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Archive for February 1st, 2012

Facebook Has Uncertain Future in Africa

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

Protesters hold "f"s in recognition of social network site Facebook's role in the North African revolts, during a protest by thousands over civil rights, in Rabat, Morocco, March 2011.

Protesters hold "f"s in recognition of social network site Facebook's role in the North African revolts, during a protest by thousands over civil rights, in Rabat, Morocco, March 2011.

U.S. media reports say Facebook is set to make an initial public offering of stock that could peg the company’s worth as high as $100 billion. While investors have been enticed by the social media company’s rapid expansion, its future in Africa is unpredictable.

On the face of it, the numbers in Africa look promising. According to a recent study from the Internet research site oAfrica, the number of Facebook users across the continent increased 165 percent in the past 18 months.

Data from the Internet World Stats website show nearly 38 million Facebook users in Africa at the end of 2011, out of a population of about one billion.

But looking a little closer at the statistics, oAfrica notes that while new users signing on to the site are increasing across Africa as a whole, the numbers are less impressive in the most developed countries.

In Kenya, which has the third-largest number of Facebook users in sub-Saharan Africa, behind South Africa and Nigeria, only 10 percent of the population uses the Internet, and three percent are on Facebook.

The country boasts one of the strongest economies in East Africa, and mobile phone networks that offer Internet access to those in the most remote places.

Alex Maina, a social media consultant and the CEO of the Africa Center for Internet Marketing in Nairobi, said Kenyans initially went on Facebook because their phone services promoted it, but that times are changing.

“So yes, the growth of Facebook, in Kenya especially, is very fast, its extremely fast, but the question is for how long. Africans are naturally conservative even if you want to do a lot of stuff, but naturally you are conservative,” he said. “I can not imagine going to put all my pictures on Facebook so that other people can see them. That now has become like the clarion call on Facebook social networking looks like a nice thing, but how come businessmen are moving from Facebook and they’re all going to LinkedIn?”

LinkedIn, Badoo, GooglePlus and especially Twitter all are competing social media sites that are giving Facebook a run for its money in Kenya.
A recent report on Twitter usage in Africa found Kenyans were the second-most prolific tweeters on the continent, just behind South Africa.

Maina says most of his clients are seeking more exposure on Twitter, and that from a marketing perspective, it is clearly the way forward.
“The Twitter model is simple, very, very simple, very, very plain. Everybody can understand it and everybody loves it. So for me, that is probably the reason why I really don’t consider a very long future for Facebook at the trend that it’s going at. It will just plateau very soon,” said Maina.
Facebook’s most explosive growth was reported in the least developed countries with the smallest percentages of Internet users, including the Central African Republic, Chad and Somalia.

Africans increasingly are logging in to social networking sites as more undersea cables and high-speed lines hook up previously underserved parts of the continent.

Facebook also served as an important platform for disseminating information during the Arab Spring revolutions in North Africa. The company acknowledged in a report two years ago that countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria were poised to become important markets.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Facebook-Has-Uncertain-Future-in-Africa-138490244.html


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Death Announcement-The Late John Michael Nyutu of Pennsylvania

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

The Late John Michael Nyutu

The Late John Michael Nyutu

We regret to announce the death of John Michael Nyutu of Erie Pennsylvania, USA.

He was the son of the late Samuel Ngigi Wagura and Rebecca Nyambura Ngigi. Husband of Jewelene Nyutu (U.S.A.)

Father of Becky Nyambura(U.S.A) and Sam Ngige (U.S.A). Brother of Elizabeth W. Ng’era (U.S.A), Rose Mumbi Njoroge, Patrick Nganga, David Gichia, Andrew Mambo (U.S.A), Mary Wanjiru, Jane Ngigi (U.S.A.) and Caroline Muthiora (U.S.A).

Brother in law of Joseph Ngera, Moses Njoroge,Wachira Kibiru, David Kinyanjui, Peter Muthiora,Cecelia Njeri, Lucy Kaheti, Perpetual Mambo. Uncle, cousin and friend to many.

John was a Captain with the Kenya Airforce before joing BF. Goodrich in Seattle,Washington (USA). He has been working with the LORD Corporation, Aerospace Product Support in Erie, Pennsylvania (USA).
Funeral service will be in Seattle, Washington. Burial and service dates will be announced later.
Friends and family are meeting daily at St. Andrews Church from 5.30-7.30 pm and at his family home in Ndeiya, Limuru for prayers. For information please call 0703411043.
Dear John, you will be missed by all and you will remain forever in our Hearts.

Posted in Obituaries | 2 Comments »

Singing star Stella Mwangi’s dad killed in Norway hit-and-run

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

Kenya's Stella Mwangi who lost her dad in a hit and run car accident in Norway

Kenya's Stella Mwangi who lost her dad in a hit and run car accident in Norway

The father of popular Norwegian-Kenyan singer Stella Mwangi has died after a hit-and-run accident in the village of Dal, south-eastern Norway, on Tuesday.

Stella Mwangi’s record label, EMI, confirmed the identity of the victim in a statement on Wednesday.

The 54-year-old Jeff Mwangi Kwirikia died from his injuries after he was run over on county road 454. The driver fled the scene and has not been apprehended.

Police described the vehicle as a black or dark-coloured car, likely a Citroen Berlingo or a Peugeot Partner.

The car was last seen headed in a northbound direction on the stretch of the Trondheim road between Dal and Råholt shortly after the accident at 2pm on Tuesday.

Police said the car’s windscreen was seriously damaged in the crash, while there was also visible damage to the right-hand side of the car.

Police officer Morten Huse said the car had most likely been taken off the road and hidden from sight after the accident.

“That’s why we’re asking the public to monitor whether anyone they know with a car like this suddenly doesn’t have it or has stopped using it,” he told news agency NTB.

Police also appealed for the driver of the car to get in touch with them.

Stella Mwangi, 25, represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011.

Source: http://www.thelocal.no/page/view/singing-star-dad-killed-in-norway-hit-and-run

Posted in Kenya | 11 Comments »

Kenyans abroad push for e-voting

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

Kenyans in the diaspora have presented a list of demands to the government which they want met to facilitate their effective participation in the next General Election.

This comes as Prime Minister Raila Odinga is set to chair a Cabinet sub-committee that is expected to give the way forward over their participation in the poll.

According to Mr John Maina, the PM’s adviser on diaspora affairs, the meeting seeks to develop a universal document that will address their registration and voting guidelines.

“If agreed upon by all stakeholders, this document can be adopted as the government policy on diaspora registration and voting exercise,” said Mr Maina in a statement.

The meeting is expected to be attended by Cabinet ministers Otieno Kajwang’ (Immigration), Moses Wetang’ula (Foreign Affairs) and Mutula Kilonzo (Justice).

In a petition to Mr Odinga, seven diaspora organisations want the government to put in place within the next 30 days adequate mechanisms that will enable Kenyans abroad to vote electronically.

They want the polls commission to invest in electronic voting since the manual system could present logistical problems due to inadequate polling stations.

They also want the electronic voting provider to be selected by April 15.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Kenyans+abroad+push+for+e+voting+/-/1064/1317790/-/8n2of5z/-/index.html

Posted in Diaspora News | Comments Off on Kenyans abroad push for e-voting

KRA lines up 148 over-age vehicles for destruction at port

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

Imported cars await to be cleared by their clearing agents at the port of Mombasa. The Kenya Revenue Authority plans to destroy a fresh batch of 148 over-age vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa in an effort to reduce congestion at the various container freight stations (CFS) where the cars are currently held. Photo/FILE

Imported cars await to be cleared by their clearing agents at the port of Mombasa. The Kenya Revenue Authority plans to destroy a fresh batch of 148 over-age vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa in an effort to reduce congestion at the various container freight stations (CFS) where the cars are currently held. Photo/FILE

The Kenya Revenue Authority plans to destroy a fresh batch of 148 over-age vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa in an effort to reduce congestion at the various container freight stations (CFS) where the cars  are currently held.

Ms Rose Gichira, KRA’s deputy commissioner for the southern region, said that the vehicles would be destroyed by crushing in line with the East Africa Community Management Customs Act.

“Any objection to the destruction of a particular motor vehicle should be raised within 30 days of this notice failure to which destruction will be done without further reference to any party,” she said in a notice dated January 23.

The taxman last year destroyed about 200 over-aged vehicles seized at the port of Mombasa and later disposed of them as scrap metal.

Shippers said the move is likely to ease off a row that has been simmering for nearly two years between CFS operators and the KRA as well as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs)  over the fate of seized cars lying at the port.

“We hope it will clear all the seized vehicles from the yards,” Mr Peter Otieno, a clearing agent, said.

The CFS operators claimed that the cars have been causing congestion at their yards and demanded action by the government.

The operators have accused Kebs and KRA of impounding more than 1,000 vehicles yet no instructions have been issued on how to deal with the matter, leading to congestion at their facilities.

One of seized cars is 21 years old, almost three times the maximum legal import age in Kenya, according to records released by KRA. Majority of the vehicles marked for destruction were destined for the Kenyan market with some having arrived at the port of Mombasa as early as 2005. Others were destined for Tanzania, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the import regulations, the government bans the importation of vehicles, which are more than eight years old except those of government interest such as those used for humanitarian aid or development projects, diplomatic service or those brought by returning citizens.

The rules by Kebs require that imported vehicles be right-hand drive and used cars be less than eight years old from the year of first registration.

Any vehicle that do not meet these standards are supposed to be shipped back to the country of origin or destroyed locally at the expense of the importer.

Last year, the government proposed that returning citizens seeking to bring in cars aged more than eight years first get clearance from authorities before loading them onto ships, to avoid losses should their applications be rejected.

But despite the stringent regulations, over-age cars have entered the domestic market over the years, with authorities pointing to cartels that forged documents at Mombasa port.

The destruction of the over-aged vehicle could help ease congestion at the facility which is currently experiencing major backlogs, which KPA attributed to delays by importers and clearing agents to collect their containers from the port in good time.

In an attempt to rein in on delayed collection of cargo, KPA last week waived storage charges on uncollected containers at the port that have stayed there for more than 100 days as at January 24.

KPA in December also said that as from this month, it will slash the period during which importers are allowed to keep their goods at the port without attracting surcharges.

The free storage period for domestic import containers will be reduced from 5 days to 4 days while that for transit import containers will be reduced to 9 days from the current 11 days, according to a scheduled released by KPA.

The port serves several neighbouring landlocked nations including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on it for shipments of vital commodities and oil.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/-/539546/1317684/-/oes2bo/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Saitoti hires TV journalist Alex Chamwada

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

PNU chairman George Saitoti yesterday hired veteran TV journalist Alex Chamwada to lead his press team in the run-up to the presidential election. Chamwada is the political editor at Citizen TV. Saitoti is setting up a secretariat to drive his campaign to become president. “Many other professionals will join the team and negotiations are going on. We cannot name them until we have agreed,” stated a source within Saitoti’s campaign team. Chamwada was not available for comment.

Yesterday, at a press conference held at the PNU office on Waiyaki Way in Nairobi, Saitoti said they want to strengthen the party. On Saturday, he said he was in the race to succeed President Kibaki irrespective of who received the PNU Alliance nomination. “This time I have decided. We will meet at the ballot,” he told PNU delegates in Machakos.

Yesterday, Saitoti met the PNU management committee and later welcomed Kiraitu Murungi’s announcement that the PNU Alliance would change its name to Alliance Party of Kenya. The Internal Security minister said yesterday’s meeting was to review the ongoing recruitment of party members and assess how the party was “performing on the ground”.

Organising secretary Maina Kamanda said the party had opened branches in 35 counties and asked all MPs affiliated to the party to support Saitoti. “PNU is not a small party. It is a signatory to the National Accord and it is the interest of all sitting MPs to ensure that it complies with the provisions of the Political Parties Act,” he said.

Kamanda warned that failure by the party to comply with the Act would end the coalition. “PNU is a signatory to the accord and if it does not comply with the Act by March 31, let all MPs know that the government will stand dissolved,” he said. Saitoti has been emboldened to run for President after the ICC last week confirmed charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been the main presidential contender from Central region

On Saturday, Saitoti warned the PNU Alliance against using the ‘PNU’ name as it was causing confusion among party supporters. “We welcome the statement because it confirms these parties are independent. It is sensible because the two parties should be separate. Our members are concerned about the use of PNU tag. They want to know if we are in PNU or PNU Alliance,” he said yesterday. Saitoti clarified that he did not attend the recent launch of PNU Alliance because he realised it was pushing for individual, as opposed to corporate, members.

The minister said corporate membership is illegal as the Act only provides for either mergers or coalitions. Saitoti did not rule out the possibility of working with other parties in future. “In the eyes of the public and members we are independent, but not hostile to each other,” he said. “Every party is at liberty to recruit members to comply with the Political Parties Act.” On Saturday, Saitoti spoke at the PNU delegates meeting for Lower Eastern at the St Joseph Pastoral Centre in Machakos town, which was attended by leaders from Machakos, Kitui and Mwingi counties.

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/national/national/60270-saitoti-hires-tv-journalist-alex-chamwada

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DNA test must be done in child’s best interest

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

C. M.S Vs I.A.K Suing through Mother and Next Friend C.A. O.


Constitutional Application No. 526 of 2008.


High Court of Kenya at Nairobi.


Mumbi Ngugi J.


January 20, 2012.


“In determining a paternity dispute, the court must of necessity weigh the competing rights of the child and the party who is alleged to be the biological father. The right of the child to parental care takes precedence particularly in light of the cardinal constitutional principle set out in Article 53(2) that in such matters, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child.

Can a children’s court, in a matter involving a child, order a party to undertake a DNA test where paternity is denied ? And if so, would such an order amount to infringement of the party’s constitutional right to freedom of conscience either under the new or the old constitution? These were some of the issues for determination before Justice Mumbi Ngugi in the Constitutional Court.

The Facts

On July 17, 2008, an order compelling the petitioner to undertake a DNA test was issued by the Children’s Court in Nairobi after the petitioner had denied paternity of the respondent’s child. Aggrieved by that order, the petitioner petitioned the constitutional court for a declaration that the orders made were unconstitutional and hence sought the orders to be set a side.

It was the petitioner’s case that the order was unconstitutional as it violated the petitioner’s freedom of conscience contrary to Article 32(1) of the New Constitution and also contrary to section 70(b) and 78(1) of the old constitution. According to the petitioner, the order infringed his rights as he had made it very clear to the subordinate court that he was not ready for such a DNA test and he would suffer mental anguish and trauma if he was subjected to a test that he was not ready for. His view was that the issue of a DNA test was irrelevant to the determination of the case before the Children’s Court because, under the Children Act, section 24(2), the most important matter was parental responsibility. He invited the court to take judicial notice of the fact that the Children Act had not been amended hence section 24(2) with regard to parental responsibility was still applicable. It was the petitioner’s case that he was not the father of the child respondent in the petition, and even if he was, he had no parental responsibility under section 24(2).

The respondent objected to the petition on the ground that the petition was incurably defective as the petitioner’s issue was against an order issued by the Children’s Court, but neither the Children’s Court nor the Attorney General was a party to the petition. The respondent was only an Interested Party as she was the plaintiff on behalf of the child in the case before the Children’s Court.

On the DNA test issue, the respondent argued that the test was being ordered so as to assist the court as the issue of paternity was important in the children’s case. He referred to Article 53(1) (e) of the Constitution which imposed parental care and responsibility on both the mother and father of a child whether they were married to each other or not. That article, according to the respondent, took away the position of the petitioner with regard to section 24(2) of the Children Act which could only apply to fathers who were not biological fathers who had acquired parental responsibility.

It was further argued that for biological fathers, such responsibility was automatic and by virtue of Article 2 of the Constitution, the Children Act could not supersede the provisions of the Constitution. The respondent pointed out that Article 2(4) was clear that any law inconsistent with the Constitution was void to the extent of the inconsistency. The sections of the Children Act which were contrary to the Constitution were hence null and void and the petitioner could not rely on them. The respondent noted that in any event the petitioner had invoked Article 32(1) and 32(4) of the Constitution and the petitioner could not invoke the constitution selectively. He asked the court to dismiss the petition noting that the matter had started in 2006 and the two guiding principles were the best interest of the child and speedy trial of the issues in any case involving a child.

Court Findings

While the court found that the petition was incurably defective for failure to join the Attorney General as a party, the judge went further to lay to rest the matter by considering whether, had the petitioner properly brought the proceedings before the court, it would have been possible to find the orders of the Children’s Court requiring him to undergo a DNA test an infringement of his right to conscience.

Relevant Positions of the Law

Justice Mumbi Ngugi noted that the right of the child to parental care was a continuing right, and Article 53(1) (e) of the Constitution in that regard applied. The argument by the petitioner that the issue of paternity was irrelevant in order to establish parental responsibility was therefore untenable. Further, in light of Article 2 of the Constitution with regard to the supremacy of the Constitution, the judge affirmed that any provision of the Children Act that is in conflict with the Constitution must give way to the Constitution.

The court acknowledged that in determining such matters, it had an obligation to weigh the competing rights of the child and the petitioner who was alleged to be the biological father. The right of the child to parental care according to the court had to take precedence particularly in light of the cardinal constitutional principle set out in Article 53(2) that in such a matter, the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child.

Would it be an infringement of the petitioner’s constitutional right to freedom of conscience either under the new or the old constitution to require him to undergo a DNA test? The court was guided by section 78(1) of the old constitution and Article 32(1) of the Constitution (2010). The court noted that the two provisions protected the right of all persons, including the petitioner, to freedom of thought and religion, and of the freedom to change his religion and belief and to practice his religion. The petitioner in the courts’ view had not demonstrated how by being required to undergo a DNA test violated his freedom of conscience as guaranteed by the Constitution.

In answering the question whether the petitioners unwillingness to undergo the DNA test was sufficient to override the interests of the child who would thereby be denied the constitutional right to parental care, the Court made reference to the case of MW-v-KC Kakamega HC Misc Application No. 105 of 2004 and the case of Shri Rohit Shekhar-v- Shri Narayan Dutt Tiwari & Anr IA NO 4720 of 2008.

The principle that emerged from these decisions was that an order for DNA testing should be made if it is in the interests of the child and if a prima facie case had been made to justify such an order. Such an order would not in the courts’ view be in violation of any of the petitioner’s constitutional rights and would be in the best interests of the child. In light of that, the petition was dismissed with costs to the respondent.

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Kenya doctor fights mental health stigma in ‘traumatized continent’

Posted by Administrator on February 1, 2012

(CNN) — As Kenya’s leading psychiatrist, Frank Njenga has been championing the cause of better mental health care on the east African country and the continent for more than three decades.

He’s been working tirelessly to bring quality mental health care in a country where mentally disabled people receive little help from the state and face massive stigma from society.

“It’s a horrible indictment on what we’ve done but the truth and reality is that very little has been done systematically and deliberately by government or by ourselves to bring up the level of mental health in this part of the world,” says Njenga.

In Kenya, an estimated three million, mostly poor, people live with intellectual and mental disabilities, according to NGO and United Nations figures. At the same time, the ratio of psychiatrists to the population is dismal — just one psychiatrist to half a million people.

See also: Kenya’s mentally ill locked up and forgotten

But Njenga, who is president of the African Association of Psychiatrists, says the problem is even worse in other countries on the continent.

“It is a major challenge but it is a challenge that is very sadly is spread across the whole of the Africa continent,” he says Njenga.

“In fact, Kenya is ironically behind South Africa and perhaps Egypt in the ratios of psychiatrists that are available per population. There are countries in Africa where there is no single psychiatrist to five-six million people.”

This has motivated Njenga to dedicate his life helping mental health patients and raising awareness in a continent where mental disorders are often neglected and described as “un-African” and belonging to “people in the West.”

Njenga, however, discards such claims as “clear nonsense.”

“For as long as you are a self-confessed human being you will continue to suffer human conditions of which mental disorders are an integral part,” he says.

Read also: Namibia’s ‘miracle doctor’ brings gift of sight

Njenga describes Africa as “truly the traumatized continent” that’s been plagued by wars, human suffering and lethal dictatorships.

“Whether you are looking at Rwanda or southern Sudan or Sierra Leone or DRC, the number of women and children and adults who have suffered severe trauma is greater than any other continent that I can think of.”

We are losing far too many men and women to mental illness and therefore to un-productivity by not treating them for mental illness. Frank Njenga

He underlines the link between good mental health and productivity and calls policy makers to make mental health services a priority in order to help their countries escape poverty.

“There is no health without mental health and there is no economy,” says Njenga. “We are losing far too many men and women to mental illness and therefore to un-productivity by not treating them for mental illness.”

Born in Kenya, Njenga was inspired as a teenager by the work of psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, writer of “Wretched of the Earth,” a seminal book that explores identity and the post-colonial experience.

From then on, Njenga was convinced he wanted to be a psychiatrist. He went on to study psychology throughout medical school in Kenya before moving to the UK for his post-graduate studies at the Maudsley Hospital — the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital.

At the end of this studies, however, Njenga chose not to pursue a career in the UK but to return to his home country, committed to promoting the cause of better mental health in the continent.

“I went to the UK to come back and to come back as a psychiatrist and to make a difference in my homeland and in my continent. That is the reason I left Kenya and that is the reason I came back,” he says.

Read also:The Africans giving aid to the world

On his return to Kenya, Njenga embarked on a mission to reduce the social stigma that is attached to going to a psychiatrist or seeing a mental health professional.

In a ground-breaking weekly show called “Frankly Speaking,” Njenga spoke with his patients on television, putting the spotlight on tough issues such as schizophrenia and substance abuse — taboo topics that were usually kept out of public sight.

Today the discussion of mental health issues on this continent is focused and is positive — about that I feel proud and privileged. Frank Njenga

“I felt powerful and relaxed I felt at last here I was able to tell it exactly as it was,” he says. “Of all the things I have done in this society and community it is the program on television — Frankly Speaking — because I spoke frankly as my name is and my patients spoke very frankly indeed.”

In his commitment to providing top-notch mental health care, Njenga also helped build a private in-patient psychiatric hospital, the first of its kind in Kenya.

He’s also authored several children’s books in a bid to build better understanding of mental illness and advocated for an insurance cover for mental health patients as chairman of the largest insurance company in Kenya.

Through awareness and affordable treatment, Njenga has changed how many people in Kenya think about mental health.

“Today the discussion of mental health issues on this continent is focused and is positive — about that I feel proud and privileged,” he says.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/31/health/frank-njenga-mental-health/index.html


Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

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