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Why man and baby baboon are inseparable



A man in Marakwet has become the talk of the village after adopting a young baboon and making the wild animal his best friend.

Although his interest in the primate may have cost him his family after his wife and children relocated elsewhere, 32-year-old Isaac Kibet, harbours no regret. He says he had found peace living with the animal which he has named Josephine Kibet.

When we visited Kibet we found him seated on a wooden stump in his two-room mud-walled house as he cuddled the one-year-old Josephine.

Josephine appeared uncomfortable at our arrival and held on to her caretaker as she ate a banana and a slice of bread and avoided facing the cameras.

She kept lifting her arms up indicating that she wanted it being scratched as she swatted flies away, in the process interrupting our conversation with Mr Kibet.

A few awed neighbours watched from a distance while dozens of children wanted an opportunity to play with the baboon.

Kibet from Samar village in Arror, Marakwet East, said he rescued the animal from his farm and took her to his house in October last year. The primate was in the company of his goats.

According to Mr Kibet, the baboon was so tiny then, weighing less than a kilogramme and had no fur on her body.

 “I cannot tell whether it was left by the mother or she followed my goats from the grazing fields that day. It was raining heavily and she looked so helpless. I decided to take her to my house and nurse her as I thought of the next move,” said Mr Kibet.

 It is not surprising that the farmer ended up giving the baboon a human name because he said she has always behaved like a human and could discern visitors to his home.

He said Josephine had become familiar with the language spoken around and she already responds to her name.

“She is very fond of me to an extent that she knows my voice and can identify me in a crowd. Whenever she spots a new person or senses danger, she jumps on to my back,” he said.

 The father of four says that the baboon has turned to be a companion after his wife and children relocated to Kampi Nyasi in the neighbouring Baringo County.

He, however, declined to divulge if living with the baboon affected his relationship with his wife who relocated elsewhere with their children.

 “This baboon has become part of my family; in fact I take care of her as if she is my last born. She is my only companion after my wife and children relocated to the neighbouring county. She amazes me because she understands my language though she cannot talk like a human being, she does as I command her to,” said the farmer.

“I also know when she is hungry, when not feeling well or when she senses danger,” he added.

 Mr Kibet goes with the primate everywhere, including the farm, shopping centre and even village gatherings, something that has surprised people in the locality.

 “I have converted one of the rooms in my house to be her bedroom and when I retire to bed, she also goes to sleep. In the morning I prepare tea for both of us and we leave the house together for our daily chores,” said Mr Kibet.

 He relies on menial jobs and farming for his survival, but he ensures that he gets milk and food to feed Josephine.

 “I normally ensure that she gets three meals a day apart from what she eats when we are in the farm. When I go to a hotel, I buy a cup of tea or a meal for both of us. But she only takes the food I give her myself, not anyone else and she takes everything I eat,” he said.

 “I also trim her nails regularly and scrub her with soap and water regularly to ward off pests and harmful insects,” he added.

The farmer says staying with the baboon in his house for more than six months has taught him to develop love for primates.

 “This baboon has formed part of my life; I have developed a passion for primates after I took in Josephine. I have come to also realise that she is intelligent and behaves like human beings, apart from the tail and I only wish the Kenya Wildlife Service would allow me stay with her a little longer,” said Mr Kibet.

However, the farmer has had a fair share of criticism from his community who view him as an outcast and defying the norms to live with a wild animal.

 “I have a name in my community and the neighbouring villages, both for the wrong and right. I am a fan of my many children who want to come to my home and play with the baboon but a section of the locals view my move to live with it as uncivilised and against the cultural practices,” he said.

 He said some of his peers have avoided his company for fear that he is either engaging in witchcraft or he has been bewitched.

 He said that one his sons had threatened at some point that he would come back and kill the baboon if he does not surrender it to the KWS.

A neighbour, Naomi Kiptoo, said that it was a good move to rescue the baboon but it was not right for the farmer to keep it in his house.

Mr Kibet however, said that after he rescued the baboon, he reported to Chesuman Police Station and he was authorised to keep it.

“When I rescued the baboon, I immediately reported to Chesuman Police Station boss and he wrote a letter indicating that I should take care of the animal. The KWS are also aware and they keep visiting to check on her progress,” said Mr Kibet.

The Nation saw the letter which was written by Chesuman OCS dated October 16, 2019 indicating that Kibet rescued the baboon and he should be helped to secure the animal in its natural habitat.

“Mr Kibet happened to take into safety one young baboon that is suspected to have been abandoned by its mother during heavy rains at KVDA Chepkum. Please assist him have the same animal be secured in its natural habitat,” reads the letter.

By Nation

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Death of festivals dims Lamu hope to revive ailing tourism



Maulid. Food and Expo. Art, yoga and kite festivals. These are just a few of a slew of art and culture experiences that Lamu County used to dish out to the world and which boosted its tourism profile.

Lamu Old Town, also known as “the island of festivals”, had a splendid array of events and festivals ranging from Eid-Ul-Adhar to the Lamu Fishing Competition, Lamu Art Festival, The Lamu Cultural Festival, Lamu Yoga Festival, the Kite Festival, Shella Hat Contest and the Lamu Painters Festival.

But these events were put on the back burner as the tourism sector took a nosedive.

Coming on the backdrop of the Mpeketoni terror attacks in 2014 that also hit tourism hard, hospitality industry players say the vital sector is in the doldrums and want the festivals reinstated. Speaking during a forum in Lamu at the weekend, hoteliers and other players questioned why the county government has not been keen in reviving the events.

Hotelier Salim Abubakar said the county’s tourism sector was on the decline after the festivals were lifted. He urged Governor Fahim Twaha to restore the events and revive the sector.

“All the festivals that were introduced in the calendar of events are crucial. They served to attract visitors, both domestic and international, to Lamu. We need them back so that the tourism sector can be improved,” he said.

Marketing strategy

Former Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) deputy chairman Ghalib Alwy said the body, in partnership with the county tourism office started the festivals to attract more tourists. Mr Alwy said it is important that the events are retained.

“We launched those events as a marketing strategy for Lamu tourism. Through them, we were able to attract tourists from Kenya, East Africa and the world. This is after the terrorism attacks led to an almost 90 percent decline of the sector. It’s only through the festivals that tourists got the confidence to visit Lamu again. The events must be reinstated,” said Mr Alwy. Mr Mohamed Hassan noted that local tourism was still doing badly, attributing the situation to a section of foreign countries that are still having active travel advisories against their citizens visiting Lamu.

“The travel advisories still play a big role in scaring away tourists. We want as many festivals as possible as they have the ability to ensure the tourism climbs back on its feet,” said Mr Hassan.

Some of the festivals known and which are still being celebrated by many in Lamu includes the annual Lamu Cultural Festival that is marked between November and December, the Maulid Festival marked every January, New Year’s Dhow Race marked on January 1 and Eid Ul-Fitr marked every July.

The festivals are said to attract more than 30,000 visitors from around the world.


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Drama as delegates heckle DP Ruto during BBI launch 




Delegates heckled Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report at the Bomas of Kenya over his remarks on the report

The DP was forced to pause his speech after the delegates started booing him after he appeared to express his dissatisfaction at the Youth leader Trans Nzoia County Alex Matere’s remarks about his wheelbarrow donations.

Ruto said by saying that Kenyans should not adopt 16th-century technology, Matere was referring to the wheelbarrows he has been supplying to Kenyans.

However, Ruto noted that the discussions Kenyans should have is why a 16th-century tool has millions of citizens still dependent on it in the 21st-century.

The DP’s remarks didn’t sit well with most of the delegates, which resulted in them openly expressing their displeasure and forcing him to stop talking.

Mbita Member of Parliament Millie Odhiambo appeared mainly pissed by Ruto’s remarks as he stood and jeering Ruto, drowning his speech.

He went on to ask for a minute to conclude his speech but the crowd couldn’t hear of it as they continued to jeer him after he appeared to hit out at the former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Ruto concluded his speech by calling on leaders to refrain from contests pitting the rich and the poor by quoting former US President Abraham Lincoln.

DP Ruto then proceeded to welcome his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta to make his remarks with the delegates still shouting “respect the president,” as he took his seat.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also hit on the DP for engaging in early campaigns instead of supporting the President in delivering the Big-4 Agenda.

Raila said that Kenyans expect to be united for now but not campaigns of who will be the President in 2022 as they will handle that when the time comes.

The ODM Party leader noted that Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta should be working as a pair to bring a difference in the country.

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Uhuru maintains Raila is not government




President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday 26 October 2020 made it clear that Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga is not in the government.

Speaking at the Bomas of Kenya during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, the Head of State explained that when he decided to come into an agreement with Raila, the mission was to find a way to healing this country.

“When we sat down to talk, something that was very difficult, for him and also for me and my team, very difficult. But when we got through to it and we spoke and we spoke again, we agreed that we are not here to share positions and we should put our various positions aside,” he said.

He mentioned that the two agreed to come together with a common agenda of ensuring that what the people of Kenyan have witnessed in 1992, 2005, 2007, and 2017 Kenyans shall never witness again.

He went on to make it clear that Raila Odinga never made any demands from the government.

“We did not talk about sharing government and as we stand today, he (Raila) is not in government. He is not in government; he never made any demands for the government. He never made any demands for a share of government,” he added.

The President pointed out that Raila Odinga asked for the two opposing sides to come together and fix what has been ailing the country.

He explained that this would allow the country in the future to be able to compete without the need for the innocent Kenyans blood being shed.

He went on to that the ODM leader for showing his patriotism and looking for a solution because he did not have to do it.

Uhuru also gave special thanks to his Deputy William Ruto for being part and parcel of the handshake and making the BBI report.

He revealed the three agreed that they would never talk about elective posts as they aimed to unite Kenyans.

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