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MPs quiz Kenya’s loss of billions at crowded Malaba border post : The Standard

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Heavy commercial vehicles piled up along Malaba-Bungoma road on Saturday June 29, 2019. (Ignatius Odanga/Standard)
Lack of electronic scanners to fast track clearance of trucks, and the poor road infrastructure, are causing huge snarl-ups at the busy Malaba border post and denying the government billions of shillings in revenue.

A parliamentary committee report has also revealed that the congestion has had social consequences, with cases of single parent families, early pregnancies and spread of HIV/Aids on the rise.
And to sum it all, the slow clearance of the commercial trailers is delaying businesses and costing the government millions of shillings in revenue.
The report by the Senate’s Roads and Transport Committee says the situation has been compounded by poor road infrastructure leading to and around the border and inadequate security despite the congestion.
SEE ALSO :KeNHA to open Witeithie footbridge to the publicThe report by the Senator Kimani Wamatangi-led committee indicates that the stalled construction of the Sh622 million One Stop Border Point complex has worsened matters.
While moving the Motion for the adoption of the report, Mr Wamatangi said the construction of a small loop within the border post that would cost the country less than Sh100 million was the reason the entire project failed.
Construction worth almost Sh1 billion had been done yet there was a small loop within the inside of the border post costing less than Sh100 million which was supposed to be constructed.
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The project, which was initiated in 2012, stalled in 2015 for lack of money to complete it.
World Bank, which co-funded the project with the government, pulled out in 2015, leaving the project that had gobbled up Sh496 million in a limbo.
SEE ALSO :Plans for 500km Mau Mau road begin“One of the glaring points that we noted is the fact that, the road is not only narrow, but unsuitable for use by heavy commercial traffic ferrying goods to other countries from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda,” said Wamatangi.
“It is no longer business worthy for an investor or even a transporter to take their cargo from Mombasa to Uganda, Burundi or Congo. They would rather avoid Kenya and go through Tanzania to find another alternative route because this country could not invest less than Sh100 million to complete a project on which they had already invested almost Sh1 billion,” he said.
In terms of social impact, Wamatangi explained that when the trucks line up the whole of these 20km, drivers and turn boys convert the local area, the roadside and the few homesteads around there into toilets.
“If you look at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, which we oversight, the amount that it was given from our national budget is close to Sh300 billion. How can one explain that the ministry is not able to set aside less than Sh100 million to complete that? That kind of ineptitude is what we have to call out. If need be, we have to make sure some of those people do not retain their jobs because they are not worth it.”
Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), which implemented the projects, terminated the contract due to lack of finance.
SEE ALSO :Road works could ruin water tower, say conservationistsThe termination, KeNHA explained, was to avoid any anticipated contractual claims from the contractor due to default by the authority to pay for the work done.
Senator Enock Wambua (Kitui), while seconding the Motion, said the government had spent Sh496 million to establish the one-stop border point in Malaba and that the balance for the completion of the project was only Sh58 million.
According to Mr Wambua, and based on the submissions of the Kenya Revenue Authority officers, in a single month with all the problems of traffic, they were collecting more than Sh250 million

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Govt makes u-turn on mitumba clothes – Nairobi News

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Industrialisation CS Betty Maina has now denied claims that the government has suspended the importation of second-hand clothes popularly known as mitumba.

Ms Maina said that the government has not suspended the importation of mitumba, but it will be much more difficult for businessmen to import second-hand clothes into the country.

This, she said, is because of the caution that is being exercised by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you think just about the number of clothes that you are wearing that are imported, it’s astronomical and yet this is something that Kenya used to be able to produce. So there is opportunity to localise our apparel market, in our apparel supply both for us in Kenya and also for the region,” she said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe is leading Kenya’s response to the pandemic.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives on Wednesday had tweeted that it has suspended the importation of mitumba in a move aimed at safeguarding the health of Kenyans.

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The World Health Organisation says coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing).

It adds that the virus may remain alive for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, including clothing.

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Curfew: Leaders fault police for using excessive force – KBC

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Political leaders in the country have faulted the manner in which the National Police Service implemented the dusk to dawn curfew on Friday.

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Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi faulted police officers for allegedly employing excessive force in the enforcement of the dusk to dawn curfew that kicked off Friday.

Mudavadi says the police action could prove counterproductive in ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as it might place police at war with the citizens.

“The police have gone about it in the manner that is extremely inconsiderate and inhumane. They give an impression that they are dealing with a hostile population that must be cowed in through brutal force. It is useful to remind the Government that it is not at war with its citizens,” said ANC leader Mudavadi.

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Mudavadi called on the Government to re-evaluate and look into mechanisms of ensuring Kenyans have access to basic commodities such as food.

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Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula asked the Inspector General of Police to ensure no human right abuses occur when enforcing the curfew.

“IG Mutyambai ensure there are no human rights abuses in the pretext of enforcing the curfew. Kenyans are already traumatized by Coronavirus and need no further stress. Police should escort those caught off guard to their homes and not beat them up,” said Wetangula.

“When the President declared a 7 pm to 5 am curfew it was meant to enhance efforts to check Covid-19. The police who are using this as an excuse to brutalize people are criminally culpable,” he added.

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Stop beating Kenyans during curfew, leaders tell police : The Standard

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Leaders across the political divide have condemned the brutality meted out on Kenyans by police officers who were enforcing a government’s curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus diseases.
Led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, the leaders said the action of the police as was witnessed on Friday evening defeated the very purpose of the curfew. 
The Elegeyo Marakwet senator said the police action, endangered the lives of many Kenyans, saying lumping people together could have led to more infections if one of them was suffering from coronavirus.
SEE ALSO :China virus cases spike, 17 new infections reported“Before we even discuss the violence, if any of them was positive, he or she must have infected so many. This is primitive,” he said, adding that if one or two of the Kenyans in this crowd were positive,  then the multiplying effect will be catastrophic.
He told Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to borrow a leaf from his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe by providing leadership and instilling order and discipline among the officers during the curfew.
“CS Kagwe has demonstrated great leadership during the coronavirus outbreak with timely updates to Kenyans, those charge of our security must take the queue and enforce the curfew with a human face while respecting the rule law, he said adding that the action of the police as was witnessed in Likoni and other parts of our country is counterproductive.
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He said the curfew was declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta to curb the spread of the coronavirus and not to torture Kenyans.
Murkomen said the officers must stop acting like they harbour grudges against Kenyans and the curfew has provided them with an opportunity to revenge.
SEE ALSO :China confirms virus spreading between humans“The curfew is meant to curb the spread of coronavirus not to torture Kenyans. The security managers are behaving as though they have a grudge against Kenyans and are curfew as an excuse for revenge. It must stop forthwith,” said Murkomen.
Siaya Senator and Senate Minority Leader James Orengo told off the police for violating the rights of Kenyans in the name of enforcing a curfew, adding that the curfew has not suspended the law.
“A state of emergency does not by itself ineluctably limit or suspend the Bill of Rights. There must be legislation. In any case, national security must be pursued in compliance with the rule of law and human rights. Police must not enforce the curfew with might but love and fight Covid-19,” Orengo tweeted
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi told the police to spare Kenyans the beating saying majority of citizens are already economically distressed and that any brutality will break their hearts.
Mudavadi said what Kenyans want in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is love and civility and not the brutality witnessed on Friday.
SEE ALSO :Factbox: What we know about the new coronavirus spreading in China and beyond “Kenyans are already economically distressed and now terrified of covid-19. They need help and guidance. Enforcement of the curfew does not mean terror and brutality to the mwanainchi. Treat the citizenry with civility,” said Mudavadi
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang condemned the brutality and told the law enforcers not to confuse Kenyans with the coronavirus.
“Police brutality witnessed this evening across the country is unacceptable. Police must not appear to confuse wanainchi for coronavirus. Even as we urge Kenyans to adhere to the directives and guidelines issued by the government, rule of law and common sense must prevail at all times,” said Governor Sang.
Cases of police brutality have been witnessed in certain parts of the country as the nationwide curfew took effect on Friday evening.
Police spokesman Charles Owino has however defended the officers, saying there was no brutality as being claimed.
SEE ALSO :Travelers to be screened for ‘Chinese’ coronavirus- GovernmentSpeaking on one of the TV stations on Friday night, Owino said the police are well trained and knows when to use force and to what extent and that what was witnessed was the enforcement of the law.
He cautioned Kenyans against ignoring the curfew, saying they will not hesitate to arrest anyone flouting the directives.
“If you walk at night, we will arrest you. We have enough cells. If the cell in Central is full, we will take you to Kayole. If it is full, we will even take you to Machakos,” he said.
Police and commuters clashed at the Likoni ferry in Mombasa Friday afternoon, a scenario occasioned by overcrowding as residents rushed to beat the curfew deadline.
The situation was no different in Kisumu and Eldoret towns as police teargassed Kenyans for flouting the curfew rules.
Photos and clips of police beating up Kenyans who allegedly failed to adhere to the curfew emerged online with netizens condemning the police for using excessive force in handling Kenyans.

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