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Poachers kill 2 southern white rhinos

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Police and the Kenya Wildlife Service are pursuing suspects involved in a poaching incident that left two male southern white rhinos dead and their horns clipped.

The attack at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Meru County is believed to have taken place at around 11pm on Friday, as it rained heavily.

“Our rangers heard gun shots but it was raining heavily … the terrain are impossible to patrol during such times,” said Joseph Kabiru, an employee at the conservancy.

“The poachers had already disappeared by the time our rangers got to the scene. Usually, poachers take advantage of the heavy rains which make most of the conservancy difficult to access. Police and KWS officers have taken the lead on the matter.”

Dr Tuqa Jirmo, Lewa’s Chief Operations Officer, termed the loss devastating, “after six years of successfully keeping all rhinos in the conservancy safe and recording high birth rates’.

“Since the incident, we have been working tirelessly with the Kenya Police and the [KWS] to apprehend the criminals.”

Dr Jirmo noted that the incident served as a reminder that the threat from poaching is ever-present so animal sanctuaries cannot be complacent.

“The poaching scourge and illegal rhino horn trade continue to put the survival of rhinos at risk across the continent.”

Tourism CS Najib Balala said in an event yesterday, “The numbers of rhinos killed by poachers had dropped to single digits while those of elephants had dropped to just 38 last year from the hundreds killed years back.”

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, Kenya is home to around 1,000 rhinos, two-thirds of which are critically endangered black rhinos – the rarer of Africa’s two rhino species, with just 5,000 left in the wild globally.

This is in comparison to around 20,000 white rhinos.

It was reported in the 80s that Kenya’s rhino population had dropped to less than 400.

In 2017, however, the KWS reported that the rhino populations were rising, with a reported number of 1,258 at the time, including 745 black rhinos.

Lewa, which was founded in 1995, spans 61,000 acres and holds 13 per cent of Kenya’s black rhino population and 12 per cent of the world’s Grevy’s zebras.

Two and a half rhinos are killed every day in Africa for their horns, which are illegally traded in the international black market.

This is mainly driven by a huge surge in the demand for rhino horn in Asia – especially Vietnam – where it’s seen as a status symbol.

Kenya’s worst poaching year was in 2013, when 59 animals or at least five per cent of the national population were killed.

The rhino poaching crisis began in 2008, with increasing numbers of the animals killed for their horn throughout Africa until 2015.

However, there has been a decrease in the number of rhinos poached across the continent since the peak of 1,349 in 2015.

by nation.co.ke

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Ignore the nonsense, Ruto says on widening Jubilee rift

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While it is obvious the UhuRuto union is tottering on the brink of total collapse, Deputy President William Ruto  has once again come out to term media reports of the rift as ‘paid-for propaganda nonsense’.

In a tweet on Saturday morning, the once vibrant principal assistant to the head of state, who was always seen by the President’s side, played down questions raised on his apparent absence in nearly all presidential excursions these days.

The latest occurrence was on Thursday, when the DP was a no-show at State House, Mombasa, when President Uhuru Kenyatta met security chiefs.

Sources indicated Ruto was at the Coast but missed the meeting between Uhuru and 24 governors.But in his tweet Ruto denied it, saying ” I was in the office the whole day never in Mombasa.”

William Samoei Ruto, PhD

@WilliamsRuto

Kenyans should ignore this choreographed, paid-for propaganda nonsense. I was in the office the whole day never in Mombasa.

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A week ago, Ruto was locked out of his official residence in Mombasa, which is just metres away from State House. This came days after he was denied clearance to fly straight to Mombasa from Botswana to meet the President.
The UhuRuto rift has sucked in Ruto’s footsoldiers who are facing heat that range from being denied access to presidential functions to getting sacked or demoted.

In his latest Cabinet reshuffle, whose announcement was made in the absence of the DP, Uhuru sacked Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri who is considered a Ruto sympathiser.
Going by the challenges experienced in the docket during Kiunjuri’s tenure, one would say his sacking was expected; however, being Ruto’s strong supporter may have inked the pen.
On Tuesday, Tangatanga politicians were denied access to an Uhuru event in Nakuru, yet another perk of being pro-Ruto.
Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika were blocked from entering the Rift Valley Regional Headquarters Grounds where the President was issuing title deeds.Kihika tweeted, “I am utterly shocked. Why would I be barred from a function being graced by my President at my home county?”
Despite these telling occurrences Ruto insists his road to the presidency in 2022 is clear.
The rift in Jubilee started widening after the March 9, 2018 Handshake, when Uhuru signed a deal with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Following the unity deal and the developing Jubilee cracks, new tendrils begun to sprout where politicians opposed to the bromance started running their campaigns under the euphemism tangatanga while those who support it called themselves Kieleweke.
It is unclear whether Ruto’s woes are strengthening his political muscle or hurting his 2022 ambitions. What is clear though is that the DP’s popularity in parts of the Mt Kenya region has been growing.
Reports also indicate that his plan for 2022 seems to be on course, the only thorn in his flesh may be calls for a referendum that have emanated from BBI, which he claims has been hijacked by ODM to craft its 2022 political line up.

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Diaspora

UPDATE: The late Eric Mwangi Thumbi of Atlanta to be buried this Sunday

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We’d like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for standing with the Thumbi family after the promotion to glory of Eric Mwangi. God bless you for your continuing prayers, encouragement and financial gifts!

The Funeral Service will be held Sunday Jan 19th starting at 2pm at West Cobb Funeral Home.
Address: 2480 Macland Rd, Marietta, GA 30064

Mwangi will be laid to rest afterwards at 3pm at Kennesaw Memorial Park.
Address: 1306 Whitlock Ave NW, Marietta, GA 30064

Eric was a beloved son to Elder Gathara Thumbi and Apostle Nyambura Thumbi .
Brother to Malkia Mumbi Hornsby, Anthony Mwangi Thumbi, Anne Wangui Thumbi , Mumbi Rehema Thumbi and Muthoni Wangui Thumbi. Brother in love to Kazha Hornsby, and Hannah Nyambura Mwangi . Uncle to Makena Hornsby. He rested on Tuesday Evening 1/7/2020 .

God bless you!

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Education

Magoha revokes appointment of Prof Kiama as UoN VC

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By JUDITH GICOBI

George Magoha, the Education Cabinet Secretary, on Friday disbanded the University of Nairobi Council and nullified the appointment of Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama to the position of the Vice-Chancellor of the university “until the ongoing consultative process of choosing acting VC is finalized.”

In a statement from the CS, Prof Kiama will keep serving as the Deputy VC, Human Resource and Administration at the university.

In place of Prof Kiama, Magoha appointed Deputy VC (Finance, Planning and Development) Prof Isaac Meroka Mbeche to serve as acting Vice-chancellor in the meantime.

The disbandment of the council is linked to fight between the Ministry of Education and the university council after it emerged that the Ministry had a preferred candidate.

Those who did not make the interview cut included Prof Duke Omondi Otara, Prof Maurice Amutabi, Prof Isaiah Omolo Ndiege, Prof Julius Onyango Ochuodho, Prof Collins Ogutu Miruka and Prof Shitanda Douglas.

According to the PSC advert, candidates for the VC position were required to be full professors and holders of an earned doctorate degree or equivalent qualification from a recognised university.

The candidates were also required to have at least 15 years of academic research and managerial experience at a senior level in a university or equivalent institution.

They were required to prove scholarly records demonstrated by publications in internationally peer reviewed journals, monographs, books and book chapters in their areas of specialisation, and supervision and mentorship of masters and doctoral students,” read the advertisement by PSC.

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