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VIDEO: Where is Uhuru? Kenyans express concern after their president is not seen in public for 2 weeks



Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has not been seen in public since returning from China two weeks ago. And Kenyans, as would have been expected, are talking.

Below is a transcript of a a Citizen TV panel in which   Journalists discuss the matter:

The body of this product is a transcription of original English-language material.


[Citizen TV announcer Yvonne Okwara] Let us talk about one man that we have not seen.

[Francis Gachuri] In fact I hear Linus talk about Madaraka Day and I hope that President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the Madaraka Day celebrations in Narok County because he has been missing in action, actually he has been missing since the China trip. I have heard people ask did he come back. Yes he did. He is around… probably.

[Joe Ageyo] How did you know that?

[Gachuri] at least we have seen gazette notices coming around appointing various people…but it is also a confirmation that he is around. But he is under the water.

[Okwara] It reminds me of when former President Moi was in the news all the time and when he was not in the news there was concern even when it turned out that he only had flu.

[Ageyo] It is interesting actually. How often should we see the president, I think that is the question. And Kenyans have a legitimate expectation to see him once or twice in a week or whatever. Why? Because it has always been like that so if you have accustomed to this thing of seeing you all the time then when you go missing then something is wrong somewhere.

[Okwara] He went for leave last year? Was it for three weeks?

[Ageyo] But it was said by State House that he actually retreated to Mombasa to take a break.

[Okwara] But you have to see him to know he is working, he is signing gazette notices.

[Linus] Historically visibility is part of the execution of the office of the president. People want to see what you are doing and this is actually global. It is not just a Kenyan phenomenon. When Trump plays Golf in Mara-a-lago or on one of his other properties it becomes an issue especially if there are other pressing national matters that are going on there. Now in Kenya as well our culture has been where is the president? I remember late in 1997/98 when president Moi disappeared for a few days and we went to Harambee Avenue [Presidents’ office]…he disappeared for actually around four days and nobody knew where he was and remember this was item number one every time  in the news. So it was very unusual that he disappeared and he was not anywhere in the public and I remember people were crying, women were crying on Harambee avenue when he turned up and he walked and he did not have his walking stick and he pocketed his hands and he said if I get a flu you will say that I am seriously ill. Because you know presidential appearance and news items are issues of public concern and again what the role of the president is to inspire the country every time he wakes up because your office is that big. It is the national boundaries of the country. You cannot associate with offices like accountants you know.

[Okwara] But have we not been inspired because we have not seen President Uhuru Kenyatta since we last saw him in China and maybe we can just remind our viewers of the last time we saw him.

[Linus] First we do not know what happened in China. I think that is one of the images.

[Okwara] But you feel that the country has not been sufficiently…

[Ageyo] And those deals were very big. You know Avocados and all that. Probably it would be great for him to have a news brief at the airport or something.

[Linus] And Kenyans do adjust. Joe you remember very well Kibaki, former president was not also for many public appearance he was more of an office person. He could work from State House for the week, he rarely went to Harambee house, but at least information came out of what he was doing. There is being some silence from the time the president went to China.

[Ageyo] Unless he is trying to fire some people, you know there has also been a tradition in this country…you know when they want to fire some people or reshuffle or something, they disappear, and then they emerge with something that the country can talk about.

[Gachuri] I can hear Jamila from home but I wish she was here. There is some Swahili saying that Ukiona kobe ameinamisha kichwa anatunga sheria or something like that. So there is something about the silence and probably as you have alluded. Maybe something is happening behind the scenes. Maybe his reappearance will be with thunder and I hope so and in the meantime…the anticipation has been a bit too much.

[Linus] But remember that thunder only comes when there is rain. You know we have had delayed rains.

[Gachuri] But even then there are serious national issues to be addressed and there some issue that require responses and answers but maybe there is also a question about how the government communicates and we saw the appointment of Cyrus Oguna recently, maybe it speaks about some subtle shift in terms of how the government is communicating or wants to communicate issues to the public and I would not be surprised if there could be a few more changes in that line in terms of how government communicates maybe we will see a few changes here and there but let’s see.

[Okwara] To be fair there has been quite a bit of communication since the visit to China. Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma told us on Twitter very categorical on what happened and what did not happen. We have heard about Macharia and meter gauge railway or not as we are seeing on papers I mean there has been quite bit of communication. You know Nzioka Waita has been speaking about what is happening.

[Gachuri] But he is not the State House spokesperson. Is he?


Nairobi Citizen TV in English — Kenya’s most popular channel.


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US official urges patience on Kenya graft cases



A top US law enforcement urged frustrated Kenyans on Thursday to “be a little bit patient” concerning the outcome of corruption cases.

“Anti-corruption investigations are particularly complex,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Heather Merritt said in a press briefing.

“They tend to involve multiple jurisdictions because often corrupt officials are able to move assets amongst various jurisdictions both within your country and internationally,” Ms Merritt added.

She was speaking in response to a reporter’s question about the paucity of corruption convictions in Kenya.

Ms Merritt, who heads the State Department’s bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement, also cited US efforts to strengthen Kenya’s police service and to develop programmes intended to curb impunity.

She noted that she had co-chaired discussions on security and democracy as part of the recent US-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Washington.

The US pledged in that forum to provide “technical and operational assistance” to the internal affairs unit of the Kenya police service as well as to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Ms Merritt emphasised that corruption can most effectively be addressed through strong national institutions that enforce accountability.

“It is all about stopping impunity,” she said. “It’s about society’s demanding accountability, but most of all it’s about developing strong independent institutions that are able to combat corruption across the criminal justice sector.”

The US official rejected arguments that corruption can be eliminated by increasing low salaries paid to law-enforcement personnel in poor countries.

“Adequate salaries are not enough,” Ms Merritt declared. “Even in countries where officials are very well paid, there are sometimes people who fall prey unfortunately to corruption and so we have got to do everything we can to strengthen institutions.”

She pointed to the example of the corruption scandal that shook the world football authority known as Fifa a few years ago.

“It’s not because (former Fifa head) Sepp Blatter was underpaid,” Ms Merritt said. “It’s not because the Fifa commissioners around the world were underpaid that they were susceptible to bribes… They made a decision to engage in corruption.”

The Fifa scandals were exposed because “there were institutions that were able to do investigations to hold accountable those who were involved,” Ms Merritt noted.

She also sounded an alarm about “burgeoning illicit markets” in Africa.

“Wildlife poaching and trafficking represents an escalating international security and conservation crisis,” Ms Merritt warned. “What we are seeing now in many of your countries is coordinated slaughter which was commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates.”

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Kenyans lose millions as Suraya housing project collapses



A number of Kenyans have found themselves counting losses in millions of shillings after the Suraya projects failed.

This despite the off-plan investment gaining popularity in the country.

Lynx -Royal Estate, a development under the Suraya Properties Limited, is a real estate developer that has now earned itself a bad record.

According to Wairimu Thimba, an investor, the said property was to be completed in 2014, with the payment plan being in instalments.

The final instalment being after the keys were handed over to the investors.

“We have tried reaching out and they can’t answer… I go there and they do not do anything,” said Wairimu.

It was after a series of unanswered emails that forced her together with the other aggrieved investors to visit the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday to record their statements as well as pay a visit to the Suraya properties offices to at least have the matter sorted. But all that was in vain.

Skyrocketing housing prices and unpredictable rent regimes have witnessed emergence of ‘smart’ investors in Nairobi who buy apartments off-plan at discounted prices, where one gets to investment or buys the property before it is completed.

It is a risk which despite offering flexible mode of payments, and an opportunity for an investor to own property at an affordable rate.

Sometimes the developer might halt the project which according to Beatrice Wachuka, research analyst at the Cytonn Investments, should be a cause for alarm for any investor.

“You have to keep on visiting the sites to know, most times when it stops it is because, there is disagreement between contractors, or lack of capital,” said Wachuka.

“I feel they started these projects and then another without channeling our money where it was meant to build, it was just greed,” lamented Wairimu.

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Samburu governor free to travel to US



An Anti-Corruption Court has allowed Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal, who is facing a Sh84 million corruption charge, to travel to the United States for one week.

Governor Lenolkulal was on Friday given his passport for the trip that will see him attend a Masters class programme.

The prosecution protested, saying the county chief was evading justice and seeking to extend his trial, but Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo said he did not make the request in bad faith.

The magistrate, however, asked Mr Lenolkulal to return the passport within 48 hours of returning to the country.

“Education is an important activity and this court should not stop it. I find no reason [to conclude that the] accused is attempting to prolong his trial,” he said.

“The court is hereby pleased to order release of the governor’s passport for a limited period to enable him travel to the US from June 3 to June 10.”

Since a pre-trial conference will be held on June 5, the magistrate asked Mr Lenolkulal’s lawyers to ensure they represent him.

The governor was also ordered to avail a surety for the period he will be out of the court’s jurisdiction as well as a guarantee that he will attend the trial.

Mr Lenolkulal is pursuing an international module at New York University. His lawyers noted it is crucial to the fulfilment of the requirements for his Masters programme.

The governor was charged in April and released on the highest-ever cash bail of Sh 100 million, with alternative of Sh150 million bond with a surety of the same amount.

His challenge at the High Court saw the figure reduced to Sh 10 million.

The court also asked the director of the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) to deny Mr Lenolkulal and 13 other county officials access in order to safeguard public funds.

They were all charged with conspiring to commit corruption, leading to the unlawful payment of Sh 84,695,996 to Mr Lenolkulal through a petrol station known as Oryx Service Station.

The offense was allegedly committed between March 27, 2013 and March 25, 2019 in Maralal town.

Mr Lenolkulal was also charged with unlawful acquisition of Sh84.6 million from the county as well as abuse office by allegedly conferring a benefit to himself through paying his company the said monies.

The matter of conflict of interest came up as he was also accused of knowingly acquiring direct private interest by supplying fuel to the county through his petrol station.

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