KENYA GETTING SHORTCHANGED ON ARMS DEAL-US LAW MAKERS WARN

operation Linda Nchi

operation Linda Nchi

A section of the US congress members have asked Kenya to reconsider the planned Sh43 billion US arms deal, saying the country is getting a raw deal.

The five members of congress, who wrote a letter to Kenya’s ambassador to Washington, Robinson Njeru Githae, has questioned the propriety of the acquisition and capabilities of the firm involved to deliver what Kenya is paying for, saying that by exploring more options and dealing with a far more experienced firm, the country would acquire the aircraft needed for over Sh 20 billion less.

“Spending sh43 billion of Kenyan national funds on aircraft that could be acquired for over sh20 billion less from a company that has years of past performance and an existing production line is not an optimal allocation of scarce defence dollars,” the letter from the congressmen to Ambassador Githae read in part.

The five Congressmen include; Ted Budd, Sanford Bishop, an African-American Democrat, and three Republicans: Walter Jones, Jeff Duncan and Mark Meadows.

The government had recently announced plans to purchase military aircraft and weapons from the United States to aid in its war against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Among the packages are twelve Air Tractor AT- 802L converted cropdusters, two AT-504 trainer aircraft and some weapons

The closure of the sale agreement of the military equipment has however been pending final approval by the U.S. Congress as stipulated by law.

Last week, Congressmen Ted Budd tabled a motion in the Congress seeking to halt the deal, saying that his office had received credible allegations of “faulty contracting practices, fraud and unfair treatment surrounding the sale,”

US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has however said that Kenya is yet to sign the deal with the US and that the process is underway.

“Contrary to some allegations in the media, the government of Kenya has not signed any agreement to purchase aircraft from the United States and the process under way is transparent, open, and proper.

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TWO KILLED AFTER SOMALI BANDITS ATTACK MWINGI VILLAGE

 

women learn how to use bows and arrows to defend themselves against Somali bandits

women learn how to use bows and arrows to defend themselves against Somali bandits
Photo Courtesy

Two people were killed and several left injured in Ukasi area, Mwingi in Kitui County yesterday night by suspected Somali bandits.

The heavily armed bandits are reported to have opened fire on residents at the Kathungu market. The attack occurred just hours after top police commanders led by regional commander Gideon Amalla visited the area and held a meeting with locals, assuring them that security had been beefed up.

The attack comes a day after a similar one left two other people dead.

During the Monday attack, the attackers torched several houses and beheaded two men. the first victim was a 75-year-old man who was sprayed with bullets in Ngooni Village as he attempted to run for safety, he was later beheaded with an axe.

Residents say that the attacks have become rampant and 28 people have been killed so far since 2016.

Six primary schools in Ukasi have remained closed since January after hundreds of families fled their homes and started living in makeshift camps at the Kathungu market.

Area MP Joe Mutambu has accused the government of negligence and asked for a quick intervention in the crisis.

Baringo Attacks

Bandit attacks have also intensified in Baringo county leaving about 2,000 people displaced.

On Sunday, pokot bandits killed a Marakwet man identified as James Cheserek and chopped off his head on Sunday in Kaptora, Marakwet East.

A Kenya Police Reservist was shot and injured by suspected Pokot bandits during an attack at Arabal in Baringo South on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t understand if Baringo is still in Kenya; the way the way our people are killed like this and yet the government seems to drag its feet in putting up measures in place to apprehend the bandits,” said Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi.

 

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LECTURERS DENY LINK BETWEEN STRIKE AND GOVERNMENT PLAN TO QUASH PARALLEL DEGREE PROGRAMMES

 

lecturers strike

lecturers strike

University dons have refuted the government’s allegations that the ongoing strike has something to do with the ministry of education plan to do away with the parallel degree programmes in public universities.

In a statement sent to media houses, UASU National Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said that there’s “no linkage whatsoever between the strike and the plan to scrap off the parallel degree Programme”.

“UASU clarifies that the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) should have been implemented in 2013; and that our initial strike notice was issued before the release of 2016 KCSE results,” Wasonga said.

The lecture’s, who were responding to a statement made by state house spokesman, Manoah Esipisu on Sunday during his weekly briefing, further stated   that they have never been beneficiaries of the funds raised from the parallel programs and urged auditor general Edward Ouko to inform the government how the cash is being used in public varsities countrywide.

Wasonga said that no amount of intimidation or “paramilitary tactics” would compel lecturers to resume work until they sign a return to work formula with the government.

“Our members will not go back to work until they sign return to work formula and the 2013 collective bargaining agreement is implemented. We have just been on strike for a month and we are not in a hurry to end the strike,” said Wasonga

The university lecturers downed their tools on 18th January after giving a one week notice given to the government to address their grievances failed to bear fruits.

 

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UHURU AHEAD OF RAILA IN NEW POLL

ChartPresident Uhuru Kenyatta still enjoys high approval ratings ahead of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a new opinion poll has revealed.

According to the poll by Ipsos, if elections were held today, 47 per cent of Kenyans would vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta while 30 per cent would vote for Cord leader Raila Odinga.

Only 6 per cent of Kenyans would vote for Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka while three per cent would vote for Musalia Mudavadi and less than one per cent for Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula

The survey, which was conducted between January 9 and 26 and which interviewed 2,057 respondents across 42 counties, also revealed that Jubilee was the most popular party with 45 per cent of those interviewed saying they supported Jubilee Party while 34 per cent said they were affiliated to Cord and the National Super Alliance (NASA).

At least eight per cent are undecided on which political party they are  allied to and 11 per cent are not attached to any party. This notwithstanding, they would still vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta. 28 per cent of those not affiliated to any political outfit will vote for Uhuru as well as 24 per cent of the undecided.

 

 

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GOVERNMENT TO ABOLISH PARALLEL DEGREE PROGRAMS

government plans to abolish parallel degree program

government plans to abolish parallel degree program

The government is considering doing away with parallel degree programs in public universities due to lack of accountability of funds collected.

According to state house spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, the option of revoking the parallel degree programs is part of the exam reforms currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Education.

You know with this reform of the exam system, one of the results of that is the potential complete removal of the Parallel structure,” Esipisu said.

“You know very well that there have been issues about accountability in terms of the resources coming out of that parallel structure.” he said

Unlike the regular programme where students are sponsored by the government, which pays 70 per cent of the cost of education through loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB),  Parallel degree program students are undertaken self-sponsored .

Parallel degrees were started by the University of Nairobi in 1998 and ten years later, the programme was extended to all the seven public universities. The number of students joining the programme has presently outnumbered those in the regular programme.

Esipisu also linked the program to the looming lecturer’s strike, which has paralysed learning in public universities.

“The absence of funding from that parallel structure obviously is something that needs to be looked at in terms of the underlying reasons for the current problems,” he said.

Most universities generate billions of shillings through the parallel programme with some using the monies to pay staff and run certain programmes.

However, Last year public universities suffered a major blow following a dismal performance in the 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which saw only 88,929 candidates attain the minimum university entry grade of C+ and above, dealing a natural death to the parallel programmes since this meant that all those who qualified would be admitted under the government-funded programme, leaving no single candidate to be enrolled under the parallel programme.

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Adele wins “Album Of The Year” for 25 – Grammy Awards 2017

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