GOODBYE TRAFFIC: NAIROBI SET TO GET A NEW BUS AND RAIL TRANSPORT

Rapid System

Mass Rapid Transit System

The plans for a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) aimed at decongesting Nairobi County is now set to kick off, following an agreement by governors from the five counties whose proximity to Nairobi County is crucial for the plan.

Governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), William Kabogo (Kiambu) and David Nkedianye (Kajiado), signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during a meeting convened by Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau yesterday. Machakos was represented by Roads and Transport Executive Kioko Luka and his Trade and Industrialisation counterpart Sunil Dhal.

“You cannot decongest Nairobi unless you provide a transport that will deflate the congested city and that’s why all of us have to come together so that the deflation happens outside and Nairobi can breathe outwards, “said Nairobi governor Evans Kidero.

The MRTS will incorporate a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and a commuter rail which have both been identified as the most efficient transport system of the future. There will be a clear lane dedicated to buses and another for trams.

The system will see the creation of radial, interconnected roads such that, you can for instance commute from Eastlands to Westlands, without having to come to the city centre as is the norm.

There will be Railway City, a development proposed on the current railway land near the railway station, where office blocks and other commercial enterprises will be erected.

Evans Kidero

Evans Kidero

A mass rapid transport system (MRTS) will be deployed along the Outer Ring, Jogoo, Mombasa, Limuru, Lang’ata, Ngong roads and Waiyaki Way corridors, where a commuter railway line will run alongside the roads currently being expanded.

Long-distance public vehicles will not be allowed into the city centre and the traditional matatus will only come in handy in providing feeder services to the MRTS.

The Sh89 billion Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) is planned to pass through Kikuyu, Kitengela, Machakos, Limuru, Thika, Ruiru, Athi River and Kajiado, thus  the agreement by the governors was very crucial if the project was to be actualized.

The World Bank and European Union have welcomed the agreement.

Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to kick off in 2017 and be complete by 2030, will give priority to the bus transit system network because it is easier to create. The bus transit routes will then determine the rail system.

Phase 2 is set to begin after 2030 and will entail the actual process of constructing the lanes using the laid down network.

“The signing of the MOU is very important because it basically allows us to create a framework for creating the Nairobi Metropolitan Authority that will be in charge of the mass rapid transit. We are moving the responsibility from the ministry of transport and handing it to all the county governments surrounding Nairobi, “said Michael Kamau, CS transport and infrastructure.

CHRONIC STATE OF TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN NAIROBI

Cabinet Secretary for Transport Eng Michael Kamau

Cabinet Secretary for Transport Eng Michael Kamau

Traffic in Nairobi is quite a mess, with the situation getting worse by day. It is estimated that traffic congestion costs a hundreds of millions in dollars annually through lost hours and cost of wasted fuel.

According to the 2011 Nairobi Mass Rapid Transit Study, The Chronic State of Traffic Congestion in Nairobi takes the lead in the Issues of Concern in the Transport Sector.

“Compared with the traffic condition in 2004, traffic congestion has worsened over the time in extent and area. Since the growth in population as well as sharp increase in car ownership is inevitable in future, quick fix type of measures will not solve the problem fundamentally.” The study reads in part.

Compared with 2004 traffic survey, total traffic increased by 1.66 times. Private cars increased 106 thousand times, which occupies 63% of total increase while motorcycles increased 9.4 times and light truck increased 3.0 times.

Kenya-Vision-2030NAIROBI TO GET A FACELIFT

The mass transit system falls under the Integrated Urban Development Masterplan for the City of Nairobi (NIUPLAN), 2014 which outlines proposals for Urban Planning, Population, transport and Infrastructure.

The objective of the Integrated Urban Development plan is to “develop concepts for implementation of urban development projects for sustainable urban development and improvement of living conditions based on integrated urban development plan for Nairobi city.”

JOB CREATIONS

The urban development plan also estimates that the total number of jobs will rise to 2.8 million by 2030, up from 1.8 million in 2013. These will be in the wholesale and retail sectors, hotels and restaurants, education, financial intermediation and construction.

The plan will also enhance efficiency and growth in the rest of the countries as well.

 

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SPEAKER JUSTIN MUTURI CALLS FOR TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR ERRANT MPS

Senator Mike Sonko at the ICC

Senator Mike Sonko at the ICC

The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the Committee on Privileges have called for a review of the law and the speaker’s rules in order to give provisions for ruthless penalties for errant MPs. This is after a report by a parliamentary discipline committee bared the uncouth behaviour some legislators engage in the corridors of parliament.

SWEARING AND FIGHTING

For instance, the report of the Committee on Privileges singles out an incident between Sirisia MP Major (Rtd) John Waluke and Arthur Odera (Teso North) where the two exchanged unprintable words and engaged in a physical fight within parliament when they were allegedly fighting over a Sh3.5 million debt.

The report also brings to the fore another physical altercation between Ali Wario (MP Bura) and his constituent, Parliament’s principal security officer Major (rtd) Kirungu Majiba. The two are reported to have exchanged blows at Continental House.

According to Wario’s side of the story, Majiba had been disrespectful to him and tried to humiliate him in public.

“He shouted and harassed me before visitors and the public despite having been told I am a Member of Parliament. This caused me a lot of pain and embarrassment,” Wario said.

MP SMASHED CHAIRS

Another occurrence detailed in the report is a situation where a female MP caused damage of approximately Sh337, 347 when she broke chairs and tables out of anger.

Aside from these incidents that are happening within the corridors of parliament, it seems our leaders are shameless enough to display their wayward characters in public.

NAIROBI SENATOR’S ABUSIVE T-SHIRT

Recently, when President Uhuru Kenyatta attended his ICC summons at The Hague a week ago, Kenyans will remember the madness and disrespect portrayed by Nairobi senator Mike Sonko after he wore a t-shirt printed abusive words aimed at the ICC officials.

As if that was not bad enough, Sonko was caught on camera abusing Dutch airport personnel in Swahili.

Political rallies and social gatherings have also bared the misdemeanors of our legislators who will exchange abusive words in the full glare of the public and the media.

SLAPPED AT A RALLY

Early this month, Machakos County Assembly Majority Leader, Joshua Mwonga, was slapped at a public function by nominated MCA Carol Musembi, as they argued over protocol issues. Mwonga had apparently not been officially invited to the function which was taking place in his ward, and when he showed up he is said to have insisted on speaking last, forcing the Wiper-nominated female MCA to take up the responsibility of inviting other MCAs to the podium.

Mwonga however snatched the microphone from Musembi when she invited embattled deputy governor Bernard Kiala to address the gathering an action that prompted her to slap him.

PUNCHING AND FINGER POINTING

Not long ago Bomet governor, Isaac Ruto, nearly punched the National Assembly Majority Leader, Adan Duale after the later insulted him over his referendum calls, dubbed Pesa Mashinani.

“Hii pesa sio ya mama yako” (this money does not belong to your mother) Governor Ruto, you must appear before the senate for questioning about the Sh184 million. You can run all over the country calling for the referendum but you must account for the money you get from national government,” Duale said while speaking during a commemoration to mark the third Mara Day, which was presided over by Deputy President William Ruto.

Ruto who was evidently infuriated by the remarks stood up pointing his finger at Duale but was prevailed upon by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and Narok County Commissioner Farah Kassim to sit down.

These are just a few among the numerous dramas that our leaders cause, which often leave so much to be desired. The recommendations by the disciplinary committee should be fully implemented so that our legislators can be penalized accordingly for their uncouth mannerisms.

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CONTROVERSY OVER TETANUS VACCINE INTENSIFIES

Tetanus vaccineKenya’s Catholic Church has remained adamant in opposing the new tetanus vaccine on grounds that it is laced with family planning drugs to control population.

The Catholic priests have urged women in their congregations to boycott the vaccine, during the campaign that is scheduled to begin on Monday. The priests argue that the fact that the vaccine only targets women of childbearing age is sinister since tetanus is a disease that is not limited to one gender.

“We want the [Health] ministry to allow the church to sample the vaccines before they are given. We are alarmed because tetanus vaccines tested earlier in the year contained an antigen that could cause sterility in women,” said Dr Stephen Karanja, the chair of the Catholic Doctors Association in Kenya.

VACCINE SAFE SAYS HEALTH MINISTRY

The country’s health Ministry has however refuted the claims by the Catholic Church and maintained that it’s a safe vaccine that targets women in order to prevent the disease from attacking babies at birth.

The tetanus vaccination campaign has been sponsored by the WHO/UNICEF and is targeting girls and women of child bearing age in Kenya (between the ages of 14 to 47 years old).

“I want to assure all the women in Kenya that this is a safe certified vaccine,” said Health Minister James Macharia.

“FISHY TETANUS VACCINE”- CARDINAL NJUE

The controversy surrounding the tetanus jab kicked off in March this year when the head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue, raised the alarm.

“The fact that this campaign only targets women shows that there is something fishy about it, otherwise even men and children should be vaccinated,” Njue said.

According to recent stastistics, a new-born baby dies of tetanus every day in Kenya and the Health Ministry reports that about 550 babies died of tetanus in the country last year.

“EXCRUCIATING DISEASE”

Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, the spores of which are widespread in the environment and according to UNICEF, “it’s an excruciating disease that kills one newborn every nine minutes, or approximately 160 babies each day worldwide. Typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices, the disease is swift, cruel and lethal.” 58,000 newborns died of tetanus in 2010 alone.

While speaking to the Kenya Forum earlier this year, Dr John Ong’ech, a top specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Nairobi, who doubles up as the Assistant Director of Reproductive Health at the Kenyatta National Hospital, elaborated that the tetanus vaccine falls under the WHO strategies to reduce infant mortality rates.

“Considering that majority of the births in Kenya occur at home, the campaign is critical and this particular campaign is what we call a Public Heath Approach which targets a vast population in order to eliminate a threat. It has been done worldwide not just in Kenya,” said Dr Ong’ech.

The tetanus jab has always been mandatory for expectant mothers in the country during the ante-natal clinics and one cant help but wonder, “just what is so diffrent with this one anyway?”

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PRESIDENT UHURU’S COOPERATION WITH THE ICC ENDEARS HIM TO KENYANS

Kenyatta and lawyer at Hague

Kenyatta and lawyer at Hague

Kenyans are now more confident with President Uhuru Kenyatta than they were before, following his recent decision to honour the summons at the ICC, a new survey has revealed.

According to the opinion poll by Ipsos Kenya, which was released yesterday, Uhuru’s approval ratings have increased from 43% two months ago to 71%, with that of his deputy William Ruto rising as well  to 62% up from 38%.

The majority of the 1,669 respondents sampled (87%) supported President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to attend the status conference, with 53% feeling that the government has completely cooperated with the ICC. Another 67% were of the opinion that the government should increase its cooperation with the ICC and that Kenya should remain a member of the Rome Statute/ICC countries even when the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta or William Ruto are over.

Ironically, most respondents (74%) were displeased by CORD’s call for its elected members to boycott the joint session of Parliament addressed by the President before leaving for the Hague/ICC, with Jubilee supporters leading 82% against CORD supporters (62%).

The approval ratings of the cabinet secretaries have also risen to 42% from 18 % as observed in the previous poll.

During the parliamentary address, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that he was appointing Ruto as acting president so that he could travel to The Hague as a civilian and on Tuesday last week, Uhuru indeed left the country to honour his status conference before jetting back a day later to a grand welcome by Kenyans.

PESA MASHINANI GAINS SUPPORT

Isaac Ruto - Bomet Governor and Chairman of the Governors Council

Isaac Ruto – Bomet Governor and Chairman of the Council of Governors

More Kenyans seems to be in favour of The Council of Governors push for a referendum dubbed, Pesa Mashinani, rather than CORD’S Okoa Kenya referendum.

53% of the respondents back the calls for Pesa Mashinani, compared to 38% in support of Okoa Kenya.

A total of 29% of the respondents said they felt closer to the Jubilee Coalition compared to 13 % who felt closer to CORD.

The poll was conducted between 11th and 13th October 2014.

 

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DRAMA AT SENATOR MUTHAMA’S HOME AS JOURNALISTS DETAINED

Senator Johnstone Muthama

Senator Johnstone Muthama

Machakos Senator, Johnstone Muthama, is making headlines again for all the wrong reasons, after details emerge that he allegedly had his wife and journalists locked up at his home.

The senator’s ex-wife, Agnes Kavindu Muthama, had invited journalists and human rights activists to their home to expose Muthama for the in-humane treatment he was according her.

Kavindu claims that Muthama has taken her through hell and back for the past one month, that he is abusive and has even brought home another young woman as his wife.

She said that she had obtained a court order barring Muthama from evicting her from the house where she has lived for the past 18 years, but the senator responded by making life unbearable for her.

Kavindu alleges that she has stayed without electricity or water in her house for a whole month and has been forced to fetch drinking and bathing water from a swimming pool in the compound, adding that Muthama has given orders for her to be locked inside the house.

The activists, who included Center for Rights Education and Awareness director Anne Njogu and lawyer Judy Thongori, together with 11 journalist from various media houses, were detained at the compound of the senator for about three hours after workers locked up the gates on their arrival.

Kavindu blames her plight on her son Moses Nduya who is said to be the one who had issued the orders to have the journalist locked up. She said that doors and furniture to her house were removed and transferred to Nduya’s house.

The senator is yet to respond to the allegations but as the popular saying goes; hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

 

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Johnstone Muthama’s wife and journalists locked up at his home (Raw Footage)

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