Let’s work together to eradicate poverty: Hon. Wangunze

Saturday, October 27, Kitui.

By Brian Peter

The Chuluni Ward Mca has called upon Kitui residents to support the government in fighting poverty in the County.

Speaking today when he toured various projects within his ward, Hon. Wangunze stressed on the importance of the public working alongside the government in projects that bring development and wealth creation to the grassroots.

Hon. Wangunze had paid a prompt visit to Ngomango residents in Kyalele village in Chuluni Ward. The area has been experiencing a lot of challenges in their access roads for years, but through the efforts of the MCA one of the roads has been opened up. He has also been facilitating the community members who volunteered to assist in manual works. The legislator has also facilitated construction of an earth dam along the road as the rains approach by personally providing the cement being used in the community project.

Chuluni Mca Hon. Wangunze poses with community members next to some of the cement bags he donated for the construction of a drift in the region. The MCA has called for a solid partnership between the community and the government in eradicating poverty within the county.

Earlier on, Hon. Wangunze had toured Inyuu region, along the Thua River, where he had supervised the subsidized tractors ploughing project by the county Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Livestock. The project will benefit over 20 households in the region.

Hon. Wangunze has praised today’s opening of the very first of its kind garment factory in Kitui: the Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEX). He termed the project as a giant step towards poverty eradication in Kitui, and urged all the locals to work hand-in-hand with the County government and Governor Ngilu in fighting poverty and over-reliance to foreign aid in Kitui County.

Ngilu opens 1 billion garment factory amid drive to boost local economy

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Courtesy of Kitui Governor’s Press

Governor Charity Ngilu has restated her commitment to spur the county’s economy by promoting use of locally produced goods.

Addressing Primary and Secondary School heads at the official opening of the Kitui County Textile Center (KICOTEC) in Syongila today, Ngilu said the factory will reduce the cost of garments especially uniforms and ensure that students stay in school and parents retain money to put to other needs.

She said the county will save millions from the relief of uniform import and contribute significantly to the growth of the local economy.

“Over 90% of this money leaves Kitui to Nairobi, Thika, Kiambu since we lack a uniform making factory here. KICOTEC seeks to cure this situation,” She said.

Ngilu noted that with an average of 486,000 students in both primary and secondary schools, the county will save over sh 2billion in a year translating to sh. 2.43 billion annually.

Noting the key role, the local productions would play in the county’s economy, the Governor said KICOTEC will boost the revenues collected by the County and therefore support the other services of the County like provision of clean water, affordable healthcare and education.

“At full capacity KICOTEC will work 24 hours employing over 600 young people. Each of the 600 young people will earn a living here and build our economy,” she noted.

She said KICOTEC will grow the service industry in Kitui and that the fabric, materials and accessories needed for the factory will be sourced from the county therefore growing local distributors.

She added that buying local products would mean Kitui will essentially support local businesses to grow especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which accounts a high percentage of the county’s income.

KICOTEC is one of the county’s mega projects under the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives and Investment.

Ngilu opens 1 billion garment factory amid drive to boost local economy

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Courtesy of Kitui Governor’s Press

Governor Charity Ngilu has restated her commitment to spur the county’s economy by promoting use of locally produced goods.

Addressing Primary and Secondary School heads at the official opening of the Kitui County Textile Center (KICOTEC) in Syongila today, Ngilu said the factory will reduce the cost of garments especially uniforms and ensure that students stay in school and parents retain money to put to other needs.

She said the county will save millions from the relief of uniform import and contribute significantly to the growth of the local economy.

“Over 90% of this money leaves Kitui to Nairobi, Thika, Kiambu since we lack a uniform making factory here. KICOTEC seeks to cure this situation,” She said.

Ngilu noted that with an average of 486,000 students in both primary and secondary schools, the county will save over sh 2billion in a year translating to sh. 2.43 billion annually.

Noting the key role, the local productions would play in the county’s economy, the Governor said KICOTEC will boost the revenues collected by the County and therefore support the other services of the County like provision of clean water, affordable healthcare and education.

“At full capacity KICOTEC will work 24 hours employing over 600 young people. Each of the 600 young people will earn a living here and build our economy,” she noted.

She said KICOTEC will grow the service industry in Kitui and that the fabric, materials and accessories needed for the factory will be sourced from the county therefore growing local distributors.

She added that buying local products would mean Kitui will essentially support local businesses to grow especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which accounts a high percentage of the county’s income.

KICOTEC is one of the county’s mega projects under the Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives and Investment.

The Queen and Pawns: One Powerful Family Greedy Domination of Kitui Public Resources

PART ONE.

The former Kitui Women Rep Hon. Nyiva Mwendwa waves to the public during a past event. Locals are accusing the Mwendwa’s family of illegally seizing control of public resources in the county.

The people of Kitui County are groaning under the weight of profound domination and privatization of public properties by a single pre-colonial powerhouse family from Kitui West.

From the County Assembly, the executive, to the village dwellers, one thing is common: they have all watched in resigned silence as the Mwendwas family of Matinyani Ward, Kitui West sub-county, literally grab and fence their roads, cultural sites and public land.

The Mwendwas family, which boasts the first Kenyan Chief Justice and a long-serving Kitui West MP, who is also the former Kitui Women Representative; is in the middle of the Kitui County nightmares.

The Nzambani Rock scandal

Kitui County brands itself primely with the cultural symbol of the Nzambani Rock, located barely 20 km from its headquarters in Kitui Town. This rock is cloaked in mystery and myths, some alleging that someone can get a sex change by just circling the rock seven times. But primely, the Nzambani rock is a cultural and religious symbol for the people of Kitui East sub-county.

On Wednesday 1st March 2015, the County Assembly of Kitui toured the iconic site and tabled a report on the floor of the house on the status of the famous tourist attraction site. The report revealed that the Kitui County Council had awarded a 99 years lease of the site to one Kyale Mwendwa, a member of the Mwendwa’s family!

The terms of the lease were the leasee would develop the rock into an income generating tourism site for both the locals and the government. However, the procedure followed in awarding the lease were nowhere recorded, something not entirely allien with the council back then. The Nzambani MCA had tabled a motion in February 2015 seeking to have the County Government revoke the lease made between the defunct County Council and the investor Kyale Mwendwa, and revert the site back to the County Government of Kitui; something that the then chairman of the environment, energy and tourism committee downplayed; instead calling for a more moderate solution, where none of the parties would lose.

A section of the report tabled before the Kitui County Assembly in 2015.

Local voices have taken to the media since then, questioning why they have lost their cultural heritage to a family that doesn’t even originate from their sub-county.

Irate locals have taken to social media to vent off their frustrations. Ngenakeni, one online user questioned the legality behind an individual owning a natural county landmark. King’ondu, another blogger posted: ‘The county council can’t give away what they hold in trust for the Kitui people.’

“How can someone from Matinyani in Kitui West inherit a community shrine in Kitui East, ” wondered Mutinda, a local resident of Nzambani, “How can that be justified in our culture?!”

The current Kitui East MP, Hon. Nimrod Mbai has also added his voice to the debate, vowing to ensure that the Mwendwa’s family surrender the site back to the community it belongs. Allegations have been levelled against the former councillors for having been talked to by Kyale Mwendwa to ‘give the rock to him’.

PART TWO of The Queen and Pawns coming soon…. Follow Kitui Newspaper to catch up with the story of the Toxic Asbestos Waste, grabbed and walled public roads, and a public bus stage whose title deed reads The Mwendwas….

How Traditional Culture may Compromise Transparency and Accountability

By Gitura Mwaura

The problem of water scarcity affects many areas across the country. Reasons for the scarcity may range from lengthy periods of drought in some of the arid and semi-arid regions to mismanagement in the delivery of water services in the urban areas.
In Kisamis, a small, quiet town in Kajiado County about one-and-a-half hour’s drive from Nairobi on the way to Lake Magadi, water source management is one of the sticking issues requiring urgent attention.
Located in the expansive Keekonyokie Ward, Kajiado West Sub-County, the situation is such that it has bred a simmering conflict that is threatening to tear the local community apart pitting the youth against their elders.
Robin ole Kurenta, a human rights activist working with End Poverty with Justice Initiative (EPJI) in the town, offers an illustration that aptly sums up the history surrounding the issue.
The conflict, he explains matter-of-factly, is symbolised by a water-dispensing point that has scandalously stood in prolonged disuse at the shopping centre.
The town has been experiencing water shortages for a number of years, mainly due to negligence bordering on corruption, as claimed by some residents, including vandalism and local politics.
It was hoped the stalled project would become operational with the re-launch of the water point, marked by the laying of the foundation stone for a permanent structure by the local Member of County Assembly in February 2018.
The now completed stone structure housing the water point appears like a white elephant, standing out like a monument in the middle of the town symbolising the unresolved issues in its idleness.
When I visited the town at the end of September 2018, it was to probe the claimed lack of accountability in the water fuelling the misunderstanding.
My interest was informed by the principle that accountability implicates basic governance issues such as transparency, even at the lowest level within a family or a community-based project.
At the larger ward and sub-county level, it was apparent the local administration was seized of the matter, whom the youth had expressed their grievances and delivered a raft of demands.
This is given credence by the kitty set aside from the ward development fund towards the water project.
This suggested that, if there was an issue stalling the project, the blame lay elsewhere other than merely with the local ward administration.
The apparent cause of conflict was articulated by Joel Shongo, one of the youth harbouring a grievance.
“The problem,” he charged, “originates from the fact that our fathers have denied us a chance at managing the project.”
He expressed opinion that “si mambo magumu yanafanya hii mashida iwepo. Ni mambo ya uongozi (it’s not something so difficult that we should be having such problems. It has to do with leadership).”
For this reason, the youth seek to be accorded responsibility to manage the Keekonyokie water project taking over from a section of their elders, who “since we were born have ineffectively” comprised the management committee.
Though the issue may be about leadership, it is also a bit delicate. Steeped in cultural tradition, the elders’ persistent reluctance to cede the responsibility to the youth becomes apparent, as Robin, the resident human rights activist, points out.
“It’s about our still prevalent traditional customs,” he explains. “Among the Maasai such issues go na kiriika (social stature accorded to age groups). There’s an age at which as youth you cannot question an elder, whatever mistake may have been committed. Doing so may be viewed as a gross cultural insubordination risking a serious curse.”
The residents I spoke with agree with Robin, with the implication being that nothing may dethrone the elders other than death.
With such an explanation it illuminates how, inadvertently or not, and not just in Kisamis but among other “traditional” communities, some persistent cultural mores may compromise accountable leadership and, by the same token, transparency on how resources are managed.
Being denied an opportunity to question a transgression removes the opportunity for dialogue or finding a compromise solution.
I spoke to an elder pointed out to me as a member of the water project management committee. While he did not deny the place of elders and leadership as culturally demanded in the community, he seemed to have a dim opinion of the local youth who he accused of idling in the shopping centre getting high on drugs and alcohol. He did not view them as able to handle serious responsibility.
Pressed to clarify whether it applied to all the youth in the area as “irresponsible”, he conceded that those with the will to take up project leadership should present themselves. This is despite the aforementioned youth demands lodged with the local administration.
Mzee Koitawash ole Olorong’oto, who is not a member of the committee, was more positive. Citing his advanced age as a badge of authority equal to that of his peers, he was insistent the youth be accorded the opportunity to take over the project management.
They have what it takes, he said, if not more qualified given their level of education.
However, the negative cultural hold on the community was further illustrated when I approached local women for a comment, but who declined to speak.
I would later learn that those who had offered to be interviewed and descended from the area had changed their mind after being cautioned by their husbands not to speak on the water issue “or they will face it at home.”
Likewise, though acknowledging the water problem, women immigrants doing business at the shopping centre would also not speak on the record fearing reprisals.
The complexities of trying to resolve the negative aspects entrenched in the culture have clearly also not left officials at the local administration unscathed – more so the chiefs descended from the area.

It was evident the difficulty has somewhat compromised their authority in the whole situation. This is understandable, as applying too strong an authority to force a solution or going about it too quickly may counterproductively unravel the socio-cultural structure that binds the community together.
The delicate situation notwithstanding, efforts are ongoing to find a solution in Kisamis. It, however, remains a matter of urgency for the local residents to have easily accessible and affordable water, as well as quelling the resentment between sons and fathers that continues to deepen the longer it takes to resolve the conflict.
I asked Jeremiah Supeyo, a thoughtful local teacher and youth leader who recognised it as a matter of accountability, about what should be done to find a lasting answer.
“I think it would be best,” he suggested, “if the local administration and the county government gets more involved in this, including involving the women, as well as the media to dig out the issues and highlight the concerns towards a solution satisfactory to everyone.”
Ultimately, it is not all about the negative. The Kisamis experience emphasises that some crucial aspects of our cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible – are still among us even in this digital age.
It also acknowledges the existence of positive mores (such as respect for the elders among other cultural aspects) that could still offer inspiration and learning to address community challenges.
The issue, therefore, is how these may be harnessed for grassroots development, including in transparency and accountability.

Mr Mwaura is a renown author and development journalist working across East Africa.

Skype: gitura.m
Twitter: @gituram

OPINION: Raila AU Job Puts Ruto Under Kalonzo’s Shoe

By Musoma JM.

Baba is in a safe political exit that has thrown the rulling party back to the drawing board ahead of 2022 polls.

The appointment of the former Prime Minister as AU special envoy has thrown a jab at his critics including DP Ruto,a probable successor of President Uhuru Kenyatta. True to the speculations of many, the son of the first Vice President and the son of Kenya’s founding President had a win-win power deal model that could create environment for the duo to charter a legacy path. To them it is not news but a successful deception to millions of their supporters who were brain washed in a 20 year rule and Canaan pilgrimage simultaneously. Raila has gone to the Government of Africa to pave way to Uhuru in a global office after his tenure in State House. Incase you didn’t know, they will never need your vote again.

Thanks to their London political award that has ushered the Raila-Uhuru Peace Awards that will be held annually to promote a peaceful cohexistance across Africa in the spirit of their profound Handshake Model of conflict resolution.

The ground has been leveled, the ice has now been broken and this marks the end of dynasty politics that has ruined the nation since independence. It was a cleverly calculated move via the Building bridges initiative to keep NASA agitated supporters calm believing that handshake serves their Coalition interest while Uhuru drives Jubilee’s Big Four Agenda flagships to secure a legacy. He is young and not quitting leadership soon he bargained for Raila’s AU to get a stepping stone into the global arena as he keenly works on his portfolio. The only obstacle in his success story is corruption and he has to hide behind Raila to tame the appetite of the wanting big boys who propelled him to power. They are now a liability and without a formula to stop them adoption of the building bridges commitee resolutions on wastage of public resources and a parliamentary system of governance remain paramount.

Panic has swept some power drunk leaders down the valley, who were banking on Uhuru’s support to have the DP capture the top seat in the next polls. Those calls for Uhuru to honor his pledge by endorsing Ruto and for Baba to stop his quest for constitutional reforms tells it all. Their push for the President to deploy the remaining NASA chiefs envoy jobs so that they can secure a Ruto Presidency is a indicator of a desperate regime. Raila’s entry in Pan-African politics is causing jitters as it sets precedence for his exit in local politics. Also in the confusion are his ODM loyals especially those who relied on his input and the closeness with him to wield power.

I saw senior Counsel Orengo mislead a section of Kenyans to believe that Raila will still be their party and coalition leader even after his appointment. Envoys, just like Cabinet Members, are appointees of executive officers and are expected to be unbiased which forms the basis of religuishing position they may be holding in political parties.

Just like Kibaki never expect Uhuru to lower his standards or subject his image to jeopardy like Moi, who became a laughing stork when his choice of successor lost to his archrival; justifying some political propaganda. Raila will never vie for Presidency again, his strongholds are intact and his bitter rival Ruto has a burden on his shoulders to woo the confidence of the electorate in regions that refused to vote in resistance to unfair Presidential vote. IEBC has been reading between the lines and the only option was to sack Chiloba to build trust with the voters. Ruto political survival revolves around soiling Raila’s reputation with sarcasm, the Jubilee whipping boy now flys a continental flag and the attention shifts to the AU diplomat’s former running mate Kalonzo. On what account can they whip former VP? The 2017 African Dignitary Man of the year has positioned himself as the longest serving public officer.A man who Pontius Pilate would wash his hands over, for having served three decades in parliament and cabinet without any scandal in his docket. The Wiper Party leader is placed against the man Kenyans deem most corrupt so 2022 polls will be a replica of Jesus or a Barnabas.

The Handshake has raised the standard of Kenyan politics from negative ethnicity to Integrity and don’t be surprised if you see someone people oppose it without explanation. The last nail on the casket will be a compulsory wealth declaration and lifestyle audit. Crucify me for this, but thank Uhuru and Raila later: they will go down in history as men who delivered Kenya from Corruption.

Musoma JM is a Kitui Newspaper Correspondent based in Kilome Makueni County, a political activist, and blogger.

NYC Chairman Kitui South Constituency Milton ‘Guru’ Nyamai locks horns with MP Kitui South during Mashujaa day Gala.

Sunday, October 21, Kitui.

By Brian Peter


Drama ensued yesterday during the Mashujaa Day fete as NYC Chairman Kitui South Constituency Milton Nyamai, popularly known as ‘Most feared and powerful Guru’ came head on with heckling goons allegedly hired by the local MP as he concluded his speech.

Things got sour when he cautioned that politicians must stop misusing youths and instead empower them, or misuse their own kids. It emerged few seconds after that someone was behind two youths who were trying to shout. One of the goons, Caleb Kiminza, a guy known for having broken his collar borne duringlast year’s gubernatorial campaigns was ejected out of the crowd by rowdy and bitter youths who are believed to be true diehards and followers of Guru. Caleb was rescued by officers led by the OCPD Mutomo from the hands of the angered youths who wanted to rough him up. He was swiftly escorted out of the crowd and warned not to return back to the Mashujaa day celebrations.

This is coming months later after the vocal and daring youth leader Guru, and other youth leaders have been on spotlight for questioning several injustices being perpetuated to the Kitui South residents yet their MP is very silent. Key issues that have raised even the attention of national media houses are the poorly done compensation scheme on Kitui- Kibwezi road, Mutha camel menace, unfair CDF kitty distribution in tendering process among others.

The Youths have vowed to fight until they see injustice ends. Youth leaders have declared that they are going to stage demonstrations anytime from next week to ensure justice is granted.
“I want to assure Kitui South people, those affected by the shoddishly done compensation that there is hope in the dawn, it isn’t going to be business as usual, Kitui South residents are not lesser beings,” warned Guru.

Milton also thanked the president for recognizing youth structures and seeing it wise to reward Aggrey Nzomo NYC chairman Kitui County a State Hero Award for the good job he has done fighting for the youth agenda and all forms of injustices directed towards this vulnerable group.