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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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Africa

Nairobi: Best African city to work in

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Expatriates have voted in Nairobi as the best African city to work in. According to Expat City Ranking 2019, the residents are friendly and fair weather.

Nairobi is the 45th best city to work in, as stated by a survey conducted by InterNations, the largest community for expatriates.

“About 82 percent describe the locals (Nairobi residents) as friendly and 62 percent find it easy to make friends. The local climate and weather has been a top highlight for expat life, with 91 percent of expats rating this factor positively compared to 59 percent globally,” the report said.

South Africa’s Johannesburg ranked 59th globally, Cape Town (65th) and Nigeria’s Lagos (79th).

The respondents also cited that Nairobi is easy to settle in ranking third worldwide behind Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Manama in Bahrain.

InterNations has more than 3.5 million members, surveyed over 20,000 respondents in 82 cities around the globe in the 2019 ranking.

 

READ ALSO:   Long queues as Kenyans in US rush to beat Thursday deadline to acquire Huduma Namba at the Embassy in DC
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Business

Meet China’s 8-year-old coding instructor

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An eight-year-old Chinese boy logged in an online coding lesson not as a learner but as the teacher.

Vita has established a coding teaching channel in the Chinese video streaming site Bilibili in August and has so far gained close to 60,000 followers and more than one million views.

There is a growing number of children in China learning to code long before they even start school. This tendency has been fanned by parent’s conviction that coding prowess will be necessary for Chinese teenagers given the government’s technological drive.

“Coding is not that easy but also not that difficult; at least not as difficult as you have imagined,” says Vita, who lives in Shanghai.

The little boy teaches through his channel to tolerantly take his students, some older than him and young adults, bit by bit through an Apple-designed coding app called Swift Playgrounds

As he teaches, at times, he intentionally makes mistakes to assist in showing the frequent blunders to look out for.

“When I am teaching, I am learning new things at the same time,” adds Vita.

China has been investing a lot in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2017 the government rolled out an AI development plan which recommended programming courses to be taught in both primary and secondary schools.

READ ALSO:   Long queues as Kenyans in US rush to beat Thursday deadline to acquire Huduma Namba at the Embassy in DC

 

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Business

Flights to be delayed as JKIA, Wilson airports to be closed for an hour on Jamhuri Day

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Flights to and from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Wilson Airport are expected to be delayed for an hour as the two airports will be closed on Thursday as Kenyans mark Jamhuri Day celebrations.

Flight 540 has advised its customers that the two airports will be closed for an hour between 11am and 12pm hence affecting the normal programming or causing delays.

“Due to Jamhuri Day celebrations, no flights will be allowed to take off or land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport between 11am and 12pm. If you will be traveling with us on that date, your flight might be delayed,” read the advisory.

The notice also added that the passengers who will be affected with the closure will be advised accordingly, with a pledge that they will be contacted on the way forward.

This is not the first time JKIA is being closed for the celebrations.

In 2016, the airport was also closed for an hour, from 11.20am to allow the military to perform drills in preparation for the Jamhuri Day celebrations.

A similar incident happened in 2017 when JKIA was temporarily shut down causing delayed flights.

This years’ Jamhuri Day celebrations will be held at Nyayo Stadium in commemoration of 56 years of Kenya’s independence.

READ ALSO:   Two Kenyan Men in US Charged with Sexually Assaulting a Mentally Challenged Woman

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