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Tens of Livestock Die After Drinking ‘Poisoned’ Dam Water

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At Least 40 Livestock Die After Drinking 'Poisoned' Dam Water in Makueni

BY ALLAN TAWAI

More than 40 livestock died on Wednesday after drinking dam water that is believed to have been poisonous in Makueni County.

At least 18 cows and 24 sheep and goats lost their lives after they allegedly drunk water from Nthambi dam at Ngaamba area in Mukaa.

Farmers and locals have been traumatized by the occurrence, pondering why s person might have poisoned the dam yet no recent dispute existed in the area.

According to Ngaamba sub-location assistant chief Sammy Muthoka , the water source is a communal facility and no recent stand-off existed within the community around.

Mr. Muthoka said the animals, valued at about Sh825, 000, drank water at Kwa Nthambi dam between December 26 last year and January 1.

“We suspect the water was poisoned and have warned residents against using it. No deaths have been reported since we imposed the ban.”

A farmer by the name Benson Munguti, told reporters on Wednesday that he lost livestock worth Sh150, 000.

“The animals died the same day after they were watered at the dam which we suspect was poisoned,” he said.

He noted, however, that veterinary officers did not understand the circumstances under which the animals died.

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Makueni Agriculture CEC Lawrence Nzunga said the Makueni County veterinary officers have already collected samples of the water and the dead animals to the laboratory for examination to ascertain the exact cause of the ordeal.

They collected samples from the dam and carcasses for testing by the national government chemist.

“We have taken samples to Kabete laboratories to establish what killed the animals,” he told the Star, adding they were to get the results after a short while.

Affected farmers appealed to the county for help in recovering their losses.

 

 

 

 

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Education

Top researchers caught in toxic scandals over money and sex

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A half a billion-shilling complex, claims of sexual harassment and corruption allegations are at the heart of a bitter war threatening to tear apart one of Africa’s mapping centres of excellence.

So intense is the infighting at the Kasarani based Regional Centre For Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) that four whistle blowers, among them a technical director, have been sacked.

The working environment at the 44-year old institute is so toxic that members of staff are now fearing it will compromise operations.

Investigations by Saturday Standard indicate that bad blood between some top managers has forced the board of governors drawn from 20 countries in East and South Africa to intervene.

RCMRD’s Director General Emannuel Nkurunzinza insists he is a victim of a plot to sabotage his work, dismissing claims of harassment against him.In October last year, some staff complained to the council chairperson Bonolo Elizabeth Khumotaka about Nkuruzinza’s governance style.Some — John Kiema (director of technical services), Joseph Masatu (staff assistant head), Byron Anangwe (business development) and Ann Kingori (executive secretary) — have now been pushed out.

All the four had testified against the director general when a raft of allegations were presented to the council last October.

“I had worked for RCMRD for 20 years. My contract was to expire in December last year and I expected it to be renewed. However, after I testified, my letter of termination was dropped at home, shortly before Christmas. What they did was not right but I have accepted this and moved on,” Mr Anangwe said.

He said he had complained about bad governance as there was too much interference by his director, whom he claimed was antagonising partners and shooting down other ideas, in the process killing creativity among staff.

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Anangwe said he was concerned after all the reserves the centre had been saving for two decades were committed to the construction of a four-storey complex that will cost $5 million (about Sh500 million).But Nkrunzinza said Anangwe’s contract and those of his two colleagues had been terminated by the governing council which had also directed they should not be renewed.

Nkrunzinza, a Rwandan, has also been accused of unilaterally awarding two contracts for training in use of drones in mapping in Zambia and Rwanda a compatriot, Rhona Nyakuluma, instead of letting the centre do the work and earn some money.

The director however defended himself, saying the centre had been contracted by the World Bank to engage the consultant who they had already identified and that it was only supposed to be paid an administration fee of 17 per cent.

Subscription fees

Each member country is supposed to pay an annual subscription fee based on its Gross Domestic Product. There was controversy surrounding how some arrears owed to the centre by Uganda in form of subscription fees had been settled.Nkurunzinza dismissed as untrue allegations that he had waved off the debt after he secured a contract for the recovery of data from a destroyed disk for a Kampala based firm irregularly.

“Uganda has cleared all its arrears. Those making those allegations do not know what they are talking about. The centre’s accounts are scrutinised by external auditors and no queries about our finances have been raised,” he said.

A complaint letter to the chair seen by Saturday Standard detail the frosty working environment at the centre. It reads in part: “2019 has been a very difficult year for TSD (technical service department)  and indeed essentially because of unwarranted interference in the management of TSD) and lack of support from the Director General.” According to this petition, staff had raised their grievances to the management, issues they said were never discussed.

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The staff had complained of sexual harassment of students and interns during a meeting held on April 5, 2019, but the director general conclusively dealt with the matter through a memo on May 20, saying the claims had no basis.The staff had further claimed there had been a doubtful payment of about $37,945 (Sh3,832,445) in 2017 to a Ugandan firm after it repaired a computer disc that had vital data.

According to documents seen by Saturday Standard, the payment was suspected to be fishy because another firm in South Africa had unsuccessfully tried to repair the disc.

While requesting for payment, Banuli Kasanga of Dream Soft Uganda Limited had confirmed that his firm had repaired the faulty device which had been tested at at the DG’s office and found to be working.Nkurunzinza had on July 5, 2017 written to Dream Soft: “This is to acknowledge that Mr Babuli Kasango has today delivered data recovered from Dell Power Vault MD32000 and on a sample basis  demonstrated that the data is in good condition,” he wrote.This raised questions among the technical staff who wondered why the repaired disc was never returned to the centre and why the DG had gone to Uganda not long after the payment had been made.

Received data

But the director general maintained that he had indeed received the data which he had handed over to a client who had been patiently waiting for it.When these issues were presented to the governing council, which conducted  its sittings in Nairobi between November 28 and 30 last year, things turned nasty for the whistle blowers.In a case of the hunter becoming the hunted, Prof Kiema received a letter from the governing council dated January 24 informing him of the turn of events.

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“Reference is made to your letter of November 28, 2019 addressed to me in which you raised a complaint against the Director General. The governing Council undertook investigations in Nairobi. From the investigations, undertaken no evidence has been established supporting your allegations.

”The chairperson of the board said their investigations had unearthed incontrovertible evidence of insubordination towards the director general and the whistle blower was given five days to show why severe disciplinary action could not be taken against him.Ultimately, the axe fell on Kiema on February 3 when Khumotaka fired back:  “I wish to inform you that I have received your explanation on the offences you were accused of. However, I do not find the explanation satisfactory”.She added: “In the interest of  smooth running the centre, your contract is terminated with immediate effect by paying you three months salary in lieu of notice in accordance with your contract of employment”.

When asked why the witnesses had been sacked barely a month after testifying against him, Nkurunzinza said although the complainants had poisoned the working environment with baseless allegations, this was not the basis of their loss of jobs.“Their contracts ended in December and the governing council opted not to renew them. They were not victimised for reporting me,” the DG said.

On sexual harassment allegations, Nkurunzinza said when the investigators came, nobody came forward or presented evidence to back the claims.

By Saturday Standard,

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Mutua warns on ‘dirty’ content at drama festival

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The Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) has announced strict measures aimed at filtering inappropriate content in stage plays that will be displayed during this year’s National Drama Festival.

Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua said there would be no room in the festival for content that could erode cultural and moral values and

urged school administrators to ensure stage plays stick to set guidelines as enshrined in the Films and Stage Plays Act.

Mutua said the agency will keenly monitor this year’s event which will be held at the Coast.

He said the measures would help tame rising moral decay in society.

“Since children are impressionable and among the highest consumers of content, there is need to direct them towards consuming clean content early in life. The war against compromised content must begin right from creation and must also involve children rights from the creation level,” said Mutua.

Age approptriate

He said the partnership between the KFCB and the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival (KNDFF) is aimed at ensuring content that is consumed by children promotes moral values and is in tune with the country’s culture.

The partnership, he said, was strategically intended to reach and influence at least 25,000 students and 1,200 teachers as media content creators, consumers towards clean age appropriate content.

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Nurture talents

Executive secretary of the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival James Indimuli challenged tutors to expose learners to extra-curricular activities that can enable them explore their talents.

“The Board ventured into partnership with the Ministry of Education through the KNDFF with the aim of identifying and nurturing talent among learners right from preschool,” he added.

Indimuli confirmed that the 61st National Drama Festivals will be held at Shimo La Tewa Secondary School in Mombasa County.

“We want to ensure participant’s tell stories that promote positive morals and culture and those that will not adhere to the guidelines will be banned,” said Indimuli.

The two were speaking during the Kenya Drama and Film festival retreat at a Mombasa hotel on Wednesday.

Data shows that the film industry has a potential to be a significant contributor to the country’s GDP by creating employment opportunities for the youth.

Kenya’s film industry generates Sh7.2 billion every year, creating direct and indirect jobs for more than 100,000 people, according to the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers.

2020 DRAMA FESTIVAL

• The 61st National Drama Festival will be held in the Shimo la Tewa Secondary School in Mombasa County from April 13 to 24, 2020.

• The Kenya Films Classification Board has said it will closely monitor the event in line with this year’s theme which is “Promoting moral responsibility in society through drama and film”.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Now DP's wife Rachael Ruto apologises to Kenyans

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Africa

Nigeria confirms first Coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa

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By JUDITH GICOBI

Nigeria’s health ministry confirmed the first coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on Friday as the virus continues to spread.

“The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.

 

 

 

“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Ehanire said.

Ehanire further added the government is aiming to ensure the outbreak is “controlled and contained quickly”.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that … we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China,” he said.

“We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient since he entered Nigeria.”

Two other Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Africa— Egypt and Algeria.

The World Health Organization is wary of the weak African health care systems which are ill-equipped to handle the virus.

READ ALSO:   Each Kenyan senior citizen set to get Sh4,000 stipend in March, says Gvt
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