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Archive for April 5th, 2012

Video: Man Brutalized by GSU Officers in Turkana

Posted by Administrator on April 5, 2012

Turkana County has been in the map lately, mostly following the discovery of oil. But that it appears is not the only news making headlines from that end.

Exclusive pictures obtained by NTV show of gruesome acts of brutality by police officers involved in a security operation, taking it out on a man suspected to be a cattle thief.

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Posted in Kenya | 21 Comments »

Kenya makes its mark in wine making market

Posted by Administrator on April 5, 2012

Photo/Courtesy Red grapes ready for picking at the Leakey farm in Kona Baridi in Kiserian: The family does their own crushing in small barrels at the home.

Photo/Courtesy Red grapes ready for picking at the Leakey farm in Kona Baridi in Kiserian: The family does their own crushing in small barrels at the home.

First, dispel a myth: wine doesn’t get better with time. Well, at least not all wines.

“It largely depends on the kind of vineyard and grapes that you grow,” says Emma Nderitu, Leleshwa Wine’s Winery Manager.

“Our wines, for instance, are best consumed within two years. Beyond that and you won’t get its best.”

And to catch a glimpse of how the best of Kenyan wine is produced, you will find yourself standing in Morendat Farm in Naivasha, where Nderitu and Christine Kasimu, Morendat’s Vineyard manager, will take you through their 40 hectare vineyard and the delicate process of producing Kenya’s first home-grown commercially viable wine.

It’s a modest operation as far as winemaking goes, but its growth trajectory has proven that not only has Leleshwa wine grown over time but also their consistency is the one quality that defines them as a unique Kenyan product.

In 1993, Pius Ngugi, the owner of Morendat farm (one of the ventures under Kenya Nut Company) took a stab at winemaking by staking out a fraction of their sprawling farm.

It all began as a hobby more than anything else. A few years on and the Leleshwa brand is jostling for space on shelves with more established competition from South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Italy, France and the rest of the world.

“We are currently producing about 60,000 bottles per year and have a target to produce about 3M bottles annually in another couple of years when we expand the size of our vineyards from 40 hectares to 200 hectares,” says Nderitu.

Leleshwa, is a Maasai name derived from a tree dominant in Naivasha town.

The Maasais used to apply the sap from the leaves on their bodies while hunting so as to mask their human scent from the animals.

Sauvignon Blanc

The Morendat vineyards produce two types of grapes; for wine production (which has lots of sugar) and table grapes for home usage (with less sugar).

Their 40 hectares produce about eight tonnes of grapes for Sauvignon Blanc that translates to about 45,000 litres of wine per year.

“It’s important to get it right on the farm first,” explains Kasimu.

She explains that it takes three years for the vineyards to be ready to be harvested during which period there is disease control, canopy management (removal of leaves to expose the grapes to sunlight and spraying), desuckering (removing suckers) and weed control.

Harvesting of the crop is done once a year, Kasimu adds, after which the crops go into what’s called the dormant period, “In temperate climates, this is done during winter, but since we are in the tropics, we often have to force them into dormancy by denying them food and water,”  she adds.

In the silence of the farm, you will hear the constant noise of men shouting, the explanation for this is from Kasimu is: “Our greatest threat are birds and monkeys who eat the grapes. We are forced to have men working full time, day and night to scare away the birds and animals.”

For this job, 80 men are employed to holler throughout the day over the 40 hectares.

When the grapes survive the onslaught of the birds and monkeys, they then end up in the winery where they are de-stemmed (stems make the wine bitter) and the grapes pressed to derive the juice that makes 65 per cent of the weight of the grapes.

Fermentation then follows for two weeks in cold temperatures of 10-13 degrees for white wine and 22-25 degrees for red.

Nderitu explains helpfully, “The reason red wine is healthier than white is because, unlike the white wine, the grapes for red wine are fermented with their skin which gives it the colour and it has polyphenolic which are great antioxidants.”

Middle class

Leleshwa wine, which comes in Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, targets the local middle-class that is rapidly expanding and developing their appreciation of wine.

Wine connoisseur Phillipe Cauviere of WWW Shop and Bar at the Junction is a great lover of the Leleshwa wine, “ I have stocked it for four years and it’s a fantastic wine which holds its own with the other brands from around the world.

“Kenyans love their wine sweet, so some might find it a bit harsh on the first sip but after the second sip, the palates usually get used to it and they love it.”

To maintain quality, Morendat hired the services of James Farquharson, a viticulturist and professional winemaker from South Africa who says the product is unique given that very few countries in the world have vineyards along the equator.

“At a 1,900m altitude, we aren’t prone to diseases that afflict vineyards in lower altitude. I think the only other country with vineyards along the equator is Colombia. So yes, Leleshwa is unique not only because of this, but also because it’s purely Kenyan and has shown that it can be done here.”

At Kona Baridi in Kiserian, another wine operation is going on albeit on a small domestic scale.

At the home of the famous archaeologist, Richard Leakey, some 1500 vines are grown in a humble vineyard, which produce about 300 bottles of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir per year.

Louise Leakey, Richard’s granddaughter, says, “We have been experimenting to find out which grape varieties grow best on the volcanic soil types here with some ending up as table grapes.”

Challenge

The biggest challenge, adds Louise, is that since there is no winter in Kenya, during which time vines in temperate climates go into dormancy, they have to force the vines into dormancy using a growth regulator called Dormex.

Birds and insects also often damage their crop. However, they resist the need to use insecticides and lately, they have discovered that fresh milk can be quite useful when diluted 1:10 as mildew control.

“We don’t make enough wine to sell or stock since we are simply experimenting to see if we can make a good wine in the region.”

It’s a fact that more urbanites are drinking wine as their drink of choice.

It’s also a fact that comes with curiosity and interest on what good wine entails and as Farquharson says, “In a few years, wine consumption will be more than just a new social interest, it will be a full-blown lifestyle.”

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Wine+making+goes+local+/-/1248928/1380708/-/klhqxdz/-/

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Dawn of a new era as commuter train service becomes a reality in Nairobi

Posted by Administrator on April 5, 2012

Establishment of a mobile taxi service that operates with no parking bays and the replacement of the 14-seater matatus with high capacity public service buses are only the latest in a series of reform measures that the government intends to take as part of the grand plan to ease traffic in Nairobi.

Yet it is the less talked about Nairobi commuter train service that is shaping up to be the game-changer for  policy makers grappling with the  city’s congestion problem.

Commission by June

The Sh16 billion ($200 million) project is envisioned to interlink all the key sections of the city with a railway network that converges at Nairobi’s central business district (CBD), eliminating the need for traffic-flow choking vehicles.

“Apart from few remaining ICT facilities, we have completed the Syokimau station as our phase one of the Nairobi metro-train service,” says Alfred Matheka, general manager in charge of finance at Kenya Railways Corporation (KR). President Kibaki is expected to commission the Syokimau railway station by June, making it the first of 10 similar hubs that KR plans to build in partnership with private investors.

The CBD-Syokimau line will eventually extend to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).  Mr. Matheka says KR had arranged with providers of public transport to start temporary shuttle services between Syokimau and JKIA until a new 6 kilometre track is built to link the section.

“This modernisation project is not just about network and vessels but also about facilities and level of service such as presidential coaches and e-ticketing,” Mr Matheka told Business Daily.

If the Nairobi commuter trains service—which KR is implementing with the technical advice of InfraCo Group—is followed to the letter, then city public transport system is set for radical transformation in coming months.

Apart from the Syokimau Station, the master plan envisages three other new railway stations in Jogoo Road’s Makadara estate, Mombasa Road’s Imara Daima and Nairobi’s Moi Avenue.

Monitor behaviour

All these stations will have bus and car parks, officials said.

On the country’s corridors of power, the plan to roll out commuter train services lies within national integrated transport policy which seeks to instill sanity in the public transport sector.

According to the policy contained in a sessional paper that is currently in Parliament, trains will become a major means of transport with most of city roads being changed to one-way lanes.

Among its other highlights, the national policy will see all the serving matatu drivers and touts being taken through culture change training as government rolls out an integrated information system to monitor their behaviour on roads.

Government officials interviewed said Nairobi Commuter train service represented a fresh layer in their long search for permanent solution to current congestion problem.

“It’s going to make it easier for us to actualise our plan of making most city roads single lanes and extending the CBD to peripheral places such as Westlands and Adams Arcade,” says Transport PS Cyrus Njiru.

Data from Planning Ministry indicates that the economy loses at least Sh50 million daily to Nairobi’s traffic Jam.

This figure –which is derived mainly from lost man-hours – makes Nairobi one of the most costly cities in the world, says Michael Mwai, IBM’s general manager for the region.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate+News/-/539550/1378774/-/ssbn5s/-/index.html

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Before you move in with him…

Posted by Administrator on April 5, 2012

Moving in with your partner is a big step in a relationship. The need to cohabit is motivated by various reasons.

Couples commonly cohabit as a precursor to the walk down the aisle. Then there are those who choose to move in together as a cost cutting measure or for purposes of convenience.

With the soaring rates of divorce, others abandon the idea of marriage altogether and settle for living together as a permanent alternative to tying the knot.

Before you pack your bags and pick out two sets of keys, it is important to find out whether both of you are on the same page regarding the status of your relationship.

Even more important is to consider whether you are moving in together for the same reasons.

“It will save both of you hurt and disappointment in the future,” says Milka Ndanu. Milka made this mistake when she moved in with her boyfriend three years ago.

Then a 21-year-old college student and living in a hostel room which she shared with three other girls, a lifetime commitment was the last thing on her mind.

She thought of his apartment as a more comfortable place where she could live before she graduated and got a place of her own.

He, on the other hand, was looking for a wife. “We ended up having an ugly break-up and he still feels that he was taken advantage of,” she says.

Know each other

Deciding to move in with your love interest during the initial honeymoon phase of a relationship is unwise.

This is because people tend to show only their best side at this time.

The fact that he loves you as much as you love him doesn’t guarantee that living together will be smooth sailing.

You need to know your partner fairly well before taking the plunge.

You may be spending a lot of time with your love interest but this isn’t the same as living together.

By moving in with your significant other, you will be sharing your life with him, not just the living space, so you should be well aware of his character traits, his annoying habits, his fighting style and how he reacts when he gets angry.

This information is essential in deciding whether you can live with him or not.

While making this decision, keep in mind that you aren’t perfect either and you have unpleasant traits which he will also put up with.

This means that you must be prepared to compromise.

Talk about money

Talking about money with a love interest may sound unromantic and unnecessary.

But finances are an integral part of our lives and if talk about them is overlooked before cohabiting, money issues are bound to surface later.

When 29-year-old Fiona Imunde and her boyfriend decided to move in together, their relationship had reached what she describes as a point of no return and they were ready to take the next step.

“I spent most days in his house and paying rent for two houses wasn’t making sense,” she recalls.

He was earning more than twice her salary and she thus assumed that he would pay the rent and foot most of the bills.

However, he had different financial goals from hers and was saving most of his earnings.

He thus expected her to contribute an equal amount towards the expenses, a fact that had her spending beyond her means and with little to fall back on when their relationship failed.

A couple has the option of either merging their finances or managing their money separately after moving in together.

Merging all your finances with someone you aren’t legally married to is however risky since you will have no legal protection should the relationship break down.

Neutral home

“Despite the fact that I was contributing equally to the household, he still acted territorial and he had a problem with sharing space,” Fiona says.

When they settled on moving in together, she was the one that packed up, sold most of her furniture and moved into his house.

She thought this was the most sensible thing to do, considering the fact that his house was much bigger and that he was the man in the relationship.

But whenever they had an argument, he would remind her that she was in his house and when their relationship began to crumble, he would occasionally kick her out.

“It is safer to look for a new place that is neutral to move in together to avoid this tug of war,” she advises.

Finding a new place also gives both of you the benefit of making joint decisions regarding furniture and décor.

This way, each of you is able to add a personal touch to your home.

The future

Whichever reason you choose to move in together, it is important to have an honest and open discussion about the future.

Be clear about whether or not marriage is on the cards for the two of you in the foreseeable or unforeseeable future.

If you are moving in together with the aim of eventually getting married, agree on a time line for this so that both of you will have clear expectations.

What the experts think

A lot of couples who choose to cohabit do so with the hope of strengthening their relationship.

Ezekiel Ngobia a counseling psychologist with the Kenya Institute of Professional Counseling, is however of the view that simply living under the same roof with a love interest isn’t sufficient to strengthen a relationship.

“A couple needs to make a continuous conscious effort towards this even after moving in together,” he says.

A couple that decides to cohabit as a prelude to marriage risks getting comfortable with this arrangement and delaying marriage or doing away with the idea of getting married altogether.

On the flip side, a couple might cohabit with no direct intention of getting married but end up marrying majorly because they already live together and have acquired joint possessions, which is an unhealthy foundation for marriage.

According to Ngobia, a marriage vow of permanence is quite different from the commitment of living together.

While cohabiting basically tests compatibility and the possibility of marriage, marriage builds on this compatibility.

“Marriage puts across to your love interest that you will be there for them all the time while cohabiting communicates that you will be there as long as the relationship works for you,” he adds.

Cohabiting may communicate that you are not confident in the success of your relationship and it lacks a clear sense of commitment thus raising the risks of breaking up or unfaithfulness. Instead of advancing a relationship, it ends up sabotaging it.

Cohabiting may seem like an easier option in comparison to marriage because break ups do not involve those long drawn out legal tussles.

Ngobia however warns that in the event of a break-up of a cohabiting couple, the emotional pain and devastation experienced is similar to that of a divorcing couple, only worse because the couple didn’t have the benefit of enjoying a marriage

Source: DAILY NATION

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ICC Seeks to Recruit Kenyan Vernacular Interpreters

Posted by Administrator on April 5, 2012

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking interpreters from four local communities likely to feature prominently in the trial of four Kenyans accused of masterminding the 2007/08 post-election violence.

Jobs are available for Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin and Kiswahili freelance field interpreters as the ICC prepares to start the trial of four Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity.

The posts are only part of heightened activity as the court focuses on the Kenyan situation, which has the highest number of suspects standing trial.

The court has also advertised for the position of an Information Technology (IT) security officer to man its electronic documentation systems.

The prime job – coming with Euros 65,276 annual salary (about Sh600,000 a month) – is posted on the ICC website, and comes in the backdrop of alleged hacking of the court’s IT systems.

Apart from IT security officer’s position, also on offer is the position of deputy prosecutor, communications officer, legal officer and field operations co-ordinator.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Sang’ are waiting summonses to The Hague-based court after a Trial Chamber was constituted by the Court Presidency.

Following the turn of events, there has been heightened activity in regions where the suspects hail, with some seeking to have the trials postponed.

Petition for postponement

Late last month, leaders from the wider Central Kenya region under the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (Gema) held a meeting in Limuru, Kiambu County, and resolved to petition for the suspension of the trial till after the General Election.

They agreed to collect five million signatures from supporters to petition the UN Security Council to postpone the cases.

A similar political rally was held in Eldoret on Tuesday during which several Kalenjin leaders also vowed to mobilise supporters to petition for postponement of the cases. They pledged to stand by Mr Ruto throughout the process.

Mr Sang has opted to remain silent, as has Mr Muthaura.

On its part the ICC has indicated that public statements and community petitions will not stop the process. “Sentiments by communities expressed outside the court process will not work. Only reasons with sound legal basis can have the trial judges postpone the cases,” said ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah.

Members of the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin are likely to form the majority of witnesses and even victims.

The crimes of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of persons, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts were allegedly perpetrated either through or against members of these communities following the disputed 2007 presidential election.

In the case against Uhuru and Muthaura, Kikuyu youths constituting the Mungiki were allegedly used to kill members of the Luo and Luhya communities in Naivasha and Nakuru.

In the Ruto and Sang case, the Kalenjin were allegedly part of the network used to kill and evict the Kikuyu and other PNU supporters from parts of the Rift Valley.

For an ICC job, one has to undergo rigorous and security vetting. Under the ICC policy, nationals of States that are signatory to the Rome Statute or those engaged in the accession process should preferably fill staff positions. Nationals of other states may, however, be considered.

Guidelines for application

The ICC also seeks to balance gender representation for all positions in accordance with the statute.

“All interested applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the guidelines for application prior to submitting their candidature,” says the ICC website.

The applicants are required to create a profile on the ICC website in order to submit their applications.

Successful applicants would then be on call when needed to work on various ICC missions in the Kenyan situation.

The ICC field interpreters will work for the court’s interpretation and translation sections and the language services unit of the Office of Prosecutor.

In addition to knowledge in either of two ICC working languages – English or French – and relevant computer programmes, the interpreters must possess degrees in either interpretation, translation, linguistics or law or any related fields and relevant experience in formal interpretation.

Successful candidates are then placed on a roster. Their deployment, however, is always dependent on their suitability for particular a mission based on their personal profiles and objectives of the missions.

The trial chamber is also expected to receive names of new victims wishing to participate in the cases.

A few weeks ago, the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo raised an alarm that unidentified persons had hacked the court’s e-mail accounts and were threatening and intimidating potential witnesses.

Attorney-General Githu Muigai acted quickly and directed the Police Commissioner to investigate the allegations.

The AG told a news conference in Nairobi that he had received the complaint from Mr Ocampo.

Move to recruit

Following police investigations, freelance journalist Dennis Itumbi was later arrested but released after four days without charges.

On Thursday, it was not clear whether the move to recruit an IT security officer had any connection with Ocampo’s concerns.

The application must, however, be submitted by April 19, this year.

The successful security officer will have his/her job cut out, as it entails, among other duties, to investigate, analyse and review breaches of security controls and prepare recommendations for appropriate improvements.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000055677&cid=4&ttl=ICC%20seeks%20to%20recruit%20vernacular%20interpreters

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