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How Moi dealt with ‘rogue’ diplomats, he was no pushover



Besides globetrotting and looking for new allies, former President Daniel arap Moi was no pushover and constantly clashed with western diplomats who tried to dictate to him.

Shortly after he took power, his Attorney General, Charles Njonjo, was implicated in the 1978 attempt to return deposed Seychelles President James Mancham back to power — a crisis that Moi handled swiftly.

The Cabinet termed the allegations “malicious and unfounded”, although it later emerged during the Charles Njonjo Inquiry in 1985 that the AG was privy to the coup.

In his presidency, Moi decided to work with the West and he received early accolades by being named the chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). He held the position for two terms after Muamar Gaddafi’s bid for the seat failed.

The row between Kenya and Libya — and Moi never hid his disdain for Gaddafi — escalated to the expulsion of the Libyan Charge d’Affaires, Ahmed Arrajel, who was given seven days to leave the country.

Wafula Buke jailed The expulsion followed court disclosures that the Libyan Embassy had financed the November 1987 Students’ Organisation of the Nairobi University (Sonu) election

where Wafula Buke had been elected chairman. Buke was jailed for five years for espionage, while some of his colleagues, including Miguna Miguna, escaped to exile via Tanzania.

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The Libyan mission was also closed.

In 1987, Kenya also expelled Ugandan High Commissioner Charles Katungi and his deputy, S. Bigombe, after a week of border fighting between Kenyan police and Uganda’s National Resistance Movement soldiers. Kenya accused Uganda and Libya of attempting to destabilise the country. Katungi was accused by the Foreign minister, Zachary Onyonka, of “insulting” President Moi.

The next salvo was a row triggered by former Nakuru North MP Koigi wa Wamwere after he went into exile in Norway, joining a small team of activists stationed in Oslo and other Scandinavian countries.

The group was accused by President Moi of being behind “subversive

leaflets” that were being sent to Kenya and the Norwegian Ambassador, Niels Vahl, came under pressure to have the “dissidents” returned home.

In October and November 1990, Kenya finally severed diplomatic relations with Sweden and Norway for “harbouring a number of Kenyans hostile to the government”. Kenya was the first country to sever links with Norway in peace time.

While the Scandinavian countries were the pioneer supporters of pro- second liberation movements in Kenya, the Americans entered the fray, albeit late, with the arrival of journalist Smith Hempstone as the US ambassador as Kenyans agitated for political pluralism.

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“I told President Moi that there is change coming. It is happening all over the world and the question is not whether change is going to come or not …”

As Hempstone helped push the agenda, and as he would later lament, the British diplomats in Nairobi were getting uncomfortable with him. He said: “I was a little suspicious (of their conduct) … the three British High Commissioners who during my time, Sir John Johnson, Sir Roger Tomskys, Sir Kieran Prendergast, I suspect they were always trying to undercut me a bit with Moi as to suggest my motives were not good. This was my feeling.”

Megaphone diplomacy Hempstone, who was christened “nyama choma envoy” by Kanu publication Kenya Times, would meet the UK diplomats and they would throw the typical line: “Well, we believe in quiet diplomacy, not in megaphone diplomacy … it is as if I did nothing but shout.”

The US ambassadors who followed Hempstone — Madeline Albright and Johnny Carson — took a similar pattern.

What worried Britain, and they quietly said as much, was that they had large investments in Kenya and their trade with Nairobi was much larger than that of the US. “Finally, they did not want 40,000 Indians dumped on them if things went as they did in Uganda…,” said Hempstone after he left Kenya.

READ ALSO:   Behind the tough demeanour, Moi had a gentle soul

The only diplomat who shared his feeling was Germany’s Bernd Mutzelburg. While the Scandinavians were small countries with little muscle, Mutzelburg came to Kenya (his first posting as ambassador) as Kenya prepared for its first multiparty election since 1966. For demanding transparency and prosecution of the corrupt, he rubbed the Kanu mandarins the wrong way.

But it is not only Western diplomats who found themselves on the receiving end. In 1995, Kenya expelled Rwandan envoy, Major Jacques Nziza, and his replacement, acting Charge d’affaires, Mr Igiraneza Theodomir, as Moi openly took sides in the Tutsi-Hutu wars.

Britain picked “megaphone diplomacy” later and Moi dismissed Sir Jeffery James as a “meddler” when he went to bid him bye.

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Dreamliner KQ ranked last among 10 carriers in the Middle East and Africa



A strike and pilot sabotage are among factors that dragged Kenya Airways to the bottom of Middle East and African carriers’ ranking in the 2019 on-time performance (OTP) review.

The update done by Cirium, a London-based airlines advisory and consultancy firm, rates global airlines through their on-time arrivals, departures, average delay in minutes per flight and those that operate within scheduled time.


The airline was ranked last among the 10 carriers in Middle East and Africa, a blow to the carrier that saw its losses double last year.

The rating saw Kenya’s national carrier come in 10th with a 72.25 per cent on time arrival of flights just below Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines at 74.22 per cent.

Qatar Airline was ranked top with 82.45 per cent on time arrival, followed by Dubai-headquartered Emirates Airlines at 81.02 per cent and troubled South African Airlines at 79.38 per cent, coming a close third in terms of punctuality.

KQ had an average of 47 minutes in delays for its over 54,061 flights it operated last year, a slight improvement of its 50 minutes in 2018.

“Arriving on time at a destination is becoming increasingly important to millions of both leisure and business passengers around the world every day. Therefore, our on-time performance review 2019 is designed to inspire airlines and airports to continually innovate to improve their performance,” the report said.

READ ALSO:   Behind the tough demeanour, Moi had a gentle soul


Kenya Airways Director of Operations Capt Paul Njoroge attributed the poor show in flight performance to aircraft withdrawals as a result of collision mid last year and industrial action by the airlines unionised employees.

“We were then negatively affected by the withdrawal of two aircraft due to the unfortunate incident in the hangar.

This was then coupled by the Kenya Airlines Workers Union (KAWU) strike and pilot shortage in the second and third quarter of last year, which saw the on time performance drop to as low as 67 per cent in August 2019,” Capt Njoroge said, adding that this was way below the 81 per cent performance they had achieved by April of last year.

In February last year, two of the airline’s Embraer 190 aircraft collided in the hangar while undergoing maintenance which saw them withdrawn from service.

Three months later, the airline’s unionisable employees under KAWU went on strike, protesting against the proposed merger between the national carrier Kenya Airways and the airports regulator. This saw more than 24 of its flights cancelled, while more suffered incessant delays.

By Nation

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Sonko: Why I handed over Nairobi



Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his decision to hand over some county functions to the national government.

In a statement posted in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Sonko — who is facing corruption charges in court — said the needs of Nairobi County are unique compared to other devolved units.

“My government set out on a fact-finding mission that saw us benchmark and take lessons from other jurisdictions across the world including Washington DC in the US and Abuja in Nigeria. From these case studies, we established that cities and metropolis the size of Nairobi are best served jointly by devolved units and central governments,” he said.

He claims that with this in mind, and in his capacity as governor, he initiated discussions with the national government with a view to approaching service delivery with both county and State resources.

“It is this consultative process that led to the crafting of the historic and comprehensive agreement that we signed on Tuesday handing over the management of some of the functions of Nairobi county government to the national government,” he said.

The embattled governor says he is convinced that the agreement, which was signed in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, will not only help enhance service delivery in the city but also reposition Nairobi as the region’s economic hub.

READ ALSO:   Mwili yangu si mzuri, I’m going to Nairobi and I don’t know whether I will come back: Moi to friends

“As the County Government of Nairobi, we remain committed to continue serving the people of our great county by focusing more keenly on the functions and service areas that are not covered in our agreement with the national government,” he said.

“We believe our bold decision to collaborate with the national government through the transfer of some of our functions will create a positive governance precedence that will help strengthen devolution,” he added.

He thanked Mr Kenyatta and the Jubilee Administration for showing commitment in ensuring Nairobi residents “get the best services from their government”.

The explanation given by the governor has drawn sharp reactions from Nairobi residents on his social media pages.

“In New York and other major cities, they have mayors voted for by the people. Even London. Not happy at all. We voted you in … not the national government …This decision will hurt service delivery,” said Facebook user Johnnie Muthuis.

“By the way what about the CECs of those functions taken to the national government like Health? What is their mandate now?” another user, SA Mwakush, wondered.

Another resident, Twitter user @wanjutha, asked why the public was not involved in the process.

Others were positive about the move, saying the collaboration could be a great idea.

READ ALSO:   No commercial trucks on Nairobi – Eldoret highway during Moi funeral

“Nairobi deserves the best; that’s why Governor Mike Sonko has collaborated with the national government to make Nairobi great,” said Kennie Balo.

by Nation

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Why I lost all my hair



My name is Gladys Chege and I have been a kindergarten and Sunday school teacher for the last 21 years.

When I was younger, I had long beautiful hair, which I loved braiding. Like most women, it was such a joy when someone complimented my hair. My sister always made my hair and the result was always enviable.

However, one day in 2009 as my niece was undoing my braids, she noticed a tiny bald patch at the back of my head. I assumed she must have pulled out of my braids while undoing the hair and I even scolded her and asked her to be more careful next time. Little did I know it was the beginning of my hair loss journey. I was only 31.

By 2010, the bald patch had got slightly bigger and we assumed it was ringworm. I went to the hospital and was wrongly diagnosed with a bacterial infection and given drugs, which I took for a month. Meanwhile, I undid the weave I had and this time the bald patch was so big that it was alarming.

I went to the hospital again. The doctor suspected a bacterial infection, but since medication hadn’t worked earlier, I decided to see a dermatologist. By this time, I was wearing a wig as the bald patch was obvious. The dermatologist had no clue why my hair was falling off at such an alarming rate and prescribed oral tablets and an ointment for my scalp. Three days later, I developed blisters on my head. This was too stressful and I decided not to seek further medical help.

I had to make the painful decision of chopping my hair. I started wearing my hair short as it was still falling off. I would wake up and find strands of hair on my pillow. Sometimes it would fall off in the shower and combing it became a nightmare as the hair loss would get worse.

READ ALSO:   Mwili yangu si mzuri, I’m going to Nairobi and I don’t know whether I will come back: Moi to friends

I decided to seek information online and that was how I stumbled upon alopecia, the scientific name for hair loss. I went to the hospital, but no one had a solution. Worse still, I had no idea the stress I was going through was aggravating the hair loss. I hid in my house for a whole year. I felt I was walking an extremely cold journey. I decided to leave work as I kept asking for permission to go to hospital.

In 2010, 2011 and 2012 all my hair fell off and I was left with a shiny, extremely sensitive scalp. Scratching always left a wound.

In 2013, I experienced total baldness (Alopecia Totalis). My eyebrows started thinning until they eventually disappeared altogether. I would look at my photos when I had hair and get angry. How I wished my hair would grow back. Depression was beginning to take a toll on me.

In 2014, I did not have a single strand of hair on my body (Alopecia Universalis). From the hairs in the nose to my eyelashes, all body hair deserted me. I became prone to ear and eye infections as I no longer had filters to trap the dust from the environment.

In 2015, I got the courage to step out in public. I had earlier alternated between wigs and hats, but they were uncomfortable, especially when it was hot.

I remember a nasty incident in a matatu, where a man sat next to me and slapped my head. He did it twice, causing a commotion in the vehicle. He asked me why women cut their hair. Luckily, he was kicked out of the vehicle, but I felt embarrassed.

My baldness is as a result of an autoimmune disorder, which I have managed to control with supplements.

The last doctor I saw told me that medical intervention would not help me and it would require a miracle for my hair to grow back. In 2017, a circle of hair grew on my head, but disappeared within a month.

READ ALSO:   More than 10 heads of state to attend Moi’s burial 

I, however, was glad my hair follicles were not dead. I chose to live for God with or without hair and I dared to believe He will miraculously grow it back. Last year, I noticed my nose fur started growing. Lately, I have noticed my hair is sprouting on my scalp too. It is not very pronounced but it is encouraging. My eyebrows and eyelashes also grew back about five months ago.

We got together with other people with alopecia and formed a WhatsApp group dubbed ‘Tripple B” — Bold, Bald and Beautiful, where our slogan is ‘we are not our hair’.

The average adult’s head has about 100,000 — 150,000 hair follicles and each can grow about 20 individual hairs in a person’s lifetime.

“We do not have specific studies showing hair loss in Kenya. However, we generally know at least one in every two people will lose hair at some point in their life to whatever cause there may be. We are seeing thousands of hair loss patients seeking treatment in trichology centres, dermatology clinics as well as in hospitals,” explains Muli Musyoka, the lead trichologist at the Hair Hub Trichology Centre in Nairobi.

Dr Pranav Pancholi, a celebrity dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Avané Dermatology Clinic in Nairobi concurs with Mr Musyoka. “Alopecia is quite common today and in the last 13 years I’ve been in practice, we see at least two patients a day suffering from hair loss,” says Dr Pancholi.

“But, we have several cases of alopecia totalis that we have successfully reversed. I am yet to treat a case of universalis though.”

READ ALSO:   Behind the tough demeanour, Moi had a gentle soul

But at what point is medical intervention futile? “In autoimmune cicatricial alopecia cases where patients have lost excessive hair, the condition may be stopped but hair recovery may be impossible,” explains Mr Musyoka.

Science is also making giant strides towards finding answers for the people troubled with hair loss. Dr Pancholi speaks of a state-of-the-art Korean groundbreaking technology that has been tried and tested in Korea, which he is introducing locally.

“Trichoscopy (a method of hair and scalp evaluation, which is used for diagnosing hair and scalp diseases) has done well and is coming to Kenya. It consists of a device for hair care solutions,” says Dr Pancholi. “The device has a trichoscope, which counts and measures hair loss. Based on computer-based algorithms, it calculates how much hair loss is in each area.”

A few years back, hair loss was synonymous with old age. It was not unusual to see old men with receding hairlines or bald spots, especially right at the centre of the head. Today, a quick look around your work place or in the streets will reveal that more younger men are spotting the ‘bald look’.

However, if you dig deeper, you will discover for some it’s as a result of hair loss. The medical name for hair loss is alopecia and there are various types of hair loss. The balding that has become quite common in men is referred to as androgenetic alopecia, also affecting women.

Hair loss can be triggered by various reasons, which range from thyroid disease, anaemia, chemotherapy, high stress levels, lactation, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, skin conditions, scalp conditions like ringworm, protein deficiency, hormonal changes, diet, family history, excessive styling (too much heat, tight braids, tightly held hair), Vitamin B12 deficiency.

By Nation

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