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Archive for January 26th, 2012

Once upon a time, the leafy Muthaiga was a dairy farm

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

Muthaiga Country Club

Muthaiga Country Club

Who would today imagine the leafy Muthaiga Estate of Nairobi as the first farm to supply Nairobi with milk?

I have been checking the story of some of these early entrepreneurs—and what drove them before I stumbled on some Muthaiga records.

The story of Muthaiga appears on the records in 1901 when John Ainsworth (the first sub-commissioner in charge) followed the railway to establish a new town at Mile 327,- the first name adopted by railway engineers for Nairobi.

Ainsworth, who was not liked by the bully railway engineers, started wooing settlers to come to Nairobi to give him some back-up. One of the earliest settlers who was lured by Ainsworth was Sandbach Baker.

He not only fenced some 5,000 acres of land including Muthaiga in 1901, but also started a small dairy industry there. His only other challenger was architect J.K. Watson of Donholm Farm, which specialised in butter.

In 1903, Baker’s wife Marie Vera, unable to make sense of the big farm leased 500 acres of the Muthiga land to other settlers.

The first, according to records, was James Archibald Morison, a retired Captain of Grenadier Guards, an infantry regiment of the British Army.

This is the man who would later buy the entire modern-day Muthaiga from the Bakers for 20 pounds an acre.

Morison was a real estate pioneer. He decided to subdivide Muthaiga into small plots, a task that was carried by a firm of architects, Henderson and Ward.

The title survey of the land was carried out by Mr J.C. Coverdale who discovered that Muthaiga was 754 acres and not 717 as the Bakers had thought.

After Mr Coverdale finalised the title survey of Muthaiga, the farm started a simple transformation from a dairy to a residential estate, thanks to the small plots which could no longer sustain dairy farming.

In 1907, Muthaiga grew to become a township with most of the farms being turned into residential plots.

However, it was not until 1928 that the area was absorbed into Nairobi Municipality.

Actually, and for many years, the main street in Muthaiga, Karura Avenue, was known as Morrison Avenue after the original settler.

Morrison was also a British Conservative Party politician and had in 1910 inherited Basildon Park where he build new cottages and pumping stations to supply it with water.

That is the experiment he brought to Nairobi and why he turned this estate into an affluent suburb.

Social ties

But there was something else about Morrison. After he retreated to Nairobi, he found that the government was hated and its officials never socialised with the farmers.

That is why he spared part of his land to build Muthaiga Country Club. But just as the Club was getting re-opened the first World War broke in August 1914 with British East Africa now fighting German East Africa.

A plan for Muthaiga as Henderson and Ward construed it hangs up to this day at the Men’s Bar at Muthaiga Country Club. It was at this club, then baptised Moulin Rouge of Africa that settlers made their happy valley escapades.

The plan shows the roads and plots as originally designed.

It was Mr Ward of Henderson and Ward firm who christened the area Muthaiga after a Kikuyu herb that stood near his plot.

One of the notable colonial writers, Elspeth Huxley, remembers in her works how Muthaiga became the first dairy farm in colonial Kenya.

It was at Muthaiga that the country’s first butter industry, the one that triggered the mind of Lord Delamere, to start a similar project in the Rift Valley was started.

That is how the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) , the predecessor to New KCC was born.


Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Once+upon+a+time+the+leafy+Muthaiga+was+a+dairy+farm+/-/539444/1314530/-/153xi9kz/-/index.html

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JKIA targets US airlines with upgrade of terminals

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

Transport minister Amos Kimunya on Thursday said he had held talks with a delegation from the US Department of Transport to resolve outstanding issues and ensure JKIA is accorded Category 1 status. Photo/CHRIS OJOW

Transport minister Amos Kimunya on Thursday said he had held talks with a delegation from the US Department of Transport to resolve outstanding issues and ensure JKIA is accorded Category 1 status. Photo/CHRIS OJOW

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi will be upgraded to handle direct flights to the US by August.

Transport minister Amos Kimunya on Thursday said he had held talks with a delegation from the US Department of Transport to resolve outstanding issues and ensure JKIA is accorded Category 1 status.

“We hope to get the status by August. There is a schedule of things that have to be done that were agreed on,” said Mr Kimunya at the opening of a new British Airways lounge at JKIA.

Elevated status
The quest for the elevated status was behind the controversial demolition of buildings obstructing aircraft flight paths that has been going on since late last year. Home owners in the Syokimau area were the most affected by the demolitions.

“Part of ensuring security is clearing the area around the airport… We have to ensure the airport is secure,” he said.

Category 1 status is a prerequisite for any airport to handle direct flights to and from the US. Security was one of the hurdles cited for Kenya not attaining the status that would see it attract airlines from the US.

Last November, the Internal Security Ministry demolished homes and other properties in Syokimau, Kyang’ombe and Mitumba to clear the flight path for planes.

Qualified staff

The re-categorisation and restructuring of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to attract and retain qualified staff, especially inspectors, has also been speeded up to boost the airport’s status.

KCAA has been losing workers due to lack of competitive compensation in an industry that is facing a major shortage of qualified personnel.

The launch of direct flights by US-based Delta Airways aborted in 2009 after the US raised concerns over the safety of Kenya’s aviation installations and vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

The lack of the Category 1 status has seen Kenya fail to take advantage of the June 2008 Open Skies agreement that was signed in Washington by officials from both governments.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/JKIA+targets+US+airlines+with+upgrade+of+terminals+/-/539546/1314760/-/hwum6dz/-/index.html

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Nagging: Meet the Marriage Killer

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

Ken Mac Dougall bit into the sandwich his wife had packed him for lunch and noticed something odd—a Post-it note tucked between the ham and the cheese. He pulled it out of his mouth, smoothed the crinkles and read what his wife had written: “Be in aisle 10 of Home Depot tonight at 6 p.m.”

Mr. Mac Dougall was renovating the couple’s Oak Ridge, N.J., kitchen, and his wife had been urging him to pick out the floor tiles. He felt he had plenty of time to do this task. She felt unheard.

“I thought the note was an ingenious and hysterical way to get his attention,” says his wife, Janet Pfeiffer (whose occupation, interestingly enough, is a motivational speaker), recalling the incident which occurred several years ago. Her husband, a technician at a company that modifies vehicles for handicapped drivers, didn’t really see it that way. “I don’t need a reminder in the middle of my sandwich,” he says.

Nagging—the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed—is an issue every couple will grapple with at some point. While the word itself can provoke chuckles and eye-rolling, the dynamic can potentially be as dangerous to a marriage as adultery or bad finances. Experts say it is exactly the type of toxic communication that can eventually sink a relationship.

Why do we nag? “We have a perception that we won’t get what we want from the other person, so we feel we need to keep asking in order to get it,” says Scott Wetzler, a psychologist and vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. It is a vicious circle: The naggee tires of the badgering and starts to withhold, which makes the nagger nag more.

Personality contributes to the dynamic, Dr. Wetzler says. An extremely organized, obsessive or anxious person may not be able to refrain from giving reminders, especially if the partner is laid back and often does things at the last minute. Other people are naturally resistant—some might say lazy—and could bring out the nagger in anyone.

It is possible for husbands to nag, and wives to resent them for nagging. But women are more likely to nag, experts say, largely because they are conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life. And they tend to be more sensitive to early signs of problems in a relationship. When women ask for something and don’t get a response, they are quicker to realize something is wrong. The problem is that by asking repeatedly, they make things worse.

Men are to blame, too, because they don’t always give a clear answer. Sure, a husband might tune his wife out because he is annoyed; nagging can make him feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother. But many times he doesn’t respond because he doesn’t know the answer yet, or he knows the answer will disappoint her.

Nagging can become a prime contributor to divorce when couples start fighting about the nagging rather than talking about the issue at the root of the nagging, says Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies. For 30 years, Dr. Markman has researched conflict and communication in relationships and offered relationship counseling and marriage seminars. He says that while all couples deal with nagging at some point, those who learn to reduce this type of negative communication will substantially increase their odds of staying together and keeping love alive. Couples who don’t learn often fall out of love and split up.

Research that Dr. Markman published in 2010 in the Journal of Family Psychology indicates that couples who became unhappy five years into their marriage had a roughly 20% increase in negative communication patterns consistent with nagging, and a 12% decrease in positive communication. “Nagging is an enemy of love, if allowed to persist,” Dr. Markman says.

The good news: Couples can learn to stop nagging. Early in their marriage, Ms. Pfeiffer, now 62, repeatedly reminded her husband about household tasks and became more demanding when he ignored her. “If I was asking him to take care of something that mattered to me and he was blowing me off, that made me feel like I didn’t matter,” she says.

Mr. Mac Dougall, 58, says the nagging made his muscles tense, he would become silent and his eyes would glaze over in a “thousand-yard stare.” “Her requests conveyed some sort of urgency that I didn’t think was needed,” he says. “If I said I was going to get to it, I would definitely get to it.”

Ms. Pfeiffer decided to soften her approach. She asked herself, “How can I speak in a way that is not threatening or offensive to him?” She began writing requests on Post-it notes, adding little smiley faces or hearts. Mr. Mac Dougall says he was initially peeved about the sandwich note but did show up at Home Depot that evening smiling.

Ms. Pfeiffer sometimes writes notes to him from the appliances that need to be fixed. “I really need your help,” a recent plea began. “I am really backed up and in a lot of discomfort.” It was signed “your faithful bathtub drain.” “As long as I am not putting pressure on him, he seems to respond better,” Ms. Pfeiffer says. Mr. Mac Dougall agrees. “The notes distract me from the face-to-face interaction,” he says. “There’s no annoying tone of voice or body posture. It’s all out of the equation.”

The first step in curbing the nagging cycle, experts say, is to admit that you are stuck in a bad pattern. You are fighting about fighting. You need to work to understand what makes the other person tick. Rather than lazy and unloving, is your husband overworked and tired? Is your wife really suggesting she doesn’t trust you? Or is she just trying to keep track of too many chores?

Noreen Egurbide, 44, of Westlake Village, Calif., says she used to give her husband frequent reminders to take out the garbage, get the car serviced or pick up the kids from school. “I thought I was helping him,” she says. Jose Egurbide, 47, often waited a while before doing what she asked. The couple would argue. Sometimes Ms. Egurbide would just do it herself.

A few years ago, they got insight into their nagging problem after taking a problem-solving assessment test, the Kolbe Assessment. Ms. Egurbide, a business coach, learned she is a strategic planner who gathers facts and organizes in advance. Her husband, an attorney, learned that he is resistant to being boxed into a plan. Now, Ms. Egurbide says, “I don’t take it personally when he doesn’t respond.” “There is a sense of recognition about what’s happening,” Mr. Egurbide says. “It’s easier to accommodate each other.”

Death by a Thousand Reminders

Is nagging a problem in your relationship? Here are some tips for both partners to help curb it.

Calm down—both of you. Recognize the pattern you are in and talk about how to address it as a team. You will both need to change your behavior, and ground rules can help.

Look at it from the other person’s perspective. ‘Honey, when you ignore me I feel that you don’t love me.’ ‘I feel that you don’t appreciate what I am already doing when you nag me.’

If you are the nagger, realize you are asking for something. Use an ‘I’ not a ‘you’ statement. Say ‘I would really like you to pay the Visa bill on time,’ instead of ‘You never pay the bill on time.’

Explain why your request is important to you. ‘I worry about our finances when you pay the bill late. We can’t afford to pay late fees.’

Manage your expectations. Make sure you are asking for something that is realistic and appropriate. Does the light bulb need to be changed immediately?

Set a timeframe. Ask when your partner can expect to finish the task. (‘Can you change the car oil this weekend?’) Let him tell you when it works best for him to do it.

If you are the naggee, give a clear response to your partner’s request. Tell her honestly if you can do what she asks and when. Then follow through. Do what you say you will do.

Consider alternative solutions. Maybe it’s worth it to hire a handyman, rather than harm your relationship with arguing.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203806504577180811554468728.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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Kenyans second top tweeters in Africa

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

A new report places Kenyans as the second top users of Twitter in Africa, surpassing countries in the Maghreb that had used the facility to stage political revolt.

Kenyans, ranked behind South Africans, tweet more than giants Nigerians, Egyptians and Moroccans despite having a lesser population.

The report titled How Africa Tweets says 60 per cent of those who tweet are aged between 20 and 29 years.

The study that was conducted by Portland’s Communications adds that 57 per cent of these tweets are from mobile devices and are driving the growth of social media in Africa.

However, it emerged that African leaders are still lagging behind in the use of social media.

“One of the more surprising findings of this research is that more public figures have not joined Africa’s burgeoning Twittersphere.

“With some notable exceptions, we found that business and political leaders were largely absent from the debates playing out on Twitter across the continent,” said Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Partner for Digital Communications

“As Twitter lifts off in Africa, governments, businesses and development agencies can really no longer afford to stay out of a new space where dialogue will increasingly be taking place, ” he added.

How Africa Tweets found that Twitter is helping to form new links within Africa.

Majority of those interviewed said that at least half of the Twitter accounts they follow are based within the continent.

Several Kenyan political leaders have set up social media accounts to woo voters in preparation for the 2012 General Election.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka have several Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Deputy PM and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta’s aides often release statements on social media while Gichugu MP Martha Karua is also very active.

Source- http://www.nation.co.ke/Tech/Kenyans+second+top+tweeters+in+Africa/-/1017288/1314162/-/jk3na7z/-/index.html

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Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura have stepped aside from office

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (2ndL), and Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura (2ndR) attend a hearing, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. PHOTO / FILE

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (2ndL), and Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura (2ndR) attend a hearing, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. PHOTO / FILE

Kenya’s Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura have stepped aside from office following a decision by ICC pre-trial Judges to confirm charges of crimes against humanity levelled against them.

Mr Kenyatta will however retain his post as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government.

President Kibaki accepted the decision of the two to step aside on Thursday and appointed Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae to act as Finance Minister.

Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia also takes over Mr Muthaura’s duties on an acting capacity.

Mutea Iringo will be Acting Permanent Secretary for Provincial Administration and Internal Security.

A statement from the President Press Service stated: “The President has accepted the decision by Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside as the Minister for Finance.  However, Hon. Kenyatta will retain the position of Deputy Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution.”

“The President has also accepted the decision by Francis Muthaura to step aside as Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service.

“In this regard, Mr. Francis T. Kimemia, CBS Permanent Secretary, Provincial Administration and Internal Security will be Acting Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Public Service.”

The decision by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura to step aside follows mounting pressure from President Kibaki’s coalition partners ODM for the duo to relinquish their offices.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1314328/-/8s5lal/-/index.html

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Video: Political will lacking for Kenya prosecutions

Posted by Administrator on January 26, 2012

In arguably the most significant general election since the country’s independence, Kenyans will test a new constitution adopted in 2010, after widespread violence and near civil war following the last ballot four years ago.

A bloody struggle for political power between tribes killed over a thousand people and a hundred thousand more were forced from their homes.
But not a single person implicated in the crimes has been convicted. And while the country’s justice minister agrees on the urgency of ending impunity before the vote, there appears to be no political will for prosecutions.
Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste reports from Eldoret, in western Kenya.

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