ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE IS BACK!

CHELSEA KICK OFF AGAINST ARSENAL

There are always high expectations and excitement at the start of a new English Premier League (EPL) season which kicks off today at London’s Wembley Stadium with the traditional ‘Charity Shield’ match between the winners of last season’s EPL and FA Cup, Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. For the EPL’s big boys there is the desire to win the league, a coveted trophy and a lucrative place in one of the European competitions. For the middle table teams their expectations are to move higher up if not join the big boys in top four. For the teams below the top 10 it is to make sure they remain in the league and these expectations are shared with the teams that get promoted from the championship. All-in-all these makes the English Premier League the most competitive in Europe if not the whole world.

BUSY TRANSFER WINDOW

PSG’s Yohan Cabaye joins Crystal Palace

PSG’s Yohan Cabaye joins Crystal Palace

As expected, the transfer window has been very busy as teams prepare for the league which commences for real on the 8th of August. Teams outside the top four have been the busiest in general, opting to do transfer business early with notable acquisitions such as former PSG player Yohan Cabaye moving to Crystal Palace and Andre Ayew, the Ghanaian star moving to Swansea.

As was expected, Manchester United responded to finishing 4th in the league by acquiring proven stars early bringing in Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Matteo Darmian (Torino), World Cup winner, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) and World Cup finalist, Argentinian Romero (Sampdoria).

Chelsea brought in Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao, on loan from Monaco, Nathan (Atletico Paranaense), and  Asmir Begovic from Stoke City to replace goalkeeper Petr Cech who moved to rival club Arsenal.

Arsenal have been quiet in the transfer market with the exception of Petr Cech’s move and it appears manager Arsene Wenger is full of confidence in his team as they have been doing very well in the pre-seasons winning big in matches.

Manchester City have been focusing on bringing in more homegrown players as it has been a challenge for them especially the first team.

Ghanaian star Andre Ayew transferred to Swansea

Ghanaian star Andre Ayew transferred to Swansea

 

Some of their notable signings have been former Liverpool player Raheem Sterling and former Aston Villa captain, Fabian Delph.

Liverpool have tried to move quickly to try and counter their disappointing season where they finished outside the top four. Just as they did last season, Liverpool have been very busy in the transfer market acquiring quality players including: James Milner (Manchester City), Danny Ings (Burnley), Adam Bogdan (Bolton Wanderers), Joe Gomez (Charlton Athletic), Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

THE NEWBIES

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are names that many football fans across the world will be familiar with but fans outside of the UK probably have never heard of AFC Bournemouth, the Premier League’s newest addition. AFC Bournemouth have come a long way in getting to the top of English football league after a 125 years wait. They are joined by Watford and Norwich.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS

Last season’s EPL winners Chelsea under their flamboyant manager Jose Morinho are expected to challenge strongly for the top slot again in 2015-16.

Manchester United are also expected to pose a real challenge in the league compared to last season where they finished fourth though unconvincingly. The grace period for United’s manager Van Gaal is over and being a big club, United are expected to challenge strongly for the EPL title.

Arsenal were really good last season and they have extended their good form in the pre-season with the likes of Ozil looking alive again.

Liverpool’s new signings are seen as quality acquisitions and many believe they will pose real challenge in their effort to get back in the Champions League, with manager Brendan Rodgers acquiring as many as seven players with few weeks still remaining until the end of the transfer window.

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SHOCKS AS KENYA AIRWAYS ANNOUNCES SH25.7 BILLION LOSS

Kenya Airways just one of the big corporates who have laid off workers

Kenya Airways just one of the big corporates who have laid off workers

 

The Kenya National Airways has shocked the nation after announcing a  record Sh25.7 billion annual loss after tax.

The airline attributed the unparalleled loss for the 12 months that ended in  March to intense competition from Middle East carriers, volatility of exchange  rates, terrorism fluctuations in fuel prices and travel advisories, which have  caused a drop in International visitor arrivals.

CEO, Mr Mbuvi Ngunze also added that the heavy investments made  in the acquisition of new aircraft failed to yield the expected profits due to the  difficulties experienced in the aviation sector in the year under review. He  however expressed optimism that KQ will get back on its feet.

“We have had turbulent times but we are regaining our altitude. The board and management are working to review our strategy to respond to market dynamics.” He said while addressing a press conference.

REDUCE FLEET

The airline now plans to sell seven of its 52 aircraft after results indicated that its fleet capacity was under-utilized during the 2014/2015 financial year.

The performance by KQ is reported to be the worst in the country’s corporate history and has also poised the airline as one of the highest loss-making companies in East Africa.

The National Carrier once acclaimed as most profitable airline in the continent has been facing perhaps the strongest headwinds since its privatization in 1995. Last year, 2014 declared a sh Sh10.45Bn Loss.

MAJOR COMPETITION

As observed by John Augustine Ngari in an article published by the Afrika Reporter, “The steady rise and coverage of other airlines in key destinations across Africa (that were previously KQ’s strong point) has sparked gruesome competition, which puts into perspective the impact of managing costs in a competitive environment for KQ”.

Ethiopian Airline in particular continues to be a major threat for KQ. (http://www.afrikareporter.com/kenya-airways-turbulent-times-and-trouble-in-the-skies/)

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STREET FAMILIES BACK IN THE CITY AFTER FORCED RETREAT

Street families back on the streets

Street families back on the streets

The streets of Nairobi are back to their typical appearance following the spectacle that the country’s government had tried so hard to maintain ahead of president Obama’s visit last weekend.

Even though the famous Kidero grass has started sprouting in some of the areas where they had been planted, street families who are not only an eyesore but also a major security threat in the city are back on the lanes after being allowed to leave the confines of the rehabilitation centers where they were been holed up ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

The National Youth Service (NYS) rounded up the street families a week ago and took them to the Joseph Kang’ethe community center in Woodley estate.

The street families whose number seem to be increasing by day have been a major security threat in the country with majority of young men being involved in muggings while the women take up the easy way of using their children to beg for money and food from passerby’s.

REHABILITATION CENTRE FOR CHILDREN

The county government announced plans to get rid of the street families in 2013 in effort to curb crime in the city. Deputy governor Jonathan Mueke had then announced that plans were underway to put up a rehabilitation center for street children, which would be located in Ruai by January 2014 at a cost of Sh200 million.

“Insecurity is a big concern in Nairobi with the street children posing a great danger in crime management. These families are sometimes used by gangs to plan and execute offences,’’ said Mueke, who had hosted a roundtable meeting with business leaders at Safari park hotel.

However it’s now over a year down the line and the center is still not up but the county maintains that it’s still work in progress.

As a joke that has been trending online since Obama flew out of the country on Sunday; “Nairobians be more vigilant as from Monday, remember pickpockets slept hungry since Friday”.

 

 

 

 

 

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ODM RESCHEDULES GRASS ROOT ELECTIONS

downloadThe Orange Democratic Party (ODM) has had a last minute rescheduling of its first phase of grass root elections, which had been scheduled for August 1, 2015.

According to Nancy Abisai, who was speaking at a press conference in Orange House on behalf of the party’s National Elections Board, the elections were postponed at the request of members from Wajir, Marsabit and Kilifi counties who said they had not adequately conducted civic education to their members because of the Ramadhan period.

“Members from the three counties requested to be given more time to carry out civic education and adequate preparations for the elections; we also received a request from our members from Vihiga,” she said.

She announced that elections in Marsabit, Wajir, Kajiado, Migori, Kilifi and Vihiga counties will now be held on 29th to the 2nd of September and not as earlier announced while in Nairobi County, the exercise will be conducted from September 5th to 8th.

MASSIVE REGISTRATION

ODM initiated a campaign to mobilize youths to register for Identification Cards in June this year, in an effort to consolidate ground ahead of the 2017 General Elections.

Secretary General Ababu Namwamba was then quoted saying that the exercise will help the youth achieve their aspirations by electing the right leaders.

The campaign known as Tokelezea Initiative aims at registering people of age 18 years and above who have not obtained identification cards.

The upcoming elections will be the first ODM will be holding after the botched one held at the Kasarani Stadium February last year, which was disrupted by the infamous “Men in Black”.

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GES 2015 AN INSPIRATION TO YOUNG KENYANS

President Barack Obama, right, arrives with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for a bilateral meeting at State House, on Saturday, July 25, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama heralded Africa as a continent "on the move" Saturday as he opened a U.S.-sponsored business summit in Kenya, the East African nation where he has deep family ties. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama, right, arrives with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for a bilateral meeting at State House, on Saturday, July 25, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama heralded Africa as a continent “on the move” Saturday as he opened a U.S.-sponsored business summit in Kenya, the East African nation where he has deep family ties. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The dust is just settling down on the buzz created around the country last week as we geared for the sixth-annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2015), which Kenya was hosting, a major first in sub-Saharan Africa.

Better still, our brother, US president Barrack Obama was also making the much awaited visit to the country since he was elected.

Approximately 1,000 outstanding entrepreneurs and investors from across the world assembled in Nairobi for the summit and local entrepreneurs got a major platform to showcase the budding innovation spirit not just in Kenya but in Africa at large.

Quite notable is that for the first time the crème of Kenya’s population, the youth who are now considered as key drivers of the economy, understood the impact the summit had for them as a generation and the country at large.

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSURE

Social media played a big role in giving majority of people more exposure and information and the more the summit and the Obama visit were talked about, the more the hunger for more in-depth and insightful reports grew and it was therefore not surprising when Kenyans were mad at the local media for failure to give much comprehensive news regarding the summit and instead chose to give prominence to the glamour side of the event.

Kenyans on twitter took under the hashtag #KenyaMediaFailure to criticize the media for the mistake.

YOUTHS INSPIRED

Majority of the young people paying attention to the summit could only follow the proceedings from the media but that did not water down the desire to pick critical lessons and insights.

In a country where a large number of the population remains unemployed, people are turning to entrepreneurship and therefore hosting GES was timely.

Entrepreneurs who attended the summit got the opportunity to be mentored, showcase their work and pitch their ideas to investors as well with some lucky few getting funding.

President Obama announced that the U.S. Government is committing significant new resources to advance entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. He announced over $1 billion in new commitments from banks, foundations, philanthropists, and the U.S. Government, with half of that money going to support youth and women entrepreneurs.

Quite notable is that two days after the close of the summit, there is a breed of young people who are still fired up from the event. President’s Obama’s speech also went a long way in motivating the nation and we can only hope that Kenyans will keep up with the spirit.

“Obama’s speech at Kasarani has really given me a wakeup call as an entrepreneur , now I feel I have what it takes to take my business on the next level,” said Martin Karanja, an entrepreneur in the tour industry.

As a good friend likes saying; “there are two kinds of people in this world, those who make things happen and those who watch things happen,”

PRESIDENT UHURU’S LEADERSHIP SKILLS BROUGHT TO THE FORE

Since his election, president Uhuru has demonstrated a sense of leadership which has been quite remarkable even though critics have often dismissed it as mere public relation stunts.

This weekend however, his eloquence, demeanor and the passion in which he spoke about Kenya for some moments made us forget the issues facing our nation and focus on what was happening.

Particularly, Uhuru’s progressive speech during the launch of GES, which focused on business and also the boldness in which he handled the gay issue, without any fear of contradiction as he and Obama addressed journalists in state house.

“I repeatedly say that for Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas…maybe once, like you, have overcome some of these challenges, we can begin to look at other ones, but as of now the fact remains that this issue is not really an issue that is at the foremost minds of Kenyans and that is a fact.” said Uhuru.

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President Obama and Kenyatta News Conference, Kenya

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