Tuesday, 30 May 2017

SGR passengers to pay Sh900 for economy class; 30.05.2017

More by this Author
Passengers at the boarding bay at NairobiPassengers at the boarding bay at Nairobi terminus on May 29, 2017. President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to launch the train service on May 31, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
Cost, safety and convenience may be the main factors to determine which mode of transport travellers between Nairobi and Mombasa choose, even as the standard gauge railway launches operations.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says the new railway will charge a half of what bus companies demand and will cut by half the time it takes to travel between the two cities.
Travellers will initially pay Sh900 for economy and Sh3,000 for business class, which will also be known as first class in Kenya Railways Corporation lingo.
“We looked at the market rates and the sustainability of it. We want it sustainable while making sure Kenyans enjoy the comfort at affordable rates.
“The economy class is estimated at half the price of bus fare and the business class will be around Sh3,000,” he said.
The fares for these classes will be lower by December when the operators launch a second type of train service.
The fares, to be published this week, are a result of a study by Aarvee of India in collaboration with Wanjohi & Mutonyi Consulting Engineers (technical), Equity Investment Bank (financial) and Amolo & Gacoka Advocates (legal), groups that the government hired in March to help determine the fares for the new railway.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch the rail service on Wednesday in Mombasa, a project built by the Chinese to a tune of Sh327 billion, and thereafter embark on its maiden journey to Nairobi.
Chinese President Xi Jingping has sent his special envoy, State Councillor Wang Yong, to represent him during ceremony.
The train will initially offer two classes of passengers  economy and business class  but will launch its premier class by December this year.
Some 40 passenger coaches will initially be procured, with a capacity of 118 travellers for the economy class, 72 for business class, and 44 for first class.
By December, the operator of the train service, a Chinese consortium called China Communications Construction Company, plans to offer two types of passenger services.
An inter-city one will offer express service between Mombasa and Nairobi, with one stop at Mtito Andei before proceeding. According to Kenya Railways, this will allow the other train going in the opposite direction to pass.
The other one is a “county train” meant to carry passengers between the two cities but with stops at each of the nine stations along the way. This will include Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River.
China Communications Construction Company will run the system for the next 10 years before handing it over to Kenyan operators, once local staff are trained, Mr Macharia said.
Mr Macharia said the key competitive advantage of the new train service is that it cuts by half the time it takes to travel by land between Mombasa and Nairobi but charges the same fares as buses or lower.
At a maximum speed of 120km per hour, the train can take about four hours to complete the 472km journey. But Kenya Railways has put the travel time at five hours because of the stops it will have to make at the other stations.
"We know that buses take about nine to ten hours. Travellers will cover that in half the time, so this is going to be a real advantage," Mr Macharia said.
He acknowledges that the train will neither take all passengers nor take buses off the road. But it means that train operators, airlines and bus companies will have to enhance their niche.
"This only means travellers will have a choice. Everyone will still operate, but Kenyans will know what to use. For SGR, the fares are mwananchi-friendly."
The main bus companies plying this route — Mash and Modern Coast — charge Sh1,000 and Sh1,400, respectively. Others include Coast Bus (Sh1,200) and Dreamliner (Sh1,300).

Monday, 29 May 2017

Kenyan Women Farmers Find Food Security by Growing for a Brewery

By Sophie Mbugua
A self-help group of women farmers is defying the effects of climate change and making a steady income by growing drought-resistant sorghum on contract for a national brewery.
A woman famers inspect sorghum at her farm
Some of the women farmers in Tunyai village realized they could get more money and an assured income if they grew more sorghum specifically to sell to a single brewery. Sophie Mbugua
THARAKA NITHI, KENYA – On a recent Thursday morning in Tunyai village, Tharaka Nithi County, about 110 miles (180km) east of Nairobi, a group of women farmers sat under a tree, notebooks and pens in hands, listening to an instructor discussing soil conservation and contract farming.
The Muchore Mutethia self-help group, whose name loosely translates as “a friend that helps,” started in 2004, farming green grams (mung beans), millet, sorghum and pigeon peas. They used to struggle to keep up their crop yields through cycles of drought and often lost much of their profit to middlemen.
But since 2015, the women of Muchore Mutethia have found a way to beat the effects of climate change and get a guaranteed income. They now farm mainly sorghum and sell it to only one buyer: East African Breweries Limited (EABL), the largest malt beer manufacturer in the region.
Sorghum is a staple crop for many low-income households in Kenya, and a raw material in the food, animal feed and brewing sectors. Selling to EABLused to be a reliable source of income for many farmers, until September 2013, when the government introduced a high excise duty on beer made from sorghum, millet or cassava. Production went down, as did demand, leaving sorghum farmers with little choice but to sell to brokers at much lower prices.
The excise duty was repealed two years later, and EABL again started working with contract farmers. But the company required 500 metric tons of sorghum every year, which locked out smaller farmers.
Sorghum is a staple crop for many low-income households in Kenya and is used to make animal feed and beer. (Sophie Mbugua
Then, in 2015, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) came to Tharaka Nithi County to conduct a mentorship program in agribusiness, funded by the European Union. Among other lessons, farmers were taught how to improve the acreage they allocated to sorghum production and how to get the best deals through contract farming. Ten farming groups, including the women of Muchore Mutethia, decided to join together to form Tegemeo Cereal Enterprise Limited, an umbrella group that was big enough to meet EABL’s sorghum requirements. Using the negotiating skills they had learned during the FAO sessions, Tegemeo signed a contract directly with the brewery, cutting out the brokers.
“We joined together to achieve the [required] tonnage, with each group delivering its own capacity to Tegemeo, which collects from all the groups and delivers to EABL,” says Martha Nturi, 40, chairwoman of the Muchore Mutethia group. “This gives us a chance to understand when the market dynamics change.”
But before the women could seal a deal with the brewing company, they had to get the men of the village to agree. Women account for 60–80 percent of smallholder farmers, according to Farming First, the global coalition for sustainable agricultural development. But few women farmers have rights to the land they farm, meaning men make most of the decisions on what to grow.
“It was a challenge as men own and subdivide the land,” says Nturi. “Men prefer planting green grams as it’s easier to thresh compared to sorghum.” And the men were not comfortable with the idea of contract farming, which takes away the choice of where to sell your produce and at what price.
The men were eventually convinced when they realized that contracting to EABL would be better for their farms. The umbrella group Tegemeo would buy fertilizer, pesticides and high-yielding seeds in bulk, then supply the farming groups with whatever they needed at the start of the season. The farmers would pay back Tegemeo with the profits they made selling to EABL.“That was a strategy good enough to win over many men,” Nturi says.
With an assured market, the Muchore Mutethia group encouraged each member to dedicate at least 2 acres (0.8 hectares) of land to sorghum production. It has agreed to deliver 25 tons of sorghum to EABL per year, for a guaranteed price of 28 Kenyan shillings ($0.27) per kilogram. Each member is designated a specific amount they have to produce, based on how many acres they’re farming. If they sell outside of the group, members face a fine of 500 Kenyan shillings ($5) and expulsion.
With farmers devoting more land to sorghum, which is drought resistant, and getting a more regular, guaranteed income, the county as a whole is benefiting from increases in food security and household income.
A member of the Muchore Mutethia self-help group winnows some dry sorghum. (Sophie Mbugua)
“Contract farming has improved economies and nutrition at the household level,” says Ambrose Ng’etich, the FAO Tharaka Nithi County program officer, who adds that more than 3,500 farmers in the area have directly benefited from contract farming. “Farmers are not only able to meet basic needs like school fees, provide food and improve standards of living, but can also pay taxes to their county governments, hence increasing revenue collection to the county.”
Nturi smiles when she mentions that the level of school dropout in her village is decreasing as more parents can afford school fees. Even alcohol consumption, which used to be high among the village men, is dropping, she says.
“Having the group overcome the fear of contracting, especially with a tradition of exchanging cash and commodity, has been a journey,” Nturi says. “But we have learned that food security is about having money in your pocket and having the power to purchase food for your family whenever you need it.”

Sunday, 28 May 2017

SRC releases new job structure for public servants;11.11.2016

Sarah Serem (left), the chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and Joseph Kinyua (centre), the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, release results of job evaluation for the public service at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on November 11, 2016. PHOTO
Sarah Serem (left), the chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and Joseph Kinyua (centre), the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, release results of job evaluation for the public service at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on November 11, 2016. PHOTO


  • Speaking at the function which was attended by Chief of Staff and head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem assured that the exercise will not result in pay cuts or job losses.
  • It also seeks to peg salaries to performance while harmonising the salaries of personnel across the public service.
Junior civil servants are set to earn more as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) moves to bridge the huge wage disparities in the public service.
On Friday, the SRC released a new job structure for the country’s over 600,000 public servants which seeks to, among other things, bridge the gap between the highest and lowest pay earners.
Speaking at the function which was attended by Chief of Staff and head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem assured that the exercise will not result in pay cuts or job losses.
“The new structure enhances value for low cadre jobs while maintaining value for top tier jobs,” she stated.
It also seeks to peg salaries to performance while harmonising the salaries of personnel across the public service.
It means that public servants possessing the same skills, qualifications and experience will be clustered in the same job group regardless of whether they are employees of the national government, county governments, constitutional commissions, state corporations or independent commissions.
Currently, there are huge disparities in the remuneration of public servants, with employees in some state corporations, county governments and independent and constitutional commissions earning more than their counterparts in the civil service despite possessing the same skills and qualifications.
“We want to promote equal pay for work of equal value,” said SRC Chief Executive Officer Ann Gitau.
She added that the job evaluation had covered 36,000 state officers and that stakeholders had been involved throughout the 17-month exercise.
Under the new structure, senior public servants including Secretaries, Ambassadors, Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Chief Officers, Directors, senior deputy directors, Principals, CEOs and deputy CEOs of constitutional independent commissions will fall in job group E.
Also falling in Job Group E will be CEOs, executive directors, managing directors, directors general, managing trustees, general managers, commission secretaries and commissioners general in state corporations.
In county governments, the chairpersons of the County Public Service Boards will also fall under Job Group E.
Senior and middle level managers as well as high level specialists including section heads and heads of departments in the civil service will fall in Job Group D under the new structure.
Also to fall in this job group are senior managers and assistant directors in constitutional and independent commissions. In state corporations, those to be clustered in job group D will include general managers in charge of human resource, supply chain, corporate services and medical specialists among other senior and middle level specialists.
Job group C will mainly comprise supervisors and highly skilled officers while job group B will comprise skilled and low level supervisory staff.
The lowest job group – A – will comprise very low skilled basic workers such as cooks, clerks, security guards, messengers, copy readers, drivers, telephone operators and receptionists.
The SRC chairperson stated that teachers will not be affected by the new structure as their remuneration had already been addressed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement their unions signed with the government recently.
She expressed optimism that the new CBA between teachers’ unions and the government will bring to an end the constant teachers’ strikes which had impacted negatively on the education sector in the country over the years.
Ms Serem also explained that the new salary structure will become effective in July next year when the new financial years starts.
She lamented that despite the public service being the employer of choice currently, productivity still stood at a low 30 per cent hence the need to review the pay structure to reward productivity and punish non-performance.
Mr Kinyua on his part noted that the new salary structure will go a long way in ensuring equity and fairness in the remuneration of public servants.
“It is a well-known fact that for a very long time, public service officers were not clear on the real worth of their jobs and often negotiation for salaries was based on whims and not research. This gave room for unstructured and ad hoc determination of remuneration which resulted in skewed salary structures,” he said.
He added that this disparity had affected the morale and capacity of public officers to perform their duties and implementation of national policies.
“This exercise by the SRC and its outcome is, therefore, important. The worth of jobs will enable the Government to determine pay to each job grade and ensure there is equity and fairness in remuneration,’ he went on.
“Teachers, doctors, nurses, police, and other civil servants provide critical service to our people. They, therefore, should be fairly remunerated. But this should be based on an objective and scientific assessment that clearly spells out, as much as possible, their worth,” Mr Kinyua stated.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ogiek win battle against Kenya government; 27.05.2017

More by this Author
Members of Ogiek community listening to rulingMembers of Ogiek community listening to ruling before African Court in Arusha on May 26, 2017. PHOTO | COURTESY  
The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights has ruled the Kenyan government had violated the rights and freedoms of the Ogiek hunter-gatherer people by driving them out of their ancestral lands.
The court on Friday ordered the government "to take all appropriate measures within a reasonable time frame to remedy all the violations established and to inform the court of the measures taken within six months from the date of this judgement".
The Ogiek, one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer peoples of east Africa, live in the Mau forest complex in the Rift Valley. They alleged that the Kenyan government had violated their rights, including to property, natural resources, religion and culture.
In their decision, the nine judges also asked the representatives of the Ogiek to file their requests for reparations within two months.
Minority Rights Group International, one of the three complainants in the case, hailed the ruling after an eight-year legal battle as a huge victory for the Ogiek and other indigenous communities.
"Crucially the court has recognised that the Ogiek — and therefore many other indigenous peoples in Africa — have a leading role to play as guardians of local ecosystems, and in conserving and protecting land and natural resources, including the Mau Forest," Lucy Claridge, legal director of the London-based group, said in a statement.
"By ruling that through a persistent denial of Ogiek land rights, their religious and associated cultural and hunter-gatherer practices were also violated, the court has sent a crystal clear message to the Kenyan and other African governments that they must respect indigenous peoples' land rights in order to secure their livelihoods and cultures," she added.
Based in Arusha, northern Tanzania, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in 2006. The court has no criminal jurisdiction, but can order a state to pay damages. Its decisions are not subject to appeal.
So far 29 states, including Kenya, have ratified the protocol establishing the court.

Friday, 26 May 2017

With my daughter, you are touching a live wire- Miguna theatens media; 26.05.2017

When reached for comment by The Nairobian, Miguna Miguna exploded into an avalanche of expletives. "You stupid dirty scumbags, don't write anything about my daughter. You will see fire," he hissed, then seething, added, "I will not comment to the media on anything touching on my daughter. I will not. You are touching a live wire."
Efforts to reach Atieno proved futile as she did not respond to emails, text messages and her 'business' phone number was switched off.
In his much acclaimed effort, Peeling Back the Mask: Quest for Justice in Kenya published in 2012, the respected lawyer informs us that his first marriage to a Canada based Caribbean born woman, Tracey Wynter ended in a separation after two years.
Miguna started a relationship with Wynter in 1995, months after he had been admitted to the bar. The marriage produced Atieno Juma in July 14 1995, at The Wesley Hospital, when Miguna and Wynter were living in a one bedroom apartment at Chatham Avenue in Toronto.
He had just been admitted to the bar, and couldn't afford a bigger house Miguna says Atieno took time to come. He waited for more than nine hours before the doctor suggested an epidural. He had wanted to name her Akinyi, but his wife couldn't easily pronounce the name, so they settle don Atieno.
His second born, a son, was born at the same hospital in December 4, 1996, barely three months after Miguna had bought his first house in an exclusive Bradford neighbourhood in Canada. He didn't give his mother complications at birth.
In January 1998, Miguna's relationship with Wynter ended and April the same year, he visited Kenya to purchase a posho mill for one of his sisters, as well as buy land in Awendo/Migori area. He met his childhood friend, Anthony Ochieng who introduced him to Jane, who would end up becoming Miguna's second wife.
In April 1998, Miguna again visited Kenya and looked for Jane. He visited her home and met her family and began a courtship that culminated into a traditional customary marriage performed on 6 August 2000. In 29 October the same year, Jane landed at Pearson International Airport and joined Miguna as a permanent resident.
Their first born, fraternal twins were born on 1 September 2001, just ten days before 9/11 while another daughter was born on April 11, 2003. 

Please have your job, Noah Wekesa tells Uhuru Kenyatta; 26.05.2017

Dr Noah Wekesa says he has no office and no staff. He is neither a civil servant nor a parastatal chief. He is just that: chairman. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The pain of being appointed to a bootless state agency came to the fore on Friday during a meeting of state corporation chiefs in Nairobi.
Former Kwanza MP Noah Wekesa, who has been chairing the Oversight Board of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund, complained he has been in the dark even as other government officials rush to claim credit for taming the food cost crisis in the country.
“Do we have too many institutions doing the same thing?” posed the retired veterinarian during a meeting of chairmen and chief executives of State corporations at Kenya School of Government.
“Apparently you are aware that the maize situation is a talking point everywhere, but here I am, chairman of the Strategic Food Reserve and I have seen government institutions, ministers, discussing the issue of maize in this country. As chairman, nobody wants to hear from me,” he added, sending the audience to laughter.
“A few friends of mine like (former planning minister Henry) Obwocha know that I am a serious farmer and the issue of maize, Noah Wekesa anajua (knows).
"Was someone trying to please me with this title of ‘chairman’ of the Oversight Board? I really don’t need that. There are other things I can do.”
Dr Wekesa’s sense of humour, though, seemed to hint at something more serious: in government, critics of the bureaucracy have accused the system of being too rigid, having agencies whose functions overlap and some that seem to stand in the way of others, causing infighting.
Dr Wekesa, who has been close to the Jubilee Party since he lost the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial race, was in April 2015 appointed chairman of Strategic Food Reserve Fund.
According to the Treasury then, the fund worth Sh2.2 billion a year was to procure and store adequate stocks of food for sale across the country.
“The object and purpose for which the fund is established is to provide a strategic food reserve in physical stock and cash equivalent,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich claimed then.
“And specifically, the fund shall stabilise the food supply and prices in the country, arrange for procurement, storage and sale of food commodities, maintain adequate strategic food reserves in physical stock or cash equivalent at any one given time and mobilise resources to support strategic food reserve related activities.”
At the time, the country was depending too much on the strategic food reserve managed by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), which only stocks maize used for relief emergency supplies.
So the technocrats at the Treasury thought it would be prudent to create the special fund as a hedge against the unreliable NCPB, which has been vulnerable to cartels, and expand its mandate to handle other foods the country relies on.
But that seemed to have created a new problem: duplication.
The fund exists alongside the National Drought Management Authority, which deals with supply relief to stricken people, and the NCPB, which still handles the grain reserve matter.
And Dr Wekesa was here to lament about his painful experience of being the unwanted and unknown chairman.
“As I drove here, I saw a lot of cars with blue registration belonging to all these people here,” he said.
“I drove all the way from Kitale in my 14-year-old car with my driver, who has been my personal driver for the last 30 years, and nobody is paying me mileage to come here. And yet I am chairman. I have no office. I have no staff,” he narrated.
“Forty years ago, I was a civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture. Now they have taken me back there and I am sitting with my sons and daughters who are civil servants. I don’t want to be a civil servant again. I want to deliver.
“I would like to suggest that the Oversight Board of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund ... should be merged with something like the Drought Management Authority or something like that.
You wonder why unga is still far despite the announced subsidy. Duplication of roles and possible sabotage.
Dr Wekesa claimed he had enquired from the ministry if he was a civil servant or a parastatal chief.
The answer he got, he claims, was that he was none of the above.
Page 2 of 2

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Flames of Freedom extract

The Flame Of Freedom

That was around the time
Raila quietly boarded a
motorboat at Ndeda Beach in
Bondo at 4pm and sailed with
other passengers at night to
Uganda without being noticed.
Travelling under different
names, sometimes dressed as
a priest and other times as a
Sheikh, Raila staged a
dramatic escape from Kenya
by boat at night, through Lake
Victoria to Uganda then to
Norway, to avoid arrest just
before a 1991 Forum for
Restoration of Democracy
rally at Kamukunji, Nairobi.
That day, Raila was
introduced to Kisumu and
Ugenya as Father Augustine
from Machakos, complete
with a priest’s robe.
He arrived in Uganda under
the name of Joseph Ojiwa
Wadeya. By the time he was
leaving Uganda for Norway,
his name had changed to Haji
Omar, going to Mecca on
pilgrimage, complete with a
kanzu and a fez.
The Lang’ata MP would
probably be dead today had
he not made this dramatic
Raila remembers in his
biography that as the Ford
Young Turks and the six
elderly men were mobilising
for the Kamukunji rally, a US
Embassy official, Alan
Eastham, told him they had
intelligence that the
Government was panicking
and blaming Raila for all the
tension that had gripped the
country then.
According to the US Embassy,
the Government believed Raila
was the man behind the
movement despite the fact
that Raila held no leadership
position in Ford.
The Embassy told Raila that
he was likely to be arrested
two days before the October
5, 1991 rally. It was not going
to be an ordinary arrest.
"The Moi Government had
concluded that Raila no longer
feared detention and Eastham
warned that they could do
him physical harm or
assassinate him. The advice
was that Raila should take
care," the biography, Raila
Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan
Politics, says.
Police raided Raila’s offices
in Agip House, but missed
him, as he had gone to lawyer
James Orengo’s office within
the building.
A team of lawyers, including
Martha Karua, Japheth
Shamalla, Martha Koome and
media houses were soon at
hand to witness the siege.
The raid was foiled. But the
struggle was not over.
It was after this that Raila,
Orengo and Anyang’ Nyong’o
decided that it was too risky
to play games with "a
desperate enemy".
From this time on, Raila’s life
changed. A decision was
taken that Raila should go
The solidarity of the Young
Turks paid off for him. At that
time, Raila, Mukhisa Kituyi,
Paul Muite, Oki Ooko Ombaka,
Karua, Kiraitu Murungi,
Gibson Kamau Kuria, among
others, were allies against
After a night at Orengo’s
place, Nyong’o, Raila and
Orengo decided that even that
place was not safe enough.
Another "trustworthy friend"
took over when Raila moved
to the home of Dr Kituyi, a
long time activist who had
been expelled with Otieno
Kajwang’ from the University
of Nairobi for their role in
student politics.
Nyong’o drove Raila to
Kituyi’s place where the
Lang’ata MP stayed for a
week while police hunted for
On the first night at Kituyi’s
place, police raided Raila’s
home in Kileleshwa.
Ida, now used to battles with
the police, refused to open,
insisting the man was not at
She pretended to be looking
for the keys, while she was in
fact calling the press.
She asked the watchman to
count the police loudly. When
he reached 17 they beat him
Then they left with a message
to Ida to tell Raila, "if he was
man enough, he should come
to the police station and they
would know who they were."
It was time to get Raila out of
Kituyi’s house, to the US
Embassy. The task fell on
Kituyi’s wife, Ling, who had
to take him through the many
roadblocks without police
She changed Raila’s beards
and hair, fixed him with
glasses and took him to the
Embassy with Dr Kituyi
driving and Nyong’o
The Embassy gave audience
to Raila, but was not willing
to host him. Earlier, it had
given exile to Kamau Kuria, to
Moi’s chagrin.
That day, Raila went to
Nyong’o’s house, fearing that
police would follow him to
Kituyi’s house.
Muite showed up. They
decided Raila needed to be
moved to a friend who was
less politically active. They
moved him to Jalang’o
Anyango’s residence in
Loresho where he stayed for
another week.
From here, Raila issued a
statement that his life was in
danger. Moi, on the other
hand gave an interview where
he said Kenya was a one-
party State by law and those
going against that were guilty.
The die was cast.
The Catholic Church took over
Raila’s issue, with Archbishop
Zacheaus Okoth plotting how
to get Raila out of Nairobi.
Raila moved to his sister-in-
law’s house, met his children
and promised them he would
never go into detention again.
A white American nun and a
Kenyan priest Father Mak’
Opiyo, dressed in their
religious dresses, got Raila
out of Nairobi.
They also dressed Raila as a
priest, gave him glasses and
with a clean-shaven head,
Raila became a different
Sitting on the back seat, Raila
read newspapers as they
passed police roadblocks,
where they were easily waved
That day, even Kisumu could
not recognise Raila. When the
three reached the Catholic
Station in Kisumu, the two
priests booked a disguised
Raila as Father Augustine
from Machakos.
He was later transferred to
Rang’ala Mission in Ugenya
where, again, he was booked
in as Father Augustine. His
father sent a car to collect
him at midnight.
It was time for Raila to leave
the country by boat. At 4pm,
Raila went to Olago beach in
Bondo and boarded a diesel-
powered boat.
The lake was rough that
evening, and the driver had to
collect other passengers at
Ndeda island. They left Ndeda
at 8pm and headed for
"The boat moved slowly using
only the moon and the stars
for navigation on an initially
calm night," the biography
After two hours, the driver,
Hezron Orori, who was also
carrying one of his wives who
was sick, announced that they
were in Uganda.
That provided some relief for
Raila, before a heavy storm
hit the lake. It was cold, and
Orori’s sick wife began to
"Raila lent her his jacket and
became cold himself," the
writer says.
Raila turned to a bottle of
Vodka a friend had given him.
It gave him some warmth.
Raila spent the night in
Sigulu, one of the formerly
Kenyan islands that had been
annexed by Idi Amin.
Here, with the help of
sympathetic Kenyans,
Ugandans and Tanzanians,
Raila acquired Ugandan
papers. But his name
He became Joseph Ojiwa
In Kampala, Raila landed in
the hands of a friend who had
worked for his company, the
East African Spectre, who
reported his arrival to the
United Nations High
Commission for Refugees.
Uganda reported to Kenyan
authorities that Raila was
there. There was fear that
Kenyan intelligence forces in
Kampala could abduct Raila
and return him home.
UNHCR asked Raila to remain
underground saying Kenya
had sent security forces to
search for him. But Uganda
declined to help the Kenyan
Germany, US and Britain, all
keen not to ruffle relations
with Moi, were reluctant to
give asylum to Raila.
Only Norway, which had cut
relations with Kenya, accepted
To leave Uganda for Norway,
Raila had to be disguised
Ahmed Sayyid Farah, a
Somali national who was the
UNHCR country representative
in Uganda, decided they were
not going to take chances.
Farah got Raila a kanzu with
a fez and a jacket similar to
those of Uganda Muslims to
wear. His name changed to
Haji Omar, going to Mecca on
A friend who had boarded
Sabena Airlines in Nairobi
could not recognise Raila
when he boarded in Kampala.
His sisters who waited for
him at the airport in Oslo
could not recognise him
Back home, Raila’s wife Ida
was still fighting.
She issued a press statement
detailing why Raila had to,
and stubbornly insisted that if
anything happened to her
husband, she would hold the
police responsible.
She said thugs had attacked
Raila’s car at their gate and a
day later, an unidentified
persons left a bucketful of
faeces on their backyard.
Police were calling their
house every day and leaving
death threats, she said.
"The latest telephone message
that police will shoot him if
they caught up with him is the
most terrifying. The police
have created a lot of fear in
our children with these
threats. The children freeze
every time the phone rings or
whenever there is a knock on
the door," Ida protested.
"Last week, our daughter
broke down in class. I am
afraid our children can’t take
it anymore. I appeal to the
police to stop it for the sake
of the children. In this
country, all children are
supposed to occupy a special
place in the hearts of the
leaders," Ida said.
She insisted that those
hunting Raila down were not
ordinary policemen.
"Never before have I heard
policemen leaving death
messages to people they
intend to arrest. May be the
tactics have changed. When
they say openly that he will
see fire or he will see what he
has never seen before or that
he will never see the sun
again, these messages mean
the same thing, that they will
kill him."
Ida complained that on
October 4 1991, a rowdy and
rude group of about 20
uniformed and plain clothed
policemen attempted to get to
their house by force. Earlier,
police had invaded East
African Spectre and harassed
employees, staged continuous
surveillance on the company
and at Raila’s home. At the
company, they left the
message that Raila should
report to Central Police
"It was ominous that when we
reported to the Central Police
Station, no officer at that
station knew about his
requirement to report," Ida
said in the lengthy statement.
"I want to state very clearly
and in no uncertain terms that
if something happens to Raila,
my family will hold police
wholly responsible."
A day later, Raila’s father,
Jaramogi weighed in with a
statement asking police to
leave his son alone.
"I appeal to the Commissioner
of Police to put a stop to this
nonsense. I appeal to the
head of the Special Branch,
whose professional duty is to
advise the Government on
political matters as they relate
to the security of society to
advise against the Gestapo
Apparently, Raila had not left
the country or even Nairobi,
when this statement was
But it created the impression
that he was out.
It was not the first time Ida
was showing this act of
defiance in what was
increasingly becoming a
family’s battle with the State.
A few years earlier, Ida had
been sacked from her
teaching job "in public
interest." That came after she
took the State to court in 1988
to demand Raila’s release.
A letter of retirement was
delivered to her at Kenya High
School on September 12,
1988, telling her to handover
all school property and leave
within six hours.
Nobody, not even the Kenya
National Union of Teachers
protested. Only the late
Bishop Alexander arap Muge
did. When international
pressure mounted, the
Teachers Service Commission
(TSC) changed tact.
Mr J Kang’ali wrote to Ida
about a week later: "The TSC
has carefully reviewed its
decision on this matter and
having taken into account
your previous record of
service as a teacher, it has
been decided that you be
reinstated back to the
teaching service, on
humanitarian grounds."
TSC declined to take
responsibility for the
inconveniences to Ida.
In early 1991, an uncowed Ida
fired a lengthy letter to
Attorney General Mathew
Muli, demanding to know why
Raila was being persecuted.
"Why is it that up to now,
Raila has not been told
specifically what it is that he
did to warrant detention
without trial? Would you not
agree that general reference to
his involvement or
association with persons is
not specific at all? How can
he change if his offences are
not specified?" she asked.
In the end, Norway gave Raila
an asylum, a job and a
passport that allowed him to
travel to all countries except
He had lived to fight another
day and launch an attack on
the Nyayo Government from
abroad. He returned later to
take the Lang’ata seat in

Mark Zuckerberg finally graduates

Mark Zuckerberg finally gets his Harvard degree - 12 years after dropping out

Mark Zuckerberg with his parents Edward and Karen
Mark Zuckerberg with his parents Edward and Karen CREDIT: FACEBOOK

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg features in a long line of university dropouts who became millionaires after founding technology companies - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs among them.
But 12 years after leaving Harvard to work on Facebook full time, he has returned to pick up his degree.
Zuckerberg founded what was then called "The Facebook" in his college dormitory in 2004. The service was at first limited only to Harvard students before expanding to other Ivy League universities.

He is due to deliver the university's commencement address, a speech given to graduating students, later on Thursday. After receiving the honour he posted a photo of him with his parents Edward and Karen Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg returned to the room where he built Facebook along with his co-founders, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes.
On Wednesday, he said his upcoming speech would "share what I've learned about our generation and the world we're all building together".
 Even after the company moved its headquarters to California, Zuckerberg continued to be enrolled at Harvard until he dropped out in November 2005. "I'm not coming back" he told the university paper The Crimson.
His honorary degree comes 12 years later, a little quicker than it took Bill Gates, another famous Harvard dropout to get his. Gates, who left to found Microsoft in 1975, did not receive his honorary degree until 2007.
Last week, Zuckerberg shared a video of him finding out he had been accepted into Harvard.
Moment a teenage Mark Zuckerberg finds out he got into Harvard