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Amb Githae stops controversial ID issuance exercise in US Cities, says no E-passports at Embassy

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Kenya’s ambassador to the United States, Robinson Njeru Githae, he halted the controversial ID issuance outreach program after a section of Kenyans in the US complained that the exercise was marred by corruption.

In September this year, a widely circulated social media post touched off a heated debate among Kenyan diaspora.

‘SH15,000’

The anonymous author of the post put Mr Githae at the centre of the alleged scandal, claiming he was abetting corruption at the embassy.

Through his handlers, the author claimed, Mr Githae was charging $150 (about Sh15,000) instead of the official fee of $45 (about Sh4,500) for an identity card. Kenyans living in Kansas, the author added, are required to raise at least Sh1.6 million for the embassy staff to travel to the city to issue the vital documents on October 6 and 7.

The envoy however denied the corruption claims terming them “baseless and meant to besmirch the good reputation of the embassy.”

“The information circulating around on social media has no basis in facts,” he was quoted as saying.

But on Thursday, Amb Githae said: “Because of the negative comments made over the exercise, the IDs will now only be issued at the embassy in Washington DC.”

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC suspends all walk-in consular services over Corona Virus concern

Meanwhile, Mr Githae has told Kenyans applying for new Passports that, contrary to popular belief, the e-passports are not being processed and that anyone who applies at the embassy will still get the old document which will need to be renewed come October 2019.

The envoy was speaking in New York Thursday during a Brand-Kenya event.

“We don’t process any passports in Washington an the e-passport machine has not arrived yet,” he said.

Watch the video courtesy of Samrack Media:

 

This is in contrast to regular statements attributed to interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, painting an-all-is-well picture of the passport issuance process.

The Kenyan Embassy on R Street in Washington DC, USA. Former Finance Minister Njeru Githae is the Kenyan Ambassador to the US. PHOTO | BMJ MURIITHI

The directive to roll out the issuance of the EAC e-passport was launched during the 17th EAC Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Arusha Tanzania on March 2, 2016.

Ideally, were Kenya to roll out the new document as earlier projected, it would become the second EAC State to launch the e-passport after Burundi.

Currently, applications for e-passports can be done online through the e-citizen platform but the applicants will be required to present themselves in person for biometric capture at the passport issuing offices in  Nairobi.

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Lifestyle

Retiree who drove Uhuru to school remembers young Uhuru loved riding bicycle

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Mugo Karuga looks like any other retiree who has retreated to the rural village after years of service, but interactions with him reveal a man who rubbed shoulders with one of the most powerful families in Kenya.

Karuga drove President Uhuru Kenyatta to St Mary School in Nairobi on a daily basis in a limousine when he was young.

The retired General Service Unit (GSU) officer recalls how he would drive the young Uhuru, his brother Muhoho Kenyatta and sister Nyokabi Kenyatta from Gatundu to school using a Mercedes Benz 280 SE model registration number KPS 810.

Karuga’s razor-sharp memory is still intact. He recalls that when the first family was on holidays, the young Uhuru spent most of his time playing.

“Uhuru loved riding his bicycle and at times he would ask me to ride it with him and feel its comfort, which I gladly did,” Karuga now aged 77 years narrates.

Karuga says during holidays, he would be in charge of manning the gate, but Uhuru would ensure the cooks served him with decent meals.

Removed shoes

“If there is something I miss, it is those delicious meals the first family used to serve since my young friend would never let me go hungry,” he says.

READ ALSO:   Just like at home, getting passport for Kenyans abroad is a tough task

Karuga who retired in 1997 at Wang’uru Police Station also remembers with nostalgia one incident where barefooted children from a school in Central Kenya came to Gatundu to entertain the president.

“As the children entertained the first President, I saw Uhuru rush to the dais and whisper something to his father and he immediately removed his shoes to join the choir,” he said.

The grandfather who has turned to farming, Karuga recalls how the President ordered him to take the children and after entertaining him to the nearest Bata shop in Thika where they were each fitted with a new pair of shoes, including their teacher.

“Had Uhuru not done what he did, perhaps his father would not have seen the need to have the children who had entertained him fitted with new shoes,” he noted.

Karuga remembers how he used to interact freely with the then Head of the Presidential Press Unit, Kenyanjui Kariuki within Mzee Kenyatta’s Gatundu home where many delegations visited on a regular basis.

Kind person
“Since I am from Kirinyaga, Kenyanjui and his friends fondly called me Nyaga, meaning, a man from Embu since our dialect is different from that of the Kikuyu community,” Karuga said.

At his rural Gatumbi village home, Karuga lives with his son Njiru who was born at the Gatundu District Hospital in 1972 soon after he was enlisted in the presidential guard squad. He joined the Police Force in 1966.

READ ALSO:   Amb Amayo to hold both NY and Washington DC portfolios after Githae's exit

Karuga’s wife Annet Njeri says Mama Ngina Kenyatta is a kind person who was always concerned with the welfare of those who served the family at Gatundu.

Karuga now practices mixed farming on his one-acre plot where he has planted coffee, tea, macadamia trees and subsistence crops .

He says he was separated from Uhuru following the death of the founding father of the nation in 1978.

“When Moi came to power, he brought his own presidential guards and those of us who served under Kenyatta were transferred to various police stations across the country where all of us have since retired,” Karuga says.

“One thing I would desire is to meet president Uhuru and laugh with him as we did when he was young,” Karuga says.

The last time the President visited Kirinyaga County at Kianyaga, he asked the county government to arrange how I could meet him but the meeting has not happened.

Karuga is, however, grateful to the government for recognising his efforts and giving him an honour credited for his service to the first family.

THE UHURU I KNOW
Mugo Karuga used to drive the first family’s children to school.

He says a young president Uhuru loved riding his bike during holidays

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

The retired General Service Unit officer says President Uhuru Kenyatta would always ensure he got a decent meal when they were at their Gatundu home during holidays and one day made his father buy shoes for barefoot school children who had visited their home to entertain the late President Mzee Kenyatta

– KNA

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Lifestyle

Nakuru suppliers of bad maize ‘will still get pay’

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Traders who supplied bad maize with high levels of aflatoxin in Nakuru county will be paid as no sample was taken to the Government Chemist for testing.

The revelation came during the interrogation of Disaster Chief Officer Ann Njenga by a county assembly committee on Tuesday.

However, Ms Njenga clarified that only two wards out of the 55 were affected.

“Going to tell a supplier now that the maize he or she supplied had aflatoxin and it was not examined by the Government Chemist is difficult right now,” she said.

Hard time answering

She added that, most of the food in Viwandani stores had a 10 per cent aflatoxin level, which is acceptable. However, other bags had a 19 per cent level of aflatoxin, but had already been distributed to residents.

Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja claimed a person died in the sprawling Kaptembwo neighbourhood of Nakuru town after consuming the bad maize.

However, Ms Njenga, who had a hard time answering questions from the ward reps said, “I’m not aware of any death during the food distribution.”

The MCAs faulted Ms Njenga for giving the committee “half-baked” information. For instance, she said that out of the Sh25 million the assembly allocated, 10 per cent went to logistics.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC suspends all walk-in consular services over Corona Virus concern

However, when pressed to give a breakdown of the logistics costs, she failed to give the answers.

“We need to know which logistics costs were paid for and by how much in the next meeting,” Minority leader and Olkaria MCA Peter Palanga said.

No advertisements

Rhonda MCA Timothy Kabutu said procurement was flawed as no advertisement was made in the local dailies as required by law.

The committee said that, Ms Njenga was not fully in charge of the Covid-19 food distribution, leading to the confusion in the process.

As a result, Mr Karanja, the Naivasha East MCA, said, “some of the produce was given to other beneficiaries such as internally displaced persons (IDPs), who were not identified by the ward committees.”

“Everybody wanted to have a [piece of] pie, and chief officers in the Education and Youth dockets interfered with the exercise.”

However, Ms Njenga defended the food distribution saying that apart from a few challenges, it was “transparent” and “a success”.

The committee was also concerned that the ward level committees had not been paid their allowances. Ms Njenga told the MCAs that, payment had been made in 20 wards. She blamed poor data entry, which was being corrected, for delays.

by nation.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Guards at Pumwani Maternity Hospital suspended

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Hatari Security Company that was operating at Pumwani Maternity Hospital has been suspended.

This is after a woman gave birth at the hospital’s gate after reportedly being denied entry at the facility. The woman is said to have been blocked by guards due to the nurses’ strike.

The Senate standing committee on health led by Michael Mbito visited the hospital and said they were not satisfied by the explanation the hospital gave on the events leading to the woman giving birth by the road side.

“They have attempted to explain, but we are not convinced. We are taking statements from the mother and the hospital,” said Mbito, adding that in seven days, the mother and hospital officials will appear before Senate committee.

The senate said most of the challenges of the hospital lay in the confusion on who they are answerable to. They said the security team was contracted by the county government, but the hospital has since been placed under Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

By STandardmedia

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC suspends all walk-in consular services over Corona Virus concern
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