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JKUAT’s 118 PhD degree awards to be investigated

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The Commission for University Education (CUE) Tuesday announced that it will investigate the 118 doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees awarded to graduates Friday last week following public outcry.

This is after it emerged that one Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) professor had supervised more than 10 PhD students in the School of Entrepreneurship, Procurement and Management against CUE requirement of three students per lecturer.

Some of the publications or refereed journals where the graduates published their works have also been put to question.

A refereed journal contains scholarly articles that have been reviewed for their quality by recognised academics or experts in the field.

The CUE will be looking at the procedures the graduates used to defend their research works before JKUAT lecturers, supervision of the course among others as the regulator moves to maintain the credibility of doctorate and Master’s degree courses awarded by universities in Kenya.

The Commission chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha Tuesday said they will look into all aspects that led into the award of the PhDs even as the university came out fighting to protect its integrity. Prof Chacha said the Commission would not tolerate any shortcuts.

“We are on the ground to look at these doctorate and we will take necessary action of we find that the law was not followed,” said the commission chairman.

The CUE requires that all Masters students publish at least a paper in refereed journal while PhD counterparts are expected to release two before they graduate.

Kenyans questioned why the JKUAT produced many PhDs in business related studies yet few in innovation and technology where it’s niche is in its 33th graduation ceremony.

JKUAT has defended the award of the degrees.

“All degrees of the university are meritoriously earned and no student is allowed to graduate without going through the due process,” said Prof Robert Kinyua, the acting deputy vice-chancellor (academic affairs).

SOURCE:Business Daily

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Kenyan scientist Muthoni Masinde created an app that predicts droughts

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An app is combining weather station data with the traditional knowledge of African farmers to predict droughts.

To help prepare farmers for the effects of climate change, Kenyan computer scientist Muthoni Masinde has created mobile platform ITIKI.

The name stands for Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge, and the platform sends farmers drought forecasts via an app or SMS message.

Although it uses meteorological data, Masinde says most African farmers can better relate to the traditional knowledge that is also used to formulate the platform’s predictions.

“I grew up in a [Kenyan] village and I noticed that most farmers do not have any form of science to tell [them] when to plant,” Masinde told CNN Business.

“They watch insects, they watch the behavior of animals and then they make a decision, ‘I think it’ll rain in two weeks’ time.’”

ITIKI employs young people in farming communities to gather photos and updates about animal behavior and local vegetation, such as which trees are flowering.

They capture their findings on the ITIKI app, and ITIKI collates this information with data from local weather stations to model weather patterns months in advance.

Farmers can subscribe to the service for just a few cents, and receive regular updates in their local language, helping them make early decisions about which crops they should grow and whether to sell or save their produce.

Economic impact of drought

Many African countries are especially vulnerable to climate change and small-scale farmers in particular, who rely on rainfall for their harvests, could face poverty and food insecurity, according to UN climate experts.

That could have major economic repercussions. Agriculture contributes about 15% to Africa’s total GDP, according to a 2017 UN report, and accounts for around half of the continent’s employment, according to the African Development Bank.

Now a professor at the Central University of Technology Free State, in South Africa, Masinde launched the app in 2016 in Kenya, where agriculture makes up around a third of GDP.

“Investments in climate adaptation solutions, especially targeting small scale farmers, would lead to GDP growth [in Africa],” said Masinde.

She added that African governments tend to react to drought and extreme weather, rather than proactively planning for these events.

“We do not prepare for [drought],” she said. “It’s like we just wake up and discover that people in rural Kenya are starving, that people on one side of the country have no rain.”

Masinde says ITIKI is now used by more than 15,000 farmers in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. Since farmers started using the app their crop yields have increased by an average of 11%, according to Masinde.

ITIKI has received $750,000 in funding from the US and South African governments, which will be used to scale up operations. By the end of this year, Masinde hopes to have signed up over 100,000 farmers to the platform.

BY Citizen

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Crucial lessons Kenyans can learn from Alex Mwakideu’s cheating scandal

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As you may or may not know, a few days ago, popular YouTuber and blogger Edgar Obare exposed the philandering ways of Milele FM radio presenter Alex Mwakideu.

Obare, who is known to expose public figures, shared Instagram screenshots that showed Mwakideu arranging for a meet up with his alleged side chic – Irene Barungi – so that they can do the nasty.

Irene Barungi with Alex Mwakideu

Irene Barungi with Alex Mwakideu

In the leaked conversations, the two are seen referring to each other as ‘babe’ before the media personality asks for a teaser of what awaits him.

When the scandal broke out, many people, including myself, expected Mwakideu to come out guns blazing and claim that the conversation is fake while pointing a finger at his detractors but none of that happened.

Instead, he opted to keep quiet and acted like he was not the talk of the town. I know this because I kept checking his social media accounts for a statement. Before we knew it, Kenyans had forgotten about the scandal.

Alex Mwakideu with his wife

Alex Mwakideu with his wife

There’s a crucial lesson that other people who are in the limelight and Kenyans in general can learn from all this and that is the fact that the more you talk about something is the more it sticks in people’s minds.

Truth is that if Mwakideu had gone the Jalang’o way and issued a statement on his social media accounts, we would still be talking about it to date because, well, he has given us a reason to continue talking about it.

By completely avoiding the story, despite the criticism he got on social media, it died a natural death and that means that it’s up to whoever who saw the screenshots to decide if the presenter was really sleeping with his colleague.

And to be honest, it doesn’t really matter whether they are having an affair or not because they are of legal age and I believe they are not mentally incapacitated.

By Ghafla

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Drama as Nyeri MCA’s wife is buried

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The funeral ceremony of Konyu MCA Eric Wamumbi’s wife was interrupted after security officials attempted to deny him a chance to eulogise his wife.

The tension-packed ceremony saw an angry Mr Wamumbi lose his cool saying not even President Uhuru Kenyatta could not stop him from paying tribute to his wife Catherine Nyambura Mwangi.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Emotions ran high when Mr Wamumbi was invited by the presiding pastor to read his tribute.

The security team deployed to enforce the social distancing protocol intervened saying the 45 minutes allocated for the ceremony had elapsed and ordered that the body be taken to the burial site.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua then rose from his seat, grabbed the microphone and accused the government of high handedness as he demanding that the MCA be allowed to pay tribute to his wife.

More drama ensued after the MCA had spoken when AIPCA Bishop James Kariuki Mbarachu, who was presiding over the ceremony, asked mourners to respect the government directive.

Earlier, there was tension when Mr Gachagua defied a directive by the Konyu Assistant County Commissioner Henry Owino who had warned politicians not to engage in politics. The MP went ahead and launched a scathing attack against the government.

INTIMIDATING MOURNERS

He claimed the government was intimidating mourners by deploying police officers at the ceremony for political reasons.

However Mr Owino said the measures taken by the government were only meant to prevent citizens from the Covid-19.

“I would like to plead with politicians not to politicize this matter, we are not trying to intimidate anybody we are trying to protect you from this disease.

About 100 police officers led by Mathira East Sub-County Police Commander James Barasa were deployed to seal all entries points to Mr Wamumbi’s home at Ndimaini village in Mathira East Sub-County.

The police turned away hundreds of mourners who had started trooping to the village as early as 8 am. The police said they were under strict instructions that only close members of the family would be allowed at the ceremony.

The police also supervised the dismantling of tents that had earlier been erected at Ndimaini Primary School where the ceremony was initially supposed to be held.

None of the more than 20 MCA’s who had attended the ceremony was allowed to address the mourners

Catherine Nyambura Mwangi’ body was found floating in a dam early this week.

By Nation Counties

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