to the periphery.
Ethiopia pursued this approach against the Somali state before – between 2000 and 2010. Initially, even the US was content with this policy, which it dubbed a “dual-track policy”, meaning to treat the centre and the periphery in the same category. But the outcome was that the regions developed more leverage than the centre.
The Somali government has remained silent on these visits and the implications for the future of Somali politics.
Controversial appointment
Within Somalia, it remains to be seen how the appointment of a former Al-Shabaab leader as minister for religious affairs plays out in the search for peace. Mukhtar Roobow Mansuur came to prominence in Al-Shabaab in 2013 during a radical shake-up of its hierarchy.
In 2017, however, he crossed over to the Somali government side and moved to Mogadishu. At first, he was allowed to move and make contact freely, but under the close surveillance of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA). I met him at this time during Friday midday prayers at the mosque in the presidential palace. He was reticent, reserved and careful to speak out of his guards’ earshot.
Mansuur fell foul of the Somali government in December 2018 shortly after declaring his candidacy for presidency of the Southwest state. He was placed under house arrest inside the intelligence headquarters in Mogadishu and remained there until his appointment as religious affairs minister on 2 August.
This is not the first time that a Somali government has appointed former Al-Shabaab leaders to positions of power. But it is the first time it has done so officially. Previous governments deployed Al-Shabaab defectors to work with intelligence and other security agencies. The list includes Sakariye Ismail Hersi, the former head of intelligence for Al-Shabaab.
In each case, the ultimate goal has been to tackle security and to free the country from Al-Shabaab’s iron grip. Many ordinary Somalis see Mansuur’s appointment in this light. They wish to see reconciliation between government authorities and Al-Shabaab authorities to end years of insecurity.
Others disagree because it suggests that being involved in bloodshed doesn’t preclude people from holding office.
Whatever the perspectives, Mansuur’s appointment will not automatically usher in a new era for Somalia. It will be one step forward, two steps backward. All in all, a “business as usual” in Somali politics.

Source: The Conversation Media Group Ltd