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Politics

Governor Fernandes Barasa

The Whispers of Kakamega

In the realm of political discourse, rumors have a way of shaping perceptions and influencing decisions. The latest buzz in Kakamega County revolves around Governor Fernandes Barasa and speculation regarding his potential exit from the political stage.

The Rumor Mill: Fernandes Barasa’s Potential Exit

Speculation and Uncertainty

Whispers have been circulating in Kakamega’s political circles, suggesting that Governor Fernandes Barasa may not seek re-election in 2027. However, the reasons behind this purported decision remain murky, fueling speculation and uncertainty among residents and observers alike.

Fernandes Barasa: A Political Figure in Kakamega

Background and Career Highlights

Governor Fernandes Barasa is no stranger to the political arena of Kakamega County. His career has been marked by a dedication to public service and a commitment to addressing the needs of the community. From his early days in politics to his current role as governor, Barasa has left an indelible mark on Kakamega’s political landscape.

Reasons Behind the Speculation

Personal Considerations vs. Political Motives

As rumors swirl about Governor Barasa’s potential exit, theories abound regarding the motivations behind such a decision. Some speculate that personal factors may be at play, while others suggest deeper political motives driving the rumored move. Without concrete information, residents are left to ponder the possibilities and implications.

Assessing Barasa’s Tenure as Governor

Achievements and Challenges

Governor Barasa’s tenure has been characterized by both triumphs and challenges. His leadership style, policies, and initiatives have garnered mixed reactions from residents and political observers. As discussions about his future unfold, reflections on his time in office shape the discourse surrounding Kakamega’s governance.

The Impact of Barasa’s Potential Exit

Implications for Kakamega County

The prospect of Governor Barasa’s departure raises questions about the future trajectory of Kakamega County. How will his absence affect ongoing projects and initiatives? What implications will it have for the political landscape and governance structures? These are among the many concerns weighing on the minds of residents.

Read: NHIF Scandal Involving Aden Duale, Abdul Galgalo Munishram, Geoffrey Gitau Mwangi, and Wilbert Kiplangat Kurgat

The Need for Official Clarification

Easing Tensions and Uncertainties

Amidst the speculation and uncertainty, there is a pressing need for official clarification from Governor Barasa. Addressing the rumors directly can help alleviate tensions and provide residents with the clarity they seek. Until then, the community remains in a state of limbo, awaiting confirmation or denial of the swirling rumors.

As the whispers of Kakamega grow louder, residents and observers alike find themselves caught in a web of speculation and intrigue. The future of the county hangs in the balance as Governor Barasa’s rumored exit continues to dominate conversations. Only time will tell whether these rumors hold any truth, but until then, the search for clarity continues in the corridors of political discourse.

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  • Erick Mwangi Wamumbi

  • Wamatinga Wahome

Two politicians from Nyeri County are at the risk of being arrested and charged with malicious damage to properties belonging to Patiala Distillers Limited.

Erick Mwangi Wamumbi the Mathira members of parliament, and Wamatinga Wahome the senator for Nyeri are alleged to have stormed a police station  and destroyed alcohol products belonging to Patiala Distillers that were seized by officers for allegedly killing people.

In a letter written to the the Ethics and Anti corruption (“EACC”) through city lawyer Danstan Omari, Patiala company is accusing the two politicians for destroying the products that were yet to be tested by the government agencies for allegedly killing people in the region.

“I have been instructed to write a letter to the EACC to investigate the conduct of the two politicians who mobilize residents in Nyeri to a police station to take away products belonging to my client’s company, This is against the law, and action needs to be taken, “said Omari.

Omari, who also said that he will be moving to court to sue the two politicians for defamation for allegedly destroying the image of the company by saying that it’s selling counterfeit products in Central, also told journalists at the conference that he will write another letter to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (“IPOA”) to investigate the conduct of all the police officers who were present during the raid.

“We are yet to know how the community and the two politicians invaded a police station that is well manned with tight security, and we’ll train police officers to be attached, took away the company’s products, and destroy them, Police are supposed to protect people’s property and not support hooligans at the station,” said Omari.

During the visit to the company’s headquarters, members of the press led by the management were taken through the process of manufacturing alcohol products, they were also shown all the certify government documents that were awarded to Patiala Company before it was granted permission to operate 15 years ago.

The highly seasoned advocate also took swipe at the deputy president, Rigathi Gachagua, for politicizing the issue of alcohol in the Mt. Kenya region by fighting small business entities.

“I want to ask the deputy president, Rigathi Gachagua, to protect the small businesses as they promised during the swearing in with the president, Dr. William Ruto, You can’t kill small businesses in the name of fighting alcohol, yet the same business has employed many Kenyans at the same time it’s paying billions of taxes since it’s inception, “said Omari.

The residents, led by area lawmaker Eric Wamumbi and Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga, staged a raid at the Deputy County Commissioners’ Office, citing concern that the liquor may be clandestinely released into the market.

Police had seized the condemned alcohol during an operation in Karatina town labeling the brand of the confiscated alcohol as counterfeit

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Governor for Trans Nzoia George Natembeya speaking in Kitale on February 18th 2024

Governor for Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya says operations in his county have been paralysed by a financial crisis.

Natembeya has criticised the national treasury for failing to release funds to counties for the last four month.

“Our services are now crippled because treasury has been withholding the county share of national revenue”, said Natembeya.

Natembeya says te county administration has had to rely on loans from financial institutions to pay its workers’ salaries as the delays in disbursements hinder effective service delivery.

Governor for Trans Nzoia George Natembeya speaking in Kitale on February 18th 2024

Governor for Trans Nzoia George Natembeya speaking in Kitale on February 18th 2024

“The county government has not received even a single penny from the National Treasury since November 2023,” Natembeya said.

The county boss said even the month of February nears the end, there was still no sign of remittance from treasury.

Natembeya was speaking at Kamukunji area in Bidii Ward on Tuesday.

He criticized legislators from the county whom he claimed were engaging in what he termed as “nonsensical politics” instead of advocating for the counties to receive resources.

The governor pointed out that a section of the MPs from the county were spreading false information that he does not work harmoniously with them.

“I work with the MCAs and that is what the constitution stipulates. There is the county executive and the county legislators and we are working together,” said Natembeya.

Senator for Trans Nzoia Allan Chesang is among the leaders in the county who have critical of the county administration.

“As leaders we should not dwell on politics of mudslinging each other. We should behave as leaders”, said Natembeya.

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Museveni

A group of activists referring to themselves as “friends of Uganda” have filed a petition to the government of Denmark appealing for a suspension of funding to the Ugandan government over its human rights record.

In the February 14th 2024 letter to the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Mr Dan Jorgensen, the activists are calling for an urgent suspension of funding to the Ugandan government and halting support for the environmentally contentious East African Crude Oil Project(EACOP).

“We write to express our deep concern regarding your past and the recent financial
support extended to Mr Museveni’s regime by the Danish government, as reported in the meeting on January 24,
2024,” reads the petition in part.

 

“The substantial funds allocated, ostensibly for climate change and refugees, have raised
alarm given the ongoing human rights violations, displacement, and environmental degradation associated with the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in Uganda.” Adds the petitioners.

The petitioners allege that the EACOP initiative has been marred by egregious acts such as land grabbing, illegal
displacements, and environmental harm since its inception in 2017. They also note that there have been disturbing trends of gross human rights violations, especially concerning the construction of the pipeline which has adversely impacted local communities, wildlife, and the overall climate.

They also accuse the Kampala regime of misappropriating most of the financial support provided to the country, resulting in the purchase of arms, tear gas, and other tools of oppression, rather than addressing the urgent needs of the people of Uganda.

The situation, they claim, has led to the displacement of countless individuals, who now reside in makeshift camps under deplorable conditions without compensation for their losses.

Also protested is the recent request by Mr. Museveni for the Danish government’s support in the  ‘wetland reclamation program which they say “is deeply troubling.”

“ We must question the legitimacy of such initiatives and ensure that funds are directed towards transparent and accountable projects that genuinely benefit the Ugandan population,”

Bobi Wine

“Numerous reports and documented cases highlight the severe human rights abuses, arrests, and illegal detentions of individuals advocating for their rights and protesting against the EACOP project. The lack of due diligence before extending financial support is a matter of grave concern, and we urge the Danish government to reassess its involvement in this project.” They submit.

In light of the above, the petitioners have, therefore, demanded the Ceasing of all financial support to Mr Museveni’s regime and the EACOP project immediately, a public declaration by Denmark that the country will not contribute further to the EACOP project and a commitment to advocate for other nations, including the UK, EU, USA, Germany, and others, to withdraw support for the EACOP project.

“The consequences of continued funding to Mr Museveni’s regime and the EACOP project are dire, with lasting effects on the human rights, environment, and future of Uganda. We implore you to act swiftly and decisively in the interest of justice, human rights, and accountability.”

“For a comprehensive understanding of the situation, we encourage you to review the evidence we have compiled, including videos, pictures, and news articles, available through the following links,” the petitioners further appeal.

Museveni Museveni

The petition also delved into the 2021 contested general elections which they claim was violent with President Museveni exerting a lot of undue brutality on opposition supporters, many of whom remain incarcerated to date. Based on the above, they are of the view that stringent conditions are put in place before advancing any more support to the regime in Kampala.

“Given the alarming documentary evidence by the BBC detailing President Museveni’s brutal actions during the 2021 presidential election campaigns in Uganda, it is imperative that conditions are established before providing any further funding to his administration. The ongoing reports of abductions, rape, torture, and murder indicate a clear violation of human rights in the country. To ensure that funds are utilised for the betterment of Ugandans and not to further oppress them, stringent preconditions must be implemented.”

“These conditions should prioritise the respect for human rights, accountability, and transparency, ensuring that the financial assistance serves its intended purpose and contributes positively to the well-being of the Ugandan people.” The petition further demands, with hope “that Denmark will stand on the right side of history.”

January 24, President Museveni met with the Danish Envoy, Mr. Dan Jorgensen, who is the Minister for Development Cooperation & Global Climate Policy, and his delegation at State Lodge Nakasero where he requested the Danish government’s support for his wetland reclamation program, which aims to address the issue of illegal rice growers in swamps that serve as important sources of rainfall in Uganda.

Museveni
“I have a wetland reclamation program to encourage these illegal rice growers in swamps to relocate. They are there illegally, so I try to incentivize them. I wouldn’t call it compensation because they are the ones in the wrong. Therefore, if you can mobilize funding to incentivize them to leave the swamps and engage in fish farming on the periphery instead of the centre,” President Museveni explained.
In response, the Danish envoy appreciated President Museveni’s efforts and commitment to addressing climate change and refugee issues. He expressed Denmark’s willingness to support Uganda’s wetland reclamation program and contribute $95 million to help mitigate the effects of climate change and provide assistance to refugees.

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Mwale Hospital
  • Health Ministry Disowns Butere based Mwale Hospital and Leaders Urge Government to open investigation

After revelations that the much touted Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) is a phantom project a section of leaders from Western region and residents of Butere now want the government to investigate individuals behind it.

This came as it emerged that both the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Board (KMPDB) disowned the existence of the much hyped 5000 bed capacity hospital in Butere, terming it a creation of the media.

The leaders are now calling upon President William Ruto to order the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to launch investigations into claims by the self-proclaimed multimillionaire Julius Mwale that the facility was operational when it was not.

Former Butere Legislator Andrew Toboso said that despite the much hype both locally and internationally, there is nothing on the ground.

Toboso dismissed claims of the existence of a 5000 bed capacity Hamptons hospital, a 36-hole golf course, a shopping complex and an international airport at where MMTC is situated.

“Forget about the hype you have been seeing in the media. On the ground, there is nothing apart from some two or three buildings enclosed in some compound. The existence of a 5000 bed capacity hospital would pronounce itself without necessarily waiting to be advertised,” Toboso told journalists.

Toboso is the third senior personality from Butere to question the lies surrounding the existence of MMTC after former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Central Organisation of Trad Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli told donors not to b hoodwinked by a phantom project.

Oparanya, who hails from Butere and who was vocal against the project at one time, before signing an agreement with the lead investor Mwale, says the whole thing is shrouded in controversy and mystery.

“On the ground there is nothing, but we read in the press about how there is an ultra-modern hospital with state of the art equipment. We have also been told of the existence of a 36-hole golf course that nobody has ever seen,” Oparanya had said in an interview.

“Logically do you believe the story of the existence of a 5000 bed hospital capacity? If Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has only about 2,500 beds and is considered to be the biggest in East and Central Africa, then a 5000 bed capacity should be the biggest in the continent. But who are the patients that it treats?” Oparanya questioned.

Atwoli on the other hand, had said he has never heard of anybody from Butere or within Western region, who has ever used the purported airport, golf course or the hospital.

Talking to journalists, Toboso disclosed that he would soon petition Parliament to summon the DCI over the phantom project.

It has also emerged that the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Board (KMPDB) are yet to be furnished with details of the alleged 5000 bed capacity hospital at MMTC.

The acting Director General for Health Dr Patrick Amoth when contacted said the so called Hamptons hospital was yet to be registered with the Ministry even if it existed.

“Just like all other Kenyans, we have only been reading about that hospital in the media. But the government is not aware of the existence of such facility. We have not even received any application for its operation,” said Dr Amonth.

Elsewhere, a source at the KMPDB, which is charged with the responsibility of regulating all hospitals in Kenya, disclosed that there is no facility called Hamptons hospital.

“Have you visited the place and seen any patient being treated there? Or even have u ever heard of anybody who has ever been treated,” one of the senior officials of KMPB told journalists.

The Secretary General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), an official lobby group for the doctors’ welfare , Dr Davji Atellah cautioned Kenyans to be wary of certain facilities being bandied around on social media.

“We would like to caution Kenyans to be careful about that facility being bandied around because so far, w have not had any of our accredited doctors working there. And neither are w even aware of its existence,” said Dr Atellah.

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The leader of Talanta Hella Rally Ladies have thanked President William Ruto and CS Ababu Namwamba for their overwhelming support as they Gear Up for Competition

Under the guidance of their team leader Pauline Sheghu, accompanied by Linet Ayuko, Tash Tundo/Chantal Young (navigator), Caroline Gatimu with navigator Tinashe Gatimu, and Jennifer Malik partnered with navigator Wangui Koi, the Talanta Hela Rally Ladies have expressed profound gratitude to President William Ruto and Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba for their indispensable support as they prepare for this year’s Talanta Ladies Rally race.

Pauline Sheghu, speaking on behalf of the team, seized the opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary for their patronage, which has been instrumental for the team’s second consecutive year in the WRC Safari Rally. She acknowledged the significant role played by the Kenya Kwanza government, led by President Ruto, in advancing their motorsport endeavors.

“The government’s support, now for the second year under President Ruto’s leadership, is something we cherish deeply. It’s our chance to show the world that women can outshine in this domain,” Sheghu remarked.

As team leader, Sheghu expressed pride in witnessing the preparation of the women for this year’s WRC Safari Rally, themed ‘Easter na Rally.’ She assured that her team is primed and eager for the challenge ahead.

“Our cars, emblazoned with the Talanta Hela brand, will be proudly flagged off by President Ruto at the iconic KICC, with the race culminating at Hell’s Gate. We are truly thankful for CS Ababu’s backing and we are committed to living up to the expectations of him, the PS, the ministry, and our supporters,” Sheghu added.

She highlighted the team’s readiness to compete with the aim of surpassing their performance from 2023, emphasizing the importance of a safe and successful finish. The team is both mentally and physically prepared, with efforts underway to ensure the race cars and service team are ready for the event.

Sheghu also pointed out that the support they received has increased their visibility, encouraging more corporate entities to support the team. The exposure is particularly beneficial for the young rally career of Tinashe. The Talanta Hela team members – Sheghu, Ayuko, the Gatimus team, Tundo, Young, Malik, and Wangui-Koi – remain steadfast, with the anticipation of welcoming a new fifth team, which will soon be confirmed as part of the Talanta Hela Rally lineup.

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Raila

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga has strongly condemned President William Ruto’s vile attack on the judiciary.

Speaking during a presser in Mombasa on January 3, 2023, Raila claimed that Ruto was trying to capture the judiciary after putting Parliament under his firm control.

The Azimio leader further stated that Ruto seeks to intimidate, subdue, and capture the judiciary so that judges will always dance to his tune.

This is not about the Judiciary, this is about where Ruto wishes to take Kenya and what it means for Kenyans. Having captured Parliament, Ruto now wants to intimidate, subdue and capture the Judiciary. He wants the judges not to hear cases against his policies, dismiss those cases or always rule in his favour. In other words, Ruto wants absolute dictatorship,” Raila said.

The Azimio leader called on the Judiciary to stand firm and not to be cowed by Ruto’s threats.

“We appeal to the Judiciary to stand firm defence of professionalism, independence, rule of law and constitutionalism,” Raila said.

“In this Judiciary, I see a product of the old struggle against a vicious dictatorship,” he added.

Ruto slams Judiciary

Speaking on Tuesday, January 2, 2023, Ruto accused some judges of being corrupt and colluding with cartels to sabotage government projects.

“I want to announce here that few people with vested interests who are beneficiaries of corruption in NHIF are now ganging up with corrupt judicial officers to stall reforms so that fake hospitals claims will continue. I want to assure you that this will not happen in Kenya again and we will stop it,” he said.

“We will not allow these people to derail our plans. The corruption enterprise must come to an end. We’ll deal with them firmly.”

This comes a month after Justices David Majanja, Christine Meoli and Lawrence Mugambi declared the Housing Levy unconstitutional and its continued implementation a contravention of the constitution.

The court, however, allowed the government to continue collecting the levy until January 10 when the case will be mentioned.

The court also suspended the planned implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act, which was aimed at creating the Social Health Insurance Fund to replace the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

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Waiguru retains seat: Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru has been re-elected for the second time as the chairperson of the Council Of Governors.

The elections were held today at their Delta offices, where the Executive and Technical Committee council re-elected Waiguru as the chairperson to serve for another one year.

Waiguru has served as the chair since 2022 when she took over from former Embu governor Martin Wambora.

She previously served as the first female vice chairperson from December 2017 to January 2019.

On the other hand, Wajir governor Ahmed Abdullahi also retained his seat as the Council Of Governors vice chairperson to serve for the same period.

Other governors who retained their seats include Tharaka Nithi governor Muthomi Njuki in the Health committee. The Energy, Roads, Transport, and Infrastructure Committee was retained by Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi.

Finance planning and Economic Affairs were maintained by Kakamega governor Fernandez Barasa.

Patrick Ole Ntutu retained his position for tourism and Wildlife, his Bungoma counterpart Kenneth Lusaka retained the Agriculture, Livestock, and Cooperatives docket, Nathif Jama for Arid, Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL), Kisumu’s Anyang’ Nyong’o will chair the Disaster Management Committee, Land Housing and Urban Development and Issa Timamy for the Blue Economy docket.

The Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja however lost The Human Resources, Labour, and Social Welfare docket to his Nyeri counterpart Mutahi Kahiga.

Nakuru’s Susan Kihika has been chosen to replace Wavinya Ndeti of Machakos to chair the Trade, Industry, and Enterprise Development committee.

Tana River’s Dhadho Godhana lost to Baringo’s Benjamin Cheboi to chair the security and Foreign Affairs committee.

During the meeting, the governors addressed some important issues to be presented at the National Dialogue Committee including having similar provisions for impeachment as that of the president to ensure that the impeachment process is not abused.

They are also seeking to have provisions for the recall of Members of Parliament be applied to them.

The Council Of Governors also wants an equitable share of revenue increase from the current 15 percent to 45 percent.

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Marsabit Governor Mohamud Mohammed Ali has announced that he will be retiring from active politics after completing his term in 2027.

Mohamud who is currently the Deputy leader of United Democratic Movement which under The Kenya Kwanza, is serving his second term as a governor.

Mohamud was speaking during a consultative forum with 140 Borana council of Elders on Sunday in Moyale town.

“Many of you have asked me about my next move after the expiring of my term. Let me dispel any rumors -you will not see me near any elective post come 2027, ” he said.

Mohamud added that after his term, he will not degrade himself to vie for a senatorial seat. He went on to say that it’s naturally impossible for an elder to become a child once again.

He either promised that even though he is retiring from active politics, he will still be actively involved in leading the Borana community in the right direction under the guidance of the elders.

He continued to share the challenges he encountered during his two-term tenure and that he did not have any intention to interfere with any one’s political aspirations and that they should experience it firsthand.

This announcement was met with a lot of criticism from his close political friends cum enemies -Uran ward MCA Halkano Konso, Saku MP Hon Dido Ali Rasso and Senator Mohammed Chute.

During the forumn, the elders welcomed the governor’s decision and promised to join him in preaching unity across the county.

The elders came to an agreement by making resolutions that would make peace among the people of Marsabit. Among the resolutions include; immediate cessation of political fights on local vernacular radio e, social media platforms like Whatsapp and opt to resolve any pertinent matter through traditional elders.

“We as the Borana community, we have structures and guidelines to iron out matters from any aggrieved party. Let us utilize it well for our own being, ” said elder Galm Dabasso.

The governor also took the advantage of the forumn to come out clean and defend his administration against negative criticism from a section of residents and political leaders.

In August, Senator Chute wrote to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate alleged misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds by the county government of Marsabit amounting to KSH 2.1 billion.

The EACC presented a report before the Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) which revealed that Marsabit was in leading in terms of corruption cases.

Mohamud is being faced with 90 graft cases which already are under investigations.

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