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Zanzibar Social Security Fund

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Google robots, iPhone trackers – which sci-fi movie is coming true?


When Google (GOOG) bought Boston Dynamics a few weeks ago, the public got a look the amazing robot maker’s Atlas model. I think almost everyone had the same pop-culture tinged thought though: the terminators are coming.


That’s, of course, a reference to the 1980s film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer robot sent from the future by an artificially intelligent, humanity-hating supercomputer known as Skynet.
That make us think: Which dystopian Sci-fi movie (preferably with killer robots) is coming true the quickest?


It may not be "The Terminator" -- last time I looked, we hadn’t given control of the nuclear launch codes to any computers and I’ve yet to see a robot that can ride a Harley.
A couple of other movies similarly saw bits and pieces of their fictional plots and technologies coming true.


Apple’s (AAPL) iBeacons let retailers know who you are and track you around their stores and they're just as creepy as individualized mall ads in "Minority Report." But self-driving cars aren’t for sale yet and pre-crime arrests remain a Rudy Giuliani fantasy.


Another robot firm called Knightscope built a little security droid dubbed K5 that looks like something out of Star Wars, or with the climate going to hell, maybe more like "Wall-E." Jeff Bezos’ drone fleet seems kind of Pixar-ish as well.


The U.S. Army ordered up some super powered battle suits that could have come off the drawing board of fictional billionaire playboy Tony Stark, but Ironman’s much too comic book to count as dystopian sci-fi.


The recent movie "Her" starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man falling in love with a Siri-like talking operating system also hits close to home. But the movie is too close to the current day and it's not even original — the hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory" ran an episode almost two years ago where a character fell in love with Siri.






No, the real winner in the scary fantasy come true sweepstakes in 2013 is that Stanley Kubrick classic, "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Remember Hal 9000? The talking supercomputer that can suffocate astronauts on a whim and refuse to open the pod bay doors?


2013 was the year that Siri got a male voice and new abilities to control more of our smartphone lives. AT&T (T) introduced a smartphone-run security system called Digital Life that gives the phone control over door locks, lights, even the plumbing. The whole crazy “Internet of Things” movement to put everything under network control seems tailor made for Hal.


Let’s remember not to teach the supercomputers to sing Bicycle Built for two.

Machar accuses Uganda of fuelling South Sudan conflict


Former South Sudan vice president Riek Machar has accused President Museveni of fuelling fighting in the war-ravaged country.

Former South Sudan vice president Riek Machar has accused President Museveni of fuelling fighting in the war-ravaged country. PHOTO BY AFP 
By RICHARD WANAMBWA & AGENCIES

In Summary
Former South Sudan vice president, whose forces have recaptured Bor, accuses Uganda of fuelling the fighting in the world’s youngest nation by sending soldiers and war planes in support of Salvar Kiir.


KAMPALA/JUBA
South Sudan’s former vice president Riek Machar has responded to President Museveni, accusing Uganda of fuelling the fighting in the world’s youngest nation. “We call upon the AU (African Union) and the IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) to restrain the Ugandan government from fuelling the conflict by sending troops and war planes in support of the government of Salva Kiir,” a statement released to media said.

Dr Machar also welcomed regional calls for an end to the ongoing armed conflict even as forces loyal to him announced yesterday that they had re-captured the strategic city of Bor in Jonglei state.
Amidst unconfirmed reports of spreading ethnic killings, Dr Machar’s response came in the wake of Tuesday’s deadline for a ceasefire demanded by IGAD leaders at Friday’s Nairobi summit.

While in Juba on Monday, Mr Museveni warned Dr Machar to either agree to the ceasefire or face collective military action from IGAD member states. The rebels now say they are willing to talk, observing in their statement carried by the Sudan Tribune newspaper yesterday that: “We are ready to ceasefire immediately to stop the bloodletting once the government of Salva Kiir reciprocates.”

A seven-member body comprising Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, IGAD is taking a lead role in trying to end the conflict through dialogue.



But Dr Machar’s group said in their statement that IGAD’s efforts could be compromised by the actions of the Ugandan army. “If not stopped, the UPDF’s aggression may compromise IGAD attempt to remain instrumental and neutral in bringing an end to the crisis in South Sudan,” the statement said.

Uganda government response
State House sources yesterday took the view that the South Sudan rebel forces are missing the point. Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi told the Daily Monitor that Dr Machar was misguided in attacking Mr Museveni in person.

Mr Mirundi said Dr Machar should have instead directed his response to IGAD which sent the Ugandan leader to Juba. “The President was conveying an IGAD message, Machar never attended that meeting and so Museveni was representing. However, the Rwanda genocide taught the world and the international community a lesson and therefore, they can’t just sit and watch when people are being massacred,” Mr Mirundi said.

“Taking on Museveni as a person will not help, it should be the summit telling Museveni that what you said while in Juba wasn’t what we told you to convey but not Machar,” he added. Thousands of people are reported to have either died or been displaced in the conflict which has taken on ethnic undertones, pitting the Dinka tribesmates of Mr Salva Kiir against Dr Machar’s Nuer people.

Mr Museveni on Monday is reported to have told journalists upon arrival in Juba that “we gave him (Machar) four days and agreed that if he doesn’t comply with the agreement, then we shall have to go for him.”

CONCERN OVER DETAINED POLITICIANS
Dr Riek Machar said he was committed to peaceful means of resolving the conflict. He, however, expressed concerns about the safety of several senior politicians detained by Mr Salva Kiir when the fighting broke out on December 15. “We call on AU and IGAD Assembly of heads of state and government to bring pressure to bear on the government of Salva Kiir to release unconditionally all the eleven politicians detained in Juba,” the statement reads.

Mr Machar and his group maintained that the conflict was not a coup attempt, describing government allegations to that effect as “not acceptable”.

Keep off Kenya affairs, Raila tells Museveni


Raila Odinga. File Photo 
By Yasiin Mugerwa & Emmanuel Ainebyoona

Posted  Monday, December 30   2013 at  02:00
In Summary
Response. Mr Tamale Mirundi, the President’s spokesperson, says Mr Museveni was only thanking Kenyans for voting against the wish of western powers not Raila Odinga.


KAMPALA.
State House yesterday hit back at Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga who asked President Museveni to stop meddling in Kenya’s internal affairs.




President Museveni’s spokesperson, Mr Tamale Mirundi, accused the former Kenyan Premier of trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, saying “the President does not meddle in the affairs of other nations unless the situation warrants his intervention”.

While in Kenya early this month during celebrations to mark Kenya’s 50 years of independence, President Museveni thanked Kenyans for voting against the wish of “Western imperialism”.
However, despite his disclaimer for not interfering in Kenya’s domestic affairs, Mr Odinga took offence.

Misunderstanding
Speaking at a memorial service in Butangi, Busia County [Kenya] at the weekend, Mr Odinga urged Mr Museveni to desist from Kenyan internal affairs.



“A very irresponsible statement was made during the 50th day celebrations, a very solemn occasion when the President of Uganda said Kenyans voted against imperial dictation that Kenyans rejected what they were being asked to do at the polls and even liken this election to a second Mau Mau revolution,” Mr Odinga said.



He added: “He implied that those people who were running those election were being sponsored by some foreign powers.”

The Kenyan opposition leader said Kenyans did not need advice from President Museveni.
“Kenyans know what they want, they know their leaders and they know what they want. They know what they want and they vote according to their choices. They do not need any kind of advice from him,” Mr Odinga said.




Mr Odinga lost the presidential race to Uhuru Kenyatta in the March 4 polls.

Kenyan man in UK who murdered wife arraigned in court

Mr Richard Otunga with his wife Shamim Gabriel and daughter.

Mr Richard Otunga with his wife Shamim Gabriel and daughter.  
By Chris Wamalwa
The Kenyan community in the United Kingdom is still trying to come to terms with the shocking reports that a man of Kenyan descent had allegedly brutally murdered his wife.

Reports circulating on social media on Sunday indicated that a Kenyan man identified as Richard Otunga of Northolt, West London had allegedly stabbed his wife Shamim Gabriel to death in front of their six-year old daughter.

On Tuesday morning, Richard Otunga, 37, appeared before the Ealing Magistrates court sitting in Uxbridge and was remanded in custody pending hearing of the case later in 2014.

He was charged that on 29th December this year, he killed his wife, Shamim Gabriel. The offence was allegedly committed at their home in Northolt area, West London.

It was reported that the couples daughter called the police for help through the 999 emergency number as the killer dad was on phone bragging to his father-in-law of how he had killed the daughter after a domestic quarrel.

According to a Facebook post by Joe Ngugi, a Kenyan resident of London, the Police who arrived at the scene within minutes found the woman already dead

Mr Ngugi said Mr Otunga who was immediately arrested was being detained at a local police station for interrogation.

Cases of domestic violence within the Kenyan Diaspora community have been on the rise in the recent past.

Acts of family violence, drug and alcohol abuse and suicides have become common occurrences within the Diaspora community.

Keter says URP mates asking him to shut up

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter. He has claimed that colleagues in URP are urging him to tone down his criticism of the government. The disgruntled first-term MP expressed shock at last week’s parastatal appointments by President Kenyatta, saying it was a continuation of what has been happening since the March election. PHOTO/FILE

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter. He has claimed that colleagues in URP are urging him to tone down his criticism of the government. The disgruntled first-term MP expressed shock at last week’s parastatal appointments by President Kenyatta, saying it was a continuation of what has been happening since the March election. PHOTO/FILE 
By TIMOTHY KEMEI
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Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter has claimed that colleagues in URP are urging him to tone down his criticism of the government.

Speaking at Tiritaab Moita in Bureti, Kericho County, at the weekend, Mr Keter declared that so long as URP was treated unfairly in the coalition, he would not relent even if it were a lone battle.
“Some people are telling me to lie low and wait for Mr William Ruto’s time to form the government in the same manner former President Moi did during the Jomo Kenyatta regime, but I disagree.
I will not relent until we have our rightful share of benefits,” he said.

He accused President Kenyatta’s The National Alliance of designating itself the senior partner in Jubilee, relegating Mr Ruto’s URP to a spectator.

The disgruntled first-term MP expressed shock at last week’s parastatal appointments by President Kenyatta, saying it was a continuation of what has been happening since the March election.
He said URP had little to show for being in government.

“We are holding the horns of the cow while others are milking it,” he said.
Mr Keter also revisited the issue of the Sh1.2 trillion Nairobi-Kampala railway, insisting that Kenya had lost Sh400 billion in what he says was a flawed tender.

He also demanded the removal of more than 10 senior government officials whom he has accused of “fixing” Deputy President Ruto at the ICC.
“Now the government wants to retrench 100,000 people to reduce Sh30B from its wage bill.
That means if we are to recover the Sh400B lost in the tender, more than one million people could lose their jobs,” he warned.

He laughed off an alleged plan by some leaders in Jubilee to hold countrywide rallies to denounce him and portray him as a gun for hire paid off by enemies of the ruling coalition.
He said such a move would be a waste as many people had already began to agree with him that things were not right in the coalition.

“It is not true that I am trying to break Jubilee apart.
I am just stating the truths,” he said.
This came as the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Kericho County branch Secretary Daniel Chumo threw his weight behind the presidential appointments and called on Kenyans across the nation to allow the president perform his constitutional duties in peace.

Mr Chumo also defended Amb Muthaura’s appointment to head LAPSSET saying the former head of civil service will bring a lot of experience on board and was equal to the task he was given.
“Teachers in Kericho County fully support President Kenyatta.

We are calling on people to stop politicizing the whole appointment issue because playing petty politics will not help Kenya in any way,” noted Mr Chumo.
However, he called on the President to give Kericho more jobs, noting that the single appointment from the county was not adequate for a region that had supported the president overwhelmingly during the last general election.

Former medical Superintendent of the Kapkatet District Hospital Dr Kenneth Sigilai, who was appointed to chair the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company, hails from the Bureti Sub-County.

Muslim leaders back Uhuru appointments

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) secretary-general Adan Wachu. He said the recent appointments of parastatal heads by President Kenyatta should not raise eyebrows as parastatal chairpersons were not involved in the day to day running of the organisations. PHOTO/FILE

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) secretary-general Adan Wachu. He said the recent appointments of parastatal heads by President Kenyatta should not raise eyebrows as parastatal chairpersons were not involved in the day to day running of the organisations. PHOTO/FILE 
By LUCAS BARASA
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Muslim leaders have thrown their weight behind President Kenyatta’s recent appointments of parastatal heads.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) secretary-general Adan Wachu said the appointments should not raise eyebrows as parastatal chairpersons were not involved in the day to day running of the organisations.

“Supkem urges Kenyans to embrace one another as we cross into 2014.
We support President Kenyatta’s appointments as parastatal chairpersons only hold ceremonial positions,” Mr Wachu said.

“We call on Kenyans to recognise and accept the appointing authority,” he added.
He, however, said the Head of State should ensure regional balance when appointing chief executives.

“The people of Lamu, Mombasa, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo, Turkana and Marsabit, where the Lapsset project passes, must be in managerial positions,” Mr Wachu said.
The appointments of the 26 parastatal heads has come under immense criticism, with leaders saying women and youth were short-changed and that regional diversity was ignored.
Meanwhile, two MPs from Narok County have joined the wave of criticism against the last week’s appointments.

Narok Senator Stephen ole Ntutu and Narok South MP Korei ole Lemein wondered why professionals from the region were not considered yet they voted for Jubilee in the March 4 election.
“These state jobs should reflect the face of Kenya and Narok County is entitled to a share of the national cake,” said Mr Lemein.

He said it is sad that the Government continues to marginalize the region in terms of jobs distribution in the government.

The president through a special Kenya Gazette appointed 26 heads of parastatals sparking protests from various communities which have alleged a plot by the Government to marginalize them.
Ntutu said, to appreciate the Narok residents, the jubilee government should employ professionals from the County.

He alleged that there was a scheme by the government to sack Mark ole Karbolo as the Portland cement company chairman.

“We will not accept such scheme if the aim of the government was to remove our professionals from such positions,” said Ntutu.

Lemein urged President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Rutto to appoint elites from the region and urged the local leaders to come together regardless of their political affiliations to develop the area

Centum the best performer as NSE records new high

Centum’s chief executive officer James Mworia. PHOTO/FILE

Centum’s chief executive officer James Mworia. PHOTO/FILE 
By JOSHUA MASINDE
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Shareholders of investment firm Centum closed the year nearly three times richer as the company topped the best performers’ list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in 2013.
The share price on the counter surged 167 per cent to Sh33 as the curtain fell on 2013, compared with Sh12.35 as at the end of 2012.

Overall, the bourse closed higher than last year, with the NSE 20 share index, the measures of performance of the most traded firms on the bourse, rising by 19.2 per cent to close at 4926.97 points, compared with 4133.02 points posted at the close of 2012.

Equity turnover, on the other hand, rose by 80 per cent to Sh155 billion from Sh86 billion posted in 2012. Annual trading volumes increased by 40.7 per cent to 7.6 billion shares from 5.4 billion shares posted in 2012.

Centum was in the news much of 2013 year, owing to announcements on acquisitions or proposed acquisitions of other companies, a move that has seen strong investor appetite on the counter.
“There has been a lot of corporate activity on the counter. There have been announcements on acquisitions and proposed acquisitions of other firms, which have seen the share price go up,” said Mr Mika Davis, an analyst at Contrarian Investing.

The latest move was the revelation of a Sh5 billion war chest to buy out Rea Vipingo Plantations. This followed an earlier bid of Sh3 billion being outmatched by Bid Investments, which said it would offer Sh3.3 billion to acquire the sisal firm.
The firm, which has interest in real estate sector and investments listed on the stock market, acquired a 45 per cent stake in Platcorp in 2012, with plans of venturing into East Africa’s financial services sector.

This was in addition to a move to acquire a 73.35 per cent in Genesis, an investment management services firm that manages funds worth over Sh100 billion.
Shareholders of other firms including Britam, Liberty Holdings, Pan Africa Insurance, Safaricom, Carbacid, CFC Stanbic, Housing Finance and Athi River Mining also saw the value of their shares more than doubling in 2013.

“Investment companies like Centum, TransCentury, Carbacid and insurance companies like Britam have recently shifted gears, with ambitious investment strategies in real estate, oil and gas, mining, agribusiness, tourism and infrastructure.

This has led to renewed interest in these firms by the investment community as they seek to be part of the expected growth opportunities,” noted Mr Samuel Gichohi, NIC Securities business development manager.

Mumias Sugar closed the year as the worst performing counter, with the share price declining by 32 per cent to Sh3.25 per share, compared with Sh4.85 at the end of 2012.
The firm has been hit by a series of setbacks, including recording the lowest sugar production level in five years. It has also been hit by cane poaching from rival millers, declining quality of cane and diminishing cane acreage in its growing zone in western Kenya.

Scangroup was the second worst performer of the year even as the firm, in December, announced the completion of a Sh1.8 billion deal that would see it acquired by WPP, a global communications firm.
It reported disappointing results in the first half of 2013 with profit after tax falling to Sh43 million in the six months to June 2013, compared with Sh403 million reported in the same period last year.
The firm’s share price declined by 29.56 per cent at the end of 2013 to Sh48.25 per share from Sh68.5 recorded at the end of 2012.

The bonds market closed 2013 on a low note, having declined 14.5 per cent to Sh453 billion compared with Sh530 billion posted at the end of 2012, according to the NSE report.
Market capitalisation rose by 51.2 per cent to Sh1.92 trillion as at the end of 2013, compared with Sh1.27 trillion posted at close of 2012.

200,000 to miss Form One places

Jonathan Koskei from St Marys school, Nairobi celebrates with his teachers and relatives after the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. He scored 442 marks out of 500 ranking him position 3 Nationally and 1 in Nairobi. He is among the lucky candidates who will secure a place in Form One. Only candidates who scored more than 200 marks are assured of space in the 6,163 secondary schools available in the country. PHOTO/ANN KAMONI

Jonathan Koskei from St Marys school, Nairobi celebrates with his teachers and relatives after the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. He scored 442 marks out of 500 ranking him position 3 Nationally and 1 in Nairobi. He is among the lucky candidates who will secure a place in Form One. Only candidates who scored more than 200 marks are assured of space in the 6,163 secondary schools available in the country. PHOTO/ANN KAMONI  NATION
By MARYANNE GICOBI
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Close to 200,000 candidates who sat the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam will miss Form One places when the selection starts in two weeks time.
Only candidates who scored more than 200 marks are assured of space in the 6,163 secondary schools available in the country.

While releasing the results Tuesday, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi urged candidates who will miss space to join vocational schools.

Competition for national schools still remains tight even after elevation of 27 county schools to that category as Prof Kaimenyi put on hold their selection of top candidates until this year (2014).
This also means that the number joining the 78 national schools will remain 16,000 like last year’s.
The selection that is set to start on January 14, 2014 will begin with national schools, which admit students from all parts of the country.

County and district schools will follow.
40 per cent of the slots in county schools will be reserved for candidates from the schools’ host counties, a further 40 per cent for candidates from other counties and 20 per cent for candidates from the host district.

There are five schools that are allowed to select their new students before the actual selection date.
These are Starehe Boys Centre, Starehe Girls, Moi Forces Academy Nairobi, Moi Forces Lanet and Utumishi Academy.

Vacancies in these schools are preferentially given to candidates from humble backgrounds and those whose parents serve in the uniformed forces and the public service.

The top boy and girl in each county will automatically join their national schools of choice.
The selection will still use the contentious system them favours candidates from public schools.
This system allows public schools, which register the majority of candidates, to take the lion’s share of slots in national schools.

Candidates from private academies who wish to join these prestigious schools are required to score top marks.
All candidates are allowed to choose four national schools when registering for their KCPE examinations.

They also choose three county schools. Of these, two must be from within their counties, while one is selected from other regions.
Schools are required to take up 45 new students per stream.
When releasing the results, Prof Kaimenyi said this year’s transition rate would be higher than previous years— at 70 per cent.

Vocational training the future for our youths

Jonathan Koskei from St Marys school, Nairobi celebrates with his teachers and relatives after the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. He scored 442 marks out of 500 ranking him position 3 Nationally and 1 in Nairobi. He is among the lucky candidates who will secure a place in Form One. Only candidates who scored more than 200 marks are assured of space in the 6,163 secondary schools available in the country. PHOTO/ANN KAMONI

Jonathan Koskei from St Marys school, Nairobi celebrates with his teachers and relatives after the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. He scored 442 marks out of 500 ranking him position 3 Nationally and 1 in Nairobi. He is among the lucky candidates who will secure a place in Form One. Only candidates who scored more than 200 marks are assured of space in the 6,163 secondary schools available in the country. PHOTO/ANN KAMONI  NATION
Last year’s Standard Eight pupils mark the New Year today with a different story of their life. They received their results yesterday and for those who excelled, it’s a sweet New Year gift and we congratulate them for their performance.

But that is not to say this is the end of the road for those who did not score high marks. The exams are a means of selection as they are a tool for testing subject mastery.

As far as selection is concerned, the top performers will transit to secondary schools and start a different cycle in their academic life. The challenge is for those who do not make it.
Quite often, the discourse has been that the education system should provide alternatives so that those who are not academically inclined can join institutions offering practical training.

In reality, our society is still captive to the notion that it is only through passing national examinations that one can succeed. Faulty as that may be, little has been done to change that perception.
Although alternatives are available in vocational training institutions, commonly known as youth polytechnics, these have suffered serious decay, leading to loss of credibility.

Nothing short of an aggressive campaign complemented by massive investment in infrastructure, image branding, training curriculum, tutors and industry linkage will convince the youngsters their best bet is vocational education.

Thus, it was heartening when Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and the principal secretary in charge of science and technology, Prof Collete Suda, made a strong pitch for revitalisation of vocational training institutions, saying technical training was the way of the future

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CURRICULUM MASTERY
As always, the release of national examination results provides a chance to reflect on the status and emerging trends in education. This time round, there was a marked improvement on the overall grade attained by the best candidates, an indication of better curriculum mastery.

By and large, there was near gender balance, which shows that efforts to guarantee boys and girls equal access to basic education is bearing fruit. However, the statistics mask regional realities.
In more than 10 counties, the number of boys enrolled far outmatches that of girls, a trend that requires specific interventions.

Moreover, it emerged that a third of children who enroll in Standard One do not reach Standard Eight, meaning the education system continues to suffer serious wastage – a serious social problem that requires attention.

Cases of examination cheating rose significantly last year – from 732 in 2012 to 1,576. This is despite a new law that spells out stringent rules and imposes heavy penalties on exam cheats.
The implication is that fighting exam cheating does not necessarily mean invoking the law but also addressing fundamentals like societal values.

With the results out, the focus now is on the transition to secondary and other levels of education. Hopefully more opportunities will be made available to absorb the youngsters.

Blogs & Opinion

China’s local government debt increases

PHOTO | MARK RALSTON Goods are delivered to a store in Beijing, China. The country is the biggest consumer of energy globally and is set to beat US to the top in oil imports.  AFP
By AFP
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BEIJING, Tuesday
China has announced the results of a long-awaited debt audit, revealing that liabilities carried by local governments ballooned to 17.9 trillion yuan ($2.95 trillion, about Sh250 trillion) as of the end of June.

The figure, released by the National Audit Office (NAO) in a statement on its website, compared with 10.7 trillion yuan as of the end of 2010 — an increase of 67 per cent.
Concerns have grown over the amount of debt in the country and its potential impact on the world’s second-largest economy, and Beijing embarked on the audit in July.

Disquiet about the burden centres on borrowing by local authorities, which have long used debt to fuel economic growth in their regions, often by pursuing projects that are not economically viable or sustainable.
China’s debt problem is considered to be a serious potential drag on its economy unless steps are taken to rein it in.

The local government debt burden was generally in line with economist estimates, including one made in early October by Bank of America Merrill Lynch of 17.2 trillion yuan.
“We believe the markets and the Chinese government should be alarmed by the rapidly rising leverage, but we do not believe China is on the brink of a debt crisis, especially if the new leaders take decisive measures to arrest its rising leverage,” economist Lu Ting of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, said in a note.

Mr Lu cited the central government’s “very low” ratio of debt to gross domestic product at 21 per cent.
As almost all government debt is denominated in China’s own currency and owned domestically, “the People’s Bank of China can prevent a public debt crisis with its unlimited capability for liquidity supply”, he said.

He added that China is protected by a trove of national savings, which include $3.5 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, its central and local governments own solid assets, and the country still enjoys high economic and fiscal revenue growth.
The NAO also said that direct government liabilities at the central and local level came to 20.7 trillion won as of the end of June.

While debt has helped the investment-based economy expand strongly, economists and the government itself believe it is unsustainable and the growth model should be rebalanced towards consumer demand. (AFP)

Over 40 major projects get the nod to seek private sector funds

A section of the Thika Super Highway. Photo| FILE

A section of the Thika Super Highway. Photo| FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By JOSHUA MASINDE
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The government has approved 47 major infrastructure projects to be funded through partnerships with the private sector in a bid to seal a huge gap between public investments needs and available resources.

Faced with increasing financing pressure for both development and recurrent expenditure, which has heightened with the implementation of the devolved structure of governance, the government has had to turn to alternative sources of finances to carry out the projects.

“The government faces a substantial and expanding gap between public investments needs and available resources. The funding gap can be plugged only by bringing together capital and know-how from public and private sectors,” National Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich said in a statement published in the press on Tuesday.

In the wake of a bloated recurrent expenditure, the government currently spends only about 30 per cent of the total budget on development programmes, starving the economy of much-needed incentives to drive growth.

The government would require between Sh172 billion ($2 billion) and Sh258 billion ($3 billion) annually in the next 10 years to meet the infrastructure financing shortfall it faces.
It is the weight of this financial burden that has forced the government to exploit opportunities created by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act enacted in February 2013 as a legal instrument guiding the engagement of the private sector in infrastructure development.

The Act provides for the participation of the private sector in the financing, construction, development, operation or maintenance of public infrastructure or development projects through concession or other contractual arrangements.

Both local and international private investors will be engaged in the development of multi-billion projects spanning roads, port and airport facilities, educational institutions, energy projects to water and irrigation projects.

Mr Rotich said the 47 projects have been subjected to a series of suitability tests and have received the Cabinet’s approval to proceed for development as PPPS.
Some of the key projects up for grabs in the public private partnership arrangement include the dualling of both the Mombasa-Nairobi and Nairobi-Nakuru highways, which will be constructed and expanded to dual carriageway in the partnership.

Operation and maintenance of a 40km section of the 8–12 lane Nairobi –Thika highway will be put in private sector hands, as will the 30km Nairobi Southern bypass.
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Terminal 2, which is to have an annual passenger capacity of 12 million, will be reorganised to accommodate private sector players in its development.
The private sector has also been roped in the development of 4340 megawatt power projects starting this year. This is in a bid to meet the 5000 megawatt target the government has set to achieve in the next four years.

Private sector investors will also be involved in the development of the proposed Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) project. The project components
The Nairobi Commuter Rail station, which has been hit by a funds shortage, is also on the radar. The project will involve rehabilitation of the existing 100 kilometre railway line and doubling some sections of the rail network.

It will also involve the design and provision of rolling sock and operation of a commuter rail link between Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) and the JKIA.
The proposed construction of a 3 – 4 star transit hotel with a 150 – 200 hotel room capacity at the JKIA has also been earmarked for private sector engagement. 

On the radar is also the proposed Mombasa International Convention Centre (MICC) to accommodate large events as Kenya turns to conference tourism as part of diversifying from the beach and safari.
The Kisumu Sea Port is also to be developed into a modern commercial port to accommodate the growing trade amongst the East African Community countries.

“The PPP programme in Kenya is being promoted as a long-term programme, and not as a series of independent projects,” said the National Treasury.
Last month, Principal Secretary for infrastructure in the ministry of transport and infrastructure, Eng. John Mosonik, said there had been a lot of intricacies involved in engaging the private sector in public infrastructure projects.

But, with the PPP law in place, the private sector will be involved in the development and management of infrastructure projects across the country.

“If you look at most of these projects, we are talking of billions in terms of development and maintenance and the government is not able to finance alone,” he said.
“The bottom-line is we need very good infrastructure in this country,” he added.

Election that ended rocky power sharing deal between Kibaki, Raila

March 9, 2013: President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta with family at the Catholic University soon after being declared the fourth prsident of Kenya. The March 4, 2013 election brought to an end the rocky power-sharing arrangement between then President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. PHOTO/FILE

March 9, 2013: President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta with family at the Catholic University soon after being declared the fourth prsident of Kenya. The March 4, 2013 election brought to an end the rocky power-sharing arrangement between then President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. PHOTO/FILE 
By PETER LEFTIE
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The March 4 election brought to an end the rocky power-sharing arrangement between then President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The election saw Mr Odinga, hitherto touted as a front-runner in the presidential race, lose narrowly to Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga and his running mate, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, rejected the results and moved to the Supreme Court.
On March 30, 2013 the Supreme Court upheld Mr Kenyatta’s victory in a unanimous judgment, asserting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had conducted the polls in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner.

The historic five-minute judgment set the stage for the swearing in of the President-elect and his running mate, Mr William Ruto, on April 9.
It took Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto another nine days to release their list of ministries but it was not until April 23 that the first four nominees to the cabinet were named.

These were former banker James Macharia (Health), university lecturer Fred Matiang’i (Information and Communication), former Treasury official Henry Rotich (Treasury) and former PS Amina Abdalla (Foreign Affairs). Two days later, Mr Kenyatta named 12 more cabinet secretaries, including politicians Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala.

On April 27, the country woke to the shocking news that outspoken Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, a leading light in Mr Odinga’s Cord and one of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s fiercest critics, had been found dead at his Maanzoni ranch in Machakos County.

His death would set the stage for a bitterly contested by-election that saw Jubilee pull out all the stops to stop his daughter Kethi from succeeding him.

Ms Kilonzo had made her name during Mr Odinga’s election petition and was viewed as a front-runner to succeed her father on a Wiper ticket before former Kibwezi MP Agnes Ndetei challenged her candidature, saying she was not a registered voter.

A tribunal set up by the IEBC ruled that Ms Kilonzo was indeed not a registered voter and was ineligible to contest, forcing Cord to replace her with her brother, Mutula Kilonzo Junior.
Jubilee on the other hand “poached” former Wiper member Philip Kaloki to run on its ticket but he was whitewashed by the young Kilonzo.

The Jubilee government suffered a major credibility crisis in May when it emerged it had hired a private jet for Deputy President Ruto, at an estimated Sh100 million, to fly to Nigeria, Ghana and Central African Republic.

A few months later, President Kenyatta disbanded a high powered team tasked with organising the Kenya@50 celebrations after it submitted a staggering Sh2.5 billion budget.

September proved to be a challenging month for Jubilee following the start of Mr Ruto’s trial at the International Criminal Court.

The government went into a diplomatic offensive, mobilising the African Union to petition the United Nations Security Council to have the trial either blocked or heard without Mr Ruto’s presence in court. The efforts, however, came to nought.

The Jubilee government’s faced its first major security threat on Saturday, September 21 when heavily armed terrorists stormed the Westgate Mall and shot dead 71 people.

December 2013 brought pleasant news for Mr Kenyatta after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared she did not have sufficient evidence to proceed with the case facing him.

1,500 penalised as cheaters increase


Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi during the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. Prof Kaimenyi said that results of 1,576 candidates have been cancelled due to irregularities. The number of candidates who cheated in the exams went up by 100 per cent compared to 2012. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi during the release of the 2013 KCPE exam results. Prof Kaimenyi said that results of 1,576 candidates have been cancelled due to irregularities. The number of candidates who cheated in the exams went up by 100 per cent compared to 2012. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI.  NATION
By SAMUEL SIRINGI
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The number of candidates who cheated in the national Standard Eight exams has gone up by 100 per cent compared to 2012.

Results of 1,576 candidates have been cancelled due to irregularities, said Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.

In the previous results, 718 candidates were found to have cheated, which was hailed as a big drop from the 2011 figure of 8,000.

2013 irregularities affected 86 centres, Prof Kaimenyi said when he released the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Examination results Tuesday.

Prof Kaimenyi ordered county directors of the schools where the cheating occurred to investigate and help stop the vice in the next exams.
“We will never tolerate cheating in any of our exams,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

The affected candidates would be barred from sitting the tests for three years as per the law, he said.
In all, 19 counties did not record any irregularity, according to the Cabinet Secretary.
He attributed the increase of irregularities to the fact that regulations to guide implementation of stiffer penalties contained in the Kenya National Examinations Council Act, 2012 had not been approved.

The Act has criminalised in examinations and any person found to in violation of the provisions would face prosecution.
The draft regulations for implementation of the law were released last week for discussion by interest groups.

Prof Kaimenyi also blamed the rise in cheating cases to delay in conclusion of cases facing suspects in various courts.
“We shall seek audience with the Chief Justice (Willy Mutunga) to request him to ensure these cases are expedited to discourage candidates from cheating,” he said.
Most of the cases happened in languages and Math.

At the coast, centres affected with irregularities were in Kwale and Mombasa.
In Central region, some centres whose results were cancelled are in Nyeri and Kirinyaga.
In Eastern, cheating was detected in Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Embu and Makueni.
The capital city county of Nairobi was affected too, as were Rift Valley counties of Turkana, West Pokot, Bomet, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Kericho, Laikipia and Kajiado.

Others were Baringo Elgeyo Marakwet, Busia, Bungoma, Kisumu, Kisii, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Migori, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.
During the examinations, KNEC raised the alarm over the large number of university students involved in the vice after 20 of them were arrested.

Some were from the University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Eldoret University, Kibabii University and Kabianga University.
They are accused of sending exam questions to candidates and teachers in different parts of the country.

In last year’s KCPE, Mombasa County had the highest number of cheaters (109), followed by Nairobi (88), West Pokot (49), Kajiado (45), Samburu (19) and Kiambu (18)

City scoops cream of top 100 ranking

Salma Sirat,14, emerged the top girl in Garissa County with 410 marks in the 2013 KCPE exam. Nairobi County produced the highest number of candidates in the top 100 list. Only 22 out of the total 47 counties had candidates in the best top 100 nationally. PHOTO/ABDIMALIK HAJIR.

Salma Sirat,14, emerged the top girl in Garissa County with 410 marks in the 2013 KCPE exam. Nairobi County produced the highest number of candidates in the top 100 list. Only 22 out of the total 47 counties had candidates in the best top 100 nationally. PHOTO/ABDIMALIK HAJIR.  NATION
By Nation Reporter
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Nairobi produced the highest number of candidates in the top 100 list in 2013 Standard Eight examination.

The county secured 31 places among the top 100.
Kiambu and Kajiado followed closely each with nine candidates while 20 other counties shared the rest.

Kakamega and Kericho also came a distant third and each of them had eight candidates in the top list.
Overally, only 22 out of the total 47 counties had candidates in the best top 100 nationally.
“This notwithstanding, in 18 out of the 47 counties, more girls than boys sat for the KCPE examination.

This is a worrying trend because we do not wish to reach a situation where the gender disparity against the boy-child becomes a national concern,” noted Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Joseph Kaimenyi when he released the examinations Tuesday.

Region lags behind
The Cabinet Secretary directed county directors of education in the affected counties like Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, TransNzoia, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Nandi, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga to investigate the issue and take action.
None of the candidates from North Eastern counties made it to this group, with the best scoring 407 marks.

The best candidates from Garissa County had 416 marks while pupils from Mandera and Wajir counties scored 407 marks each.

UN supports talks to end Sudan crisis

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Earlier on Monday he expressed “the full support of the United Nations for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation process” to end the current South Sudan conflict. The United Nations Security Council has expressed unqualified support for the East African mediation efforts in South Sudan led by Kenya and Ethiopia. PHOTO/FILE

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Earlier on Monday he expressed “the full support of the United Nations for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation process” to end the current South Sudan conflict. The United Nations Security Council has expressed unqualified support for the East African mediation efforts in South Sudan led by Kenya and Ethiopia. PHOTO/FILE 
By PATRICK MAYOYO
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The United Nations Security Council has expressed unqualified support for the East African mediation efforts in South Sudan led by Kenya and Ethiopia.

Following a meeting on what the council president termed “a very, very dire situation” Tuesday, member-states said they welcomed “the continued and essential engagement of Igad [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] to push for immediate dialogue among South Sudan’s leaders”.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier on Monday expressed “the full support of the United Nations for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation process.”
The UN Secretary-General urged the South Sudan government to free political prisoners to facilitate talks with rebels.

He added that the Security Council was holding a crisis meeting on latest efforts to reinforce UN peacekeepers in the world’s newest country.
“It is very, very dire situation,” Council President, Gérard Araud of France, told reporters after the meeting.

Mr Ban’s Special Representative, Hilde Johnson, briefed the 15-member body by video link from Juba on the latest developments in the fighting, the mediation efforts and the steps by humanitarian agencies to bring aid to those in need.

The fighting in South Sudan, which only gained independence in 2011 after seceding from Sudan, erupted on December 15 when President Salva Kiir said soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, launched an attempted coup.

Mr Kiir belongs to the Dinka ethnic group and Mr. Machar to the Lou Nuer.
The conflict has been increasingly marked by reports of ethnically targeted violence.
Thousands of people are estimated to have died in the violence and some 180,000 others have been driven from their homes, with up to 75,000 of them seeking refuge at UN camps.

The UN peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been authorised by the Council to almost double its armed strength to nearly 14,000 in an effort to protect civilians.
“It’s a situation that is really tragic,” Mr Araud said.

“It’s impossible to assess the number of casualties, but it’s really pretty high.”
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said it is hoped that all peacekeeping reinforcements will be on the ground within one to three weeks.

Atwoli alleges Sh5bn NSSF scam

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli. He has alleged that the National Social Security Fund managers approved Sh5 billion for the Tassia Estate housing project without proper procedures. Mr Atwoli is a board member of NSSF. PHOTO/FILE

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli. He has alleged that the National Social Security Fund managers approved Sh5 billion for the Tassia Estate housing project without proper procedures. Mr Atwoli is a board member of NSSF. PHOTO/FILE 
By PETER OBUYA
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The national insurer irregularly approved the release of more than Sh5 billion of workers’ money for a housing project in Nairobi’s Eastlands, it was alleged Tuesday.
Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli, who is a member of the National Social Security Fund board, alleged the fund’s managers approved Sh5 billion for the Tassia Estate housing project without proper procedures.

Opening the lid on what he described as the “scandal of the year,” Mr Atwoli alleged the fund’s acting chief executive, Mr Richard Lang’at, working in cahoots with the board of trustees, had approved Sh5.053 billion for putting up roads and a sewerage system in the new estate.
Mr Atwoli said the cost of the roads and sewerage system should be met by house owners.
Mr Atwoli, who represents workers on the board, claimed no meeting was held to approve the project.

The Cotu boss said the board of nine members, three of whom have retired, lacked a quorum to approve such a huge amount of money.

Mr Atwoli said he was in London on official business at the time.
“Even if they had a quorum, an item involving approval of Sh5.053 billion from an earlier proposal of Sh3.3 billion cannot be approved through a mere note,” he said.
He said Mr Lang’at had, on December 19, signed a communication to the effect that the board had approved the Sh5.053 billion development.

“Any such investment must first be considered by the sub-committee on investment, which I chair, as required by the NSSF Act but that was not done,” Mr Atwoli said.
He said the board had earlier proposed Sh3.3 billion for the project.
The pension provider bought the land in 1995 for Sh2.2 billion.

Squatters, however, invaded it in September 2001, claiming they had bought it.
In 2004, the court ruled in favour of the fund to evict them but this proved difficult as the matter became politicised, forcing the NSSF to sell the plots to the squatters.
A total of Sh2.5 billion was expected from the proceeds of the sale but by May 2011, only Sh1.1 billion had been received. As a result, the pension provider decided to develop the estate to recover its money.

Mr Atwoli also described as suspicious documentation showing how the tender was then awarded to China Jiangsi International Kenya Ltd.
He said the tender committee met the “same day the purported note by Mr Lang’at was circulated” and awarded the contract.
“What a scandal,” he declared before adding: “This is the highest fraud of the fund I have ever witnessed since becoming a board member.”

He also questioned why all NSSF tenders have been directed to one company since the tenure of the current NSSF board chairman Adan Mohamed began in 2012.
Mr Atwoli now wants President Kenyatta to intervene and cancel the tender.
NSSF public relations manager Christopher Khisa said he was on leave.
He told Nation that Mr Lang’at and Mr Mohamed were away in Dubai.

NSSF currently has some 1.5 million members who contribute about Sh600 million per month.
These allegations come even as the fund prepares to increase its monthly collections to six per cent after President Kenyatta signed into law the NSSF Bill 2013

S. Sudan rebel chief sends peace envoys but still fighting

Former South Sudan vice-president Riek Machar addressing a press conference at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi on November 28 2011. Machar has agreed to send envoys to peace negotiations in Ethiopia Tuesday, but rejected face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir, warning that his forces will continue to fight. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has warned that Machar must comply with the ceasefire deal or face action by regional nations. PHOTO/FILE

Former South Sudan vice-president Riek Machar addressing a press conference at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi on November 28 2011. Machar has agreed to send envoys to peace negotiations in Ethiopia Tuesday, but rejected face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir, warning that his forces will continue to fight. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has warned that Machar must comply with the ceasefire deal or face action by regional nations. PHOTO/FILE 
By AFP
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South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to send envoys to peace negotiations in Ethiopia Tuesday, but rejected face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir, warning that his forces will continue to fight.

Machar, a former vice president accused of sparking deadly conflict by attempting a coup over two weeks ago, said his troops were still marching on the capital after claiming to have recaptured a key town.

"Our forces are still marching on Juba, there is no cessation of hostilities yet," Machar told AFP via satellite telephone from an undisclosed location inside South Sudan.
Ignoring a deadline from regional powers for an immediate ceasefire, he said any halt in the more than two weeks of fighting "needed to be negotiated"

.
"That is what the delegation is going to Addis Ababa to discuss and to negotiate," he said, adding the chance of him meeting with Kiir in person "depends on how the negotiations go".
The United States, which was a key backer of South Sudan's independence struggle, said the sending of negotiators was an "important first step", special envoy Donald Booth said.

Officials in the Ethiopian capital confirmed that delegations from both sides were due to land in Addis Ababa, the headquarters of the African Union, later Tuesday with talks expected to start on Wednesday.
"I will follow later, once the negotiations have resulted in a cessation of hostilities. It depends on if and when that is achieved," Machar said.

"We did not ask for this battle, it was forced upon us," Machar added, reiterating his position that it was the president who started the fighting on December 15.
South Sudan is the world's youngest nation, having only won independence from Khartoum in 2011, but has been beset by poverty, corruption and ethnic tensions, including between the president's Dinka tribe -- the largest in the country -- and Machar's Nuer community.

Thousands of people are feared to have been killed in over two weeks of fighting, pitching army units loyal to Kiir against a loose alliance of ethnic militia forces and mutinous army commanders nominally headed by Machar.

The AU expressed "Africa's dismay and disappointment that the continent's newest nation should descend so quickly into civil strife", warning of its potential to deteriorate into "full-fledged civil war" -- even though many observers say this has already happened.

Heavy fighting continued to rage on Tuesday, with the rebels claiming they had recaptured Bor, capital of the powder-keg Jonglei state and situated just 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital Juba -- the third time the town has changed hands in two weeks

.
"Bor is under our control... we are now in Bor town," rebel spokesman Moses Ruai told AFP.
South Sudanese army spokesman Philip Aguer disputed the claim, saying the fighting was ongoing inside the town. A UN spokesman had also confirmed the town was under attack earlier Tuesday.

'Full-fledged civil war'
Thousands have fled in recent days from Bor in fear of a counter-attack by rebels -- including an ethnic militia force dubbed the "White Army".
Across the country, the United Nations has estimated close to 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, of which 75,000 have sought protection from badly overstretched UN peacekeepers.
Fierce battles have been reported in strategic oil-producing areas -- with rebels controlling Bentiu, state capital of the key state of Unity, as well parts of the oil-rich Upper Nile State.

Industry sources say South Sudan's oil production has dropped by around a fifth because of the fighting.
There have also been grim reports of massacres, rapes and killings, prompting the African Union to threaten "targeted sanctions" over the conflict.

East Africa's regional IGAD bloc headed by Ethiopia -- which had set Tuesday as the deadline for talks to start -- said that negotiations "will focus on a monitored ceasefire" before more talks to settle "underlying political problems."
Kiir has described the war as "senseless", but ruled out power sharing with the rebels.
"What power sharing? It is not an option.

This man has rebelled.
If you want power, you don't rebel so that you are awarded with the power," Kiir said in an interview broadcast on the BBC Tuesday.
A key rebel demand has been the release of several top level political leaders arrested hours after the fighting began, but Kiir said they must follow the court process.

6
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has also warned that Machar must comply with the ceasefire deal or face action by regional nations.
He said if Machar does not respond "we shall have to go for him," without clarifying if his threat involved military action.

2014 – Kenya’s year of moving beyond promises to real frontiers

Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto 
Fellow Citizens,
The end of one year and the beginning of another is the point where celebration meets hope.
Personally, I look back and I am full of thanksgiving for all the good things of 2013.
By and large and beyond any parochial realms of self-interest, I consider 2013 a very special time indeed in the annals of Kenyan history.

As we step into the threshold of 2014 I envisage a year of renewed hope; one that demands that each of us summons courage and determination to make it our year of great expectations.
Yes, the year 2013 has been eventful, sometimes overwhelming.
But to claim this was not anticipated would be pretentious.

When we set out on the journey to form Government, the President and I knew that re-inventing the wheel would be futile.
We were also aware that the principles, procedures and programmes successful governments run on are fairly standard imperatives whose limits and elasticity can withstand only so much.

But we were also abundantly aware that, without a character, identity and brand to our tenure, we would do the people of Kenya and this great nation of ours an inexcusable disservice.
For the last eight months, the painstaking task of assembling the basics of what we envisage to ultimately translate into the Jubilee legacy has been on going.

The scaffolding is now all set. And the architecture of Kenya in her next 50 years has, in earnest, begun.
Much as none of us alive today did anything whatsoever to deserve to be at this place and at this juncture, it is incumbent upon each of us to realise that destiny had already conspired to assign each of us roles as founding instruments and pillars of Kenya’s second 50-year journey.
Personally, I consider this solemn challenge a honour of enormous proportions.

I am deeply thankful to be witness to and participant in this momentous space in our cosmos.
And I hope my fellow countrymen, too, are.
As a nation, we are on the cusp of glory, and it would be folly not to seize this moment and reinvigorate our hopes.

True, many of us have witnessed years turn many times over and most likely the magic of turning a new page at the turn of a new year has lost its spark.
But it is not the motions of time that should dictate to our senses and sensibilities.
Rather, it is the power bequeathed us as human beings that should make the twists and turns in our lives count for something.

And, just as we are empowered to create memories and not merely for memories to create us, it is our onus to choose what kind of country and future we want the generations that follow us to live in.
As a country, we have lost the true meaning of dreaming.
The rhetoric of dreaming over the last 50 years has been an increasingly sonorous chorus to which only a few paid real attention.

The problem is not the dreaming part; it is that we became long resigned to dreaming with our eyes tightly closed.
What I want to assure you, fellow Kenyans, as we cross into 2014, is that Jubilee will dare to dream, yes, but with eyes wide open.

As a country, we cannot afford to keep walking into the same pitfalls, snares and mazes that have denied us our rightful destiny and possible primacy of place in the community of world nations.
We cannot make the same mistakes we have made in the past and hope to triumph over the adversities that have afflicted us serially, year in, year out, since Independence.
So far, several potentially high-impact social transformational initiatives are underway across sectors.
The one million acre irrigation project is the initial step we have taken to ensure that ours will be a food secure nation.

Indeed, no society ever claimed its rightful station of honour while weighed down by hunger.
For far too long, our power generation capacity has continued to undermine our dream to take real steps towards industrialization.

To make this important economic shift, action towards increasing our power production from the current 1,600 MW to 5,000 by 2017 has already taken promising first steps.
Further, to ensure that our human capital is properly adjusted to our development policies and programmes, our national curriculum has undergone thorough review and funds have been set aside to equip, renovate or construct technical colleges.
Each county will at least have a technical college.

To ensure that the good plans and projects we intend to install find a peaceful atmosphere across the country, the Government has taken resolute steps to enhance security through an on-going process of acquiring modern surveillance and deterrent equipment and technology.
Each police station countrywide will have a new vehicle.

Also aware that our sense of dignity and compassion as a people remains tightly woven and sensitive the fund for the elderly has been increased and those meant to benefit from this will increase threefold from the current 150,000 to 450,000.
Not to forget, women and youth will immediately benefit from the Uwezo Fund and also enjoy the 30 per cent procurement opportunities in Government.

These measures and more have been secured in the last eight months.
Meanwhile, as we turn 50 as a nation, I am aware that, on its own, Kenya at 50 portends no magic.
In fact, the magic to make Kenya at 50 count resides deep in us. It is our duty to kindle that feeling – and act on it.
To make real movement towards our desired destiny, however, will take courage to call on, or even craft, a brand new Kenyan soul.

By a new soul I mean allowing a completely new indwelling that will excite new possibilities and options among us.
But even with new possibilities, nothing ever prospered for any society unless the upward thrust is powered by, and marinated in, a certain set of irreplaceable ideals.
These ideals include a positive work ethic, a renewed sense of true brotherhood and a steadfast awareness of, and belief in, self.

A positive work ethic unlocks the treasures of the entire set of endowments a country possesses – creating value, building and generating prosperity.
A healthy sense of brotherhood is the mainstay of cohesion of any nation and the beacon of peace and harmonious co-existence, while an enduring belief in self portends the miracle that ignites brand and character, besides being the magnet that attracts honour.

As we cross over into 2014, we stand on a pedestal built over time by those who came before us.
To them we are forever thankful but what we owe them is turning the pedestal they have perched us on into a watchtower from which the fortunes of our nation will be surveyed carefully and calibrated circumspectly.

May God bless us all abundantly in 2014 and throughout Kenya’s next half-century.
William Ruto
Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya

President Kenyatta's New Year message

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta 
“RECONCILIATION AND UNITY TOWARDS INCLUSIVE GROWTH”
NEW YEAR STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, CGH, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER–IN–CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, STATE HOUSE, NAIROBI, 31 DECEMBER 2013
Fellow Kenyans
Friends of Kenya
I am pleased to send you this goodwill message and New Year Greetings.
We thank God for the year ending.

It was the year in which we put our detractors to shame by holding a peaceful and successful election, a year in which we ushered in devolution, and a year in which we celebrated the golden jubilee of our independence.
We had tough challenges along the way, but we had the resolve to tackle them in order to deliver improved lives to our people as outlined in our Jubilee manifesto.
We are firmly on track.

We look to 2014 with great enthusiasm and optimism.
At Jamhuri Day I committed to national unity as one of my driving objectives, and so in 2014 my Administration will pursue a theme of “Reconciliation and Unity towards inclusive growth”.
Unity is important for us as a nation. Coming out of the Christmas period, it details the message, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” and “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.”

Fellow Kenyans
Friends of Kenya
Last year, my Administration launched a number of projects that form the plank of the Jubilee manifesto.

Free maternity services have moved our country closer to achieving Millennium Development Goal Number 5 on improving maternal health and eased the pain of childbirth for many mothers.
It has also greatly improved our monitoring of HIV prevalence.
Our laptops programme for primary entry children will begin in earnest in the coming weeks.
Thousands of jobs will come on stream as the construction of the standard gauge railway gets underway in earnest from Mombasa.

Similarly, more jobs are on the way as our programme to irrigate one million acres of land becomes a reality, starting in Tana River and Kilifi Counties.
In 2014, the Jubilee manifesto will come alive.

Billions of shillings of investment in our energy sector will also start pouring in this year, raising the ante on our plan to add 5,000 megawatts of electricity on the national grid in the next 36 months, and to lower electricity prices by at least 50 per cent in that period.
Fellow Kenyans
Friends of Kenya

The Jubilee Coalition is committed to inclusive growth and improving the lives of all our people.
Whatever it takes to do so – be it by legislation or policy that transforms our political, economic or social structures to accelerate growth – we shall do so.
Access to education, clean water, health services – these are imperatives that our people should and must have access to.

As an Administration, our primary responsibility is security of our people and their property.
In the last quarter of 2013 we launched two major policing initiatives – one in which the communities are deeply involved, “Nyumba Kumi”, and the second, a technology-driven strategic operation, including the use of CCTV in the streets of our major cities and towns, and broadband connectivity at border points.

We have invested heavily in surveillance equipment and in vehicles, which we believe will help drive crime away from our shores.
That said, let me remind all of us that security is a shared responsibility.
All of us have a role to play in ensuring safety for all Kenyans. All of us must commit to the rule of law.
Fellow Kenyans
Friends of Kenya

The New Year should see further progress in our agenda to ensure free movement of persons in eastern Africa and greater integration on the continent.
We will continue to work with our neighbours in East Africa to drive that agenda.
We will also work to help each other, as east African countries, to resolve security challenges that may crop up from time to time.

As you are already aware, we as a region are hard at work resolving the crisis in South Sudan.
With our partners in IGAD, we have appointed special envoys to seek a negotiated settlement of the crisis and to protect the fledgling democracy in Africa's youngest nation.
It is a task that we are committed to seeing to complete fruition.

We salute our men and women in uniform, as well as all others, involved in evacuating Kenyans from South Sudan and delivering emergency supplies.
We also salute our men and women in uniform involved in peace-keeping and peace-enforcement around the world, especially those with AMISOM in Somalia.
We are safe if our region is safe.
Fellow Kenyans
Friends of Kenya

I call on all Kenyans to play their part in making our shared dream of growth and prosperity a reality.
All of us should partner with the National and County Governments as we seek to implement the various Vision 2030 projects and programmes. I, for one, believe we can achieve the goals of Vision 2030 a decade earlier.

As we move forward, I urge all leaders to pursue a brand of politics that helps to improve the welfare of the citizens of this country.
We must avoid parochial and divisive politics, and embrace a national culture that will define us positively in the next 50 years and beyond.

Our national agenda must be progressive, issue-based and people-centred.
On the part of the Government, we will encourage mature and responsible engagement among leaders; among the three arms of the Government and between Business and Government.
I wish you all a happy and blessed 2014.

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS KENYA