Connect with us

Business

Kenya buys 12 US helicopters amid rising concern, hue and cry over public debt

Published

on

Kenya is set to acquire six new US-made light attack helicopter gunships in a multi-billion shilling deal that is being closed in the middle of severe austerity, an international arms magazine has said.

The planes are part of the $253 million (Sh25 billion) arms deal that Nairobi signed with Washington and got the United States Congress approval in May last year.

UK-based defence magazine IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly says in its latest edition that the six MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD530F Cayuse Warrior scout and light-attack platforms will be delivered between April and August next year.

WAR AGAINST TERROR

The contract, which Arizona-based manufacturer MD Helicopters announced last Thursday, covers half the 12 helicopters that were approved by the US State Department in May 2017.

The Kenya Army said it plans to use the choppers against Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants and in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

The deal includes 12 MD530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters, machine gun pod systems, rocket launcher systems and assorted ammunition.

The new arms acquisitions signal President Uhuru Kenyatta’s resolve to continue upgrading Kenya’s military capabilities despite his recent push for austerity that last month shaved off Sh34.33 billion from the development budget.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru's press Conference leaves Kenyans excited

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, has in recent years suffered deadly gun and bomb attacks from the Al-Shabaab militants who are demanding withdrawal of Kenyan troops from the Horn of Africa nation.

Kenya does not make public its military purchases and only Parliament is mandated to scrutinise expenditure by key security organs.

The US manufacturer’s contract notification for Kenya says the helicopters will be fitted with enhanced firepower, including the FN Herstal Weapons Management System, the DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS) and the DillonAero fixed-forward sighting system.

Besides, the planes have a 62mm ballistic armour protection, FN Herstal 12.7mm HMP 400 machine gun pods and M260 seven-shot pods for 70mm rockets.

Kenya is procuring the MD 530Fs to replace existing MD 500 platforms that are flown by the 50th Air Cavalry Battalion and constitutes the core of the reconnaissance equipment supporting ground forces.

Afghan Air Force has used helicopters that are similar to the six Kenya is about to acquire under the proposed deal. The efficacy of the gunships was, however, questioned last year, according to an interview in the New York Times.

Afghanistan’s most decorated pilot, Colonel Qalandar Shah Qalandari, was quoted as saying, among other things, that the helicopters “cannot reach areas where Taliban insurgents operate from because they cannot cross the mountain ranges that surround Kabul.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kisumu reacts to Supreme court ruling

“If we go down after the enemy we’re going to have enemy return fire, which we can’t survive. If we go up higher, we can’t visually target the enemy. Even the guns are no good,” he said of the planes.

US Defence Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) had, however, said earlier in a May 2, 2017 statement that the helicopters will go towards helping Kenya “modernise its rotorcraft fleet in order to improve border security, undertake operations against Somalia-based jihadist group Al-Shabaab and contribute to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).”

Kenya has consistently upgraded its military hardware in recent years, raising its spending on the armed forces to Sh96 billion in 2016 to stand above neighbouring Ethiopia and Uganda combined, a global report said.

Nairobi’s arms orders, which have stoked fears of an arms race in the region, last year included a second-hand naval gun, AK-630 30mm, from Montenegro “for modernisation of Jasiri OPV (offshore patrol vessel)”.

Besides, the Kenya Defence Forces last July received the last two of the eight Bell Huey II helicopters it ordered from the US to reinforce its air assault capability against terrorists.

Jordan, a long-time seller of arms to Nairobi, last year also donated two second-hand AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters to Kenya.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru meets British PM Theresa May in London

Under the earlier US deal with Nairobi, the 12 MD530F weaponised helicopters were to be supplied together with 24 heavy machine gun pods, 24 HMP400 machine gun pod systems, 24 M260 rocket pods and 4,032 M151 high-explosive rockets.

The planes were also to be fitted with 1,536 M274 smoke rockets, 400,000 rounds of .50 calibre ammunition and communications/ navigation equipment.

Kenya was also to get logistics support, training and technical assistance, spare parts and field service support and special assigned airlift mission (SAAM) flight delivery under the deal.

-nation.co.ke

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Kenya Airports Authority responds to Sonko’s JKIA toilet rant

Published

on

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), has explained why toilet facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are in a poor condition.

This after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who arrived in Nairobi on Thursday morning from London, ranted on social media about the pathetic state of the facility’s washroom.

A statement shared on their Twitter handle, KAA said that the washrooms at the airport are the way they are due to vandalism which is currently being experienced at the airport.

VANDALISM

They also said they have commissioned a contractor who is on the ground and is systematically repairing and replacing the faulty equipment.

“Our attention has been drawn to concerns on social media relating the washrooms at JKIA. These cases are as a result of vandalism which we are unfortunately experiencing at the airport,” KAA’s statement read.

“We currently have a contractor on the ground who is systematically repairing and replacing the defective equipment. We apologize for any inconvenience caused but assure all airport users that we strive for customer satisfaction,” the statement further read.

HARSH CRITICISM 

KAA came under harsh criticism from Kenyans after Mr Sonko shared a video capturing the urinal in the men’s washroom with exposed cables with no appropriate water flashing mechanism.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Nasa backs Uhuru Kenyatta's 8pc fuel tax with conditions

Mr Sonko vented on how he had to connect two wires that were visible from the area that is supposed to have the flush button, for water to come out.

He also claimed that he was electrocuted while answering a short call in the toilets.

source:nairobinews

Continue Reading

Business

City residents adopt carpooling concept to beat jams, steep fares

Published

on

This informal means of transport has its downsides, but is useful for many in Nairobi

Would you share a private car with a stranger headed in the same direction and share the costs instead of taking a taxi or matatu? Well, it seems some Nairobi residents are increasingly adopting carpooling to save themselves from the high cost and bad driving habits of matatu drivers.

At Car Wash, a sprawling middle-class neighbourhood in Kasarani, residents share a ride every morning, saving money and time spent in traffic, and arriving at work in style and more comfortably.

They are also escaping a desperate situation: the dire lack of public service vehicles (PSVs). The few that ply this route often leave them stranded on the busy highway with no connecting vehicles into the estate.

Car Wash estate is located between the Roysambu and Githurai 45 neighbourhoods, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Isolated between two major highway exit points, the area has no dedicated PSVs and so residents created a carpooling scheme.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

Ms Judy Mugo is a resident of Kasarani. She lives at a place called Seasons, which is closer to Mwiki Road than it is to Thika Road.

READ ALSO:   I'm embarrassed, says Kenyatta as he refuses to read his speech

Late for work

For her commute to town, where she works as a customer care agent with a bank, she opts to walk hundreds of metres to Car Wash. Her aim? To ride-share with the residents there.

“Before carpooling, I used to be seated in a matatu at 5.30am. Then I would arrive in town very early and idle around waiting for the bank to open,” says Ms Mugo.

But if Ms Mugo decided to leave her house late, she would always get to town late for work.

“It takes more than an hour to access town via public means and you pay Sh80 while it takes me a maximum of forty minutes in a private car and I pay Sh50.”

Victor Mwaura, a young businessman based in Ngara, has also ditched matatus and depends solely on carpooling rides to get to work.

Private car owners who spoke to the Sunday Nation said the motivation behind ride-sharing is simply to help distraught residents.

“I live in Kahawa Sukari. I decided to start sharing my car when I saw the number of people stranded by the roadside,” says Timothy Odhiambo, who often stops to pick up residents on his way to town.

It has been one year since he started sharing his car with Car Wash residents.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I thought Uhuru would receive me at the airport, says Raila

“I pick up passengers daily on my way to town for business. I do it out of kindness,” Mr Odhiambo insists, “The Sh50 they pay as fare does not make much financial sense to me.”

His sentiments are shared by Stephen Njenga, a businessman based in Westlands, who picks up passengers at least thrice a week, depending on his schedule.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

The ride-sharing concept here is disorganised as passengers scramble for cars. This puts off some drivers, who drive off never to stop again.

Mr Odhiambo claims to have stopped picking up passengers for some time after losing his side mirror in the scramble.

Ms Mugo wishes passengers would queue up to board.

Ride-sharing is widespread in the US and western countries but it is still a relatively new concept in Kenya.

“The concept here is informal but is more common upcountry, where a person going to the city will stop at the matatu stage and pick up a passenger or two,” says Ms Kellie Murungi, senior consultant at Lattice Consulting, a boutique finance and strategy advisory firm.

But the Car Wash example perhaps points to a country that is ripe for organised carpooling.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I may form a government in exile, says Raila

Former Kiambu County executive committee member for transport Nancy Njeri, now the transport planning manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said carpooling is a good concept that the government should promote and encourage.

source:Sunday Nation

Continue Reading

Business

Why Ipsos-Kenya sacked analyst Tom Wolf

Published

on

Sacked Ipsos analyst Tom Wolf says he is still in the dark over the exact reasons that led to his axing from the leading market research firm.

After more than a decade as the corporate face of Ipsos Kenya (previously Steadman and Synovate), this past Monday, Dr Wolf announced that his contract had been terminated effective March 31.

“This is as a result of the decision made by Ipsos in Paris that Ipsos-Kenya should not include ‘political’ survey results in its public releases for the foreseeable future … on the basis of this decision, it was judged that my position as a research analyst had become redundant. I was therefore given notice, which took effect on March 31 this year. I am thus no longer associated with Ipsos,” he had said in a statement.

In an interview, Dr Wolf said his sacking came as a surprise and no plausible reason has been given to him for the decision. But he admitted having been given several months’ notice.

“I can tell you that I have never received from Ipsos in writing or even verbally any major criticism of my work. On the contrary, it was often praised, by both local and global Ipsos management. However, on several occasions, we were advised that we were releasing ‘too much’ information to the media at a time thus swamping them with data, and that my presentations to the media were at times ’too academic’.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Uhuru meets British PM Theresa May in London

“I am not saying my work is perfect, not at all. But no one ever questioned the core of what we were doing,” he said.

Dr Wolf’s sacking and the apparent shift in policy by Ipsos with regard to political surveys in Kenya has caused consternation as to what could have led to such a shift.

But Ipsos Kenya CEO Aggrey Oriwo told the Sunday Nation there is no change in policy that he is aware of.

“Ipsos has no intention of disengaging from political polling in Kenya. We will get back to tracking voter’s intention as we get closer to the next election. We do a lot of polling in Kenya on many issues. As always, we will continue to release it to the media on a regular basis,” Mr Oriwo said.

Two years ago, the government of Egypt ordered Ipsos’ office in Cairo closed amid criticism from pro-government talk show hosts and state-aligned newspapers for “sympathising with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, links to foreign intelligence agencies, labour law violations, and tax evasion, all of which it denies,” Reuters reported in July 2017.

The sacking of Dr Wolf came after an unusually long period during which none of its national household surveys have been released.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kisumu reacts to Supreme court ruling

Ipsos Kenya last released its survey data on September 19, 2018, some seven months ago.

“All I can say is that Ipsos was known for doing three to four surveys per year and releasing some of the results to the public through the media, while other results were client-privileged. But I am not revealing anything confidential when I say that this recent period is the longest without any such release since I started working for Steadman in 2005,” Dr Wolf said.

But Mr Oriwo rejected reports that the firm’s global headquarters has been embargoing survey results and blocking their release.

“This report is false. We have a central polling group that supports our polling worldwide. The decisions about how and when we do political polling in Kenya is ultimately made in Kenya with global support and oversight. The decision about what polling is released is made cooperatively by our Kenya and global polling team,” he said.

Mr Oriwo also said he was not at liberty to discuss Dr Wolf’s exit from the polling firm.

“As for Dr Wolf, this is a private matter and we do not discuss staff/personnel issues in the media,” he said.

Dr Wolf also questioned Ipsos’ silence on his sacking though he was “a fairly well-known figure” and for many years the public face of Ipsos in Kenya.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Nasa backs Uhuru Kenyatta's 8pc fuel tax with conditions

“Ipsos’ silence and my departure from work have made me extremely sad. Granted, it has given me a useful income and I have to enjoy being in the limelight somewhat. After teaching in high school at the Coast in the 1960s and later at the University of Nairobi, I find it quite stimulating to stand before journalists during our briefing and helping them to analyse survey results, and as you know, I also often privately complain to them when I feel their published interpretations are incorrect,” he said.

“I have also found participation in various TV and radio interviews and panel discussions most challenging in a positive way.”

Failure by Ipsos to announce his exit, he says, is what prompted him to issue a statement.

“The main reason I issued a statement to the media about my departure was that Ipsos was silent and I already had been out of work for over a week. Mind you, there was no discussion with me before I left as to how to make this public.

“In the absence of any guidance as to what the company was going to do, given that I have become a fairly well-known figure, I thought it was proper for me to tell the public. Even my colleagues in the office were unaware of what had happened until I issued my statement,” he said.

source:nation.co.ke

Continue Reading

Trending

error: Content is protected !!