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Archive for June, 2010

Country Offers to Help Clean Up U.S. Oil Spill

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

Kevin J. Kelley

In a reversal of roles, Kenya wants to supply aid to the United States.

And the US says it is considering accepting Kenya’s offer to send a fire boom to contain and burn some of the oil that has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for more than two months.

But unlike the free assistance the US gives in response to disasters, Kenya wants to be paid for its fire boom. But the country is not alone in seeking reimbursement for helping to contain and clean up the mammoth oil spill.

The State Department on Tuesday said that 27 countries had offered to help the US address the environmental disaster, with almost every offer carrying a price tag.

So far, offers from 12 countries and international bodies have been accepted. The State Department says it is still considering the other offers, including Kenya’s.

Kenya is the second African nation after Tunisia, to offer help. And a fire boom might prove quite useful.

“The National Incident Command and the Federal On Scene Coordinator have determined that there is a resource need for boom and skimmers that can be met by offers of assistance from foreign governments and international bodies,” the State Department said.

The Press-Register, a newspaper in Alabama, reported on Monday that no fire booms were immediately available after BP’s oil rig blew up and millions of gallons of oil started cascading into the Gulf.

-Daily Nation

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Nairobi Ranked Among Most Expensive Cities

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

The city of Nairobi had been listed as one of the most expensive cities

The city of Nairobi had been listed as one of the most expensive cities

The high cost of living in the wake of slowed economic growth, last year, has pushed Nairobi into the list of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates, according to a new survey.

The continued slide in the Nairobi’s ranking, experts warn, could make the East Africa’s hub less attractive to international workers.

The cost of living index compiled by Mercer, an international human resource consultancy, has ranked the city at position 88 of the most expensive cities in the world– the first time it has made it to the list of the top 100. It was ranked at no. 114 last year, meaning it has dropped 26 places to edge closer to the most costly city among the 214 polled.

Among the 57 Middle East and African cities ranked, it is in position 24.

Luanda knocked the Japanese capital Tokyo off the top of this year’s Survey to second place followed by Ndjamena.

Expatriate rentals have been increasing in Nairobi over the past year being one of the reason why the city moved up in the ranking, said Mercer officials.

The survey, seen as the most comprehensive one on the cost of living is used to help governments, multinationals and global organisations determine pay for expatriates assigned in various regions.

This is a signal that locally-based international agencies such as UNEP as well as the increasing number of multinationals may soon find it difficult to marshal the human capital they need to effectively perform their mandate.

Human resource executives said high ranking in the list of most expensive cities bears the danger of sending firms–especially those with large numbers of expatriates –back to the drawing board for a fresh look at the compensation packages.

“We base remuneration on considerations that are informed by market salary data, salary competitiveness in each country, inflation and internal job evaluations,” said John Musunga, the managing director and general manager, pharmaceutical operations for East Africa at GlaxoSmithKline.

Growing pressure for higher expatriate compensation could adversely affect ongoing efforts to cut operating costs and ultimately erode profitability.

“Corporate assignments have become truly global, with expatriates and ‘global assignees’ being transferred across all parts of the world. However, global mobility is still an expensive undertaking for companies, so selection of the right candidates and a real understanding of the costs involved in relocating staff to other countries are essential, ” said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a senior researcher at Mercer in a statement.

Analysts said Nairobi’s ranking did not come as a surprise citing the dramatic surge in inflationary pressure during the same period that saw the year close with an average inflation rate of 9.2 per cent.

The level of inflation from a 2008 figure of 26 per cent was, however, largely as a result of the Government adopting a new tool.

While opinion is still sharply divided on whether the new figures from February actually represent an improvement in the cost of living.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that inflation has fallen from highs of 14.69 per cent in February, last year, to stand at 3.9 per cent in May, this year.

Over the past few months, expatriates living in Kenya who are paid in foreign currency have been among the biggest winners as the shilling weakened against major world currencies.

“Firms are increasingly being forced to revise the packages to cater for the soaring cost of living in most cities,” said Mwangi Ngumo, a management consultant in a previous interview. “This is making expatriate compensation a very tricky affair.”

The cost of living also rose sharply in other African cities included in Mercer’s survey.

The 2010 survey done across five continents measures the comparative costs of more than 200 items in each location, shows developing cities were actually more expensive for expats to live in than Western cities such as New York or Washington D.C., usually viewed as being costly.

The parameters include housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

New York is used as the base city for the index and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

“Many people assume that cities in the developing world are cheap but this isn’t necessarily true for expatriates working there,” said Ms Constantin-Metral adding firms must provide the same standard of living that these employees and their families would experience at home.”

For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon. The top ten also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8). Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).

“We’ve seen demand increase for information on African cities from across the business spectrum – mining, financial services, airlines, manufacturer, utilities and energy companies,” said Ms Constantin-Metral.

Source: Business Daily

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Young and chasing big money

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

They are determined to succeed and nothing can stop them

They are determined to succeed and nothing can stop them

They walk with a swagger and exude a confidence that with seeming determination, is a clear sign that they know what they want and where they are going.

They are today’s new breed of entrepreneurs — the youth, who desperate from looking for white collar jobs, frustrated by the few employment opportunities in the country are adopting the attitude of the ‘we-can-do-it’ in business.

From embroidery to bioengineering, transportation to farming activities, they are pushing forth Kenya’s economy and are adding vitality to an economy that, far too often in recent years, has denied them recognition.

“Entrepreneurship will be the major impetus of this decade, and the youth will be the people to drive the revolution,” says Mr Gerishom Okunda, 36, an entrepreneur who is the founder of DS Max Foundation, an organisation that creates employment for the youth.

Creating waves

So far, he has helped employ more than 51,000 youth since he started his business seven years ago. Although he falls among those who have since passed the million shilling mark in their investments, there are many more youths, often unknown, who are creating waves and enormous profits.

Last week, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, held its second national youth trade fair. The event was aimed at bringing together Kenya’s uncelebrated young entrepreneurs, to showcase their work and network with others. The exhibitions where varied: Some came with interlocking bricks, still fresh from the furnace, while others carried foodstuffs, herbs, tomato sauces and fruits grown deep in the sandy soils of North Eastern Province. Some had invested in bottling water and others milling flour.

The fire-paced technological advancement saw several displays on online gateway systems to interactive websites, and the never-ending array of services in the technological field. Riding the crest of the new wave, is the spirit of self-reliance, a willingness to take risks and fearless of unfortunate market eventualities.

For this generation, statistics have painted a grim future. The CIA Factbook puts Kenya’s unemployment rate at 40 per cent and the country is ranked number 185 among the countries with the highest unemployment levels in the world. President Kibaki has also cited unemployment as the biggest hurdle in Kenya’s quest to transform into a middle-income country.

According to the ministry of Youth and Sports, there are nearly 2.5 million unemployed youth, and barely125,000 are absorbed annually into formal employment. Many economists differ; they say the number is higher, given the expansion of secondary and tertiary education in recent times.

According to them, there will be 14 million unemployed youth in the next 7 years. Last year, only 55,000 jobs were created. It was a rise from the 34,000 jobs created in 2008. The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research chief executive officer, Prof Inonda Mwanje, told said recently that the high number of jobless youths could spark off a peoples’ revolution if it is not tamed. Kenyatta University Economics Lecturer Dr Paul Gachanja also fears the effects of a “lost generation” of jobless youngsters, those not in employment, education or training.

However, there is hope — this cynical and disillusioned generation is now engaging in some economic activies. According to experts, the country needs to believe in a creative youth, which will stimulate the economy.

Arrest situation

“We have to bring in plans to arrest the situation as soon as possible,” say Umaro Wario, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund CEO, who knows only too well the devastating effect youth unemployment can have in the country. The youth fund has since its launch in 2006, disbursed a total of Sh1.9 billion to 65,555 youth enterprises.

Today, the march to business is moving at a faster pace. New businesses owned by youth continue to inch up daily. Take the example of 23-year-old Oscar Kimani. Brought up and bred in an entrepreneurship family, he is the owner of a successful tour firm, Unique Safaris, which is an employer of seven.

The young man who also owns an ICT firm, insists that Kenya’s problems can be solved if more youth are taught and supported in going the self-employment route. “Instead of teaching us to get employment, the education system should focus on arming us with knowledge that tunes us towards creativity,” the young entrepreneur awaiting-graduation at the Strathmore University Business School asserts.

With the economy unable to create adequate unemployment opportunities for the hundreds of thousands who enter into the labour markets annually, the current generation is blighted by youth unemployment. Dr Tom Namwamba reveals that even masters’ students are finding it hard to secure jobs.

Critics of the Vijana na Kazi project, a government effort to create employment, say it is a short-term plan that only solves short-term unemployment problems, but which leaves a larger problem. “The government should shift focus to giving tools for setting up businesses to youth and offer low start-up loan rates to make it easier to cover overhead costs. These are the things that kill start-ups,” Economic Development lecturer, Dr Emmanuel Manyasa, said during an earlier interview.

Kazi Kwa Vijana is a scheme that offers youth employment for a few hundreds of shillings for a while, and then leaves them unemployed once more. The problem is that this keeps the youth cosily hooked to casual employment, which curtails their chances of setting up businesses or looking for worthwhile employment.

Mr Angelo Mwamburi of Forecast Youth Development Organisation from Taita Taveta District, says most of the 21 members who make the youth organisation had depended so much on jobs which offered them very little returns at the end of the day.

“Some used to earn as low as Sh50 in a day. The day we sat and decided to do something different, our lives changed forever. Today, we are the most established flour millers in Taita and its environs, as welll as makers of interlocking bricks. We are the only local firm in the area that bottles drinking water,” he says.

Most visited

During the trade fair held at KICC, the group’s stand was among the most visited. Kirango Water is the hard-earned product that the group invested Sh5.8 million into to start off. They also used Sh50,000 from the youth fund, got a generator costing Sh750,000 from the Arid and Semi-Arid kitty and the rest from personal savings and donations.

At the same event, was 22-year-old Halima Osman, who has joined hands with several other youths to form Amber Youth Group. “Sometimes people look at us (women) in the group badly for being with men most of the time. It’s a negative attitude that we want to change,” the young woman dressed in a black hijab says.

“We are in it for business, and we are making and showing the rest that it’s not a must for all of us to earn a living from pastoralism. We make and sell Somali swords, calabashes, necklaces, armlets and bangles,” she adds. “I don’t expect to just walk into a mechanic’s job or anything like that, but I would be willing to train,” she says.

Ms Linda Kwamboka, a student from Strathmore University and who is also the president of the Students’ Enterprise Program, looks at entrepreneurship not from owning an idea or just implementing it: but it has to have visibility, access to the market and capital and mentoring.

“Through our programme, we create an environment of sharing among young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs love keeping information to themselves and this limits their success,” she says. “We push them to achieve what they really want, not just depending on a dead-end course,” she adds.

There have been several initiatives to make doing business easier, attractive and profitable for the youth. However, the initiatives are of no use if overhead costs still remain high.

Procedures

The government provides for 30 per cent of its contracts to go to youth-owned enterprises, but the long and tiresome procedures of registering a company, raising initial capital, high tax rates, corruption and government bureaucracy, has so far ensured that only a handful benefit from such an worthwhile opportunity.

Still, entrepreneurship is not without risks. Although the stigma for failure has lessened over time, the failure rate among SME start-ups still remains high. Experts say a majority of small businesses fold up after an average of 18 months, due to failure to face stiff competition.

As the trade fair revealed, the country faces tough times and the youth even harder times, but it is not without hope. There are lots of young people who are doing well — trying to get their hands on anything that makes them earn positively.

What is intriguing when you interview these young people, who sell things that range from toy cars to innovative airplane designs, hoping that one day it will fly, is that even in a system that has given up on them, they haven’t given up.

— engisesa@yahoo.com

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Popular Singer Queen Jane Dies

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

Queen Jane entertains revellers during her heydays. She has died while being treated at a Nairobi hospital June 29, 2010. Photo/FILE

Queen Jane entertains revellers during her heydays. She has died while being treated at a Nairobi hospital June 29, 2010. Photo/FILE

Popular musician Queen Jane has died while undergoing treatment at a Nairobi hospital.

She passed on Tuesday evening at the St Mary’s Hospital, Nairobi.

Queen Jane hit stardom following the release of the hit song Mwendwa KK in the 1990s.

She was born Jane Nyambura 45 years ago in Gatanga, Central Kenya.

Her two siblings Ejidiah Wanja, who also goes by the stage name Lady Wanja, and Agnes Wangui aka Princess Aggie are also involved in the music industry.

Robbed Kenya

Reacting to Queen Jane’s demise, Central Province music icon, Simon Kihara alias Musaimo, said that death has robbed Kenya a super star.
“I’m like a three-legged stool whose one leg has been broken. The feeling is worse than what I felt when she left my band, Mbiri Stars, to form Queenja Les Les in 1991,” he said.

One-man-guitar musician, John Gathogo Kariuki (Karia-Mburi), an up-coming entertainer who belts out tunes at entertainment spots in Nairobi’s central business district, owes his success to Queen Jane.

“She hired me as a salesman in her music shop from where I learnt how to play the guitar and began to accompany her to music extravaganzas. I’m now earning a living thanks to her kindness,” he said, amid sobs.

Some of the songs that saw her carve a niche in the then male-dominated field are: Mwendwa KK, Ndutige Kwiyamba, Guka Nindarega, Maheni ti Thiiri, Mwana wa Ndigwa Muici wa Itura, Muthuri Teenager, Arume Ni Nyamu, Arume ni Njegeni and Nduraga Ngwetereire.

Posted in Kenya, Kenya: Entertainment, Obituaries | 1 Comment »

Premier and VP poised for hefty send-offs

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are to get Sh1 million a month and Sh800,000 respectivley if they decide to quit politics. Photo/FILE

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are to get Sh1 million a month and Sh800,000 respectivley if they decide to quit politics. Photo/FILE

By NATION Reporter Posted Wednesday, June 30 2010 at 20:54

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka are to be paid hefty retirement perks if Parliament passes new laws on MPs’ salaries.

Mr Odinga will be entitled to Sh1 million a month, while Mr Musyoka will take home Sh800,000 if they decide to quit politics.

The handsome package for the PM and the VP as well as the Speaker is contained in reports by the tribunal set up to review MPs’ pay and the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Legislators will debate and most likely adopt the two reports and three draft Bills to give the recommendations the force of law.

The reports propose the enactment of The Retirement Benefits (Prime Minister, Vice-President and Speaker of the National Assembly) Bill 2010 to provide for a raft of benefits that retiring PMs, VPs and Speakers will be entitled to.

The Bill, to be tabled in the House by Finance minister Uhuru Kenyattta in the next seven days, proposes that retired PM and VP each receive a monthly pension equal to 80 per cent of the last monthly salary earned while in office.

The reports recommended also that the PM take home a basic monthly salary of Sh1.3 million and the VP Sh1 million. In addition, the Bill grants retired PM and VP a Sh200,000 monthly housing allowance and gratuity, paid at the end of every two years and calculated at the rate of 20 per cent of their last monthly salaries while in office.

But Parliament, through a two thirds majority, may vote to deny them the benefits on the ground that the PM, the VP or the Speaker ceased to hold office after violating the Constitution, was guilty of gross misconduct or has, since retirement, been convicted and sentenced to three or more years’ in jail or actively engaged in politics.

Source: Daily Nation

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How to deal with a cheating spouse

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

You can kiss and make up or go your separate ways but either option takes a huge emotional toll

You can kiss and make up or go your separate ways but either option takes a huge emotional toll

By KINUTHIA MBURU
Posted Tuesday, June 29 2010 at 17:14

If only marriage were as simple as it is portrayed in most romance movies and soap operas! The plot? A handsome man and a beautiful woman meet, get married in a flashy wedding and live happily ever after. In reality, however, a wedding is just the beginning of a new life together for the newlyweds. And in real life, marriage requires a great deal of work to succeed.

Couples who have been together for 20, 30, or even 40 years, will acknowledge that their marriages have not been without challenges. As one Marriage counsellor observes: “Successful marriages are not carefree. There are good and bad times.” But it seems as if successful marriages are becoming increasingly rare, if the increase in divorce cases is anything to go by. And one of the major reasons is infidelity.

Infidelity gives rise to a host of emotions, including heartache, confusion, anxiety and grief. Margaret, who is in her mid-thirties, was determined to make her marriage to work. “I persevered and forgave his indiscretions for the sake of our two children. I did not want them to grow up without a father.

“But his behaviour only got worse; he began staying out late and sometimes came home at dawn or slept out. His excuses never added up and we always got into a fight. On one occasion, I caught him in a very compromising situation with our house-help. It was so painful that I just had to leave,” she explains.

Hurt and damage

Although the betrayed partner might survive a marital breakdown, they are likely to carry deep and long-lasting emotional pain. The hurt and damage are not easily undone. Victims of marital unfaithfulness have to contend with a situation they have difficulty understanding. “For the first few days I kept thinking, ‘It can’t be true; maybe I am the problem, maybe I’m not a good wife,’” says Margaret.

“At times, when I’m alone, I still cry for him. One day I feel completely in control, the next day I fall apart. One day I miss him, the next day I remember all the scheming, lying and humiliation.” Such feelings of guilt and inadequacy are common. As one counsellor observes, “A spouse (usually the wife) will experience waves of guilt and low self-esteem. She will try to analyse herself to find fault, with questions like ‘What did I do wrong’ going through her mind.”

In her book, To Love, Honour and Betray, marriage researcher Zelda West-Meads says: “One of the hardest things to cope with is the decimation of your self-esteem.” To the victim, the betrayal is more than just the wrong done and the injury inflicted, but includes resentment regarding destroyed marital prospects. This easily leads to depression.

“I started having severe mood swings, uncontrolled rage and performing poorly at work. She was not only my wife, but also my companion for the past 15 years,” says Matthew, a betrayed spouse who survived depression. But why is marital betrayal so emotionally crippling? A relationship counsellor explains:

“We invest so much of ourselves, our hopes, dreams and expectations in marriage, searching for someone we can really put our faith in, someone we feel we can always rely on. If that trust is suddenly betrayed, it can be like a house of cards blown over by the wind.” Whether to divorce or reconcile with an unfaithful mate is always a tough personal decision.

The betrayed partner will wonder whether reconciliation is possible at all, or whether divorce is the most suitable solution. In either case, there are always important factors he or she must consider. Where the faithful spouse decides to reconcile, it is important to realise that simply forgiving the adulterous partner does not solve the underlying problems.

It usually takes a great deal of self-scrutiny, open and honest communication and extremely hard work to salvage a marriage. The betrayed partner might underestimate the amount of time and work it will take to rebuild a broken marriage, so to be able to make an informed decision, he or she must be honest about his or her feelings and the possible courses of action.

It is not unusual for such a person to be anxious and experience conflicting emotions, swinging from certainty to doubt, from trust to suspicion. For instance, when a repentant mate arrives home from work later than usual, their mate might easily become suspicious. To make reconciliation meaningful, it is important to identify the problem areas in the relationship.

This can be effectively done through open communication. As West-Meads advises, “When you have talked through, when you have decided that the affair is definitely over, that you still want your marriage, work out what has gone wrong.” Perhaps you were neglecting each other’s emotional and physical needs.

Maybe you were not spending enough time together or, possibly, you have not given as much affection, praise and honour as your spouse needed. Re-evaluating your marital aspirations and values may be a good step. However, the injured party should take care when he/she talks about the infidelity, because the way he or she speaks might seem intended to hurt the rehabilitating spouse.

To avoid drawing further apart due to such misconceptions, it is important to remain honest and truthful without necessarily going into details. Despite sincere efforts, an aggrieved spouse might not find it easy to forgive. “The faithful partner needs to recognise that they have to move on. It is important not to keep dredging up your partner’s old sins to punish [him or her] every time you have an argument,” advises one marriage counsellor.

Mutual trust

There always has to be mutual trust and respect for a marriage to survive. But when trust is broken — in this case by an adulterous mate — it is very difficult to learn to trust again. West-Meads says that for trust to be restored, the errant partner should provide his or her spouse with an accurate itinerary of their exact movements.

Says she: “Tell your spouse where you are going, when you will be back and make sure that you are where you said you would be.” Should your plans change, be careful to let your partner know. Because of the intensity of the pain caused by an illicit affair, it is possible for a mate to remember – and still hurt from – the experience even after many years.

However, as the hurt dissipates, trust and respect should be renewed in both partners. “The awful pain of those first few months does not last.” observes West-Meads. “Eventually, you find you can go for days, weeks, months and even years, without thinking about it.” But what if the adulterous partner is unwilling to change?

Or if the betrayed spouse opts for divorce? There are valid reasons for a mate to opt for divorce. For instance, he or she might fear being infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Or, where there are children, the betrayed partner might feel that their well-being is at risk. In some cases, a spouse might have reason to believe that the wayward partner will not change.

Divorce has far-reaching and often long-lasting consequences on those involved. Usually, the hardest hit are the children. In his book, Help for Couples in Crisis, James C. Dobson observes: “Children’s needs are often forgotten or ignored by parents who are absorbed in their own problems.”

Thus when contemplating divorce, bear in mind the welfare of your children. Many sociologists note that the more amicable a divorce is, the less the children are likely to suffer. It should be clear from the start that it is the husband and wife getting divorced, not parents and the children.

The children will still need both parents, unless there are extreme circumstances, such as the risk that they will be abused by one parent. It is important to note that, where the parents are legally married, the law gives them equal recognition with regard to custody of the marriage. But if the mother satisfactorily proves that the father is unreliable or the couple is not legally married, the mother is given first priority.

It is important to also important to note that the law recognises traditional marriages. Divorce usually comes with financial costs. It is, therefore, advisable — especially for the party with custody of the children, — to draw up a realistic budget in line with the new financial realities.

Where the couple has been operating a joint bank account, prompt and appropriate plans should be made to ensure that both partners’ signatures are necessary for withdrawals. In divorce settlement and legal proceedings, an aggrieved party would do well to get the services of a legal practitioner with experience in divorce issues.

If the spouses can reach an agreement out of the public eye, the agreement should be ratified by a court to avoid any future confrontations. It is important to minimise conflict, hurt and washing dirty family linen in public.

Successful marriages

But is marriage all about infidelity, heartache and divorce? Can it be said to be an outdated institution with no place in today’s “modern” world? Despite the rise in divorce, there are many successful marriages, which prove that happy and long-lasting marital unions are achievable.

More often than not, making sacrifices for the other person is the price one has to pay to make a marriage successful. Marriage is more than just a romantic relationship. When entering into it, is advisable to have one’s values and aspirations in mind. As one counsellor observes: “Problems in marriage — particularly issues around marital infidelity — might arise when a couple enters into that relationship prematurely.”

Mutual support is also vital. The couple should engage in activities and communication that promote trust and emotional reliance on each other. Neither party should undermine the other nor in any way damage the other’s self-respect and confidence. Such mutual support is strengthened by regular expressions of affection such as a touch, or a quiet, affectionate word.

living@ke.nationmedia.com

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Report recommends Kenya MPs pay raise

Posted by Administrator on June 30, 2010

A section of MPs during a past session of Parliament. The Akiwumi Report tabled in the House June 30, 2010 recommends a pay raise for MPs. Photo/FILE

A section of MPs during a past session of Parliament. The Akiwumi Report tabled in the House June 30, 2010 recommends a pay raise for MPs. Photo/FILE

A report to review Kenya MPs salaries has been tabled in Parliament and recommends a pay increase for the legislators.

The tribunal appointed by the Parliamentary Service Commission to Review and Make Recommendations on the Terms and Conditions of Service for Members and Staff of the National Assembly pegs the consolidated pay of an MP at Sh1.09m.

According to the report, the Prime Minister will earn Sh2.9m, the Vice President will take home Sh2.19m, while the Speaker is set to get Sh2.1m

The Deputy Prime Minister is expected to earn Sh1.6m while the deputy Speaker will be entitled to Sh1.4m a month.

The remuneration includes salary and allowances.

Taxable

However, some of the allowances including transport, responsibility and entertainment will be taxable.

MPs will debate and then either adopt or reject the recommendations of the report within seven days.

If adopted, the new pay structure will come into effect in the next Parliament, which will seat after the 2012 General Election.

It will see each MP pay Sh227,861 in tax every month. But then their monthly income has increased from Sh851,000 to Sh1,091,000.

This means, they have increased the income to cater for the taxation element, and added Sh12,000 on top every month.

PSC vice chairman Walter Nyambati tabled the report in Parliament with amendments to the current laws, not only to have tax rebates for cash donations made by MPs, but also to specify the allowances that each of the 222MPs are entitled to.

In the Bill  amending the National Assembly Remuneration Act, the PSC proposes a maternity leave allowance of Sh180,000 for every female MP and a paternity leave allowance of Sh30,000 per year for every male MP. The female MPs will be paid their maternity allowance at Sh60,000 per month for a maximum of three months.

Still, the amendment introducing new salaries will have to be backdated to May 2008 when the Prime Minister and his two deputies, were sworn into office.

The Bill also seeks to quash the Sh1.5 million for the five years –Sh300,000 for every year worked—to 20 per cent of the basic salary allowance for every year worked. This means, that an MP will get Sh720,000 as “severance allowance” for every year worked.

Coming at the end of five years, this is Sh3.6 million just for being an MP. This has been doubled and Sh400,000 added.

The amount will vary because of differences in the responsibility allowances  allocated to the other office holders in Parliament like the Speaker (Sh1.2 million for every year worked—Sh6 million after five years), Prime Minister, Vice President and Leader of Government and the Leader of Government Business (Sh840,000 for every year worked—Sh4.2 million after five years).

However, the report’s recommendations may be null and void in the event that Kenyans vote in favour of the proposed constitution during the August 4 referendum.

The proposed constitution envisages a Remuneration Commission to review the salaries of all public officials meaning that MPs will fall under its purview.

Currently, an MP takes home a total of Sh851,000 per month.

The tribunal was chaired by retired Court of Appeal Judge Akilano Akiwumi.

Source: Daily Nation

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Mother of Eight Returns to Class to Fulfil Her Childhood Dreams

Posted by Administrator on June 29, 2010

Nairobi — A mother of eight has gone back to school hoping to re-invent her childhood dreams. Denied education by poverty and early marriage at the age of 16, Catherine Kiyeng has opted to give the dream another try by going back to primary school.

But the journey back to class has been another struggle. Her attempt to join school in Muchongoi, Baringo Central constituency, was frustrated by two schools, forcing her to try her luck in the neighbouring Laikipia West constituency.

“One school gave me hope and I had even bought uniform only to be given a negative answer after seven months,” she said. Kiyeng blames her rejection by the two schools in Muchongoi on cultural beliefs that have little regard for women. She was finally allowed to join Kirima Primary School in Gituamba Location of Nyahururu District — but not without conditions.

A teacher at the school, Ms Susan Njeri Waweru, said: “After she told us about her past tribulations we agreed to admit her on condition that she places herself at the same level as the young pupils”. Kirima Primary School fraternity is not regretting since Kiyeng has exhibited leadership roles among the pupils and inspired many at the school to take studies seriously.

“She ensures her class is not idle when a teacher is late. She takes other pupils through revision as they wait for the teacher to arrive,” said Ms Waweru. Ms Waweru said they also use Kiyeng to counsel other pupils or as an example of the need for hard work.

Ms Kiyeng, whose first born son sat for KCSE last year at Ayebo Secondary School says her return to school has also inspired her other children in primary school to study hard. “They are working hard to achieve better results than their mother,” she said adding that her daughter who is in class five in Tenges was not happy at all after she managed only position nine while she (Kiyeng) came first.

She has been top of her class ever since joining Standard Four last year. She is also among the top flyers in Gituamba Division. The 36-year-old pupil and school games enthusiast says mathematics, science and social studies are her favourite subjects.

Kiyeng hopes to become a lawyer and fight for a just society. Perhaps it’s because she has experienced abuses in her marriage. Born in a polygamous family in Tenges, Sacho Division of the then larger Baringo District, she briefly joined school but dropped out in Standard Two due to poverty.

She married and was a mother at age 16. The marriage turned out to be abusive and she had to walk out of it with the permission of her in-laws. She then worked as househelp and uprooted tree stamps to raise money for her son who had been threatened with expulsion due to lack of school fees.

“I uprooted three stamps at a farm in Kerenoi in Muchongoi and made Sh27,000 which I used to pay the fees for my son,” she said. Kiyeng attended a peace sporting event sponsored by the Administration Police Commandant, Mr Kinuthia Mbugua, at Kabel AP post recently, where she was a fatigue official for female athletes.

She was in the Kirima school choir that entertained guests and later joined other women to serve meals and drinks to guests. She said the urge to go back to school started in 1994. “I started feeling great admiration whenever I saw pupils in uniform and the urge to go back to school increased once I divorced,” she said. She struggles to raising money for rent by doing menial jobs.

-Daily Nation

Posted in Features | Comments Off on Mother of Eight Returns to Class to Fulfil Her Childhood Dreams

Is this love or business deal gone sour?

Posted by Administrator on June 29, 2010

Ms Rose Wanjiru Kogu with her seven-week-old baby leaves a Makadara Court in Nairobi on Tuesday last week. She has denied falsely obtaining Sh165,000 from Mr Ibrahim Ndung’u, the man she claims is her jilted lover out to harass her. Photo/ TOM MARUKO

Ms Rose Wanjiru Kogu with her seven-week-old baby leaves a Makadara Court in Nairobi on Tuesday last week. She has denied falsely obtaining Sh165,000 from Mr Ibrahim Ndung’u, the man she claims is her jilted lover out to harass her. Photo/ TOM MARUKO

By RICHARD MUNGUTI
Posted Monday, June 28 2010 at 21:28

A man a teacher claims is her jilted lover has filed four court cases and recorded complaints in five police stations against her over claims of a Sh165,000 business deal gone awry.

The woman says she severed the relationship in 2002 after six months. But whether it was romance or business, it sparked a police trail on Ms Rose Wanjiku Kogu, who has ended up spending nights in the cells of police stations in Rift Valley, Central, and Nairobi provinces over the past eight years.

Police station

Mr Ibrahim Ndirangu Ndung’u has filed cases against Ms Kogu in the courts in Nyeri, Makadara, Kajiado, and the Milimani Commercial Court. He has also recorded reports against the teacher at Jogoo Road and Kasarani police stations in Nairobi, Kahuro police station in Murang’a, Namanga police station in Kajiado, and Kiamachimbi police station in Nyeri.

Ms Kogu, through her lawyer, told the court that Mr Ndung’u has been using unscrupulous means to harass her over her choice to terminate their romantic relationship. But Mr Ndung’u told the court he was only after the money he claims he gave her in 2002.

The 37-year-old teacher and mother of two children aged four years and seven weeks, has faced suits ranging from robbery with violence, fraud, assault, to defamation — all stemming from the “unfulfilled contract of a clothes deal for new and mitumba (used) clothes”.

Ms Kogu, through her lawyers, has at various times complained to the AG’s office, the commissioner of police, and the CID director about what she believes is outright use of police officers to harass her over the broken relationship. When the violent robbery charge was filed, Ms Kogu complained to the AG.

The AG’s office conducted an independent investigation and found that the charge was founded on malice and directed Mr Ndung’u be charged. To date he hasn’t been charged. This week, Makadara resident magistrate D. Kinaro was told that the clothes were to be imported from Uganda.

Ms Kogu, who was arrested last year and charged with obtaining the Sh165,000 by pretence, has denied the charge. When Mr Ndung’u took to the witness stand last week he said he had opened a plethora of cases against the secondary school teacher to get back his money.

Ms Kogu, since married to Mr Charles Karue who formerly worked in Botswana, sat pensively, cuddling her seven-week-old baby as she watched her accuser riffle through a brown envelope to fish out a “clothes deal” contract they purportedly signed on September 13, 2002.

Remaining witnesses

She is out on a cash bail of Sh50,000, but has denied she defrauded Mr Ndung’u. The case will proceed on August 3. The prosecutor, Inspector Lilian Gichuhi, was ordered to summon all remaining witnesses that day. Court was told the two met at a bar in Nyeri and drank beer.

Ms Kogu, through her lawyer Mwangi Mugo, charged that Mr Ndung’u did not have any real claim and his was just to ensure “she will never be loved by any man. My instructions are that you are malicious and there is bad blood between you and Rose. She ditched you and got married to another man. That is why you have commenced all manner of cases against her from a capital one to civil”.

But Mr Ndung’u stuck to his guns: “No your honour. These cases stem from a collapsed contract between me and Ms Kogu. She failed to deliver to me clothes eight years ago after I gave her a cool Sh165,000.” Mr Mugo further grilled Mr Ndung’u: “You have filed all manner of complaints against the teacher. Is it true you filed a violent robbery claim against her at Kahuro police station Murang’a?” “Yes your honour, I filed the report after I was assaulted by students of Ndutumi Secondary School in Maragwa District.

“My relation with Rose was purely business. I’m a married man with children.” Asked why he had to wait from 2003 to 2009 to report about the alleged fraud at Jogoo police station, Mr Ndung’u told the court last Tuesday that she had “a godfather. A former officer at Murang’a could not allow any policeman to arrest and detain her. She was well shielded”.

Source: DAILY NATION

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is this love or business deal gone sour?

Branding Kenya – A Hard Sale!

Posted by Administrator on June 29, 2010

    Photo Credits: Topi Lyambila

    Photo Credits: Topi Lyambila

    By: Kenya London News

     

    With hardly an enviable backdrop, Kenyans have been told they need to wake up to the reality of the times and find their feet before it is too late.  44 years after independence the country reputably the most stable economy in the region, still struggles to come to terms with the revelations that almost brought the nation to its knees in 2008’s post-election violence. 
    It is with this understanding however that Kenyans are determined to rebuild a country that has witnessed rampant corruption amid a fare share of inept political leadership.
    The responsibility to foresee this arduous task has fallen in the hands of the Brand Kenya Board (BKB) created under the instructions of His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki, and equally supported by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Raila Odinga. 
    Speaking at an invitational Diaspora Forum hosted at the Kenya High Commission Offices at 45 Portland Place on Friday, the Brand Kenya Board CEO, Mary Kimonye noted that the country needed branding, and their objective was to come up with a deliberate and well thought programme that defines our national identity, fosters social harmony and positions Kenya distinctively and impact fully on the  global arena in terms of: Investment, Sports, Leisure, Holiday, Residence, Icons, Culture/ Heritage, plus Products & Services. 
    Ms Kimonye who was accompanied by the International Brand Manager for BKB, Jacquie Muhati-Lukiri told the gathering that the London forum was one of the several planned meetings to involve the Diaspora Kenyans in the project.  The BKB team will soon visit the US and other areas where there are notable numbers of Kenyans in a bid to sensitize them on the issue at hand. 
    As part of their mandate; BKB are charged with;
  • Ensuring an integrated national brand is created, harnessed and sustained in the long term both nationally and internationally.

 

  • Nationally, build national identity and pride in every Kenyan.

 

  • Internationally, restore confidence in Kenya among investors, visitors, tourists and development partners.

 

The occasion host His Excellency Ephraim Ngare, Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK applauded the efforts of BKB, saying the Government was behind them and that Kenyans in general both at home and abroad were looking keenly to see that the board achieved its aims in mobilizing and creating awareness as a way of enhancing nationalism among the people. 

In response the UK Kenyans challenged the team on several issues that they felt had been neglected by the country’s political leadership.  Perez Ochieng CEO of SACOMA International, a community based charity operating in the UK said Diaspora Kenyans had been continually discouraged by the lack of support by parent Ministries in Kenya when they tried to support those disadvantaged in society.  Pastor Odima, a preacher based in London posed the big question to the BKB team; “Is Kenya Saleable?”  The Pastor congratulated the team on their Endeavour noting that they ought to address the root course of the problems that have beleaguered Kenyans at home if they wanted to expand social cohesion. He said that in the past, we have had commissions charged with similar responsibilities of improving rapport among Kenyans without any success. 

Kamau Wainaina a Youth Programme Coordinator here in the UK, wanted to know the youth involvement and consideration in the BKB charter saying that on many occasions leaders claimed to be speaking and working on behalf of the youths when they did not understand the basic needs of the youth.  He sought clarification on the issue of Youth categorization.   

Macharia Gakuru, author of the Deya Biography, lamented the lack of recognition by the Government on professional input by those in the Diaspora and wanted to know if BKB had the necessary funding to support the international efforts expected to be carried out by Kenyans abroad. 

Photo Credits: Topi Lyambila

Photo Credits: Topi Lyambila

It also emerged that a cross section of Kenyans in the UK were not comfortable with the existing interpersonal relations between them and the High Commission, a factor that was seen as undermining any efforts to build a working relationship.

 

It was felt that disconnect comes largely because of the lack of continuous communication.  In the past all Kenyan Diplomatic Missions had a Press Attaché  who was responsible in not only ascertaining a positive image/relationship with the Kenyans in the respective countries, but also the International Community, Members of the mass media and other stake holders who from time to time engage with the Mission.   

The Diaspora Kenyans also noted the tendency within Government, to award Public Relation contracts to foreigners who knew very little or cared less about Kenya.   

Ms Kimonye told the meeting that all their concerns were carefully noted by the BKB team and would be dealt with accordingly, as the main purpose of the forum was to seek views on how to build Brand Kenya.  She further noted that in principle;  

  • Kenyans need to regain their hope, confidence and pride in themselves and in the future prospects of their country.
  • Kenyans need to jointly work on initiatives to recognize and appreciate the strength of our diversity.
  • We need to work on a national image and identity that serves as a focal point for harnessing the  energy, warmth and entrepreneurial spirit of our people
  • The country needs to develop a set of national values, and initiatives to enhance social harmony, cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

 

Reiterating the BKB Promise

  • To build a strong country brand that fosters national pride and patriotism and earns global recognition and preference.
  • To instill in every Kenyan national pride and foster international confidence in the country by providing a competitively prosperous and stable environment  to all our stakeholders;
  • To Kenyans; a country that is safe and free to live work, exploit their diverse talents and realize their full potential.
  • To investors; a supportive and enabling business environment
  • Foreigners; an exciting safe, friendly destination to visit, live and holiday.

 

    This is certainly a major undertaking that BKB is handling, and will need more than sheer patriotism.  The team is aware of the existing differences among the Kenyan people based on tribal differences, political sectioning, some of which are openly practiced in public offices in the country.  It was also pointed out that these differences exist even among those in the Diaspora. 
    It is with this background that one speaker echoed the need to examine ourselves with brutal honesty if we are to achieve the very ambitious goals set out in the BKB Charter.

Posted in Analysis and Opinion | Comments Off on Branding Kenya – A Hard Sale!

 
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