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VIDEO: Is Matiang’i the unofficial Prime Minister? Kenyans read 2022 succession politics in Uhuru move



President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday appointed Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to chair a committee mandated to supervise all government projects, including the Jubilee government’s legacy-driven ‘Big Four’ agenda.

Dr Matiang’i will chair the newly constituted National Development Implementation and Communication Committee, and will be deputised by his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich.

The team will comprise of all the Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney-General Paul Kihara, and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Dr Matiang’i, long-seen by analysts as President Kenyatta’s Mr-Fix-It, will in the new position effectively be the prefect of his colleagues, and will report directly to the President.

“The committee will provide supervisory leadership throughout the delivery cycle of all national government programmes and projects. . .They will monitor and evaluate the follow-up mechanisms for resources allocated for national government priority programmes and projects, to ensure proper utilisation and realisation of the targeted outcomes,” the President said in his Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 dated January 21.

The committee will also provide “coordinated and strategic communication” to the public and other stakeholders on the progress of national government projects and programmes.

It will also “prepare accurate and timely progress reports for presentation to the president.”

In his speech in Mombasa before the Executive Order was made public, President Kenyatta said the changes were being made to align all ministries to adopt a ‘One-Government Approach Policy.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Former Kenya's head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia speaks to VOA

Besides the sweeping powers he will have as the chairman of the committee, Dr Matiang’i was also given a huge chunk of James Macharia’s Transport ministry.

The Interior CS, in President Kenyatta’s Executive Order No. 2 dated the same day as the first, will be in charge of the National Transport and Safety Authority.

This is seen as an attempt to align the President’s transport sector vision with what Dr Matiang’i had been doing with the implementation of the Transport Act, famously known as the “Michuki Rules”.

The rules came about during John Michuki’s tenure as Transport minister.

The interior ministry, in the changes, will also be in charge of motor vehicles inspection and certification, regulation of public service vehicles, development and implementation of road safety strategies, enforcement of the axle road control through weighbridges, as well as regulation and licensing of motor vehicles.


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Nairobi is like Washington DC, Sonko says in defense of latest hand-over



Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his decision to hand over some county functions to the national government.

In a statement posted in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Mr Sonko — who is facing corruption charges in court — said the needs of Nairobi County are unique as compared to other counties.

“My government set out on a fact finding mission that saw us benchmark and take lessons from other jurisdictions across the world including Washington DC in the US and Abuja in Nigeria. From these case studies, we established that cities and metropolis the size of Nairobi are best served jointly by devolved units and Central Governments,” he said.

He claims that with this in mind, and in his capacity as governor, he initiated discussions with the national government with a view to approaching service delivery with both County and State resources.

“It is this consultative process that led to the crafting of the historic and comprehensive agreement that we signed on Tuesday handing over the management of some of the functions of Nairobi County Government to the national government,” he added.

The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Mayor and thirteen-member Council. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. The District Government is within the Legislative branch of Federal government, which makes the government a Federal agency

READ ALSO:   Uhuru appoints CS Matiang’i head of all gov’t projects

The embattled governor says he is convinced that the agreement, which was signed in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, will not only help enhance service delivery in the city but also reposition Nairobi as the region’s economic hub.

“As the County Government of Nairobi, we remain committed to continue serving the people of our great county by focusing more keenly on the functions and service areas that are not covered in our agreement with the national government,” he said.

“We believe our bold decision to collaborate with the National Government through the transfer of some of our functions will create a positive governance precedence that will help strengthen devolution,” he added.

He the thanked Mr Kenyatta and the Jubilee Administration showing in ensuring Nairobi residents “get the best services from their government”.


The explanation given by the governor has drawn sharp reactions from Nairobi residents on his social media pages.

“In New York and other major cities, they have mayors voted by the people. Even London. Not happy at all. We voted you in…not the National government…This decision will hurt service delivery,” said Facebook user Johnnie Muthuis.

“By the way what about the CEC’s of those functions taken to the national government like Health? What is their mandate now?” another user, SA Mwakush, wondered.

READ ALSO:   Diasporans engage in intense debate over Huduma Namba

Another resident, Twitter user @wanjutha, asked why the public not involved in the process.

Others were positive about the move, saying the collaboration could be a great idea.

“Nairobi deserves the best that’s why Governor Mike Sonko has collaborated with the national government to make Nairobi great,” said Kennie Balo.

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Kenya to import US wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington



Kenya has agreed to lift a decade-old prohibition on US wheat following a deal between President President Uhuru Kenyatta and Donald Trump.

It will see American wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington states shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement.

For the last 12 years, Kenya has locked wheat from the three states, citing prevalence of a fungal disease known as flag smut of wheat (urocystis agropyri).

“American farmers in the Pacific Northwest now have full access to the Kenyan wheat market,” USDA Undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programms Greg Ibach said in a statement.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and APHIS/PPQ of the US signed the Export Certification Protocol allowing the wheat imports to Kenya on January 28.

The protocol gives US exporters full access to Kenya’s wheat market, valued at nearly Sh50 billion ($500 million) annually.

Kenya is a net importer of wheat, bringing in two-thirds of its requirement to meet the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against the production of 350,000 tonnes.

Kenya charges 10 percent duty on all imported wheat, which is cheaper than the locally-produced commodity.

As part of the technical agreement, APHIS of the US will enhance general surveillance for the fungal-disease-prone wheat.

READ ALSO:   Uhuru now confirms Kanze Dena to State House job

The win for US farmers comes amid discussion for a free trade pact between Nairobi and Washington.

“Going forward, the USDA team looks forward to building on this success and further strengthening our relationship with Kenya as we pursue a new bilateral free trade agreement that will create additional market opportunities for US producers and exporters,” said US Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in a statement.

President Trump and President Kenyatta announced intention to start formal talks on a trade agreement.

President Kenyatta had said a new trade deal could make Kenya a hub for US companies doing business in Africa.

By Nation

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Why most Kenyans prefer to build their own homes



High cost of buying homes and poor land tenure system are the main reasons Kenyans construct own homes as opposed to purchasing ready ones, experts say.

Most Kenyans, according to the 2019 census report, prefer building own homes unlike in most developed economies where majority of the people buy ready homes.

The report, released last week, says only 2.8 per cent of Kenyan households living in own homes bought them while majority, 93.9 per cent, live in houses they constructed themselves with 3.3 per cent living in inherited dwellings.

Eric Muchunku, a consultant at UN Habitat, attributed the phenomenon to high cost of buying homes and the flexibility that comes with constructing own dwelling.

Operational costs

“The first thing that comes to my mind is cost. Houses built by commercial developers are still more expensive, probably because the developers transfer some costs and operational costs and taxes to the clients. Government incentives given to the developers do not trickle down to the home buyers,” he added.

Building your own house, he said, also allows one to construct at their own pace, in phases, depending on the amount of money you have at the time. It enables one to use low-cost labour including using relatives for unskilled work.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO and PHOTOS: CS Monica Juma, Senior US official sign key bilateral agreement in Washington

While constructing own house enables one to customise the layout to the owner’s personal needs, the quality and structural integrity is usually lower than when using professional developers, notes Muchunku.

Architectural Association of Kenya Vice President, Wilson Mugambi blamed the situation on the country’s disorganised land tenure system and the high prices asked by property developers.

“The price asked by property developers is beyond the reach of majority of Kenyans, everything has been overpriced. Very few people are able to take a mortgage,” he said.

“Developed countries have a very organised land tenure system. That’s what we need too. Our system is all based on speculation, we have an obsession with land ownership,” he added.

He observed that a majority of people living in the rural areas built own

homes as opposed to buying, a factor that could have contributed to the undesirable statistics. Kenya has over 12 million households with an average of four people per household, according to the 2019 census.

As a whole, most Kenyan households (61.3 per cent) live in own dwellings while 38.7 per cent live in rented or provided dwellings, most of which are roofed with iron sheets.

The 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census survey shows that 80.3 per cent of the households occupied dwelling units that had iron sheet as the main roofing material followed by concrete or cement at 8.2 per cent. The dominant material used for wall construction was mud or cow dung at 27.5 per cent followed by stone with lime or cement at 16.5 per cent.

READ ALSO:   PHOTO: Raila celebrates his 74th birthday with President Uhuru

Concrete walls

Dwelling units with concrete walls accounted for 16.3 per cent of the total. The predominant floor material was concrete or cement accounting for 43.7 per cent followed by earth or sand floors at 30 per cent,” it adds.

In the last 10 years, Kenya’s population has grown by about 10 million people to reach 47.6 million up from 37.7 million in 2009. However, the population and housing census indicated that the overall population growth rate declined from 2.9 per cent in 2009 to 2.2 per cent in 2019 while the average household size declined from 4.2 people in 2009 to 3.9 people in 2019.


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