Category Archives: Dickens Wasonga


To: Jaluo Karjaluo <>

By Dickens Wasonga.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of science and Technology has signed and MOU with Jam ii Bora bank to construct 2000 student hostel to ease congestion currently facing the university.

The bank has set a side 2 billion shillings to finance the project that will be implemented in two phases through a lone arrangement which will see those who own land near the main campus in Bondo benefit.

Speaking during the ceremony the university’s VC Prof Stephen Agong said currently only 2000 students are able to be accommodated at the main campus while about 3000 others are accommodated outside the university.

He said the move will improve the safety of the students if they are within the hostels near the facility and whose management the university is involved in.

He said the financing of the project will not only be a boost to the institution but also to the locals whom he encouraged to take advantage of the offer.

The VC said they were talking with the bank to also consider mortgage financing of additional hostels in its expanded campuses of Miyandhe in Central Sakwa, Kapiyo in Maranda, and Achego.

Those who have land neighboring the Bondo campus will be expected to raise ten per cent of the low cost but modern hostels through the loan whose recovery will take 12 years.

Prof Agong asked Siaya county government to ensure the roads were improved as well as provision of water supply within the area.

” Bondo is set to be to be a university town whose growth will be guided by the growth of the university. staff accommodation is also a challenge to the university.There is no descent houses for them.”he added

Area MP Gideon Ochanda urged the community not to fear borrowing loans to invest adding that long time planning would help them grow academically.

” There is no way you can invest and expand your business without borrowing.That is how most businesses have grown” said Ochanda.

World’s Largest Gathering of Malaria Experts to Convene in Durban, South Africa

From: Dickens Wasonga
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 2:37 AM
To: jaluo karjaluo

By Dickens Wasonga.

Leading research scientists all over the World are set to present the latest groundbreaking research on preventing, controlling and eliminating malaria , a killer disease and how they have been working to combat the emerging resistance to drugs, insecticides, among others.

This even as the malaria community celebrates 10 years of progress in driving down the unacceptable number of what happened 50 years ago when donor fatigue and a lack of new tools resulted in a resurgence of malaria incidences that took roughly a million lives a year in 2000.

The malaria community is responding by racing to hold on to the gains of the last ten years, while at the same time continuing to develop the tools that could help to eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria.

The Sixth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference, the world’s largest gathering of malaria expert,will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 6-11 October 2013.

Leading scientists from across Africa and around the world who are pushing this groundbreaking research forward, will gather to present their latest findings in the areas of malaria diagnostics, control (including insecticides and mosquito behavior), treatment (drugs),and prevention (including long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying and vaccines).

At the conference, subtitled “Moving Towards Malaria Elimination: Investing in Research and Control,” they will be joined by thousands of other experts, national malaria control programme managers, policymakers, health care workers and community members who will highlight new developments and remaining challenges in the fight to defeat malaria once and for all.

Despite unprecedented advances, malaria continues to infect approximately 219 million people around the world each year.

In 2010, it took the lives of an estimated 660,000 people, the vast majority young children in Africa.

History has shown that decrease in support for fighting malaria in areas where significant progress has been made lead to a resurgence of the disease, potentially undoing years of effort and investment and putting millions of lives at risk.



From: Dickens Wasonga
Date: Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM
To: jaluo karjaluo

By Dickens Wasonga.

There is good news for the residents of Homa Bay town. Plans are at advanced stage to rehabilitate and expand the sewerage and treatment plant built in 1979 and whose operations stalled due to frequent mechanical break downs.

According to Dr. John Okungu a water specialist with Lake Victoria Environment Management program, already a detailed design has been done and Ksh 100 million set aside to do the rehabilitation and expansion works.

This will come as a relief not only to the residents of Homa Bay but also to all who depends on lake Victoria given concerns were being raised amongst various stakeholder s that raw waste could be getting its way into the lake due to malfunction of the plant.

Speaking to the press after a tour of the facility last week, Dr Okungu revealed that although the plant was meant to treat a capacity of 250,000 cubic meters of waste, it was doing only 150,000 cubic meters.

This is despite the fact that the population of the town has tremendously continued to grow over the years.

‘’ Just a half of the waste discharged from the town is treated. This is 60 percent of what was envisaged by the designers that time. Most of the sewer lines are low and soil gets into them and thus leaving many of the lines blocked’’ he noted.

To improve the coverage, the water specialist said they will work on the lines that bring waste into the plant.

He said most parts of the plant depended heavily on electricity to function and were very expensive to repair or replace. Vandalism was also rampant at the plant.

‘’most of these machines are costly to buy and maintain. The municipal council that was in charge of the facility was unable to meet the cost. Most often, electricity bills were huge and the supplier had to cut off electricity supply. This is what we have to guard against in future and it explains why we want to introduce natural ponds’’ said Dr. Okungu.

The specialist said through financial support from LVEMP 2, a consultant was hired to do a detailed design and the draft is ready. It will be for 25 years taking into consideration, the expected population growth.

He said the new design has reduced reliance on mechanized parts and allowed use of natural ponds.

A contractor will soon be engaged to do civil works. Okungu noted that in the past, focus has been in treating and reducing organic loads but omitting to take care of the nutrients discharged.

‘’ To reverse this trend we will now create artificial wetlands to take care of the nutrients and reduce the growth of weeds like hyacinth in the lake.’’ He added.

Plans are also underway to procure aquatic weed harvester to help in removal of the dreaded water hyacinth weed.

Currently scientists estimate that over 100,000 hectors of the Kenyan side of the lake is covered by the water hyacinth whose growth is fueled by the heavy pollution of the waters.

A part from the Homa Bay plant, LVEMP will also rehabilitate and expand sewerage plants in Kisumu and Bomet at a cost of Ksh. 370 million and 40 million respectively. The designs works for the two areas is also complete.

In addition, all sewerage treatment plants will now have a lab. The labs will help to check the quality of what has been treated and ready for discharge.

In Kisumu for example, Ksh. 40 million has been pumped into buying equipment for water quality lab. It will also be used to monitor and control the activities s carried out in the catchment areas.

Some areas in Homa Bay will not be served by the sewer lines. In such areas not covered, 7 exhausters will be purchased by LVEMP to help empty septic tanks. Bio-toilets sanitary facilities will also be constructed in small towns and markets.

In line with East African Community, effluent discharge standards have been established and harmonized amongst the five member states of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

A memorandum of understanding has also been signed by the five states over the implementation of the same.



From: Dickens Wasonga
Date: Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM
To: jaluo karjaluo

By Dickens Wasonga.

Communities living along the shores of Lake Victoria are now gaining hugely, thanks to the support they are receiving through the World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environmental Project.

In Nandi in the rift valley and Nyando in Nyanza, the locals have ventured into massive tree planting as a way of environmental conservation and the results are impressive.

A part from reclaiming most of the forest cover that was cleared and turned into farmlands, the residents are now reaping huge benefits from the sale of tree seedlings from nurseries so far established through LVEMP’s support.

The multimillion project which began in 2010 is targeting the implementation of two main broad objectives in its collaborative approach to management of shared natural resources within Lake Victoria Basin.

Working with selected community groups which have been undertaking activities targeting to reduce environmental stress within the basin, LVEMP is also sponsoring activities aimed at changing the livelihoods of the communities.

The regional project is implemented by all the five member states of the east African community.

It is undertaking its activities through the government lead agencies who offer technical support to the benefiting groups in selected catchment areas.

In Kenya it is targeting the river Nyando basin and along the shores of Lake Victoria.

According to LVEMP’s national project coordinator madam Francisca Owuor, so far a total of Ksh 116 million has been disbursed to 114 community groups in areas covered by the project.

It is expected that before the project end in 2015, a total of 240 groups will have been supported.

Speaking at the close of a week-long field excursion organized by LVEMP 2 and attended by twenty journalists from various media houses the coordinator disclosed that Ksh 400M will be spent in the community driven development activities.

She told the journalists that LVEMP has also approved proposals from 225 groups and funding for them is underway.

However, 111 groups whose proposals were approved are yet to be launched to begin implementation of various activities because they are still undergoing environmental impact assessment by the national environmental management authority.

The benefiting groups are those that were already doing something to protect the environment and at the same time engaging in livelihood changing activities.

Most of the groups are for example , engaged in tree planting along the river banks, other s are controlling soil erosion by laying soil conservation structures like gabions and erection of terraces among others.

Apart from conserving the environment, they are also fully embracing commercial agriculture. Some communities have established tree nurseries through the financial support offered by LVEMP while others are keeping dairy animals and keeping bees.

In the North rift, areas around Nandi Hills, in Nyando and Homa Bay counties, communities are now planting millions of trees in their farms and along the river banks. They are also protecting water springs by planting bamboo and other tree species that protect the water towers.

The project was necessitated by the realization that Lake Victoria which supports an estimated 30M people either directly or indirectly was facing huge environmental challenges and the stress was linked to unfavorable human activities within the basin which needed to be reversed.

Water levels in Lake Victoria were alarmingly low due to silting because of poor farming activities upstream, quality of the lake water s was greatly compromised as a result of pollution, aquatic immensely interfered with and so there was urgent need to reverse this trend.



By Dickens Wasonga.

It is ten in the morning.

Along a street down town Kisumu, a few cars zoom past.

Apart from the Mpesa shops dotting the place, not much activity is going on along the lonely street near Kamas area.

Being a Monday morning, the street could be deserted probably because most people are at their places of work.

But curiously, a rowdy group of young and skimpily dressed ladies emerge from an old and desolate building adjacent to the street. This gang immediately grabs my attention.

They appear drunk. Very drunk and one of them is shouting and gesturing wildly. She is on top of her voice.

Apparently, two of them have disagreed. From their heated argument, it’s clear the dispute is about a man.

It turns out these women are prostitutes fighting over a male client. The man, I learn has vanished, may be out of fear of a possible backlash.

If you thought sex peddlers are only found in Mombasa – going by the recent sex scandal story doing the rounds in the media, then you are wrong.

Dear reader, welcome to the world of brothels of Kisumu.

Just by the roadside and a few meters away from the two ladies, there is a bar. Here, all manner of alcohol is served.

I am told, as early as 7am, one can partake of the drinks although the place is not even a restaurant.

The pub is already full as I make my way in to piece together my story .Customers here are of diverse ages; after all what matters most in this place is money and not age.

The music playing inside the pub is so loud you can’t hear yourself speak. Never mind there is a law that prohibits selling of beer to patrons this early in the day.

Mututho law which expected people to engage in nation building at this particular hour does not apply here.

Inside the noisy bar one cannot escape noticing the swelling number of these skimpily dressed women.

Almost every male customer here is sharing a table with at least one of them.

At the face of it, what goes on here appears so harmless but soon, things begin looking a little strange as the new found ‘’ love birds’’ begin to walk in and out of the pub in turns.

Believe me; you haven’t seen anything yet out there. Behind the bar, there are over 30 rooms that can each accommodate at least a bed.

Strangely, they all have their windows wide open and as one makes his way to the washrooms meant for the bar patrons, you are able to see clearly through the windows what happens inside the rooms.

Here, in a broad daylight sex trade is thriving. The women parading their naked bodies outside these rooms located in the dingy corridors of the down town building are not afraid of anyone or anything.

One cannot help but wonder whether this trade has been legalized by the authorities in this lake side city.

So daring they are that approaching any man they see within the vicinity for sex isn’t a bid deal.

I gather from one of the waiters in the pub that each day, all the women operating from this brothel hire a room at sh 600 which they must pay for by midnight.

According to the waiter who requests to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal , sometimes the hookers agree to split the bill and use the room in turns , each time they get a client for what they call here ‘’short time’’.

She tells me that the place is so famous it attracts both men and ladies from far and wide. Some of the ladies servicing men here, she says are from the neighboring countries.

And if you thought there could be shortages, then think otherwise for she adds “as some goes away, new faces keeps trooping in each day”.

May be as a sign of improved business the owner of the bar has just thought it wise to give the building a face lift. The paint is still very fresh.

I try to find out who owns the bar and the brothel but no one, including the waiters and the bar man would dare talk to me about that subject.

To satisfy my curiosity about the existence of sex trade and more brothels within Kisumu City, I decide to investigate further.

Away from this bar, I take a ride on a motorbike and after about 15 minutes, am dropped next to the Kisumu main bus terminus, at a place popularly known as beer belt.

The place is abuzz with activities. Most of the traders here sell their wares in kiosks. Most of them are selling khat and cigarettes. Eateries also dot the place which remains noisy and chaotic.

Several Boda boda operators can be seen waiting for passengers at one side of the road that leads towards the united mall as you leave the Bus Park.

Everything appears normal at least from the open air market. But one thing still stands out- the unusual high number of lodging and boarding houses surrounding the vicinity.

The lodgings, most of which are cheap and dirty offer a perfect hideout for these hookers and their clients.

Unlike the first place I visited earlier, here the ladies are not so young and trendy. They appear low class judging from how they dress.

Most of them can be seen milling around the bars and the lucky ones leads their catch away into the ‘’service’’ rooms.

After about 20 minutes or so, they emerge from the rooms and the trend repeat itself again and again.

But it is while under the cover of darkness that this operation is moved a notch higher in this part of the city, as I discovered.

Dressed in clothes that are more revealing than to cover their bodies, you spot many of them standing in strategic places behind the lodgings or parked vehicles, mostly Lorries whose drivers are also probably here to hunt.

Tucked safely behind these hide outs, the ladies can be heard giving catcalls to men passing by, even dropping in the ears of the strangers how much it would cost to sleep with them.

Occasionally they disappear into the brothels to escape being noticed by the police on patrol or simply slip into a bar to avoid being arrested by the cops.

This is the same story in Kondle area which is more vibrant at night given the high number of bars there some of which even have live band playing throughout the night.

While most of these ladies operate from brothels, majority hop from pub to pub seeking clients.

Along the Kisumu-Busia road, more brothels are to be found at Otonglo. Here the truck drivers are the main clients. It is not unusual to see several trucks parked there

Back to the CBD, along the Oginga Street and just before the central Square, twilight girls here lay in wait. This group of mostly young and trendy prostitutes targets the high end clients, mostly with cars.

Usually they can be spotted pacing up and down the pavement and once in a while stepping on the road as cars approach to grab the attention of the motorists.

Along the same street also exists a brothel where those who are lucky to get a client can take them. In fact most of the twilight girls operating along this street reside at the brothel.

Kisumu, like the other urban centers all over the world has been bitten by the bug which is prostitution, a trade as old as man itself.




WHEN talking about Kisumu County, it is Kisumu City that usually springs to mind.

But it is also difficult to divorce the region commonly referred to as Luo- Nyanza when discussing matters that are dear to Kisumu.

The two are interdependent, so to speak.

Although Kisumu County is home to Nyakach, Muhoroni, Nyando, Seme, Kisumu town East, Central as well as West constituencies, it’s the City that most people relate to more.

This may be so because of its commercial importance and value not only for the county but to the entire east African region where it’s believed to be an economic hub.

As a matter of fact, Kisumu is the headquarter to amongst other regional outfits, the Lake Victoria basin commission, one of the commissions established by the now revived east African community.

However, many leaders from this region have in the past faulted the media accusing it of painting the City and its people in bad light thus denying it the opportunity to attract investments.

It could be true or false but many leaders from this region believe the media has always been guided by mischief while reporting or telling the Nyanza stories.

To them, Nyanza, among other factors has remained behind due to bad publicity it gets in the mass media.

But if you ask me, what may qualify for one as news worthy piece may not necessarily be the same to what get covered in the media, whether in the print or electronic.

That is the way it is, but let me try to explain further.

Kisumu has in the past witnessed probably the worst forms of street protests that often degenerated into violent confrontations between the police and those demonstrating against one thing or another.

In most such encounters , some of the protesters ended up losing dear lives, killed by the officers or maimed by them .

Now, that is not the stuff one would ordinarily refer to as good news because it is not interesting reading about but remember the media has a role to play – key among them, to inform the masses.

As many police officers will tell you, none of those who have served in Nyanza are usually keen to take up such assignments as to contain rioters in this part of the world.

Call them petty, arrogant, naive or what you choose to, but the people of this region are not known to take excesses, whether from government or otherwise lying down and that probably explains the bitter protests and demonstrations which usually begin as peaceful demos in the region but sometimes turn to be very ugly in the end as witnessed in the past.

However, riots don’t mix well, either with development or peaceful coexistence and where there is violence; no development can ever take place.

But then again it is prudent to remember always that the media has a role; including telling you where there is chaos and therefore you cannot blame them for giving you negative publicity as long as you don’t conduct yourselves with decorum, right?

The media is only required to play that role responsibly and without omitting facts.

Interestingly however, what ails Kisumu, or what has held it back over the years, really does not only rest with riots and bad publicity, although these too have played an integral role.

The city, for instance proved pundits wrong in the recent past and manifested its ability to not only grow and attract more investors, but it also managed to bring back investor confidence which was at its lowest ebb in record time.

Examining the way in which Kisumu emerged strong, although badly wounded following the events after the disputed 2007 polls , one gets a clear indication that this city and the region has immense potential and energy for tremendous growth.

It is true the events of 2007-8 will forever remain edged in the minds of many and in the annals of history of this city for years to come but it also served as a big lesson on how not to manage conflicts arising either from social-economic or political disputes.

But if we want to remain true to ourselves, then let us accept facts as they are. The main problem for this region has been and remains bad leadership. A leadership without vision.

The leadership has overtime failed to show direction to the rest. Failing to guide its people and not leading from the front.

This leadership has been selfish, inept and above all not accountable to anyone but itself. This must not be tolerated moving forward.

Those who have been charged with the responsibility of managing public affairs have largely mismanaged it and the result of the rot that has existed over the years in most of our institutions is manifested all over.

Let’s face it; the issue has never been lack of capacity, in terms of potential to grow the region, far from it.

Land for example; as a factor of production is key and Nyanza is blessed with have huge chunks of fertile land most of which is just lying fallow.

Allow me then to ask the following:

Apart from not putting land into proper use, why have we failed to use the flood waters of river Nyando of Kisumu County and Kuja of Migori to be able to be food sufficient?

And why, for example, cant the rice farmers of Nyando be like their colleagues from Mwea in Embu? Can’t anyone please talk to them about value addition and facilitate them into adopting the same?

Can anyone please show me where serious mechanized large scale agriculture is taking place in our region save for those demonstration plots or in the sugar growing zones?

We must ask ourselves, what aren’t we doing right and how can we be helped to do it right?

Whenever it rains in this part of the world, it’s all misery, you all know it.

Rains to us bring doom as opposed to blessings. What does it take for us to learn a thing or two about building proper dykes like our brothers and sisters of Budalang’i to control flooding?

Come to think of it, what have we done with the huge and the untapped natural resource that is Lake Victoria?

Now the vast lake is chocking under the dreaded hyacinth weed and the local leadership, whether elected or otherwise is not mentioning it anywhere.

Like the rest of the country, Nyanza has had its fair share of challenges and predicaments but as a region; this is the time to seize the moment as provided for in law through devolution to fix a few things and get most of them right.

In the same vain we must examine where we have come from even as we move forward.

Now, power has been devolved to us. We can choose to utilize our resources sustainably to create more wealth and grow or remain in abject poverty for ever.

In Kisumu, scores of industries remain inactive while others are completely shut down.

The Sugar sub sector which was once vibrant, offering hope to many farmers and their families is today registering lackluster performance.

Most of the public milling firms are at the brink of closure, sagging under huge debts which are uneconomical to service.

Cotton farmers who heeded calls by the government to revive cultivation of the cash crop are today stuck with tones of their produce in their farms due to lack of market or low prices offered to them by middle men.

Sadly nothing positive seem to come from this region which was once known as the home of great scholars.

Hundreds of thousands of youths are unemployed with most of them taking to riding bicycles with university degrees to boot in order to earn a living.

Many more are idling along and about the streets of major towns in the region and the temptation to venture into crime are real.

The only outstanding development in the region which one can single out is the Kisumu International Airport whose commissioning rekindled hope amongst the locals.

But with little or nothing to export, even the facility may largely remain underutilized or better still serve only those who can afford air fare.

Kisumu had its past glory.

Having emerged sometime in 1901 during the building of the Kenya –Uganda railways ,it provided the much needed link amongst the British east African protectorates of the time and indeed to the rest of the continent.

Known only as Port Florence then, Kisumu was clean, green, young and promising even at its nascent formations.

The lake next to which it sits had clear waters.

The population then was very small and the existing houses at the time were built in good order.

Land, mainly in the hands of government was huge, with the railways cooperation having most of it. Planning for what would become the third largest City in Kenya was proper and space for future expansion was factored in.

Like in other towns, roads were well maintained; water transport was vibrant with most shipping companies preferring to dock at the Kisumu pier.

Satellite towns like Kibos, Muhoroni and Butere in western region among others, flourished because the railway transport worked.

It was also the time Kendu bay, Homa bay, Asembo bay and the like were famous since the lake transport was effective and reliable.

But things began taking a downward trend with astonishing results. Where streets were fully lit, today Kisumu is a pale shadow of its former self.

While most towns are active at night trying to register a twenty four hour economy, Kisumu goes to sleep early.

In fact, save for the vibrant bars that remain active past mid night in most of the city estates and others within town, nothing can be noticed at the CBD after 9pm.

Apart from the Nakumatt supermarket that operates 24 hours within the CBD, the rest of the business premises remain a no go zone immediately after 7.30pm when most of them close.

The streets are dark with the posh Milimani estate being the worst lit and most dangerous if the increased house brake ins and attacks mainly targeting senior government employees in this hood is anything g to go by .

With no proper street lighting and enhanced security, no business activities can be undertaken, probably explaining why most parts of the city goes to sleep early.

As the new devolved systems take effect, most people are keenly watching how the governor and his team will strive to correct the wrongs that Kisumu has witnessed in the past.

This is why the local residents cannot allow their newly elected leaders to paralyze operations at the county assembly like their colleagues elsewhere in demands for better pay when a lot still needs to be fixed.

Most investors would for example wish to see the issue of land addressed.

This is probably amongst the growing list of towns where trying to buy land can be such a risky engagement.

Even people who are legally allocated land and are paying land rates are not immune to the risk of losing such property to swindlers who are all over the place.

Cases of land fraud are in their thousands as victims make endless trips within the court corridors in pursuit of justice in Kisumu.

Double allocation of land is no longer strange even as number of fraudsters and land sale cartels keeps growing each passing day.

Corruption has fueled the problem and the demand for housing in a town where it takes months to get development plans approved has not helped matters.

Even the ambitious slums upgrading program that began on a high note spearheaded by the ministry of housing has little impact to write home about.

The city fathers must quickly adopt new ways and methods especially on how they view and handle investors and do so fast enough to conform to devolution.

The perception that investors are only foreigners or people from outside the country must stop.

Developers who buy land in the town with intention to invest in real estate for example go through rough times indeed.

For starters , the development plans here attract very high fees and takes ages to approve although the same council by-laws requires that plots be developed within one year after allocation.

Stringent requirements sometimes leave many would -be developers dejected even in the face of the biting housing shortage in the town.

Even those who manage to get the approvals soon find that some of the essential services that would ordinarily be available courtesy of various government agencies to make investment affordable are lacking.

Most estates within Kisumu for example, are not connected to the main sewer system which is amongst the key mandates of Kisumu water and Sewerage Company.

KIWASCO has failed over the years to ensure the number of residents or homes connected into the sewer system is expanded.

What this means is that any developer who put up a housing unit in areas not covered must construct septic tanks which in most cases pushes tremendously the general cost of their projects.

While we impress upon investors to consider coming to Kisumu, the authorities must ensure the infrastructure available is supportive of such economic endeavors.

The roads in the urban area of Kisumu are pathetic and must be fixed. Despite huge amounts of money it receives yearly for upgrades there is little really on the ground to show for it.

Most roads in the industrial area for example are not tarmac ked and others that were are now completely worn out.

The streets are clean but the estates are doomed. Residents are forced to enter into collection arrangements in the estates with private garbage collectors to do what we expect the council to do for us since we pay taxes to them.

In fact Kisumu officially declared it had failed to get a dumping site even after allocating sh 10 M in the past for a dump site.

The Kisumu governor Mr Jack Ranguma who is expected to soon form a commission to run the city affairs on behalf of the residents must henceforth also find it his priority to stop those who pollute the lake with impunity.

Once billed as the second largest fresh water lake in the world, many are now debating whether this is still true of Lake Victoria given the increasing degradation of its waters.

Some of the industries, sugar millers and even local authorities neighboring the lake are known to be amongst the chief polluters and they seem to be getting away with it over the years.

These and many more are what many people from this region would want to see fixed and fixed completely by the devolved government and if they fail we will no longer have the luxury of blaming the national government or national leadership as has been the norm whenever we get it wrong.



By Dickens Wasonga

The country may not know that even in the just concluded polls there were IDPs, only that this time they were quickly compensated and they moved back to their homes.

This was the case in Kisumu’s Kondele and Car wash areas where some people pitched camp at the Kondele police station albeit briefly. However its the good gesture by the government in Kisumu to coordinate efforts facilitated by well-wishers to appease these Kenyans that has left tongues wagging with a section of Nyanza IDPs of 2007 election related violence lamenting that they were a forgotten lot .

At the heart of the matter is the Sh 10,000 payment each of the more than fifty families said to have been evicted from their homes in Kisumu after the Supreme Court verdict on March 4 polls received.

Some fifty three families allegedly dashed to police stations in Kisumu out of fear immediately the court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta Presidency.

Spontaneous protests rocked parts of the city among them Kondele, Nyalenda, Nyawita and Obunga areas immediately the ruling was made but police moved swiftly to quell the tension.

Later, Kisumu East District Commissioner Willy Cheboi told Journalists that the security team had directed all the families camping at the police stations to vacate them since there was no cause for alarm.

The DC warned that some people were masquerading as Internally Displaced Persons to seek favors from the Government.

However, it later emerged that the families were compensated despite the government officer’s earlier claims that they would not be compensated since their property were safe.

When contacted for comments regarding the payment of the families, Kisumu East DC Willy Cheboi said he would not comment on the matter since his office did not coordinate the payments.

“The coordination of the payment was made by the County Commissioner’s office hence the officer is at the right position to comment on the matter,” Cheboi said.

The County Commissioner Lorna Odero when contacted confirmed payment of cash to the said families.

She however, denied the payment being from the Government.

“We paid the families but not from government funds. The payment was coordinated by my office but the money came from well wishers,” Odero said.

She pointed out that The Kenya Red Cross, the disaster committee and the Kisumu Rescue Committee gave out the funds for compensation.

Several IDPs in Nyanza have in the past raised concerns over the delay in compensation by the government.

They have raised complaints of not receiving compensation as their colleagues from other parts of the country and wondered how quick “a few in Kisumu were paid after the Supreme court verdict.”

Their leaders claimed the move was a clear pointer to their earlier claims that the government was favoring some IDPs while ignoring the plight of some who have been kept waiting for assistance five years down the line especially those from Nyanza who returned to the region after fleeing violence of 2007 election .

According to the chairman of 2007 IDPs from Nyanza Mr. Nelson Owegi not even a half of the 126,000 returnees from the region have been compensated by the state over the loss they suffered in the skirmishes.

Owegi said this was despite earlier promises made to them last year in August by the PS Andrew Mondoh during a meeting held at the PCs office which was atttended by representatives of the victims from across the region.

” We even visited the PS in his office in Nairobi four months later for a follow up meeting and he promised us payment before the general elections. We feel we are being discriminated by the government” he said.

Owegi was forced to flee the violence from Limuru where he was doing business and suffered a great loss during the violence which rocked the country following the disputed results of 2007 polls.


Kenya: Kiva Opens Office in Nairobi, Africa’s Hot Spot for Social Innovation

By Dickens wasonga,

The founders of the world’s largest micro-lending platform for social good, Kiva are in Kenya to officially open its Anglophone Africa Regional office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Matt Flannery and Premal Shah, the CEO, the President and Co-founders, respectively, officially open the Kiva Regional office based at the Strathmore Business School at Madaraka tomorrow.

The Nairobi office is Kiva’s first outside of the U.S., a tremendous milestone for the nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2005 to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, expand economic opportunity and generally change lives for better.

“As we open the doors to our new office in Nairobi, we are opening the door for new opportunities at Kiva and exciting partnerships across Africa,” said Matt Flannery, CEO and co-founder of Kiva. “Nairobi is an emergent hub for social enterprise because of the entrepreneurial spirit that is nurtured here. By laying down roots in Nairobi, Kiva will be able to strengthen and expand innovative partnerships that help to advance our mission to alleviate poverty and advance economic opportunity throughout the region.”

Through Kiva, anyone with an Internet connection can make a loan as little as $25 to the borrower of their choice on And with Kiva’s repayment rate of 98.9%, lenders are able to relend their money again and again, or withdraw it from the system. Kiva’s community of 900,000 lenders have crowdfunded more than $410 million in loans for one million people worldwide. In Kenya, more than 63,000 people have received a combined total of $20.5 million in loans funded by 250,000 people from 125 countries.

These microloans help borrowers start and grow businesses, go to school, buy clean energy products, and finance sustainable agricultural practices in Kenya and more than 65 other nations.

“Fundamentally, Kiva is about recognizing and supporting the potential that each person has whether they live in the next town or across the world,” said Premal Shah, Kiva Co-founder and President. “When we recognize and act on the potential in ourselves and others, as lenders or borrowers, powerful things can happen.”

Kiva leverages the power of collective good and new technologies to push the boundaries of economic opportunity in unique ways. To reach people on a local level — including some of the most remote places on earth — Kiva works with upwards of 150 partners, 14 of whom are in Kenya. These partners have traditionally been microfinance institutions that administer loans for borrowers. Increasingly, Kiva is partnering with organizations that do not have their own lending programs; partners such as universities, social enterprises, and non-governmental organizations.

Kiva’s partners in Kenya are opening up new and innovative loan products through Kiva’s flexible, risk-tolerant capital. Together with Strathmore University, Kiva offers smart students from low-income backgrounds an 11-year tuition loan, with a five-year grace period. These students are proving that tuition loans are viable investments, opening doors for students in the region and around the world. Students like Lydia from Turkana County in northern Kenya, who is the first in her family to graduate from secondary school.

“There are a lot of challenges that I have faced, but normally I encourage myself by saying, ‘What matters in life is not really where I am now, but rather the direction I am heading,’” said Lydia, who is studying for her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Strathmore. “I will never allow my past experiences to compromise the quality of my future. Given this chance by Kiva, my higher education can be achieved. Thanks to God for this opportunity.”

Kiva partner, Juhudi Killimo, provides financial services to over 7,000 smallholder farmers in rural Kenya, approximately half of whom are women. Juhudi’s mission is to provide market-driven, wealth-creating financial services including loans to acquire productive assets such as dairy cows, chickens and irrigation equipment. Another partner Komaza, helps borrowers convert drylands into productive family tree farms in Eastern Kenya. Komaza equips local farmers with the supplies and training they need to plant fast-growing trees on their unused land. This generates income for their families and creates a sustainable wood supply for local markets.

Kiva is continuing to innovate in Kenya through their new pilot project, Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip enables anyone –organizations or individuals who care about economic opportunity—to become Trustees and vouch for entrepreneurs seeking microloans to start or expand their small business. Once endorsed, borrowers can post their loan request on Kiva Zip and connect directly with Kiva’s growing global community of lenders to receive an interest-free loan. Loans are received and repaid via M-PESA.

Among the 53 Kiva Zip Trustees in Kenya is Shining Hope for Communities. Shining Hope combats gender inequality and extreme poverty in the Kibera slum, serving people who are generally not able to access traditional sources of credit. In just five months, Shining Hope has vouched for more than 50 women seeking to start or expand their small businesses, bringing additional income into their homes and families.
Kiva is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that connects millions of people around the world through lending to alleviate poverty and expand opportunity. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy and realize their potential. Since its inception in 2005, Kiva and their growing global community of 900,000 lenders have crowd funded more than $400 million in loans to over 1 million people, with a 98.9% repayment rate.



Fishermen on a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria’s Kenyan side.

By Dickens Wasonga.

According to maritime experts, an estimated 5000 people drown in Lake Victoria annually as risks of navigating through the lake waters persists. These are people who perish in the lake while either using it for transport or on fishing expedition.

Addressing journalists from Kisumu during a special media briefing organized by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission last week in Kakamega town to give a report on achievements by the commission since 2006 , the LVBC Executive Secretary Dr. Canisius Kanangire said the trend was worrying EAC member countries and revealed that efforts to reverse it were already being enhanced.

The LVBC boss said bad weather, unstable boats, over loading, lack of safety gadgets and poor seamanship amongst others are some of the reasons being attributed by maritime authorities as being behind the increasing cases of accidents within the world’s second largest fresh water lake.

However all is not lost . Lake Victoria Basin Commission which was established 6 years ago by the EAC member’s states to promote and facilitate sustainable utilization of the natural resources within the basin has embarked on the implementation of an ambitious four year strategic plan which amongst other measures will address safety of the lake.

Already the East African Legislative Assembly that draws its membership from the five EAC partner states has enacted Lake Victoria Transport Act which will soon be fully operational zed to help in regulating navigation and shipping laws to be jointly applied by the member states in order to improve safety within lake Victoria.

Amongst a raft of measures, the commission’s four year strategic plan also seeks to establish 16 search and rescue stations around the lake. Out of the 16 stations, 3 will be on the Kenyan side, 8 in Tanzania and 5 in Uganda. The allocation , according to LVBC was pegged on the size of the lake each member country occupies.

The stations will also serve as training centers where people can learn about maritime safety among them the fishermen many of whom have perished in the lake waters in the past. The commission is also in the process of putting in place a maritime telecommunication network which is set to cover the lake surface as well as the entire shoreline.

Towards this end an emergency number 110, which can be used for search and rescue services in Lake Victoria by anyone in distress has also been adopted for use by the national regulatory authorities of each of the EAC states.

According to the LVBC Maritime Communication and Safety on Lake Victoria project coordinator Eng. Vincent Hagono, a pilot emergency response control and positioning center has already been launched and tested in Kampala Uganda in the network that will cover over 80 per cent of the fishing areas of the lake.

Eng. Hagono said phase one of the project that seeks to ensure safety in the lake started three years ago at a cost of 20 million US dollars while its second phase will require additional 10 million US dollars to complete.

LVBC , headquartered in Kisumu Kenya is facilitating and promoting the implementation of a number of key community driven projects executed by various state actors in each member state amongst them, water supply and sanitation projects, protection of water catchment areas, income generating activities which in the end should aid it in its vision of having a prosperous population living in a healthy and a sustainably managed environment .

Currently the commission which receives 90% of its funding from the World Bank is headed by Dr. Canisius Kanangire of Rwanda as its Executive Secretary and has a staff of 60 people drawn from across the EAC partners’ states. It plans to build a state of the art offices in Kisumu where the host country Kenya has donated 2.5 hectares piece of land for the project.


Kenya: KCA Launches Journalists Training and Mentorship Project

By Dickens Wasonga reporting from Coast.

The Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) has launched a media training and mentorship project for journalists based in the Coast Region of Kenya to enhance issue focused, in-depth and fair reporting of issues affecting the region.

The initiative is meant to build the capacity and sharpen the skills of journalists based in the region to adopt a more investigative and analytical approach to reporting about a number of key issues that have lately dominated the media and national attention from the region.

The Coast Region, which has enjoyed peace as a tourist hub, has in the recent past witnessed flare-up of conflicts, some between communities over land and pasture, mostly in Tana River Delta and between the state and the loyalists supporting a militant secessionist group calling itself Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).

The group has taken up the case of advocacy over the claims of historical marginalization of the region and the land problems to new levels, often sparking off violent confrontation with security personnel that have been cracking on its supporters.

The MRC saga remains clouded in sensational media reports with reports that some of the group’s leaders have been involved in oath taking, calls for boycott of registration of voters, and attempts at secession from Kenya based on the per-independence ties with the Sultan of Zanzibar who for centuries ruled a 10 mile strip of the Kenyan coast.

In both the Tana River and MRC cases, hundreds of people have been killed, property destroyed and scores of people displaced.

Media reporting of these issues has been based on the voices of a few dominant voices including government officials, political and religious leaders and a few leaders of the MRC.

The KCA initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of journalists to do more investigation into some of these issues and offer opportunity to more diverse voices to speak out on the issues, particularly the social, economic and the political impact of the conflicts on the ordinary people, particularly the women, children and the elderly and on the tourist based economy of the region.

There have also been claims of biased, inaccurate and sensational media coverage that has led to a picture of the Coast Region being unsafe for investors and tourists and looming possibilities of religious, ethnic and other sectarian conflicts ahead of the March 2013 General Elections.

The project, which is supported by the Kenya Transitional Initiative (KTI)/United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was formally launched at a Stakeholders Planning Meeting in Mombasa on Friday last week at event which brought together journalists and representative of local stakeholder groups.

“ We hope to enhance a sustained in-depth and a more responsible media coverage of the key issues in the region by offering space to more voices and focusing on the benefits inherent in the timely and faithful implementation of the new constitution which promises solutions to some of these problems,” said Oloo Janak, KCA Chairman during the launch.

Under the project, 20 journalists drawn from different media channels based in the Coast Region will be taken through a short intense training and there-after, months of mentorship to build the requisite skills on the job.

The Project will be implemented through various strategies and stages and will involve active and regular media engagement with leaders and other stakeholders in the region aimed at generating credible, fair and reform oriented media reports.


Kenya: Okundi endorsed in Kisumu

By Dickens Wasonga.

The race to clinch Homa Bay county governor’s seat is hotting up. On Monday prominent politician and immediate former Member of Parliament for Rangwe engineer Philip Okundi also eying the seat got a boost for his bid when he was endorsed by eight civic leaders from the area.

The civic leaders made the endorsement after a daylong meeting convened and attended by the wealthy and influential politician at an exclusive upmarket resort in Kisumu City.

Led by the Homa Bay municipal council Mayor Councillor Charles Katinga the leaders said they have opted to throw their weight behind Okundi given his past development record over the years in the area.

He said that Okundi is the only candidate who has come out to openly seek for their support for his bid for the governor’s position in the forth coming general elections

Okundi worked in public service for a long time holding key government positions amongst them as the managing director of the Kenya Bureau of standards. He was also the MD Kenya Ports Authority at one point among other positions.

Before he resigned from the government recently to contest the governor seat, he was the chairman of the Communications commission of Kenya.

Okundi lost his Rangwe seat at the last general elections to a relative newcomer in politics Martin Ogindo who is the current sitting Mp.



By Dickens Wasonga,

As part of efforts to empower local farmers and to enhance their production capacities the government has announced it was going to write off sh.27 million that rice farmers in Nyando owed it.

Making the announcement soon after a meeting with the local Members of Parliament and the Nyanza PC Francis Mutie , the deputy commissioner of cooperatives Mr Phillip Gichuki said the decision to write off the debt will be a big relief to most farmers who have been struggling to scale up their production levels in vain.

The debt was part loans advanced to several farmers by the ministry of cooperatives over the years to boost their production capacities and was aimed at alleviating poverty levels in the area.

Local MPs have in the past lobbied the government to write off the debts to local farmers as it had done to tea and coffee farmers from other parts of the country.

Although they lauded the move by the government the area MPs led by Nyando MP Fred Outa asked the ministry to also consider writing off millions of shillings in debt owed to government by sugarcane farmers from the area as well.

Outa said doing so will enable the farmers to start production on a clean slate adding that t5he area has a huge potential for agricultural production which was remaining untapped due to high poverty levels.

The commissioner said the country was capable of producing enough rice to meet the country’s demand for the same but regretted that Kenya was still relying heavily on rice imports especially from Pakistan due to lack of financial muscle by most farmers.

Nyando which is prone to floods during heavy rains is known for production of rice in Nyanza and is leading in terms of sugar cane growing with at least three vibrant sugar millers operating from this sugar cane growing zone.



By Dickens Wasonga.

A Kisumu based Non Governmental Organization has embarked on training of local journalists on how best to use media coverage as a means to secure fair and peaceful election ahead of the March 2013 general elections.

Local Capacities for Peace International LCPI which is funded by UKAID targets to train over 100 journalists based in Kisumu City in a bid aimed at ensuring the lake side City which was rocked by post election violence that saw many people lose their lives and several others displaced does not go through the same orgy of violence it witnessed in 2008.

Speaking during a one day workshop organized for the scribes at a Kisumu hotel the LCPI project officer Ms Rosemary Onunga said failure by the media to censure some of the statements made at political rallies to drum up support for various presidential candidate in the last elections by some leaders was partly the reason for the election related violence that rocked the nation in 2008.

Onunga called on those covering election to ensure materials that can whip up tribal animosity or constitute hate speech are not aired or published by media houses as a way of stopping rogue politicians from inciting people to engage in acts of violence.

The officers observed that although journalists are part of the society they work in, most organizations sideline them in efforts to bring peace and only invite reporters to their functions as away of transmitting what they have to say to the public.

” This approach is wrong because news men are part and parcel of the communities they live and work in and they should be fully involved in peace building initiatives throughout just like we do with other stakeholders;” she pointed out.

Its generally believed by most Kenyans that the media especially the vernacular radio stations and a section of the print media together with the electronic were reckless in the manner in which they covered events leading to and after the 2008 election whose results were disputed.

She said her organization was willing to sponsor journalists to do stories that will enhance peace initiatives in the region adding that apart from the media practitioners LCPI was already engaging with various security agencies in Kisumu and local political leadership to discuss how peaceful campaigns and electrons can be secured.

Kisumu has lately been in the news for the wrong reasons. Not long ago groups operating like those proscribed by the government were locked in a bitter war of supremacy which saw a number of their members hunted and arrested by the police.

And last week a prominent politician cum businessman Onyango Kwega was gunned down by three armed criminals an incident that sparked immediate protests throughout the City that left business and transport paralyzed for days.

Already there is fear amongst the City residents and the business community that if not checked violence is likely to rock the area as polls approaches with non confirmed reports indicating that some people are believed be considering or relocating for fear of the chaos .



By Dickens Wasonga reporting from Kisumu Kenya.

The Judiciary is set to hold a two-day media workshop in Nairobi from today as part of its efforts to open up to the media and enhance effective reporting of the ongoing transformation in the Kenyan courts.

The two-day workshop will bring together more than 250 journalists drawn from the state – owned Kenya News Agency (KNA) and members of the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) drawn from all the 47 counties, Kenya’s new governance units.

In a communication to the journalists invited to the conference, the Director, Public Affairs and Communications at the Judiciary, Naim Yaseen Bilal said the workshop was part of the efforts “to make the institution more accessible to the public”.

“The Judiciary is transforming as part of its efforts to live up to the dictates of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Many of its aspects and approaches are changing,” he added.

The workshop, organized by the Judiciary in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communications and Kenya Correspondents Association, is expected to herald the start of a sustained engagement between the Judiciary and the two institutions and journalists based in the counties to enhance effective and accurate reporting of judicial matters.

“We are convinced that a sustained engagement between the media and the Judiciary will enhance public confidence in the courts and improve service delivery to the ordinary Kenyans. Journalists will also have their capacity built to improve the reporting of court proceedings and related judicial processes,” said Oloo Janak, the KCA Chair in a statement.

During the two day workshop, media experts and judicial officers will discuss among others, the ongoing Transformation of the Judiciary, the Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities of Reporting the New Judiciary and Building partnerships between the Media and the Judiciary.

The journalists will also give the experiences and challenges they have faced in reporting the judiciary in the past and make recommendations on how to improve their interaction with and access to information from the judiciary.



By Dickens Wasonga,

Relative calm has returned to Kisumu City after two days of violent riots by angry protesters who trooped to the streets demonstrating against the killing of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party chairman Shem Onyango Kwega by armed assailants on Monday.

But even as uneasy calm was restored, Raila Odinga’s ODM party which still enjoys huge following in the country was calling on the government to conclusively investigate the motive of the killings and immediately bring to book those who are suspected to have gunned down Kwega, who was a prominent businessman and an influential Nyanza politician.

The party’s Secretary General Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyongo’ while addressing a press conference in Nairobi after the Monday incident described the slain politician as a hard working official whose invaluable contributions as the ODM chairman for Kisumu Town West constituency will be greatly missed.

The Monday morning shooting sparked off violent protests throughout the town paralyzing business and transport activities as his supporters and angry residents stormed Kisumu Central police division demanding immediate transfer of police chiefs in the City accusing them of laxity.

However the two day protests ended tragically with three people amongst them two women being burnt to death. The deceased persons reportedly sheltered at the shop to escape the wrath of anti riot policemen who descended on the demonstrators with batons and lobbying teargas canisters to quell the violent riots.

The fire at the shop which left the three dead was said to have been started by the police teargas but the authorities were quick to dismiss this assertion claiming it could have been as a result of an electrical fault.

Several people believed to have been shot by the police during the riots were said to be receiving treatment in various hospitals within the town where they were admitted.

The slain politician and his wife Rose Onyango were accosted by two gun men in their youths who blocked their car just moments after a breakfast meeting at a Kisumu hotel along Nyerere road at around 10 am.

The daring gangsters used a motorbike to lay the ambush but later took off in an escape car which they hijacked from a nearby car wash after the attack.

According to the police, Kwega was fatally shot twice on the head from close range and another bullet fired by his attackers pierced through his chest. His wife was also shot in the chest while trying to shield her husband and is currently fighting for her life at Aga khan hospital in Kisumu.

While those protesting the killing termed it an assassination, the police has dismissed the theory claiming it was purely a criminal attack.

Nyanza police boss Joseph Oletito yesterday dispelled the rumors of a possible assassination attack saying the two gangsters made away with sh 1.2 million from the victims.

He said the police were pursuing the assailants and promised that soon they would be arrested . But new wave of attacks and violent crime has left every Kisumu resident worried stiff.

In a span of less than a month, over five people have reportedly been killed by armed criminals who appears to have taken over control of the city literally with most people wondering whether the police are overwhelmed.

A security guard was found dead at the Kisumu’s SDA Victory church last week. The police said an estimated sh 200,000 offertory and other church valuables was stolen.

The same day , a pupil was found murdered and a headless body dumped at one of the estates in the City a few meters away from the church where the guard was killed in cold blood.

Reports of yet another chilling attack was made in the City when a top HIV and AIDS researcher at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) was hacked to death as he tried to gain access to his Tom Mboya residence.

And Kisumu continued to record deaths occasioned by criminals when a director of a security firm was reportedly waylaid and killed last night near Uzima University College.

It is shocking that despite the increased attacks by armed criminals, the police who appears to have been caught napping are yet to nab any of the suspects reigning terror on the lives of innocent tax payers of the beautiful lake side City.


Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch, left and former area MP Rev Ken Nyagudi address the protesters outside ODM party office in Kisumu yesterday.


By Dickens Wasonga

Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo plans to table a bill in Parliament seeking to restrain the government from depositing public coffers in foreign and private banks.

Speaking in Kisumu last week , Midiwo accused the government of doing business with some foreign and private banks a move he claimed was derailing investment.

“The kind of business the government is involved in with some foreign and private banks is a big impediment to investment in this country,” Midiwo said.

He blamed souring interest rates on the involvement between the government and the banks.

If successful, Midiwo said the bill will force the government to bank only with commercial banks where it has interest.

He said they will include the Kenya Commercial Bank, National Bank and the Consolidated Bank.

“The women and youth funds should be channeled through these three banks to avoid the high interest rates currently charged by the private banks,” he said.

Midiwo who is also the ODM chief whip said the bill will give the banks a proper capital base to enable them transact their businesses.

In March, amendments to the Finance Bill 2011/2012 sponsored by Midiwo to have the lending rates capped were defeated in Parliament.

Midiwo accused some MPs of shooting down the amendments.

“This market must be controlled. I will be introducing similar amendments to the Finance Bill 2012/2013,” he said.

Central Bank of Kenya‘s Monetary Policy Committee reduced the Central Bank’s base lending rate to 16.5 per cent down from 18 percent on in July.

The MPC attributed the lowering to improvements in inflation and the local currency exchange rate.

The proposals to have interest rates controlled has been a contentious issue for more than a decade and since the introduction of Finance Bill 2011/2012, parliament had rejected the bill forcing the Finance minister to withdraw it twice.

The failed amendments had proposed to cap interest rates on loans at at most 4 per-cent points more than the then 18 per cent Central Bank Rate, which would have put the cap at 22 per cent and put a base on deposit interests at 12.6 percent.



By Dickens Wasonga.

Uhuru Kenyatta, a presidential candidate for The National Alliance party TNA made a surprise visit to Kisumu City, considered Raila Odinga’s back yard and got a rare warm reception

Lining up in most City streets within Kisumu residents gave the National Alliance party {TNA} Presidential contender a heroic welcome and urged him to feel free to visit the lake side City whenever he felt like and ask for votes.

Braving the scotching morning sun the jubilant residents filled the air with chants of the Party’s slogan “I believe” while receiving Uhuru Kenyatta who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

Uhuru’s entourage hard a smooth ride in the City nailing a widely held perception that Raila’s political opponents are not welcome in the area.

As a show of political maturity those who turned up to welcome him urged Uhuru to make a come back to the lake side city so as to hold a political rally with an aim of selling TNA’s policies to the locals.

Addressing several impromptu rallies beginning with a mammoth crowd that gathered at Kisumu’s Jua Kali area near Kamas, along Oginga Odinga Street, and the Kisumu’s main bus terminus , Uhuru praised the residents for their warm reception and asked them to continue to do so to other presidential aspirants who are seeking votes ahead of the next genera elections.

The deputy premier assured voters that should Raila win he will concede the defeat and asked the PM and all those who are contesting for the country’s top seat to do the same.

He said Kenyans should respect every political leader and give each one of them equal opportunities for campaigns, adding that every candidate has a right to campaign in any part of the country without fear, of intimidation or harassment.

Uhuru who will be trying his luck in the hotly contested seat for the second time added that time for tribal politics is long gone adding that politicians who are still championing for tribal politics risk plunging the country to anarchy and urged the public to shun them.

He condemned the recent killings in Tana River County terming it unfortunate and called for tolerance among communities living in the region. On the issue of the ongoing nationwide teachers’ strike, the DPM said there was need for dialogue between the Government and the Teachers’ unions so as to solve the issue in an amicably.

The DPM who made a stop over on his way to Ndhiwa constituency to drum up support for the party’s candidate for a by election slated next Monday was accompanied by several MPs among them Ferdinand Waititu, kereke Mbiuki, Minthika Linturi.

Cabinet Ministers Naomi Shaban, Jamleck Kamau and Assistant Minister Wilfred Ombui also accompanied Uhuru during in the tour.



By Dickens Wasonga.

The Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Owino Omollo who is aspiring for the Kisumu County Governorship has said that poverty in the region was politically induced by the past leadership and regimes.

Speaking in Kisumu soon after landing at the International Airport to stamp a mark as one of the potential contenders to the high office this morning, Omollo pledged to work to be known for fighting corruption by putting structures and systems in place to ensure projects initiated during his tenure benefits the local residents.

Owino said he was confident to win the gubernatorial seat owing to his vast experience spanning over 34 years during which he served in the government in different capacities before becoming the Deputy Clerk to the August House.

He challenged Kisumu County voters thoroughly probe the records of all those aspiring to various elective positions to ensure that they have committed people in the right places to spur economic growth of the County.

Referring to the 1993 Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) Report, Omollo disclosed that it depicted an interesting disclosure that a police post in Rongo which was purported to have been built at a cost of 300 million yet nothing was done on the ground, describing this as unfortunate and corrupt activities that will be history in Kisumu County if elected.

“If we fight corruption from a united front we will not only save government money but also double wealth production across the Country”, he said exuding confidence.

Omollo said that with the completion of Kisumu International Airport, he will prioritize the production of horticultural crops on a commercial scale so as to fully capitalize on the use of the facility to export outside the country.

He pledged to ensure that the government posts agricultural extension officers to work closely with the local farmers in a bid to boost food security,paraphrasing former Tanzanian president the Late Julius Nyerere that “Kazi kwa bidii bila maarifa ni kazi bure” (You need to work smart and hard to realize returns).

The Kisumu County Aspirant Governor who hails from Awasi in Nyando District of Kisumu County decried sugar cane farming which has turned out to be commonly referred to as ‘cursed’ crop which has continued to impoverish farmers even more instead of improving their economic status over the decades.

“It will be my first priority to ensure that the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) decentralizes its headquarters fro Nairobi to the sugar belt (Kisumu and Kakamega) so that they can bring services closer to the target group”, he argued.

Omollo said it was unfortunate that some fellows who have never seen what sugar cane looks like have become billionaires and hails from outside Western Kenya region and as such have not been able to effectively promote the interest of farmers other than staying focused on enriching themselves.

“Our sugarcane farmers should also be discouraged from planting the ratoon but instead be provide with certified and fast maturing quality seeds, apart from promoting the use of irrigation in the vast area of Kano plains and the entire sugar belt covering Western Province as well to maximize income” , he said.

Omollo said that with credit, fertilizer and certified seeds the farmers will greatly transform their economic status and kick out poverty from their midst and as well as facilitate the growth of Kisumu County’s economy as anticipated by the various stakeholders fro within and outside the region.

The politician said it was unfortunate that farmers were being deducted millions of shillings in terms of cess fro cane delivered in various to the various factories but the road networks were still in a pathetic state thus forcing them to continue meeting the increased cost charged on cane production.

Apart from sugar cane, the politician stated, Kisumu County has huge potential in the rice fields in Kano, the fishing industry, Lake Victoria and numerous rivers which can all be tapped to help facilitate economic growth under the new devolved system of government Kenyans eagerly await to usher in come next year.

On the recent fire incident which razed a dormitory in Homa Bay County where eight pupils perished,Omollo appealed to teachers to put in place measures aimed at ensuring safety of the learners and restore hope in the parents who have entrusted them with the noble responsibility.

While condoling the bereaved families,Omollo said he shared in their pain and anguish while at the same time urging respective headteachers to strive to make their schools safe havens.

The Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly revealed that he has already submitted his application for retirement which has been accepted and he is set to leave office by December 3, 2012 to start his campaign proper.



By Dickens Wasonga

Leaders continued to condemn attacks on Raila Odinga’s former adviser on coalition matters Miguna Miguna by those opposed to a controversial book ” PEELING BACK THE MASK” which he authored.

The National Alliance Party Secretary General, Onyango Oloo has condemned attacks on former Odinga’s aide across the country terming it as primitive and a manifestation of political intolerance among some Kenyans.

Speaking in Kisumu on Monday Oloo whose party is led by Uhuru Kenyatta said the attacks and humiliation Miguna was subjected to in Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa was unwarranted and asked those opposed to his views in the controversial book “Peeling Back the Mask” to keep off the meetings instead of disrupting them.

He said every Kenyan had a constitutional right to freely express their opinion, especially on issues touching on leadership and integrity without being harassed and as such, Miguna should be allowed to enjoy such rights.

“Kenya has institutions that can effectively deal with Miguna if anybody feels he has infringed on their rights. The police and other security agencies can be called upon if necessary but hooligans have been left to have a field day visiting terror on the man”, he said.

Oloo said it was unfair for the police to fail to prosecute those who were captured on TV footage molesting Miguna in the three towns he visited in a bid to promote his book.

Since he embarked on his mission to promote the book in the counties a month after it was launched in Nairobi, Miguna has got very hostile receptions across the regions so far visited with Nyeri, president Khaki’s home turf being the only exception.

The TNA Secretary General said Kenya should not be allowed to go back to the dark days when freedom of speech was curtailed through unorthodox means and even state machinery.

He took issue with the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga for not coming out to condemn the attacks on Miguna by people believed to be his supporters.

Other leaders who have since spoke against attacks on the author includes Nark- Kenya presidential candidate Martha Karua, Eugene Wamalwa of New Ford Kenya, William Ruto of United Republican Party among others.

Oloo at the same time called on political leaders to preach peace as the country heads to the general elections, adding that violence so far witnessed in certain parts of the country such as Wajir , Moyale and Tana River areas which left several people dead and others displaced could be traced to careless utterances by some political leaders.

He said it was this kind of charged political environment flamed by reckless rhetoric that saw Kenya plunge into chaos after the 2007 general elections.

The TNA Secretary General challenged the State security agents to be proactive rather than wait until people get killed before they deploy officers to the ground when the damage is already done.

About working as G7 alliance Oloo said his party TNA was yet to enter into any legal merger or coalition with any political party and as such they were strategically placing themselves to capture the Presidency.


Sh 15 million needed to boost tourism in western Kenya.

By Dickens Wasonga.

The Western Kenya Tourism Circuit requires 15 million shillings to fully exploit its vast potential, the Chairman, Lake Victoria Tourism Association (LVTA), Daniel Okumu has revealed.

Okumu said during an interview held at Parkview hotel that they plan to hold a cultural dinner next Friday in the lakeside city expected to run from 6pm to midnight and will promote traditional dishes, African attire and music.

Accompanied by Parkview Hotel Manager, Robinson Anyal and LVTA CEO, Anthony Ochieng’, the chairman and Anyal disclosed that the event seeks to promote not only African culture but also food security, research activities on traditional foodstuff as well as cultural tourism which is sustainable.

However, Anyal admitted that although the area has relied on Eco-tourism, it was not one of its strong areas and so the need to focus on the promotion of cultural tourism which will be done every week.

Anyal decried the fact that western culture has been slowly killing the African culture and this has given them a new impetus and zeal to strive to change our eating habits if we stop young people aged as low as five years currently dying from cancer related complications.

The CEO disclosed that the Region’s cultural Event is also set for November 21to 23 at Jomo Kenyatta sports Ground and will culminate in a gala night after a boat racing competition.

“During the much anticipated event we have lined up many activities including cock fights, wrestling and tero buru (traditional event) usually conducted using animals to exorcise demons after burying a prominent person among the Luo community”, he explained.

Anyal pointed out that the Western Kenya Tourism Circuit has for decades been neglected thus making foreign and local visitors prefer going to the coast and so appealed to the media to help showcase and effectively market the region to fully exploit its abundant potential.

Ochieng on his part disclosed that they have projected a budget of 10 million shillings to fund the Western Kenya Cultural Festival and has worked closely with the ministry of tourism, Culture and Heritage among other government agencies who are also expected to come on board.

It emerged at the forum that the organizations and government agencies charged with promoting tourism activities in the area have not effectively tackled the water hyacinth menace as has been done in the neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania to open up the lake for sports tourism.

According to LVTA chairman, Okumu the hyacinth weed has been made to spread faster owing to the persistent dumping of waste products from Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO), Kisumu City Council and effluent from the numerous industries within Kisumu.

Okumu remembered with nostalgia the good old days when a steam boat from Kisumu to Homa Bay could take a very short time as opposed to now when some of the big ships have been marooned in the lake owing to the water hyacinth.

“ We cannot continue allowing the Western Kenya Tourism Circuit to be neglected but must play a proactive role to jump start the abundant potential by encouraging locals to invest in the sector by building modern hotels to provide accommodation before looking up to foreign investors.