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.