Corruption in Kenya ‘worse than ever’ says veteran campaigner

Tristan McConnell, AFP © AFP Simon MainaCorruption in Kenya is sliding out of control, veteran anti-corruption activist and whistle-blower John Githongo, pictured in Nairobi on July 31, warned in an interview following a scathing audit of government finances Nairobi (AFP) – Corruption in Kenya is sliding out of control, veteran anti-corruption activist and whistle-blower John […]

Sonko’s Rescue Team Is A Bunch Of Sexy Ladies (Photo)

We are all aware of the government’s laxity in providing social amenities and other important services, so the creation of Sonko’s Rescue team is heaven-sent.

The team offers free ambulances, security patrol services, wedding limousines, fire response services, hearse services, clean water tankers and garbage collection services. In addition jobs have been created.

Sonko has given Kenyans another reason to celebrate, the eye candy.


One thing is for sure, Sonko’s rescue team will lead men to start devising creative excuses to head to the ER.

We are likely to see more men needing rescuing just for the attention of the bevy of beautiful ladies that form the Sonko rescue Team.

Well Played Mr. Sonko, Well played

GhafLa news

When Evans Kidero leaves, next governor should be appointed, not elected

First Published by the Daily Nation

Cord principal Raila Odinga congratulates Evans Kidero after the Supreme Court upheld his election as Nairobi governor on August 29, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

Cord principal Raila Odinga congratulates Evans Kidero after the Supreme Court upheld his election as Nairobi governor on August 29, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MURITHI MUTIGAOh, Kidero. What will it take for you to wake up and do some work for the people who elected you? Into what depths does Nairobi have to sink before you realise you are taking us back to the worst days when the capital went from being the city in the sun to a giant slum?

The other day, three female colleagues were walking home after late evening studies at the University of Nairobi when they were accosted by a gang of street boys (really men) who menancingly insisted that they had to take one of the girls into the darkness at Jeevanjee Gardens.

They had to run for their lives. The menace is not restricted to night time. Biashara Street, for example, has been entirely colonised by street boys.

To use a cell phone, one must first look both ways like a squirrel about to cross a busy road.

Many of the sidewalks that were opened up under town clerk John Gakuo are unusable yet again, due to dim street lights and uncollected garbage.

What, exactly, does the county government do with the billions allocated to it apart from figuring out how to share it among tenderpreneurs?

Kidero’s abject failure is a particularly bitter blow to the many Nairobians who defied ethnic politics to wake up early on March 4 two years ago and vote him in.

I am embarrassed to have used this forum to publicly endorse him following the arrogant middle class logic that Nairobi couldn’t have a stone thrower as governor.

The county, we argued, should be an incubator for future presidents as seen in places as far flung as Paris and São Paulo.

The experiment has been an abject failure.


What now? If nothing changes, it is likely that Mike Sonko will be the next governor of Nairobi.

But something has to change. Nairobi is the most important city in this part of the world, the hub and pacesetter for all others.

Its leadership should not be placed at the mercy of an electorate which is often swayed by factors other than merit in picking its leaders.

Devolution is an overwhelmingly good thing, possibly the best thing the new Constitution yielded.

Governors may be “eating,” but they can be voted out, and most importantly, the national cake is being eaten in every corner of the country.

But devolution was supposed to disperse power from Nairobi. Nairobi itself doesn’t need devolution. It is the seat of national power.

We should amend the katiba to have an appointed administration in the capital rather than an elected one.

Addis Ababa is booming and could soon replace Nairobi as the regional transport and commercial hub if things don’t change.

Traffic jams are now history in that city because the first rapid transit urban metro train service in sub-Saharan Africa recently began operation. The city is tidy and neat and crime is almost non-existent.

That’s because Meles Zenawi’s administration decreed that all the states in the country could elect their governors, but Addis would fall under the direct supervision of the federal/national government.

Devolution was supposed to disperse power to the grassroots. Nairobi doesn’t need devolution. Nairobians need services; they want a clean and efficiently run administration, flowing tap water and proper sanitation in the slums, functional street lights and security cameras and durable solutions to major issues like traffic gridlock.

If, instead, they persist with governors who seem content simply to get into office and who allow a state of anarchy (boda bodas given free rein to get into every corner, whole lanes on the road near Wakulima market taken up by peddlers causing huge inconveniences to the thousands emerging from Eastlands every morning), Nairobi will lose its place in the sun and the whole of Kenya will be the poorer.

It would be interesting to know just one thing this Nairobi administration claims to have achieved. Kidero will certainly exit after 2017.

But, if I were writing the Constitution, he would be Nairobi’s last elected governor. The capital city is the seat of power. It doesn’t need devolution.

It needs the efficiency and effectiveness witnessed in the all-too-brief heyday when John Gakuo was in charge at City Hall. The Nairobi governor should be appointed, not elected.

PS, former MP among Lamu port project millionaires

By Philip Mwakio and Paul Gitau

Kenya: A Principal Secretary and a former Member of Parliament in Nairobi are among the 142 landowners who have received millions of shillings in compensation for land surrendered to the State for a new port project in Lamu. The two individuals are listed among Project Affected Persons (Paps) whose names cannot be divulged or published to ensure safety and security of the beneficiaries. The Standard has established that although 146 landowners were originally listed to share the Sh860 million handed to the National Lands Commission ( NLC) by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) as compensation to the affected, the number of those listed has since dropped to 142 after some names believed to be of prominent individuals disappeared from the list for unknown reasons. Two weeks ago, Justice Oscar Angote, who was sitting at the Malindi High Court, ordered KPA to deposit Sh1.35 billion with NLC in readiness to compensate 146 people affected by the project. The individuals had sued the State demanding compensation before commencement of the works. In total, there are 187 people affected by the project but some did not sue and are expected to be indemnified during the second phase of compensation from the remaining cash. A former high profile administrator in Lamu is among those who opted to delete their names from the list of beneficiaries. See also: Fresh wrangles as Ngilu, PS clash over report on truce Despite the secrecy attached to the catalog of beneficiaries, The Standard has established that the highest earners – a man and his wife, jointly recouped Sh39,459,399 for land measuring 10.646 hectares, which they both own. Documents show that compensation was put at Sh1.5 million per acre with most of the money being paid to cover the value of the land since most of the affected parcels had no agricultural or other developments. According to the documents, the PS and former MP owned or acquired land in the affected area and qualified for compensations after several stages of verification. The PS has pocketed about Sh4 million for giving away 1.09 acres while the former MP was paid Sh7.1 million for 1.94 acres. Yesterday, the beneficiaries’ lawyer, George Wakahiu confirmed that the compensation process for his clients had started but declined to provide any names. He, however, told The Standard that a former MP in Nairobi who bought land at the Hindi-Magogoni area was among the beneficiaries. Notable groups set to benefit from the exercise include Utumishi Investments Limited, Nijuka Limited and Lamu Holdings Limited.
The highest single individual earner is a farmer who used to own land in Kililana, which would be turned into Port development area to house the headquarter offices, staff quarters, police station and offer road access. He pocketed Sh35,789,964, according to the documents which also show he gave away three parcels of land totaling 9.656 hectares. The lowest earner will carry home Sh518,910 for 0.14 hectares. The Sh445.2 billion ($5.3billion) Port is part of the Sh2 trillion ($23 billion) Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project, a key flagship project identified in the Vision 2030, to link Lamu to Ethiopia and South Sudan. In Kililana, 58 parcels of land which have been acquired for the project cost Sh519,078,253 while 92 plots were carved out of the Kililana–Mashundwani, which will serve as main access road, at a cost of Sh681,556,731. At the Hindi-Magogoni, Sh103,852,385 is being paid out for 23 plots to be used as road access, bringing the total amount of money to be paid out to Sh1.3 billion.The NLC said payments for parcels of land which have disputes among land owners will not be made until such disputes are resolved. Sh860 million has been paid out to beneficiaries since last week Friday.
Standard Digital

Nairobi farce week

By Paul Omondi
Models on the runway during the 2014 FAFA event in Nairobi. Shows like FAFA always feel steeped more in the glitz and glamour of creative presentations rather than money in the bank of the designers. (Photo:Elvis Ogina/Standard)
Models on the runway during the 2014 FAFA event in Nairobi. Shows like FAFA always feel steeped more in the glitz and glamour of creative presentations rather than money in the bank of the designers. (Photo:Elvis Ogina/Standard)

There is fashion week and then there is a farce week. Sadly, the latter represents Nairobi’s pass off for a fashion week. Whereas for most of last week New York was bubbling with a money-spinning boost to the city’s economic rhythm, thanks to the biannual New York Fashion Week, our own charade of a similar event is so mediocre, it does not even deserve a footnote in the history of piffle. More than 230,000 people are estimated to attend the February and September shows that designers use to unveil the coming season’s collections. These fashion lovers pack hotels to the point of bunking up, and throng restaurants, yielding in excess of $532 million (Sh49 billion) in direct visitor spending, as estimated by the New York City Economic Development. If you add the big-spending by celebrity clients and lavish parties that go with the event, the New York Fashion Week injects about $887 million (Sh81 billion) to the New York City Economy. That is more than 50 times our national budget and can easily fund the pretence that Nairobi Fashion Week is ten million times! Nairobi Fashion Week, held last November, excelled in understatement; even guests at the hotel where it was hosted had no idea there was something going in the backroom the show was confined to. Besides venue payment and a deserted, overpriced cash bar, the economic impact of the event was nowhere near the contribution of a hawker doing the impossible run of lugging fruits and vegetables with a baby precariously strapped to the back in a dash to evade ruthless city askaris. Admittedly, I might be comparing a very big apple with a teensy-weensy orange in this case. But still, the very organisation of a fashion week in Nairobi is a tattered patchwork of how wrong things can go. No one talks about the event, and it does not even get a passing mention on a local fashion show on TV, probably because of the blinkered reasoning that it is sponsored by a rival media house. See Also: Paradise in our backyard Then, most, if not all the designers, are homegrown greenhorns whose otherwise valiant efforts at creativity still make the presentations feel more like a class project. Not even the talented Grace Makosewe, reputed for her avant-garde styling, could save Nairobi Fashion Week’s face with spot-on emceeing. But the biggest failure is that our fashion week is not transactional. It is like the organisers and designers are caught in a perilous journey, like the blind leading the drunk. It would be surprising if any sales above Sh10,000 were made at the show. You see, a fashion week is about business, not some impetuous plan by organisers to make money. If you cannot bring people together to do business, connect designers with buyers, then we could as well troop to the nearest flea market stall. This is the secret sauce in IMG Fashion’s success with fashion weeks all over the world that has seen Mercedes Benz come in as a title sponsor. Not surprisingly, IMG now has about 160 fashion weeks annually, including 15 significant ones like the New York, Istanbul, Beijing, Sydney and Moscow events. This calls for thorough. Even the plans must have plans. And success is not just about cloth sales, but credibility as well. It is why the New York Fashion Week features in popular TV shows like Sex and the City and ‘Smash — makes you wonder why our local fashion week can’t even be incorporated in third-rate productions.

Your are here » Home » Sunday Magazine Nairobi farce week By Paul Omondi Updated Sunday, February 22nd 2015 at 19:38 GMT +3 Share this story: Why is it that big names in the fashion industry like Ann McCreath, John Kaveke, Monica Kanari and Patricia Mbela or brands like Sura Zuri, Moo Cow Cow and Spice do not make the list in the Nairobi Fashion Week? On the other hand, shows like FAFA and the Tribal Chic, despite attracting the who-is-who in the industry and respectable designers, always feel steeped more in the glitz and glamour of creative presentations, rather than money in the bank for the designers. Is it that the industry is too fragmented or isolated in biased clusters? Only Tanzania’s Swahili Fashion Week seems to meet the cut and attracts designers from as far as Austria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Namibia and Ghana, but surprisingly no Kenyan. The Tanzanian show attempts to offer an international platform for designers, and has attracted big names in sponsorship, such as Mercedes-Benz. Even though the fortunes for Nairobi Fashion Week are seemingly falling fast like a setting a sun, the opportunities are limitless …but only if the industry sews in the same direction. Who knows, with devolution, even the county government could prove to be a crucial partner. But for now, the patchiness of the whole affair is all the motivation you need to be off like a dirty shirt even before you present your ticket at the gate! —TWITTER: @omondipaul

Woman charged over failure to settle Sh229, 505 bill at Intercontinental Hotel on Valentine’s Day

By Faith Karanja

Laura Oyier Ogolla in Milimani court where she was charged that on diverse dates, she incured a debt of Sh229,505.75 in Intercontinental Hotel by falsely pretending that she was in a position to pay for the services rendered by the hotel. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/STANDARD]
Laura Oyier Ogolla in Milimani court where she was charged that on diverse dates, she incured a debt of Sh229,505.75 in Intercontinental Hotel by falsely pretending that she was in a position to pay for the services rendered by the hotel. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/STANDARD]
Nairobi, Kenya: A woman found herself behind bars for failing to clear a bill at a five-star hotel.

The 27-year old woman appeared before a Nairobi court Wednesday to answer to charges of obtaining credit by false pretense.

Laura Oyier Ogolla allegedly incurred a bill of Sh229,505 at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi to celebrate Valentine’s Day but she was not in a position to clear it.

Ms Ogolla, who appeared before Milimani Resident Magistrate Edda Agade, denied the charges and told the court that she was duped by her lover into spending the money at the hotel. She was released on Sh100,000 cash bail.
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She was accused that for a week and three days at Intercontinental hotel along Parliamentary Road within Nairobi County, she incurred a credit amounting to Sh 229,505.

She is alleged to have falsely pretended to be in a position to pay for the services rendered to her by the hotel, a fact she knew to be false.
See Also: Three CORD MPs suspended from National Assembly

Dressed in a blue jeans and black blouse, Ogolla walked into the dock shortly after 9am looking composed and ready to face the charges.

Unrepresented, Ogolla did not appear hesitant to deny the charges brought forward by the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Alice Njau.

She requested for lenient bail terms and the Resident Magistrate granted her a cash bail of Sh100, 000 pending hearing of the case, which is scheduled to start on March 8.


Nairobi- Mombasa highway should bypass

Visits to the beaches along the Kenya coast often begin with traffic jams trying to cross to the Northern mainland via the single bridge out of the city of Mombasa or else long waits for the ferries to cross the Likoni channel. The former is due to having reached almost maximum capacity after serving coast residents since the late 1970’s and the latter is one of the reasons why travel advisories remain in place over security concerns.

To fix the perennial traffic jams on both spots have plans long been floated to build a bypass to connect both the Moi International Airport and the Nairobi to Mombasa highway with the South coast via Dongo Kundu while the building of a second bridge across Tudor Creek is considered the answer to ease traffic in and out of Kenya’s main port city to the suburbs on the Northern mainland.

Controversy arose two years ago when government plans became public to use the site of the former float bridge, which was in use until the new bridge was built, mainly because much of the land on former bridge heads and the respective access routes had been sold. Residential and commercial properties, including the Tamarind Hotel, had been built on land legally acquired by the owners at the time, prompting them to engage lawyers to fight plans to restore that traffic corridor on the flimsy grounds that the wayrights were never degazetted.

As a result were alternative routes sought, not too far from the present bridge, to allow for commuter traffic to get in and out of the city. While the government has reportedly commissioned a feasibility study, which will also contain proposals for the location of the second bridge, has the coast chairperson of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, Mrs. Monica Solanki, thrown her association’s weight behind a more distant alternative, which is to connect the Northern mainland from the Changamwe area to Junda, allowing tourist vehicles and commercial trucks to give the city of Mombasa a wide berth, helping to decongest the roads now used for transit traffic. She also advocated once again for the upgrading of the Mariakani – Kaloleni road which would create yet another viable option for transit traffic coming from upcountry and destined for Kilifi and Lamu counties to avoid crossing through Mombasa.

The stretch of coast North of Mombasa is expected to eventually see the construction of a second national convention centre which would require swift access for conference delegates while real estate developments are thought to be the next big thing along the coast, giving expatriates, and of course locals, the chance to own a condominium or residential villa in gated estates with ocean view. This, when such plans eventually materialize, could rival some of the Gulf’s property developments but at a location of much more moderate climate and the hinterland’s safari parks, besides sporting facilities like golf courses and marinas.

When the feasibility study will be published be sure to watch this space for updates on future plans of how best to deal with Mombasa’s traffic problems and make visits to the coast resorts more user friendly.

Outrage In Embakasi Over Grabbed School Land

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – Rampant land grabbing of public schools land in Embakasi Central has elicited anger among the residents of the constituency and the area legislator John Ndirangu.

Ndirangu has specifically singled out Mwangaza Secondary school and Bondeni Primary school where huge chunks of land has been grabbed and developed.

He says despite numerous attempts to get help from the County Government, he is yet to get a response over the matter.

“The president has directed (that public schools be issued with title deeds) but what action has been made?” he posed. “Nothing… we are his agent on the ground. You can see people are doing new developments instead of demolishing. We will do whatever we can to recover this land.”

Bondeni Primary School has been worst hit with apartments and a private school built within the playing ground.

Efforts by school pupils to bring down a section of the wall erected on their playing ground were stopped by the MP who said he will find a private surveyor to determine the exact land of the school.

“I will fight until all that is built on the school ground is removed and we maintain the school compound the way it was originally as surveyed by the County Council of Nairobi,” he said.

He cautioned that if the county government acts sluggishly, “I will use the masses here to demolish all these structures here.”

Even before the MP had finished his briefing, some of the owners of the ear marked buildings started trickling in to the school playing ground.

“It is good we follow justice…we can finish these issues without causing a lot of problem,” an elderly man told the legislator.

One of the owners Patrick Gichuki who was visibly shaken after students started chanting ‘Haki Yetu’ slogans told journalists he was given the land by the defunct County Council of Nairobi together with three others who have constructed on the land.

Gichuki said he occupied the land in 1983 after acquiring it from the then area councillor together with three other developers.

“All this area was called purpose land…the school was given the same way we were given by the city council,” he said.

He claimed already a title deed was being processed for his plot which he has erected a five storey building.

“I don’t know why we are arguing on this matter…the school was given their portion the same time I acquired mine,” he said. “It is the MP who wants to bring issues…I will go to the County Government to take my grievances.”KAYOLE-SCHOOL-LAND-GRAB

He went ahead to show journalists adjacent plots of former senior county council officials on the school playing ground.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has since issued a directive that all public schools be issued with a title deed, a move Ndirangu says is yet to be effected.

He claims already most public school land has been grabbed and unless surveyors are called to determine their exact size, the directive will not be effective.

On January 22, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Lands and the Nairobi County Government to issue title deeds to all schools in the name of school committees and boards of governors.

He asked leaders, including Members of County Assembly (MCA), to report to the authorities land stolen in their areas