INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO THE USALAMA WATCH OPERATION

Macharia Njeru

Macharia Njeru, IPOA Chairman

The Independent Police Oversight Commission (IPOA) has launched an official investigation to probe the manner in which the police have carried out the recent security operations that are currently taking place across the country.

The commission, whose mission is to conduct impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitoring of the National Police Service to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism in the interest of the public, has already  send out investigators at several police stations where alleged immigrants are being held including  the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport detention centers to look into the matter.

Other investigators have also been dispatched to the Kasarani Stadium where thousands are being detained for being in Kenya illegally.The investigation comes at the height of much criticism from a section of the public and both political and religious leaders who have accused the police of ethnic profiling of individuals, harassment and arbitrary arrests among other atrocities during the Usalama watch operation which began in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate at the height of the numerous terror attacks that rocked the area and Mombasa County in the recent past.

Last week on Friday,the National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened to withdraw support for the Jubilee government over what he termed as arbitrary arrests of “his people“.

“We stand by the interests of our people. There should be no doubt about that,” Mr. Duale said adding that they were elected by the Muslim community and they shall defend their interests.He was speaking at a rally in Eastleigh attended by over 20 MPs and Senators from North Eastern, Coast and Upper Eastern regions where Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow accused the government of encouraging youth radicalization by the way it was fighting terrorism.

Aden Duale

Muslim leader Aden Duale

The criticism notwithstanding, the crackdown on illegal immigrants has so far been extended to the 47 counties as police step up the fight against crime and terrorism even as questions are being raised on whether the operation will bring a lasting solution to the increased terror attacks and threats to the country.

So far, scores of people have been arrested and are being detained for being in the country illegally and others have been earmarked for deportation.

According to the IPOA Chairperson Macharia Njeru, the investigations being undertaken by his team are focused around the alleged profiling of members of certain ethnic groups, unlawful detention and deportations of individuals.  He maintains that disciplinary action will be taken against individual members of the National Police Service who will be found guilty of the alleged crimes.

IPOA was established through an Act of Parliament published in November 2011 to provide for civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya.

Well security must be maintained by all means but then again as Macharia Njeru maintains ”Despite increased wave of crime, including various acts of terrorism, IPOA is of the firm view that the only way to deal with suspected perpetrators, is through the rule of law and more so by ensuring all security operations meet the Constitutional threshold of respect for human rights”.

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AFRICA RICHEST MAN NOW AMONG THE TOP 25 RICHEST MEN IN THE PLANET

Aliko Dangote joins the World Top 25 rich list

Aliko Dangote joins the World Top 25 rich list

Aliko Dangote of Nigeria has become the first African billionaire to appear on the top 25 list of the worlds richest in the Forbes 2014 rankings.

With a net Worth of $25 billion, Dangote has moved up 20 spots in the Forbes’ latest updated list and is ranked the 23rd richest person in the world and the richest man in Africa. The billionaire made his first fortune more than three decades ago when he started trading commodities with a loan from his powerful uncle.

In 2013, the Nigerian billionaire surpassed Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi  by over $2.6 billion to become the world’s richest black man.

Dangote owns the Dangote Group, which is the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest in Africa at large. The group has interests across a range of sectors in Africa and current interests include among others cement, sugar, flour, actually the three commodities which are attributed to the growth of his fortune.

The billionaire is however reported to be investing into new projects in the oil and natural gas, telecommunications, fertilizer and steel industries.

According to Forbes, Dangote recently announced a $9 billion in financing from a consortium of local and international lenders to construct a private oil refinery, fertilizer and petrochemical complex in the country.

His publicly traded Dangote Cement which is Nigeria’s largest cement producer has plans to expand in 13 other African countries with $750 million in new plants planned for Kenya and Niger.

Forbes ranks the world’s richest persons based on their net worth, valuating their individual assets–including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash–and taking into account estimates of debt.

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LOOMING HOUSING SHORTAGE FOR KENYA’S MIDDLE CLASS

Shortage of houses in Nairobi

Shortage of houses in Nairobi

There is a looming acute shortage for housing in Nairobi County for the urban middle class, a new report has revealed. According to the STATE OF DEVELOPMENT REPORT, which was released by the Kenya Property Developers Association and HassConsult last week the city’s population is growing at an average of 7 per cent per annum however housing is growing at a snail’s pace.

As reported, the middle-income class is increasing at a very fast rate and the housing gap is expected to hit a shortfall of 1.6 million units by 2030.

The report attributes the much foreseen housing shortage in the city to failed development goals, sharp increases in land rates and higher city council construction and permit fees which were raised by between 200 times and 1,250 times their previous level; For instance, the country’s aim was to be building 200,000 housing units a year in Nairobi to create a world class middle-income city by 2030. But in 2013, just 15,000 housing units were planned with more than 90% being apartments.

The gap between lending rates and the Central Bank of Kenya’s base rate has also been blamed for further intensifying interest rates for the financing of both development and property buying.

“Nairobi has declared its intention to emerge as a world class city, but this depends on a sharp increase in construction where current trends are instead slowing down the development industry’s rate of growth,” said Robyn Emerson, CEO of KPDA.

HIGH PROPERTY PRICES

The prices of property in the country are also reported to have risen almost three-fold in the last decade, making home ownership a preserve of the rich as majority of the population are forced to contend with renting. As the STATE OF DEVELOPMENT REPORT indicates, “the market is underleveraged, with a near insignificant proportion of mortgage financed purchasing, and ongoing demand growth and rising shortages – making for a resilient price trend through all shocks.”

The report also points out the lack of affordable home loans which is steering the rising demand for the rental market. It’s believed that only 22,000 mortgages have been serviced in a country of about 42 million.

According to Ms Emerson the STATE OF DEVELOPMENT REPORT, which is Kenya’s first ever annual report on the state of development is a key plank in the criteria for getting Kenyan property re-graded as a transparent investment asset.

Currently, based on the quality of information on its real estate, Kenya is ranked 67 of 97 countries on the Jones Lang LeSalle Global Real Estate Transparency Index. Investors use the index to assess the safety and appeal of regional real estate investments.

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WHY KISSING COULD GIVE YOU CANCER

Kissing can cause cancer

Kissing can cause cancer

Kissing has always for a long time been considered by many as a harmless romantic gesture but people might be forced to give it a second thought if reports indicating that kissing can cause cancer are anything to go by.

According to a story published in the Standard Newspaper, researchers from the University of Nairobi and University of Washington in the US have established that saliva and close mouth-to-mouth interaction between two people could be the biggest possible mode of transmission of the herpes virus 8, which is linked to the development of the skin cancer called Kaposi sarcoma.

The findings are reported to be from a study that was conducted in Mombasa where 40 women were sampled. High concentrations of the herpes virus were discovered in 27 out of the total number of the participants. The samples are said to have been collected daily for 30 days and sent to the University of Washington for analysis.

ORAL SEX AND CANCER

Well, looks like the romance arena is under ‘threat’ as the findings linking kissing to cancer follows a similar study conducted a year ago that links oral sex to rising cases of throat cancer in men.

According to an article published on the men tabloid, Mens Journal, more men are contracting throat cancer from human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.

“According to data from 2004, the most recent available, rates of HPV-related throat cancer had risen 225 percent in the previous 16 years, with men suffering the most cases.” reads part of the article.

Genital human papillomavirus (also called HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females and the infection is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost every sexually active person will acquire HPV at some point in their lives.

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AFRICAN ELEPHANTS PROVE TO BE VERY INTELLIGENT

Elephants are mostly scared of bees and humans

Elephants are mostly scared of bees and humans

Did you know that elephants are very afraid of people and bees and that the Jumbos have distinct ways of warning each other about the two species?

An alarm-call study that was carried out by researchers from Oxford University, Save the Elephants, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom has showed that bees make elephants shake their heads and produce rumbling sounds that can travel for miles and warn others of the impeding danger.

Although Jumbos have a thick skin, bees can inflict painful stings around their eyes and trunks and much worse a swarm of bees could even kill a thin-skinned calf. Human beings on the other end poach the animals for ivory.

According to the new research recently reported in PLOS ONE,  the team of researchers led by Dr Lucy King of Save the Elephants and Oxford University and Dr Joseph Soltis, a bioacoustics expert from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the rumbles produced by the Jumbos have been linked  to vowels in the human language.

‘Elephants appear to be able to manipulate their vocal tract (mouth, tongue, trunk and so on) to shape the sounds of their rumbles to make different alarm calls,’ said Dr Lucy

Even more fascinating is the discovery that elephants are able to recognize the dialects of different ethnic groups which are likely to be hostile to them and they can also distinguish the age and gender of the voices.

MASTERY OF LOCAL DIALECTS

For instance, according to a similar research by a team led by Karen McComb and Graeme Shannon at the University of Sussex, in Britain, recently reported in the Proceedings Of  The National Academy Of Sciences, when recordings of Maasai and Kamba men were played to a group of elephants, the Jumbos reacted differently. When elephants heard the Maasai, they sniffed around for danger 70% of the time and retreated or gathered together in protective bunches 60% of the time.

When they heard the Kamba (who are less hostile to them) they sniffed only 25% of the time and retreated or bunched a mere 40% of the time. Interestingly, in the case involving the Maasai, the Jumbos were more frightened by the sound of male voices since when the same experiment was repeated with recordings of Maasai women and children, the elephants simply ignored them.

“Recognizing predators and judging the level of threat they pose is a crucial skill for many wild animals. Human predators present a particularly interesting challenge, as different groups of humans can represent dramatically different levels of danger to animals living around them.” said Karen McComb.

The collaborative research that has established that indeed elephants are very afraid of bees is being used to reduce human-elephant conflict in Kenya. The Save the Elephants organization is reported to making use of ‘beehive fences’ around local farms in order to lower the cases of hostility from farmers who kill the Jumbos for invading their farms.

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Kaberere – Kiburi

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