CJ Decries Low Funding To The Judicial

The Chief Justice (CJ) and the President of the Supreme Court Justice Martha Karambu Koome has reiterated her concerns over low funding of the Judiciary which has in turn led to backlog of cases in courts.

Koome revealed that at the end of December 2023, the Employment and Labour Relations courts alone had 9,362 pending cases and out of these pending cases, 7,837 cases had been in court for more than one year.

‘The challenge of backlog cases remains a pressing concern. With a considerable number of cases pending beyond a year, our shared goal must be to intensify efforts to reduce this backlog, ensuring timely justice for all parties involved,’ the CJ said.

To this end, Koome said they are continuously engaging with the other arms of government to ensure that the Judiciary is adequately funded to implement these infrastructural aspirations.

The Judiciary was during the financial year (FY) 2023 / 2024 allocated a budget of Sh. 23Billion leaving a resource gap of Sh.19 billion which translates to 45 per ce
nt of the total resource requirement for the FY 2023/24.

The CJ was speaking in Naivasha during the Annual Conference for Judges of the Employment and Labour Relations court.

Koome also voiced her opposition to the proposed Constitutional Amendment currently pending before Parliament that seeks to merge the two Specialized Courts of Equal Status with the High Court. Jurisprudence to the changing dynamics of the Workplace and the labour market.

She said she had already written to the leaders of Parliament, expressing the Judiciary’s position opposing the mixed-grill approach as proposed in the proposed constitutional amendments as not being the ideal.

‘There was an informed reason why Kenyans during the constitution making process demanded for specialized attention to the areas of employment and labour relations, and also Environment and land and that rationale has not gone away. Moreover, the contribution by the two courts to expeditious delivery of justice and a robust jurisprudence in these areas of spe
cial concern to Kenyans justify the continued existence of the specialized courts,’ the CJ noted.

Koome also commended the Judges of the Employment and Labour Relations courts for what she termed as dedicated and tireless performance that saw the courts reduce the backlog in their courts.

She added: ‘Your tireless efforts have propelled your courts to the forefront of excellence in service delivery, achieving the highest Case Clearance Rate across all courts. The Court’s progress in reducing the rate of adjournments is another achievement worthy of commendation. The rate of adjournments reduced from three per cent that was recorded the previous financial year, to an adjournment rate of 2 per cent of scheduled case events during the first half of this financial year. This reduction signifies a commitment to expediting the judicial process, further enhancing the court’s efficiency,’

The Chief Justice revealed that these courts had a Case Clearance Rate of 166 per cent during the first half of this financial
year, meaning they had not only resolved a significant number of cases but also underscored its efficiency and commitment to reducing the backlog of cases.

Thus these Court resolved 3,414 cases while 2060 cases were filed before the Court during the first half of the financial registrar.

She observed that these Courts` jurisprudence as envisioned by the constitution had contributed to the social transformation and been instrumental in developing jurisprudence that not only addresses contemporary issues at the work place but also sets a benchmark for social Justice; from upholding the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups to ensuring workplace safety, the court has made significant contributions that resonate with the social justice.

Koome reminded the entire judicial bench and officers that it was incumbent upon every member to foster an environment where integrity is the norm, not the exception, adding that this aligns with their overall aim to make what she called ‘judicial hygiene’ part of the ju
dicial culture.

‘Our goal has been that we should make ethics and integrity become second nature to our institution. We must therefore strive to live a life of integrity and encourage each other in this journey to aspire for higher standards of professionalism. It must start with each individual Judge affirming excellence in service delivery,’ she advised.

The CJ assured the judges that despite the serious budgetary constraints that the judiciary operates under, she and her team were keen to support judges to ensure they work under a conducive work environment.

Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Ms. Florence Chepng`etich Bore who graced the occasion said despite the achievements made in ensuring that justice is served in the labour sector, there is a backlog of unresolved cases and advised on the use of Alternative Disputes Resolution.

To this end, the CS said the Court Annex mediation has been particularly useful in restoring peace and order in the labour sector and therefore th
ere was need to enhance our efforts towards this direction.

Ms. Bore said consequently, her Ministry will soon hold a Social Dialogue forum with stakeholders to explore ways and means to achieving the desired results especially within the Pre-court process.

‘It is imperative that we address existing hurdles urgently to ensure that citizens are not denied their constitutional right to access justice and I propose a collaborative effort involving my Ministry, the Office of the Attorney General, the Judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive work plan aimed at resolving the gridlock and expediting the resolution of pending cases,’ the CS said.

She noted that by working together, leveraging the collective expertise and resources, Kenya can overcome this challenge and restore the integrity and effectiveness of our judicial system.

Bore said the labour sector was at the throes of a new age in industrial development and the change in the Wor
ld of Work is enormous in terms of the changing nature of Work, Place of Work and Worker.

‘The types of employment, organization of work and employment relationships are quickly evolving and there is no doubt there is a need to adjust the Legal Framework for promotion of justice, equity and industrial peace and harm are at the throes of a new age in industrial development,’ the CS observed.

She added that we must defend and promote labour rights in platform work, remote working and in other typical forms of work arrangement and our laws need to accommodate all workers without difference and to ensure that all workers are afforded dignity, security and fair treatment.

The three – day conference is also being attended by Justice Smokin Wanjal; Director General of the Kenya Judiciary Academy, President of the Court of Appeal; Justice Daniel Isokolo Musinga and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Ms. Jaqueline Mugo, the Principal Judge of the Employment and Labour Relations Cour
t, Justice Byram Ongaya and Registrar of the Employment and Labour Relations Court Kennedy Kandet among others.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Environmental Conservation Messages Dominate World Forest Day

West Pokot residents have been urged to prioritise matters of environment through increasing forest cover in the region for sustainable development.

Speaking during this year’s International Day of Forests at Kaprech Mixed Secondary School, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Water, Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change Mr. William Petot reiterated the value of trees in balancing the ecosystem calling on the residents to heavily engage in tree planting drives.

Petot appealed to the residents to make tree planting a culture mentioning that his department had prepared tree nurseries that can be distributed to those willing to plant trees on their farms.

‘Today we have launched an important tree planting exercise to commemorate World Forest Day. We have planted 30 trees to mark this day and making an appeal for the residents to follow suit,’ he said.

He highlighted that tree strengthen family ties since they attract rain which is essential for growth of food crops. Petot assured the cou
nty government’s commitment on matters of forest cover noting that recently Governor Simon Kachapin issued fruit seedlings to farmers in an event that was attended by various stakeholders.

‘You are all cognisant of the effects of climate change which has not left out anyone. As a county we are feelings the negative effects of climate change which has been significantly been brought about by our poor management of our forest resources,’ said the water CECM.

He regretted that some parts of the county had lost a huge chunk of indigenous trees through logging and other unsustainable human activities thus leading to soil erosion and landslides especially along the escapements.

Meanwhile the International Tree Foundation (ITF) for African programmes Chief Executive Mr. Wycliffe Matika amplified the value of forests in sustaining humanity citing that Kapkanyar-Kapenguria forest is a trans-boundary resource supporting Cherangany (West Pokot) and River Turkwel (Turkana and West Pokot Border) ecosystem.

‘We are cel
ebrating this day so as to remember the key ecosystem areas which are very important to our livelihoods in the entire republic. Our close ecosystem like Cherangany has iconic trees that are endemic and serves both cultural and economic value,’ said the ITF executive.

Matika regretted that Kenya as a country was not doing well in terms of national tree cover within the East African region.

‘I have been to Tanzania and their total percentage tree cover stands at 50 with Uganda at 15 but here in Kenya we trail at a paltry 12% tree cover with a forest cover of below 10 percent which is about 8.63 trees per land mass,’ stated Matika.

He mentioned that the Cherangany ecosystem was experiencing a worrying trend owing to bad practices that have seen iconic trees disappearing due to destructive human activities.

He appealed to residents to diversify their tree species to adhere to the constitutional requirement of in Article 69 which stipulates those individuals, institutions and other public entities have at leas
t 10 percent tree cover on their farms.

‘Trees like eucalyptus have high agroforestry value but when planted in wrong places, they contribute to the challenges we are experiencing in terms of water scarcity,’ he explained advising residents to consider planting various types of trees on their farms for sustainability.

West Pokot County Kenya Forest Services (KFS) Forest Conservator Benjamin Kore announced that his team will engage stakeholders among them residents in planting more trees during the expected long rains.

He pinpointed that the West Pokot forest cover was still very low as compared to the national average at 8 percent meaning comprehensive tree planting initiatives should be implemented to at least contribute towards the achievement of the 30 percent cover by 2032 as envisioned by the Head of State of State.

‘The government has decreed that as a country we have to plant 15billion trees in the next decade which means every year we need to plant 150 million trees which calls for concerted effor
ts. As of now as a county we have 2million tree seedlings which are ready for planting in the coming rainy season,’ Kore cited.

He also urged residents to plant trees in their homes, in schools, churches and the urban centres like Makutano and all areas. He challenged residents to engage in agroforestry especially in highland areas and indigenous trees in lowland areas for high survival rates.

‘Tree species such as grevillea and fruits for garden farming can be planted along the escapements where soil erosion is prevalent,’ suggested the conservator. He asked those who have encroached into government forests especially in Kapkanyar and Lelan areas to move failure to which they will drive away by force.

At the same time the conservator clarified that even though KFS was giving out tree seedlings, learning institutions have been encouraged to establish their own for sustainability.

A UN funded Non-Governmental Organisation Village Enterprise led by their Conservation advisor Isaac Obongo expressed its commi
tment in working closely with the county government to promote a resilient ecosystem in the region.

‘We are working together with West Pokot County to support tree planting initiatives through our entrepreneurship programmes. Apparently, this project has been implemented for the last three years but we will not leave the project without a sustained component of ecosystem conservation,’ stated Obongo.

He added, ‘Village Enterprise and the UN Women, we are trying to teach women and children about climate change and environment conservation. We are here to give support and partner with Perur Rays of Hope to champion massive tree planting.’

Perur Rays of Hope Director who is also St. Elizabeth Girls’ Secondary School – Morpus Ms. Caroline Menach encouraged residents to own tree planting initiatives being spearheaded by various entities for a better environment.

‘Forests are not just home for wild animals but we human beings benefit directly from trees that is why the international recognition of the day. As P
erur Rays of Hope we are targeting to plant 50 thousand trees at Kapkanyar forest and our schools within the county have heeded to the call of planting trees on their compound en masse,’ she mentioned.

She underscored the value of planting indigenous trees in riparian lands to protect water catchment areas.

Source: Kenya News Agency

11 Families Herding Livestock Illegally In Baringo North Given 24 Hours To Vacate

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Abdi Hassan has given eleven influential families herding their livestock illegally in parts of Baringo North 24-hour ultimatum to vacate and return to their original home failure to which unspecified consequence will be instituted.

The regional commissioner maintained that they shall no longer entertain the activities of the owners who have hired the services of armed criminals who instead of herding animals peacefully were wreaking havoc by killing innocent people, maiming and uprooting them from their lands.

Speaking during a presser outside Marigat Deputy County Commissioner’s office after touring Baringo North to assess security situation, Hassan stated that the dangerous armed herders taking care of the hundreds of livestock belonging to the influential families from Tiaty have been issued with warning through local chiefs to move out but they have disobeyed the amnesty given to them.

Hassan flanked by Rift Valley Police Commander Tom Odero and Baringo County Commis
sioner Stephen Kutwa said they suspect that the herders are part of the larger syndicate which for the past three months has been causing untold suffering to residents of Baringo North and South as well as the neighbouring counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia, Samburu and Turkana.

‘The Government will take very painful measures which they will remember for a very long time, if they don’t heed vacation orders and advice given to them. We shall deal with them ruthlessly regardless of their social status in society. Let it be known,’ he said.

The RC stated that they are also monitoring very closely activities taking place in a number of markets in Tiaty constituency in a view to taking appropriate action on individuals who are part of the conduit.

Hassan who identified three locations of Sibilo and Yatya in Saimo Soi and Ngorora in Bartabwa wards as the most affected by the cattle rustling and banditry menace said the rest of the county remains relatively peaceful.

He added that security agencies already on
the ground shall not relent in the fight that might take long to ensure that lives and properties of people are safeguarded.

‘We shall dismantle these criminals and ensure we completely destroy and vanquish them, we shall exterminate them until they are no more in order to pacify the region if possible once and for all,’ the Rift valley commissioner said.

An agitated Hassan directed all security officers to dispatch any armed criminal to their final destination saying that the government cannot sit and watch such elements instill fear in innocent wananchi, kill and take away their livestock with impunity.

The RC at the same time added that they are using all means possible to recover all animals stolen since January this year and hidden in notorious areas of Silale, Akwichatis, Naudo and Paka hills.

He encouraged the locals to continue availing crucial leads to security agencies which will be crucial in completion of evidence of some of the individuals who are in their radar.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Stakeholders Raises Public Awareness On Road Safety To Reduce Accidents & Traffic Offenses

The Milimani Traffic Court, in collaboration with various stakeholders, has conducted a traffic sensitization exercise to reduce accidents and traffic offenses among road users.

The objective of the event is to foster awareness of traffic rules and regulations and illuminate the court procedures that underpin the legal framework for road safety.

Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome said that the collaboration with the court’s stakeholders is a testament to the dynamic spirit and commitment of the court users Committee at the Millimani Criminal Chief Magistrate court. ‘We stand united with a convergence of minds and hearts that aims at forging suitable solutions to the challenges besetting the traffic sector,’ maintained Koome.

She said that the event is an open declaration of the magistrate’s vision to create a safer, more responsible and law-abiding society.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Milimani Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi, Koome observed that the initiative reflects not only the dedication of ju
dicial officers and court administration but also the invaluable contribution of each stakeholder involved in the noble cause.

The CJ emphasized the exercise as an educational initiative aimed at equipping road users with the necessary knowledge for safe and responsible road navigation. The speaker urged citizens and stakeholders to remember, support, and act on the theme of ‘Remember, Support, and Act’ to honor the lives of those affected by road closures.

‘Let’s support one another through education, enforcement of law, initiatives that promote road safety, understanding and compassion, and acknowledge that each of the people has a role to play and make contributions,’ advised Koome.She noted Action requires remembrance and support from citizens and stakeholders to transform intentions into reality, creating a safer road environment for future generations.

Koome at the same time encouraged citizens to develop a common purpose by not keeping quiet when they see anyone violating traffic rules and regulatio
ns through an initiative ‘Tuajibike barabarani na tusikimye tukiona ukaidi wa sheria’.

Further, the CJ revealed that the Magistrate court is working under the auspices of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) and has put in place NCAJ Traffic Committee chaired by the Director of Public Prosecutions to operationalize on the instant Traffic Fine Reforms which will transform the criminal Justice System yet to be implemented. ‘Let us carry the lessons learnt into our daily lives and be accountable for all the participants on the road,’ she rallied.

Speaking at the event, the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) representative Duncan Kibogon disclosed that 1.35 million persons lose their lives through road accidents yearly, citing 3,500 lives being claimed every day according to NTSA records.

He reiterated that road accidents can be reduced by ensuring that all persons adhere to road policies and regulations, adding that road safety is a responsibility not only for the government an
d NTSA but for all citizens.

In his remarks, National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA) representative Patrick Obura urged drivers to avoid the use of substances and alcohol while driving in order to prevent road accidents and for passengers to be ambassadors of their own by not accepting to be driven by a drunk driver.

Source: Kenya News Agency

County Commissioner Urge Residents To Conserve Forests

Garissa County Commissioner Mohamed Mwabudzo has urged area residents to join the government efforts in conserving existing forests in the area.

Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of Forests held at the Garissa High School, Mwabudzo said the current climatic changes would be properly tackled through tree planting of more trees to increase the forest cover. More than 500 trees were planted during the celebration.

‘The national government has a plan for us to plant trees to increase our forest cover but we keep coming up with excuses. Let us not blame lack of water for failure to achieve this vision,’ Mwabudzo said.

‘We have a few people clearing our forestry in the name of creating land for cultivation and extraction of lime. That is very discouraging and we need to stop the same so that we can allow trees to grow,’ he added.

The County Commissioner blamed land grabbers for the ongoing deforestation in Garissa.

He however lauded tree planting initiatives in several schools across
Garissa urging residents to borrow a leave from the learning institutions.

Garissa County Conservator Elphus Wesonga said the county has a forest cover of 11.6 percent with a tree cover at 12.6 percent.

Wesonga cited lack of water as the main challenge in raising the seedlings in Garissa due to harsh climatic conditions.

‘We are encountering resistance from the community when enforcing the law on charcoal. They will never allow their people to be arrested for illegal charcoal production,’ Wesonga said.

The Forestry Department is fighting charcoal burning and deforestation and Dadaab remains the most affected area in the county.

‘Wanton destruction of trees has been done in the Dadaab area and mostly by the refugees coming in from Somalia,’ he said.

The Conservator said the residents in Dadaab are using trees as firewood and charcoal burning.

He said the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is currently rehabilitating the most affected areas across the county.

Hassan Sheikh Ali, Chairman Hirola Conservancy said
forests remained vital in the ecosystem as they provide shade and food for both humans and animals.

‘Forests are important since we shall have food for our livestock and this will improve market value for the animals,’ he said.

Ali challenged locals to preserve the natural resources including national reserves and conservancies.

Source: Kenya News Agency

102,000 Litres Of Illicit Brew Destroyed In Migori County

Over 92,000 litres of Kangara and 10,000 litres of Chang’aa were destroyed in various parts of the Migori County in a bid to rid the area of illicit brew menace.

Speaking during a forum that brought together multi-agency stakeholders at the Migori Teachers Training College, Migori County Commissioner David Gitonga said that so far 92 people have been arrested in connection with the illicit brew.

Gitonga also affirmed that over 30 wine and spirits outlets have been closed including five pharmacies and three Agro vets as the fight takes shape in the County.

The security agencies in the County have also nabbed over 600 kilogrammes of bhang since the start of the year with Isebania town along the Kenya- Tanzania border being the biggest entry point.

The County administrator said that the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs) will continue to work closely with other partners including the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACCADA), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA),
Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) to formalise and strengthen division and Sub-county teams against illicit brewery and drug abuse.

According to Gitonga, Isebania- Sirare border has become one of the major entry points for counterfeit products, illicit brew and narcotics in the South Nyanza region. He called upon the public to collaborate with the law enforcers and local administrators to nab the culprits and make the county a safe place for future generations.

Migori County Police Commander Francis Nguli applauded the efforts of the police in the fight against the illicit brew and narcotics in the County. Nguli however, called for harsher punishment of the culprits involved in the narcotics business to deter others in the illegal business.

‘If vehicles nabbed transporting narcotics and counterfeits can be forfeited to the state, then the pain of losing a vehicle can deter individuals from venturing into illegal businesses’, proposed Nguli.

However, Migori County Direct
or for Environment Tom Togo urged the NGAO fraternity to engage the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) while disposing off the narcotics and illicit brew.

He disclosed that some of the nabbed illicit brews were being destroyed by disposing off the content to the rivers that greatly contribute to the water pollution that can endanger the lives of both humans and animals that depend on the same water.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Murang’a Coffee Farmers’ Welcome Government Move To Revive Coffee Sector

Coffee farmers from Murang’a County have welcomed the measures initiated by the government to revive the ailing coffee subsector.

The farmers say coffee farming was the economic backbone of many farmers in the region before it crumbled living many as paupers who could not manage to put food on the table and educate their children besides meeting their daily basic needs.

Speaking at Ichagaki, Maragua constituency during a NGAAF projects Economic Empowerment forum organized by Murang’a County Woman Representative Betty Maina, the farmers noted that with the government’s assurance, they were ready to return coffee in their farms.

‘We uprooted our coffee because the conditions were unbearable but now we are more than willing to plant coffee again’ says Joseph Kamande, one of the farmers.

‘We are banking on the government to fulfill its promises that includes streamlining the cooperative movement and finding new markets for the cherry’ he added.

These sentiments come a day after the Deputy President Rigathi
Gachagua while speaking in Maragua said that the government would waive all the debts advanced to the farmers through their respective cooperative societies but they have been unable to pay.

The promise was made while commissioning the multimillion Murang’a coffee mills that is owned by Murang’a coffee union at Ikundu village, Maragua.

Another farmer, James Kimani noted that as farmers, they were willing to go back to their farms to grow coffee and urged the government not to renege on its promises to revamp coffee farming.

‘I uprooted my coffee plants years ago for bananas but with the governments promise I am ready to grow coffee again,’ he said.

Oh her part, Murang’a County Woman Representative Betty Maina noted that waiving of the debts and exploring new markets was a welcome move but more needed to be done to make the once productive crop vibrant in the region.

‘Farmers must be encouraged to plant new coffee varieties that will yield more return on investment and that will translate into more profit
s,’ she said.

‘As leaders, we must encourage farmers to graft their old varieties, even as we plan on supporting them with seedlings of new and improved varieties that will translate into more production,’ she added.

Maina observed that many farmers continued to tend coffee to bushes that were no longer productive and were not resistant to pests and diseases and ended up pumping a lot of farm inputs on the bushes that do not yield much.

Members of the County Assembly from coffee growing regions led by Caroline Njoroge who is also the chair to the Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Livestock termed the revival of coffee farming as the only way to unlock the grinding potential that continues to affect their regions.

‘If coffee farmers are empowered to produce more coffee, they can sustain themselves and stop relying on assistance from the government that includes being given food rations and solely relying on bursaries to educate their children,’ She said

Ng’araria ward MCA Simon Wamwea called on agricu
ltural extension officers who no longer visit their farms following a ministerial policy that they should not be doing so citing that their services were demand driven to rescind their decision and be visiting coffee farmers to give them advice on best coffee farming practices.

‘Agricultural extension officers will play a role in helping the farmers carry out farming practices that will yield more and make the venture more productive’ he noted.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Maasai Mara University Scale-Up Conservation Efforts

Maasai Mara University is piloting 20 environmental clubs in primary schools within Narok in the institution’s ambitious plan of putting up a forest in all learning centres.

The institution’s Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Peninah Aloo said this at Aitong Primary School during the celebrations of World Forest Day, where the institution donated and planted 2500 trees at the school compound.

‘You can imagine what kind of a forest we will have if all the trees grow. We are doing this in schools so as to impact the young learners on the culture of planting trees,’ she said, adding that the programme will be extended to all learning institutions including secondary schools and colleges in the county.

She said the university is leading by example because they understand the numerous benefits that come with the conservation of the environment, among them: attracting rainfall, purifying the environment, source of medicine and serving as a natural habitat of many animals.

‘Our motto is, ‘train a child on ways to
go and when they grow up they will not divert from it’. We are sure that when these children grow up, they will continue with the passion of planting trees,’ she added.

The VC reiterated that they are working closely with the office of the First Lady Mama Rachael Ruto in supporting her ambitious initiative of planting over 500 million tree seedlings by 2032.

‘In August 2023, the First Lady launched 15 nurseries for fruit and tree nurseries at the university. By then, we had only 3,000 tree seedlings. However, after the launch, we have increased the nursery beds and we have over 100,000 tree and fruit seedlings,’ she reiterated.

‘Right now we are trying to make the best tree and fruit nursery beds at the university so that we can be a model center where the other universities come for benchmarking,’ the professor said.

This is one of the directives of our president to plant over 15 billion trees. If we do that, by 2032, the forest cover will have grown from 12.3 per cent to 30 percent, she continued.

In M
aasai Mau forest, the university has adapted 250 acres where we are planning to grow trees. We will engage the university staff, the students and the community so that together, we can grow in the culture of conserving the environment.

At the university, she underscored, there are researchers working to restore the Mara Ecosystem that had greatly been destroyed by human activities.

Narok County Commissioner Kipkech Lotiatia raised concern over the rampant charcoal burning in the county saying they are vigilant to arrest those who cut down trees illegally.

He lauded the Maasai Mara University for leading in the planting of trees and asked all the residents to follow the example to plant more trees.

‘The target of the government is to plant 15 billion trees in the country by the year 2032, we are going to do serious barazas to ensure we sensitize our people on tree planting. I thank the good working relationship between the county and national government as it is fostering quick services to wananchi,’ he sa

Narok Governor’s wife Dr. Agnes Ntutu asked the residents to embrace the tree planting programme saying it does not only concern the university but all the residents.

‘If we grow trees, our county will look very beautiful and we will mitigate the effects of climate change. Before, we could easily predict the weather patterns, but nowadays, it is difficult because of climate change,’ added the county’s first lady.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Women Urged To Seek Elective Posts

Women have been urged to actively seek for various elective posts and rise above retrogressive cultural beliefs that they are weak people who can only be nominated.

Members of the Nakuru County Assembly, top officials from the devolved unit’s Gender and Inclusivity Department and feminist Community Based Organizations (CBOs) who converged at Keringet grounds were unanimous that the two-thirds gender rule will not be achieved if women continue shying away from vying for political positions.

While noting that women form the backbone of the society, County Chief Officer in charge of Gender, Social Services Ms Gladys Kamuren encouraged women to actively seek elective and other positions of leadership at the national and county levels.

Ms Kamuren indicated that equal or increased representation of women will lead to a blending of visions, and paves the way for the adoption of more comprehensive and inclusive solutions than if they’re conceived from only one perspective.

According to the Chief Officer studies
show that when women find themselves in leadership, they tend to make people their priority. This she added is unlike men who tend to make power their priority.

She regretted that so far, the numbers do not look good with women elected to Parliament barely meeting the constitutional threshold of one-third representation.

There are several elective positions in Kenya. But save for the 47 county woman rep positions where women compete amongst themselves, their numbers are low in the other positions such as governor, member of the National Assembly or senator.

With about 20 percent women MPs, Kenya unfavourably compares with about 28 percent in the USA, 35 percent in the UK, 32 percent in EU and surprisingly about 60 percent in Rwanda.

Ms Kamuren indicated that Kenya political heavy weights in the league Charity Ngilu, Martha Karua, Anne Waiguru, Gladys Wanga, Esther Passaris and Sabina Chege among others exemplify the category of leaders, who should be emulated by aspiring women leaders

‘We have also witne
ssed extraordinary women around the world who through sheer tenacity stood their ground to become strong and effective national and global leaders. There was Golda Meir of Israel, Indira Gandhi of India, Margaret Thatcher of the UK, Angela Merkel of Germany, Nancy Pelosi of USA and currently in the making is the cool Ursula Leyen, the President of EU,’ she added

The Chief Officer pointed out that women and girls should be empowered socially, political and economically not just for gender equality but for overall national development and prosperity.

While applauding the over 20 per cent representation of women in the National Assembly, Ms Kamuren said more needed to be done to achieve the two-thirds gender rule.

The Chief Officer stated that investing in woman and girls was not only a matter of justice, but a smart investment generating significant returns for the entire community

She urged women to lend their voice to combating harmful cultural practices even as she expressed satisfaction that a lot of re
sources are being channeled by the devolved unit’s administration towards ensuring equity and justice.

‘We also, as women, must continue to raise our voices and protect ourselves against harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early child marriage; these factors impede our pathway to reaching our gifted potential,’ Ms Kamuren said.

Young African Women Initiatives (YAWI) Programs Officer Ms Florence Mugure underscored the importance of investing in women as a fundamental human rights issue and emphasized the need for urgent action to address barriers to women’s economic empowerment and participation.

The YAWI official indicated that by ensuring safety, access to quality education, and empowerment of women and girls they will be liberated from fear and violence and unleash their full potential, thereby contributing significantly to the growth and advancement of the society.

County Director for Gender and Inclusivity Ms Selina Nkatha said the devolved unit had formed Gender Technical Wo
rking Groups (GTWG) that had been cascaded to Sub-County levels and were charged with holding monthly community engagements where women were provided with mentorship and networking opportunities.

The County, she disclosed was connecting women entrepreneurs with investors, financial institutions, Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies and industry leaders facilitating access to funding and resources to grow their ventures

Ms Nkatha said the election of the first woman Vice President in the US should serve as an inspiration for women worldwide to aspire for leadership positions.

She noted that while the journey of women in leadership has been long and bumpy, their determination and commitment has yielded fruits. ‘Therefore, we celebrate the gains made and also reflect on the social, economic, political and cultural context in which women and girls live and work,’ the Director pointed out.

Ms Nkatha noted that gender equality and women empowerment are essential components of human development and basic hum
an rights.

She called for protection of the girl child from sex pests who include some close relatives.

The Director lauded the collaboration and support they receive from donor partners and the civil society in ensuring a peaceful and free society.

A 2021 Report of the United Nations Secretary-General acknowledged that progress had been made in women’s representation at different levels, mainly through legislated gender quotas, and the impact of women’s participation in decision-making and civil society.

However, the report said these were being negated by systemic challenges, which included the increasing levels of violence perpetrated against women in public life and harmful practices. Not to mention specific challenges encountered by marginalized women who face several forms of discrimination.

Projects Coordinator of Groots Kenya Ms Dorcas Kigera affirmed that men must be allies in the fight for gender equality, using their privilege to amplify the voices of women and advocate for change. Likewise, s
he added women must support and uplift one another, forging networks of solidarity that transcend societal divides.

Ms Kigera noted that in most circumstances, teenage pregnancies are because of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) and/or transactional sex, and not necessarily consensual sex adding that denying girls re-entry to school after pregnancy was setting them up for failure and leaving them revolving in the vicious cycle of poverty.

In 2023, a total of 110,821 pregnancies were recorded among adolescents aged between the ages of 10 to 19 in the first five months of the year.

Data from the Kenya Health Information Systems shows from the 110,821 pregnancies, a total of 6,110 were among adolescents aged between 10 to 14 years while another 104,711 were between the ages of 15 and 19.

Ms Kigera stated that while girls are judged harshly and punished for falling pregnant, their male counterparts, who are sometimes responsible for their pregnancies, get to move on with their lives uninterrupted.

Having a
ppreciated the increased rate of pregnancies, the Ministry of Education in Kenya developed National Guidelines for School Re-Entry in Early Learning and Basic Education 2020, to ensure that teenage mothers can attend school pre-delivery and post-delivery.

Despite the policies, she said it was saddening that girls are still denied the opportunity to get an education which is their right, and more so that such denial is perpetuated by leaders who should be protecting this right.

Further, Ms Kigera indicated that education for young mothers fosters a sense of empowerment, allowing young mothers to make informed decisions about their lives and those of their children.

‘As they gain financial stability through education, they are better positioned to provide a secure and nurturing environment for their families. As a society, we should celebrate and champion the transformative power of education, ensuring that every teenage mother is afforded the chance to build a better tomorrow,’ she added

Pastor Peter Kihan
ya from Stay Sober Initiative noted that drug and substance abuse were fueling Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) which he said was one of the most pressing challenges facing women in Kenya which remains prevalent despite years of advocacy.

Mr Kihanya observed that SGBV knows no boundaries, affecting women of all ages, backgrounds, and social statuses. He added from domestic violence and sexual assault to harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation, women continue to bear the brunt of this pervasive human rights violation.

He observed that the alarming rise in cases of femicide and online and physical violence, underscores the urgent need for action. Kihanya said attaining the two-thirds gender principle is also crucial.

He emphasized the need for policy changes and institutional reforms at the local, national, and global levels to promote gender equality and women’s inclusion.

Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030 is goal number 5 of the 17 Sustainable Dev
elopment Goals. The reality, though, is that gender parity remains far off the mark.

According to the United Nations, representation of women in national parliaments across the world sits at 25.6 per cent, 36.3 per cent in local governments and 28.2 per cent in managerial positions.

Winstine Atieno from Hope in Life said girls face challenges in accessing education, such as cultural barriers and economic constraints and called for concerted efforts to eradicate the same and create an inclusive educational environment.

Ms Atieno said that girls need to have equal access to education, proper nutrition and health services while protecting them from Gender-Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), unintended pregnancies and child marriage.

She pointed out that men and boys also have a role to play in denouncing harmful notions of masculinity and in promoting equal gender relations at home, in schools and other social spaces where the rights of girls might be threatened.

Ms Otieno stated that the impac
t and consequences of violence against women and girls are negative, life-long, and far-reaching as they affect their physical and mental well-being, and impact their professional development and economic empowerment, which extends to social and economic consequences for families, communities and societies.

Sadly, she stated challenges of limited investment and resources in prevention and survivor programmes continue to undermine any progress toward ending violence against women and girls by 2030.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Education Ministry Anchored On Quality Improvement

The World Bank extended by one year, six years project The Kenya Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) that was to end in December 2023.

The Director Projects Coordination and Delivery in the Ministry of Education Mr. Elijah Mungai said the Sh20 Billion project was meant to assist the country address the impediments to access Education.

‘SEQIP focuses on the most educationally and economically disadvantaged areas as well as the poorest and most vulnerable children,’ Said Mr Mungai

He added that the Ministry of Education is responsible for management, coordination, communication and research to inform decision making as well monitoring and evaluation project with support from partner agencies.

Mungai observed that the project aims to improve retention in upper primary and transition to secondary school by improving school infrastructure, offer scholarships, advocacy, gender sensitization and social support interventions to poor and vulnerable students.

The director reiterated collaborat
ions with line agencies in the ministry of education is key to the success of the project saying each has a role to play in their respective scope of work.

In the SEQIP project, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) offers system reform support through the development and introduction of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) while Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) strengthening the national system for monitoring learning progress (MLP) and national examinations.

The SEQIP components focus to improve quality of teaching by reducing teacher shortage, to enhance teacher professional development implemented by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and provision of textbooks which is implemented by the Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB).

The project objective aims to improve student learning in secondary education with emphasis on mathematics and science subjects championed by Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Africa (CEMASTEA).

To achieve the project development objective through ef
fective and efficient implementation of the project activities, the project targeted specific geographical areas selected based on objective criteria.

Spreading the limited resources to all schools and students across the country would have resulted in too little investment in each school and student.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Taita Taveta County Marks International Forest Day With A Commitment To Revive Kishenyi Dam

Taita Taveta County joined the rest of the world in marking World International Forest Day with a resounding commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development, as efforts to revive the once-drying Kishenyi Dam took centre stage.

In a symbolic gesture of unity and resilience, community members gathered at the dam to plant 2,000 bamboo and indigenous tree seedlings, reaffirming their dedication to bolstering global forest cover, a move that resonates with President William Ruto’s agenda to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.

Under the visionary leadership of Governor Andrew Mwadime, the county’s mission to rejuvenate Kishenyi Dam stands as a testament to the inherent link between forest conservation and water resource management.

The governor’s manifesto underscores the importance of nurturing trees to safeguard vital water sources and mitigate the impacts of climate change, a vision in tandem with the agenda of the national government.

While addressing the gathering of locals, Taita sub-coun
ty assistant county commissioner, Ngunyi Maina reiterated the importance of the initiative of expanding forest cover, stating that it plays a vital role in precipitation attraction and combatting desertification, a looming threat worldwide.

Grantone Mwandawiro, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) responsible for Water, Sanitation, Environment, Climate Change, and Natural Resources, emphasized the multifaceted benefits of trees, citing their capacity to create cooling microclimates crucial for biodiversity preservation and climate resilience.

Mwandawiro added, ‘These trees that we are planting will not only help in preventing soil erosion around this dam but will also prevent the lands around this place from being wasted and becoming inhabitable.’

He noted that the activity is part and parcel of the county’s agenda to plant about 59 million trees annually.

The revival of Kishenyi Dam holds profound significance, as it serves as a saddening reminder of the stark realities of climate change. Having
dried up for the first time in recorded history just last year, the resurrection of the dam symbolizes the triumph of collective action and environmental stewardship.

Kenya Forest Services (KFS) conservator, Peter Mwangi, reiterated the ecological importance of tree planting along the dam’s periphery, stating that it will play the role of mitigating erosion and siltation, thereby safeguarding water quality and ensuring the longevity of the vital water body.

‘We have talked to the community living around this dam, and they have agreed to plant trees not only around this dam but also in their respective lands. They are suggesting planting fruit trees, although today we are planting Bamboo trees. In Taita, we aim to plant about 59 million per year to help improve our forests and give us a good environment,’ said Mwangi.

The event, a collaborative endeavour between the national government, KFS, Nature Kenya, and Action Aid, exemplifies the power of synergy in addressing pressing global challenges.

Through con
certed efforts and community engagement, Taita Taveta County sets a compelling example of proactive environmental conservation and sustainable development, echoing the spirit of International Forest Day on a local scale with global implications.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Bomet Introduces Telemedicine Robots In Healthcare Facilities

In a landmark initiative aimed at revolutionizing healthcare accessibility and quality health care, Bomet County has partnered with World Tele-Health (WTI) to launch telemedicine robots in Longisa County Referral Hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the County.

Led by Deputy Governor Shadrack Rotich and WTI CEO Ms. Sharon Allen, the initiative marks a significant stride towards leveraging technology to bridge gaps in healthcare services, particularly in remote areas within Bomet County.

The collaboration between Bomet and WTI underscores a commitment to embracing innovative solutions to enhance medical care delivery.

Rotich highlighted the importance of telemedicine, stating, ‘Our partnership with World Tele-Health represents a significant step towards ensuring that our residents have access to quality healthcare services. Telemedicine technology enables us to bring specialized medical expertise to our healthcare facilities, ultimately improving patient outcomes.’

‘The telemedicine technology
which is already in use at Longisa Referral Hospital, will enable doctors and other health workers in the County to consult different specialists in other regions in the country and even abroad on a real-time basis. It will also enable learning and sharing knowledge and experiences with colleagues globally,’ added the deputy governor.

Echoing Deputy Governor Rotich’s sentiment, WTI CEO Ms. Sharon Allen emphasized the transformative potential of telemedicine in expanding access to healthcare.

‘We are thrilled to collaborate with Bomet County in implementing telemedicine solutions that will empower healthcare providers to deliver comprehensive and timely medical care to patients. Telemedicine technology enables doctors to consult with other specialists from around the world in real-time, facilitating efficient diagnosis and treatment,’ said Ms. Allen.

The event saw the participation of officials from the Ministry of Health and Kenyatta National Hospital, underscoring the collaborative efforts towards advanci
ng healthcare delivery in Kenya. The introduction of telemedicine robots in healthcare facilities across Bomet County is poised to address challenges related to specialist shortages, long waiting times, and geographical barriers, thereby improving healthcare access and outcomes for residents.

Telemedicine technology enables healthcare professionals to remotely consult with specialists, exchange medical records, and collaborate on patient care plans, irrespective of geographical distances. By leveraging telemedicine, healthcare providers can tap into a global network of medical expertise, enhancing the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

The partnership between Bomet County and World Tele-Health represents a pioneering initiative in harnessing technology to transform healthcare delivery. As telemedicine continues to gain momentum as a cost-effective and scalable solution for expanding access to healthcare services, initiatives like these are poised to shape the future of medical care delivery, not
just in Kenya but globally.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Marketing Training Empowers MSEs To Expand And Succeed

The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) Kiambu chapter collaborated with Strathmore University and K-Unity Sacco organized a one-day workshop in Kiambu County, aimed at equipping local business owners with essential skills and knowledge for growing and developing their businesses.

Elizabeth Mulae, head of corporate communications at MSEA, encouraged business owners to take advantage of the government services provided by the authority and emphasized the importance of utilizing digital tools for marketing and promoting their products to improve market access.

‘Currently, MSEA is working on various government initiatives to incorporate the involvement of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in alignment with Vision 2030 and the Big Four agenda. Our goal is to boost job creation by encouraging industrial growth in all counties,’ she said.

‘We understand the significance of incorporating mental health and personal care services into business growth plans, along with educating entrepreneurs on loan regu
lations, collateral requirements, and financial assistance opportunities to empower them further,’ she explained.

The training included essential topics necessary for fostering business growth, with a focus on utilizing manuals for growth and creating thorough marketing and sales plans that prioritize customer acquisition and retention.

The MSEA team also emphasized the importance of maintaining proper documentation and record-keeping, a crucial skill that is often lacking in many businesses.

‘Many small business owners underestimate the significance of profit planning and forecasting future growth and profits. They often believe these are strategies exclusive to larger companies and corporations, but we aim to dispel this myth. The business models used successfully by large companies can also be applied to micro and small enterprises,’ she said.

Ms. Mulae stated that the workshop would help business owners comprehend the potential of their businesses by assisting them in creating vision boards that would
serve as a constant reminder of their short- and long-term business goals throughout the year.

The team emphasized the importance of MSEA in assisting businesses with formalization and registration of groups, infrastructure development, market linkages through trade fairs and expos, collaboration with various agencies for product standardization and quality assurance, assisting with KRA tax returns filing, and facilitating financial linkages such as Sacco and bank loans.

The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority is a government entity operating under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in Kenya, mandated to enhance the growth, regulation, and support of micro and small businesses in the country.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Residents Urged To Plant Indigenous Trees Along Riparian Land

An environmental lobby group based in Nandi in collaboration with Kenya Forest Service has called on residents to plant indigenous trees along riparian land to enhance environmental conservation.

The Community Based Organisation (CBO) dubbed Kiptapkei seeks to restore indigenous forests which is the habitat to wild animals to ensure no species is extinguished and contribute to environmental conservation as well as tackle the issue of climate change.

Speaking during the International Day of Forests in Nandi County, the County executive committee member for lands, housing, physical planning, environment, water, natural resources and climate change Philemon Bureti noted that trees have numerous benefits to human beings ranging from purifying air, clean water, medicinal herbs, soil conservation and beautifying the environment among others.

Bureti called on those who have eucalyptus trees at the river banks to start eliminating them warning that the County government will soon start cutting them to give space
for conservatory trees that are riparian friendly.

He commended the efforts of Kiptapkei and the Kenya Forest Service for organizing the international forest day in Nandi County a platform they utilized to sensitize locals on the importance of indigenous trees as well as measures of environmental conservation.

‘I want to call on all people to be ambassadors of environmental conservation. Thanks to Kiptapkei Community organisation and the Kenya Forest service for being at the Frontline,’ pointed Bureti.

Kiptabkei patron Joel Malakwen who is also the Founder of the CBO reiterated that its mission is to conserve and restore riparian and wet lands which translates to improved livelihood of people living next to such ecosystems.

Malakwen noted that a collective action on environmental conservation will have a lasting impact on the health and resilience of the ecosystem urging the locals to utilize the opportunity to make a positive difference as well as leave a legacy on the environment for future generations.

The patron said that apart from planting trees Koptabkei plays a great role in ensuring all the trees they grow are taken well of to ensure they grow to maturity noting that planting a tree without naturing it to maturity is a waste of time and resources.

‘Together we are demonstrating our unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability. As a group we propagate tree seedlings then transplant them to the designated areas and nature them to ensure they grow and survive,’ he explained.

‘Today we planted 5400 trees and we have assigned people to water them until the rains start. We have planted 70, 000 trees in a period of three months. We aim at planting 30 million trees in the next five years,’ he said.

Nandi County Forest conservator Dennis Kerengo noted that the County tree cover is still low adding that to achieve 30 per cent tree cover residents should embark on tree planting on their lands.

Kerengo also noted that indigenous trees have numerous advantages and due to their conserva
tory benefit should be planted at the river banks as per the Kenya’s environmental regulations.

‘As population increase, we need to come up with innovations and technologies that contributes to environmental conservation which is key in safeguarding our healthy,’ said Kerengo.

He further advised resident and environmental groups to include fruit trees to ensure wild animals get enough food and therefore avoid invading agricultural firms.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Governor Lomorukai Roots For Locals To Benefit From KenGen Projects

Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has called on Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) to ensure that local communities benefit from its projects including in corporate social responsibility.

Speaking in Lodwar when he hosted a team from KenGen led by its Managing Director Peter Njenga, Lomorukai said the Turkana leadership was keen to ensure that residents got their fair share from the power plant’s revenues as it hosts the Turkwel Gorge.

He said there was a need to have a Memorandum of Understanding to guide the County Government’s engagement with the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).

He said a legally binding framework would enhance inclusiveness, transparency and enable residents of Turkana to benefit from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), employment as well as business opportunities available at the Power Plant.

‘There are numerous concerns that we are keen to have addressed by KenGen particularly on resource sharing and power connectivity. We feel that we are not getting the nece
ssary support,’ he said.

He insisted that the Turkana leadership must be engaged on the proposal by Tullow Oil Company to pipe oil water from Turwell Dam to South Lokichar Basin where oil fields are situated.

The governor also reminded the management of the company of President Ruto’s promise to extend power connectivity from Lokichar to Kalokol via Lodwar.

In response, Eng. Njenga said the Company had already purchased pipes to connect water to Lorogon village and primary school before the end of this month.

He also appreciated the call by the leadership to dialogue and expressed the Company’s willingness to trade with local businesses in areas where power plants are stationed.

Source: Kenya News Agency