Monday, 31 July 2017

US and UK offer to assist Kenya in investigating Msando murder: 31.07.2017

United State of America Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec

The United States and the United Kingdom have offered assistance to Kenya in efforts to get the killers and motive into the murder of IEBC ICT manager Chris Msando. US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and British High Commissioner Nic Hailey said they were gravely concerned with the murder of Msando as they condoled with the family, friends and the entire IEBC team.  “It is critical that Kenya have free, fair, credible and peaceful elections on August 8, and protection for IEBC staff is essential to achieving this goal.” They said they welcome the Government of Kenya’s commitment to investigate the murder. “We have offered our assistance in the investigation,” they added. The body of Msando was found in Mguga Forest in Kikuyu hours after he had gone missing. He had been tortured before his murder. His naked body was discovered by locals who called police. He had an injury in the head, neck, back and right hand. ALSO READ: NASA condemns shocking murder of Chris Msando Msando had gone missing on Friday night. He was last spotted on Mombasa Road at about 2.30 am on Saturday. His car was found abandoned in Roysambu area on Saturday morning. It was towed to Kasarani police station Sunday night.  RELATED TOPICS: chris msando IEBC United States WATCH THIS The first bunch of presidential ballot papers arrive from Al ghurair printing firm in Dubai Kenyans regard IEBC's ICT manager Chris Msando dies a hero: Kivumbi 2017 Villagers from Livunda-Siaya mourn their slain hero Chris Msando
Read more at:

Chris Msando died a painful death; 31.07.2017

More by this AuthorThe scene where the body of Mr Msando wasThe scene where the body of Mr Msando was allegedly found. It's in Kikuyu off Waiyaki Way, about 2km from the main road. The area is called Nguriunditu. Residents told the Nation that the body was picked up by police at around 10am on Saturday. PHOTO | BRIAN MOSETI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
Slain Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ICT Manager Chris Msando died a painful death.
A cursory look at his remains, now at Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi, reveals a possible struggle with his killers, who overpowered, hit and finished him.
The body has visible injuries in the back and left side of his head and on his belly.
Both hands have cut wounds and the right forearm is broken.
Chris' elder brother Peter Msando addresses the
Chris' elder brother Peter Msando addresses the media at City Mortuary on July 31, 2017. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
His face has no injury but fresh blood was oozing from the nose by Monday mid-morning.   
The neck also had many injuries, pointing to possible strangling and bludgeoning by the death squad.
Nasa leaders Musalia Mudavadi, James Orengo and
Nasa leaders Musalia Mudavadi, James Orengo and others arrive at The Lee Funeral Hoome to view Chris' body on July 31, 2017. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
IEBC Chairman  Wafula Chebukati on Monday viewed Mr Msando's body and said it was clear “he had been tortured”.
He termed the death as "murder" even as he agreed that a post-mortem had to be carried out to determine the cause of his death.
“We demand to know who killed him and why,” Mr Chebukati said at City Mortuary in Nairobi.
Chris' other brother Tom (seated, left) with
Chris' other brother Tom (seated, left) with the head of investigations at the IEBC Christopher Owiye outside Lee Funeral Home on July 31, 2017. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
He called on the government and police to reveal the killers of Mr Msando.
The body was open for viewing immediately after Mr Msando’s family identified him on Monday.
It was later moved to Lee Funeral Home.

Kenyan election IT head Chris Msando found dead

Chris MsandoThe man in charge of Kenya's computerised voting system has been found dead just days before the 8 August elections.
Chris Msando, an electoral commission IT manager, had gone missing on Friday.
"There was no doubt he was tortured and murdered," said IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati.
Tension is high as the presidential election is expected to be a close race between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and long-time opponent Raila Odinga.
Police said on Monday that the bodies of Mr Msando and an unidentified woman had been found in the Kikuyu area on the outskirts of Nairobi and taken to the city mortuary.
"The only question in our mind is who [killed him] and why he was killed a few days to elections," Mr Chebukati said.
Kenyan newspaper The Star reports that Mr Msando's body was found with one arm missing.

Shock and disgust

Dickens Olewe, BBC News, Nairobi
Today was supposed to big a day for Chris Msando - he was to oversee the public testing of the voting system which has been vaunted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as key to eliminate vote rigging and to deliver a credible election.
The Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS) will be used to identify voters and transmit results.
A similar electronic system that was used in the 2013 election failed spectacularly, leading to manual counting of votes which some have argued allowed for voter manipulation.
Mr Msando had only been on the job for two months, having taken over after his predecessor was suspended for refusing to cooperate with an audit firm which was cleaning the voters' register.
His death will do little to assuage growing concerns about the IEBC's election preparedness and questions about its credibility.
On Twitter, his name and #RIPMsando are trending, with many expressing shock and disgust at what to them looks like a targeted elimination.
This news also comes at a time when the government has denied allegations by opposition parties that it is planning to deploy the military to swing the election to its favour.
With only a week to the election, this is no doubt another testing time for Kenya and it can only emerge from this tense moment by holding credible elections and arresting and prosecuting Mr Msando's killers.

Some fear there could be violent clashes between rival supporters after the result is announced, with the losers refusing to accept defeat.
However, few expect the type of violence which killed more than 1,200 people in ethnic, post-election violence 10 years ago.
Following the clashes, the International Criminal Court charged President Kenyatta and his deputy with instigating violence, but the charges have since been dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The government has denied ICC accusations that its witnesses had been intimidated to prevent them from testifying.

He helped create Lipa na M-Pesa, SpotCash — and many more, 30.07.2017


  • At 34, the father of two has done so much for the financial sector ranging from cash in alerts to mobile payment systems but says he is just warming up for the challenges ahead
  • Mr Gathingu was also involved in the creation of the software that enables Safaricom users to buy data bundles straight from their M-Pesa accounts.
  • From Princely House, where the business occupied a tiny office in 2009, Mr Gathingu relocated Tangazoletu to Vision Plaza along Mombasa Road.
  • Later, it was possible for people to send advertisements via SMS and that was the origin of “Tangazoletu (our announcement)”, the name of his business.
  • Tangazoletu also prides itself in having helped develop various M-Pesa add-on products that include a system which enables agents to get float on loan to repay on the next banking day. There is also another system that allows M-Pesa cash exchange between two businesses.
A falling fruit made Sir Isaac Newton discover the force of gravity in England in 1687. In Kenya in 2005, a disconnected water supply made a third year university student Chris Gathingu develop an SMS alert system for water utility companies.
It later inspired him to create the SpotCash software that Saccos and other financial institutions use today to send SMS alerts to clients.
A few years later, an incident around payment at a restaurant made Mr Gathingu rack his brains and the end product is what is today known as “Lipa na M-Pesa” that allows users of the mobile money service to make payments easily.
Mr Gathingu was also involved in the creation of the software that enables Safaricom users to buy data bundles straight from their M-Pesa accounts. He also played a role in the development of the recently launched “M-Pesa 1Tap” service where a person can use a card, phone sticker or wristband device to make payments via M-Pesa.
The 34-year-old also took part in creating a system launched in 2012 that enables tuberculosis patients receive a stipend from donors so they can buy their medication; and in making another one that enables refugees to get electronic vouchers for buying food.
Those are but a few of the solutions Mr Gathingu has created since 2005 when he made his first innovation and later founded technology firm Tangazoletu in 2007.
Two weeks ago, Tangazoletu celebrated its 10th year in business with a dinner at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Nairobi.
The event was attended by, among others, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, NIC Bank managing director John Gachora and the head of supervision at Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra), Mr Peter Njuguna.
Mr Gathingu told the gathering:
“To date, in the financial sector, we have worked with more than 70 financial institutions reaching up to five million Kenyans with our technology solutions.”
“We target to reach another 10 million people in the informal sectors and bring them to financial inclusion,” he added during the July 14 night event.
But before he became a man rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in Kenya’s technology and finance circles, Mr Gathingu was a young man who thought his calling was to be a doctor.
While sitting his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination at Mang’u High School in 2001, all he wanted was to secure a slot in medical school.
But when the results came, he was one point shy for medical school.
“So I was admitted to JKUAT (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) to pursue Bachelor of Science in Computer Technology. It was quite heart-breaking to see that I had missed Medicine. I remember going to the medicine school and putting down my name and saying, ‘If anybody does not come, please call me,’” Mr Gathingu tells Lifestyle.
However, after a while in the computer class, he realised it was a blessing in disguise that he missed the medical school. Lately he has realised that he could not have withstood all that doctors go through.
“When I take my daughter for an injection, I can’t watch what the doctor is doing. I don’t enjoy the sight of blood, I don’t like seeing people being injected. I always wonder what kind of doctor I would have been,” he says.
In his computer class, he took up the topics taught with a lot of keenness, so much so that he graduated with a First Class honours degree in August 2007.
An experience he had at the end of his second year at university, while interning at IT company Databit along Nairobi’s Ngong Road, changed his life.
“During that time, being an Information and Technology company, I’d practise several IT things including networking and computer programming,” says Mr Gathingu, who had just basic computer knowledge when joining university.
The experience at the firm played a big part in the first software he ever created. While in third year, a relative of his had his water supply disconnected because of an overdue water bill.
“His bill had been sent through the regular post office which he had not bothered to check for quite a while. I could feel his frustration. I thought to myself that there must be a better way of doing things,” says Mr Gathingu.
“That’s how I created the system that was sending SMS alerts to the people who had overdue water bills. I created a system that I was able to sell to the water utility company,” he adds. The company, which he did not wish to name, paid him Sh50,000 for the product.
“That taught me that I can actually create systems that will make an impact,” he recalls.
Between then and when he graduated from JKUAT, one of the activities he engaged in was an SMS sending service on his campus. He would sell SMS units for students to exchange texts.
At one point, he created a system that would enable students to exchange messages for free.
“You’d log into a portal, and key in the number of the person that you want to send a message to. That message would go out for free,” he remembers. He then reasoned out that he could engage corporates to append advertisements to the free messages.
Later, it was possible for people to send advertisements via SMS and that was the origin of “Tangazoletu (our announcement)”, the name of his business.
After graduation, he cut his teeth in entrepreneurship, starting off with an office at Princely House along Nairobi’s Moi Avenue.
“When I was in campus, in my third and fourth year, I had employees,” he recalls. “They would range between one and three at any one time because a guy would resign after two weeks or so. Sometimes I would have to forego my food just to pay for their transport and other things.”
The employees are the ones who would go out to market his solutions too. Some helped him start his new life as a businessman in Nairobi.
However, life as a tech entrepreneur fresh from university was not easy.
“I got a lot of job offers, unsolicited — from big audit firms, from the banks and such,” he recalls. “And it was a difficult thing to turn them down because everybody thought that I would jump for an opportunity to be a graduate trainee or this and that. It was also very difficult to resist temptation because a lot of my colleagues had also been hired and of course were living better social lives.”
But he stuck to his guns, clinging on a vision he had to automate business processes.
“When I established that vision, I set my goals towards achieving that vision. So, regardless of what would come my way, I would try to evaluate how it would resonate with my vision,” he says.
From Princely House, where the business occupied a tiny office in 2009, Mr Gathingu relocated Tangazoletu to Vision Plaza along Mombasa Road. Three years later, it was moved to Mayfair Business Centre in Westlands, its address to date.
Page 1 of 2

Seed company rolls out maize variety for semi-arid areas; 31.07.2017

More by this AuthorA farmer inspects his maize crop in Uasin Gishu County. The East Africa Seed Company has developed a new maize variety that is drought-resistant and matures quickly. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUPA farmer inspects his maize crop in Uasin Gishu County. The East Africa Seed Company has developed a new maize variety that is drought-resistant and matures quickly. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
The East African Seed Company has rolled out a drought-resistant maize variety which takes 90 days to mature.
The new maize variety, Tosheka, is targeting the semi-arid areas of Eastern and North-Eastern but can also do well in high altitude areas which concentrate on tea and coffee farming.
According to Solomon Mugambi, an agronomist in Mt Kenya region, the maize breed should be planted during the short rains.
“It does exemplary well with minimal rainfall and can sustain itself under harsh climate conditions,” he said.
The agronomist was speaking to farmers drawn from the counties of; Nyeri, Nyandarua, Murang’a, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Embu, Taita Taveta and Garissa during the Annual Farmers’ Day at the Wambugu Farmers Training Centre in Nyeri.
He said the maize breed was double combed and its average production was between 25-30 bags of maize per acre, thus capable of earning commercial farmers a good profit.
“We are advising farmers to look for high yielding crops because we have suffered crop failures prompted by the erratic weather conditions in most parts of the country,” said Mr Mugambi.
The maize variety will be available to farmers for planting at the start of short rains in October.

ICC: What new email by Ocampo reveals ; 30.07.2017

Former Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo

A year after the last of the two Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) collapsed, the court has confirmed investigations on a suspect email which appears to suggest the cases were politically contrived. A leaked email communication between former Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo and an American woman activist, which surfaced last week, falls short of admitting that the naming, investigating and prosecuting of top Kenyans fell outside genuine quest for justice for 2008 violence victims. In the conversation accessed by the Sunday Standard and dated February 14, 2011, the activist asks Ocampo of the happenings in the cases and why the prosecution had upset the judges by naming the suspects before obtaining warrants against them in the court. Pressure The answer and the care-free manner in which it was given is as perplexing as it is shocking. “Judges don’t like pressure. I am trying to remove part of the elite. The trial will be after elections. New elite in power helping to punish the bad guys,” reads the email. The prosecutor then proceeded to make a statement that implies that they were looking beyond the courtroom: “Judges don’t think in the same terms. They are focusing in the courtroom and have baby skin.” ALSO READ: Let's ensure all eligible voters cast the ballot, calm prevails Both Ocampo and his successor Fatou Bensouda have previously and severally denied that the cases were politically contrived. On Friday, the ICC prosecution said the email and its contents “are unknown to Prosecutor Bensouda and her office”. They said the matter ought to be addressed to the individuals who “purportedly engaged in the exchange”. “The Office of the Prosecutor is, nonetheless, taking all necessary steps to verify the authenticity of the email,” Bensouda’s office said. At the time of the email – February 14, 2011 – Ocampo had just lodged an application seeking the summonses of the six suspects – Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, Hussein Ali, William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang. Uhuru was then serving as Deputy Prime Minister, Ruto a Cabinet minister, Muthaura head of civil service, Ali police commissioner, Kosgey minister and Sang a radio host. Incidentally, the same day the email was sent out, Sang had lodged an application in the court seeking, among other things, that “Mr Louis Moreno Ocampo be disqualified from prosecuting the Kenyan situation and the Kenyan case including any other or further investigation.” Sang said Ocampo was acting out of “ulterior motives that are unrelated to the cause of justice” and was possibly incompetent or disinterested in competently investigating the Kenyan situation. ALSO READ: Polls needn't be Armageddon, love and care for thy neighbor Before the judges could rule on Sang’s request, and as though picking on his concerns, they requested Ocampo to hand in all witness statements he had used as a basis for seeking summonses against the six. In a judgment issued two days after making the request to Ocampo, the three pre-trial judges – Ekaterina Trendafilova, Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser – refused to entertain all Sang’s concerns, except the one raising credibility issues against Ocampo. They nevertheless refused to grant his request to disqualify Ocampo, with a finding that they had no competence to deal with such a request. The email conversation is titled “Re: Musa Hilal” in possible reference to the Sudanese tribal leader and special advisor to President Omar Bashir, who the court had indicted. The conversation also discussed the Congo DRC case, the situation in Darfur and the US support for the ICC, among other things. From the way the email is structured, it looks like the woman activist sought to understand a number of matters in the court and flagged them out in the conversation. In the first question, she sought to understand why the ICC prosecution was seeking to tie Rwandan President Paul Kagame to suspect and Congo DRC militia leader Bosco Ntaganda. She expressed her frustrations with the US government policy on Africa and the manner of support for the court. Proxy force ALSO READ: Raila: NASA’s strength of numbers will shame them In response, the ex-prosecutor appears quite pleased with the woman’s quest for “reasons and understanding”. He called her out, “My dear *** (name redacted)... my comments in your text,” and proceeded to respond in-line and in bold. “Kagame was behind Bosco and Nkunda. It was a proxy force to attack the Hutu’s. I need Kagame not protecting Bosco. I agree (that Kagame does not have an ICC arrest warrant), that is why I tried to work with him. He has to be on my side,” Ocampo says. On the US support for the court, the ex-prosecutor sounds dejected in the email. He says President Barack Obama “focuses on three priorities – Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East – and abandoned the rest, Darfur or Korea”. When the woman wonders why the Americans are not doing enough to “use the court more”, Ocampo thunders back, brutally so: “It is not the American logic. Law is for inside USA. Outside is power.” RELATED TOPICS:

Benga star exiled for composing anti-Raila tune; 30.07.2017

More by this AuthorBenga musician Tom Mboya Ang’ang’a (Atomy Sifa). He fled to Tanzania after claiming that his life was in danger. PHOTO | COURTESYBenga musician Tom Mboya Ang’ang’a (Atomy Sifa). He fled to Tanzania after claiming that his life was in danger. PHOTO | COURTESY 
When Luo Benga artist Tom Mboya Ang’ang’a, best known as Atomy Sifa, produced a song in praise of President Uhuru Kenyatta together with little-known musician Tede ja Kenya, little did he know that the contents of the song would see him exiled.
Mr Sifa, who fled to Tanzania a week ago after he claimed his life was in danger, told the Nation he relocated following threats to his life.
“People called me, threatening that they will kill me for insulting Raila Odinga in the song,” said Mr Sifa.
The song, titled Uhuru Nyale (Uhuru is Capable), blames Mr Odinga for ills bedevilling the Luo community.
Sifa and Tede in the song “advise” members of the Luo community to stop paying allegiance to Mr Odinga and support President Kenyatta’s re-election.
The song also accuses Mr Odinga of not initiating meaningful development during his tenure as Prime Minister.
In one of the stanzas he sings, “Joluo ugaloru mojoga ubiro luwo ng’ani nyaka kar ang’o (Luos, you shouldn’t be wasted. Until when will you follow this person)?”
Sifa received condemnation from Mr Odinga’s supporters who accused him of being used to undermine the Nasa leader.
Sifa on Saturday denied composing the song, saying he was passing next to where Tede was producing the video and he was asked to join because of his popularity.
“I never knew what the song was all about. I was invited to be part of the video but later realised it was disparaging Mr Odinga,” said Mr Sifa.
He argues that he has been composing songs for Mr Odinga and there is no way he would compose another one disparaging him.
“You know that I have composed more than four songs for Mr Odinga and I cannot compose a song calling him names,” claimed Mr Sifa.
His fellow musicians and Nasa supporters believe he was being used by Jubilee Party’s sympathisers in Nyanza.
Small Otieno, a fellow benga artiste, distanced himself from Mr Sifa’s song.
“We have disowned Mr Sifa for composing song which is shameful at a time the region’s political kingpin seeks the highest office in the land,” said Mr Otieno.
Mr Sifa’s home in Adiedo Karachuonyo in Homa Bay County is deserted. His relatives who spoke to the Nation differed over his predicament.
Ms Jael Achieng’, a close relative of the musician, said Mr Sifa has liberty to sing whatever he wants.
“He has been praising Mr Odinga in his songs for years and he has got nothing to show for it. What is wrong when he praises President Uhuru?” asked Ms Achieng’.
Mr Joackim Mboya, another relative, said that Mr Sifa is an orphan who has been struggling to earn a living.
He noted that the artiste missed the point when he disparaged Mr Odinga.
“It was wrong for Mr Sifa to make Mr Odinga and the whole Luo nation a laughing stock in his new composition,” argued Mr Mboya.
It is alleged that top a Jubilee Party bloggers and officials in Nyanza approached four Luo musicians including Mr Sifa to compose for them songs praising Mr Kenyatta but they failed to agree on payment. But Mr Sifa made a deal with them.
A source privy to the happenings behind the production of the song told the Nation that the musician was approached by people from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) who called him from his house for a meeting in Nairobi.
The source said that the people pushing for the song first approached two other popular Ohangla musicians with the same deal during the first meeting at Choma Zone Hotel along Thika Road but they failed to agree on the monetary terms as the two were quoting higher cash than the agents were willing to pay.
After the botched first meeting in which Atomy Sifa was also present, another meeting was organised with Mr Sifa and it is during this meeting that a deal was struck.
The musician who was reportedly facing financially lean times at the time quoted a very low sum, way below what other musicians had quoted, which the agents promptly agreed to.
A contract was then handed over to the musician to sign before he was given the cash.
The musician, our source said, was given already written lyrics and was told that he was to sing them without changing anything in the lyrics.
A video for the song was also made and was uploaded on YouTube by the agents. 
The song soon gained many views and news about the video started spreading like wildfire.
Jubilee’ Homa Bay county governorship candidate Tom Alila has asked police to ensure Mr Sifa is safe.
“Police have the duty to protect Mr Sifa and his relatives because we cannot withstand those violating other people’s right of expression,” he said.
Mr Alila asked why the musician was still poor after praising Mr Odinga for years yet Luos are now mad at him when he composes just a single song for President Kenyatta.
“Why couldn’t the many songs he sang for Mr Odinga uplift him economically?” asked Mr Alila.
 - Additional reporting by Collins Omulo

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Robert Mugabe says 'not dying' as health concerns mount; 30.07.2017

More by this AuthorZimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. PHOTO |Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA | AFP  
Zimbabwe's 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, declaring "I am not dying," sought Saturday to brush aside growing concerns about his health after his wife urged him to name a successor.
Mugabe's medical trips to Singapore have become  frequent in recent years, fuelling questions about his health. His last visit was early this month for what was described as a "routine medical check-up".
"There is the issue that the president is going. I am not going. That the president is dying. I am not dying," Mugabe told thousands of supporters at a rally in his home town of Chinhoyi.
His remarks came after his wife Grace urged him to name a successor in a bid to end the factionalism threatening to tear apart his ruling ZANU-PF party.
"I thank God for having lived to this day. I thank God for the good life. I have an ailment here and there (but) my organs... my heart and liver are very firm. Recently, doctors were actually surprised by the strength of my bones," Mugabe said.
He said he had followed a strict exercise routine from the years he was imprisoned during the fight against colonial rule in the 1970s.
Mugabe, who spoke for more than an hour at the rally, now walks with difficulty and sometimes dozes off during meetings.
In 2011 and 2014 he had eye surgery in a hospital in Singapore.
His health has been the subject of increased speculation and authorities in March arrested two journalists over a report alleging that he was "in bad shape".
In 2016, the government had to deny that he had died abroad during his annual vacation.
Mugabe has declined to name a successor and his party has been riven by divisions for years.
On his succession, Africa's oldest leader said: "I want to see whether the situation is ripe."
"Are those who are my subordinates united? I see some are divided tribally. Some denigrate each other."
Despite Mugabe's age, the party last year endorsed him as its candidate for the 2018 general elections.
On Thursday, Mugabe's wife Grace called for an end to uncertainty over his successor.
"President, don't be afraid. Tell us who is your choice, which horse we should back," she told a meeting of the women's league of the ZANU-PF.
"If you tell us the horse to back, we will rise in our numbers and openly support that horse. Why should our horse be concealed?"
The succession race is seen as between Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a group called "Generation 40" or "G40" because its members are generally younger, which reportedly has Grace's backing.