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Archive for September 20th, 2010

The glory returns to Starehe

Posted by Administrator on September 20, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – Newly elected Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru attributes her win in Monday’s by election to her development record and her need to address the needs of her constituents.

In her maiden speech soon after reclaiming the seat on Monday night, Bishop Wanjiru said she was grateful to God that he had finally put the ghost of election malpractices that marred her successful 2007 election to Parliament.

The High Court nullified her election after it established that the poll was full of malpractices and as such could not yield legitimate results.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader reclaimed her seat, after bagging 29,287 votes against Maina Kamanda’s (PNU) 25,416 votes.

Even though she waited for about five hours before her election was formally confirmed by the poll body, Bishop Wanjiru cut the image of a person who was finally at peace with herself, as one of her supporters joked that ‘the glory had never left’ in reference to the catch phrase associated with her church ministry – ‘The glory is here’.

“In one sentence I feel like praising, loving and serving the Lord more than I have ever done; my winning secret is prayer and also I love people. I don’t care who you are, or social class, I love everybody,” she said.

Mr Kamanda did not show up at the tallying centre only keeping tabs of the proceeding through his agents. Other candidates Jackson Mwangi (Narc-K) and Nyagah Steven (PPK) conceded defeat to Bishop Wanjiru.

After she was declared winner at 3am, Bishop Wanjiru thanked her supporters for reaffirming her tenure as their MP, which would have been cut short had she lost the by election.

“Not only has God glorified himself but he has also justified himself, because for the last two years we have been insulted, taken to court and accused of stealing other people’s votes, but if you look at what we got today, it is just the same as what I got in 2007. God has proven a point.”

ODM Deputy National Chairperson Elizabeth Ongoro and Parliamentary Group Secretary Ababu Namwamba said it would have been a travesty to justice if the Bishop had failed to reclaim the seat.

“This is also a victory for the indefatigable strength of a woman, because in Bishop we have seen the best in the strength of a woman, who can stand up to a challenge and face it head on and fight a good fight with faith and conviction, so to all women of Kenya this is you victory,” said Mr Namwamba.

Meanwhile, the ODM party took advantage of the Starehe win to boast of the popularity in the city even as their coalition partner PNU mourned the loss of two crucial seats.

Mr Namwamba on his party said that the win would be crucial as the party seeks to push through the implementation of the new Constitution.

“We are faced with a critical phase in the history of our country. We are settling down to implement the new Constitution, and as a reforming party we need all the numbers we can muster to push through the agenda of change,” he said.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/The-glory-returns-to-Starehe-9874.html

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Kenya’s first policewoman at ease in uniform

Posted by Administrator on September 20, 2010

JOSEPH KANYI I nation Ms Elizabeth Nyaruai, 82, the first African policewoman in Kenya.

JOSEPH KANYI I nation Ms Elizabeth Nyaruai, 82, the first African policewoman in Kenya.

At 82 years, Ms Elizabeth Nyaruai Macharia walks with a surprisingly straight back and a barely noticeable limp.

She is of good cheer and her memory, though fading, is still better than that of many of her age mates.

“I owe it all to God and the scouting movement, whose demand for exercise has kept me in good health and spirits,” says Mrs Nyaruai who is a farmer at Charity Village in Endarasha, Nyeri County.

Indeed, Mrs Nyaruai wears many hats, but she is most proud of her long involvement in the scouting movement.

And her love of the movement made her donate two acres out of her 89-acre land, to the Kenya Scouts and Girl Guides Association 15 years ago. It’s a donation that has caused a lot of distress to her though.

She complains it took too long for the movement to formally take up her offer by facilitating the change of ownership. Even more time has elapsed before the equal and separate parcels were transferred to the Kenya Scouts Movements and the Kenya Girl Guides Association.

When she visited the Nation’s offices in Nyeri, she was angry that some people had recently cut some trees in the plot, saying it was the beginning of a move to grab the plots.

She said she had asked the movement management to hatch a project that could help scouts in the area and suggested that they could rear dairy cattle in the plots.

Mr Peter Kimita, the Scouts Association’s assistant commissioner for Central Region acknowledges Mrs Nyaruai’s concerns, adding that he understood her frustrations after a noble gesture.

“We intend to establish campsites for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the plots and have recently identified donors in the Netherlands, who will help us put up cottages and sanitary facilities,” said Mr Kimita.

He also says the movement is looking for donors who will help them rehabilitate Mrs Nyaruai’s wooden house.

Mr Kimita admits a lot of time elapsed before the offer was taken up by the association in 2002, but adds he is personally committed to seeing something come up within the lifetime of the old lady.

It is something that will bring cheer to a woman who carries the ideals of scouting high and with an enchanting experience.

When she arrived at Kiganjo Police Training College in 1951 as one of the first African women police recruits, the college did not even have barracks for women.

“I was allocated a three bedroom house called the Sigh Quarters all to myself,” she says with a grin, “and there was a famous announcement during my first parade that any male recruit found near my quarters would be expelled.”

She recalls with nostalgia the daily 10-kilometre pre-parade jog starting at the police college to the present day Nyeri Law Courts and back.

“I never once fainted from exhaustion unlike some of my male colleagues,” she says with dignified boast.

The mother of four served the force for five years leaving in 1956 during the height of the Mau Mau war after she was suspected of involvement in the outlawed communal oathing.

She vividly recalls how she joined the police force. In 1951, she had just finished secondary school and teacher training at Gateiguru Secondary in Mugoiri, Murang’a, and had been posted to teach at Ngorano Primary School in Mathira.

She and colleagues saw a Kenya Police ad for female police recruits as they read a newspaper during tea break. Many months later after she wrote an application, five white police arrived at the school in Land Rover to pick her up for training.

“As the police van rounded a bend to enter the school gate, we had joked that there was a criminal in our school. Immediately the five officers disembarked and asked for me.”

Mrs Nyaruai remembers the five officers whispering among themselves: “She is fit.”

And off they went to start her course. “It would mark the beginning of my obsession with the uniformed forces,” she says.

Source: Daily Nation

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Kenya’s new silent killer

Posted by Administrator on September 20, 2010

If you told most Kenyans that the food on their plate could cut their lifespan by at least 10 years, you might be dismissed with a hearty laugh.

Food and survival are intimately entwined in most developing nations. But Kenyans might be shocked to learn that 40 per cent of all cancers may be caused by choice of diet.

In fact, epidemiologists who study the prevalence of cancer worldwide have concluded that the chance of dying of cancer today are higher than the risk of contracting HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, compared to those risks just 20 years ago.

That assessment may seem shocking, even overly exaggerated. But there is no denying a growing body of research from developed nations that certain fruits and vegetables which could hold the key to battling the dreaded disease are steadily disappearing from Kenyan dining tables.

Add a sedentary lifestyle and the picture gets even grimmer. The lift to the second floor instead of the stairs, the boda boda ride home instead of a walk, or the bag of potato chips instead of good old ugali may be trendy, but far from healthy.

And as the silent killer slowly gnaws at society, the government remains in the dark over the prevalence rate, for Kenya does not have a national cancer registry.

The only available reference is a data base run by the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and it only holds information from the main hospitals in Nairobi from the years 2000 to 2002.

What many do not know is that cancer is now the Number Three killer in the country, with an estimated 18,000 deaths reported annually and 82,000 infections diagnosed every year.

Head and neck cancers make up the largest proportion of reported male infections, at about 14.8 per cent, while cancer of the oesophagus takes the overall lead across the genders, followed by prostate and stomach infections.

Women, on the other hand, suffer most from breast cancer, followed by uterine cervix, head, neck, oesophagus, and stomach cancers, in that order. Others include Kaposi’s sarcoma, skin cancer associated with HIV, liver cancer, and colon cancer.

The World Health Organisation estimates that cancer rates could increase by 50 per cent to 15 million new cases by the year 2020, and advises that healthy lifestyles and public health action by governments and health practitioners could stem this trend and prevent as many as one third of cancers worldwide.

The best way to do this, researchers say, is through diet. And researchers have found that anti-carcinogens found in most fruits suppress the incidence of prostate cancer by up to 50 per cent.

“The tomato fruit, in all its forms — cooked, raw, pureed in tins, or processed into a sauce — is a powerful anti-oxidant and should be consumed by everyone in vast quantities. It is also cheap and freely available,” says Prof Walter Willet, a US researcher.

Garlic and onion have chemicals that stimulate the production of enzymes that neutralise cancer-producing cells.

At high risk

And if your lifestyle involves little exercise, eating high quantities of red meat, regular consumption of alcohol, and smoking, you are at a high risk of contracting colon cancer, Dr Jana Macleod, head of the Department of Surgery at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, warns.

The good news is that, through early detection, cancer is no longer the death sentence that it used to be. Even though Kenya today has only two public hospitals that offer diagnostic services — Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret — their services are augmented by a host of other private hospitals spread across the country.

These may not yet have cracked the mystery that is this disease, but they have managed, in a big way, to control its effects on patients. Cancer occurs when there is a mutation of a person’s DNA, resulting in an abnormal growth of cells.

The most worrying fact is that lifestyle choices are today the biggest contributors to the national cancer pool, and there is every indication that a concerted effort by both the medical fraternity and the general public could stem the spread of the silent killer.

Mr Newton Siele, chairman of the Kenya Cancer Association, says a national call for all Kenyans to watch what they eat, combined with public health action by the government and health workers, could prevent as many as one third of new cancer cases.

His may sound like a rather simplistic approach to the issue, but it is being billed as the only way that Kenya can lift itself from this worrying situation.

It is a call to stop hitting the beer bottle as if your life depended on it, to quit smoking, to lose weight, and to exercise at least three times a week.

For the younger generation, the spring chicken who think the disease is the preserve of the aging, the statistics paint a sorry picture.

Colon cancer and cancer of the rectum, commonly called colo-rectal cancer, usually affects people over 50 years of age, but it is becoming increasingly frequent in younger people, especially those aged between 30 and 50 years. It affects the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (the last part of the large intestine in the pelvis) and usually develops from a small growth on the lining of the large intestine.

Its symptoms include a change in bowel habits — either bouts of diarrhoea, constipation, or change in the size of your stool (narrow stool) — and bleeding.

A proposed Bill on the treatment and management of cancer in Kenya might prove to be the light at the end of the tunnel for the thousands living with the disease in Kenya.

Analysts have observed that the high cost of treating cancer further contributes to the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Currently, the most common treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.

A study published in the medical journal Lancet predicts that obesity could, in future, overtake smoking and hormone replacement therapy to become the leading cause of cancer in women.

Medical experts have continually run awareness campaigns on the importance of checking one’s weight by consuming indigenous foods, but their pleas have often fallen on deaf ears as people, especially in urban areas, gravitate more towards “modern” eating habits and supermarket shelves packed with refined foods. 

Also cited as a potential risk, especially in the wake of rapidly growing urbanisation and industrialisation, is outdoor and indoor air pollution, which accounts for 71,000 cancer deaths per year around the world.

Source: Daily Nation

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Bribery claims in Juja poll amid low turnout

Posted by Administrator on September 20, 2010

Allegations of vote-buying and voter bribery marked Monday’s by-elections in the vast and densely populated Juja constituency, where more than 180,000 voters are registered.

There was also the traditional low voter turnout in by-elections but most notable was the speed and efficiency at which voting was conducted.

Returning officer Bernard Kimani said reports of the bribery had been made to the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and would be investigated and action taken against the offenders.

“The allegations are serious and we are taking the necessary steps in consultation with security agents,” he said when reached on the phone at about 2.00 p.m.

Mr Kabogo and Ms Ng’ang’a also called for the arrest of those bribing voters, claiming police were reluctant to do so, especially at Kimuchu Primary School in Thika Town.

Former MP William Kabogo claimed there had been bribery and vote-buying by his opponents at Kimuchu, Gachororo, Witeithie, Kameno, Mwiki and Ruiru polling centres.

Alice Ng’ang’a, the Kenya National Congress candidate, also claimed her agents had reported similar incidents.

Most areas reported few hitches but low turnouts in the morning hours but there was optimism that workers would be given some time off in the afternoon.

A few voters at St George’s Primary School in Ruiru, Thika Municipal Stadium and at Mwiki discovered their names were missing from the register.

Interim Independent Electoral Commission official Davies Chirchir however said their issues had been sorted and those who were eligible and genuinely registered were allowed to go ahead and vote.

IIEC staff were also equipped with UV light torches, which were used to verify the validity of the voters’ cards. Their names were also put down in a temporary register for further verification after voting.

There were no queues at Thiririka Primary School when the Nation went there at about 8.30 a.m. and an official said it was a far cry from what was seen at the referendum.

By that time, he said, less than 60 people in a stream of 600 had cast their votes, and there were doubts all 6,000 registered there would turn up.

At the stadium, which is the second largest polling centre in the constituency with more than 9,000 registered to vote there, there were also no queues.

But at the remote Nyacaba Primary, located in a dusty zone in the middle of vast stone quarries, James Nzomo, the deputy supervisor, told the Nation the turnout was impressive.

“Voters here are very enthusiastic. There were people lined up here at 5 a.m. and we had to beg them to be patient,” said Mr Nzomo.
Each candidate however expressed optimism that they would capture the seat that fell vacant after Mr Kabogo’s successful petition against George Thuo’s election in 2007.

Mr Thuo said the apparent low turnout by the time he voted at 10.20 a.m. at the Thika Municipal Stadium could have given a false impression as it appeared the same at the August 4 referendum on the constitution.

“It’s difficult to tell about the turnout because I have called my agents, they say there are no queues and I think it’s taking two to three minutes to vote,” said Mr Thuo.

Mr Kabogo, who voted at 11.30 a.m. at St George’s Primary School near Ruiru town, said he was impressed by the efficiency and speed of the process.

He blamed the low turn-out on the fact that it was a working day and that some employers were reluctant to release workers to go and vote.

“Juja is the gateway to Central Province and whoever wins here is usually seen to be a very influential person. That’s why political heavyweights seem to have a keen interest in the outcome of the election,” said Mr Kabogo.

Ms Ng’ang’a, who voted at about 1.30 p.m. at Nyacaba Primary in Juja Division, said she would accept the verdict of the people if the election is fair.

“I have done my part and it is upon the voters to decide who becomes their MP. I am confident of winning,” she said.

Juja has a combination of remote and sparsely populated areas such as Nyacaba in Juja Division and the metropolitan centres of Thika, Githurai and Ruiru towns, which are densely populated.

It also has a large population of workers in the flower farms of Juja and Thika, those who earn their bread at the industries in Thika and the manual labourers who work in quarries in the Juja area.

There has also been the perception that it is a battle of the wealthy and influential personalities who also contested the vote at the last General Election.

These are business magnates Mr Kabogo and Ms Ng’ang’a, with former Government Chief Whip George Thuo, who has shares in City Hoppa, the Nairobi urban transport company.

Other candidates were Stephen Ndicho (Agano Party), Charles Muchai (Democratic Party), Jackson Ngoima (National Alliance Party of Kenya), Dick Githaiga (ODM), Francis Gaitho (Safina) and David Kigwe (Farmers Party).

Mary Kirika of ODM-Kenya threw in the towel at the eleventh hour and said she was supporting Mr Thuo.

The IIEC has employed 1,200 polling clerks and some 600 presiding and deputy presiding officers. In addition, each of the 69 polling centres has a supervisor coordinating the election officials.

Among those who voted on Monday was Esther Wanjiru Ngwiri, 108, a Mau Mau veteran who has participated in virtually every election since independence.

Source: Daily Nation

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