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Archive for June 20th, 2011

High rise buildings without lifts going down

Posted by Administrator on June 20, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 20 – If you live or work in a building with five  storeys and above and has no lifts, you have been warned that City Council  bulldozers will bring it down.

That was the unsettling warning  Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi sent out to all Kenyans on Monday  when he toured the site of a building that collapsed while under construction in  Lang’ata on Sunday.

“We will not spare any building regardless of where  it is. Council authorities are under instruction to start enforcing this order  after carrying out an audit of all buildings of that nature,” the Minister who  is also one of the country’s Deputy Prime Ministers said.

“All buildings  that are more than five floors up must have a lift, that is clearly stipulated  and contractors putting up such buildings know that. All such structures that  have violated this rule will have to be brought down,” he added.

Mr  Mudavadi told reporters he had ordered an audit of all buildings in Nairobi and  other parts of the country to pave way for the demolition.

“It is a  process, although the buildings were put up illegally we will not commit another  illegality to solve an illegality. We will follow the law and this includes  issuing proper notices to owners,” he said.

The Minister said estates in  the city’s Eastlands area and Githurai are most notorious.

“But we are  not saying those are the only areas which are going to be targeted,” he  added.

Asked how such buildings ended up being constructed without the  intervention of the council authorities, the Minister blamed the anomaly on what  he termed as “shortage of manpower at the councils and compromised integrity  amongst some of the existing officials.”

“We don’t deny the fact that  authorities are to blame partly on this menace, but Kenyans are to blame too.  Some of these issues are driven by greed and the increasing demand for houses.  We will take action on our officers including diplomacy action and dismissals,”  he said.

He cited an example of the house that collapsed in Pipeline  estate in Nairobi last week, killing four people.

He said the six-storey  building was not approved by the council yet it had gone up to six floors.

“This is similar to what happened here (Lang’ata). It is an issue of  collusion where the council inspectors in the respective estates have been  colluding with owners of buildings to get money so as to put up illegal  structures,” he said.

The owner of the building at Lang’ata was not  present when Mr Mudavadi and other top council officials visited the area.

The Minister said the city map has shown that the house was put up on a road  reserve.

Source:  http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/High-rise-buildings-without-lifts-going-down-13283.html#ixzz1PseVoghG

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Birds fly in the way of airport plan to go international

Posted by Administrator on June 20, 2011

Passengers alight at Kisumu Airport: It is threatened by birds that fly across the facility to nearby dumping grounds. File

Passengers alight at Kisumu Airport: It is threatened by birds that fly across the facility to nearby dumping grounds. File

Kisumu Airport risks missing the benefits of direct international flights after upgrade if risks posed by birds persist.

The airport, which hosts more than  250 aircraft per month, is being expanded to international standards at a cost of about Sh3 billion but the location of bird habitats has raised concerns.

Birds fly across the airport from a municipal council dumpsite, which is about seven kilometres away, grain silos about a kilometre away and a fish bones processing plant five kilometres from the airport.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) deputy managing director Matthew Wamalwa said bird strikes can cost millions of dollars in losses to airlines, a risk which keeps investors away from airports frequented by birds.

“Most airlines cannot handle losses brought about by bird strikes since it can cost more than $4 million (Sh348 million) to replace a damaged engine and the risk of losing lives is even greater,” he said.  International aviation standards require wildlife and other hazards to be controlled within a 13 kilometre radius from the airport, requiring action from stakeholders such as local authorities and environment managers.

Kisumu East District Commissioner Mabeya Mogaka said the dumpsite concern would be addressed through recycling because the alternative sites proposed were also along flight path.

The Wildlife Hazard Committee chairman in East Africa Mr George Amutete said tropical Africa was mostly affected by bird strikes due to climatic conditions that favour their breeding.

Nigeria loses about Sh9 billion while the US loses about Sh52 billion per year to bird strikes.

In Uganda, bird strike risks reduced drastically at one of the airports after a dumpsite which was close to a runway was moved about 20 kilometres away, according to a Kampala-based wildlife hazard consultant Ms Gloria Kirabo.

“The risk cannot be overemphasised since birds found at such places are not as small as those in grain fields so a solution must be found to move the dumpsite,” she said.

Big birds such as the lumbering Marabou stork and the vulture which can fly over 20 feet above the ground are among the major threats to aviation safety.

A report by the KAA places Kisumu Airport with the second-highest bird strike rate with 27 per year after Lokichoggio airstrip which records 40 per year.

Besides inadequate support from key stakeholders, Mr Amutete said the human resource base to deal with bird strikes is also wanting, with Kisumu currently having only two personnel in the department.

Aviation stakeholders who attended a three day symposium on human-wildlife conflict in aviation in  Kisumu clarified that strategies to mitigate bird strikes must also ensure that the rights of wildlife to exist are sustained in the process.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate+News/Birds+fly+in+the+way+of+airport+plan+to+go+international/-/539550/1184666/-/q29o97/-/index.html

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Kenya picked as home of first digital incubation centre

Posted by Administrator on June 20, 2011

Cyber cafe customers in a Nairobi outlet. Kenya has been selected as the home of the first of five incubation centres around the world that aim to promote a knowledge-based economy.

Cyber cafe customers in a Nairobi outlet. Kenya has been selected as the home of the first of five incubation centres around the world that aim to promote a knowledge-based economy.

Kenya has been selected as the home of the first of five incubation centres around the world that aim to promote a knowledge-based economy.

The new hub named m:Lab was launched on Thursday with the aim of creating a new space for Kenyan developers to collaborate on developing applications for mobile phones.

Kenya was selected due to the country’s rising profile as a software development hub.

The development means that Kenyan SMEs in the sector will now be have access to a 13 million Euro kitty over the next two years to fund their growth.

The joint partnership between infoDev, a donor-funded ICT for development agency hosted by the World Bank, the Finnish Foreign Ministry and Nokia, will provide the funding for the initiative.

“We are helping businesses improve value in the sectors that have the most potential to contribute  jobs and exports – for Kenya, this means ICT, agri-business and tourism,” said Johannes Zutt, country manager for the World Bank.

The programme brings together three tracks – mobile application development, business incubation and technology entrepreneurship  – together with a supporting track of analytical work in the field of ICTs and Innovation Systems in Agriculture.

Information PS Bitange Ndemo said the country was hoping to push the contribution of the ICT sector past agriculture to being the country’s most significant GDP producer.

“We aim to raise the contribution of ICTs to the economy from the current Sh5 billion to over Sh25 billion in the next five years, and to do this, we must put in place sustainable solutions to enable the growth of SMEs in the sector,” said Mr Ndemo.

Analysts say the technology sector has increasingly been driven by an emerging middle-class population with potential to buy smart phones as well as rising industry investments by players.

Demand for mobile apps presents a huge potential for developers, brands and end-users but players will need to invest time and resources if they are to fully gain from the fast-growing mobile marketing global industry, expected to be worth Sh1 trillion (US$17.5 billion) by 2012.

“Mobile application marketing is a rapidly growing engagement and advertising channel for local and international brands today. Increase in use of apps by young population and emerging middle-class is spurning an unprecedented growth which may help companies focus on more eye-balls of their target markets in a totally new dimension,” said Mr Oyolla.

Locally, the growth of mobile internet subscription coupled with a significant adoption of smart phones are key factors driving the mobile application segment in Kenya. In its January 2011 report, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) noted between July and September 2010 that 98 per cent of the Internet market share being through mobile devices.

“In the end, we expect to have win-win situation. Developers will have full local support to develop and sell in a global marketplace to millions of consumers while brands will be able to engage their customers via immersive mobile apps for continuous relevance and loyalty,” said Mr Oyolla.

mkinyanjui@ke.nationmedia.com

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate+News/Kenya+picked+as+home+of+first+digital+incubation+centre/-/539550/1184672/-/4vq60kz/-/index.html

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For Samuel Wanjiru’s widow, it’s time to focus on long-term gains

Posted by Administrator on June 20, 2011

The late Samuel Wanjiru and his wife Teresiah Njeri. For Ms Njeri, the battle for the empire has just started. File

The late Samuel Wanjiru and his wife Teresiah Njeri. For Ms Njeri, the battle for the empire has just started. File

I was relieved to see the drama surrounding the burial of Samuel Wanjiru come to an end and to read that he had been buried in relative tranquillity. However, from my experience with family issues, especially where large sums of money are involved, this only marks the end of the beginning; there is much more drama to come in the near future.

I would like to share with the young widow, Ms Teresiah Njeri some observations on waging war, for this is what it is or will very soon become, in the family setting.

First of all, allow me to say how impressed I am with your new look. I was getting quite concerned about the images I kept seeing of you hanging limply at the side of your relatives.

While that may have had the effect of communicating the grief of losing a husband, it also conveyed an sense of helplessness which is not useful when engaging in war.

Now that you have buried Samuel, I  caution you not to get too full of yourself. This victory was only a matter of course and not a result of you or your attorney’s brilliance in the courtroom.

Be humble and celebrate quietly, if you must. Thereafter, put all your focus on the battle ahead.

Decide what it is that defines victory for you and your children. Do not, no matter what your closest advisers may say to you, aspire to get everything i.e. the entire value of Samuel’s estate.

Not that I have anything against you. Please remember that the man was, in your own admission (if newspaper accounts are to be believed), a known philanderer.  The possibility that he may have fathered children with other women is  likely and must be taken into consideration. Remember that his mother might also has a legitimate interest in the distribution of the estate and that all these dependants must be factored into any settlement you may reach.

Ms Njeri, do not waste your time fighting for property that exists in the public’s imagination i.e. reports that value Samuel’s estate at hundreds of millions of shillings or stories by his friends and “close associates”. Focus all your energy and attention on what you know Samuel had acquired.

Having been one of the people closest to him, acquaint yourself with details of the property that you are confident he owned and confine yourself to that. Whatever else comes to light at later stages will be a bonus to you and his other dependants.

As far as possible, let your definition of victory include terms of settlement that you would be willing to live with if you were on the other side of the bargaining table. Do not propose terms to humiliate the other party or, worse still, make them desperate.

This may turn them into long-term enemies; a situation you do not need at this time. Remain open to negotiation, no matter how distasteful you may find the process.

I realise that you chose your attorney with great. However, I will caution you to do a bit of reading on your own. Research about previous cases involving widows in similar situations to yours i.e. those cohabiting with a man who dies intestate and leaves children conceived outside the relationship.

The rulings in these cases are in the public domain and should inform your decisions from this point.

The benefit of taking such action is that you will differentiate what is possible/feasible from what is impossible.

Expert advice

While courts are confined to act within the law or to follow precedence, lawyers, yours being no exception, are trained to follow the instructions of their paying clients, no matter how unreasonable they may be.

All they offer you, as the client, is expert advice on which you can choose to act or ignore. No matter how brilliant your lawyer may appear or sound to you, remember that his expert opinion is just that; an opinion. It is not leadership.

Ms Njeri, please remember not to burn bridges unnecessarily. Samuel is dead. You and the children have to continue to live. You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your relatives. See to it that the solution you aspire to brings his people together. Remember that Samuel belonged to them before he belonged to you.  Seek the path that promises you long-term peace even though you have to sacrifice short-term gains.

The half you hold in your hand in peace today may be worth much more than the whole you may hold in turmoil for years to come.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/For+Samuel+Wanjiru+widow++its+time+to+focus/-/539444/1185784/-/e6jf8tz/-/index.html

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Taxman’s shocker to hit Kenyan MPs’ paypackets

Posted by Administrator on June 20, 2011

Photo/FILE MPs during a past session in Parliament. In a meeting held last year to resolve the touchy issue of MPs’ taxation, it is understood that KRA through the President promised that MPs would not pay new taxes until the end of their current term.

Photo/FILE MPs during a past session in Parliament. In a meeting held last year to resolve the touchy issue of MPs’ taxation, it is understood that KRA through the President promised that MPs would not pay new taxes until the end of their current term.

MPs have been hit with a massive tax demand after the taxman concluded that their total income plus allowances were subject to Pay-As-You-Earn as soon as the new Constitution became law.

The shocker from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was relayed to the MPs in a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly.

In the letter, KRA argues that MPs have been in breach of the Constitution since it came into force on August 27 last year, by not paying income tax on all their allowances.

The taxman now wants the MPs to pay back taxes from August last year, coming to nearly Sh2.9 million each.

KRA has invoked powers that allow it to appoint the officer in charge of payrolls in an organisation to act like a tax collection agent and either explain the anomaly or pay the amount.

The letter signed by domestic taxes commissioner John Njiraini directs that the MPs taxation will be effected from July last year.

On Monday, National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi confirmed receipt of the letter but declined to divulge further details.

Major subsidies

Signs that KRA was out to implement the decision to tax MPs’ pay were given on June 2 when Commissioner-General Michael Waweru told members of a House Committee that MPs have to pay tax so that the government has enough money to meet major commitments at this time of high inflation. (READ: Kenya MPs and judges on tax notice)

In a meeting held last year to resolve the touchy issue of MPs’ taxation attended by President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and AG Amos Wako, it is understood that KRA through the President promised that MPs would not pay new taxes until the end of their current term.

MPs had complained that taxing them mid-stream would be unfair given that they had committed their salaries. Some threatened to campaign against the new Constitution until the issue had been sorted out.

Recently Mr Waweru told the Parliamentary committee looking into the high cost of living that if MPs agreed to pay tax, the country would net Sh1 billion that would go a long way in shouldering some of the subsidies Government is offering.

“If you pay tax, you’ll gain the moral authority to talk about tax, to use that tax and to even determine how that tax is used… No one should be exempted from paying tax,” Mr Waweru told the team chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.

The new law requires all State Officers to pay tax. Assistant minister Peter Kenneth and Joint Government Chief whip Johnstone Muthama declared they would pay taxes on all their perks following a public outcry over MPs’ tax-free benefits.

MPs take home Sh851,000 a month, of which only 200,000 is taxed. The rest is in the form of fixed but untaxed allowances.

They agree that section 210 (3) of the new law is clear that they pay tax. But they argue that doing so would deny them a right they already enjoy.

Still, the new Constitution favours MPs at 259(1), which directs that the Constitution shall be interpreted in a manner that “advances the rule of law, the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights; permits the development of the law and contributes to good governance.”

If the legislative, representation and oversight mandate of the MPs is looked at through that lens, then they have an upper hand in seeking more money before taxation, or now that it is midway through their contract, they can as well enjoy the status quo until 2012.

Those backing this school of thought argue that if anyone goes to court to have MPs pay tax, the court is likely to be guided by article 20(4)(a), which directs that in interpreting the Bill of Rights, the court or tribunal “shall promote the values that underlie an open, democratic society based on human dignity, equality, equity and freedom; and the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.”

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Taxman+shocker+to+hit+MPs+paypackets+/-/1056/1186104/-/jo97ya/-/

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