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VIDEO: Amb Githae denies corruption allegations in ID, Passport issuance exercise

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Kenya’s ambassador to the US, Robinson Njeru Githae, has denied claims that his office is involved in corrupt practices in regard to the ongoing inter-state ID issuance drive.

Speaking to Kenya Satellite News Network Saturday, the envoy rubbished reports that the embassy was colluding with some unscrupulous Kenyans to fleece their compatriots “by charging exorbitant fees for a consular service which should cost much less.”

Githae was responding to a post which was widely circulated on social media platforms over the weekend, and trended all day on Saturday, alleging that he was abetting graft.

Under the heading; “Exporting Corruption Abroad,” the anonymous post alleges that through his handlers, Githae was charging $150 (about Ksh 15,000) instead of the official fee of  $45 (about Ksh 4,500) for the issuance of the all important document.

The writer claims that Kenyans living in Kansas City are required to raise at least Ksh 1.6M for the embassy staff to travel to the city for the drive slated for Oct 6th and 7th this year, while at the same time insinuating that a similar exercise carried out in Atlanta recently was mired in corruption.

The post generated heated debates on several social media platforms Saturday.




Mr David Ochwangi, the co-founder and President Association of Kenyan Diaspora Organizations, Inc. is one of the disillusioned Kenyans and says there is well orchestrated scheme to fleece Kenyans.

The post that was trending on Saturday. PHOTO/SCREEN GRAB

But the envoy says there is nothing sinister about the amount of money charged, adding that the embassy would  continue partnering with other entities to take services closer to Kenyans in various US cities.

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“The Embassy does not have sufficient or adequate funds to send its staff out foe these registration exercises to all the major towns and cities in USA. There is no country with unlimited resources including USA and Kenya was no exception,” he told this reporter.

“USA is a vast country which is almost like a whole continent and it costs about $700-800 per person (sic) to come to DC to register for an ID and this huge cost has been a discouragement to the diaspora. In addition there is a large number of diaspora who cannot travel to DC or even anywhere else as they lack travel papers. It is our duty and responsibility to assist and help this group of Kenyan diaspora,” he added.





And speaking in Atlanta during the annual Kenyan Professors and Scholars Association  (KESSA) conference on Saturday, Githae said he would continue supporting the Kenyan Parents in USA  organization which partnered  and collaborated with the Embassy for the recently concluded registration drive.

“It was a win- win situation for all because the Parents would save about $ 700- 750 dollars which they would have otherwise spent to travel to DC for ID registration while those without travel papers need not travel outside their city or town while the Embassy would fulfill its mandate even under inadequate or insufficient budget circumstances,” said the envoy.

“An ID registration exercise outside DC costs about $ 10,000 as the Embassy has to cater for about 7-8 officers for 4 days with air tickets, accommodation, food, local transport, registration materials, out of pocket expenses and other allowances,” he added.

He said even as the Embassy awaits for the National Treasury to provide adequate or sufficient funds for diaspora ID registration exercise, the exercise will continue.

“If the diaspora cannot afford, for whatever reason, to come to Washington DC to register for the documents, the Embassy will go to where the Kenyan diaspora lives,” he states in a post on the Embassy website.

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He requested those cities and towns that were ready for this exercise to get in touch with the Embassy as the alternative was for the diaspora to travel to DC for ID registration which is done on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm.

“ I want to be known as the envoy who made KQ direct flights between USA and Kenya a reality and also registered the Kenyan diaspora with national IDs,”  he adds.

Elsewhere, the President of Kenyan Parents in USA Association, Isaac Kinungi, has said he will continue collaborating with the embassy to “help our people.”

“We will continue charging for the services as we are not forcing anybody. One has a choice to book a flight to DC with 75 dollars that we are charging (if that aircraft is in the market),’ he said in a statement.

“On explaining how we can account for money collected as a non profit organization, I would like to say that we are not under any obligation to explain to the mumbo jumbo jargon which is being circulated,” he added.

Atlanta-based Timothy Ndegwa, the CEO of MyKenyanlink – an online goods and services promotional firm – says the Atlanta event was a great success. “So many Kenyans now have national IDs thanks to the event… People came from as far as North Carolina. The need is there.”

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He however says the government should find ways of catering for the embassy personnel. “I think the government should put funds aside to take care of the embassy staff when they travel to offer such services,” he says.

Muthoni Eva of Missouri opines that the embassy should fund the exercises fully. In an Instagram post she says:  “Those of us carrying out transactions in Kenya know that we pay inflated taxes and the embassy should not promote double jeopardy. “We used to only pay the official fee during Ogego and Odembo’s time. What really has changed? Give us a break.”

Maggie Marikah Kwabena wrote on Facebook: If it costs $45 dollars and he is charging $150 did he explain the extra charges? It is not Rocket Science. It is simple math.

“We know how much a Ticket from DC to Kansas or Texas costs. We also know how much hotels cost. These people have a salary and the Embassy has a budget. They are in the US to serve Kenyans. That is their Job. Acheni za ovyo! ” she added.




“Enemies of development who are always so negative in their myopic view,” wrote Dorcas Omwenga on Twitter. “First of all, why is the writer of the said Kansas Tribune article anonymous? These are the same people who recently spread rumors that the ambassador had died in a road accident in Florida. The devil is real.”

 

 

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Business

BREAKING LIVE VIDEO: Police respond to gunshots reported at Dusit Hotel in Riverside, Nairobi.

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

There are reports of gunshots at 14 Riverside office park in Nairobi’s Chiromo area.

14 Riverside Office Park houses  Dusit D2, Commission for Revenue Allocation, PR firm Media Edge and many other offices.

According to witnesses, it started with an explosion.

“Were lying on the floor in our offices can’t look out,” said one Twitter user @bnsearcher.

 

 

Screen grab of situation at Dusit Hotel

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READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Eugene Wamalwa's relative to be deported from US after court rejects appeal
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Meet Murang’a woman who helps addicts quit alcohol and marry

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A woman from Kangema in Murang’a County has endeared herself to residents through her initiative of “saving a generation” by assisting drug addicts leave the vice and venture into agri-business.

At the same time, Julia Nyokabi is helping the reformed addicts get spouses and pay dowry.

Ms Nyokabi has brought together men who are not married and have been taking alcohol into self-help groups, giving them seedlings to venture into agriculture.

Interestingly Kangema Constituency and its neighbouring Mathioya Constituency will be under sharp scrutiny by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as they are said to be underpopulated.

The philanthropist says she decided to rescue “the Kangema generation” which she says is on the verge of becoming extinct since they do not marry hence they do not reproduce.

She said the move will assist the men to get busy in the farms, giving them a sense of responsibility so that when they marry they will look after their families well.

Speaking in Kenya Njeru on Monday when members of Kihoto-Mwihoti Self-Help Group harvested potatoes, Ms Nyokabi said the proceeds from the sale of the produce will be saved in the group’s account and will assist them continue farming.

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“I talked with the authorities and that’s how I was given consent to use public land for the groups to do farming.

“The members will rotate the earnings amongst themselves and when one gets a spouse, I will chip in and assist him pay dowry and each member will also contribute Sh200,” she said during the potato harvesting.

She revealed that the group has 96 members with 56 of them being under 35 years and are not married.

In Gitugu village, the group has 76 members and none of them is married.

She said those from Gitugu village are bodaboda riders, mostly graduates, whom she has assisted start a chicken rearing project.

“We want them to raise their self-esteem and impact them with the knowledge that they can be self-employed instead of waiting for white collar jobs.

“Riders are also blamed for all manner of vices including insecurity and are often arrested by police on patrol and we want them to have alternative sources of income,” she said.

Mr Ibrahim Menju, the chairman of the Self-help group, said the initiative has helped them quit alcohol and ventured into agri-business and are hoping to do better.

“Today we have harvested three sacks and we intend to plant cabbages to diversify. This has kept us busy and away from alcohol. We plan to have families and to widen the scope of farming,” he said.

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Source: Daily Nation 

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Why Java House will not open again on Westgate Mall: Founder speaks out on what happened during Westgate attack

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Java House founder has said the coffee house does not have plans of going back to Westgate Mall which was attacked by terrorists five years ago.

Recounting what happened, the coffee house’s chairman and founder Mr Kevin Ashley, said they will not open another Java Coffee House in the mall because he would not anybody’s children as much as his own, to go back to the mall.

“My view is that if I don’t want my own kids to go there, why would I want someone else’s kid to work there?” said Mr Ashley.

Recounting the terrorist attack, the Java founder said he was in California when terrorists stormed in the high end mall and he was scared for his children.

“My kids were in Nairobi. First I didn’t know where they were…they could have been in the mall. When I heard the news, I was on the phone with our yoghurt shop manager who was on the floor hiding. I could hear the gunshots,” he explains in an interview with GainExperience.

He told the manger to make sure she had nothing in her hands and to keep her uniform on.

“Don’t move because a security guard might walk in and shoot you, thinking you’re a terrorist. Stay calm, relax, keep your uniform”.

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He then got on a plane and 36 hours later, he was in Nairobi.

When he arrived in Nairobi there were still things going on at the mall, rescue missions which took upto three days.

“They were still unsure about killing all the terrorists, I met with all the staff, no one was hurt.”

The chairman has also faulted the mall’s management for going on about the business without putting up a memorial plaque to remember the souls that were lost in the premises.

“People died there. There’s no plaque, no memorial, no park, there’s nothing there! We don’t need to go back in there with a profit motive and try to make a point. It’s karma…” he adds

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