Business News

Traders appeal for shades, lights

The Muthurwa market. Traders from Nahati are asking for shades to shelter them from the rain. [Photo/]

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 16:43

With the arrival of the short rains in most parts of the country, traders at the Maili Sita trading centre are appealing to their Member of Parliament and MCA to provide them with permanent shades.

Speaking at the market on Tuesday, the traders called on their Member of Parliament Kimani Ngunjiri and Bahati Ward MCA Peter Nderitu to help them acquire shades saying that it has become extremely hard to operate normally because of the increased rains.

“We are forced to close our businesses very early in the afternoon because of the rains. We cannot operate in this kind of environment,” said Jane njoroge, the markets chairlady.

She added: ‘We do not have shades to shelter in and this is affecting our business. We want to call on Ngunjiri and Nderitu to step in and help us.”

Njoroge said that even during the dry season traders find it difficult to operate under the hot sun and said that shade will be the only solution to their problems.

They also appealed to the county government to erect flood lights in the small market saying that they are forced to close business early due to darkness.

“If we get lights here, then we will be able to operate even up to ten but because of the darkness we are force to close as early as eight,” said another trader.

Investors decry losses caused by bad road

A bad road in nakuru county. A similar one is costing investors tens of thousands in Kisumu. [Photo/ OWaweru/]

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 13:32

A road linking the Nyando sugar belt, and also connects Kisumu city with its only company in Top 100 SMEs is in a deplorable state.

Mamboleo Block D road which links Kibos, the defunct Miwani, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar companies and which falls under Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) was last serviced more than 10 years ago.

The road, users say, is only temporarily repaired in time for the annual agricultural show at the ASK Kisumu showground and then neglected. This repair, they add, only targets the section from its junction with Kisumu-Kakamega highway to where ASK road branches off.

Skylark Group which has been listed in the Top 100 SMEs since 2009 has its factory along the highway. The company says the road which connects Kisumu with Nairobi via the four sugar companies, Koru and Londiani would make business less costly.

Skylark founder, Vinod Patel said they suffer up to Sh40, 000 in losses monthly due to the poor state of the road which is lined with potholes.

He said the road was shoddily repaired 10 years ago and has since been in a sorry state. Their appeals to KeNHA, he further stated, were met with promises of imminent commencement of work but nothing has been done.

“All towns grow with businesses; if we want to see Kisumu develop into a business hub, then works on the road should kick off immediately,” he said.

Ndugu Transporters Limited, which has been filling the numerous pot holes with murram soil in a bid to keep it usable say it has taken a toll on the economy of the area which boasts of increased industries and real estate investment. The company transports sugarcane to the factories. It also supplies construction materials that are made at the area.

According the company’s transport manager, Mr Albert Atieno, the murram fillings have not been very effective, especially when it rains. He said they suffer losses in fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.

KENHA regional manager, Michael Ngala admitted to the poor state of the road but said it had been earmarked for reconstruction in a programme christened Annuity Financing Framework.

“We are away of the bad state of the road but it is one of the beneficiaries of an ongoing construction programme and will soon be reached,” he said.

Under this programme, 2,000 kilometres of small roads will be complete within the 2014/2015 financial year. It is flagship project initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ngala dismissed claims that the reconstruction of the road had stopped at Koru, as claimed by a section of investors.

Githunguri Cooperative set to open a new depot in Arusha

The original headquarters of the Githunguri Dairy Sacco. The society has moved to open a new depot in Arusha in a bid to expand into the regional market. [Photo:]

Published on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 13:56

Githunguri Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative Society is set to open a depot in Arusha Tanzania as it seeks to extend its operation in the entire East Africa region.

The Cooperative which owns the Fresha brand of milk products was formed in 1961 by 31 dairy farmers keen to improve their dairying and marketing possibilities.

Currently, memberships of the co-operative stands at 17,000 members and its collection centers have expanded from one to 68.

Fresha milk is now the leading fresh milk brand in and around the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Contributing to its dramatic growth has been its adherence to quality standards, a turnaround from previous milk production in the country.

“This growth has emanated from a proactive response to be successful in pursuit of significant growth in a rapidly changing economic, social and political environment,” said the Society manager.

He added that the Society’s future plan is to expand its processing capacity so that current members can increase their milk production and delivery to the society and also be able to admit new members from its milk catchment area.

The Society’s by-laws currently state that they cannot sell raw milk and therefore they cannot receive more than the processing capacity. This creates the necessity of increasing processing capacity.

With production at about 170,000 litres of milk a day, Githunguri is Kenya’s third biggest dairy operation which made the dairy to be named the best cooperative society in the country during the recent Nairobi Agricultural Trade fair.

In July 2004 the society commissioned its own milk processing plant and was able to access wide market through value addition and wide range of dairy products. The investment resulted from members contributing Sh1 for every kg of milk sold.

The cooperative had a turnover of sh6.3 billion this financial year from Sh5.4 billion in previous financial year.


Kisii County completes construction of Avocado factory

A buch of Avocado fruits. Kisii County will soon launch a factory to process the fruit that is abundant in the region to join Murang'a in the list of counties with such firms. [Photo:]

Published on Monday, October 20, 2014 - 16:23

The long awaited Avocado processing plant in Kisii County could soon become a reality following the completion of the industry premises near Kenya Industrial Estates(KIE).
Oil Land Trade Company limited an avocado processing plant which kicked of early this year.
The project was initiated by the county government in partnership with a Turkish investor at a cost of Sh150 million.
The avocado factory is set to extract soap, shampoo, juice, pulp and oil for both local and foreign markets.
The factory which is located behind the Ouru superstores is yet to be relocated to the new building adjacent to the KIE site which is undergoing final touches will have the capacity of processing up to 80 tons of avocado daily.
Kisii region is well endowed with avocado that is underutilized. Most of it goes down to waste because of lack of post handling facilities like preservation cold rooms.
The setting up of an Avocado processing plant in Maragua District in Muranga County by investors from Holland is believed to have provided the challenge to Kisii County, internet source reveals.
According to Oil Land Trade Company Limited manager, Mr. Regan Aguko, few avocado farmers supply the raw material to the factory.
In response to the low supply of the avocados, the county director of Agriculture, Mr. Nathan Soire says that the factory management should draw a programme to collect the fruits at Ward level and on a specific duration which should be communicated to the farmers.
“Through community mobilization and sensitization, farmers are fully aware of the avocado factory, the investors should work out a programme to collect the fruits from the ground,” Soire said.
Aguko noted that he has travelled to all sub-counties in the County mobilizing the farmers to deliver fruits to the factory for processing.
“After feasibility study, we found out that Kisii County has the potential to produce lots of avocados but farmers’ response is still low,” Aguko says.
Currently, approximately15,000 metric tons of avocados are annually bought by middlemen from the area.
The county director of agriculture said his department has rolled out a programme of setting up avocado nurseries which they shall sell to the farmers at a subsidized price.
Soire stated that the investor prefers the Hass variety due to its higher oil content thus increased productivity of the final products but owing to its scarcity the farmers are allowed to bring the available varieties at the moment. The available species are Hass, Fuerte, Pinkerton and Ryan.
However Mr. Aguko revealed that the factory is still undergoing Testing of its machinery and serious operations are to kick off in a month’s time.
He says that the factory processes both raw and ripe avocados to produce oil which in turn is used to produce cosmetics as the final product.
Aguko said that the final product is only exported since there’s no ready market in the county. He adds that farmers benefit through the raw materials they bring to the industrial unit.
He explained that all the employees come from Kisii County and they are skilled though at the moment they are all in the sorting section till the factory is full set up.
He added that gender bias is not taken into account and they give ladies an upper hand since they do better than men when it comes to food issues.

Water equipment firm to treat Naivasha raw sewage

A water treatment plant. Residents in Naivasha town are set to benefit from a planned water treatment project by Davis and shirtliff in conjunction with the county government. [Photos/]

Published on Monday, October 20, 2014 - 08:33

The raw sewage menace in Naivasha town and its environs could soon be a thing of the past, as a water treatment organisation has pledged to involve themselves in its cleaning.

Davis and Shirtliff, who opened their branch offices in the town on Thursday, cited that they would be targeting to treat raw sewer water, and turn it into clean water for consumption.

Speaking during the opening, the Managing Director of the Company David Gatende, said that they were ready to partner with the county government and other stakeholders to look into the water treatment plan.

“The most important aspect is to have a right analysis of the water after which we can be able to convert if for proper domestic and market use,” said Gatende.

He further added that they would also get involved in the wastewater treatment analysis, which would be beneficial to the residents.

“The water table is quite high and we seek to see ways that will prevent the contamination of the water in the county. We feel that a lot of this water should not go to waste as its doing,” he added

Gatende added that area residents would benefit from the presence of the company as they will not be forced to transport machinery to Nairobi for repairs.

Kenyatta: Cheap power to lower cost of goods

 A geothermal rig. President Uhuru Kenyatta says that geothermal power will lower the cost of production as electricity costs will go down. [Photo/ Njenga Hakeenah/]

Published on Monday, October 20, 2014 - 08:08

The launching of the historical Olkaria IV Power Plant by President Uhuru Kenyatta will make it easier and cheaper for investors in the country.

Addressing the public soon after the commissioning, the president assured investors that the cheap power will make it easy to direct cash that they had been using to pay power bills to opening more businesses.

“The availability of cheaper power, of which we are targeting to give the public at US 2 cents per unit in the fuel cost, will see many youths open small scale businesses. As a government, we feel that investing in power, even the welder on the streets can be able to improve on his businesses and create more job opportunities,” he added.

The president hailed the project saying that every stage of the project was designed to make history. He cited that the country had already started feeling the effect of the generation of geothermal, saying that it had not experienced the normal shortages and power blackouts that it was used to.

“We have made it possible for Kenyans to get clean and green power generated locally. This is a great gift to Kenyans,” he added.

He appealed to the manufacturers to reduce the cost of their goods, saying that the availability of cheap power will enable them to produce them at a cheap rate.

“I already have confirmation that a bag of cement will immediately drop from Sh750 to Sh600. We hope that this can reduce the essential commodities too,” he added.

Deputy President William Ruto added that the provision of the cheap power was not a campaign tool used to win elections.

“We made this pledge to Kenyans and we intend to fulfil it. It was not a tool to win elections but a move to ensure that Kenyans got the life they deserved,” he added.

Aluminium factory investor faces opposition from residents

The proposed aluminium factory. Residents are opposed due to the waste management concerns. [Photo/ EMong'are/]

Published on Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 18:10

An aluminium factory investor is facing opposition from the residents of Muthiga area in Magana town of Kiambu County.

According to the investor, Vikash Gudka, the residents say the factory- if built- will raise a myriad of health concerns that they say will have negative effects for generations to come.

The residents said that the factory will be dealing with heavy metals that could have serious health concerns and called on the proprietor of Menengai Mills to consider a different kind of investment for the area.

In a meeting arranged by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), residents expressed their concerns at the site where they also questioned how the proprietor managed to change the user from the predominantly agricultural environment to industrial.

According to the area Chief Ezekiel Gachoka, the residents objected the move after considering their environment and the population factors.

“There area is welcoming investors but what they are against is the kind of investment that will pollute this residential area as it is not clear how the emissions will be dealt with,” said Gachoka.

Gudka said some residents welcomed the move, saying the factory would create employment for the growing number of unemployed youth accusing the affluent of opposing the construction because they were well to do.

Kisii vegetable farmers to benefit solar conduction driers

A solar drier. Farmers from Kisii will benefit from such driers from India. [Photo/]

Published on Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 14:11

Kisii University under the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resource Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Science for Society NGO from Mumbai India.

The MOU that is expected to last for at least six months to one year is expected to take effect come next month.

Speaking to this writer, the Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resource Development Dr Evans Basweti expressed confidence in the corporation saying that the MOU will greatly impact on transforming the region’s economy.

“Kisii is a rich farming region, with plenty of rain and good soil. We receive rain almost every season and farmers sometimes ripe high and sometimes rain also destroys our crops,” said Dr Basweti.

He added: “With this MOU, identified vegetable farming groups from both Kisii County and Nyamira will be supplied with the Solar Conduction Driers. The driers are going to help these groups in safer vegetable production, drying them to prolong shelf life for both future use and for commercial purposes.”

Kisii University will, therefore, receive 50 Solar Conduction Driers by next month and will be distributed to specific identified vegetable farming groups in the two counties. 30 Driers will be given to farmers in Kisii as the remaining 20 given to farmers in Nyamira.

“The county governments’ extension officers have already identified those groups that will benefit from our MOU with S4S and once the consignment is received, these groups will immediately be supplied to start the production,” the dean said.

Apart from the farmers, the MOU also offered internship opportunity to two faculty best students to India after graduation.

Curio business entrepreneur shines in jobless environment

Curio. A businessman is making good money from his business in Nakuru. [Photo/]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 15:00

James Njuguna, the proprietor of Nakuru Curio Limited has built a business empire that is worth to be emulated.

Speaking to this writer at his business premises which is opposite Huduma Center, along Kenyatta Avenue in Nakuru Town, Njuguna said that hard work has earned him reputation in his business.

“My business involves recycling bones and making them into curio products. No one thinks bones can be of such significant benefits,” he said.

He said that the business has made possible to create employment opportunity   to the youth   thereby narrowing the gap of unemployment.

Njuguna added, “A part from generating income from the business, I have permanently employed six youth who collect bones, three who market the products and four who make the products.”

He urged jobless youth to venture in informal sector to tap the ever growing opportunities.

“Business opportunities are plenty in the informal sector like welding, painting, carving and many more. The youth should involve themselves in these activities and stop depending on the government and politicians to feed them,” said Njuguna.

He said the business is doing well because of plenty of market.

“I sell the products which include necklaces and wrist bangles among others locally and internationally. I export my products to the USA and South Africa,” said Njuguna.

He however lamented over the harsh business environment in the county which is retarding the growth of informal sector.

“Taxes are many and unnecessary and these are eating into our profits,” said Njuguna.

He urged the county government to provide a more conducive environment to carry out businesses through relevant and necessary legislation and policies.

KDF officer injured by AP officers in Nakuru

The officer was allegedly attacked for refusing to give a bribe. He is recovering at the Forces Memorial hospital in Nairobi. [photo/]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 12:33

An army officer attached to the Lanet Barracks in Nakuru is nursing serious injuries at the forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi, after two Administration Police Officers in Nakuru beat him.

The two AP officers allegedly committed the crime on Monday after he reportedly refused to bribe them.

Speaking shortly before he was transferred to Nairobi for treatment, Shadrack Mureithi who had come from Amisom Peace Keeping in Somalia, said he suffered serious injuries on his hands, neck and head after the officers wrestled him down while handcuffed.

''I was accosted by the uniformed officers near Nakuru Railway Station where I had gone to collect cash from my pool table business. Immediately I entered my car to drive home, the two officers demanded a Sh1,000 bribe each. When I refused to give, it sparked a heated argument leading to the beating,” said Mureithi in pain.

He added, “I even introduced myself as a KDF officer but the two could hear none of that and even went ahead to threaten me that they would implicate me of illegally possessing a gun.

Mureithi is appealing to the Deputy Inspector General of police Samuel Arachi to ensure that the two officers are brought to book.

Photo of the day: Kisumu

This Maseno University student, identified as Charles, was attacked last night by people believed to be from within the campus at around 10pm last night.

Charles is a biomedical student at the university and he was taken to the university hospital before being referred to the New Nyanza Hospital due to the intensity of the injury he sustained. [Photo/ NWanjira]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:08

Photo of the day: Kisumu.

Maseno University student attacked by people believed to be from within the campus at around 10pm yesterday.

Farmers urged to rear indigenous chicken

Indigenous chicken. Farmers in Ikinu have been advised to rear such chicken due to the market demand. [Photo/ Homerange Kienyeji Kuku - Google+]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 10:29

Farmers of Kiaibabu Location, Ikinu Ward in Githunguri Constituency have been urged to embrace the rearing of indigenous birds to boost their income.

The county’s Livestock Production Officer Cyrus Mugo has said that the indigenous chicken perform well than the exotic ones.

“The adaptability of kienyeji breeds to varied conditions makes them suitable for farmers,” said Mugo.

Mugo was speaking on Thursday at Kiaibabu Trading Centre during a farmers’ day on the poultry husbandry.

He said that the indigenous chicken are easier to maintain under a free-range system.

Mugo added that the birds have high resistance to various poultry infections and urged farmers to increase their efforts in poultry production as the market for indigenous breeds was vibrant.

“With saturated market for exotic breeds, the market for indigenous chicken is gaining ground. Many customers prefer kienyeji meat because it is tastier,” Mugo added.

He urged the county government to allocate more funds to boost the livestock sub-sector.

Mentorship app targets Kenyan universities

The Maramentor booth. The application has successfully been launched in Nigeria and Tanzania. [Photo/ AMaina/]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 08:41

University students in Kenya will now have mentors at the click of a button after the launch of Maramentor phone and computer application.

Mount Kenya university students have for the last two days been the target where the inventors camped at the institution explaining the application use.

Brian Mwaniki, the application’s team leader said that their main objective is to mentor the youth through what they see and like most.

“We are mentoring the youth through social media because we know it is the best for them now. The project has been successful in Nigeria and Tanzania. We are introducing it in Kenya starting with universities and polytechnics,” Mwaniki explained.

Mwaniki also revealed that there is an ongoing mentorship competition where a member who comes up with the best business idea will receive a prize of USD 1,000 to implement the idea. The prize is sponsored by Phil Bass, a United Kingdom national who has been described as an entrepreneur concerned with developing African youth.

Mwaniki called up the youth and especially those in this higher education institutions to take up the challenge.

The team heads to Kenyatta University, Ruiru campus today.

Improve feeder roads, investors tell counties

A feeder road in bad condition. Investors say such roads are the biggest turnoff to any major development being put up in the counties. [Photo/]

Published on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 06:59

Counties have been asked to improve more in feeder roads in what investors say will help boost development and tourism.

The roads are the biggest turnoff to any major development being put up in the counties, investors who want to set up structures in the counties have complained.

Speaking at a women investors’ forum in Kisumu on Thursday, the investors said that they were willing to invest in the counties but the lack of feeder roads had kept most of them away.

“As it is, it is very difficult to build anything of serious investment because the roads are really bad,” Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) board member Grace Akumu said.

She said that counties will only develop if the roads that connect investment zones and the cities are kept in good condition.

Akumu said the counties should zone out development areas so that investors can have choices.

“Investors need to know what the county governments are doing so that they can plan how to cooperate with the developers,” she said.

The chairperson of the Kenya county tourist executives Dr Rose Kisia said that the counties have seen high demand for high-end houses since devolution was rolled out in March 2013.

“High end houses development in Kisumu are now in high demand, and so is the situation in the other counties that are now setting up,” Kisia, who is also the Kisumu county trade and tourism executive, said.

Defiler sentenced to life imprisonment

The court heard that the suspect was saved from lynching. He has been sentenced to life in prison. [Photo/]

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 14:32

Nyando Magistrate Court has sentenced to life imprisonment a man found guilty of  defiling a child aged one and a half years.

The judgement read by Resident Magistrate Paul Wechuli found Samuel Ochieng Odago guilty of commiting  the offence in Tura Sub location early this year, while working in the area where he  is not resident.

While reading the judgement, Wechuli said the punishment could supress the act which has become deeply rooted in the area with most cases being swept under the carpet without the knowledge of the authorities.

“The offence defies logic that a grown-up man does such an act to one and a half year old child,” said Wechuli.

He added that though the truma and pain  caused on the child was unbearable,justice stood by her side and fought for her honour and integrity.

The act took place in a residential plot.

A witness who found the man in the act told the court that he struggled with the offender before freeing the child, where other residents  were notified of what had transpired.

Upon learning what had happened,members of the public locked the suspect inside the house where he had commited the offence. He was saved by the police from lynching by the angry residents.

The victim's mother told the court that she was informed that there was a certain child  who had been defiled,she later  found out that it was her own. She then called her husband  to inform him  about what had happened.

She immediately rushed her to hospital for examination where the clinical officer confirmed that she had been defiled. She was put on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis drugs to prevent  infection of sexually transmitted diseases.

The offender pleaded with the court for forgiveness  because he was ailing due to the rushes that were allover his body.

Stray dog menace threatens Maseno business

Stray dogs at a dumpsite. Maseno businesses are threatened by the increased stray dogs. [Photo/ RSDP]

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 14:08

For a long time, residents of Nyawita village in Maseno have had to deal with the rising number of stray dogs that roam in the area.

A walk in Nyawita market that borders Maseno University Siriba campus reveals tens of these dogs which roam freely feasting on garbage and sometimes chasing the residents. The dogs interfere with normal businesses as they chase people even in broad daylight. The locals have to think twice before venturing out at night for fear of being attacked.

Students from the neighbouring Maseno University are also the victims of this menace as they have turned hostel gardens into resting grounds.

“When coming out of the hostel, you can spot at least 10-20 dogs roaming around or resting” said Maryanne Kisera a student at the institution.

The stray canines usually go to an extent of resting on the doorsteps of the hostels forcing some students not to attend to their daily activities.

At Nyawita market, traders sometimes incur losses when potential customers get scared away by the presence of dogs with some questioning the safety of the food offered there.

“I cannot buy food here due to the presence of these dogs. How do you expect me to eat food that is placed on a table with two dirty dogs lying under it?” paused Dinah Aketch a resident of Nyawita.

Parents have the most challenging task of looking after their children whose playing areas have also been infested by the dogs. Most have to be extra careful to ensure the lurking packs of dogs do not attack the children.

In some extreme cases, some children usually attempt to play with the dogs unaware of the risks they are exposed to.

Dogs are known to pose a health risk if not handled in the right manner and being stray the risk is higher.

Common diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans are rabies and bartonellosis through dog bites and contact with human food.

It is this health risk that is the concern of Nyawita residents who feel that if something is not done soon the consequences might be fatal in the near future.

Though dog bites in the area are rare, residents feel that statistics should be put into consideration as the hungry canines might bite when provoked by those who try to scare them away.

Residents are now calling on the local authorities to come in and control the situation before it gets out of hand as their measures of getting rid of the menace have failed.

A section of the residents feel that proper waste management will help reduce the stray dog population.

Nyawita market has a poor waste disposal mechanism which attracts the dogs that are in constant search of food.

“People litter this place without thinking of the consequences. Stopping the habit of throwing garbage everywhere is the only solution to the menace,” said Anne Aketch, a resident.

Kebs urged to curb counterfeit goods importation

Trade CS Adan Mohammed. He has asked Kebs to curb importation of counterfeits. [Photo/ PPS]

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 11:29

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), has been urged to come up with ways of curbing importation of counterfeit products.

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary, Adan Mohamed, says that the government is losing Sh50 billion annually, through the importation of those products. He added that there is need for locally manufactured goods to be of acceptable standards to be accepted in other countries.

“Those businesses which will fail to implement quality standards risk having goods and services rejected in the marketplace. Even though the government would support and facilitate the manufacture, trade and use of quality products, it was the onus of manufacturers, traders and consumers to ensure the quality of products,” said Mohamed.

The national standards body has unveiled an Integrated Quality Assurance and Inspection System to enable traders to apply for their permits online and on their mobile phone. The new system will be used for issuance of standardization marks, clearance of imports and market surveillance.

Kebs Managing Director, Charles Ongwae, said that the move comes at a time when the country is battling with substandard goods which are entering the country through porous borders in the northern part of the country and unmonitored entry points.

He added that the system will be integrated with the existing Financial Management System and the Laboratory Information Management System, and consumers from Mombasa to Malaba border will be able to verify the authenticity of the permits and marks of quality through sending a text message from a mobile phone.

Transport services disrupted as matatu crew clash

A matatus stage. Matatu crew at Teachers estate clashed this morning over route control affecting transport. [Photo/ IQ4 News]

Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 18:30

A fierce fight that erupted among matatu crew members over stage management disrupted transport services for members of the public this morning in Nakuru’s Teachers estate.

The clashes that involved over twenty drivers and touts according to sources were caused by a dispute in the management of routes after some crew members’ accused others of playing double standards.

The sources indicated that several people were injured during the early morning clashes at Teachers estate matatu terminus while members of the public using public service vehicles were forced to trek about 2 kilometres to catch up with other public service vehicles on the main Nakuru-Nyahururu highway.

According to Julius Ngaira a tout who works with the Bahati Matatus Sacco, the fight begun after matatu crew members from the Free Area Matatu Sacco invaded their routes in search of passengers.

He said several of the rival group crew continued invading the Bahati route territory thus resulting to the clashes.

“The Free Area people started invading various estate joints ferrying passengers while our matatus kept at the normal stages. This thing angered us and that is why we grouped up and asked them to stop the nonsense” he said.

A stage manager at Teachers matatu terminus Harun Ngunjiri said he had been forced to mobilize his crew members to take action because the other matatu operators were deliberately breaking rules while inconveniencing his group.

He said members of his crew decided to forcefully solve the problem as the rivals were defiant.

“The Free Area people have formed a habit of invading this area as we have more customers during the morning rush hour. They go inside the estate streets to pick passengers as we stick on at the stages,” he said.

He added that the matter would be reported the two Sacco officials for a lasting solution.

Power shortage affects business in Kisii

Kenya Power workers work on a transformer. Kisii County's power transmission systems are being upgraded to address power outages. [Photo/ REA]

Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 17:17

The power supply inefficiency in Kisii County has affected business all along the weekend.

According to the local business community, the town has faced regular blackouts for a week now.

Jared Gesami, one of the area businessmen said they have not been doing any work since the power supply in the town has been limited.

Currently, the Kenya Power is finalising fixing equipment to curb recurrent power outages in Kisii region.

The company has deployed technical staff and equipment to the town to carry out a major overhaul of the power supply system amid complaints from consumers that they had been adversely affected.

According to the Kenya National chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kisii county chapter chairman, Benjamin Onkoba, he has in the past voiced concerns over the business community being hardest hit by the constant power interruptions.

The exercise was carried massively over the weekend culminating in the launch of the system by the company’s national office.

Kisii county Governor, James Ongwae had petitioned the electricity service provider, to move with speed and intervene, saying the town’s status as a 24 hour economic hub stood to suffer. Ongwae had been prompted to initiate a solar energy project for street lighting under Public Private Partnership.

He said that the improvement of Kenya Power’s electricity service delivery will highly complement it.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Haunted market in Solai

The old Solai Market that was the only market in the 1990s for traders from Nakuru region. Today the market has been deserted due to witchcraft claims. [Photo/ KWesh/]

Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 12:45

The old Solai Market. The market is allegedly deserted due to claims that witchcraft was used on it forcing its closure. Those who used to operate from there fled due to the claims.

Trade executive wants investors not to subdivide land

Land surveying equipment. Kisumu residents have been asked not to subdivide prime plots. [Photo/]

Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 14:59

Kisumu County executive for Trade and tourism Dr Rose Kisia has asked investors not to subdivide prime plots into very small pieces in the lakeside city.

The executive said that for a city to develop, it must maintain prime areas that big investors can settle and live.

“We cannot subdivide every single plot we have in the city because some people will want to have a bigger piece of land. They get discouraged once they see the subdivisions,” she added.

Dr Kisia now wants the county plan to be restructured to enable prime areas to develop faster and enable exclusivity that is associated with such plots in cities.

“It is sad to note that most of the prime plots we have in the city are being subdivided to people in a way that threatens the exclusivity of the areas,” she said.

Dr Kisia lamented that investors were doing so little to meet the high demands for houses. She added that the demand was so high because of the new government dispensation and the need for investors to move their businesses to counties.

“Due to the establishment of county governments, investors are moving here to work with us. Locals must ensure that there are decent houses for them when they land,” she added.

She also asked the developers to offer ample parking in their plots.

Kisumu in talks with parastatals over lakefront land

Lake Victoria beach. Stakeholders are working on reclaiming the idle lake-bordering land. [Photo/]

Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 11:49

The restructuring of Kisumu’s lake shore has roped in three key parties who own most of the land.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), Lake Victoria Basin Development Authority (LVBDA) and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) have been incorporated in a proposed strategic plan that seeks to reclaim the idle lake-bordering land.

The county is asking the governmental bodies to cede part of the land to allow for planned expansion and restructuring of the city to a tourism and business hub.

The draft plan argues: “The lake-bordering land is of high environmental value and is targeted with recreation, leisure and tourism and biodiversity.”

Alternatively, the plan proposes that the parties be allowed to develop their lots with its guidance.

“Present titleholders should be allowed to develop their site themselves provided they do so according to recommendations of the Plan. If titleholders are neither willing nor able to undertake the development, the municipality should release the land with associated development rights,” it advances.

The move, it argues, is aimed at putting to viable use the numerous idle private and publicly-owned land parcels within the city borders. It proposes idle lands pay yearly fees for as long as they remain vacant.

According to the Kisumu-ISUD plan, the KRC land, which stretches for 75 acres, has acted as a buffer between the city and the lake practically severing the city’s downtown access from the shore.  It has dictated the design of the road network making by acting as the city’s limit.

“The value and potential of such areas deserves to be protected and leveraged through specific zoning and development guidance,” the plan dictates.

Court shocked by bhang smoker’s appetite, performance

A user rolling bhang. One has stunned the Molo court for saying he loses appetite if he doesn't smoke it. [Photo/ Getty Images]

Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 10:41

A man has told a Molo court that he uses bhang to gain appetite and also motivate his muscles while tilling land.

Joseph Kibe, who was arraigned before the Molo court on Monday on charges of being in possession of twenty rolls of bhang valued at two thousand shillings was nabbed on Sunday in Molo town.

He stunned the court by his claims when he was arraigned before senior principal magistrate Heston Nyaga where he pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

Kibe was accused that on October 12 in Molo town, he was found in possession of the 20 rolls of bhang. The accused who is a ‘rastaman’ told the court that he usually buys many rolls of bhang for puffing during working hours but not for trade.

He added that he felt addicted after using bhang for thirty years adding that he cannot work or perform garden work without smoking several rolls.

Kibe pleaded for mercy saying he might die in jail since he lacks appetite if he stays without bhang.

The magistrate told him only the doctor can determine whether he cannot perform his responsibilities without bhang adding that the accused will serve eighteen months in jail.

“You will serve 18 months in jails and if you are arrested again with bhang, I will have no mercy but to jail you for ten years,” concluded the magistrate.

Ex-cop makes 15,000 per week from his paw paw farm

A paw paw (Papaya) tree with ladden with mature fruits. Festus Mutiga from Nakuru makes up to Sh15,000 per week from growing paw paws. [Photo: Billy/ Hivisasa]

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 - 20:39

An ex-policeman is making a tidy sum from growing paw paws in his farm in Nakuru following an uncertain retirement nearly five years ago.

After his retirement he did not have any idea of his future; and that of his family. His formal employment salary was just a daily 'hand-to-mouth' business. 

Being in the police service, Festus Mutiga thought this was his lifetime occupation. But after retirement the story changed. He had to find something to do for a living.

A father of three, Mutiga, who served as a police constable in different locations in the country, decided to venture into farming. The decision was mainly to grow maize and other crops for subsistence and some little income for the family. He worked in the North Eastern Kenya; Nairobi and Mombasa.

Entry into farming saw him harvest 50 bags of maize from his 3-acre farm from which he made Sh10,000 each planting season. But this was also not sufficient to support the family's nutrition and economic needs. He had to craft a better way to increase his farm produce.

The first thing that came into his mind was what he learnt from his mother who motivated him into practicing farming. Back in 1970 their father died leaving her mother to look after them. With no job at that time the mother used the little she got the farm to pay for their school fees.

“When I remembered our history I decided to venture into farming with an aim of getting more than what my mother used to get. Also availability of the shamba was the only open opportunity since I was an old mzee", he said.

Back in year 2013 a certain friend of mine who knew that I was very much interested in farming introduced me to Meru Green Horticultural (MGH) group which deals with fruits and horticulture.

After several meeting without knowing what to grow one of them asked me whether I would like to try pawpaw farming but at first I thought the idea was not good but after researching and going around the area I realized that there was no one who was doing such kind of farming. I decided to take the challenge and planted thousands stems of pawpaw in my one acre piece of land which was underutilized.

It took me twelve months of patience but my first month of harvest I was able to harvest more than 200 bags which was a great start. Though there are many challenges with this area such as lack of water I have been able to buy a water pump which helps me during dry season to pump water from the nearest river.

After the first harvest I realized that pawpaw market was not readily available and this almost made me to give up with such kind of farming since a 50kg bag was being sold at a price of two thousand.

Later on MGH approached me and asked me to be selling my produce to them. That was a golden opportunity since they offered me a price which I could not imagine .They proposed to me that they will be buying a kilo of pawpaw at sh50 for grade one and sh45 for grade two.




Bata widens footprint in Kisumu as economy grows

Bata shop

One of the many Bata shops spread across the country. The company has moved to increase its presence in the western region by opening two new branches in Kisumu. [Photo:]

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 - 17:38

 Bata Shoe Company has widened its footprint in Kisumu by opening two more stores in what stakeholders term as a move to tap into the growing western Kenya economy.

The expansion brings to seven the number of retail stores the shoe chain has in the lakeside city so far.

According to the Managing Director Alberto Errico, the purchasing power of the region has grown, with higher number of people having deposable income.

“The middle-income group is expanding meaning those willing to pay a little extra for quality products have grown. There is also rising demand for one-stop shopping experience and we capitalize on that”, said company Managing Director, Alberto Errico through a statement delivered by the western area regional manager.

The growth is reflected by the growth of mall shopping culture. This culture experts argue is informed by one-stop shopping characterized with the middle-class populace.

The two stores are located in newcomer Westend and Tuffoam malls within the central business district. The Tuffoam-anchored store will be the largest of the seven shops upon completion of stocking, according to the company. The store currently houses a promotional outlet with shoes which have had long shelf lives going for up to 50 per cent of original prices.

The company is adopting a number of strategies in distributing the shops to achieve maximum returns. These include human traffic, anchoring facilities in the targeted malls and proximity of one store to another.

Mr Errico said, “We consider the anchor tenants such as supermarkets; they attract traffic for us, so recognized brands are a key consideration.”

The marketing strategy he says is pegged on the brand, which is the selling point.

“Brand recognition is already in the market. People know Bata. What we do is promote the products through offers and deliver on quality

Traditionally, the company has located stores in areas with high human traffic, usually close to public transport terminals. It has however grown in tandem with shopping trends over the past five years.

There are some 112 Bata stores in the country, with others in the pipeline.

School shoes he said, attract the highest revenue with peak seasons registered in January when schools open, when primary school candidates join form one and mini back to school seasons that follow end of school terms.

Bata, he said, has been recording an upward growth over the years.

Wrangles threaten to stall market project

A market. A market construction progress in Nakuru East is threatened by wrangles. [Photo/]

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 - 13:41

Wrangling between elders and a women group over the ownership of a market being constructed threatens to delay construction and opening of the facility.

The market being put up using Constituency Development Fund (CDF) money risks stalling if the land ownership issues is not addressed.

Allegedly, the original land owners in the estate off Nakuru –Nyahururu highway claim ownership of the market while on the other hand, a women’s group claim ownership. The women say they initiated the proposal to develop the market.

The chairman of Teachers Estate Owners Association Andrew Kiiru, a retired teacher, told this writer in that the women group members are not land owners in the estate. He added that they were trying to hijack the property owned by original land owners in the area for selfish gains.

Kiiru said the women group leaders did not consult the association while presenting the proposal to the CDF committee and that though the move is in the right direction, the market management should be left in the hands of the original owners.

He threatened that the association may consider going to court over the matter.

“We are shocked that the women group members are busy sharing stalls in the market and even inviting local leaders to inspect the project while side-lining us. We will not allow that to happen because this land belongs to us,” he said.

On the other hand, the chairperson of Malaika Women’s Group Josephine Mwangi says her group worked hard to write and submit a proposal for developing the market to empower its members. She says the land was set aside to serve the community economically and does not belong to any individual group of people.

“This project is intended to develop the community. We proposed that the group members would manage the market operations because we want to empower local women. The area MP approved this project and is supervising it,” she said on phone.

The wrangling parties now want the intervention of local leaders to resolve the matter.

A few weeks ago, area Member of Parliament David Gikaria while inspecting the construction process of the proposed market had said the project would cost Sh2 million.

Kisumu County to zone out Kombewa for development

An artist's impression of a future city. Kombewa trading centre is being zoned for development. [Photo/]

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 - 13:11

Kisumu County government has announced plans to zone out Kombewa trading centre for development.

In collaboration with the ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, the county said that the aim of the zoning is to guide and control the development in the area.

The Urban areas and Cities Act gives counties the authority to isolate and develop a town with a foreseeable future growth.

“We are planning a short 10-year plan in relation to precise areas of land and which provides the basis for both positive and regulatory planning,” county secretary Humphrey Nakitare said.

In the recent months after the rolling out of devolution, Kombewa has brought a significant pull of development to it and its immediate hinterland.

“By copy of this notice, the Kisumu county government notifies residents of Kombewa of its plan to guide, regulate, control and coordinate developments in the area,” he added.

The county would hold a stakeholders meeting after a reconnaissance survey and another after a draft plan from data collected has been formulated.

The 10-year plan, the county said, is expected to uplift the sub county headquarters and decentralise growth and development in the area.

Drug abuse motion to be tabled in parliament - MP

Gatanga MP Humphrey Kimani. he says he will table a motion in Parliament to have drug abuse declared a national disasater. [Photo/ MMurigi/]

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 - 06:15

Drug abuse might be declared a national disaster if a motion to be tabled in parliament is passed.

Gatanga MP Humphrey Kimani says he will table the motion in parliament to have the menace declared a national disaster. He said that most youths are engaging in drug abuse and they have refused to go to school.

He said that though currently alcohol use by this age group declined from 28.8 to 24.3 per cent between 2002 and 2012, the rate of heavy drinking went from 4.3 to 6.2 per cent.

Kimani revealed that even though the rate has declined, most of these people use commonly known “changaa” which is not good for their health.

He added that the problem has gone to an extent where marijuana use has increased saying that with this, the country’s development will continue lagging behind since are no qualified personnel to work.

The legislator, who was accompanied by Nyandarua Women Representative Wanjiku Muhia and Kandara MP Alice Muthoni, said that illicit brews have also become popular leaving many people dead.

He said that if immediate action is not taken, most young people will die or become helpless.

Kiambu news highlights of the week

Published on Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 22:21

The second week of October will go down in Kenyan history as the one the country was officialy ruled by an acting president for the first time ever, following an announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta as he left for The Hague to attend a status conference at the International Criminal Court. In the local scene, there was much happening in Kiambu too.

On Monday, boda boda operators threatened to plant bananas at the Gituamba-Kanyoni road in Gatundu North constituency to pass a message about the poor state of the route. In Witeithie estate, residents announced that they were teaming up with police to flush out criminals who had made the area their playground.

On Tuesday, local fuel distributor Vivo Energy, offered fuel worth Sh250,000 to the Kiambu police department to ensure ease of movement by officers in the region. This was also the day the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology scooped four top prizes at the Nairobi International Trade Fair.

The highlight of Wednesday was a robbers’ attack on a 37-year-old supermarket cashier after he withdrew money from an Equity ATM in the morning, an occurrence that saw residents renew their complaints about the wanting state of security in the region.

On Thursday, a man faced a special kind of charge at the Thika law courts — forging a court order that led to the release of millions of money from Mukomboki tea factory. This was also the day a middle-aged man got sentenced to a year behind bars for insulting his mother.

Friday saw the clergy come out to oppose a court decision that Audrey Mbugua, a man who had changed his gender, had the right to have her names changed in her exam credentials. It was also the day a handcart pusher was washed in public in Githunguri.

On Saturday, Kiababu sub-location saw a teenage girl slap her grandmother, a matter that made the area chief sound a warning to residents. The day also witnessed drama at the Ruiru police station as a driver was arrested for reporting a carjacking incident too late.

Mwangangi: Regulate sand harvesting for better future

Mwangangi (right) says sand harvesting has had a negative impact on the Machakos environment. [Photo/]

Published on Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 12:59

Yatta Member of Parliament Francis Mwangangi has urged leaders in Machakos County to join hands in regulating sand harvesting in the region.

Speaking to journalists in Machakos, Mwangangi said sand harvesting needs to be regulated in order to make it profitable to the people and transform the county.

 “The sand harvesting business is booming due to the growing demand in the construction industry and the time has come to regulate this vital commodity,” he said.

The MP said the practice of irresponsible and unsustainable sand harvesting has led to environmental devastation. The youthful MP revealed that more harm is done in the county than in the city of Nairobi and its environs who are the main beneficiaries of the business.

“Sand scooping adversely affects surface water quality and quantity and damages the aquatic ecosystem,” he said.

He added that haulage of sand by heavy trucks causes environmental degradation by accelerating soil erosion and affecting soil stability.