Muslim Clerics Call On NEP Counties To Ban Miraa, ‘Muguka’

Muslim clerics from Garissa have called on the governors of Northern Kenya counties to ban muguka and miraa from entering or being consumed in their counties.

Reacting to the recent ban on muguka trade in Mombasa and Kilifi Counties, the religious leaders said that the effects of the use of these drugs are detrimental to the lives and generations of their people.

On Friday last week, Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro banned the entry, transportation, distribution, sale, and use of muguka within the county, just two days after his Mombasa counterpart Abdulswamad Nasir had done the same.

Speaking to the press at the Garissa SUPKEM offices, the Muslim religious leaders, led by Garissa SUPKEM Chairman Abdullahi Salat, said that the Miraa and Muguka businesses had been allowed to thrive for far too long, ruining the lives of thousands who use the stimulant.

Salat said that it was clear that the effects of the plant far much outweigh its advantages, noting that the fact that many countries have banned it further
goes along to support the point.

Meanwhile, he also attributed the plant’s impact on society to numerous social issues, including high divorce rates, school dropout rates, and poor student performance.

He further noted that crime and other vices such as insecurity have a direct link to those using the stimulant, reiterating the need to ban it so as to save society and generations.

‘Our region is one of the most affected when it comes to the abuse of this plant (Muguka). Its effects on those who are using it are very visible; some are even developing mental health issues. Many have ended up using a lot of resources on the same,’ Salat said.

‘For this reason, we speak in one voice and call on Governors from all the pastoralists’ counties, including Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Marsabit, and Tana River, with the help of their County Assemblies, to follow suit. Since, it’s the best thing to do if they really care for the wellbeing of our people and society at large,’ he added.

On his part, Sheikh Hussein
Mahat said that the fact that NACADA has listed both Miraa and Muguka as drugs was enough reason to have them banned completely.

Hence, he took issue with the move by parliament, which a few years ago listed Miraa as a cash crop.

He also called on the government to put in the same energy that it is using to fight and ban illicit brew to also fight Miraa and Muguka, noting that a large population in the region has been equally affected.

Source: Kenya News Agency

MSMEs To Grow As New Bill Creates Credit Guarantors

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are set to benefit from easy access to loans through credit guarantors, when a new bill is passed and enacted.

The draft bill, credit guarantee policy, and Amendments to the CBK Act, aim to establish a strong, competitive, and inclusive financial sector for MSMEs, promoting a conducive policy and regulatory environment for credit guarantees.

The act aims to boost MSMEs’ access to quality and affordable credit, thereby enhancing their economic participation.

Speaking at a public participation forum in Garissa, Antony Njeru, a Principal Economist at the State Department for MSME at the National Treasury, said that Credit guarantee companies who will be licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya will work with lending institutions to guarantee loans for small and medium business owners.

Due to the moral hazard that people may fail to repay the loans when guaranteed by the government, the banks will look at the credit scores of those seeking financing and determine whet
her to involve the credit guarantors or not.

According to Njeru, the banks will judge if a client can be able to repay a loan or not, and those that the banks think that they may have difficulties in repaying are the ones to be referred to credit guarantee companies.

‘SMEs have been having a challenge to access loans from banks. This policy will create a Kenya Credit Guarantee Company, which will guarantee business communities who are seeking loans from the banks. This will help those who have low credit scores,’ Njeru said. Meanwhile, MSMEs contribute 34% to Kenya’s GDP and employ over 16 million Kenyans. Credit access aims to boost their monthly earnings to Sh50,000.

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the financing gap for MSMEs in Kenya is about Kshs.4 trillion, out of which banks will lend only Kshs.783.3 billion in 2022. The majority of MSMEs heavily depend on loans from informal sources such as chamas, family, and friends, with very low reliance on formal sources such as commer
cial banks, SACCOs, and microfinance institutions.

Garissa County Commissioner Mohamed Mwabudzo, who officiated the forum, said that the government has created a conducive environment for businesses to grow through various financing options, such as the Hustler Fund, the Youth Fund, and the and the Uwezo Fund, among others. Thus, he encouraged MSMEs to take advantage of these facilities to grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of the national economy.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Youth Encouraged To Promote Culture, Tourism

Turkana County Deputy Governor Dr. John Erus has called on the local youth to take an active role in promoting the region’s rich cultural and tourism potential.

Speaking at the opening of the 6th National Youth Workshop on Culture and Heritage, held at the Loropio Start-Up Lions ICT Campus, Dr. Erus emphasized the importance of youth participation as ambassadors of Turkana’s heritage.

The Deputy Governor highlighted the county’s commitment to fostering tourism through an annual calendar of events designed to showcase Turkana’s cultural wealth.

‘Every year we host the Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival, also called Tobong’ulore, the Lokiriama Peace Accord, and the Ata Nayece festivals. You can seize the opportunity to invite participants or contribute by taking part in such events,’ he stated.

He further encouraged the youth to engage in heritage conservation, emphasizing the need for developing a sense of responsibility and stewardship over Turkana’s abundant cultural assets.

‘Turkana County Governmen
t and UNESCO will document Edon’ga as an intangible cultural heritage asset, in line with Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai’s agenda for strengthening Turkana’s cultural heritage,’ he stated.

The documentation of Edong’aa as a cultural asset will be facilitated by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee, a body whose work safeguards intangible cultural heritage such as dances.

The five-day workshop offers youth participants a comprehensive knowledge exchange program, facilitated by UNESCO, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KFRI).

The program includes lectures and discussions aimed at enhancing the participants’ understanding and appreciation of their cultural heritage.

Meanwhile, participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Turkana Boy archaeological site, providing a unique learning experience in human history and evolution. A possible visit to Lake Turkana, Central Island, is also on the agend

Archaeological experts underscore Turkana’s significance as the cradle of mankind, citing evidence pointing to the earliest human existence at Nariokotome in Turkana North.

The DG was accompanied by the county Executive for Tourism, Audan Leah Lokaala, Tourism Chief officer Cecilia Majuma and Boniface Korobe, the Director Culture Heritage and Arts.

Source: Kenya News Agency

ADAK Calls For Stakeholders’ Collaboration To Fight Against Doping

The successes in the war against doping cannot be achieved by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) alone, hence the need for collaboration with other stakeholders.

Speaking to the media, ADAK’s Head of Legal Services, Bildad Rogoncho, noted that in the successful prosecution of anti-doping rules in our nation, they have had a good collaboration with the judiciary, as they have given them a platform, the Sports Dispute Tribunal, to adjudicate cases.

‘In fact, our systems, where we have the judiciary giving us a platform, are the best in the world; the resource management panel and the hearing panel are both institutionally and operationally independent from international doping organizations,’ he explained.

Rogoncho noted a successful collaboration with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to handle falsified medical documents related to anti-doping evaluation notices for athletes. Hence, he mentioned that they have a good relationship with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) as they help the AD
AK legal team, especially in the exchange of data and expertise.

‘The hurdle that we have been facing is that we have rogue medical practitioners, especially in the North Rift region, who are aiding athletes in producing forged medical documents under the pretext that the athlete has consumed the banned substances because they are suffering from some ailments,’ he said.’

He noted that one of the biggest challenges they are currently facing are the suppliers of banned substances who aid athletes in doping, and the agency is keen on fighting them.

Moreover, the head of legal services added that the sources are mostly those rogue medical practitioners-the chemists and pharmacies-who are supplying our athletes with these medications.

‘We have joint operations with the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacist Dentist Union (KMPDU) and pharmacists to apprehend those rogue medical practitioners,’ said Rogoncho.

He revealed that they caught a rogue medic recently in Kapsabet through alliance with other medics; hen
ce, he called upon all stakeholders to support ADAK’s efforts, whose aim is to create an enabling environment for sports.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kisumu Distributes Free-Treated Mosquito Nets

Over 300,000 households in Kisumu County have benefited from free, long-lasting insecticidal nets to control the spread of malaria in the area.

Kisumu County Malaria Control Coordinator Lyana Dayo said the county received 866,115 mosquito nets from the Ministry of Health (MoH) for the campaign to give impetus to the fight against the tropical disease.

So far, 92% of the targeted households, she said, have received the mosquito nets, adding that the recent floods affected the distribution exercise in parts of Nyando, Kadibo, and Nyakach Sub-Counties.

A number of the beneficiaries, she said, were displaced by the floods, with some of the facilities earmarked for the distribution exercise submerged in water.

Dayo said the exercise, which started with the registration of beneficiaries in January, has registered tremendous success despite the challenge.

‘After the distribution of treated mosquito nets, our hospitals have registered a significant reduction in the number of people coming to seek malaria treatme
nt,’ she said.

The beneficiaries, she noted, were instructed to ensure the proper use of mosquito nets to decrease the malaria prevalence in the county from 27% in 2015 to 15.6%.

She pointed out that the county health department will continue to roll out interventions to ensure that the number of malaria cases drops.

Kisumu is one of the counties in Kenya with a high burden of malaria given its geographic and climatic conditions, which are characterized by low altitude and hot and humid weather, which create a conducive breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Bahati Traders To Benefit From Sh200 Million Modern Market

Traders in Bahati Sub County in Nakuru County are set to benefit from a multi-million integrated modern market to be constructed at Kabatini Trading Centre.

Speaking during the handover of the site, Governor Susan Kihika announced that the project is a partnership between the National Government and the County Government of Nakuru.

She said it will be completed in five months after the tendering process was completed in March.

According to Ms. Kihika, the project will include social halls, prefab stalls, market area segmentation, cold room facilities, offices, an ATM lobby, baby daycare services (creche), and primary processing facilities for value addition.

The governor also announced that the project will include supporting infrastructure such as sewers, high-mast flood lights and raised water tanks, banking institutions, a food court, and modern washrooms that will be compliant with the needs of persons living with disabilities.

Ms. Kihika assured the traders that they will have a conducive working en
vironment to carry out their businesses once the project was completed.

She was accompanied by Deputy Governor Mr. David Kones, Bahati Member of Parliament Ms. Irene Njoki, Baringo County Women Representative Ms. Florence Jematia, her Nyeri counterpart Ms. Rahab Mukami, and area Member of the County Assembly Ms. Leah Nganga.

The two storey market will be constructed on half an acre of space, with at least 200 traders expected to have cold storage facilities.

‘The market will also have water towers, cabros, ablution blocks, and market offices,’ said Ms. Kihika.

She added that the objective of the market is to act as a feeder for the market hub in Bahati, Subukia, Nakuru Town East, and Nakuru Town West sub-counties.

Ms. Kihika said the national government, in partnership with counties, was committed to improving traders’ business environments in the country.

‘The majority of Kenyans are traders by nature, and what they look for is the dignity of their hustles and the places they trade from, but most of th
em trade in filthy places where there is no road, sewerage, or other amenities, hence attracting people with low purchasing power,’ said the governor.

The market is expected to bolster trade and transform the economy of the trading centre along the busy Nakuru-Nyahururu highway.

The Sh200 million modern market is part of the government’s Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP).

Bahati MP, Ms. Njoki, emphasised that the government’s investment in market infrastructure will ensure that traders at the grassroots operate in conducive environments and cut food losses.

‘This will guarantee our farmers and traders more earnings to support more livelihoods in our county,’ the legislator added.

The MP urged the contractor to ensure construction materials are sourced locally and all jobs are given to locals.

The market will consist of a ground floor that will accommodate more than 200 modern stalls for traders, and the first floor will include a boardroom.

The stalls will be divided into fresh produce, clothes, and wa
res sections.

In addition, the modern market will include a lactation room for breastfeeding mothers, an ICT room fully connected to the internet, and a revenue centre.

The market will further have food courts for traders to sell meals to consumers in the area.

Deputy Governor Kones noted that the project will help create employment in the area.

He asked the contractor to complete the project on time, further insisting on locals being prioritised in the supply of building materials and construction jobs.

The construction work will also include fencing the market and the construction of a modern ablution block with a biodigester for waste management.

For security purposes, the state will erect high-mast solar-powered floodlights that will ensure security for the traders as they undertake their businesses.

To facilitate sanitation, a borehole will be drilled for the provision of drinking water and cleaning purposes, with raised water tanks and a receptacle.

Source: Kenya News Agency

County To Review Climate Change Act To Address Climate Risks

Kakamega County is set to double the budget towards addressing climate risks and consider opportunities for climate finance during the 2024-2025 financial year.

The initiative comes at a time when the country has experienced heavy rains that have led to the destruction of properties and food crops, with Kakamega being one of the affected counties.

The County Executive Committee Member in Charge of Environment, Water, Natural Resources, and Climate Change, Peninah Mukabane, said the county government will include carbon credit in the Act.

She asked community members to take an early opportunity to benefit from the Carbon trade in the international markets once the act is reviewed, noting that it will also create an enabling environment for other key players in environmental conservation.

‘For us to provide an enabling environment, we are reviewing our climate change act to include Carbon Credit in order for communities to participate in the carbon trade for international markets,’ she pointed out.

She sai
d that for a community member to benefit from Carbon credit, they will register themselves and indicate the number of trees they have grown on their pieces of land.

‘The condition to benefit from Carbon Credit is that once you have registered yourself that you have trees, for instance, on one acre of land, you don’t interfere with them for the next 25 years. You don’t cut them down or uproot even one of them; even if the tree falls by itself, you are supposed to leave it that way,’ she explained.

She said the county government has already provided an opportunity for residents to grow many trees through the county’s greening programme and has partnered with the Kenya Water Towers Agency to provide tree seeds and polytubes to raise tree nurseries.

‘We have enough tree nurseries in the county and enough seedlings. It is now the responsibility of residents, through their own initiative, to reach out to those nurseries to access the trees and go and plant them,’ noted the CECM.

Through the greening programme,
the county is engaging 12 contractors, one in each sub-county, with a target to plant a certain number of fruit and indigenous trees in every ward.

The Contractors are also expected to plant the trees in schools and encourage school-going children to adopt them, with every child expected to plant and adopt between 7-10 trees in every school.

‘We encourage school going children to adopt trees so that when they grow up, they will understand the importance of planting and nurturing trees,’ she added.

The county government has also empowered five community Forest Associations to plant, protect, and nurture trees. These are Kakamega Forest CFA, Mwireshi CFA, Bunyala Forest CFA, Malava CFA, and one in Lugari.

‘We have been able to support all the Community Forest Associations to establish tree nurseries, and they currently have enough seedlings to sell to the population,’ she added.

To protect the Kakamega Forest, the CECM noted that the county is working with the Kenya Forest Service, Safaricom, and Rhino Ark
Foundation to fence the Kakamega Forest.

‘We completed fencing of 15 kilometers in Phase 1, and we are about to start phase 2 of the fencing project, which will cover 34 kilometers. It will extend to Vihiga County, which is also contributing some funds to the fencing project,’ she noted.

‘With climate change, most of the forest areas are experiencing invasive species. Research has shown that once you fence a forest, there is regeneration, and the original plant and animal species start to come back because there is little interference. This will in turn increase the number of tourists visiting the people of Kakamega,’ she added.

She said the county government is partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Nature Kenya, which are helping to protect water catchment areas such as the Yala River.

‘They have even helped us to train the Water Resource Users Association. I encourage other organizations to join us in protecting other rivers within the county so that we can prote
ct them for the sake of our future generation,’ she added.

The CECM encouraged residents who have land that extends to riparian zones or near rivers to plant the right trees and desist from cultivating on that land.

‘And when I tell you to protect your riparian area, it is also for your own benefit because soil erosion will affect your plants. They will lack nutrients that are sufficient for your crops to do well. Instead of cultivating on riparian areas, grow fruit trees or indigenous trees and put-up bee hives,’ she added.

As part of climate mitigation, the county government is also targeting investment in green energy, particularly solarization, the use of energy-saving Jikos, and hydroelectric dams.

‘In order to supplement energy, we have a partner known as Hydro Box who will come to support us so that we also encourage cottage industries to come up. We have had challenges with fluctuation in electricity in Kakamega; the downtime is too high for Kenya Power, and therefore we are looking for alternativ
e ways to provide a conducive environment for our business people through providing reliable energy,’ she said.

The county, she added, has received funds from the United Nations to create awareness and actions to protect the environment, focusing on land restoration, discouraging desertification, and drought resilience.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Ololoito Residents Appeal For Bridge

Residents of the Ololoito area in Narok Central Sub-county are appealing to the authorities to repair the broken bridge that connects them to the Narok-Nakuru highway.

The residents, led by Ololoito Primary School Head Teacher Mr. David Kenga, lamented that the bridge was swept away by flash floods last month and that the county government has put no effort into renovating the road.

Kenga said the impassable road has compromised learning at his school, as only a handful of pupils make it to school every day, as pupils living on the other side of the river cannot cross the bridge.

‘The teachers have asked the pupils to remain at home for their safety. But our worry is, until when? Other schools have their children learning, while my school is disadvantaged to have only a few learners making it to school every day,’ he said.

Kenga observed that the area is rich in crop production, and the farmers were suffering huge losses as they cannot transport their crops to the market.

‘This area is rich in vegetable,
potato, maize, and carrot farming. However, the farmers cannot enjoy their handwork because of the impassable road,’ he said.

Kayiyo Nkoitoi, a teacher at Ololoito Primary School, decried the situation, saying they have to keep watch over the children in the morning and evening to ensure they are not swept down the river.

‘The bridge is very critical for the people living in this area; it has become difficult for even teachers to cross the river when going to school,’ he said.

Michael Tobiko, a resident of the Ololoito area, added that the residents have put up two posts to enhance movement, but they are very risky as someone can easily slip down.

‘We are charging Sh500 to everyone who crosses the river via the posts, so that we can get enough money to construct a temporary bridge. We have decided to take the burden to ourselves,’ he reiterated.

Nevertheless, Narok Region Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA) regional Engineer Emmanuel Kipruto, who visited the bridge, confirmed that the road is a county ro
ad, but his office has written a request to the Kenya Roads Board to have the road maintained by KERRA, which will make it easier for the authority to construct the bridge.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Two Dead After Fire Breaks Out In Kirinyaga

Police in Kagumo, Kirinyaga County, are investigating a fire incident that killed two children in a residential plot near Kagumo Trading Centre in Kirinyaga Central Constituency on Monday night.

The incident happened at around 8 p.m., when two children aged 4 months and 4 years were burnt beyond recognition.

According to the residents and police, the mother of the two children had gone to the market to buy food when the incident happened.

Jane Wanjiku, a resident, who recounted the tragic events leading to the tragedy, said the fire spread so fast that it was impossible to rescue the children who were in the house where the fire started.

John Mwangi, another resident, said that the members of the neighbouring community did what was possible in trying to put off the fire before the team from the County Government of Kirinyaga arrived.

‘We called for help immediately, and within no time, assistance from immediate neighbours were in before firefighters. We are thankful for their prompt response,’ he added.

he fire has disrupted the lives of many, including school-going children, who are unable to attend classes due to the loss of their homes and school supplies.

Irene Karimi, the owner of the houses, described the chaotic scenes of screams when the fire started that led to the destruction of her property, pleading for assistance from anyone who can help the affected families.

‘I was in my house when I heard screams. I got out only to find the houses burning. Twenty houses were burnt, and the children of one mother died.’ Karimi said

The victims later on Tuesday afternoon received aid from the County Government of Kirinyaga and Kirinyaga Central MP to help rebuild their accommodation.

The leaders distributed food and non-food items, including iron sheets, mattresses, blankets, and packets of foodstuffs.

The County Executive Member for Finance, Jacqueline Njogu, urged the residents to seek services from the planning department when constructing houses.

The firefighters from the county arrived on time, but a
ccessing the site was a challenge that contributed to delays in containing the fire.

‘We have a planning department in our county, and we encourage you to visit them before building your properties; they will assist in making sure there will be easy access in case of incidents like this,’ Njogu said.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Water Shortage Hits Bomet Over Sh25million Unpaid Arrears

Residents of Bomet town are grappling with a severe water shortage, now aggravated by a staggering Sh25 million electricity bill, plunging the area into crisis.

The situation has forced locals to resort to expensive alternatives and raised concerns about public health risks.

The acute water shortage, persisting for over a month, has pushed residents to desperate measures. With taps running dry, they are now reliant on water vendors, who are capitalizing on the crisis by charging exorbitant prices.

Interviewed residents lamented having to pay as much as Sh30 for every 20 liters of water delivered to their doorsteps.

The crisis has also triggered an unexpected shift in the local economy, with Boda Boda operators forsaking their usual transport duties to capitalize on the water demand.

These operators are now ferrying water to various establishments, including hotels, schools, private residences, and university hostels, fetching profits far exceeding their usual income from passenger transport.

While the w
ater vendors profit, residents and businesses are feeling the strain.

Melody Chepkemoi, a hotel operator in the Central Business District, expressed the impact on her business, noting delayed openings due to the time-consuming task of sourcing water.

Chaotic scenes have unfolded at water sources, such as the Chepteny Beek River, where Boda Boda riders and water bowsers scramble for access, highlighting the severity of the situation.

Frustrated residents are now threatening to take to the streets in protest next week, demanding action from county authorities to resolve the crisis.

Bildad Cheruiyot criticized the negligence of the Bomet Water and Sanitation Company and accused county leaders of failing in their oversight responsibilities.

Concerns about public health are mounting as locals’ resort to drawing water from rivers. Peter Langat warned of potential disease outbreaks and called on public health authorities to intervene urgently.

In response, Dr. Benard Tanui, the Bomet County Executive Committee
member in Charge of Water and Environment, assured residents that efforts were underway to restore water supply.

He attributed the electricity disconnection to delayed funds from the national government, which has hindered the county’s ability to pay its bills.

Tanui acknowledged the challenges faced, including damage to water infrastructure from recent flooding. Despite the setbacks, he remained optimistic that solutions would be found once funds were released.

As the water crisis persists, residents are left to grapple with the immediate consequences while urging swift action from authorities to alleviate their plight and safeguard public health.

Source: Kenya News Agency