MCAs Accuse LIUD Executive of Embezzlement of Funds

Members of the Kitui County Assembly have accused the Lands, infrastructure and urban development exucitve of embezzling allocated funds without working for their electorates in the rural areas.

During the last Thursday session which was taken through by a temporary speaker Hon. David Thuvi, the MCA Kithumula/ Kwa-Mutonga ward and a member of the LIUD committee, members raised concerns that most of the roads in their wards were in poor conditions despite the house having allocated a huge budget for the projects. The MCAs decried difficulties in transportation saying it was even making it impossible for their electorates to access hospitals and health centers in good time.

“Despite the fact that we put huge amount of money in that department, every time we have gone to ask for a bull dozer we’re told that there was no fuel!” Hon. Mary Ndumbu, who sits in the budget committee complained to the house. The MCA had risen on a point of information that the ministry had failed to fuel the few dozers available.

Philip Nguli, the Migwani Ward MCA expressed concerns that the county has only one bulldozer which circulates between Miambani and Kwa Vonza wards alone. He called upon the county Ministry of Lands should hire three more dozers to be shared by all 8 sub counties.

Hon Ngui Kirutu stood on a point of order that the executive should involve the elected members of assembly fully in identifying projects in their respective wards. He expressed concerns that in the past, people of unknown portfolio with unknown roles have had a steak in identification of projects in the wards.

The MCA Nzambani Ward Ruth Kyene said that she doesn’t care who is involved in embezzling of public funds but the law should take it’s course and the corrupt individuals brought to book.

The CECM LIUD Engineer Kakundi was also present during the session, though the acting speaker rulled on standing orders that the minister should remain seated in the public gallery, as the house committee had not summoned him for the session.

Breaking: Two astronauts make safe emergency landing after aborted rocket launch

Two astronauts have made a historic emergency landing at Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan barely an hour ago, after their rocket developed technical problems two minutes after take-off.

The two-man rocket crew have made a safe emergency landing, hours after blasting, due to a rocket engine difunct of the Soyuz MS-10 that began 120 seconds after the rocket took off to space.

The two astronauts are: Russian Ovchinin and American Nick Hague. The two will be flown to Moscow for further medical check-up.

Follow to stay ahead on the news as they happen.

Kitui: Political Class Sacrificing Local Mwanachi over Poorly-thought Emotional Cost-implicating Decisions

Monday, October 9, Kitui. By Brian Peter

The common Kitui mwananchi is facing a possiblility of getting burdened with unnecessary debts that may spill over years, owing to rashly done poorly-thought projects, bad politically-driven decisions, and laxity in oversight roles by the county assembly.

Several flopped mega-projects, and unnecessary accumulated debts have dotted the timeline of the current Kitui County Government regime since it came in power over a year ago. Kitui Newspaper has gone back in time to highlight some of the projects and accumulating debts that will burden the Musangis for years to come:

1. The Ndengu Revolution

Kitui County Government, late last year, started a green-gram farming project, in partnership with Red Cross Kenya. This project, which has made the current regime lose some of its popularity, saw the local mwananchi lose around 400 million in an agricultural production project that lacked the most-basic of any value-added production: a market-driven approach. Despite the County Government’s initial promise of Ksh. 100 per kilo, Kitui farmers have been left stranded with a massive production surplus crop, with the only thing they’ve got to date being stories of banned imports in India and a possiblility of a potential market in Vietnam.

2. The bed-bugs fumigation

Earlier this year, Kituians woke to the shock of over 40 million worth of taxpayers money that was allegedly used for fumigation of bed-bugs in Kitui East sub-county. This was after allegations that a bed-bug had been spotted crawling up the shoulder of the Governor during one of her functions in the area. It has never been clear to date which company was awarded the tender, or exactly how much was used for the project; but one thing is very vivid- no local of Kitui East can testify of any fumigations having been done in their homes or environs.

3. Unpaid contracts from previous regime

There are 87 major construction tenders lying unpaid by the Kitui County Government, simply because of what is seemingly a getting back at the previous regime supporters move.

Roads construction and drifts jobs that were issued in June 2016 still remain unpaid to date, despite the jobs having been completed and certified. Kitui Newspaper has dug deep into the controversy behind the unpaid contracts and unearthed interesting details.

The total cost for those jobs is Ksh. 1.2 billion. Majority of the contracts had been completed by October 2016 and the County Assembly passed a supplementary budget of 600 million between December 2016 and February 2017 to facilitate the first leg of their payments. Being in the wake of the 2017 General Elections, political powers fell almost immediately into play, accusing the former governor of using the tenders as a guise to raise campaign funds. EACC showed up almost at once and began investigations into allegations that these were ghost projects. All the 87 contractors were summonned and they produced their documents. These documents raged from LSOs, award letters, contract forms, compliance documents, among other legal company documents.

EACC visited the sites in question afterwards to confirm the projects were done, and even summoned technical officers(national government engineers). The engineers did randomn sampling of 41 projects and assertained they were done to precision. In their report to the EACC (which Kitui Newspaper got a chance to read but unable to publish since it’s a classified document), the engineers even mentioned that some of the contractors had been ….underpaid, according to the level and scope of the work done.

In 18th May 2018, EACC wrote a letter to the Kitui County Government clearing the said contractors for payment. According to the official stamp in the letter (which Kitui Newspaper managed to get a copy of) the County Government of Kitui recieved the letter on 22nd May 2018, yet not a single contractor has been paid up to date.

A copy of the letter by the EACC to the County Government of Kitui clearing the contractors for payment

So, what is the implication of this reluctance to pay the contractors to the local Mwananchi?

Kitui Newspaper consulted with a renown scholar in business law who sought anonymity for privacy reasons, and he made it clear that Legally, the witheld payments accumulates a 16% interest annually, payable to the contractors along with their initial dues.

Going by the math thus, a 16% interest of the 1.2 billion is 192 Million every year! Multiplying this by the three years due, the figure sky-rockets to 576 Million! The contractors have already gone to court to demand their dues, and insider sources have told Kitui Newspaper that the judgement is expected by the end of this month.

4. The Mt. Kenya Stores Closure

Mid this year, the County Government of Kitui closed up the Mt. Kenya Stores businesses in Kitui Town, under terms that the owner moved to court to challenge. With allegations that raged from ‘selling poisonous sugar’ to ‘health concerns’, the government closed up the business located just behind the Kitui County Assembly chambers, even stationing law enforcement officers to guard the premises day and night.

Insider sources from the court have told Kitui Newspaper that Mt. Kenya Stores is currently claiming damages of over 78 million from the County Government of Kitui, and the figure keeps imcreasing with the advent of days. The reasons for the county government’s closure of the store has never been comprehensive or coherrent to the common mwananchi, with some people reading political motives all over the script.

“Both the contractors and the store owners have valid claims against the County Government of Kitui, and not against the political class. Even in the event of the current regime’s tenure expiring, if they ever win the case against the government, it would be the local mwananchi who will shoulder the burden of political mistakes and pay the accrued debts, ” advised a renown Kitui advocate.

The Kitui County Assembly has continued to turn a blind eye to these matters that fall squarely into their role of oversight to the government, as the mwananchi sings the Mbee Nzei totally oblivious of the impeding predicament.

Hon. Ndile Calls on Kitui County Leaders to Work Only for ‘Musangis’

Hon Esther Ndile has challenged all Kitui county leaders to listen to the people and prioritize and provide services to the people.

Speaking yesterday at the official opening of the new Kitui County Assembly chambers, Hon. Esther Ndile, who is the County assemblies Forum vice-chair and the Jubilee nominated member of the Kitui County Assembly, called upon all Kitui County MCAs to exercise their oversight roles wisely warning them in criticizing the motions that benefit the vulnerable local Kitui residents.

“As we all take time to listen and admire the work done by this Assembly, I wish to challenge all of us as leaders who have been tasked with the responsibility of listening to our people and prioritizing and providing services to the people,” said Hon. Ndile in her speech at the Kitui County Assembly grounds. “Let this chamber, just like we do have the National Assembly and Senate, be a place of honor. That in our execution of our duties as members, and here am talking about all of us, let us have the spirit of service build in us. That as we deliberate each day we are in this assembly, that Wisdom may always prevail in discerning what we as Honorable Members desire to do that will make a difference in society,” she added.

She pleaded with fellow honorable members to let the current institutions, as provided in the constitution of Kenya 2010, remain solid institutions that continuously provide guidance and remain sober even in difficult and challenging moments.

“It should not matter what ideologies we subscribe to, but what services we offer that make a difference in society, she addressed, “Let us open up channels for dialogue to ensure that Public Participation guides our development plans and priorities in order to address the needs of the people.”

Hon. Ndile added that women should be involved in matters touching developments of counties to balance the gender equality. She said that the money allocated to empower women in 47 counties will be increased as a way of promoting them in political,social and economic issues

The event was graced by H.E. Keneth Lusaka; the Speaker National Assembly; the Kitui Governor Hon. Charity Ngilu; Hon. Enoch Kiio the Senator Kitui; Hon. Johnson Osoi, Chairman CAF; various Members of the Parliament; All Honorable Speakers Present, Members of County Assemblies from Kitui County and nation-wide; various Kitui County development partners, stakeholders and citizens of Kitui County.

Ngilu Crowned as 1st Governor Scouts’ Patron in Kenya

Tuesday, October 2, Kitui

Courtesy Kitui Governor’s Press

The Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu was today crowned as the patron of the scouts of Kitui County.

She becomes the first Governor to take the mantle to lead the 42,620 scouts and 2210 leaders.

The event was conducted at Multi-purpose Hall by the Training Executive of Kenya Scouts Association Mr. Peter Muema accompanied by the security of special program Executive Mr. Musa Mukagwa and the Kitui County Scouts Commissioner Ms. Susana Ngari.

Accepting the mantle, Ngilu assured the scouts to count on her honor in making the county a better place for all.
The event was also attended by nearly 200 scouts from all over Kitui County.

Ngilu Crowned as 1st Governor Scouts’ Patron in Kenya

Tuesday, October 2, Kitui

Courtesy Kitui Governor’s Press

The Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu was today crowned as the patron of the scouts of Kitui County.

She becomes the first Governor to take the mantle to lead the 42,620 scouts and 2210 leaders.

The event was conducted at Multi-purpose Hall by the Training Executive of Kenya Scouts Association Mr. Peter Muema accompanied by the security of special program Executive Mr. Musa Mukagwa and the Kitui County Scouts Commissioner Ms. Susana Ngari.

Accepting the mantle, Ngilu assured the scouts to count on her honor in making the county a better place for all.
The event was also attended by nearly 200 scouts from all over Kitui County.

Carmels of Carnage:The Unheard Cry of Mutha Residents, Kitui County

Tuesday, October 2, Kitui.

By Ruth Mutheu.

A man walks past grazing Somali camels, just meters from Musenge Market in Mutha. Pastoralists from Tana River County have encroached the Kitui County farming lands in Mutha, sparking land disputes that have led to crimes and atrocities in the past.

For more than 20 years,there has been an outcry by Mutha residents who feel that they have turned slaves in their own land and that the administration has shown no efforts to end the continuous Camel herders intrusion in their land.

Claims have it that these herders from bordering Tana River County have settled in their land, graze on their farms and are killing men and raping women among other issues,creating mental disturbances especially to women and school going children.

This has led to insecurity in the areas of Mutha, precisely Kalambani Location (Ingo, Musenge, and Kekuku, just to name a few).

Kitui Newspaper paid a visit to some of the affected families and confirmed that security at Musenge Sub Location is wanting.A family in Ingo village, where a man was killed in May, 2015 at Kyatune, his wife narrates that they came at night and woke him up.

“After opening the door, they took my husband some metres from the house and brutally beat him to death”, she said. Questioning the law action proceedings, the widow said police came in the morning and took the body to Mutha Police Station and later to Kitui.

The killer was arrested and released after denying charges at Mutha Police Station,under conditons unknown to the family.

“We were called at Mutha Police Station and again at Kitui but never understood what transpired because after the suspect denied the charges we can’t explain what happened later,” lamented one of his three wives saying they are living miserably since the demise of the family’s bread winner.

A second case of killing sited was of Benjamin Muthokoi, a pastor at AIC Musenge. The pastor was murdered on May 2017, at Syunguni. He was reportedly shot while riding on his motorcycle.

“He was burning charcoal at the bush when he heard a gunshot and ran towards where he was spending unfortunately on the way he met the enemies and they shot him and left,”explained his wife full of tears.

The widow added that the security officers visited her at home after the incident and promised all was well and she was to be compensated, which till today has not been done.

The mother of four says that her lower primary school-going daughter who is supposed to come home at 1pm is forced to wait for her elder sister to accompany her from school in fear of being raped .

Huwa wanakuja nyumbani wanabisha mlango wanakuitisha maji ya kunywa na ukiwanyima kuna siku wataikujia usiku (They come during the day in pretext of asking fir drinking water, but if you turn them away, they’ll come back for you at night),” Said an old woman who sought anonymity.

Mutha village women narrate the endless terror they are forced to live with, during an interview with our reporter.

A 20 year old man who used to be a driver was shot in 2012 but he survived the bullets although he can no longer drive for he is partially disabled.

On our tour we found camels grazing a few metres from Musenge Market and truly in peoples farms. The residents are appealing to the Interior Security Minister Matiang’i to come to their rescue since the security officers in the area have been reluctant on driving these herders out.

The elders at Musenge Shopping Centre have called upon the government to drive these herders out immediately, and set up a Police Post in the area to strengthen security. “We do not have an MP to speak for us, Kitui East Member of Parliament Nimrod Mbai on his side is breathing fire due to insecurity in his area and the government is quickly responding,where is our MP?”Said an old woman.

A family member points out a fresh grave where one of the victims of the Somali-Kamba conflict was burried.

Hon. Anthony John (MCA Mutha Ward) and Cyrus Musyoka alias Sonko who had spent a day with residents of Mutha, in Kitui South Constituency, asked for calmness as the matter was on course for action. “We are collecting signatures to petition on this matter at the County Government of Kitui to ensure that all the land is utilized and that there will be no idle land for Somali herders to graze their camels . Let’s remain calm as we wait for our governments to respond and act,” Said Anthony who also demanded for a quick intervention by the security agents.

Nitaenda kuongea na county commander na county commissioner watupatie askari (I am going to talk to the county commander to allocate you some officers) as we wait for a long lasting solution,” said Hon. Anthony.

The legislator feels like many young families will continue being poor and that the government should come up with ways to ensure affected families have been compensated.

Cyrus Musyoka a youth leader from Kitui South urged the government to see the plight of people and ensure that this problem is sorted once and for all.

“I urge all leaders to come together and put viable security installations to enable Mutha people enjoy their constitutional right of security and peace which has been elusive for years,” said Musyoka.

He said that insecurity has largely affected education and farming in the area siting that the poverty level is of great concern.

A tombstone of one of the victims allegedly murdered by Tana River County pastoralists in Mutha Ward, Kitui County

“The government is aware of the problems which Somali herders bring to our people because deaths and serious security violations have been reported” Said the concerned youth leader who assured the community that he will mobilize youth from the constituency and other like minded leaders to join hands and push the government to push the Somali herders out of Kitui County.