Governor Barasa Urges Artisanal Miners To Suspend Mining

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa has asked artisanal miners to suspend their operations until when the rains will subside.

He said artisanal mining sites are one of the high risk areas in the county especially during heavy rains.

‘We need to caution those residents in the gold mining area to keep off mining for now because it is a high-risk area,’ he pointed out.

He noted that the rains have already affected some areas in the county along River Nzoia including Chevaywa Ward in Lugari Sub County, Namamali Ward in Matungu, Etenje in Mumias West and Kisa Central in Khwisero.

He said reports from his officers indicate that the Shinyalu-Ingolomosio road has been cut off with Shichenje-Shianda road rendered impassable.

The Governor said the rains have also caused erosion of soil asking residents across the county to be cautious.

‘We have also received reports of cases of sinking toilets especially in some schools in Mumias West. We have already sent our team to assess the situation and act,’ he noted.

have received reports that Malaria has now become prevalent, we are now having a programme of distributing mosquito nets through the Ministry of Health and the department of public health,’ the governor added.

He said the county government has sent a team to offer the necessary support to families which have been affected by the overflowing River Nzoia.

‘Our agricultural officers are also assessing the impact on this so that necessary steps can be taken in collaboration with the national government,’ he pointed out.

Due to the increasing rains, the governor has formed a team of disaster preparedness to act on and prevent challenges caused by the rains.

The disaster preparedness committee comprises officers from the county government, the national government and other partners from the private sector and non-Governmental organisations including rescue teams.

‘We are also trying to educate our people to stay safe,’ he added.

He also divulged that as part of climate change mitigation measures, the county g
overnment has set a target of planting 5million trees every year to contribute towards the National government target of 15 billion trees by 2032.

‘So far we have been able to plant 500 000 trees and we want to make it a culture in that any time we go to an event or a meeting, we start with tree planting before any other activity so that we achieve our 15 billion target,’ he pointed out.

The governor revealed that the county has a forest cover of over 90 per cent and more efforts are put in place to protect and preserve the Kakamega Forest and trees that are grown across the county.

‘Very soon we will be launching the Second phase of Fencing off Kakamega Forest. We have mobilised almost Sh100 million. We have contributed Sh60 million as Kakamega county, Vihiga County government together with other partners have raised the rest of the amount,’ he noted.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kwale Fishermen Asked Not To Venture Into Sea Due To Cyclone Hidaya

With the first cyclone Hidaya brewing over the East Coast of Africa, the Kwale county government has issued an advisory for fishermen not to venture into sea.

Usually, incessant rain and strong winds force the marine fisher folks to halt their activities in the sea until the situation of bad weather stabilises.

Governor Fatuma Achani issued the advisory for fishermen appealing to them not to venture into the sea during the period of the cyclone.

Achani also issued a warning against visiting seaside villages to avoid any weather-induced dangerous occurrences.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, a tropical cyclone also referred to as a hurricane or typhoon is a rapidly rotating storm that begins over tropical oceans.

Tropical Cyclone Hidaya is said to have developed over the South Indian Ocean, east of Tanzania and northeast of Comoros, on Wednesday, May 1. It was designated the name ‘Hidaya’ by the Meteo France La Reunion, with forecast models tracking it west-northwestward between May 2-4
, 2024.

Achani says the coastal counties are usually hit by bad weather and so the devolved government took the threat of the cyclone extremely seriously and made sure the right measures are in place to mitigate its impact.

Governor Achani says as the coastal region braces itself for the storm Kwale is not sitting ducks but added that experts now say the typhoon may not be as bad as initially thought.

However she said local marine fisher folks are strongly advised not to venture into the sea during the period of Cyclone Hidaya.

With the news of the cyclone Hidaya approaching the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu, a large number of fishermen have anchored their boats and fishing trawlers at harbours and jetties.

With the Kenya Meteorological Department advising the fishermen not to venture into the sea many of them have returned to the shore following the cyclone warning.

The coastal county boss says the Kwale disaster management committee has been activated to handle any situation and
ready with assistance if required.

‘The disaster committee will keep regular watch over the weather patterns and be in touch with the relevant authorities to handle any situation,’ she said.

She said the multi-stakeholder disaster committee has reviewed its preparedness in view of the impending cyclone hidaya in the East coast of Africa.

A local fisher folk representative in the fishing seaside village of Shimoni Omar Abdalla says hundreds of fishing boats have already been anchored following the unprecedented cyclone warning.

‘We depend on the sea for our daily earnings but the news of the cyclone warning forced us not to venture into the sea,’ he said.

Flash floods and heavy rains in the country that began in the middle of March have killed more than 200 people according to the Interior Ministry.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Wajir County Takes Proactive Steps Ahead Of Forecasted Heavy Rains

Wajir County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo has announced comprehensive measures to address potential flooding in the region in a move to safeguard the residents from potential disaster.

Speaking after a County Steering Group (CSG) meeting at a Wajir hotel, Commissioner Ngumo emphasized the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Ngumo highlighted forecasts from the Kenya Meteorological Department indicating heavy rains expected between Friday and Sunday.

‘Certain parts of this county might experience heavy rains resulting in floods, and we have mapped out those areas,’ stated Ngumo.

Moreover, he outlined plans to identify water bodies prone to overflow during heavy rainfall.

‘We have equally mapped out the big water bands we have that are likely to overflow in case we experience heavy rains,’ he added.

He said that local authorities are actively engaging with residents to ensure timely response and community awareness.

‘Ward administrators, chiefs, and ACCs are on the grounds sensitizing the pe
ople that they might be required to move to other areas if by tomorrow we see that the situation might get out of hand,’ Ngumo explained.

Wajir Deputy Governor (DG) Ahmed Muhumed echoed the CC’s sentiments, emphasizing the need for proactive intervention.

‘As we assess the situation today and focus on what might be in the future, we are drawing up interventions and mitigative measures to reduce potential disasters,’ stated the DG.

Reflecting on previous challenges faced during flood incidents, the Deputy Governor stressed the importance of access to affected areas.

‘Access to sites mainly affected by floods has been a major challenge in past seasons,’ the DG noted, highlighting the necessity for expediting road construction projects.

The Deputy Governor at the same time emphasized the need for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to prevent a recurrence of past challenges.

‘We are calling on the national government to expedite the construction of critical roads and urging all stakeholders to sync
hronise their efforts for maximum productivity,’ the DG emphasised.

While Wajir County remains free from flash floods, the authorities are maintaining vigilance and readiness.

‘Anything could happen between now and the forecasted heavy rains, and it is a call for all actors, stakeholders, partners, and the business community to assemble their energies for optimum preparedness,’ said the Deputy Governor.

Source: Kenya News Agency

ODM Party Postpones Kwale Elections To Avert Fallout

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) national election board has temporarily postponed Kwale grassroots election which was to be held this weekend to avert a fall out.

The party national elections coordinating committee chairperson Emily Awita downplayed tensions in the party in the county saying the postponement was due to the ongoing rains in the area.

Ms Awita in a press statement said they had received a request to temporarily postpone the much-anticipated weekend county polls as they assess the situation assuring that the polls will be held when the current rains subside.

She said the grassroots Kwale poll postponement which comes after weeks of tension and uncertainty offer party adherents and officials the opportunity to enhance party elections integrity.

The move to postpone the weekend exercise comes barely a day after a failed attempt by the party to reconcile two warring factions and to reach a consensus.

Efforts by Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo to have former Kwale County Woman Representativ
e Zuleikha Hassan and incumbent party chairman who is also former Matuga MP Hassan Mwanyoha to come to a consensus flopped during a closed-door meeting at a Mombasa hotel.

Madzayo was dispatched by ODM headquarters and pitched a tent in Mombasa County to reconcile the two factions before the party grassroots polls got underway but his efforts failed.

The long serving Kilifi Senator says the ODM top brass sanctioned the reconciliation talks in order to avert fallout over the Kwale party chairmanship post where leading aspirants have been pulling in different directions.

Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council (KEMNAC) Chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao is considered as a third force ahead of the postponed county grassroots polls.

Zuleikha who is also a former ODM nominated MP confirmed there was an attempt to reconcile her with incumbent Mwanyoha but things never worked out.

She was addressing the media when she launched ‘ODM county team fresh’ with an aim to revive the party leadership from the grassroots level w
ith a new team in place.

The former Kwale Woman Rep spoke to the media at Mazeras primary school in Kinango sub county of Kwale.

Zuleikha told the press the flopped reconciliation talks was to have her step down for the second time in favour of Mwanyoha which she said she is not ready to contemplate.

During the press briefing Zuleikha was accompanied by ODM Kinango sub county chairman Safari Nyange and ODM Msambweni sub county chairman Kassim Choka.

Source: Kenya News Agency

A Bill To Exempt Parents With Disabled Children From Paying Income Tax In Offing

Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura has promised to lobby for passing of the disability bill which is before the parliament to propagate better welfare of people with disabilities.

The bill if enacted into law, Mwaura said, will see parents of children with disabilities exempted from paying income taxes.

He observed that parents are over burdened by the needs and special care their disabled children require thus the need to be exempted from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax.

Speaking on Friday at Muriranjas Hospital of Murang’a where he led distribution of assistive devices to scores of persons with disabilities, Mwaura remarked that the bill has overstayed in the parliament adding he will lobby to ensure it sails through and be assented into law.

‘We have a bill in parliament which advocates for the welfare of persons with disabilities. Currently, those with disabilities are exempted from PAYE but the Bill proposes that parents of children with disabilities also be exempted from paying the income tax.

‘It’s u
nfortunate some parents are held back from taking care of their children with disabilities and also struggle to afford some items needed for their upkeep,’ stated Mwaura during a function that was organised by the spouse of Murang’a governor Mary Wambui Kang’ata.

The spokesperson further said the government has set aside Sh100 million to support parents of children with developmental disability with some basic needs.

‘Parents with children with autism among other forms of disabilities who need extra care like diapers are slated to benefit from the set aside Sh100 million,’ he added.

Mwaura promised to champion for the welfare of the people with disabilities so as to benefit greatly from various government services.

He lauded Murang’a county government for establishing two model therapy centres to avail physiotherapy for children with disabilities.

Speaking at the same occasion, Murang’a governor Irungu Kang’ata said the county has a high number of people with disabilities and thus a high need of assistiv
e devices.

He promised that his administration will be issuing assistive devices every year to those with disabilities so as to help them in their daily lives.

‘We established a therapy centre at Kirwarwa hospital last year, today we have launched another here at Muriranjas hospital and we will continue establishing the centres in every constituency so as to assist children and people with disabilities to access physiotherapy services,’ he added.

Assessment of those with disabilities, Kang’ata said, will be taken to villages so as to relieve the disabled from traveling for long distances to be assessed.

Director of Ahadi Trust Kenya Stanley Kamau averred that his organisation will continue to support persons with disabilities in the county.

Dr Kamau, who presented some assistive devices, asked the government to consider supporting parents of children with disabilities by including them in the cash transfer programme.

‘Parents with disabled children need to be included in the cash transfer programme. The
y also need to be registered in the Social Health Insurance Fund for free. The parents suffer a lot as they are unable to look for employment since they are committed to look after their children,’ noted Kamau.

During the occasion, assistive devices worth more than Sh1 million were issued to persons with disabilities drawn from various parts of the county.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Ruiru ICT Hub Empowers Youth In Kiambu County

Around two thousand youth in Ruiru, Kiambu County, are set to receive training from the government’s Jitume Digital Empowerment Program, which focuses on providing online job opportunities.

Area MP Simon King’ara, in partnership with eMobilis a digital training skills company, initiated the digital empowerment Programme to provide computer access to residents of the constituency.

The program was officially launched at the Ruiru ICT Hub, which currently houses 200 computers, with a goal of expanding the initiative to all eight wards within the constituency.

Recognizing the difficulties of finding formal employment, the legislator encouraged youth in the region to consider signing up for the free Jitume training Programme.

During the launch ceremony at Biashara ward, Mr Kingara expressed that the hub would support the government’s initiative to modernize business practices through technology.

‘We officially began our five-day online training and mentorship Programme today where we were able to enroll hundr
eds of young people from Ruiru. This training is aimed at equipping young people with Digital and Online Work Skills to enable them access dignified work and earn a decent income from Internet Freelancing and Digital Economy.’

‘The ICT sector offers young people the opportunity to earn up to Sh200,000 in salary through technology that benefits the individuals and provides them with means for supporting their families,’ he said.

During the training programme, participants will learn about Content Writing, Virtual Assistance, introduction to Digital and Digitally Enabled work, creating a Personal Digital Profile, Online Work Safety and Data Protection, and Soft Skills. Following the completion of the modules, participants will also receive virtual mentorship for a period of 4 weeks.

The MP also pledged to increase the number of computers at the Biashara ward hub from 200 to 500 desktops.

Those who are participating in the training are pleased with the initiative, as they see the potential for it to create n
ew opportunities for using the internet in a productive way.

Joyce Wangeci, a resident of Ruiru, expressed her goal to shift from using the internet for entertainment to using it for business purposes.

‘I tend to spend a lot of hours on social media entertaining myself, but I now want to learn how to use the same social media to make money. I want to start an online boutique business and this is the perfect opportunity to learn how. I am especially grateful for the mentorship that will come after the training,’ she explained.

They however pointed out the ongoing problem of unreliable internet connections in various locations and urged for the widespread accessibility of Wi-Fi, urging the government to enhance connectivity in both urban and rural regions.

In January last year the government promised to establish a digital hub in each of Kenya’s 1,450 wards in an ambitious project set to spur digital trade.

Source: Kenya News Agency

NCCK Applauds State’s Move To Postpone Schools Reopening

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Coast Region has commended President William Ruto’s directive to have schools remain closed until further notice due to the ongoing floods that have caused devastating effects in various parts of the country.

In a press statement during their 14th Regional Conference on Friday in Kilifi, NCCK Coast region chairperson Bishop Dr Peter Mweru expressed the need for the Ministry of Education to thoroughly assess the condition of all schools in the country before allowing learners to resume their studies.

‘We thus urge the Ministry of Education to prioritise the safety of learners by facilitating a thorough assessment of all learning facilities similar to the ongoing review of dams. Let there be a comprehensive report on the state of schools to avoid unnecessary risks and to inform necessary repairs,’ Bishop Mweru stated.

He added that even though the directive left most parents unsure of when their children will resume learning, it is better than risking reopenin
g schools on Monday with the current weather patterns which have been predicted to only get worse in the coming days.

While lauding the railway corporation’s move to extend the usage of Madaraka express tickets for students and their accompanying guardians, the cleric called upon bus companies to follow that example and offer the necessary support during this period.

‘I would also like to ask the bus companies and other transport stakeholders to offer the necessary support needed during this period and lighten the financial burden on parents, ‘Bishop Mweru urged.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Machakos University Holds Its 8th Graduation Ceremony

The Machakos University on Friday conducted its 8th graduation ceremony that saw close to 1,222 students attain degrees in different courses.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu in a speech read on his behalf by the Secretary Administration in the Ministry of Education Fredrick Ndambuki, acknowledged the university’s emphasis on technology focused courses.

Machogu commended the University for the Increase in enrollment of students which has gone up from 8,253 to 11,685 in the last four years.

He further commended the University for its Commitment in providing transformative scholarship by training competent professionals in technical fields of Maths, Science, Engineering and Technology.

The CS called on the university to strengthen its teaching and training so as to attract more students.

‘I encourage higher education institutions to maintain higher standards of academic excellence and production of socially impactful research that will promote social economic transformation of our communities,’
said Machogu

Machakos County Secretary and Head of Public Service Muya Ndambuki, acknowledged the mutual relationship between the county and the University and assured the students that the county is putting in place policies and structures that will empower the youth in various ways.

Mr Muya urged the students to face the future with confidence as they prepare for the work ahead of them.

Machakos University Vice Chancellor Professor Joyce Agalo said the university was committed through its teaching, training, research and innovation to community service for sustainable industrial socio-economic transformation.

She hailed the students for their achievements and urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university as they start their new phase in life.

‘It takes a village to educate a child and that’s why we are gathered here to celebrate your achievements,’ said Prof Agalo.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kisumu County Collaborates With Partners To Aid Flood-Affected Families

Kisumu County Government in partnership with the Safaricom Foundation and Kenya Red Cross Society has distributed family relief kits in the continuing effort towards supporting vulnerable households affected by floods in Nyando Sub-County.

At least 14,060 individuals in the Lakeside County have been affected by the floods forcing them to evacuate their residences.

The floods were triggered by heavy rains causing an overflow into Lake Victoria leading to a backflow of water that submerged the locals’ homes.

In response to this crisis, Kisumu County Government’s Department of Special Programmes and Disaster Management in collaboration with partners and the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs), organised a food distribution initiative at Nduru Secondary School in Kadibo Sub County on Friday.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager at Kenya Red Cross, Venant Ndighila noted that the collaborative effort aims to alleviate the immediate hardships faced by affected families and contribute to th
eir recovery from the devastating impact of the floods.

During the distribution exercise, 442 households from the Kadhiambo area were provided with essential food items including maize flour, salt, green grams, and cooking oil. Plan International also donated two mobile toilets to promote hygiene at the evacuation centres.

The Chairman of the Safaricom Foundation, Joseph Ogutu, highlighted the importance of collaboration and taking a proactive approach to offering aid and support to communities in distress, especially as they navigate the aftermath of the floods.

The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Public Service, County Administrations, and Participatory Development, Mrs Judith Oluoch, issued a plea to the community members urging them to relocate to safer areas to mitigate the risk of additional flood damage.

Meanwhile, Governor Anyang Nyong’o on Wednesday issued an appeal to people of goodwill and well-wishers to contribute food, non-food items, and funds to enhance the support efforts for
the displaced families.

‘We appeal to well-wishers to come and help us assist these displaced families. Anyone with food and nonfood items should contact the CECM for Public Service, County Administration and Participatory Development,’ he appealed.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Government Orders Immediate Closure Of Quarries, Sand Mines In Bomet

In response to the heightened risk posed by heavy rainfall that the Country is currently facing, the government has issued a directive for the immediate closure of quarries and sand mines across Bomet County.

Led by Bomet County Commissioner Omar Ahmed and key county officials, a joint disaster team has taken swift action to ensure the safety of residents and workers in these mines.

The order, which was announced during a press briefing held at quarries in Kyogong, orders the cessation of all quarrying and sand harvesting activities within the county.

Dr Omar Ahmed emphasised the urgency of the situation, highlighting the potential danger of cave-ins due to the ongoing heavy rains.

‘We have suspended any quarrying/sand harvesting activities within Bomet County to avert any tragedy that might result from the mines caving in as a result of the heavy rains we are experiencing in the country,’ stated Dr Ahmed.

Dr Kipng’etich Kirui, the Bomet County CECM for administration, reaffirmed the county government’s
commitment to enforcing the closure order in collaboration with the security team.

This concerted effort aims to prevent disasters and safeguard the well-being of individuals working in and around the quarries.

Furthermore, a report from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has shed light on the non-compliance of several quarry and sand mining sites in Bomet County with environmental regulations.

The statement issued by the County Director of Environment at NEMA emphasised the serious environmental and public health concerns associated with the continued operation of these illegal sites amidst the current weather conditions.

‘The continued operation of these illegal sites compounded with the current environmental situations triggered by the enhanced rainfall pose a serious environmental and public health concern to the users and the general public,’ read part of the statement from NEMA.

In light of these findings, owners of quarries and sand harvesting sites across the county have been ur
ged to regularise their mining activities with relevant government agencies.

‘This step is essential for ensuring compliance with environmental management and coordination regulations and promoting responsible mining practices,’ the statement further read.

Source: Kenya News Agency