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MPs summon Kiunjuri over delayed importation of subsidized fertilizer

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The National Assembly Agriculture committee has summoned CS Mwangi Kiunjuri to appear before it on Monday next week to explain the cause of delays in importing subsidized fertilizer.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament buildings on Thursday afternoon, committee chairman Adan Haji said Kiunjuiri is expected to explain why the ministry failed to put alternative measures if it knew the contract of the fertiliser importer could lapse by January this year.

“The situation is now at crisis level. This ministry has been trying to import the fertiliser but we have now been told that this year it is not possible. We have been told the company had issues and the Attorney General was still scrutinizing the contract,” Adan said.

Kiunjuri was accompanied by committee members Janet Sitienei (Turbo), Justus Murunga (Matungu),Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Brighton Yegon (Konoin), Paul Mwrigi (Igembe South) and Daniel Kamuren (Mogotio).

Read: Subsidized fertilizer is available, says NCPB

On Monday Kiunjuri confirmed the government will not be buying fertiliser for this season.

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“As a ministry, we were ready to procure the subsidised fertiliser by last year October but the process was halted due to investigations. However, all is not lost as we can still buy the fertiliser through a specially permitted system under Article 114 of Public Procurement. But this can only be authorised by the Treasury to ensure farmers have fertiliser within 21 days to the time of planting because the rains are unpredictable,” Kiunjuri said.

The MPs expressed fears that the prices of fertilizer by local traders were likely to go up.

Farmers in the larger Rift Valley will start planting from mid-February to March.

The National Cereals and Produce Board sells a 50kg bag of subsidised planting fertiliser at Sh1, 800 and top fertiliser at Sh1, 500.

Also read: Relief for farmers as government subsidises fertiliser prices

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Nairobi and Coast counties isolated : The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta when he made an address on enhanced measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic at State House, Nairobi on April, 6 2020.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order stopping movement into and out of Nairobi has effectively banned upcountry travel and disrupted domestic flights.

It has also locked out individuals who work in the city but live outside the mapped metropolitan area from their places of work or business.
The operations of the Standard Gauge Railway commuter train, long distance bus companies and shuttles that either start or end their journey in Nairobi will be disrupted following the order of a 21-day cessation of movement into and out of Nairobi, where the first Covid-19 case was confirmed. The capital city has since recorded the highest number of the 158 coronavirus infections.
The ban that applies to boundary within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area came into force yesterday at 7pm, affecting travellers who were either already enroute to Nairobi or planning to depart from various city bus stations for upcountry.
SEE ALSO: China virus cases spike, 17 new infections reportedIt implies that travellers who were on transit to either Nairobi or upcountry for business or work-related assignments – and were able to beat the curfew – had the options of either cutting short their journey, or proceeding but being forced to stay at their destinations for the next three weeks.
Nairobi is a major circuit for most local flights, meaning airline companies will have to suspend a big chunk of their operations during the restriction period, and only continue with flights to towns not affected by the directive.
MPs who are set to attend the National Assembly special sitting tomorrow to discuss tax measures announced by President Kenyatta but were still in their constituencies by last evening will also be locked out unless they secure an exemption.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
A similar restriction to movement will be enforced in Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa – which have also recorded coronavirus infections – but the ban will be enforced from tomorrow at 7pm.
The nationwide 7pm to 5am curfew remains in force.
SEE ALSO: China confirms virus spreading between humansHowever, the movement of food supplies and other cargo will continue as normal during the declared containment period through road, railway and air.
According to the order, the Nairobi Metropolitan Area includes Nairobi City County; part of Kiambu County up to the Chania River bridge (Thika); Machakos County up to Athi River and including Katani; and part of Kajiado County including Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai and Ngong Town.
No passenger train
There are hundreds of employees and businesspeople who reside outside the defined area but commute to the capital city every morning. The order implies that they will now have to work from home from this morning, or take work leave for the next 21 days.
Already, Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga has announced the suspension of SGR passenger trains. Operations of two Madaraka Express trains that operated daily at 10.30 am were consequently suspended.
SEE ALSO: Factbox: What we know about the new coronavirus spreading in China and beyondMr Maingi, however, said cargo freights will continue operating uninterrupted, as will Nairobi Commuter rail services to Ruiri, Embakasi, Syokimau and Kikuyu stations under revised timings to cater for the hours of the curfew.
Uhuru made the cessation of movement orders as he announced an additional 16 new infections and two deaths. So far, 158 people have been infected with Covid-19, and six have lost their lives to the viral disease that has become a global pandemic.
The president said the additional restrictions, as uncomfortable as they are, are necessary following the trend that has been noted by the Ministry of Health that the four affected counties are high-risk areas.
Of the 158 cases, he said, 82 per cent are residents of Nairobi, while 14 per cent are from Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa. The president warned the pandemic is likely to continue spreading with lethal effect if drastic action is not taken.
“There is a choice we were asked to make as a government and as a people: to carry on as normal or to treat this like the extraordinary emergency it is and to fundamentally change how we act,” he said.
SEE ALSO: Travelers to be screened for ‘Chinese’ coronavirus- GovernmentUhuru said in issuing the additional measures, he is well aware of the inconvenience it will cause Kenyans.
“However, not doing it will lead to even greater suffering for the people of Kenya,” he said.
The movement of cargo, as per the previous order that effected the ongoing 7pm to 5am curfew countrywide, is still allowed, but with additional adjustments.
“Any cargo-carrying vehicle or vessel shall be charged to a single driver and designated assistants, all of whom shall be designated as such in writing by the owner and operator of the said vehicle or vessel reference to that vehicle or vessel,” said Uhuru.
He added that despite the restrictions that limit the number of hours spent on building the economy, traders and farmers of fresh produce should continue with their activities to ensure continued supply.
“No one should be denied the ability to carry on with legal trade within the boundaries of the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health,” the president said.
Unforgiving virus
Uhuru noted that while a majority of those who get Covid-19 recover without showing severe symptoms, they can still spread the disease to large numbers of people, leading to unprecedented pressure on already scarce medical facilities and causing an unimaginable loss of lives.
“The virus is unforgiving, and its rate of growth, if not arrested, is exponential,” he said. “I will, therefore, go to any lawful length to respond to this pandemic.”
Uhuru said governments around the world have gone to extra lengths to contain the virus and flatten the curve. He added that wearing a mask whenever one is out in public is now necessary, and to take precautions not to expose anyone who is as old as he is – 58 – or with underlying medical conditions.
“There are thousands of tailors all over the country who will also look to make masks. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry and Trade should ensure that these tailors are provided with the right materials and proper ways of piecing the face masks,” he said.
The president further assured Kenyans that his administration is doing everything in its power to cushion Kenyans from the harsh realities that would come with the changes. Apart from Sh10 billion earlier approved to be disbursed to the elderly and orphans, he said collective management organisation will this week distribute Sh200 million to artistes and performers.
He directed the Ministry of Sports and Culture to disburse Sh100 million to actors, musicians and artists.

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County demolishes structures on road reserves : The Standard

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The Nyamira County Government has started demolishing buildings constructed on road reserves in Keroka town.
Over the past two weeks, the county has demolished premises housing more than 2,000 people.
The county’s bulldozer caused a scare in a private hospital housed in one of the targeted buildings, prompting an evacuation of patients.
The proprietor of the building, George Nyariki, said the demolition was done without any notice.
Several other investors in the town, whose premises have been flattened within the past 14 days, shared similar sentiments.
“The county just woke up and decided to render us homeless without any legal notice,” said Daniel Osoro, a trader whose hardware business was destroyed.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
The County’s Public Works and Transport Executive John Omanwa, however, said the people affected had been notified earlier and that the demolitions were long overdue to clear up space and decongest the town.
“Owners of affected buildings knew all along that they have been sitting on public land. We were human enough to give them notices which they ignored,” Omanwa said.
While the investors are blaming the county for frustrating them at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Omanwa insists that the demolitions were urgent and necessary to free up space.

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Victims of toxic malaria jab get Sh42.8m payout : The Standard

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The Busia County government has released Sh42.8 million as compensation for 28 children who developed complications after receiving a malaria injection at a public clinic in 2015.
The payout follows a 2017 ruling by Resident Magistrate Josephine Maragia, who said the children were victims of professional negligence.
The court noted the victims were not given proper diagnosis and treatment by a competent medical practitioner.
SEE ALSO: Busia police seize bhang sneaked from UgandaThe children developed various complications, including paralysis, after receiving the injection at Akichelesit dispensary in Teso North Constituency.
Some of them suffered permanent disabilities.
The payment has came as a major relief to parents who have had to dig deeper into their pockets to support their children, including specialised treatment.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Read Now »
Some of the victims’ parents said the money, released last week, will help them take care of their children.
Emmanuel Omonya’s 10-year-old daughter Cate Atenge’s left leg was paralysed. One of her knees is stiff. Atenge has to use crutches.
SEE ALSO: Man found with county cheques worth Sh1.8 million chargedOmonya said his daughter’s life has never been the same after the incident. He said his mother has to massage her leg with milking jelly every morning to ease the pain.
He said he will use to money to seek specialised treatment for the girl.
“The money may not return my daughter’s life to how it was before the incident but I am happy the county government has compensated her. We have been waiting for the county government to act for a long time,” he said.
He added: “My daughter has suffered a lot. She struggles to walk. I may have to buy her a wheelchair to make it easier for her to move around and go to school.”
Atenge is a pupil at St Mary’s Primary School, which is 700 metres away from their home.
SEE ALSO: Fishermen help 214 needy students get Sh1.4m feesOmonya said his wife miscarried and died in 2018 due to stress after learning their daughter was paralysed.
“This girl needs physiotherapy but I could not afford it. I hope she will now get the treatment she needs,” he said.
Abel Okiror was present to witness the cheque being handed over to their lawyer. His daughter Vivian Asere, 11, is paralysed in the right side.
The Class Four pupil has been struggling to walk.
Okiror appealed to parents of those affected to use the money to get their children proper treatment.
SEE ALSO: Police officers seize 77kg ivory“Let us use the money to improve the lives of the children who have suffered so much so they will not have to ask us one day what happened to the money that was paid to them,” he said.
Evalyne Barasa’s children, Gideon Wekesa, 12, and Shielda Nekesa, 10, were victims of the botched injection. It affected their backs and left legs.
Evalyne, a widow, said she has to massage her children every now and then to ease their pain.
She said while she is sad that her children cannot play with their colleagues as they did before, she is happy that they have been compensated.
Doctors continue
Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, who gave out the cheque, said they will ensure doctors continue attending to the affected children.
Mr Mulomi said another Sh19 million, part of the compensation, will be released in the next financial year.
“We are pleading with the parents of the affected children to ensure the victims benefit from this money,” Mulomi said.
He continued: “We are going to keep a close eye on the children, especially those who suffered serious injuries, with a view to ensure they get required medication.”
Mathew Edejai, who is also a parent of one of the affected children, called on the county government to keep its promise to release the remaining amount in the next fiscal year.
“It has been a painful experience for us. We do not expect the county to take us in circles again,” said Edejai.
The victim’s lawyer, Mr Bernard Ombui, told The Standard yesterday that a chunk of the money will go towards treatment of the children.

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