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Concern as rivers in the Mara drying up



Water levels in five major rivers including the mighty Mara River have drastically reduced, threatening the entire Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.

Conservationists have long argued that it is only a matter of time before rivers like the Mara dry up.

Mara, Talek, Enkare Narok, Siyiabei and Ewuaso Ngiro, which are the major rivers in Narok County and a source of livelihood for millions of people, livestock and wildlife, are at all-time low levels.

Siyiabei, Enkare Narok and Ewuaso Ngiro rivers pour their waters into Lake Magadi and Lake Natron in Tanzania, famous for flamingo breading.

Apart from being the spine of the Mara ecosystem, the Mara and Talek feed Lake Victoria and are the main contributors of water in the Nile basin that all the way to Egypt.

The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem coordinator Nick ole Murero said that the destruction of the Mau Forest over the years has been a major contributor to the river’s low water levels.

Mr Murero said that the situation has contributed to increased cases of human-wildlife conflicts in the region.

He said apart from delayed rains, destructive human activity in the Mau Forest has exacerbated the effects of drought as rivers keep drying up and the animal population diminishes.

“Water levels are low in all this rivers. Farming activities where water is being diverted to farms upstream for irrigation is also a challenge,” said Mr Kuyioni.

Hoteliers and tour operators have severally warned that the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve may soon lose its gleam as drought threatens the wildlife that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

A spot check by the Nation last week revealed dozens of crocodiles and hippos fighting in the small pools of water in the drying Mara and Talek rivers which traverse the reserve.

The drought has pushed wildlife from their habitats into human settlements, increasing the risk of conflict.

“Hippo and elephant attacks are becoming rampant, as these animals move out of their habitats to human settlements around Talek, Sikinani, Siana, Oloolaimutia and Aitong to look for water,” said Peter Lemein, a wildlife researcher in the Mara.

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Uhuru’s Security acts swiftly after Chinese man tries to touch him



President Uhuru Kenyatta‘s security is not taking any chance with his safety during his visit to China.

A video has emerged online of a Chinese delegate trying to get the president’s attention while leaving the Kenya-China Business Forum which he was presiding over.

The clip shows that as soon as the man stretches his hand to touch Uhuru, one of his security men elbows him to the side as the president unresponsively walks ahead.

The bodyguard also seems to have had a word with the businessman because the Chinese man nods as they exchange glances.

The businessman was left dejected and had to think of a better way to seek an audience with President Kenyatta.

The forum sought to strengthen business ties between Kenya and China with a focus on increasing commerce between the two countries.

Uhuru delivered a presentation in a bid to woo the Chinese investors present at the forum to view Kenya as a highly valuable investment opportunity.

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at the Kenya-China Business Forum on 26/04/19


“We are not asking you to do Kenya any favours, we want you to come and invest in Kenya because when you make money, we will make money, this is what shared prosperity is all about,” Uhuru asserted.

President Uhuru informed the various delegates that investing in Kenya offered a unique opportunity, as it provided any potential investors greater access to a wider African market.

Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, revealed that 11 Chinese companies were jostling to get a piece of the pie in terms of investing in Kenya’s Affordable Housing Project.

Watch the video below:

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I’m not a Shylock: Jaguar disowns money lending app



Starehe MP Charles Njagua, popularly known as Jaguar, has disowned a money lending app that is being marketed as a platform enjoying his sponsorship.

Jaguar has warned the public not to fall victim of the app dubbed ‘Jaguar loan app’.

The app allegedly gives needy Kenyans loans from Sh5, 000.

It bears an old photo of the MP sitting in a chair with a bundle of cash in his hands. The picture was taken from a scene of Jaguar’s  video of his hit song ‘Kioo’.

“Kenyans don’t get duped…..It would be so sad to lose your money to unscrupulous people,” wrote Jaguar on his social media pages.

Unlike other apps that send money directly to a client’s mobile phone, ‘Jaguar loan app’ asks for details of the client’s bank account details where the money will be allegedly deposited.

“Mobile Loans makes it easy for you to access loans from your phone anywhere, any time. Sign up in less than 5 minutes, fill your bank account details, apply for a loan you qualify and receive your money straight to whichever bank account you provide.

“It’s a fast, convenient and reliable way to access instant credit when you need it most. We help you get instant and easy personal or business loans to meet your goals. Everything is done right from the app,” reads the instructions on the app.

Jaguar joins the list of politicians including Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino whose names and photos have been used by conmen to solicit money from unsuspecting Kenyans.

“Nmeekelea thao tatu usiseme zimekunywa Maji,” said donjazzy254.

“Nilikua nataka kui download ila nilipo ona niya “4.6mb” app niliishuku,” wrote tomilli_tenymes.

“Anzisha uenye ni real sasa coz i see the person in the picture ni wewe mwesh,” commented kiptookip.

“Thanks for the information,” stated Jessica Muli.


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Kenyan government freezes travel for officers without digital passports



The government has frozen foreign travel for civil servants without digital passports.

In a circular dated April 15 to government institutions, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua cited hitches in processing of visa and entry permits using the machine-readable ones, which are set to expire in September.

Although entry and exit requirements vary from country to country, Mr Kinyua said the general rule is that a passport should be valid for at least six months at the time of travel.

“Considering that the machine-readable passports will cease to be a valid travel document with effect from September 1, 2019, any machine-readable passport is already outside the 6 months validity period,” Mr Kinyua said in the circular which re-emphasised an earlier one he wrote on September 26, 2018.

“To avoid inconveniences that may be occasioned on account of the limited validity period of the machine-readable passports and in observance of the above-mentioned circular, travel clearance should not be issued to officers who do not hold the e-passport.”

The order means that public servants who had planned to travel in the next few weeks could be forced to reschedule or abandon their travel unless they can acquire the e-passports quickly.

The e-passports are designed to better protect national borders and identities of citizens. They have the latest security features and design techniques besides a new style polycarbonate bio-data page.

Kenya launched its e-passport programme in 2017, making it the first country in the East African Community (EAC) to do so.

This saw the country comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) global specifications and additional requirements set by EAC members.

E-passports have an embedded electronic chip in the passport booklet that stores the biographical information visible on page 2 of the document, as well as a digital security feature, according to ICAO.


The digital security feature is a unique, country specific “digital signature” which can be verified using each nation’s respective certificate.

The government says the new passport is harder to duplicate and helps to counter threats from criminals such as terrorists and human traffickers.

The e-passport system was installed by British security printer De La Rue.

Mr Kinyua said that public servants are still making requests for visa facilitation using the machine-readable passports which are due to expire on August 31, 2019 in violation of the earlier circular.

“Please be advised that while passport requirements for entry and exit vary from country to country, the general rule is that a passport should have at least six (6) months validity when travelling internationally,” he said.

“Therefore, most countries will not issue a visa or permit a traveller to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final date of travel.”

He added that civil servants should make arrangements to apply for the new e-passports, noting that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not facilitate visa issuance for holders of the machine-readable passports.

Officials copied in the circular were asked to inform their staff of the passport rules. They include cabinet secretaries, county governors, principal secretaries, commissioners and holders of constitutional offices.

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