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Now UK targets academic essay firms

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Thousands of jobless graduates in Kenya who help lazy university students in developed countries to cheat academically could soon be forced to find something else to do after the UK government started clamping down on essay mills.

Yesterday, international digital money transfer service PayPal announced it was withdrawing its services to essay-writing firms selling to university students. This was after weeks of pressure from the UK government, which insists stopping payments for essay mills would go a long way in beating academic cheating.

PayPal, the most popular method of processing payments for the essay mills, announced it would contact the companies starting next week to inform them of its intention to stop payments.

“PayPal is working with businesses associated with essay-writing services to ensure our platform is not used to facilitate deceptive and fraudulent practices in education,” PayPal told British broadcaster BBC.

“PayPal will continue to diligently review and take appropriate action on accounts found to be facilitating cheating or otherwise undermining academic integrity,” it said.

Essay companies rely heavily on payment platforms to process student orders and payments for those who do the academic writing.

Although PayPal’s decision is an isolated move by a single company, the British government is understood to be piling pressure on other payment platforms to withdraw their services as well.

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Some 40 vice-chancellors of UK universities have asked internet search engine giant Google and YouTube to shut their services to the essay-writing companies as well. Additionally, a parliamentary petition is already under way in London to have the essay mills banned from UK’s internet space.

If this happens, a ripple reaction by other developed countries could render jobless the thousands of young people in Kenya engaged in the business valued at $1 billion globally, according to Forbes. PayPal has acknowledged this is a global problem that requires a global solution.

“This is a business that operates across national borders so there will need to be an international response,” said PayPal.

Universities in Kenya prohibit academic cheating but there is no law preventing Kenyans from engaging in the practice for students in other countries. As a result, Kenya has been listed by the UK as the leading black market for academic cheating by its students.

Doctorate candidates pay £2,000 (Sh264,000) to £6,000 (Sh790,000) for dissertations, British media reported.

“Kenya is the hotbed where the writing happens. There is high unemployment and a job working from home is coveted. They have good English and low overheads,” Dr Thomas Lancaster, a senior fellow at Imperial College, London, was quoted by the British press as saying.

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source:Daily Nation

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Court postpones case against Sonko’s impeachment

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The Labour Court has suspended the temporary issued over half a year ago to have Nairobi’s governor Mike Sonko impeached.

On Friday, justice made the decision after disbanding an initial report filed former Nairobi county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Elachi sought to have Mike Sonko relieved of his duties at Nairobi’s county boss.

In her argument, Elachi said that there was no employer-employee relationship between the governor and members of the county assembly.

She added that such a relationship didn’t give the governor the mandate to determine any arising dispute.

Elachi further stated that the case breaches the basic principle of law that states all government entities should not encroach on each other since they are separate.

Additionally, the former speaker stated that the governor’s case was against the law as it abused the entire court process.

Justice Ongaya, however, ruled that the governor didn’t have to create an employee-employer relationship with ward representatives.

He added that impeachment is a disciplinary process for removing a person from the office which is a function of human resource.

Therefore, it is within the realms of the Constitution and Statutory provisions.

Additionally, the judge said Sonko’s case was within Constitutional and Statutory jurisdiction that can decline issues pertaining to labour relations and employment.

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Also, section 12(2) of the Employment Labour Relations Court Act, 2011 it’s okay for a case to be filed in court against or by any institution under the written law.

Additionally, the Act allows the court to determine disputes against people working as either employers or employees.

On his part, Ongwaya said proceeding with the case didn’t mean he was undermining the comity of the three government arms.

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Uhuru warns boda boda riders against being used by politicians for personal gains

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BY KEVIN KOECH

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday the 23rd of October oversaw the signing of a grand deal between capital markets authority, Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya (BAK) an investment firm and an oil marketer.

The head of state further gave the riders some financial advice on how to scale and become rich.

Uhuru also encouraged the bodaboda riders to work hard so that they can achieve their goals.

“Boda boda industry is a sleeping giant that needs to be awakened, which is why the boda boda investment scheme is a great idea.

“Every individual should take pride in paying the price for what they want. If you do not pay the price, someone will pay to misuse you,” Uhuru said.

President Uhuru further questioned why some Boda Boda riders are poor despite the industry raking a staggering ksh 27 billion monthly.

According to him, the industry earns more than what the Government gives counties yearly.

“Every year, in totality, the boda boda industry makes ksh 357 billion. Boda boda association if together, would make more than what the government gives to the 47 counties.

“If you collect almost ksh1 billion every day, why does every boda boda rider cry of poverty?” Uhuru questioned.

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“The boda boda sector supports, directly or indirectly, 5.2 million kenyans which accounts for 10% of the population. This means that one in every ten kenyans makes his livelihood because of the business that you do,” he added

The head of state also cautioned the riders against accepting influence from political forces.

According to him, the riders should unite and work hard to visualize their dreams.

“If the working life of a boda boda is ten years after which he joins another sector, then this scheme offers a safe landing for him outside the said industry. My government is in full support of this association.

“My advice is to tell you to leverage your numbers.. look at things not in an individual aspect, but in a collective point of view. At times you’ll have to make unpopular decisions hence the reason why I came with a lean team. But always think of yourselves first and be careful not to be swindled based on political grounds.”

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Why we built and turned our house into a resort

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When architect Dorothy Abonyo’s husband, architect Erastus Abonyo, received a call that the beach plot they had been looking for had been found in Sakwa, Siaya, they were elated.

The land had been standing idle for many years and snubbed by potential buyers because of the many bushes around it, but they saw the potential in it. “When my husband asked us (his family) what we thought about the piece of land, and suggested how we could use it, we were sold out. We loved the scenery and the fact that it was on the shores of Lake Victoria,” narrates Dorothy.

With the go ahead from his family, the land was bought in 2016 and they began clearing the bushes and fixing the road to the land. In 2017, the family comprising of four, all architects, began the process of designing and building their dream house on the land.

“I am an architect with my own practice, Tekto consult, my husband and our first- born child are architects. Our second born is studying interior design and architecture abroad. The house was designed by our first born, Teddy Abonyo, who was then a final year student,” says Dorothy, who has been practicing architecture for about 30 years.

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Shared responsibility

To them, building the house was a small project that they felt their son could handle. Dorothy came in to strengthen the design and add a few details and her husband did a lot of work in the initial stages, such as fencing and setting up structures where people could sleep in. Dorothy, who became the senior architect to the project, opted to stay and oversee the process of building the home.

“It was frustrating supervising the project while living in Nairobi where I work. Every time I came to check on the progress of the project, I would find workers have messed things up, which meant we had to start all over again. So I decided to stay and oversee the project by myself and when I took a break, I would close the entire site until I came back,” she narrates.

Low business as a result of the 201 7 elections that year also allowed Dorothy extra time to focus on the project. And in 2018, the three-bedroom house was completed. It was constructed with as much natural materials as they could find in the area.

For instance, the pebbles they used on the exteriors of the house were mostly picked from their land while the rest were harvested from their neighbour’s land. Nyanza being a relatively hot place, the house was designed with thick walls that shield the interior from heat penetration. “When you have thin walls, heat goes in easily. We used cladding, which is attaching a layer of stones outside of a house to safeguard it from the weather effects. With the two thick walls, it will take a long time for the heat to penetrate,” Dorothy explains.

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The house was meant to be their retirement home, but they changed their mind after realising that the beauty and the set up spoke more and decided to share it with the public.

“We gave it a second thought and opted not to just have this place to ourselves as our boys were now old. Our second born is out of the country, he may or may not come back and is too old to even want to live with us. The last born too is on his way out meaning that it’s just me and my husband, so we decided to make it a holiday home,” she shares.

Getting into hospitality

That’s how their retirement home became a beautiful resort. Having come from the construction industry, the family knew nothing in hospitality except what they had experienced during their travels. “We have also travelled a bit and in particular, my trip in two cruises one at west Mediterranean cruise with the royal Caribbean for seven days in water really made me learn a bit on hospitality. Though we were over 5,000 guests, the staff took care of us as if we were five guests and there was no one time that we went to the restaurant and missed food. Their service, unlike other hotels I had been to, was superb,” she recalls.

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Having unanimously decided that their home would be turned into a resort, the family came together to name it. Dorothy’s choice, Pi Kidi, won. Pi means water in the Luo, while Kidi meant the stones. The area too was green and lush, so it also functions as a garden resort.

“Not many people were comfortable with the fact that you can share your home with strangers, but it’s a new trend, they have eventually gotten used to it. The boys then came up with the idea of putting up tents saying that their age mates would fancy that. So we set up a campsite that’s pretty formal, but we are also thinking of opening up the bush for people who are more adventurous and just want to camp by the water or in the bush,” Dorothy adds.

By PD.co.ke

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