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Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Kenyans4Kenya truck off to Turkana


NAIROBI, Kenya, July 31 – Four trucks containing 150 Metric Tonnes of specialised nutritional food were on Sunday flagged off to feed people that are worst hit by the prevailing famine in Northern Kenya.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet announced that the food aid, which is the first consignment under the ‘Kenyans for Kenya hunger initiative’, will benefit about 21,000 families for the next six months.
“What is being flagged off is from the collection (made) on the first day on Thursday of Sh23 million. We are spending about Sh18.4 million on this first lot of unimix which is going to Turkana North which is worst off (after which) we will go to Turkana Central and then Turkana South,” he reported.
The fortified supplies, which are expected to reach arrive in Turkana in the next three days, will also be given to malnourished school-going children to encourage them to stay in school and prepare for the upcoming national exams in November.
Lactating mothers will also be given priority.
The media has been awash with disturbing images of Kenyans on their death beds causing a public outrage and an outpouring of support in equal measure.
Last week, the Safaricom Foundation, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation and the Media Owners Association (MOA) launched the ‘Kenyans for Kenya hunger initiative’ through which ordinary citizens can play their part and help alleviate the suffering of the North Easterners.
And through the money transfer service driven project, a total of Sh62 million had been donated as of 11.45am on Sunday through M-Pesa.
The donations have been received from 250,000 Kenyans only and the initiative’s steering committee is optimistic that there is still a lot of scope for raising more.
Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore disclosed that they would be inviting other corporates to join in and help raise the targeted amount of Sh500 million which he was optimistic they would surpass.
“I will be asking my competitors and all the other corporates to come together and respond to what the ordinary Kenyan has done. Furthermore, I am going to ask my fellow CEOs to put their hands into their own pockets and to respond to this crisis,” he said.
The initiative is set to run for the next four weeks by which time Mr Collymore believes they can burst Sh1billion.
The organisers have hinted that the extra funds that will be collected will be used to implement medium to long term interventions to ensure the region becomes food secure in the future.
To make this happen however, they continue to rally Kenyans to support the cause and save lives.
The cry for the help has reached Kenyans in the Diaspora who continue to make their donations as well.
“We would like to encourage everyone to come out and support this initiative because no act of kindness regardless of how small is wasted,” emphasised KCB Foundation Manager Rachel Gathoni.

Elders distance Mosque from Al Shabaab


The Riyadha Mosque project in Majengo, Nairobi
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Leaders of the Riyadha Mosque in Nairobi’s Majengo estate have denied claims by a UN report linking their mosque to the Al Shebaab terror network of Somalia.
The elders say all monies received for the construction project since 2007 have been channeled to the right course and not to fund the Somalia based terror group.
Maalim Hassan Athman who addressed journalists at the mosque on Sunday also affirmed that they had never solicited nor received money from the Al shabaab.
“This project was estimated at Sh40 million, and we had to hold a fund rising, we invited people including the then Vice President Moody Awori, Najib Balala, Amina Abdal among others,” he said.
“We have spent Sh30 million this far and still need Sh10 milion; all this money has come from these leaders. We do not solicit for money from people outside the country,” he added also confirming that there are records of how the money had been used.
They further distanced themselves from Ahmad Iman Ali whom the UN details as the leader of the Al Shabaab cell in Nairobi.
One elder Abdul Hakim got emotional fronting the argument that they faced difficulty meeting their needs in the Majengo slum and would not even afford an extra penny for the Al Shabaab. Iman Ali has been missing since 2009.
“How does it concern us where he (Ahmad Iman Ali) went?” he posed. “Al we know is how we receive the money and spend it, some of us are very poor and we cannot even afford to burry the dead. (Weeping) why are we being associated with the Al shabaab?”
The Mosque leaders have vowed to take legal action on banks that disclosed client information to the authors of the UN report.
“We want to know how the monitoring team of the UN got information from our bank accounts in seven days (failure to which) we will seek legal redress,” said Hashim Kamau the Secretary for Youth Affairs at the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM).
Earlier on Sunday Kisauni MP Hassan Joho defended Cabinet Minister Najib Balala over accusations that he funded activities of Somali’s Al Shaabab militia.
Mr Joho who addressed the media in Mombasa flanked by the Chairman of the Shariff Nassir Foundation Abdulswamad Nassir said Muslims had an obligation to help the less fortunate and Mr Balala’s contribution towards the construction of the Riyadha Mosque should not be misconstrued that he supported Al Shabaab activities.
“I might differ with Balala on political issues but not when it comes to religion. Muslims stand for the truth,” added Mr Joho.
The report of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea prepared for the Security Council exposes in great detail the activities of the terrorist group and its links with governments, businesses and individuals across the region.

Germans donate Sh27m food to Kenya


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has thanked Kenyans and the International Community for responding swiftly to the severe famine affecting most parts of the country by donating money and food aid.
The Vice president was speaking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday morning when he received 32,000 metric tonnes of foodstuffs, medicine and food supplements worth Sh27 million from Humedica International Aid of Germany that would be distributed to the famine stricken victims in North Eastern and Turkana through the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation.
The donations included infant formula, dry powder milk and porridge, nutrition feeding tubes and liquid infusion for new born babies.
Receiving the food in the company of the minister for Special Programmes Esther Murugi and the Wajir North MP Mohammed Hussein Gabbow, Mr Musyoka said the famine which affects Kenya, Djibouti, Eretria, Somalia and Ethiopia has been declared a disaster in the Horn of Africa.
He said the Kenya government in conjunction with the United Nations are preparing to hold a meeting this August to rally the International community to assist the starving in the Horn of Africa.
The Vice President noted that the government was doing everything possible to avert the famine situation which is the worst in 60 years.
Mr Musyoka said the military, National youth Service and other agencies have been mobilised to take food to every part of the country in order to reach the vulnerable.
He said the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation will work with government and other agencies to mobilise relief assistance, adding that the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation has already presented Sh500,000 to Kenya Red Cross.
Mr Musyoka said the government would ensure that the processing of goods in international airports is done expeditiously so as to allow food to reach the children who deserve the nutrients.
He also commended all the German citizens who contributed generously towards the aid and called on other countries to also assist in the aid singling out Turkana Country as among the areas that require urgent attention.
Minister Murugi said the country has 4.4 million people who are dependent on relief food supplies with most of them being women and children.
She said with the influx of 1,500 Somali refugees to the country , it was impossible for Kenya to cope with the crisis and called on international community to continue with the humanitarian assistance to combat the hunger.
“Keep on helping us with food and medical supplies until we get through with the crisis,” she said.
Ms Murugi urged the Somali government to allow donors to enter the country and provide food to the affected people so as to reduce the influx in the country.
She said if the Somalia people could be fed in their country the situation will not be worse as it is now adding that this will also make women and children not to be subjected too much hardship.
The Humedica International Aid Executive Director, Wolgang Gross thanked the Kenyan government for its cooperation and facilitation of the transportation of the good which made it possible for the aid to reach safely.
He said the organisation whose main focus is on children will visit Turkana, Daadab and some hospitals to observe the situation.
Mr Gross said the German local media and citizens were greatly touched by the international news they have been watching about Kenya and Somalia which he said had prompted them to donate generously.

First batch of food sent to Turkana



Written By:Carol Gakii/VPPS,    Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2011
The food is expected to feed over 21,000 people.
The first consignment of food bought through donations by Kenyans under the Kenyans for Kenya initiative has been sent to Turkana.
The food is expected to feed over 21,000 people. 
Trucks loaded with 150 metric tonnes of Unimix food were flagged off in Nairobi and is expected to feed those affected by drought for the next six months.
Speaking during the flagging off  Sunday Red Cross secretary general Abass Gulet said the Unimix was used due to the current maize shortage in the country.
Gulet said Unimix is used by humanitarian organizations to feed starving people in order to fight severe malnutrition.
The Kenyans for Kenya initiate has so far raised 60 million shillings.
The initiative was mooted by the Media Owners, Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank who who expect to help raise half a billion to feed the starving Kenyans.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has thanked Kenyans and the International Community for responding swiftly to the severe famine affecting most parts of the country by donating money and food aid.
The Vice president was speaking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Sunday morning when he received 32  tonnes of foodstuffs, medicine and food supplements worth Kshs.  27 million from Humedica International Aid of Germany that would be distributed to the famine stricken victims in North Eastern and Turkana through the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation.
The donations included infant formula, dry powder milk and porridge, nutrition feeding tubes and liquid infusion for new born babies.
Receiving the food in the company of the minister for Special Programmes Esther Murugi and the Wajir North MP Mohammed Hussein Gabbow, Mr. Musyoka said the famine which affects Kenya, Djibouti, Eretria, Somalia and Ethiopia has been declared a disaster in the Horn of Africa.
He said the Kenya government in conjunction with the United Nations are preparing to hold a meeting this August to rally the International community to assist the starving in the Horn of Africa.
The Vice President noted that the government was doing everything possible to avert the famine situation which is the worst in 60 years.
Mr. Musyoka said the military, National youth Service and other agencies have been mobilized to take food to every part of the country in order to reach the vulnerable.
He said the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation will work with government and other agencies to mobilize relief assistance, adding that the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation has already presented Kshs. 500,000 to Kenya Red Cross.
Mr. Musyoka said the government would ensure that the processing of goods in international airports is done expeditiously so as to allow food to reach the children who deserve the nutrients.
He also commended all the German citizens who contributed generously towards the aid and called on other countries to also assist in the aid singling out Turkana Country as among the areas that require urgent attention.
Minister Murugi said the country has 4.4 million people who are dependent on relief food supplies with most of them being women and children.
She said with the influx of 1,500 Somali refugees to  the country , it was impossible for Kenya to cope with the crisis and called on international community to continue with the humanitarian assistance to combat the hunger.
"Keep on helping us with food and medical supplies until we get through with the crisis," she said.
Murugi urged the Somali government to allow donors to enter the country and provide food to the affected people so as to reduce the influx in the country.
She said if the Somalia people could be fed in their country the situation will not be worse as it is now adding that this will also make women and children not to be subjected too much hardship.
The Humedica International Aid Executive Director, Wolgang Gross thanked the Kenyan government for its cooperation and facilitation of the transportation of the good which made it possible for the aid to reach safely.
He said the organization whose main focus is on children will visit Turkana, Daadab and some hospitals to observe the situation.
Mr. wolfgang said the German local media and citizens were greatly touched by the international news they have been watching about Kenya and Somalia which he said had prompted them to donate generously.

Loreto pupils responding well to treatment



Written By:KBC Reporter,    Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2011
The pupils were headed for an educational trip to Shaba when their school bus reportedly lost control
Doctors treating pupils from Loreto Convent Musongari school who were involved in an accident along the Meru-Nanyuki highway says that they are responding well to treatment.
According to Dr M. R. Khan, a consultant General Surgeon at Nairobi Hospital, most of the students sustained severe head and scalp injuries.
Seventeen students were airlifted to Nairobi on Saturday and are receiving treatment at various hospitals in the city.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also visited the survivors regretted that the country had lost young Kenyans who were just beginning to shape up their future. Three students were killed in the accident.
The pupils were headed for an educational trip at Shaba game reserve in Isiolo when the brakes of their bus reportedly failed at the Subuiga junction, a notorious black spot.
President Mwai Kibaki Friday sent condolences to the bereaved families and wished quick recovery to those injured.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka Saturday visited survivors of the Friday road accident involving the Loreto Convent Musongari school bus, where three pupils lost their lives.
The pupils are currently hospitalized at the Nairobi Hospital with some suffering from severe injuries.
Mr. Musyoka regretted that the country had lost young Kenyans who were just beginning to shape up their future.
The Vice President sent condolences to the bereaved families and assured that he shares with them in grief.
Mr. Musyoka asked drivers to exercise extra care while on the road, noting that most roads in the country were now better and can excite the users to over speed.
"Let me ask drivers, particularly school drivers, not to over speed, let us protect the precious lives of these young ones, we need them for the future of this country," said VP.
The Vice President thanked the Kenya Red Cross, the Doctors and other medical personnel from the Nairobi Hospital, the Aga Khan Meru District Hospital and other health facilities for their tireless efforts in trying to save the students lives and for treating the survivors.
Mr. Musyoka wished the survivors quick recovery. He was briefed on the student's conditions by the Hospital's Chief Executive, Dr. Cleopus Mailu.

Kenyan Mosque demands apology from UN



Written By:KBC Reporter,    Posted: Sun, Jul 31, 2011
Balala has dismissed the report saying that he does not approve the activities of the militia group.
A section of Muslim leaders have hit out on the United Nations following its report linking Cabinet Minister Najib Balala with the financing of Alshabaab activities.
The Pumwani Mosque officials want UN to apologize to the minister saying that the allegation were unfounded and meant to tarnish his name.
Led by Pumwani mosque elder Maalim Hassan, they dismissed claims by the UN that the Pumwani mosque was the nerve centre of the militia group's activities.
The report named Balala and Nominated Mp Amina Abdalla as some of the Kenyans funding the militia group activities.
Balala has dismissed the report saying that he does not approve the activities of the militia group.
On Saturday, Balala confirmed donating some money for the Pumwani Mosque project, but said that was all the money was meant for.
Balala is accusing the UN of not carrying out quality investigations before naming him in the list of Kenyans whose donations have been funneled to the al Shabaab movement.
According to the monitoring group's report to the UN Security Council, Balala's contribution given to the Pumwani Mosque reconstruction fundraising event was deposited in a Habib Bank account, operated by al Shabaab's point man in Nairobi Ahmad Imam and other Muslim youth centre members.
Balala says the UN failed in its investigations since no one ever quizzed him about that particular contribution towards the Pumwani Mosque project.
He has vowed to continue supporting Muslim projects and accused the UN of trying to intimidate leaders from extending their support to Somali Muslims.
The al Shabaab militia group has been linked to the al Qaeda terror network and has been battling the African Union backed transitional federal government of Somalia for control.

Kalonzo engages high gear in campaign for top seat


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FILE | NATION Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka addresses a crowd in Nyansiongo town, Nyamira County, last week. Mr Musyoka has said he is best placed to succeed President Kibaki given his vast experience in government 
By JACOB NG’ETICH, jngetich@ke.nationmedia.com and JULIUS SIGEI jsigei@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Saturday, July 30  2011 at  19:42
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Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka has taken his campaign for next year’s General Election a notch higher, complete with a rebranding of his ODM-Kenya party.
In the past week, the VP has pulled out all the stops, holding rallies in Kisii as well as addressing a National Wiper Women’s Congress in Nairobi on Thursday.
In an interview with the Sunday Nation on the sidelines of the meeting, Mr Musyoka said he was best placed to succeed President Kibaki because of his vast experience in government.
“I, together with the late Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, worked for the peace in the Great Lakes region and later worked for the stability of South Sudan which recently got independence,” said the VP, adding that he helped end the violence after the 2007 elections.
He also said the G-7 alliance that brings him, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto together with other politicians, was still intact and members have worked out a formula that will ensure one of them wins the presidency.
“We are studying examples from all over the world, and we are zeroing in on the Malaysian model where 14 parties are comfortably sharing power,” he said. And he reached out to women voters by promising a 50-50 power-sharing formula. “For us (ODM-K), the one-third threshhold is actually too low. We advocate a 50-50 arrangement,” he said, but he would not elaborate how that would be achieved.
“Immediately after the holy month of Ramadhan, I will make a major announcement,” he said.
But the VP will still have to contend with Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta, who opinion polls have indicated stand a better chance of winning than he does. “The two are also not very comfortable working with Mr Musyoka whom they see as an opportunist out to reap big if they were to be indicted by the International Criminal Court,” said political analyst Herbert Kerre.
Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and four other Kenyans have been named by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo as suspected masterminds of the post-election violence and have a date at the Hague-based court in September for a confirmation of charges.
Compromise candidate
“He can be a compromise candidate. His chances hinge on a number of things, like in the event that Uhuru and Ruto fail to vie because of the ICC case. However, he will not be a convincing candidate for the Kenyan voter because of credibility issues. His acceptance of the vice-presidency after the bungled presidency did not go down well with many Kenyans.
This was again heightened by his perceived indecisiveness during the 2010 referendum on the new Constitution,” said Mr Kerre.
His sentiments were shared by Moi University don Prof Peter Simatei who said the VP had not come out strongly enough in support of any cause, which makes him come across as untrustworthy.
But another analyst, Prof Macharia Munene, said Mr Musyoka stands a very good chance of winning the presidency as Mr Kibaki was not contesting the seat, which means he could benefit from the President’s supporters. “Another advantage is that the field is crowded, thus the VP could gain a comparative advantage given his position in government as the second-in-command,” he said.
He added that because of the wrangles in ODM – where Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Mr Ruto’s political conflicts are playing out – the VP has the opportunity to build his party into a formidable political force.
Nominated MP Shakila Abdalla said she would mobilise women to support Mr Musyoka’s bid.
“Mr Musyoka is a serious candidate in the next elections and a front runner. We will ensure that he gets a lot of votes from women to see him through,” she said. 
A meeting on July 27 of ODM-K’s National Executive Council and Parliamentary Group approved changing the party symbol from one and a half oranges to a tricolour umbrella in sky blue, white and earth red.
“Sky blue stands for the future, white for the peace that we gave the country in the 2007 elections, and earth red signifies the aspirations, excitement and vibrancy of Kenyans,” said Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo who is also the party’s secretary-general.
The VP will also have to contend with the relatively small number of counties in his Ukambani backyard.
The new Constitution states that for a presidential candidate to be declared the winner, he or she has to obtain 25 per cent of the vote in at least 24 of the 47 counties, in addition to getting 50 per cent plus one votes in the national tally.
This may be one reason why he has made an early start on the campaign trail.
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