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Murang’a County has no single standard stadium, just big plans



If counties were to be awarded for having the best artistic impression of stadiums in Kenya, Murang’a would win hands down.

Driving along Maragua-Gakoigo-Kigumo road in Murang’a County, one cannot fail to see a white signage of Gakoigo Stadium erected by the contractor. The signage promises a very modern stadium with a pristine pitch.

Murang’a County Governor Mwangi Wairia is in his sixth year in office and you would expect that the stadium project is now complete. But upon driving into the stadium, you get the feeling that you have made a wrong turn and ended up in someone’s yard. The only complete thing in the stadium is a perimeter wall and even then, there is no gate. Gakoigo Stadium in Maragua was established in 1960s as an arena for agricultural trade fare, public rallies and sports.

The grounds are regularly used by Athletics Kenya Central Branch to stage cross country meetings and track competitions. A few structures from the past, including a spectator tower, exhibition stands, two terraces and old exotic and indigenous trees still stand.

The dusty red loam soil on the pitch, rusty goalposts and a steeplechase pool filled with rocks and plastic containers are enough evidence that sports is not a priority for leaders in the area. Area Member of County Assembly Zablon Machugu blamed the county government for not doing enough to develop the facility.

“This is supposed to be the county’s sports hub because there is enough space for everything. The county government should have prioritised this stadium to not only promote sporting talent but also the economy of this place,” said Machugu.

Asked how much money the county government has allocated for upgrading the stadium, the Nginda Ward representative said he had no clue, bringing to question his oversight role in the county.

And approximately 15 kilometres away in Kiharu Constituency, the situation is not any different at the popular Ihura Stadium situated along Kenyatta Highway in Murang’a town.

A contractor’s signage hidden between an old ablution block and the gate paints a picture of a modern sports facility but the reality on the ground is different.

The county government has installed seven floodlights around the stadium, sunk a borehole to irrigate the grass and erected a perimeter wall around the facility. There are also three access gates and a main gate. The stadium is popular with political rallies especially during electioneering period.

A goalpost at the football pitch of Gakoigo Stadium, Murang’a County. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Unlike the expansive Gakoigo Stadium, Ihura Stadium sits on smaller parcel of land that can’t accommodate a standard sports facility.

There is also Mumbi Stadium, just five minute’s drive east of Ihura Stadium along Maragua-Sagana road. The county plans to use Mumbi Stadium as the main venue for football. A county sports official who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to comment on the matter said an inner perimeter wall be constructed in the stadium this month.

Besides a strong perimeter wall around it, nothing much by way of construction has taken place inside the facility which is also popular with political rallies and church crusades. But General Kago Stadium in Kangema is just an open ground located right behind Kangema townships.

Murang’a Sports Executive Edward Muiruri, the county has undertaken a ‘continuous programme’ aimed at transforming the stadiums.

A water jump section at the running track of Gakoigo Stadium, Murang’a County. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“We have earmarked nine stadiums for upgrading in all the eight sub-counties in Murang’a to at least national status,” said Muiruri, adding that the county has set aside Sh100 million in the 2019/2020 financial year for the same.

At the moment, the county government has prioritised work on Ihura, Mumbi and Gakoigo stadiums, Muiruri said, but he declined to state how much money has been allocated for each stadium or when the work is expected to be complete.

Other stadiums lined up for upgrading are Matenjagwo in Kandara, Kahuro, Gatanga grounds, Kigumo and Rurii in Mathioya.

The county is also focusing to have several sports academies for athletics, football and volleyball which will be operated during holidays particularly around Aberdare ranges to take advantage of the high altitude.


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PHOTO: Kenyan teacher makes heads turn as he meets Donald Trump in The Oval Office




WASHINGTON DC -A Kenyan teacher who has won the hearts of many with his humility met President Donald Trump in The Oval Office at the White House on Monday.

Peter Tabichi, the educator from Nakuru County who won Sh100 million after clinching the 2019 Global Teacher Prize, is in the US for a number of engagements, including addressing the 2019 United Nations General Assembly in New York.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that Tabichi’s  dedication, hard work, and belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly resourced school in Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions.

“Peter, you inspire us all! Thank you for your commitment to your students,” she tweeted.

She wrote: This morning, President met with Peter Tabichi, the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize! Peter is a science teacher who gives away 80% of his monthly income to help the poor in his home country of Kenya.

Teacher Peter Tabichi shakes hands with Kenyan-born US based journalist BMJ Muriithi when they met in Washington DC Monday. FILE PHOTO

While being hosted in the Oval Office is generally considered a great honor, not everyone thought that President Trump deserved to be in the presence of Teacher Tabichi.

Heatherdb13 tweeted: “Congratulations Mr Tabichi! I’m sure you deserve this incredible honour! I wish it could have been bestowed upon you by someone with integrity, morals and a soul.”

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Rare zebra excites visitors in the Mara



A photographer at a camp in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve was in for a surprise when he came across an incredibly rare, “blacker” newly born Zebra.

Mr Antony Tira – A renowned tour guide-cum photographer – at Matira bush camp, spotted and photographed the black dotted foul and posted it on the camp’s Facebook page attracting a lot of social media attention.

“At first I thought it was a zebra that had been captured and painted or marked for purposes of migration. I was confused when I first saw it,” Mr Tira told the Nation.

He said on closer examination, he realised that what he was seeing was actually a zebra with melanin disorder. It was hardly a week old, it appeared weak and very different from the others for it has not stripes and was stuck close to a female adult zebra, probably its mother.

The discovery caused stampede in the reserve with tour drivers and photographers, hurriedly taking tourists to the lookout area in the game reserve near the Mara River for the rare find that has remained the top story in the Mara for the last three days.

The tourists have been taking extra clips of this rare holiday experience.

Hundreds of tour vans surrounded the already scared foul, and, according to Mr Felix Migoya the Mara tour guides and drivers association secretary, it created “an additional wonder” for international tourists who are in the reserve to for the last moments of the wildebeest migration.

The zebra has a rather amazing dark colour due to a genetic abnormality linked to the amount of melanin, affecting the pigmentation of the fur.

According to a wildlife specialist at Matira Camp Parmale Lemein, there has never been any recorded case in the Mara of such a rare zebra.

But he was quick to point out that none of the Zebras with such condition in other parks in Africa, according to research, has survived for more than six months after birth.

Due to other abnormalities of this nature, some scientists claim that zebra stripes are formed from the inhibition of melanin and that the “default” colour of a zebra is black. In other words, a zebra is black with white stripes.

Zebras stripes, according to researchers, work to ward off hordes of biting flies that the animals come in contact with on a daily basis and without the protection, such Zebras may be vulnerable.

Animals with albinism have been documented in a variety of other species including giraffes, penguins, orangutans and mice.

A few years ago at the Serengeti a zebra with blonde, rather than black stripes, was spotted and photographed. It was said to have much less melanin than typical zebras.

Until now, very few blonde zebras have been seen in the wild, although there are a few dozen living on a private reserve in Mount Kenya National Park.

Interestingly, the blonde male zebras at this private reserve behave like “stallions with harems”, according to Ren Larison, a biologist at the University of California.

However, while mating is not an issue for zebras with partial albinism, they could face other challenges.

A recent study suggested that zebras evolved black and white stripes to ward off biting flies, and without this colouring, blonde zebras could be susceptible.


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Retailers’ big dilemma as D-Day for old generation Sh1,000 banknote nears



Supermarkets and entities that receive large volumes of cash everyday are in a Catch-22 situation on how to deal with sales on the last day of trading with the old Sh1,000 note.

Two weeks to the deadline, retailers now want the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to give them the way forward on how to deal with the ongoing demonetisation of the old-generation Sh1,000 note, which will cease to be legal tender on September 30.


They say they may be forced to reject the old currency days before the deadline so that they are not caught up with large volumes of cash that will become worthless overnight.

Naivas chief executive officer Willy Kimani told the Nation in an interview that, besides fake cash, the biggest concern for retailers is how to deal with the old notes they will collect on the last day given that supermarkets receive a lot of cash.

“The biggest concern for us is deadline day. We may be forced to stop accepting old notes earlier,” Mr Kimani said, adding that retailers have invested heavily in training their staff on differentiating fake from genuine cash.

Mr Kimani said only one of his stores was hit by the fake-currency syndicate in the initial days of rolling out the new-generation notes but it was immediately reported. He said cashiers have been trained and it is their responsibility to ensure that they do not get conned.

CBK did not respond to our inquiries on what supermarkets are expected to do. It has however put up a mobile-based SMS campaign reminding consumers to ensure they return the old Sh1,000 notes before the deadline.


Nakumatt Holdings’ administrator Peter Kahi says the retailer has trained its employees to detect fake currency and has not received any fake-cash incident in any of its branches.

To deal with the last-day nightmare, Kahi says he plans to bank all the cash collected on September 30 so that the retailer is not left with valueless money the following day.

This comes at a time when fake new-generation banknotes have hit the financial market weeks to the September 30 deadline as imitators rush to beat the Central Bank at its own game. Investigations by the Nation revealed that the counterfeiters are getting better with every revision.

The fake money syndicate, which began in Murang’a, has spread its tentacles into Nairobi and Kiambu counties, taking advantage of traders’ naivety.

It was hoped that the introduction of new notes would disrupt the multibillion currency counterfeits business and the fraudsters’ agility at imitating the new notes in a short span of time is bound to be a big blow to efforts to rid the country of dirty and fake money.

Small traders and those running M-Pesa shops have been the easy targets of the counterfeiters, who have now come up with fake versions of the new Sh100, Sh500 and the Sh1,000 notes.


In July, police in Kandara, Murang’a County, arrested two men and a woman who were found with fake money in two separate incidents.

In one incident, a man and a woman were nabbed making rounds in Kandara, conning mobile money transfer agents with fake new-generation currency.

Kandara OCPD Paul Wambugu said the two had conned an agent at Naaro shopping centre where they deposited Sh7,000 and later at Kaburugi where they tried to deposit Sh10,000 only for the attendant to realise that the money was fake.

Almost every week, the DCI through its Twitter handle, reports one incident or the other of fake-money arrests, but the most counterfeited are Kenya shillings and US dollars.

Last week, detectives seized over Sh2.7 million in fake currency in Ngurubani, Mwea East from a bonnet of a Mazda Demio driven by 33-year-old Job Arwa Omondi. Detectives also confiscated assorted bottles of chemicals believed to be used in processing the fake old Sh1,000 notes.

On the same day, over Sh200 million in fake US Dollars, Euros and Pounds was confiscated in Kileleshwa by officers acting on a tip-off. One suspect, 27-year-old Bobby Kariuki Kimani, was arrested.

Another fake currency syndicate was busted in Bungoma last week involving DCI officers, showing how deep the syndicate is, after a senior police officer was arrested with Sh4.3 million in fake foreign currency.


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