Peter Kenneth finds a place in President Uhuru’s courtyard

Peter Kenneth finds a place in President Uhuru’s courtyard

Kenneth and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua attracted criticism when they challenged Uhuru in the 2013 presidential election and after the poll worked with his rival Opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2014 agitating for electoral reforms.

However, the former Planning Assistant Minister is today received warmly in the region where politicians have been pushing for him to be crowned a kingpin in the Uhuru succession matrix.

Kenneth not only shelved his presidential ambitions in 2017 in favor of Uhuru and even disbanded his Kenya National Congress (KNC) party but he has lately become a close buddy of influential Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe, a strong member of the Uhuru inner circle.

He has also been holding meetings with Raila who has called for his appointment to Cabinet.

“This man (Kenneth) knows how to be a gentleman. The way he conducts himself; the way he performs his duties which is very diligent and even the way he dresses. Mr. President, this man needs to be given some work to do,” said Raila during the funeral of Kenneth’s mother in July last year.

An ardent supporter of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), last Friday, he met elders at Mathingira Mahiga Matatu Cultural Centre and shrines inside the Mt Kenya Forest where he was crowned as the Agikuyu cultural ambassador in what has been seen as a plan to prepare him to succeed Uhuru as the regional kingpin.

Last month, Kenneth held another meeting in Narumoru, Nyeri, that was organized by Kikuyu Council of Elders chairman Wachira wa Kiago and attended by Mt Kenya Foundation chairman Peter Munga who later told the media the gathering was a platform to call on “wayward” leaders from Central Kenya to support Uhuru’s agenda.

On July 8, Kenneth and other personalities met at a Nairobi hotel to discuss what they described as key “development-related matters in Mt Kenya”. Kenneth’s presence raised eyebrows because unlike other attendees, he holds no government position.

Cultural shrine

Yesterday, Kikuyu Council of Elders chair Kiago told our reporter the former MP’s past and his shift to the President’s camp had gradually earned him respect and a place in the powerhouse that is critical in 2022 succession politics. The elder said Kenneth’s past should not be used against him.

“Even with children, there is the aggressive one who does things ahead of others even without permission.

Parents end up using them to take care of others because they are experienced. Kenneth stood in 2013 and showcased his ability and built a name nationally. He is not like other leaders who have restricted their politics to their respective regions but want to play a national role,” Kiago said.

But former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, who has been angling to play a key role in Mt Kenya politics and a group of MPs from the region allied to Deputy President William Ruto has poured cold water on efforts to elevate Kenneth.

The DP’s allies see Kenneth as part of an axis that is keen to block Ruto from ascending to State House in 2022.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro have dismissed Kenneth as a non-starter.

Regional kingpin

“Kenneth is a man who represents everything that Mt Kenya would wish to forget.

In 2013 when Uhuru Kenyatta needed all the community members around him owing to the International Criminal Court case, he struck a defiant cord and went ahead to contest against him,” Gachagua said.

Gachagua added that Kenneth has never been heard articulating the region’s economic interests “and has a tendency of showing up after five years to ask for votes.”

Kabogo, on the other hand, accuses the Mount Kenya Foundation, which he claims rigged him out of office in 2017, of pushing Kenneth’s agenda as the next regional kingpin.

“There’s a group of people calling themselves Mount Kenya Foundation. They went to President Uhuru Kenyatta and told them that I am arrogant, proud, and that I should be dethroned from my gubernatorial seat and that is how I lost.

They are headed back to the President to propose Peter Kenneth. We will not allow them to fool the President anymore,” Kabogo told a funeral in Kirinyaga early this month.

Yesterday, Kenneth acknowledged his move to compete with Uhuru in 2013, which, he says, raised his political image nationally, had earned him political enemies but argued that his political journey was not different from that of the Head of State and trying to use the 2013 card against him was “a lost argument”.

MPs takes issue with DP Ruto over Huduma Namba false claims

MPs takes issue with DP Ruto over Huduma Namba false claims

A parliamentary committee has accused Deputy President William Ruto of inciting Kenyans against State projects through MPs allied to him.

Members of the Administration and National Security committee in the National Assembly cited recent attacks on the issuance of Huduma Namba by legislators allied to Ruto as one of the acts of incitement.

The legislators asked Ruto to quit the government instead of rocking it from within.

“The latest Huduma Namba queries raised by Ruto allies did not come as a surprise. Indeed, hypocrisy and doublespeak have been the trademark of the DP,” said committee chairman Paul Koinange.

Koinange, who was flanked by some committee members, hit out at some of the MPs allied to Ruto who take the lead in criticizing the government, especially on corruption, instead of channeling the same through the committees they sit in.

“The Huduma Namba is not a Jubilee administration project, it is a State project which was created by Parliament through the amendment of the Registration of Persons Act of 2018,” Koinange said.

Koinange, the Kiambaa MP, said the Huduma Namba idea was mooted by the Kibaki administration way back in 2005, through the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Integration of Population Register Systems (IPRS).

“This followed the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) recommendation on the fast-tracking of integration of the registration systems,” said Koinange.

The committee noted that the Huduma Namba is meant to make it easier for the government to offer services to the people and stop corruption and wastage of public resources.

“The Huduma Numba is also meant to help ensure that money meant for Wanjiku reaches her and that population is not inflated in the future. Those fighting it lost at the High Court and the project was given a go-ahead,” said committee vice chairperson Fatuma Gedi.

The committee asked those with evidence that the Huduma Namba project was fraudulently done, to produce the same to the investigating agencies instead of using it as a campaign tool.

On claims that the Huduma Namba will be used to rig elections, as alleged by MPs allied to Ruto, the committee stated that it is an open secret that elections are not won on computers and servers but by wooing voters.

Winning strategy

“The allegations being peddled by the Ruto team are signs of people who do not have a winning strategy,” Koinange said.

Last week, some of the DP’s allies claimed there was a scheme to politically-manipulate data in the Huduma Namba system as the country heads to the 2022 polls.

The legislators claimed an expatriate had been procured to steer the second phase of the registration exercise.

“Why is the National Intelligence Service (NIS) being involved in the proposed registration rather than the parent ministry?” posed Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa stated the country could not continue losing money during the tough economic times.

“Mnaweza kunywa pombe sasa,” President Uhuru lifts ban on sale of alcohol but extends curfew for 60 more days

“Mnaweza kunywa pombe sasa,” President Uhuru lifts ban on sale of alcohol but extends curfew for 60 more days

President Uhuru Kenyatta has lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol by non-retailers and has also opened bar and eateries but the closing time will only be up to 10 pm.

In a cautious approach to reopening the economy, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday reopened bars which have been closed for over six months.

Starting Tuesday, bars will now be selling alcohol to revelers up to 10 pm.

President Kenyatta also extended the nationwide curfew for a further 60 days citing the need to be cautious to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.

However, he revised the timings for the curfew to be starting at 11 pm from Tuesday.

On the reopening of schools, the President expressed reservations on the readiness of learning facilities to adhere strictly to Covid-19 protocols.

“Schools will be open once we have a clear assurance of the safety of students in learning institutions,” said KenyIn a cautious approach to reopening the economy, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday reopened bars which have been closed for over six months.atta.

The Twelfth [12th] Presidential Address on the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Twelfth [12th] Presidential Address on the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Twelfth [12th] Presidential Address on the Covid-19 Pandemic
September 28, 2020, Admin 0 Comments President speech today, President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Uhuru Kenyatta speech today, Presidential address today in Kenya

The Twelfth [12th] Presidential Address on the Covid-19 Pandemic on Monday, 28th September 2020 at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (Kicc) Nairobi.

In Statements and Speeches

Fellow Kenyans and Conference Participants,

Good Evening to You All,

I am delighted to conference with you today at this gathering that has brought together the teams, which have shaped our national response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

In your different capacities, as leaders, clergy, technocrats, civil society, and experts; you have helped the Country navigate through the turns and twists of the Corona crisis for the last six months, and brought us within sight of the safe harbor.

The panel discussions held this afternoon have highlighted both the Hits and the Misses in our national endeavor to flatten the infection curve. Overall, we have demonstrated resilience in the face of a tremendous challenge.

I celebrate our gallant health care workers and all our essential services providers, for keeping the Kenyan flame burning bright. Today, we honor and salute them all, and recognize their representatives who are in our midst at this Conference.

Even as we mourn for our compatriots whom we have lost to this disease, we are eternally grateful to God for our survivors and recoveries. Each death is a tragedy, and every recovery is a story of heroic triumph.

I am confident that as a Nation, we will stay the course for the remainder of this journey and reach our desired end. For your efforts, I once again thank you, collectively and individually, on behalf of the People and the Government of the Republic of Kenya, and on my own behalf.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the last six months, the country has been in a ‘Season of Paradox’. Since March this year, when we recorded the first COVID-19 case, it became necessary to shut down the economy in order to save it.

We had to avoid our loved ones, especially the elderly because we care for their health and cherish their wisdom.

And, it became necessary to withdraw our children from schools in order to secure their future.

All this was a paradox – a conflict between the ‘new normal’; and what we think the ‘normal’ should be.

Today, however, we face an even greater paradox. As we flatten the Corona Curve, it may appear like a victory, is on sight. Yes, the COVID positivity rate has fallen from 13% in June, 7% in August, and is now at 4.4% in September. With these figures, we can be tempted to celebrate, more so because we are now below the 5% positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for re-opening.

Yet these achievements are a paradox in themselves. I say so because “…the greatest danger is always at the moment of victory”.

In fact, experience has taught us that we are the most vulnerable and fragile at the point where we think we have won.

Get me right, I am not saying this to belittle the achievements we have made so far. I am only asking us to incline on the side of caution. If we have won one battle against COVID-19, we have not won the war yet. The possibility of a second wave of this pandemic is, real as we have seen in other countries.

As an affirmation that the enemy is still within our borders, we continue to record new infections every day. In that regard, to forestall what is happening elsewhere, we must continue adhering to the protocols issued by the Ministry of Health.

I am, however, particularly delighted by the advances we have made in the health sector. When we were hit by this pandemic in March this year, we had only 8 infectious diseases Isolation beds country-wide.

Seven days after the first COVID case was reported, we were able to increase this bed capacity to 60.

Currently, and working in partnership with County Governments, we are at 312 ICU beds and 7,411 isolation beds nationally. Done in only six months, these achievements are, indeed, phenomenal.

In fact, in this period of six months, we have installed medical equipment never seen in this country since independence. As an affirmation of our expanding capacity and as we continue to Re-imagine Kenya’s Healthcare, early in the month, I presided over the official opening of our fifth National Referral Hospital – K.U. Teaching Referral and Research Hospital.

The new facility is part of our national response for specialized treatment of chronic diseases, notably: cancer and renal diseases – the twin diseases that have wreaked havoc to many families across the nation.

In that regard, once the K.U – Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre (IMIC), is completed, by March 2021, there will no longer be need for any Kenyan to travel abroad in search of specialized treatment Cancer Treatment, as our enhanced capacity will be able to handle medical conditions treated abroad.

Indeed, the Referral facilities, coupled with the expanded county infrastructure will enhance our national possibilities and anchor our plans to position our nation for medical tourism from neighboring countries, and propel us for the national rollout of Universal Health Care under the Big Four Agenda.

Fellow Kenyans,

Our expanded health infrastructure, as I have mentioned, is impressive. However, the important question to ask ourselves is: Does it make our position unassailable if the second wave were to hit us? Is it sufficient a buffer to keep the wave at bay? The ANSWER to this question is a resounding NO. The expanded infrastructure is NECESSARY, but not SUFFICIENT. Without citizen action, the impressive infrastructure cannot forestall the aggression of a second wave.

To buffer the country, therefore, the citizens must position themselves as the First Line of Defence. The reason why we have managed to flatten the curve is that Kenyans have exercised an impressive civic responsibility and duty. And if danger is most present in moments of victory, this achievement is in danger if we do not watch out.

That is why I urge all Kenyans to double their efforts in observing the COVID protocols. We got this far because we, the citizen, were the First Line of Defense against this pandemic.

And as we get into the next phase of the war against this pandemic, we must heed the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi when he said: ’… start by doing what is necessary, then it will lead you to what is possible and before you know it, you will find yourself doing the impossible”.

If we do what is necessary during the next phase of the war against this pandemic, it will lead us to do what is possible. Then cumulatively, our necessary actions (like wearing a mask) coupled with our possible deeds, will lead us to the impossible outcome of containing this pandemic.

Indeed, as people we must always remember that ‘…impossible is nothing’ if we apply ourselves.

And now in the spirit of co-creating the ‘new normal’ between the government and its people; and on the advice of the National Security Council and in line with the recommendations of the National Emergency Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, I direct and announce as follows:-

i. One, THAT the Nationwide Curfew in force throughout the territory of the Republic of Kenya is extended for a further sixty (60) days;

ii. Two, THAT the commencement time for the Nationwide Curfew, is varied from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Therefore, effective tomorrow, Tuesday the 29th of September, 2020 the national wide dusk-to-dawn Curfew will run from 11:00 O’clock in the night to 4:00 O’clock in the morning.

iii. Three, THAT the prohibition against the operation of bars and the prohibition against the sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages by ordinary restaurants and eateries, shall stand vacated with effect from 29th September 2020;

iv. Four, THAT the closing time for all bars, restaurants, and eateries shall be 10 pm every day with effect from 29th September 2020 and their operations shall be with strict adherence to all applicable guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health;

v. Five, THAT in line with the recommendations of the Inter-Faith Council, the permitted maximum size of religious gatherings is increased to one third (1/3) of its normal sitting capacity; but with strict adherence to all applicable guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health; and

vi. Six, THAT the permitted maximum number of persons attending funerals and weddings is reviewed upwards from one hundred (100) to two hundred (200); but with strict adherence to all applicable guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health.

As we progressively de-escalate the containment measures and resume a sense of normalcy on education, our paramount consideration both as a Government and as parents is the safety and the well-being of our children.

The lives and health of our children is not a matter of debate. Learning institutions should be reopened only when we can sufficiently guarantee the safety of our children.

And here I really would plead with Kenyans – let us not focus ourselves on when schools will reopen but how shall these schools open in a manner that protects our children and protects their lives and their health.

Let us think first about their health and wellbeing and once we have established how then together we will agree when.

The resumption of in-person learning must be predicated on strict adherence to the health protocols and guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Health.

In that regard, I, therefore, direct and order the Cabinet Secretary for Education to issue the Calendar for the resumption of the 2020 Academic calendar, strictly bearing the foregoing in mind.

As I give these directives, I underscore the need to continue adhering to the health guidelines and protocols; to avoid losing the gains we have made thus far. I will not hesitate to escalate containment measures in the event any of these indicators register on my dashboard.

Fellow Kenyans,

Conference Participants,

The containment measures put in place in March 2020 to stem the spread of Covid-19; have had positive returns in terms of our safety and national security. In the six months since then, crime has exhibited a 21% average decline and traffic accidents have reduced by an average of 10%.

I will conclude with some thoughts on our economy. I said earlier that we are living in a ‘Season of Paradox’. An age where our new reality is in conflict with what we ‘feel reality should be’. Indeed, this is not only true of our social lives it is also true of our economy.

Against all odds, some of our entrepreneurs have re-imagined the subsisting pandemic and created a new business reality that disorganizes the existing order at play.

This is a new business model driven by innovators and makers of things; people who did not see the danger in the COVID crisis, but saw opportunity instead. Businesses that experienced a shock from COVID, but bounced back better.

But the question that this development begs is the following: If positive disruptions and innovations have mushroomed during COVID-19, how do we support them as part of our resilience-building strategy?

How do we boost a small ‘samosa delivery’ company known as “Wau Eats” whose recipe from India is 100 years old, for instance? And how do we encourage the Association of Women in Agriculture Kenya (AWAK) with their innovative work amongst vulnerable slum women across the country?

During the first phase of this pandemic, we rolled out a series of economic stimulus packages. Today, and in support of our small businesses and innovators, I direct as follows:

i. One, that the National Treasury considers retaining VAT at 14% until 1st January 2021.

ii. Two, that the National Treasury considers retaining the Income Tax Rate (Pay-As-You-Earn) at 25 percent until 1st January 2021.

iii. Three, that the National Treasury considers retaining the Resident Income Tax (Corporation Tax) at 25% until 1st January 2021.

iv. Four, that to continue cushioning low-income earners the National Treasury maintains the 100 percent tax relief for persons earning a gross monthly income of up to Ksh. 24,000 beyond the Sunset date of 31st December 2020.

v. Five, that to continue cushioning our Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises the National Treasury considers maintaining the reduction of the turnover tax rate from 3 percent to 1 percent for all Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

vi. Six, to enhance access to credit for our micro, small and medium enterprises, the National Treasury is directed to expedite the roll-out of the credit guarantee scheme in partnership with participating banks and development partners. The credit guarantee scheme as approved by Cabinet is a risk-sharing partnership between the Government and banks, which will afford our enterprises access to credit by an additional 100 billion shillings.

Fellow Kenyans,

When COVID pandemic hit us in March this year, we did not know the extent of the crisis. In-between the crisis, I told you that we were in what I called the ‘Fog of War’. The theatres of war were invisible and foggy.

However, today I am comforted by the fact that we are not running in the dark. We might not know everything about this pandemic, but we know something.

And although we only know in part, we are better prepared today than we were in March this year. Our level of civic consciousness and responsibility is higher. However, to build the resilience that allows us to anticipate the second wave and respond to it, we must do even better.

That is why I must emphasize by repeating what St Francis of Assisi taught us: If we do the NECESSARY, it will lead us to the POSSIBLE. Indeed at this point, the IMPOSSIBLE will happen without us REALIZING it.

Starting the next phase of this pandemic by doing the necessary, and working together in unity, this is how we will defeat this COVID menace! And we will conquer the enemy.

God Bless you. God Bless Kenya

Thank you

‘I am here for people of Nairobi, not politics,’ – General Badi

‘I am here for people of Nairobi, not politics,’ – General Badi

General Badi has stated that his interest is in cleaning up the mess in Nairobi and not engage in politics.

In an interview with NTV, Major-General Badi said that he was there to rectify the misdeeds of Governor Sonko and former leaders.

‘I don’t want votes’
“I saw a lot of suffering in the city especially in informal settlements. It’s my duty to deliver. I am not looking for votes. I have taken this as a national duty,” Badi said in the NTV interview.

Among the raft of changes, he said, was building bus termini that would see matatus exit from the CBD. Furthermore, he said that the city would also have 24 new hospitals in the slums. Mama Lucy would also be upgraded to a Level 5 referral facility.

No desire for politics

Badi said that he had no desire to engage in politics, saying that politicians were the ones interfering with NMS.

“When politicians see you serving common citizens, they think that you are cutting down their influence. I have no problem with Governor Sonko. I am doing this job on his behalf.”

He says that he has managed to achieve much of his work in his first 200 days in office.

“I was sworn-in in the afternoon and started working that night. I work on all days of the week, from 7 am, and I get home past 9 pm.
Within the first 200 days in office, we have managed to achieve over 100 percent of what we intended to.” Badi said.

NMS an illegal entity

However, the formation of NMS has faced legal challenges, with the High Court terming its formation as illegal.

Civil societies and other organizations stated that the Jubilee Administration would have initiated impeaching Sonko rather than form NMS.

Since handing over power, governor Sonko has been trying to get back his authority. The relationship between Badi and Sonko has been frosty.

Loan Defaulters on notice: CRB Listing Set To Resume

Loan Defaulters on notice: CRB Listing Set To Resume

The six-month grace period of suspension of Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) listing for loan defaulters is set to expire on Wednesday, September 30.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) is yet to issue a communication on the matter, meaning that failure to extend the suspension will result in blacklisting of loan defaulters.

In a press release dated April 8, 2020, CBK announced the CRB listing freeze as part of Covid-19 relief measures to cushion Kenyans.

“Consequently, loans that fall in arrears from April 1 to September 30, 2020, will not lead to the “blacklisting” of the borrower on the CRBs,” reads the statement in part.

Banks, saccos, and microfinance firms will now be free to provide negative credit information to the CRB after the deadline on Wednesday.

The failure to extend the CRB listing suspension will risk loan defaulters being blacklisted and further impacting on their changes of borrowing more.

Credit Information Sharing Association of Kenya CEO Jared Getanga says communication from CBK is yet to be issued.

“We are waiting for the CBK to provide guidance, the matter is in their hands. It cannot just happen automatically because some aspects of resumption need guidance.

Over 3.2 million Kenyans are blacklisted for defaulting on loans with data indicating that the number jumped from 2.7 million in 2019.

The rise has been attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic (prior to the suspension of the listing) that saw many Kenyans lose their jobs and businesses suffer enormous losses.

Workers and businesses defaulted on loans worth Ksh30 billion in the four months up till June when the pandemic hit the country.

According to data from CBK, Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) jumped from Ksh379.9 Billion in June from Ksh349.9 Billion at the end of February.

Banks have also been forced to restructure loans worth Ksh844.4 Billion in order to ease the burden on borrowers which is 29% of industry total credit.

Part of the restructuring involved non-payment of loans for up to three months and extension of credit tenures.

Should the extension fail to be announced, CBK will need to offer directions on how lenders and CRB will treat the restructured loans.