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Kenyans charged with graft will not travel to the UK

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Nic Hailey, the outgoing British High Commissioner to Kenya, is completing his term in the country having served since December 2015. He spoke to the Business Daily on a wide range of issues.

YOU HAVE BEEN IN NAIROBI FOR FOUR YEARS NOW. WHAT HAS THE EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE?

It’s been an amazing experience. One of the great privileges of this job is that the UK and Kenya are connected in so many different ways. So, one day I may be working on security or counterterrorism, the next day I may be working with investors to try and create jobs, the next day we may be dealing with work on development, science and research or scholarships. I could go on and on, but there are so many different things that we work with Kenya on, which means there is no boring day.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Diplomatically, having Prime Minister (Theresa May in August 2018) come to Kenya for the first time in 30 years was a big highlight and I think we also had Prince William — the future King of England — come twice during my tenure. Those big events are likely to achieve a lot of things, they are likely to do a lot of deals and resolve a lot of issues and they require a lot of hard work. But I think the things we are doing in partnership are very long-term. So there are many things that Christian Turner was doing before me and that Jane will be doing after me.

YOU HAD BEEN IN OTHER STATIONS BEFORE. HOW DOES NAIROBI COMPARE TO THESE OTHERS?

Every station is different but what is remarkable about Kenya is what a special country this is for the UK. We are the largest investor, for example. Our companies are the largest investors. One in 10 Kenyans in the formal sector works for a British company. We are your biggest partners in so many areas. We are doing science and research, and some of the things I already mentioned. There is something really special about this relationship and there is a history to it.

READ ALSO:   UK retracts travel ban to Kenya hours after issuing it

LET’S TALK ABOUT CORRUPTION IN KENYA. WHAT CAN YOU SAY WAS TOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE FIGHT?

Nailing the big fish is the single-most important thing that can be done for the future of this country. As I go around the country and talk to Kenyans, I feel like that is the biggest thing that Kenyans want to see happening. The future of this country depends on a country that is run for the benefit of everyone and stealing from the public purse is the ultimate way of showing that the country is not being run that way.

Of course the UK is your partner, this is not our country. So we are not arresting these people but we are working with Kenyan authorities to make their work easier. We have established a framework for repatriating the assets so once these big fish are convicted, we can bring the money back. We have specialist teams from the UK working out here tracking the assets of the people and we can tell you that we are pretty close to playing a big part in bringing these people to book. I obviously can’t talk about the names of individuals because I don’t want to tip people off but I think we are pretty close to building evidence with the Kenyan authorities.

Speaking out publicly is important and the loudest voices are Kenyan voices, not international voices. But I think the fact that we have taken a strong stand publicly is important and there are certain things we have done like making sure that people charged with corruption won’t be able to travel to the UK. Some people care about that, some people don’t. But we are certainly doing certain things to make it harder for people to get away with it.

READ ALSO:   Collymore continues to inspire many, one year after his death

ON BREXIT, HOW WILL THE UK ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM KENYA-EU DEALS TO SPECIFIC UK-KENYA DEALS?

What Kenya gets at the moment is duty-free, quota-free entry into the EU market. So, unless it is a gun, you can export as much as you like without any tariffs. And what we have guaranteed is that we will maintain that after Brexit. We will do that whether there is a deal or no deal (on Brexit with the EU). That is the short term. Longer-term, we will want to have a whole range of discussions with Kenya on how to deepen our trade relations. We will look at deals on investments and everything else. But in the short term, getting the transition right is important.

THE UK HAS PLEDGED TO SUPPORT KENYA’S FIGHT AGAINST VIOLENT EXTREMISM BUT THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ASKING FOR A MORE SPECIFIC FINANCING FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST AL-SHABAAB…

Amisom is doing a remarkable job and I think it is important to acknowledge the sacrifices being made by Kenya. On the financing of Amisom, we have always been a big player in that within the European Union which is the main source of financing. But we have also added to that. When the Prime Minister came last year, she announced that above what we pay within the EU, we will also be putting in extra seven million pounds to make sure Amisom gets more funding. So at the moment we are contributing both through Amisom and bilaterally and I expect that would continue because what Kenya is doing in Somalia is not just Kenyan security but world security.

There are all sorts of things we are doing to make the force more effective. For example, down in Embakasi, we have set up a counter-IED Centre with the Kenya Defence Forces. The Germans have now contributed to that as well and we are working with the Americans to have them contribute to it as well. Kenya is losing people to these bombs that are buried on the roads or detonated. We have now trained 1,500 forces through that centre and many of them are trainers themselves and they are going to train other troops. Last year, casualties from IEDs were down by a third because of the training but the number of IED strikes is still the same.

READ ALSO:   Collymore continues to inspire many, one year after his death

YOU ARE LEAVING AT A TIME CRITICS SAY THE UK VISA REGIME IS SOMEWHAT HUMILIATING TO KENYANS.

I recognise visas is an issue that is raised by many Kenyans. We don’t make visa decisions here at the High Commission as you probably know. They are made globally and remotely, often in the UK or elsewhere and people apply through a private partner here in Nairobi. But I know this really matters to people.

What I would say is we are very transparent about the timelines so the 25 days that an application takes, we are very clear about that and we monitor very closely whether that deadline is being met and in all but exceptional cases, the visa decision is made within that time period.

WHAT IS THE MARK THAT YOU ARE LEAVING IN NAIROBI?

To my wife’s delight, I haven’t got married here. I know Kenyans sometimes have more than one wife but I am very happy with the one that I have got.

Kenya has left a very strong mark on me. There are things that my family and I have done here that we will never forget and we will be ambassadors for Kenya as we leave this country wherever we go around the world.

By Business Daily


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Courts

Four children fight claims they were disowned by late MP

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Four children of former Keiyo North MP William Murgor yesterday fought allegations that they had been disowned by their father before his death.

While testifying before the High Court in Eldoret, Ambrose Kiplagat Murgor, one of the four children said to have been born out of wedlock, told the court their father never disowned him or any of his three siblings.

While being cross-examined before Justice Hellen Omondi, Mr Kiplagat said he was a biological child of the late MP, adding that the contrary claims were only made to lock him and his siblings out of the MP’s vast estate.

“My late father never disowned me or my siblings,” Kiplagat told the court.

He said he was born in 1970 at Murgor’s Kaptagat farm before they moved in 1976 to Chesigot farm in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The four – Kiplagat, Oscar Murgor, Sharon Murgor and Faith Murgor – who are children of the former MP’s fourth wife Anna Kimoi, have told the court they were brought up with the other children.

“We were raised together with the other siblings from the different houses. I was in school with my two brothers, Collins and Kenneth, in the same primary school, all along living as brothers,” he added.

READ ALSO:   Collymore continues to inspire many, one year after his death

He told the court that he did not know the reasons as to why he and his brother Oscar did not get a share of their father’s farms like rest of his siblings.

Kiplagat added that his elder sister Enid Cheptanui filed the case against her step-brother Francis Murgor, Chemutai Murgor and Keiyo North MP Dr James Murgor for excluding them in the distribution of the Sh1.4 billion family estate.

While testifying in the succession dispute, James denied knowing Kiplagat and his three siblings Oscar, Sheila and Faith Murgor.

While James claimed to have only been familiar with them for a few years, Kiplagat on the other hand told the court the MP was well known to him and that he had even campaigned for him.

“I campaigned for him in three elections, and he always introduced me as his brother. When my mother was sick, I was in contact with the MP, who even helped in paying the hospital bill,”

by Stanardmedia.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Mukhisa Kituyi: Why I think I can be a good President

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He is considered one of Kenya’s finest brains and has held several high positions both locally and internationally.

Currently serving as the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Mukhisa Kituyi’s decorated CV is impeccable.

In an interview with a local TV station on Wednesday, Kituyi spoke of his desire to occupy Kenya’s top seat, saying rising from adversity during his childhood days is a huge motivation.

“As I have gone to 119 countries around the world, I am constantly asking myself what they are doing better than us that makes them shine.

“I feel my body still has the energy…my head still has the intellectual capacity to make that contribution in a practical way…” he said.

Adding: “I have a sense of shared empathy with the vulnerable, not only a desire to give hope to the hopeless but a burning ambition that through enterprise Kenya, I can be part of the solutions to build Kenya for the next generation.”

Kituyi said once he leaves his position at the UN he will share his ideas with Kenyans and he strongly believes he will be the right person for the job.

READ ALSO:   UK retracts travel ban to Kenya hours after issuing it

“In the increasingly likely case that I will be offering candidature for President of this country after I leave my position with the UN, I think I will give the Kenyan population reason why I think I will be the right person for that job.

“I cannot do it while I am still winding down my international obligations but I think I am the face of a set of Kenyans who believe in purposeful Kenya,” he said.

Responding to those who claim he is not in touch with the realities on the ground due to extensive travel, Kituyi said he believes in constant learning and does not have all the answers but wants to be part of a team that will engage in structured positive conversations.

Mukhisa has also had stints in the political arena having been elected to the Kenyan Parliament for the first time in 1992 on a Ford-Kenya ticket and was re-elected in 1997 and 2002 as Kimilili MP.

He was also Kenya’s Minister of Trade and Industry from 2002 to 2007. During this period, Kituyi chaired the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Trade Ministers’ Council for two years.

He also served as chairman of the Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and was the lead negotiator for Eastern and Southern African ministers during the European Union-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.

READ ALSO:   Collymore continues to inspire many, one year after his death

He was convenor of the agriculture negotiations carried out at the World Trade Organization’s Sixth Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong, China in 2005.

From 2008 to 2012, Kituyi was a member of a team of experts advising the presidents of the nations of the East African Community on how to establish more effective regional economic links.

From 2011 to 2012, he was a consultant for the African Union Commission, where he helped to develop the structure for a pan-African free trade area.

Immediately before becoming UNCTAD Secretary-General, Kituyi was Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Governance based in Nairobi.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Man’s burial inside his house baffles Kirinyaga residents

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Residents of Mucagara Village in Kirinyaga County were on Wednesday evening treated to a rare funeral after a man was buried inside his house.

They watched in astonishment as the coffin containing the remains of the 65-year-old retired coffee factory manager, Simon Muriithi Mwaniki, was lowered into the grave that had been dug in the living room.

Some whispered to each other during the dramatic send-off which left many in awe.

According to the man’s relative, prior to his death, he had expressed his wish to be buried in the house.

Emotions ran high as the funeral ceremony went on in the village in Gichugu Constituency.

“We had to act according to his wishes to avoid a curse and being haunted by his spirits,” said Mr James Njuki, the man’s eldest son.

Mwaniki was hurriedly buried in a brief ceremony conducted by an African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa priest, Jackson Muchiri.

Committed suicide

When Mwaniki committed suicide, no one mourned his death as he had asked family members not to do so when he was alive.

“Before he took his life he had told us that there should be no mourning when he dies. Therefore, we ensured that we never gathered at any time within the homestead to mourn him,” added Mr Njuki.

READ ALSO:   UK retracts travel ban to Kenya hours after issuing it

Mr Njuki recalled how on November 18 they found their father dangling from the roof of his house with a rope around his neck.

It was then that the matter was reported to the local police officers who drove to the scene and took the body to Kibugi Funeral Home.

His children suspected that their father took his life due to the depression he suffered after his wife, Juliana Muthoni, died.

“My father started drinking heavily after his wife died. He loved my mother so much and we think he was so much affected by her death and became depressed,” said Mr Njuki.

Rev Muchiri described the funeral as unique.

“For the 38 years that I have been conducting funerals, this is the first time to bury someone inside a house,” he said.

The residents said they were taken aback when they arrived at the homestead and saw the grave inside Mwaniki’s house.

“We were baffled. We have never witnessed such a funeral in this village. This is a funeral of its own kind which shocked all of us,” Mr Eliud Muriithi said.

by nation.africa


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