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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

VIDEO: Finding my Father

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BY TENDAI MTANA

Born on the 23rd January 1977, in pursuit of life, my struggle in the absence of fatherhood for 21 years despite having a father triggered a journey in search of finding destiny. Faced with a struggle against condemnation and a dis-empowering education system all the way to University in 2000, my early teenage life set me on a journey in search of  mercy and grace from the only person that mattered; God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in 1998.

In my life’s journey I battled against the pride of tribe in my years of public service in Mvita, knowing that having come onto the earth from a strict and disciplinarian Kenyan father and a loving and comforting Zimbabwean mother I knew my journey was an African one. At one point, I summoned my courage and ran against the “Sultan of Mombasa” – the one and only Governor Hassa Ali Joho…and it was rough. Watch the video below:

After 7 years in active politics both in the United Kingdom and Kenya, my life in 2008 presented me with a struggle against financial debt and faithfulness in relationships. In this season all I lived on what my Pastor at Nyali Baptist fed me from 2002 – 2007, a promise from God that He would never leave me nor forsake me. With food from this storehouse, I began my journey of accomplishment in my ordination of leadership in 2009 and marriage to Terri Wanjiku in 2010, desiring this good thing for my entire generation.

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In this place I have found and learnt the expression of fatherhood from a man who I have come to call father in the name of Chigbo Ndukwe. In this place I found my expression of family and know my African experience has been birthed. Having birthed our son Gabriel in 2011, this encounter has had me seek the forgiveness of Mtana Lewa, the man I called Baba from birth and in this season begun a journey of restoring a son to his father after 20 years of bitterness and anger.

My life’s struggle against the expression of the world’s identity on the one hand, and my image and likeness in God on the other hand, has set me firmly on this dedicated path of establishing the account of my ability and the response to this ability based on faith in the Word of God. This is the only way that my life can please God.

This is my story, the journey of our generations’ search to connect their dignity to destiny.

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KQ receives final green light on direct US flights

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Kenya Airways (KQ) has finally received formal approval for direct flights from the country to the US after America’s Transport Security Administration (TSA) approved that Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) meets the federal transport agency’s standards.

TSA’s approval letter was handed over to KQ Managing Director Sebastian Mikosz by US Ambassador Robert Godec at a ceremony at the Pride Centre – Kenya Airways, in Embakasi, Nairobi.

“This will now permit us to fly daily non-stop direct flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York, as scheduled on October 28, 2018,” said KQ chief executive Mikosz.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the formal approval marked a major milestone in Kenya’s aviation industry. “Going forward, it will make our country an attractive destination and open up fresh opportunities for investment, trade and tourism.”

Business Today

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Kenya’s President proposes to cut fuel tax to 8 percent

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President Uhuru’s new Cabinet

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday said a new and unpopular tax on petroleum products was necessary but that he wanted to cut it to 8 percent from 16 percent.

In a state address from State House Nairobi, the president also announced wide ranging budget cuts that will affect all arms of government.

The cuts will target government’s hospitality and foreign travel by state officials.

Should Parliament accept his proposal, the price of petrol will reduce from Sh127 per litre to Sh118 per litre, while the price of diesel will reduce from Sh 115 per litre to Sh107 per litre.

Kenyatta had on Thursday rejected a parliamentary finance bill that sought to postpone the tax altogether.

The bill will be returned to the National Assembly for further debate and amendment as suggested by the Head of State.

Parliament will reconvene next week to examine Kenyatta’s new proposal.

Earlier on, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had been accused of deliberately sitting on the Bill.

Minority Leader John Mbadi had on Thursday described Mr Muturi’s action as “unfortunate and dishonest”.

The Gwasi legislator said inquiries at the clerk’s office show that the Bill was concluded for forwarding to the President a week ago but it had been lying at Mr Muturi’s office since then.

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The revelation had fanned fear that the government had been using delaying tactics regarding the controversial tax which has been a subject of a public uproar for the last two weeks.

There are no time-lines in law for Parliament to forward the Bill to the President once passed by MPs. The law only stipulates that the President’s assent to a Bill must be done within 14 days of receipt or return it to Parliament with a memorandum failing which it automatically becomes law.

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