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VIDEO: How Echesa talked himself out of CS job

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The first sign that the continued stay of the sacked Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa was no longer tenable was when President Uhuru Kenyatta publicly took him on at the mausoleum of the late opposition leader Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in Bondo last year.

In the company of ODM leader Raila Odinga and other aides, Mr Kenyatta was unhappy that the tomb looked deserted yet its maintenance falls under Mr Echesa’s docket.

Those who were present said Mr Odinga had to intervene to save him from the President’s wrath.

Today, he became the first minister to be outrightly sacked by the President. In the past, Mr Kenyatta has relieved ministers of their duties, but without saying so.

FEUD WITH RAILA

They have either been redeployed, or suffered a similar fate such as that of current Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku who was replaced by the late Joseph Nkaissery without a word about his fate.

Mr Echesa has had endless gaffes, with the most notable one being his public spat with Mr Odinga.

He failed to read the signs of the time after his boss embraced Mr Odinga following the March 9 political truce at Harambee House.

The former minister dared Mr Odinga to go ahead and sack him if he thought he was the appointing authority.

While the truth is that Mr Odinga has no such powers, Mr Echesa may however want to reflect back to see where the rains may have started beating him.

“We have one Government led by Uhuru and William Ruto, and those are the only people I will pledge my priority to and not to you, Raila Odinga. I want to dare you Raila, if you have the appointing authority, come and sack me,” he said.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: 37 year old woman photographed with Raila explains her side of the story as internet goes wild

POLITICKING
And recently when Mr Kenyatta warned his Cabinet members to concentrate on working and stop politicking, the minister was believed to be one of the targets.

Mr Echesa was fond of addressing rallies in western Kenya compared to his frequency of making policy statements.

“During today’s Cabinet meeting I reminded our Cabinet secretaries that there are many young Kenyans who are willing and ready to work if they felt they are not up to task.

“Those who have chosen to keep politicking instead of serving the people should be ready to give way,” President Kenyatta said on January 31.

At one point he asked ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi to forget about 2022 presidential ambitions arguing he could not raise Sh200 billion as campaign finance. He endorsed Dr Ruto’s candidacy.

Mr Echesa has been embroiled in a number of violent exchanges in western Kenya in the past, with the most notable being a face-off with Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala in Mayoni where scores were injured and vehicles damaged.

MONEY LAUNDERING
Against swirling claims that he may have been involved in some inappropriate conduct and that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations was treating him as a person of interest in some live case, the former firebrand ODM youth leader warned that he would seek legal redress.

“I will sue anyone who accuses me of money laundering,” he said.

Another embarrassing moment for Mr Echesa came when eight Pakistani club dancers were arrested for being in the country illegally.

READ ALSO:   NASA sends out invitation cards for Raila's 'inauguration'

Defence lawyer Evans Ondieki told Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot that the girls who were arrested at Balle Balle Club in Parklands were in the country legally with full permission of Mr Echesa.

NUDE PHOTOS

In his supremacy fights with Senator Malala, he was also linked to manufactured nude photos allegedly of the lawmaker which were circulated online.

Last October, police at the KICC station summoned Mr Echesa after three journalists who had been arrested concerning the matter dragged his name in the saga.

“KICC police station has a reason to believe you, Hon Rashid Echesa, have information that may assist in investigation of [an] alleged offence [contrary to the] Cybercrimes Act 2018,” the summon read.

In August Mr Echesa was caught up in a near fist fight with Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi at Kisumu Airport.

The MP was reported to have started the argument with Mr Echesa over the CS’s comments linking Mr Odinga to an alleged plot to kick him out of the Cabinet.

After the incident, some of his colleagues complained that he was an embarrassment to the Cabinet.

RELATIONS
At ministerial level, reports have been abound that he had a poor working relationship with his juniors. Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia was at some point forced to fight back claims that he had fallen out with the minister.

“I enjoy the best relationship with my CS because we are both tasked and determined to improve the state of sports in the country,” he said.

READ ALSO:   Confusion as Raila re-edits his Twitter Bio 4 times within 12 hours

For the last one year he has sat in the Cabinet, Mr Echesa and controversy have been almost synonyms.

During his vetting, some MPs felt he was not the right man for the job. His humble education background was also subject of heated debate yet there is no education requirement for one to be appointed to the Cabinet.

The debate emanated from the fact that while there is no such requirement, an appointee expected to preside over complex matters needs to possess professional background that allows them to process delicate issues in the line of duty.

HIRSI FIRED
Meanwhile, this was the second time President Kenyatta was sacking Principal Secretary Fatuma Hirsi in less than a year.

In June last year the Head of State fired her as Tourism principal secretary.

In a letter dated May 30, 2018, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua informed her that her contract was not renewed.

“Your employment contract has been terminated forthwith,” Mr Kinyua told her. “You will be paid your salary up to June 30, which will be your last working day.”

However, a month later when the President effected a mini Cabinet reshuffle he appointed her as principal secretary for Broadcasting.

Prior to her appointment to the Tourism docket in 2015, Ms Hirsi worked in the United Nation’s Universal Postal Agency.

Ms Hirsi, who hails from Wajir South, has previous experience in various companies including the Nation Media Group, Communications Authority of Kenya, and Gulf African Bank.

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Houses flooded in Ruiru

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Developers of an upcoming city, owned by the Kenyatta family in Ruiru, are on the spot after their dam caused rain water to flood homes in surrounding areas in the small hours of Thursday.

Northlands City, a mega urban development comprising of residential, industrial and commercial units, is being set up using water from Uhuru Dam, which is also called Sukari Dam.

There has been a simmering conflict between residents and owners of the project, conceived in 2016 and planned by Triad Architects, since 2015.

This was after the height of the wall at the dam’s spillway was raised to accommodate more water.

Ruiru residents stand outside their flooded homes on December 5, 2019. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NMG

According to residents, the raised wall was put their lives at risk and exposed their property to damage by floods.

“In our various meetings with you, we expressed our reservations on the ‘containment wall’ blocking storm water from our estate into the natural course, which is within your property,” the residents said in a letter dated September 17, 2015.

The protest letter was addressed to Northlands City under the care of Brookside Dairy, a milk processor owned by the Kenyatta family, and was received by a Ms Angela Kyungu on September 25, 2015.

“It (the wall) restricts the natural flow of the water thereby causing flooding in our estate during heavy raining periods,” the letter signed by Varsityville Residents Association Secretary Francis Kiarie adds.

READ ALSO:   Raila pushes for new govt structure

Their fears were confirmed on Thursday morning when storm waters flooded their houses as they slept.

Homes surrounded by water on December 5, 2019. There has been a simmering conflict between residents and owners of the Northlands project belonging to the Kenyatta family. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NMG

One of the affected residents, Ms Caroline Gitari, told the Nation that their houses were flooded a few minutes after 1am.

“There is an obstruction that has forced water to flow into Varsityville estate and other surrounding areas,” she said.

She said she could count close to 10 houses that were affected by the raging waters.

“We have not slept. As we speak, we are stranded with children. Our houses are a big mess,” she added.

Varsityville estate in Ruiru. PHOTO | GOOGLE MAPS

According to the locals, the wall, which they say was erected without consultations, first caused floods in 2015 and it has remained a nightmare since.

“In the last rainy season (2015), flooding was experienced on the plots neighbouring your property,” the residents say in their letter.

“The few homes around here were greatly distressed by this abnormal flooding and we informed you this.”

Mr Kiarie asked Northlands City to “lower the spill way level and remove or improve what you are calling the containment wall so that we can revert to the conditions that pertained earlier or apply any other conditions that do not pose any threat of flooding to our homes”.

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

However, it is emerging that the developers of Northlands City and the dam owners did not take any action despite residents’ threat to hold them accountable for any damages caused by storm waters.

The dam is situated along the Eastern Bypass next to Brookside collection and cooling centre in Kiambu County. It is located about a kilometre Clay Works factory on Thika Road.

Once complete, the Kenyatta family-owned Northland City will sit on 11,800 acres of land and will accommodate an estimated 250,000 people working and living within its boundaries.

It will feature residential homes, recreation facilities, a stadium, commercial centres, industrial estates, farms, schools, civic buildings and hotels.

Recent heavy rains have caused flooding across the country with tens of thousands displaced and more than 100 dead.

Cars caught up in floods along Kangundo Road Bypass intersection on Thursday morning. PHOTO | COURTESY

River Sabaki in Kilifi County recently broke its banks thereby displacing about 1,000 people in Malindi and Magarini constituencies.

According to Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna, about 30,000 people have been affected by the heavy rains.

The meteorological department has issued flood alerts while urging Kenyans to be on the lookout for landslides and overflowing river banks.

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VIDEO: Tuskys partners with optiven for 60 days of christmas promotion

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Optiven Limited, Kenya’s leading real estate company is the choice partner for Kenya’s leading Supermarket Tuskys as it rolls out it’s newest campaign “60 days of Christmas with Tuskys”.

The campaign launched in Eldoret will see over 20 shoppers walk away with title deeds for their properties located in the cosmopolitan county of Machakos.

Addressing the media in Nairobi, Dan Githua, CEO Tuskys Supermarkets said, ‘2019 Christmas for our customers will definitely be different as we are keen to innovate and provide them with special gifts top of which is a piece of land.

The campaign which runs for 60 days to January 5th2020, will be open to shoppers at any of the 60 Tuskys Supermarket branches countrywide.

Daniel Koech, the General Manager for Business Development and Customer Experience, says ‘all customers spending 3000 shillings will have an opportunity to win the piece of land and many other exciting prizes in a transparent exercise that has been automated.  We have already had two winners including one from Kisumu in our first awarding ceremony that was held on 30thNovember 2019 at T-Mall Tuskys in Nairobi.

He added that customers are guaranteed to take home quality and all the different stores under the grand Tuskys Supermarkets network are ready to provide value and variety at the most affordable prices.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: 37 year old woman photographed with Raila explains her side of the story as internet goes wild

The event was graced by Mr. George Wachiuri, CEO at Optiven Group who hailed the move by Tuskys Supermarkets to partner with the leading Real Estate company in Kenya.

Wachiuri noted that, ‘the values espoused by Tuskys Supermarkets merge well with those of Optiven Group and it is a humbling experience for us to be able to transform the lives of the 20 winners that will take home title deeds during the 60 Days of Christmas with Tuskys’.

He assured the public that the promotion is real and the property is available even for the public to view but more importantly to ensure that they make their purchases from Tuskys.

Wachiuri added that the expertise by Optiven Limited in the Real Estate sector spans over 20 years with over 70 projects having already been sold out and titles issued out to the investors.  ‘We guarantee that the plots are as real as can be and can confirm that we have already put power, water, security, electricity and greening spaces on site.

The campaign will run until the 5thof January 2019 and the process according to Koech, has been listed under the BCLB – Betting Control and Licensing Board.

READ ALSO:   NASA sends out invitation cards for Raila's 'inauguration'

All winners will be notified following a public announcement on television with the names being announced by the Tuskys team in the different branches.  Winners will also have a variety of prizes including goats, make overs, shopping vouchers, electronics and an opportunity to acquire merchandise through a special hire purchase that is interest free in the Lipia Pole Pole option.

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Principals switch off phones as parents look for vacancies

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Headteachers are grappling with growing demand by parents seeking to transfer their children who were selected to join far-flung secondary schools.

It emerged yesterday that some parents are uncomfortable with the idea of sending their children to institutions in distant counties.In one of the cases seen by The Standard, a candidate from Kakamega County was selected to join a school in Taita Taveta County.

Another candidate who sat the KCPE exams in Kisumu was admitted to a school in Nyeri while a candidate from Nairobi was selected to join a school in Busia.

Data from the Ministry of Education reveals that many counties do not have adequate spaces in their schools to accommodate their students.Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said this week they were aware of the problem of limited places in some counties.

“Faced with this challenge, the ministry opted to place learners from these counties to schools in neighbouring counties, and not to schools of their choice,” said Prof Magoha.

The CS said nearly 30,000 candidates were placed in schools they did not select, which he attributed to skewed candidates’ choices or unavailability of vacancies in their home counties.Headteachers who spoke to The Standard yesterday said they had been forced to switch off their cell phones as pressure from parents mounts.

“Many parents are coming to school and some are calling the office and our private mobile phones asking for Form One slots,” said a principal in one of the national schools.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) national chairman Kahi Indimuli said principals had also complained about a large number of parents demanding to be issued with admission letters directly from the schools.“It is stressful because some do not know the procedure. It is impossible for a principal to issue a letter because parents are required to print them from the website,” said Mr Indimuli.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: 37 year old woman photographed with Raila explains her side of the story as internet goes wild

The chairman explained that for a transfer to be effected, the school must declare a vacancy is available after which the request is uploaded to the National Education Information Management System (Nemis).“The conditions are that there must be a vacancy in the school that parents are seeking a transfer to. The school must also have been part of the choices made by the student during the application process,” said Indimuli.

Reject request

He said Nemis would reject a transfer request if the school was not among the institutions selected by the candidate.

Sources at the ministry said the move to introduce printing of admission letters from the ministry’s website and a new rule for headteachers to declare available slots was aimed at ensuring fairness.Previously, some principals reportedly sold vacant Form One slots to the highest bidder, locking out poor but deserving students.

Parents were also said to hop from one preferred school to another and readily parted with thousands of shillings to bribe headteachers and secure the hoarded slots for their children.

It also emerged that some principals under-reported the number of available Form One vacancies to allow more room for business when admissions start.

The principals are now required to declare these vacancies and propose the names of students who have expressed interest to take up the available slots.Parents who spoke yesterday revealed the agony of the admission process especially when their children rejected their assigned schools.

READ ALSO:   Raila gets an ADC on his trip to Kofi Annan’s funeral

Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo said he was a victim of the selection process.

“My child was placed in a school that he never selected. He declined to go there but I am convincing him that it is a good school,” Mr Maiyo said.

It also emerged that primary school headteachers contributed to the skewed secondary schools application exercise.

A Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) delegates meeting in Mombasa heard that parents and children do not get adequate advise on how to select secondary schools.Some headteachers, however, faulted the manner in which schools clusters are arranged.

“Every year we face this problem of parents seeking transfers and we ask ourselves what the problem is. And if it is about school clusters, then make the resolution here and forward it to the ministry,” said Indimuli.Giving an example, he said it was the wrong decision for a candidate to select Pangani Girls as a first choice and follow it up with Kenya High or Alliance Girls.

“If your second choice is a competitive school then be assured it is someone else’s first choice and you will also miss out on it.”

Four categories

During the application process, each candidate is expected to select a maximum number of schools from four listed categories.The categories are national, extra-county (divided into three clusters), county and sub-county schools.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Angry Diaspora Kenyans take Uhuru head on over Miguna fiasco

Candidates with disabilities also pick an institution from a fifth category of special schools.Candidates are expected to select 11 schools: national (four), extra-county (three; one from each cluster), county (two) and sub-county (two).

Students with disabilities can pick one more school from a list of special/integrated institutions.Under extra-county schools, in Cluster One, candidates select one preferred school from a list of 332 institutions.

In Cluster Two, they select from a list of 208 schools while in Cluster Three, they pick from a list of 198 schools.Extra-county schools are boarding institutions that admit only 60 per cent of students from the host county.County schools, on the other hand, select all their students from the host county. Each candidate is expected to choose two schools from the list provided.

Some candidates find themselves at a disadvantage when they select county schools situated in other counties.Speaking during the selection exercise on Monday, Magoha revealed that some candidates opted to select one or two secondary schools instead of 11, thus limiting placement to their preferred choices.

At the headteachers’ meeting, it also emerged that guidance was lacking for secondary students seeking university admission.

The students have 18 choices when applying to join a university.There are six options for degree courses, four for diploma programmes and a similar number for craft certificate options.The students also have four options for artisan certificate courses.

by Standard

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