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Archive for July, 2010

Fraudsters faking accidents to rip off insurers

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2010

STEPHENE MUDIARI | NATION Nairobi businessman Paul Ogola narrates how he fell victim to the latest insurance fraud during an interview at Nation Centre in Nairobi.

STEPHENE MUDIARI | NATION Nairobi businessman Paul Ogola narrates how he fell victim to the latest insurance fraud during an interview at Nation Centre in Nairobi.

A new breed of criminals is fleecing insurance companies by faking road accidents, then lodging claims.

The syndicate involves police officers who issue abstracts for phantom accidents as well as unscrupulous garage owners who bill for imaginary vehicle repairs. Corrupt insurance officials then make false reports to facilitate payments.

The architects of the crime don’t own the “accident” vehicles but use cars hired from companies or individuals.

Nairobi businessman Paul Ogola rented out his Toyota saloon car on April 19, 2010 to a client.

“It was around 5 p.m. He (client) signed a contract, I took copies of his driving licence and national identity card then gave him the keys,” he said.

Mr Ogola has his vehicle installed with a hi-tech tracking system to safeguard it against theft.

“I engaged the system at my office the following day and the monitor screen traced my car to Industrial Area. For hours, the signal indicated the vehicle had remained at the same spot. I got anxious because I could not understand why somebody would pay for a vehicle then not use it,” he told the Sunday Nation.

Mr Ogola grew more concerned when he tried to contact the client on his cell phone, but the number was out of reach. When he tracked the car down to a garage in Industrial Area, mechanics there said it had been towed from an accident scene somewhere between Doonholm and Embakasi.

The car had a dent on the front bumper, suggesting the accident was minor, and that it would cost about Sh30,000 to repair. Mr Ogola did not suspect anything fishy until the following day when he returned to the garage to take pictures, as they would be helpful in insurance claims.

“The vehicle was completely different. The bonnet was bent, the dashboard damaged with airbags out, the headlights were broken,” he said.

What he did not know is that the defaced parts belonged to another vehicle and had been fixed on his car, to create the impression the accident was serious.

At the garage, the mechanics had issued an invoice of Sh300,000 to his insurance company.

An assessor appointed by the insurer had filed a report reflecting the extensive damage on his vehicle warranting the money charged by the mechanic.

Mr Ogola reported the findings to Buru Buru police station. He obtained a copy of the abstract and was surprised to find that the driver of his car at the time of the accident was not his client.

Traffic officers told him that after ramming his car, the other driver had sped off. The abstract listed two witnesses – the driver and a police constable attached to Buru Buru station.

Mr Ogola filed a formal complaint to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere against the officers. The complaint is being handled on orders of the police boss.

Amos Oketch faced a similar experience last September.

“My client sent an SMS informing me of an accident. He asked me to check the vehicle at the garage,” he said. He found his car had its rear bumper damaged.

Two days later, when he went to collect it, he was asked to sign clearance forms showing that in addition to the bumper, the bonnet had also been replaced.

Stealing from insurance
Contacted by the Sunday Nation, the Association of Kenya Insurers executive director Tom Gichuhi was taken aback by news of the new syndicate, saying he had not heard of it.

“There are so many frauds devised by people stealing from insurance companies, but this is the latest. It’s strange people can go to that extent,” he said.

Mr Gichuhi told of other ways devised by fraudsters in the motor vehicle industry to milk insurers.

“We have cases where a salvaged vehicle is insured with three companies. It remains at the yard covered with a canvas that ensures it does not rust. So assessors from different companies inspect it at different times without realising it has been there for a long time.’’

‘‘The owner ends up receiving three payments,” he said.

The AKI boss said his organisation would devise a centralised system where companies can access client data to keep fraudsters at bay.

Source: Daily Nation

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Untold story: Night meeting that saved Moi presidency

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2010

Security officers restore order amid widespread looting in Nairobi city during the 1982 coup attempt. PHOTO/FILE

Security officers restore order amid widespread looting in Nairobi city during the 1982 coup attempt. PHOTO/FILE

By Roy Gichuhi

There is no doubt in Lt-Gen (retired) Humphrey Njoroge’s mind that the coup attempt in which scores were killed and hundreds injured — on top of huge losses to business — was wholly avoidable.

“Everybody who needed to know knew that there were plans for a coup and the leaders were known,” he says.

“After the opening ceremonies of the Nyeri ASK Show on Friday, July 30, the chief of intelligence, James Kanyotu, asked President Moi for authority to arrest Sgt Joseph Ogidi, Cpl Charles Oriwa, Cpl Walter Ojode and Cpl Bramwel Njereman from the then Kenya Air Force, Nanyuki Station. He also wanted to arrest others from other KAF bases.”

Njoroge, who was a major at the time, quotes a colleague who was privy to that Nyeri meeting. According to him, Kanyotu told the President: “Your Excellency, my people are in place. Can we arrest these people?”

At that time, the Special Branch had infiltrated the barracks and knew everything about the planned coup.

“But acting on contrary advice,” Njoroge now recalls, “President Moi withheld such authority. He decided to wait until Monday when the armed forces would supposedly deal with the matter internally without involving policemen who were considered subordinate in the disciplined services structure.

“General Jackson Mulinge, who was Chief of the General Staff promised the President that the matters would be dealt with at that time.”

Chief of operations

But at midnight on August 1, 1982 rebel airmen stormed what is today the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation headquarters, took control and announced the establishment of a military government.

And so it is that Lt Gen John Sawe, who was Army Commander as well as Deputy Chief of the General Staff, his deputy in the Army, Maj Gen Mahmoud Mohammed, the Chief of Operations at Defence Headquarters Brig Bernard Kiilu and Maj Humphrey Njoroge, a staff officer in charge of training at Army Headquarters were hurriedly gathered at 2am the same night to consider the options of a quick counter-coup.

As they spoke, Nairobi echoed to the sound of gunfire from the rifles of rebel airmen of the Kenya Air Force drawn from Eastleigh and Embakasi bases.

Several hours earlier, unknown accomplices had stolen the keys to the armoury at Defence Headquarters, but a quick-thinking senior officer had ordered fresh locks bought and fastened on the door.

These activities were the subject of that meeting in Sawe’s office that night.

War games just ended

“We were planning how to restore President Moi’s Government,” recalls the now retired Lt-Gen Njoroge. “That was the original strategy meeting that reversed the 1982 coup attempt.”

The meeting had not been convened by any higher authority. The four had found themselves there by the dictates of the peculiar circumstances of the time. All units of the Kenya Army were at that time en route to Nairobi from Lodwar where war games had just ended.

Most of its leadership were there. But the senior-most commanders, after routinely accompanying the President at the Nyeri Show, had retired to their homes for the weekend.

Sawe presided over the meeting and opened it thus: “The C-in-C is not available. The CGS is not available. What must we do?”

Says Njoroge: “We didn’t ask him where they were. We just assumed that he had tried to reach them in vain.”

It fell upon Kiilu, the operations man, to make the first presentation of the options open to the quartet who at that time comprised the entire operational command of Kenya’s Defence Headquarters. Kiilu was a British-trained officer with a fine intellectual mind. He had a remarkable capacity to analyse and synthesise issues with clarity and mastery of detail.

According to Njoroge, Kiilu took good note of the fact that the rebel airmen had struck when the army barracks were virtually empty.

Says Njoroge: “Kiilu told us, ‘We must begin by assuming that Nairobi has fallen.’”

At this point in the presentation, Njoroge recalls that Mohammed was shifting uncomfortably in his seat. There was little doubt that he didn’t like what he was hearing. Kiilu proceeded to recommend that they wait for the returning army units and halt them in the western gates of the city, in the vicinity of Kiambu, from where it would prepare its assault on the city.

But before he could go on, and all of a sudden, Mohammed burst out: “Bernard! This is crazy! We cannot wait that long! We must stop it now!”

Remembers Njoroge: “I was by far the most junior officer there. I was only a major. I was timid. I did not make any contributions. If I spoke, it was only if I was spoken to. I just took notes.”

“What do you have in Langata?” Mohammed pressed. “What do you have in Nairobi?” He was referring to troops. Evidently, he was calculating his chances of success in fighting back, which he already seemed hell-bent on at that moment.

Then he said, addressing his boss Sawe: “I suggest you give me instructions. Tell me what to announce when I take back the station when I stop this. I want you to tell me what to tell the country. And I don’t want interference from this headquarters. Humphrey, you are taking notes!”

“Yes, sir!” Njoroge affirmed.

Sawe then asked Mohammed: “Are you sure you can do it?”

Mohammed replied: “Yes, sir!”

Sawe gave him the go-ahead. The meeting was over.

Njoroge noted how Mohammed had managed to take command of the operation while at the same time having it on record that he was the authorised operation commander.

Njoroge was impressed. Mohammed was a man who had barely seen the inside of a primary school classroom, by far the least educated of the officers present. He was just an infantryman, with no special skill or trade to his name.

Over the decades, he had risen from private, the army’s lowest rank, to major-general, a mere two stars away from the very top. Semi-literate he may have been, but he had other qualities going for him. Not least among these was an acute understanding of human psychology and an elephant’s memory.

Here, he showed an uncanny understanding of a complex situation and at once assumed leadership.

Recalls Njoroge: “Citing urgency, Mohammed sought and obtained Sawe’s permission to leave, taking me along. We left Sawe and Kiilu behind. ‘Humphrey,’ he said as we left, ‘continue taking notes.’ On the way, we bumped into Col Alex Mwangangi. He is the one who gave us the frequencies we would use to communicate among ourselves.”

Once inside the office, Mohammed told Njoroge his plan. “Humphrey, go to the main gate. I want you to assemble all the crack shots. Tell Warrant Officer One Kaptich to assemble all the crack shots. Specifically, I want all those from 1KR who won trophies during the Armed Forces Rifle Meeting. Go.”

Best shots

1KR (1st Battalion, the Kenya Rifles) was the first military unit to be established by Kenya’s new government at independence. It was established in February 1964. It is an infantry (foot soldier) battalion. Mohammed, who had joined the colonial army in 1953, had served as its commanding officer from 1969 to 1978. Though it was years since he had left, he knew the troops there by their first names, especially the best shots. Now he urgently sought them.

Njoroge requested half an hour to carry out the instruction. He returned with two or three dozen soldiers carried in Land Rover ambulances. A few soldiers, himself included, wore doctors’ white coats. The ambulance vehicles and white coats were for a purpose. It was now about 5am. Sporadic gunfire from various parts of town three kilometres away intermittently interrupted the early morning calm.

Mohammed looked at what Njoroge had brought and was satisfied. The troops were not told where they were going or what they were going to do. Only Mohammed and Njoroge knew the plan — which was to retake KBC, the country’s only broadcasting station.

In those days, he who called the shots at KBC, then known as Voice of Kenya, owned the country. There was no other source of instant information. The first target for all African coup makers was the national broadcaster and Kenya’s rebel airmen were working to script.

The convoy was readied and Njoroge took his seat in the first Land Rover. Mohammed took his in the second one and the others lined up.

Then the convoy rolled out of Army Headquarters and headed for Argwings Kodhek Road. It then turned left at the Silver Springs Hotel round-about and joined Valley Road.

The operation to save Moi from his own catastrophic error had begun.

The convoy cruised down Valley Road, getting into Uhuru Highway, then University Way and onto Harry Thuku Road where they headed for KBC. Other vehicles followed. All over town were rebel soldiers and university students shouting “Power!”.

Says Njoroge: “Whenever we encountered them, we shouted “Power!” and punched the air with our fists. A lot of looting was taking place already. There were huge celebrations by university students around Broadcasting House with loud music.

Just outside the Norfolk Hotel, they stopped and Njoroge, resplendent in his doctor’s coat, stepped out of his vehicle and went straight to the KBC gate. Everybody else remained behind. He recalls: “There were very many rebels there and they were armed. I identified a man who wore a general’s ranks on both his shoulders. On one shoulder was air force insignia and on the other army insignia. It was a bit dark.”

He approached that “officer” and told him: “We are from Memorial. We are here to help you.” He was referring to the Armed Forces Memorial Hospital and made sure the “officer” saw the line of ambulances parked outside the gate.

The officer looked pleased and said: “Good. Carry on.” The encounter lasted less than five minutes but that was all Njoroge needed to survey the field. He walked briskly back to the Land Rovers.

He says: “I have reason to believe the man I spoke to was Ochuka. I did not know him and neither did he know me. I will never be sure, but something told me I had just spoken to the coup leader who from later accounts turned out to be there at that time. There was something in his demeanour that made him stand out from the rest.”

Back to where the Land Rovers stood, Njoroge told Mohammed: “Sir, we cannot attack them. They are too many and they are well armed. Even if we succeed in overpowering them, we do not have an exit corridor. We cannot leave and no reinforcement can reach us. We shall be trapped here.” He suggested they go to Kahawa Garrison and seek reinforcements.

He also said they should contact the Embakasi-based 50 Air Cavalry Battalion to create a corridor when it was time to withdraw. Mohammed asked him: “Are you sure this is what we should do?” Njoroge affirmed and remarks: “Mohammed is a good senior officer who listens to good advice. He is not opinionated. He just said, ‘OK, let’s go.’”

The convoy headed to the Globe Cinema round-about and took Murang’a Road and drove to Kahawa Garrison where it arrived around 6.30am. At the gate, they learned that Sawe had issued firm instructions that nobody should be allowed in or out of all military bases in the country. They were thus stopped by the sentries and flatly denied entry.

A furious Mohammed walked up to Cpl Halake, the sentry in charge and asked him whether he knew who he was. Halake politely told him yes, he knew he was the Deputy Army Commander, but no, he was not going to allow him in.

His instructions from Gen Sawe, he told Mohammed, did not exempt anybody, sorry sir. Mohammed cocked his gun and thundered: “I am going to shoot you!”

Looking at the angry boss and perceiving the company he was in, the sentry relented and opened the gate. There isn’t any doubt in Njoroge’s mind that Mohammed meant his threat.

The convoy rolled in. Garrison Commander Col Njiru was holed up in a meeting with his officers while the troops were in their quarters.

Mohammed took charge of the meeting. There were two officers from his previous command at 1KR whom he particularly liked and wanted with him — Maj Wanambisi and Maj Kithinji. Two others, Maj Cheboi and Maj Kiritu from Langata, would also play crucial roles in his scheme of things.

“He wanted people he could trust,” Njoroge says. “These obviously had to be people he knew very well.”

Mohammed told the gathering that he wanted the troops gathered and the top shots who had won trophies during the armed forces rifle championships identified. That done, Maj Wanambisi was assigned the vanguard group and Maj Kithinji the back-up. Weapons were then distributed. Depending on their specialties, the troops were given submachine guns, G3 rifles and light machine guns. Nobody was told what the mission was.

The convoy then headed back to the city through Thika Road, Forest Road, past Parklands Secondary School, Forest Lodge before finally stopping at the Museum Hill round-about. That is where the final briefing took place and it is where the troops were finally told what their mission was.

Said Mohammed: “Tunaenda VoK na tunaenda kufa.” (“We are going to VoK and we are going to die.”) He then told them the plan was to make the rebel airmen surrender peacefully without a fight. But the orders were to return fire when fired upon or to fire in pre-emptive self-defence.

This is exactly what happened in literally the next instant. Just as the briefing was about to end, one Private Odero saw an airman take aim at Mohammed who was standing prominently in front of the troops. Instinctively, he let out a burst of machine gun fire that felled the airman and several others standing near him. At that point, the plan changed. It became a full scale assault.

Abandoning their vehicle after their final briefing, Mohammed’s troops inched towards the broadcasting station slowly, the crack shots taking out drunken air force servicemen one after the other.

When it became apparent that they were under siege, one airman exclaimed: “Kwa nini GSU wanatupiga?” (“Why are the GSU attacking us?”) He was under the mistaken impression that the attackers were GSU officers because the coup had been timed to take place when the Army was out of town. Coupled with the fact that the southern entrances to the city were blocked by airmen from Embakasi, he was sure these troops, coming from the direction of Westlands, could only be GSU personnel.

The Army force from Kahawa numbered less than 30. But it exacted a huge toll among the drunken airmen, who were partying with university students. The actual number who died in the assault may never be known, but it was reliably estimated to be between 100 and 200.
At that time, there was no perimeter wall around the broadcasting complex. The invaders were therefore able to enter from Uhuru Highway.

The first soldiers to reach the radio studios killed five rebels inside there. They then went back and told Mohammed, who was close behind, that the route to the studio was clear and Leonard Mambo Mbotela, the famed broadcaster who had been kidnapped from his house and forced to announce Moi’s ouster, was still inside. Mohammed strode in, Njoroge with him.

“I am General Mohammed,” he told Mambo, “I want you to announce that Nyayo forces have retaken the country.” Njoroge, who kept taking notes of every detail of the operation, then gave Mambo a list of officers whose names he was to broadcast as being at the station. These were Maj-Gen Mohammed, Maj Wanambisi, Maj Kithinji, Maj Kiritu, Maj Cheboi, Maj Mulinge and himself, Maj Njoroge.

He then went to the library and fetched a gramophone record, Safari ya Japan by Joseph Kamaru. “Play this,” he told Mambo who did. The record and the composition of the list of soldiers were meant to reassure soldiers everywhere that Nyayo was indeed back in the saddle.

“It was a psychological ploy,” he says. “Not all the officers whose names I gave Mambo to read were at Broadcasting House.”

Outside the station, the assault had turned into a chase and mop up operation. Airmen were fleeing in numbers. But Ochuka, Njoroge was to learn later, was still insisting he was Commander-in-Chief. Through the armed forces communication system, he kept insulting Sawe and threatening him with dire consequences for resisting.

It was then that Sawe ordered helicopters to blow up the communications facility at the Eastleigh air force base. Without communications, Ochuka’s coup collapsed and he was soon on his way to Tanzania.

It was not until about 3pm that the invading party was relieved from Defence headquarters. Accompanied by Njoroge, Mohammed then went DoD to find Mulinge, Sawe and a few

The gathering embarked on mop-up plans. But first they had to get a devastated Moi, who had been brought to town in an armoured convoy from Kabarak led by Maj Gen Musomba, to announce to Kenyans that he was back as President. Few Kenyans who watched him on TV that evening will forget the crushed look in his face.

After that Moi, whose regime had already been fairly repressive, launched a clamp down on dissent that gradually turned Kenya into a police state.

Roy Gachuhi is Director, East Africa School of Journalism. roygachuhi@gmail.com

other senior officers.

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Does marriage make you stable financially?

Posted by Administrator on July 31, 2010

By Billy Muiruri

You have avoided getting married until “you are stable” and nothing including constant reminders by close relatives including your mother that you are “ageing” will get you to start thinking about marriage.

You have a nice car, stay in a respectable neighbourhood in a spacious flat and the girlfriends you have had are left wondering why you are not willing to pop the question.

You have enough reasons

Among them are excuses such as:  “I have not met the right person”, “I am pursuing a post-graduate course” Marriage is difficult”

“Let me have a bit more fun before I finally settle down.”

Your age-mates or colleagues got married years earlier and even though they may not be your average wealthy couple, they no longer pay rent because they have a small structure in a plot they struggled to acquire some years back.

When you meet them, you pity them for all the talk about school fees, visiting days, mechanical problems of their small car or the mortgage they are still financing. Yes, they seem to always talk about committing money, instead of spending it.

So does marriage drain your resources or boost your prospects for a more stable life in future? That is the question we asked those who have been married.

“It is not necessarily that you become a better manager of money after marriage. It depends on how you share responsibilities and whether both of you have an income,” says Nicholas Omondi.

These days, he says, a couple will find it difficult to improve their financial health if only one of them is working or in business. He says sharing responsibilities is key to financial freedom.

“I have seen women whose houses are run solely by the husband and yet they, too, are earning a salary.”

Destructive attitude

Saying your salary is not as big as your husband’s is a very destructive attitude,” says Omondi.Omondi says people become mature on many aspects and falls short of suggesting people should delay getting into marriage until they reach a certain age.

“When you are around 35, you are likely to have realised what you want to achieve and you will be more committed to it,” says the mechanical engineer.

But, the father of college-going children says being stable in life does not mean having it all in life. There is also the social aspect.

“If you have spent most of your resources educating your siblings and other relatives and are today driving a modest car, you are better off in this world than the man who has never helped anyone make life better and is zooming around in a state-of- the-art vehicle. You may not be rich in the pocket but you are rich at heart,” he explains philosophically.

For Philomena Nduta, when one gets married, they tend to hang out with more serious friends.

“When you are discussing things with people who have families, you tend to revolve around securing a better future for your family. This is what bachelors lack. Most tend to live for today, never worrying about the future,” she says.

Nduta also says priorities for the married are more geared to the good of all in the family as opposed to a bachelor whose life revolves around an individual.

Interviews conducted by Saturday Magazine revealed that those who are yet to marry  spend most of their resources on consumables while married people tend to spend on fixed assets or social services such as health care and education.

“A bachelor will spend quite a big chunk of his money entertaining women. So the rational thing to do would be to get married and spend the money on someone who is taking your family lineage forward or someone who can accommodate you without hard feelings in case things go wrong,” says Nduta.

Karumba Ngatia, who is wedding next month says wives care about the security of the family and as a man takes a risk, women secure the risk.

“Women are more concerned about the future and will try to engage in projects that are sustainable. For example, many women will want their husband to buy a plot of land rather than a car even though  a car will make her life that much easier,” says Karumba, a DJ in Nairobi.

Diligence and team-work, however determine whether or not a couple will improve their economic status together, according to Mutua Muthusi, a father of four.

“Coming from a wealthy family does not translate to a better life. It is about how well the couple is focused on a certain objective that they want to achieve together,” says Muthusi.Muthusi believes a married person is more likely to have financial discipline which a bachelor would ordinarily lack.

“We say wealth is God-given but you must work for it. When this duty is undertaken by two people who have the same goal, the task is easier,” he says.

However, Fatmah Sherali cannot even think of marriage right now as she feels it is a sure way of making an already hard life, more miserable.

“To raise a family these days, you have to forego a lot of things. Things have gone up and I would prefer to stay unmarried. Marriage drains people’s financial resources and you rarely enjoy the good things of life after you get married,” says Sherali, 29.

She says the mere thought of the amount of fees that parents of school-going children pay, the monthly rent, fuel or transport every day for everyone in the house, is too much for her to even contemplate.

“Let me manage my money, eat something and save something small without having to suffer to do this,” she says.

PLAN TOGETHER

When two people plan to settle down together, they should discuss their finances early in the relationship, establishing how they will combine their incomes, settle their bills, eliminate their debts and jointly invest their money, advises Angela Akinyi, a research analyst with Zimele Asset Management.

“How people handle finance at the beginning of marriage has long-term consequences on both spouses,” says Akinyi.

The financial analyst advocates for joint budgets for anyone who wants to reap the benefits of shared living and financial obligations. However, Akinyi insists that it’s crucial for each spouse to retain a certain degree of autonomy over their overall finances. 

Merging finances is easier, she advises, especially when children’s school fees and mortgages come into play.

“Individuals have different attitudes towards money, but within the institution of marriage, such differences could cause havoc if not resolved”, she says.

For instance, it would be difficult for a saver who is keen on accumulating wealth to put up with a spendthrift who indulges in wasteful pleasures.

The key to creating a successful and healthy financial status within marriage lies in aligning plans, such that a couple only has children once they are ready to bear the financial burden.

Spending also needs to stay in check and there should be a clear understanding or agreement on how bills should be shared out to avoid over-burdening one spouse.

Source: Daily Nation

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Green vs Red is Obama’s new headache

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2010

Three Republican congressmen have accused President Obama’s administration of spending at least Sh1.8 billion to support the ‘Yes’ side. Photo/FILE

Three Republican congressmen have accused President Obama’s administration of spending at least Sh1.8 billion to support the ‘Yes’ side. Photo/FILE

By Kevin Kelley and Bernard Namunane

Kenya’s quest for a new constitution has stirred American politics yet again, with 42 congressmen stopping short of calling on Kenyans to endorse the proposed law in next week’s vote.

The 42, who are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, allied to US President Barack Obama, criticised their colleagues and non-governmental activists who have sided with the ‘No’ camp.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the congressmen described the involvement of foreign organisations and American lawmakers in the referendum campaigns in Kenya as “shameful” and “harmful”.

“We, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, strongly support the people of Kenya in their efforts to maintain peace and promote democracy,” the group declared. “The referendum on a new constitution is an important measure in meeting these objectives.”

“Unfortunately,’’ the statement added, ‘‘there have been foreign organisations and individuals who have engaged in a shameful and harmful campaign to derail the constitutional reform process,” the African-American contingent declared.

It says the critics had misconstrued both the nature of the Obama Administration’s support for constitutional reform and the content of the draft constitution.

Kenya’s profile in the US has risen since Mr Obama, whose father was Kenyan, became president. Mr Obama’s conservative critics have accused him of using American tax payers’ money to finance the ‘Yes’ campaign. Some of them have responded by working to frustrate the passage of the new laws.

Pro-life groups’ funds

The Black Caucus specifically attacked “American pro-life groups [who] have financed several Kenyan churches to defeat the proposed constitution because of a provision on abortion.”

The US pro-life groups, the congressmen charged in a statement, were behind the push to include a clause on abortion in the proposed constitution and were now financing churches opposed to the new laws.

“These foreign elements deliberately misrepresent what is in the constitution in the hope of galvanising an anti-abortion movement across East Africa,” the statement adds. “The draft constitution simply does not authorise abortion on-demand, and to state otherwise is misleading.”

“It should be clear that the constitution was written by Kenyans and for Kenyans. Parties to the drafting process have carefully weighed in to ensure that the constitution, among other provisions, balances right to life, respect for existing laws and programmes, and consideration of environment.”

The Black Caucus was responding to claims by three Republican congressmen who have accused President Obama’s administration of spending at least Sh1.8 billion to support the ‘Yes’ side.

Congressman Chris Smith has been behind a campaign to question the use of US taxpayers money on the Kenyan constitution stating that even though Washington had pledged to give $2 million (Sh160 million) to support civic education, the figure had risen to $23 million (Sh1.8 billion).

“There is no doubt that the Obama Administration is funding the ‘Yes’ campaign in Kenya,” he said. “By funding NGOs backing the ‘Yes’ votes, the administration has crossed the line,” he said. “Directly supporting efforts to register ‘Yes’ voters and ‘get out the Yes vote’ means the US Government is running a political campaign in Kenya. US taxes should not be used to support one side,” he added.

Congressman Smith provided a list of organisations that had benefited from the money channelled through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid). Vice-President Joe Biden and the US embassy in Nairobi have refuted the claims.

The Black Caucus also criticised US anti-abortion NGOs that have admitted channelling money through churches to defeat the proposed constitution on grounds that it allows abortion.

Even though the proposed constitution declares abortion illegal, it gives a window to “trained health professionals” to procure an abortion should the mother’s life be in danger.

Donations to defeat draft

Three weeks ago, an American-based group told the Sunday Nation that it was working through its office in Nairobi to tell Kenyans that the proposed constitution would allow abortion on demand.

Mr Jordan Sekulow of the American Centre for Law and Justice, said the organisation had donated tens of thousands of dollars to help defeat the draft.

The centre is a non-governmental public interest law firm founded in 1990 by controversial televangelist Pat Robertson, well-known in Kenya for his programmes on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Source: Daily Nation

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12th Annual African Economic Forum- August 4th-7th 2010

Posted by Administrator on July 29, 2010

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Youth changing the workplace

Posted by Administrator on July 28, 2010

They are tech-savvy, ambitious and easily bored and they are presenting new challenges to managers in many companies.

These youths born in early 1980s, and labelled Generation Y, did not experience major political happenings like the 1982 coup or the fight for multi-party democracy in the 1990s. They were too young to comprehend.

They are in their 20s but have arrived at the work place with fresh demands that have set the human resource managers cracking their brains.

According to a research report released on Wednesday by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the employers will have to devise new incentives to tap, retain and improve their productivity.

Some want flexible working hours, others want formal dressing code relaxed and about 23 per cent will want to change their employer in one year or less.

The report known as ‘Getting to Know Generation Y’ is intended to help companies understand this new stock of employees who are less inclined to formal straight-jacket workplace practices, mostly adopted from the colonial master.

The survey involved 1,270 respondents drawn from 36 organisations. It said 32 per cent wanted access to professional and social online networks like LinkedIn and Facebook.

Another 9 per cent wanted flexible dressing code at the place of work, 18 per cent more flexible working hours and 12 per cent gym membership.

The study was triggered by National HR survey of 2009. Human resource practitioners asked for it because generational differences had started affecting work performance in some of their companies.

“Attracting and retaining talent is becoming a business priority and is proving to be a challenge,” PWC country senior director, Mr Kuria Muchiru, said when they released the findings on Wednesday.

These challenges called for new management skills because the youths hate routine duty and like challenging tasks that are interesting.

“They say they will cope with routine work during interviews but after a short time they lose interest. They ask, ‘am a graduate what am I doing here?’” he said.

“We have huge, sometime outlandish expectations of life, the world and work place. Generation Y is absorbed in a world made possible through technology,” says Mr Charles Simba, a PWC manager.

Source: Daily Nation

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Kibaki vs Moi: ‘Mchongoano’ for titans

Posted by Administrator on July 28, 2010

For the better part of this month, Kenyans have been treated to a pressure-cooker referendum campaign with fisticuffs reported between supporters of the Greens and the Reds in some areas.

But the last leg of the campaign is evolving into a fairly light-hearted affair as the rival camps lock horns in the political version of ‘Mchongoano’, the hilarious Kenyan art form in which contestants try to outwit each other with words, not fists.

Americans call it ‘Yo Momma’ jokes.

Bifwoli Wakoli, the lands assistant minister who has publicly played clown a few times in the past, recently tickled a crowd in Eldoret when he wondered: “which man would want to marry me?”

That was in response to allegations by the ‘No’ campaign that the Proposed Constitution allows same-sex marriages.

Former president Moi, too, has given a good account of himself with quite some sharp tongue on the campaign platform.

Last week, Moi retorted to the popular reference to his former political allies as “Moi orphans” by questioning the wisdom of doing so as if “I am dead”.

Big Show

Well, all this has just been part of the curtain-raiser.

The big show is the clash of the presidents, and it is as mouthwatering as it can probably get.

It started on Tuesday when President Kibaki uncharacteristically gave his predecessor a tongue lashing while addressing a ‘Yes’ rally.

In typical casual Kibakispeak, the President aimed a jibe at “Wazee wengine (some old men)” moving around “wakisema katiba ni mbaya (claiming the Proposed Constitution is bad)”.

He rubbed it in by terming Moi’s behaviour “a shame” and sought to finish the former president off by suggesting that he (Moi) “deserved sympathy”.

If Kibaki appeared to land a heavy punch, he certainly fell short of a TKO.

Today, Moi is still in a fighting mood poking some fun of his own at President Kibaki as having failed to deliver on his lofty 2002 campaign promise to give Kenyans a new constitution within 100 days of assuming power.

For people who prefer to see themselves as statesmen, it might not degenerate into the quick-fire personal or mother insults like they do on the American Yo Momma.

But from their long history as political friends-turned-foes, there are sufficient character and leadership flaws for either man to use as fodder and win this other contest in the referendum.

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Source: Daily Nation

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Moi answers Kibaki on Constitution

Posted by Administrator on July 28, 2010

Former President Daniel arap Moi has dismissed accusations that he failed to deliver on reforms during his time in power July 28, 2010. Photo/FILE

Former President Daniel arap Moi has dismissed accusations that he failed to deliver on reforms during his time in power July 28, 2010. Photo/FILE

By Jacob Ngetich

Kenya’s former president Daniel arap Moi has dismissed accusations that he failed to deliver on reforms during his time in power.

Mr Moi was responding to criticism from President Kibaki, who succeeded him as president, that he failed to give Kenyans a new constitution despite being in power for 24 years.

President Kibaki said, during a Yes rally in Embu, central Kenya on Tuesday, that Mr Moi was misleading Kenyans on the Proposed Constitution, which will be subjected to a referendum on August 4.

But in a swift rejoinder, the former president said President Kibaki had no right to criticise him.

Kuna wengine waliahidi katiba kwa siku mia moja, lakini mpaka sasa bado hawajaitimiza (There are those who promised a new constitution within 100 days, but they are yet to deliver).” said Mr Moi during a No rally in Wote, Eastern Province on Wednesday.

“And they are quick to blame,” he added.

The former president said he will continue to stick to issues in the Proposed Constitution as opposed to personalities since he was not interested in any gain or political seat.

On Tuesday, President Kibaki, without naming him, accused Mr Moi of misleading Kenyans and asked him to stop doing so: “Wazee wengine wanazunguka wakisema katiba ni mbaya (Some old men are moving around saying the constitution is bad).”

He said he felt sorry for Mr Moi, whom he said was embarrassing himself with these activities.

Ni aibu kubwa kwa wazee kama hawa. Awache wasiwasi na aungane na sisi tupitishe katiba (It is a shame for such old men. He should stop panicking and join us so that we can pass the constitution),” he said.

The former president maintained that all he was interested in was a united Kenya, where all lived in peace.

Mr Moi said to make a good constitution there it was important to ensure that the needs of every Kenyan were safeguarded, failure to which the country will be divided

“Some are saying Moi was a dictator, but for me I was interested in peace and love among Kenyans and I strived to ensure that the country was united,” he said.

The former president said constitution making was not like everyday politics saying it needed thorough consultations to ensure no one was left out of the process.

Mr Moi said during his tenure as president he ensured that Kenya was united and in peace unlike today where people are divided along tribal lines.

He told residents of Maukeni at Wote bus stage that he will not support a constitution that allows abortion, same sex marriages and disciplined forces to picket.

“How will the country respond to any security threat if the soldiers were picketing?” he posed.

He was referring to Article 26 (4) in the Proposed Constitution that empowers doctors to end a pregnancy only if it endangers the woman’s life or she needs emergency treatment.

The document also provides that no Kenyan will be discriminated against on grounds of age, marital status, disability, sex, religion among others and does not refer to same sex marriages.

While the Proposed Constitution acknowledges that every Kenyan has the right to join association, protest, hold demonstrations and picket, it removes the right for the security agencies.

He further accused the Committee of Experts of introducing foreign ideologies to the proposed law.

MPs, in attendance and who addressed the No rally, condemned the accusation against Mr Moi terming it “short sighted and in bad taste”.

Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, who fired the first salvo, said those accusing former President Moi should be aware that there was no vacuum in the constitution during Moi’s tenure and none existed even now.

Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo wondered why President Kibaki was swift to accuse Moi of campaigning against the document when he knew Moi had the right as a Kenyans to take any position.

“(US ambassador) Ranneberger has been going around the county campaigning for the constitution, why didn’t Kibaki talk against him knowing well that he’s a foreigner.

“We are eager to listen to the Whites and when it comes to Moi we tell him to shut up. Isn’t that double standards?” posed Mr Kilonzo.

Eldama Ravine legislator Moses Lessonet claimed there were plans to rig the referendum and pointed to an opinion poll released by Internal Security said PS Security Kimemia showing that the Yes side will win with 65 per cent of the vote.

Makueni MP Peter Kiilu former Kibwezi legislator Kalembe Ndile were among the No proponents who attended the Wote rally.

Source: Daily Nation

Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Santa Anna Police Officers send off one of their own with Kenyan roots

Posted by Administrator on July 27, 2010

Posted in Obituaries | Comments Off on Santa Anna Police Officers send off one of their own with Kenyan roots

Santa Anna Police Officers send off one of their own with Kenyan roots

Posted by Administrator on July 27, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Santa Anna Police Officers send off one of their own with Kenyan roots

 
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