Monday, October 21, 2013

Land encroachment and insecurity issues take centre stage during Mashujaa day celebrations

By Daniel Mwendo
Mutomo sub county commissioner has warned local leaders against territorial encroachment. Speaking during Mashujaa day celebrations held at Mutomo stadium, the administrator implored the leaders to put aside party differences and serve the citizens who had elected them
“ I am also directing Chiefs and Sub chiefs to ensure that no illegal structures are erected at road reserves and other undesignated areas,” added Mr.Cherop who also  advised residents to use traditional methods of settling land disputes before the land commission was put on board to ensure a peaceful co-existence.
Mutomo Sub County Deputy County Commissioner
Mr. Cherop speaks during the Mashujaa day celebrations 
(Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)
 Citing that Kitui South game reserve was a gazetted government property, Mr. Cherop ordered residents living on the reserve to leave with immediate effect.

Speaking during the event, the Local Member of Parliament, Dr.Rachael Kaki Nyamai informed her constituents that among the plans underway for implementation were; piping of water from Kithini to Mutomo town, issuing of university and college bursary in two weeks’ time and issuance of tittle deeds which the residents could use as collateral security to access financial aid.

She also criticized the county government for issuing a big chunk of money for building a mortuary citing that Mutomo residents were in more need of a spacious district hospital than a mortuary.

The ICC issue was not left out with the MP stating that she was of the opinion that the President should not go to the Hague based court.

Other local leaders who spoke during the event were Mutha member of County assembly Mr.Kavindi, Mutomo Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Mr. Benjamin Kyalo among others.

Mr Kavindi asked the government to provide a vehicle to Mutha police station because they were hiring motor cycles which is expensive thus hindering quality security services to the residents considering that Mutha Division borders Tana River district which poses a major security threat.

The Ikanga/Kyatune member of county assembly Mr. Jamhuri, said that the Kitui- Kibwezi road has remained un tarmacked because of disunity among the leaders in the area .He added that it was very unfortunate that this is the only B7 road in Kenya which is un tarmacked

The chairman of the chamber of commerce Mr. Kyalo Benjamin complained of the on-going harassment of businessmen whose buildings were constructed without council approval as this was both frustrating and embarrassing and retarding development in the area.

The local Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairlady Mrs. Esther Musau implored residents to protect their resources through supporting the government in the war against poaching and charcoal burning.

Stephen Muliki ,a former colonial era chief caused laughter when he said  that the local member of parliament,Dr Rachael should be regarded as  one of the local heroes because she is the first woman member of parliament in Kitui south since independence. Other local heroes are the late chief Nzuki Muliki from kanziko who made it mandatory for every person in Kanziko to go to school, Chief Mwanduka Kisemei who donated land for the construction of the Mutomo Mission Hospital ,Matuku Muoka from ikutha among others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mutomo residents celebrate global hand washing day

By Daniel Mwendo
Global hand washing day celebrations are held every 15th October worldwide. In Mutomo, the celebrations were held at Mutomo primary school grounds.The function was sponsored by World Vision (Mutomo) in partnership with the Ministries of Water, Health and Education among others.

The event is annually held as a reminder to the people that hand washing should be made a routine activity in order to keep the chances of bacterial infection at the minimum.

The Deputy District Public Health Officer,Mr. Stephen Mbeni  Musyoka 
demonstrates proper hand washing technique (Photo:Daniel 
Mr Robert Kusinga, Mutomo location’s chief  read the official speech on behalf of the Deputy county director who was absent.In his speech, the deputy county director indicated that little emphasis was being placed on hand washing and that they were using the children as change agents.He asked education officers at all levels to promote cleanliness.

During the occasion, the Deputy District Public Health Officer, Mr Stephen Mbeni Musyoka, demonstrated to the gathering how hand washing is done from a professional aspect.He also emphasised that children are very effective because they easily pass the information to the mothers.

“One is supposed to do hand washing after visiting the toilet, before and after preparing food, before and after eating food, before breastfeeding, after visiting sick people, after having an interaction with animals like milking and after doing any cleaning exercises and on arrival from any journey”, said Mr. Musyoka adding that 97% of communicable diseases are controllable if through good hygiene observation.

The District technical officer,Ministry of Water, Mr Benjamin Munyalo,said that most of the water they are getting in Mutomo especially in boreholes was very clean but people make it unclean by using dirty containers.He said that there is a need to boil the water and use aqua tabs.He also  advised those present to  get water from only designated water points and avoid destroying water pipelines as this not only risks their health but also defeats the governments effort to supply clean water to the public.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kitui South bursary fund launched

Dr.Rachael Nyamai (Centre) presents a dummy cheque
to Kitui South  Secondary school heads( Photo:Daniel Mwendo/
By Daniel Mwendo

One thousand and one hundred students from Kitui South Constituency will benefit from the Constituency’s school bursary this year. This is after the local Member of Parliament, Dr. Rachael Nyamai launched the Constituency’s bursary. The total funds given out from the CDF kitty amount to five million and seventy four thousand shillings.

The launching of the bursary had been delayed due to a CDF case in the Machakos high court pitting the former Member of Parliament and a Kitui South resident who has sued on behalf of other residents (public interest) on allegations of  mismanagement of funds.

The launching was done at Kanthi Good News Church of Africa (GNCA) church in Kandae Sub location of Mutomo District. Most needy students were selected from each of the 55 sub locations of the constituency. 20 most needy students were selected from each sub location.

The Member of Parliament promised school head teachers to work hand in hand with them to promote the level of education in the region. She also informed the school heads that she will assist twenty schools to get electricity connection in this financial year.

During this occasion, head teachers present out competed each other in marketing for their schools most of which are very new and with low student population.All the headteachers present promised quality education from their institutions.

Dr.Nyamai also informed residents present that two Government doctors had been posted to Ikutha and Mutomo district hospitals respectively.

“The Mutomo district hospital has already been supplied with twenty beds for the women ward,” said the politician adding that Mutha dispensary has also received hospital beds.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do county Governments have proper policies for nurturing talents?

By Daniel Mwendo
Lule's art I (Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)
We have different types of talents which God has given to each of us. To nurture these talents, combined efforts by leaders and professionals is required. Unfortunately in Kenya, talent discovery and nurturing has been taking the back seat and most of the youths with talents end up being wasted.

During games seasons, there are those pupils who go up to national levels and there is no follow up of these pupils to take them to respective talent academies so that they can be nurtured.

Since the government has devolved its functions to the county level, it is important that the counties set up talent academies and equip them properly so that we can have well trained youths who can compete at international levels. Take a good example of our fellow Kenyan athletics and the way they have excelled in this sport. Another good example is our footballers who have done well despite having done it through the hard way without any proper nurturing especially through academies.
Lule's art II (Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)

For instance,Lule Ibrahim is a talented artist from Mutomo Township who has been doing wall hanging and masking arts and makes very good portraits. However, Lule’s biggest problem is finding market for his art. This more than ever stresses the need for good leadership which identifies talent at the grass root level as well as linking talented youth with the right market.

According to Lule, there are so many youths who are frustrated by life yet they have talents which they can use to earn their daily bread. He suggests that counties need to establish talent academies and start trade fairs for artist to showcase what they have made.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gross indiscipline poses a burden to the parents

By Daniel Mwendo

After a three time’s unsuccessful attempts to burn down their dormitory using petrol, St. Patrick’s mixed secondary school in Mutomo District closed their school prematurely without even finishing their second term examinations.

When the Board of governors met, they decided that all the students must be accompanied by their parents during third term’s opening day.

Student's shopping gets a thorough frisking before
being allowed into the school (Photo:Daniel Mwendo
Frisking of the students bags was done at the gate to ensure that no student went in with unauthorized items in the school compound. Boys who had trimmed their trousers to a pipe- like shape were out rightly sent away to come with proper trousers. Girls who had shortened and altered school uniform skirts were not spared either. Proper shopping was also considered.

The born of contention was entertainment. The students wanted entertainment every Saturday and Sunday during night time and not during day time

Proper grilling was done to get further details pertaining to the ring leaders. Those students who failed to give any information were turned away with their parents. Stern measures will be taken to those students who will be implicated.

The students together with their parents had to sign a Memorandum of Understanding where they agreed that entertainments will only be done on specific Saturdays and Sundays and only during day time. Those found to have sneaked will buy a six hundred and 10 Metre bundle of barbed wire. There will be no coming with phones to school and those found to have stolen will pay two times the cost of what they had stolen among others.

The final stage was a meeting with the principal Mr. Mbuvi and the senior teacher Mr. Matheka. The principal advised the students to take education seriously as that was  the only  they assist in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty which was affecting most the families in the poverty stricken county.

The parents who were available were shocked when the senior teacher Mr. matheka displayed the various items recovered from the students during the frisking exercise. The items included condoms, a phonographic DVD, and snuff.

Parents also advised their fellow parents to ensure discipline is taken seriously and they were cautioned that technological developments was one thing which was affecting children and they should be wary of it. Parents involvement in economic activities also is one serious thing to be taken into consideration because they are left alone and at the disposal of computers were they can engage in phonographic activities.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A ray of hope for people living with disabilities

By Daniel Mwendo

People with different types of disabilities converged at Mutomo Chief’s camp today for registration by the National council for people with disabilities (NCPWD).The registration exercise was done both at Mutomo and Ikutha districts.

People living with disabilities during the registration process
(Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MVC)
The National Council for people with disabilities is a Government parastatal enacted in the year 2004.Its main objectives is registration of new members so that they can be issued with identity cards which they can use to get assistance from the government.The identity cards contains all the relevant details of the beneficiary.

After the registration, the people with disabilities are send to different gazetted hospitals where they are assessed as to whether the level of their disability hinters them from engaging in any substantial economic activities. That is when they are now allowed to fill in the forms for assistance.

“There are different programmes available,” Says Rosabel Githinji, NCPWD’s Lower Eastern regional officer. MS. Githinji adds that these programmes include; education, infrastructure, tax exemption among others.

The potential beneficiaries said that this is the first time that the exercise has been done on a big scale and indicated that they would be very happy if they get assistance as this will empower them and prove that disability is not inability.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Referendum politics

By Daniel Mwendo

Referendum politics played a centre stage yesterday at a fund-raising function held at Ikanga Catholic Church, Ikanga division, Mutomo district, Kitui South constituency. Former Vice-President, Stephen Kalonzo expressed his confidence that enough signatures will be gathered very soon to push for a referendum which will make the government to release forty percent (40 %) of the national gross product to the counties for faster development.

Similar sentiments were echoed by the members of county assembly and parliament present with an exception of the local member of parliament, Dr Rachael Kaki Nyamai who despite assuring those present that she supports devolution, said that governors must first be accountable and not spend the money given on luxuries instead of projects which can help empower the community at the grassroot before they can ask for a higher amount. She also informed those present that the government had given thirty four percent (34%) and not fifteen percent (15%) as being alleged.

The local Member of Parliament assured those present that she is for the unity of leaders and that she has good working relationship with other members of parliament. 

The former vice- president said that the percentage to be given out by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) should be anchored on the constitution rather than being left at the whim of the prevailing government.

The former vice-president expressed his “shock at the deplorable state” of the Kitui –Kibwezi road and said that the current government should ensure that that road is tarmaced for faster development of the area.

However, community members have mixed feelings about the debate. A local resident, Kioko Musembi, said that the referendum debate was a waste of time and a  burden to the  overburdened taxpayers and said that the governors should first work with what they have been given before asking for more.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mutomo teachers’ recruitment excerise above board

By Daniel Mwendo

The recent teachers’ recruitment exercise in Mutomo was done above board. Out of the 256 applicants who presented their academic documents, 45 were recruited.

The panel score areas included the professional P1 qualifications, the period elapsed since the applicant cleared college as well as the age of the applicant.. According to the score sheet, the highest applicant scored fifty nine (59) marks and the lowest had forty four (44) marks.

The recruitment method used put into consideration the aged trained P1 teachers who are aged and are yet to be absorbed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) absorbed. For example an applicant who is forty (40) years and above had a score of twenty (20) marks
The method also considered one’s performance in college. For example an applicant who graduated in the year 2011 could be employed if that applicant scored a distinction of 6-10 points because this would give the applicant an outright forty (40) marks, then for the year the candidate gets ten (10) marks and then four (4) marks for age if the applicant is below twenty six years old. The grand total marks would be fifty four marks. This would place the applicant in an employable position.

The other area much considered was disability. Those with disabilities were given an outright chance. Raphael Mwanzia, one of the applicants said that the recruitment was transparently done.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Kitui South Constituency women benefit from Women Enterprise Fund

By Daniel Mwendo

28 Women Groups from Kitui South Constituency were today issued with cheques worth 1.85 Million by the District Gender and Social Development Officer (DGSDO) Mr. Daniel Kitheka. 11 of these groups were from Mutomo District while 17 are from Ikutha District. The ceremony was officiated by the local Member of Parliament, Dr. Rachael Kaki Nyamai.

The lowest amount of loan given was 47,500 with a grace period of three months and the highest was 195,000 with a grace period of one month.

While handing out the checks, Mr. Kitheka said that there has been a massive mobilization of women to register groups to take advantage of funds released by the government. He added that the starting amount of loans has been increased from fifty thousand shillings (50,000) to hundred thousand shillings (100,000)

The local Member of Parliament, Dr Rachael Kaki, told women that there are individual loans only that intermediaries to dispatch the money have not been identified.

“If women SACCO’s develop properly they could be used in future as intermediaries,” said 
Kitui South Constituency MP Dr.Rachael Kaki Nyamai
hands over checks to Wome Group representatives. Looking
on is DGSDO,Mr. Daniel Kitheka(Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)
Dr. Nyamai adding that Uwezo fund is not a grant but a loan payable at 4%. She also retaliated that men are allowed to be part of women groups as far as they form 30% of the group members. either the women groups or the youth groups only that they are not supposed to be office bearers.

Speaking during the occasion,Mutomo District  DO1 Mr. Joel Tumo advised resident people to form groups so that they can take advantage of the government’s empowerment programmes

This  he said was one way of doing away with illicit business in the area. He enumerated challenges like lack of IDs, slow speed of group  registration, lack of capacity building to the groups to enable them to write proposals, ignorance of the people about government plans as some of the challenges facing access to the funds. 

Dr.Nyamai addresses the crowd(Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)
The DO1 added that various groups have been broken up due to mistrust stressing that  proper articles of association were needed to guide the groups

The administrator also took the occasion to warn those who could be sabotaging the water supply in the area by tampering with the pipes that their days were numbered and those caught will face the full force of the law.

The officials of the groups which got the highest loans advised other women to have good plans. Table banking concept was one of the means in which the groups use to raise money.

Other officers present were  Kitui South Women Enterprise Fund Coordinator and Youth Enterprise Fund Coordinator, Chris King’ondu among others.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bank cleans town littered with waste

By Andy Munyoki & Daniel Mwendo

Mutomo residents can now smile as they live in more hygienic conditions after Kenya commercial bank [KCB] Mutomo branch cleaned their town.

The leading urban of kitui south has for long remained an eyesore with piles of litter and open sewage dominating most streets and residential areas of the growing town.

The filth considered by health officials from the district as detrimental to human health is also believed to deface the once good image of the town by dwellers.
KCB Mutomo branch manager Ms. Peninah John 
sweeps a section of a littered street during the activity

(Photo:Andy Munyoki/ MCV)

However, spirited efforts by county council workers to clear the town of all accumulating litter and debris from food joints and construction sites have never been enough to achieve the WHO [world health organization] given standards for sanitation.

Concerned over a possible increase in maladies related to poor sanitation and hygiene KCB Mutomo branch organized a full day event to clean the town.

The bank’s staff, who also live in the town agreed to forego their office duties and leisure activities last Friday to clean their home town.

Some of the KCB Mutomo branch staff members empty litter
 into a hand cart for transportation to the burning site during 
the exercise( Photo:Andy Munyoki/ MCV)
Led by branch manager Ms peninah John, the bankers worked tirelessly for over six hours sweeping, collecting and burning scattered plastics, polythene papers, fruit and vegetable peelings, broken bottles, food remains and other debris.  

“This is our environment and we want it clean” Maurice kativya, one of the staff members from the bank said
A KCB staff member and other volunteers 
from the town collect dirt from dumping an unsecured 
site during the cleaning activity(Photo:Andy Munyoki/ MCV)
Public health officials from the town led by Mr Stephen Mbeni and Charles Kimanzi and pupils from Kandae primary schools also lent a helping hand in the noble exercise.

The bank provided some drinking water and snacks for the benevolent school kids and other residents of the town who volunteered to participate in the exercise.

Making her final remarks after the activity, Ms John said the banking institution will remain steadfast in organizing such activities to clean the town and conserve the environment as well.

“This is not the last of such activities, we shall organize more and more to clean this developing town” she said

The banking institution boosts a good number of clients from the town and the whole district compared to rival financial institutions operating in the region.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mutomo Muslim fraternity celebrate Idd-Ul-Fitr in style

By Daniel Mwendo

Muslims in Mutomo Township celebrated Idd-Ul-Fitr with pomp and glamour .This was after the Chief Kadhi, Sheikh Shariff Ahmed Muhdhar directed that the 30 day fasting period was scheduled to end on Thursday.

Muslims in happy moods met for the morning prayers after which they went round visiting friends and congratulating them for successful completion of Ramadhan.According to the Islam religion, these visits also have the objectives of praying for the departed souls as well as praying for the sick.

According to Asumani Bakari, Ramadhan is mandatory to Muslims as it is prescribed by the Quran because it keeps up with the tradition of the forefathers like Abraham.During the month of Ramadhan, each Muslim believer is supposed to give Zaka –ul- fitr .This is the alms of food. This ensures that each Muslim has enough to eat because even the poor are supposed to give out anything in excess of two and half kilograms.

“Ramadhan has a lot of advantage” says Baraka Bakari, a Mutomo resident. The core reason for fasting is devotion to prayers. Others are health reasons i.e. cleansing the human system or detoxicating one. Once the parasites in the bodies are deprived of food they starve and die hence after Ramadhan, one is healthier than before.

During Ramadhan, there is Tarahweh swala which is very crucial. According to the Quran, if one prays during this particular day, all prayers are answered. Mostly it normally falls within odd days of the last ten days of Ramadhan. (19th to 29th)

The Kenyan Government gazetted August, 9, 2013 as a National Holiday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Partnering in the war against drug and alcohol abuse.

By Daniel Mwendo

There will be a reduction in the number of individuals abusing drugs and alcohol in Mutomo District in the near future. The National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) in conjunction with Africa Brotherhood Church and Akamba Council of Elders have rolled out a pilot project in Lower Eastern to train an individual in every location about alcohol and drug abuse.

Kitui South Constituency has been chosen for the pilot project whereby an individual has been selected from each location and trained about alcohol and drug abuse. The one day training which took place on 7th August, 2013 at a Mutomo hotel saw 14 participants equipped with knowledge on drug types, effects and drug and alcohol management strategies. Participants in the training cited the following as the common drugs in Kitui south; alcohol, bangi, miraa (khat), kuber etc.

These locational representatives will spread on what they have been trained to the grassroots i.e. to the village level and afterwards the residents will elect ten people in every village to be named as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Ambassadors (ADAA).ADAA’s role of alcohol and drug abuse ambassadors will be to constantly keep on undertaking the anti-drug campaign at the grassroots level. The idea is to stop non-users from being users and to encourage those who are abusing the drugs to reduce.

The idea was hatched in order to boost the chances of vision 2030 being a success bearing in mind that majority of those who are abusing drugs are the youth who form a great percentage of the entire population.

Questionnaires will be administered at the sub-locational level to capture the various information like types of drugs available, where they are found and projects which can be carried out to create alternative ways of income generation. A part from being drug abuse ambassadors, ADAAs will also have the mandate of resource mapping in order to identify the resources in their vicinities which can be utilized in order to provide alternative means of earning income and engaging the drug addicts.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monkey menace threatens farming existence around Mutomo hills

By James Wambua Mwendo

Communities living around Mutomo hills, also known as Ngomeni hills, are in great dilemma. Their dilemma has been augmented by monkeys which inhabit the area and invade the farmers’ shambas and homesteads daily. This monkey menace has made farming around the area impossibility as the monkeys cause destruction on the farms leaving the farmers a frustrated lot.

Farmers here say that despite having reported these cases of invasion to the District Kenya Wildlife Society (KWS) Office, no fruitful response has been forthcoming. As it stands now, the KWS policy states that there is no compensation for crop destruction or any domestic animal killed by the monkeys. Compensation is only made in the case of a snake bite case or a death of a person caused by a wild animal.

Now the affected farmers are appealing to the KWS to remove these monkeys to an area like Ithumba hill, which is a part of Tsavo East Game Park. They feel that is only such an action which will enable them cultivate their farms for economic and social development.

The monkeys, which the farmers estimate to be over two hundred in number and which were less than ten same twenty years ago, appear to keep on multiplying and farmers live in the fear that in the very near future, this will halt the farming activities which will have dire consequences on development in the area.

Monkeys are known to eat almost anything which is grown on the farm. These include; maize, green grams , cowpeas, millet, sorghum, cassava roots ,pawpaw fruits, sweet potatoes, guava fruits, water lemon beans, pumpkins, vegetables like kales, spinach, tomatoes, mango fruits. They also eat the poultry, goats and lambs .In addition to this, the monkeys pose a threat to water hygiene as they drink from the water harvesting structures around the areas. One of these water harvesting structures is Kaseva Rock catchment.

Although the residents around Mutomo hills recognize that farming is an important activity towards achieving economic stability, the monkey menace has deprived them of this luxury. Through forming Self-Help groups the members have received farming skills through different training from relevant Government ministries as well as Non-Governmental organizations.

They are therefore appealing to the District KWS office to take the necessary measures to help them enjoy their farming activities and realize food security.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cheserem's emotional moment brings more blessings for poor school

By Andrew Munyoki
Lingithya primary school, where Commission on Revenue Allocation [CRA] chairman Micah Cheserem broke down in tears after he found pupils learning under trees when he visited Kitui county has reaped big from the man’s tears.

Apart from the Kshs 100,000 the CRA chairman donated from his pocket , another Kshs 100,000 from the CRA corporate social responsibility kitty and some Kshs 1 million from the county government of Kitui, the learning institution will now benefit with close to Kshs 10 million from the Kenya Airways which will be spend on construction of  classrooms and other structures.

The tiny school in Kanziko location of Kitui south with an enrolment of 112 pupils and three teachers will receive a new look after construction of a nine classroom block, a modern library, dining hall and dormitory for learners.

Kenya Airways head of corporate social responsibility for
sustainable development Ms. Georgina Ndawa interacts with
pupils at Lingithya primary school in Kitui South after the
KQ teams visited the school on Tuesday last week

 (Photo:Andrew Munyoki)
It will also have a modern fence erected to secure the compound from wild animals from the nearby Tsavo east national park, several water tanks for provision of safe water for learners and staff and modern toilets to boost hygiene and sanitation which is visibly lacking in the school.

Ms. Georgina Ndawa, the KQ head of corporate social responsibility for sustainable development unit said work will commence immediately and is expected to be completed in six month’s time to provide pupils with a new and better learning environment.

Kenya airways felt compelled to sponsor development of the school after the standard newspaper carried a story earlier last week showing the harsh conditions children as young as five years old endured to obtain education in a region largely affected by poverty.

“We were touched by the story and felt our support was needed most in this school to help these children obtain quality education to enable them compete fairly with others from privileged regions”   Ms. Ndawa said when addressing parents and members of the community at the school on Tuesday.

Area member of county assembly James Munuve who led both the CRA and KQ teams in their visits to Kitui south to see the school thanked the team for its role in ensuring poor children in Africa receive education and other necessities for development under its sustainable projects.

“It is a pity to see some of our kids learning under trees with no structure to call a classroom when we are waiting to celebrate the millennium development goals less than two years from today” Mr. Munuve lamented.

The Lingithya primary school project is the first of its kind by KQ in Kitui County

Auto mechanic jobs,no longer a preserve for men

By Daniel Mwendo
From time immemorial, auto mechanic jobs have always been associated with the male gender. But one woman in Mutomo town of Eastern Kenya has broken this norm and ventured in the business.

From afar, one would easily mistake 19 year old Muluki Mwanzia to be a man until a closer look reveals that she is actually a woman dressed in a work apron. Muluki is a resident of Kyatune Location of Mutomo district and the only lady auto mechanic in Mutomo Township.

From when she was a little girl in Primary school, Muluki always aspired to be an auto mechanic, a course she vowed to pursue no matter the grade she would get in her studies.

“Immediately after I finished my primary school education in 2010, I enrolled for a motor mechanic training at the Kitui Polytechnic,” says Muluki adding that she successfully passed her Grade III exams in 2012 and has since then been doing the job she always dreamt of.

The job comes with many perks; self-employment being the most important of all. Muluki adds that starting a business venture in the auto mechanic field is very cheap as one only needs to have a simple toolbox which is affordable.
Muluki at her place of work (Photo:Daniel Mwendo/MCV)

“For me, being an auto mechanic is a job like any other. One only needs to be focused and determined. I am lucky because I am self-employed at a very youthful age, “says the 19 year old. She continues to say that she considers this to be a job like any other and feels fulfilled by what she does.

Just like with any other job, Muluki reports to her job early. She is of the opinion that people in the jua kali sector should wake up to the reality that theirs are jobs like any to other and treat their jobs with discipline and professionalism.

“I do not mind being soiled, this job provides me with my basic needs and gives me financial independence, “says Muluki adding that she despises ladies who would like to be smart yet lack financial independence. 
She says that her ambition is to scale the heights of her career, further her training and establish her own garage.

She discloses that the job is well paying as a small mechanical problem can bring in a good amount of money. She further advises the youthful ladies around to consider penetrating in jobs traditionally considered to be a preserve for men.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Organization sets precedence in citizen journalism

By Andy Munyoki

Over a dozen youths from Mutomo district of Kitui south have received empowerment to become assertive voices for the speechless in a marginalized region haunted by poor leadership, drought, hunger and other natural calamities for decades.

After a week long training in citizen journalism organized by Arid Lands Information Network [ALIN] the youths left with knowledge enabling them to identify and report effectively community issues that have remained unreported for long.

“Many things happen here, we never hear them on radio nor read them in papers” a trainee claimed.
The trainees had expressed their interest in the training organized by ALIN’s local Maarifa Centre at Mutomo which has remained a reputable centre for information and training for the community since it was established in 2007.
A training session in progress (Photo:Rhoda Musili/ALIN)
The citizen journalism training is the first of its kind in the region aimed at moulding community journalists who are expected to lobby and advocate on behalf of fellow residents on matters of governance and local leadership.

Lead trainer Dennis Kipkirui, a lecturer and media consultant urged the trainees to “provoke action and address issues affecting their immediate society without fear or favour” when winding up the course on Friday last week.

18 year old Millicent Susa says the urge to pursue a career in journalism was so overwhelming that she could not help walking for over three hours a day to attend the training from her home.

The trainees will receive certificates to prove their merit in the course in a profession invaded by quacks and infiltrated by other professionals diminishing the true spirit of journalism.

Among the youths were a 61 year old retired educationalist and a 42 year old vicar who termed the training an entry point towards empowerment of a community often overlooked by professional journalists in the county during their reporting.“I feel empowered and digitalized after this training” quipped pastor John Mutua Nyamai

Rhoda Musili, ALIN’s Field Officer for  the Mutomo Maarifa Centre challenged the trainees to put their knowledge in proper use while assisting them create a blog site called “ Mutomo Citizen voices” where the citizen journalists will publish their articles and features.

It is expected the citizen journalists will provide a shift from the past by utilizing their online publication site filling copy and uploading photographs that will tell their community’s stories.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Citizen Journalists’ day in the field

By Samuel Gitonga Makanya
Memorable, exciting and thrilling are some of the adjectives used by a group of citizen journalism trainees at Mutomo Maarifa Centre to describe a photo shooting session they had. When their facilitator Dennis Kipkirui informed them of a photo shooting field session, the trainees could not hide their joy at the prospect of putting what they had learnt into practice.

Mr.James Wambua Mwendo, a trainee
 busy during the learning session 
Each of the trainees had been given a topic on which they would write on. As such, they were assigned a field work exercise for a photo shooting session to capture photos to accompany their stories. With the help of facilitators from the Maarifa Centre, the trainees embarked on a photo shooting fieldwork to capture relevant photos to accompany their articles which were to be posted on the Citizen Journalism blog.

One of the trainees Mr. John Kasimu had this to say, “This is such an exciting opportunity, I cannot wait to see my photo online,” said the jovial 20 year old former student of Mutomo Mixed Secondary school.

During the field exercise, the trainees learnt on how to frame a photo, how to focus on the subject, factors to consider when shooting a photo and zooming options. They also had an opportunity to prepare subjects for photo shooting as well as instilling confidence in subjects.

Earlier on, each of the trainees had an opportunity to practically learn on how to hold a still camera as well as techniques used in capturing great photos.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kitui County to receive equalization fund next year

By Andrew Munyoki
Kitui County will be among the top regions for consideration during allocation of the equalization fund in the government’s next fiscal year, Commission on Revenue Allocation [CRA] chairman Micah Cheserem has said.
“Yes Kitui missed in this year’s allocation, however, it will be among the counties for prioritization in the next allocation,” Cheserem promised during a meeting with the governor Dr.Julius Malombe.
CRA chairman Micah Cheserem (Photo: Andrew Munyoki/MCV)

The CRA wound a two day familiarization trip to Kitui County on Wednesday where the team visited mineral rich areas like Mui Coal Basin in Mwingi East and limestone and iron ore belts in Mutomo and Ikutha districts respectively.

The CRA team asked for a quick resolve to all issues holding back mining of the minerals in the region which could be explored to improve the lives of residents with most living below the poverty line.

The chairman also challenged local leaders to spearhead civic education on devolution matters at the same time encouraging citizen participation and consensus to fast-track mining activities in the region for revenue.
CRA visited for an assessment of the economic status of the county among other objectives. The revenue allocating body met the reality of poverty after visiting Kitui south, a constituency where residents walk long distances in search of water while pupils learn in the open or makeshift structures.

Lamenting the high rate of poverty among residents, Cheserem blamed past leadership for a systemic failure to tap into the county’s natural resources that could have been exploited long ago for revenue that could have changed the lives of locals.

  “Surely leaders from this region should be ashamed of themselves if a county with so many resources should be in such a condition” the soft spoken man told county assembly members when he addressed them.

He further urged all elected leaders from the region to ensure that they transform the lives of residents before expiry of their term in leadership failure to which none should seek re-election.

“None of you MCAs [members of county assembly] or any other elected leader from this region should seek re-election if five years from today residents would not have seen any improvement in their livelihoods” he quipped.

Advocating for a sustainable food production in the region the CRA urged the county government to promote farming of crops suitable for the little rains received in the region.

Cheserem shed tears on Tuesday when he visited some of the poorest and driest parts of the country. In Lingithya primary school in Kanziko ward of Kitui south, Cheserem was overcome by emotion and  broke down when he found hundreds of pupils huddled in a few desks under a shade without a single structure as classroom.The former Central Bank Governor donated Ksh 100,000 from his own pocket and another Ksh 100,000 from the CRA corporate social responsibility kitty for the rehabilitation of the school.