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“Amplifying Knowledge and Accountability” (AMKA)

Taita-Taveta leaders make fresh bid for Macknnon road township BY TAITA-TAVETA EXPRESS REPORTER

ISSUE NO 7

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Report by a committee formed by governor Granton Samboja expresses fears that millions of taxpayers money may be paid out to cowboy contractors who did not undertake any projects BY PASCAL MWANDAMBO The Taita-Taveta County government is heaving under the weight of pending bills amounting to more than Sh 900m. This has raised serious concerns among leaders and wananchi as this could adversely affect development and service delivery. Consequently, a report by a committee formed by governor Granton Samboja to get to the bottom of this quagmire has unearthed numerous irregularities and discrepancies through which millions of taxpayers’ money could be paid out for works or services that might not have been rendered. The Report of the Committee on Pending Bills at the behest of committee chairman Leonard Kalama reveals that when governor Samboja assumed office, he was presented with pending bills amounting to Sh 724m. This amount was later adjusted upwards to Sh 834m and when the committee was getting down to its work, the figure had already reached Sh 919m. STORY ON PAGE 2

HEAVY HARVEST

A section of the Voi/Mwatate road

Samboja GovernorSamboja Governor

Taita-Taveta leaders make fresh for Park revenue into the county coffers as is the case in Juliuscalls Kimani to TaitaTavetaTsavo County to

Tsavo Nationalcall Parkfor have been a sticking truce issue for many years now. a sore the call for thedown nationHeLike asked thethumb, local leaders to sit al government to allocate a fixed percenttogether and resolve the boundary row the proceeds from tourism soage thatofissues like issuance of ID gate cards fees Taita-Taveta have always been can be to fast-racked. emotive, though without any light at the “We are Kenyans and above all Coast end of the tunnel, for promises residents and I seesave no reason why made living by political leaders during of cammerely on the boundary two paign period, but which are never honcounties should expose us to such sufored. Ngule goes on to lament. fering,” Macknnon road is slightly older than For instance in 2010 the then President Voi town , having in of the Mwai Kibaki gave started a promise 151890s per during the construction of the Kenyacent allocation of Tsavo revenue to TaitaUganda Taveta.railway That wasline. never to be, remaining The townroadside is cosmopolitan in outlook, a mere declaration. with various communities living and This is because in the existing legislation doing business at the dusty outpost. Tsavo is a National Park and its revenue These include members of the Miis part of the national cake. jikenda community, “Instead of fighting forKamba, revenueKikuyu, allocation Taita, among others. fromSomali, Tsavo which might prove an uphill task due to the existing legislation, TaitaCONTINUED PAGE 3 Taveta leadersON should be calling for a change in legislation so that part of Tsavo

nightmare that should fade away at the

crack of dawn. weMlamba, are approaching Masai Mara”, saysBut John a con- discuss with the local leadership issues eventide and still the same. servationist and things formerare coordinator of of revenue sharing from Tsavo, rising Suffice to say that even though Taita-Taveta Wildlife Forum. human–wildlife conflicts, compensation political leaders in both ODM and Jubilee “Previous legislations have largely placed for deaths, injuries and crop destruction are waxing lyrical about this unity of purwildlife management at the beck and call due to wildlife and invasion of Tsavo park pose so as not to be seen to be going counof the national government, leaving comter to the wishes and aspirations of their by hundreds of herders from outside the munities which host wildlife resources to county. respective leaders, deep down, suspicion, mistrust and rancour reign supreme. play a peripheral role, despite being at nothumanspared the Jumbos in Tsavo:Local leaders are theTaita-Taveta receiving endCounty due towas rising political whirlwind. In a county wildlife conflicts” says Mlamba. where the now demanding a share of the revebeen Thepolitical recent alignment outcry overhas thegradually move to transshifting from strong opposition in 2013 nue accruing from the national park fer and a mere 21 elephants from Solio a slight gain for Jubilee in 2017, the these “water melons” are now bending Ranch to Tsavo clear pointer the move by Railaistoa hammer out atoworking backwards with laughter, knowing that factrelationship that local leaders are growing restwith Jubilee will dramatically come 2022, it will not be a question of delesschange over the compensation and thewildlife 2022 politics. fecting to Jubilee but merely shifting to the There is a school of politics in the county side that might assure one of political revenue issue. Local communities will that has been regularly lamenting that survival and a possible win in the polls. only appreciate and value wildlife if they “we used to be in government” “we used Even before the Uhuru –Raila deal, can derive direct benefits from game just to have cabinet ministers” and such like a number of leaders who had been electas they do from their livestock. exhortations to opposition supporters in the county. revenue sharing alignment, Now with the Uhuru-Raila

In a letter dated February 23, Taita-

PHOTO/COURTESY /COURTESY ILLUSTRATION

The rhythm of life is fickle: At times there is so much activity that one almost gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the township. At times life moves slowly, with occasional hooting of ve(Top) A farmer heaves hicles using the Nairobi-Mombasa under the weight of a highway, residents sipping Kahawa giant pumpkin for dischungu and sharing light gossip, occaplay during the two day sionally broken by the sound of muezfarmers’ field day at zin from a nearby mosque. Sowene primary School Those lazing about are shaken out of in Taveta organized by their slumber by trailers suddenly the Taita-Taveta county grinding to a halt and pouring tufts of government. (Inset; dust on peoples’ faces and hawkers’ right) Deputy governor goods by the roadside. That’s MacknMajala Mlaghui poses non road for you. next to an 85 kg banana This backwater township has been the during the event. centre of a unending controversy between Kwale and Taita –Taveta for PHOTOS/DICKSON NGATI about half a century, and going by the look of things, this might continue for a couple of years unless leaders from the two counties sit down and agree on how to solve the stalemate. “I am above eighteen years but I don’t hat historic handshake jolted the have a national ID, the same applies to country’s political scene like a thunmy wife. Every time I apply for an ID I derbolt. am referred to the other side of Kwale To some, it was a welcome reprieve and a county despite the fact that its much much needed panacea to the simmering easier to get an ID from Taita Taveta,” political temperatures in the country. A lamented The demands a Macknnon by Taita-Taveta Road resident leaders for cangodsend. be converted into a game reserve Taveta governor Granton Samboja is Rashid Ngule. a share of the revenue accruing from where the revenue canitbe ploughed back Ainviting the director general of KWS Mr However, to others was a bad dream.

forces, the Uhuru-Rao alignment might suit them, albeit for a little while, before the electorate send them packing in 2022. Governor Granton Samboja who has been accused by some people of betraying the party that sponsored him(NASA-Wiper) in the last polls, has dismissed his critics

ed on a NASA ticket were rumoured to be as busybodies . considering defecting to Jubilee CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 before 2022.Barring all negative political

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Taita-Taveta www.ndambonet.com EXPRESS

New lease of life for reformed charcoal burners as they embrace conservation BY CHRISTINE NAFULA

energy. The organization has recruited some of the men and women who have for many years engaged in charcoal burning and selling in the county and trained them on briquettes making. They have been transformed into environment conservators. One of the beneficiary of the training is 32 years old Omar Bongo who is currently working for the wildlife works in the ecocharcoal department. “Charcoal burning has had a heavy toll on the environment and I am happy to work towards discouraging this activity as it adversely affects the community and future generations”, says Bongo. Bongo was a notorious bush charcoals burner and seller in his village in Bughuta village, Maungu ward Voi sub-county. He has been arrested several times and spent time behind bars for cutting down trees and burning charcoals in his village. The team leader in the eco– charcoal department Constance Mudem told Taita-Taveta Express that there are five steps in making briquettes. The process starts with getting pruned branches of the trees around the park which does not negatively affect the growth of the trees. The small branches pruned from the trees are cut into small pieces and dried for a few days before they are heated in a drum. The stuff is then cooled and them thoroughly mixed with a cassava porridge which acts as binder. Finally the mixture is put in the briquettes making machines that shapes them after which they dried ready for sale. Emily Mwawasi, a senior official of the Wildlife Works in Maungu says that the sale of briquettes has increased with the on going ban on logging and charcoal sale. Constance say it’s easier to make eco-charcoal briquettes than bush charcoal where one is forced to cut a whole tree to make one sack of the bush charcoal. Fatuma Khamisi who operates a cafeteria in Maungu says the invention has introduced an economical and environmentally-friendly fuel.. "I used to cook githeri for three people with at least three tins of charcoal but with briquettes I only use two pieces and my githeri is ready," said Madam Fatuma. Emily says they sell the briquettes to several hotels and schools including Mombasa, Maungu, Voi, Mwatate, Taveta and Wundanyi. She added that briquettes sale has increased with the ban on logging and charcoal sale in the Country. In a day the organisation produces and sales more than 600 briquettes. Currently a sack of bush charcoals cost around Sh2,500 as compared to one briquettes selling at Sh10 only. A couple of months after the government ban on logging and charcoal burning in the county, the price of this useful commodity has doubled in Taita- Taveta. A sack of bush charcoal that was retailing at Sh600 is now been sold at Sh2,500. Charcoal remains the major source of fuel for the rural and urban poor and despite the ban, the commodity is still being sought by many people. Charcoal is sold in sacks, tins and 20 kilo plastic containers. Retailers of the commodity earn good profit by buying the charcoal in sacks and selling in tins which go for between Sh 30 and Sh 70.{et

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The Taita-Taveta County pending bills nightmare he Taita-Taveta County government is heaving under the weight of pending bills amounting to more than Sh 900m. This has raised serious concerns among leaders and wananchi as this could adversely affect development and service delivery. Consequently, a report by a committee formed by governor Granton Samboja to get to the bottom of this quagmire has unearthed numerous irregularities and discrepancies through which millions of taxpayers’ money could be paid out for services that might not have been rendered. The Report of the Committee on Pending Bills at the behest of committee chairman Leonard Kalama reveals that when governor Samboja assumed office, he was presented with pending bills amounting to Sh 724m. This amount was later adjusted upwards to Sh 834m and when the committee was getting down to its work, the figure had already reached Sh 919m. Samboja appointed the 7 member committee on March 23 to look into the issue in order to ascertain the actual amount of money owed as pending bills so that the county government could pay only genuine claims. “At the moment, only Sh21m is outright payable while an additional Sh271m is payable subject to meeting the conditions set out against each bill,” said committee chairman Kalama when he officially handed over the report on their findings to governor Samboja in his Wundanyi boardroom. However, now the vermin is crawling out of the woodworks as it emerged that claims amounting to more than Sh500m may not be paid due to lack of supporting documents to authenticate these

claims. Mr Kalama pointed out that the pending bills issue was serious and the leaders must grasp the nettle and address the matter saying a considerable amount of funds allocated to the county could end up paying pending bills thereby affecting development and service delivery. “Mr governor I want to be very sincere to you that you have a very serious issue that cannot be wished away. The pending bills problem should be addressed once and for all and measures taken so that the same does not recur in the future”, said accountant Kalama.

Ndambonet graphics 2018

ildlife Works, an NGOs operating in Taita-Taveta County, has embarked on training youth and women groups on the alternative sustainable sources of

COUNTY NEWS

key observations Among the key observations made by the committee include unrealistic budgets, general lack of financial discipline, weak internal controls, flouting of procurement procedures and regulations, lack of professionalism, blatant collusion between staff, suppliers and contractors, among a host others. The report suggests a raft of mitigation measures including proper preparation of realistic budgets and adherence to the same, strengthening internal controls to enhance compliance, ensuring adherence to leadership and integrity Act 2012, strengthening contractual agreements with suppliers and contractors to ensure county government interests are protected, among others. The report further points out that lack of cooperation by departments in supplying requested information was another challenge encountered in the course of their investigations. “In some situations, the requested information and documents could not be availed despite repeated reminders to the departments concerned”, the report notes.

A section of the Voi-Mwatate road : PHOTO/FILE The governor’s office in Wundanyi


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS BRIEFLY BRIEFLY

Address plight of Tanzanian women living in Taveta, government urged The Taita-Taveta county government is seeking ways of assisting women from Tanzania who are married to Kenyans but have no valid documents to prove that they belong to any of the two countries. The problem is common in the Kitobo area in Taveta sub-county which borders Tanzania. Some of the women have been living in the country for more than 30 years and their children and grandchildren are Kenyan citizens by birth. The women who crossed through undesignated routes into Kenya in pursuit of the love of their lives, lamented that they had been denied basic services such as MPesa or even registration into women saccos. “We cannot participate fully in building the economy since we cannot even access basic services such MPesa .We cannot vote nor travel freely as other Kenyans to visit our children because we are not recognized as Kenyans”, lamented an elderly lady Maria Kaluma. crucial documents Some of the women lamented that following the procedures to get Kenyan citizenship has been a task fraught with hassles due to lack of crucial documents that show that they had legally cleared to get into the country. According to Kitobo location chief Mr Yunus Jureji, more women and men were crossing the border to find their better halves . “Kitobo location alone is home to over 300 women of Tanzania origin married to Kenyans. Some of the women were married at a very tender age,” said chief Jureji. Taveta acting deputy sub-county administrator Gibran Mghanga said the plight of these women should be addressed by the government since it would galvanize the residents of the two countries in the spirit of the East African Cooperation.

-RAPHAEL MWADIME

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COUNTY NEWS

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Towards realizing the full economic benefits of baobab tree

Taita-Taveta leaders make fresh charm offensive for Macknnon road township

contain a dry pulp that has Selina Maghema, a sack of baobab flour a historical tourism more vitamin C than orwidowed mother of and seeds, sugar and facility, the rest of anges, more calcium than three at Mwingoni vil- food colours these wonder trees FROM PAGE 1 lage in Voi, Taita – The process of mak- remain largely unno- milk, more potassium than The town has a population of the baobab Taveta County is a ing ticed in the harsh arid a banana, more magnesiabout 11,000 residents. Between um than spinach, and hardworking business sweets is fairly simTsavo plains. 1947 and 1950, Macknnon road woman who struggles ple. She places water In Kenya large quan- more iron than red meat. was the site of large British Engitooth and nail to raise in a sufuria and adds tities of baobab fruits neering and Ordinance depot deIn Coastal towns such as her family. sugar and food colare harvested and signed to hold tons of military Maghema who runs a ours and lets the mix- sold in Coastal towns Mombasa, juice made installations. from the floury part of the small business inlandmark the ture boil. She then such as Malindi, One outstanding is the baobab fruit is used for Macknnon Road mosque which village, however, is adds isbaobab flour Mombasa and Kilifi among the the oldest in Coastand region. spicing Swahili dishes and among few tradstirs up the mix- as well as Eastern It is saidhave to house the tombture. of Seysnacks as well as porridge ers who venThe viscous Kenya in Kitui, yid Baghali ,a Punjab foreman tured into making and stuff is then removed Mwingi, Kibwezi and due to its sour-sweet during the construction of the selling sweets from from the fire and Tharaka. Nairobi also taste. Kenya- Uganda railway line at the the baobab fruits. poured into a basin offers a potential marturn of the twentieth century. The baobab fruit’s flavour Though there are half full of baobab ket for the fruits. Baghali was famed for having hundreds of this giant seeds superhuman strength which cameand stirred vig- “Baobab has the po- is also found in British and American products as tree dotting orously in handy forvirtually the heavy work that till the whitish tential to become a an ingredient in chocothe went whole into the aridrailway low- construcseeds turn reddish in major regional export From top: Senator Johnes Mwaruma (left) confers with Voi MP Johnes Mlolwa tion.of the county, lates, cerealschool bars,recentjams, land colour. After cooling commodity. A sus- at Mbele (centre) and governor Granton Samboja(right) primary Andfew now have matters have reached a head sauces and even gin. very down thely.sweets are tainable potential INSET: (left)Governor Samboja and (right) Governor Salim Mvurya after a high-powered tour of Taitagrasped the simple ready for packaging supply of 700,000 Taveta leaders went on a charm ofThe fruit of the baobab yet lucrative value of and selling. metric tones of baofensive to Makina township and trading in the School baobab “I sell Mbele Primary to claim it at a wholesale bab fruit a year could has a white, floury pulp which is very rich in nutriback to their county after neglecting it 3 sachets for be sourced from the fruit. price of towards Kwale for over fifty. This is despite the Sh 10.The traders countries in Southern ents and has more proThe leaders were led by governor tein than is found in hufact that these sweet- then sell each sachet and Eastern Africa Granton Samboja ,senator Johnes man milk. ened baobab seeds for Sh 5, making a regions”, says A. Mwaruma, Voi MP Johnes Mlowa, are to be foundMajala in al- profit of Sh 2,” she Mbora and deputy governor Mlaghui ,county CECs and several told taita-Taveta Ex- R.Jamnadass in an e- This is one of the reasons most every shop and MCAs.and very much press. book titled “Growing why nutrition companies kiosk, The tour of the disputed area was a high priority fruits and in the world source for the popular with the kids. She says she is exprecedent by Taita-Taveta County to fruit to provide what are nuts in Kenya”. “I start learnt how to make collecting revenue fromploring Mackn- opportunities baobab from supplying the Key markets include known as reinforced non road,sweets an issue that irked of Kwale foods. The seeds give an county government led by governor a neighbour three sweets in Mombasa the European Governor John Mruttu ( left) Voi MPUnion, Johnes Mlolwa (centre) and senator Salim Mvurya. oil which is used by the years ago and since and NairobiDan where United States, Mwazo at Mbele primary school Japan on May 13 2014 PHOTO/FILE Kwale leaders viewed the move by cosmetic industry to prothen I have been pro- the price ifs fairly and South Africa. Taita-Taveta as an act of aggression ducing thousands of high. “Demand for pow- duce body lotions. and called upon their county security Security officers from Kwale county sachets which I sell in “A sachet which goes der from the baobab officers to heighten vigilance at confiscate signboards that Taita-Taveta Makina to ensure that no revenue retail and wholesale for Sh5 in Voi goes fruit could boost farm- However, the baobab releaders had intended to erect at Mwemform Taita-Taveta collected mains largely an underutitoofficers shops and kiosks, for Sh 20 in Nairobi, incomes, beni on the disputeders’ border of deputy Taita- slow BYfrom RAPHAEL MWADIME/GPS Taveta governor Majala Mlaghui rates the township. lized and neglected food giving me good rewhich is farTaveta much and Kwale counties deforestation in August and Taita-Taveta county has been accused who urged the leaders to unite in growing order to 2015Maghe- protect biodiversity,” plant mainly in the turns,” says Maghehigher,” says of Senior failing to politicians deliver the requisite in theserCoast region promote economic growth in the region. wild. ma. the book says. vices in the township such asma. busihave been to offer guidance to FACTS “When we THE unite we not only achieve poABOUT BAOBAB nesssays licencing well as management She in aaschallenged month However, all this notthe current leaders to ensure unity that litical goals also of liquid and solidupwaste, andwithstanding, only baobab mightbut be aptly de-economic From thegrowth. scientific point of she can make Maghe- The going topropel “reap where they had not of their people to scribed will the interests as the sleeping economWe need to strategise and come view, there together are eight speward of Sh20,000 ma is among the few sown”. ic giant of the arid and semithe national level. cies of baobab in the in to order to have a stronger political from thestatement baobabissued pulpby the traders in the county A press arid lands. world. There's one from Speaking during theof memorial sweets popularly earning income for voice, ”she said. Kwale government director com- an service one from munication Daniel Nyassy sent a a tree which former Voi MP Eliud Mwamunga at the Other former MPs whoAfrica, known as mabuyu. from attended the Australia, mass An average mature fruiting strong message to Taita-Taveta leadand six are endemic to the Maghema says shegrounds manyintreat a plant baobab ACK Cathedral Voi,asKilifi included Mashengu was Mwachofi and produces about 200 kg ers to keep off Macknnon Road area island of Madagascar. buys the baobab best left as food for Stewart Madzayo Mwacharo Kubo. of fruit per season. as senator the governors of the two counties said Taitaseeds and flourbred from wild animals. In fact, this is not the{et first time the Taveta has a class good leaders sought an amicable solution to theof -GPS traders from Kasigau, As a matter of fact boundary dispute has reached boiling boundary controversy. of the plant considerawho during their tenure served the peo- Grafting “We haveand learntSagalla with great shock and point.is one Mbololo, thededication. baobab bly shortens the time of flowerple with diligence and In August 2015 a high tour from 8-23 disbelief about Taita-Taveta county in Taita-Taveta Coun- plant whose economing powered to three years “Taita-Taveta has produced from one Taita-Taveta of the county led by asleadership’s attempt to invade years forMeshack plants raised from ty and sometimes ic potential hasspeaker re- Maghanga sembly Macknnon Road town andpoliticians ward in most outstanding like Mashseeds. from Kibwezi in Mamained largely unexMaghanga met a hostile reception at The Macknnon Road Kwale county, declaring it part of engu wa Mwachofi, former kueni County. ploited insenator Taita- Dan Mwembeni area where the leaders mosque Taita-Taveta county” The statement Mwazo, Rtd Madoka, The baobabtois mark pollinated by the had gone to erect a signboard Nyassy in part. “”Ibybuy a 2reads kilo tinMajor of Marsden Taveta and other the between fruitthe battwo andcounbears fruits once “…that we condemn inwho the strongest among others, were fearless baobab seeds at Sh counties in boundary theand counAn education official in Voi conties. possible terms the unwarranted invapeople when it came to na- per year. 50, stood whichby is atheir fairly try. sion of Kwale county by HE Gover- During the ensuing standoff speaker firmed that the school is registered in representation. We upon you Taita-Taveta County. good price,” she and other Apart from the infaMaghanga and Maungu MCA variety Paul is known nortional Granton Samboja highlook The African by says. mous tree people to come down herebaobab and provide Waweru wereat arrested and locked up “We have learnt with great shock ranking county government offithe scientific name Adansonia Kinango and later and disbelief about Taita-Taveta cials…That we take busithisexperience,” action as a inatsaid The enterprising Salaita Taveta that leadership Senpolice station digitatathem. . charges preferred against county leadership’s attempt to direct act of provocation and inciteness lady has conwhich was used by a Madzayo. The signboards were also confiscated. invade Macknnon Road town and ment of residents of both counties verted one ofthe herleadersGerman female war He urged to uniteThe inepicenter order to of theItboundary is ward and that. ..We shall not allow officers was firstrow licensed for thein Kwale county, declaring rooms into a small sniper as a hideout Mbele primary school which is locatit part of Taita-Taveta county” from Taita-Taveta county to collect have a say in national politics. European food market cottage industry during the First ed on the World boundary of Kwale and -Kwale revenue in Kwale county..” the stateHis sentiments were echoed Taita-Taveta. by Taitaeight years ago and pro- County Director of Communication Daniel Nyassy ment further said. a 6kg War and which has where she has claimed a super food. Its gas stove, a huge now been turned into soft, yellowish-green pods

Use your experience mentor current Kishushe iron oretomining: crop of leaders , senator Madzayo urgViable or powder keg? es formerproject Taita-Taveta politicians


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

COUNTY FEATURE

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How Voi town is becoming a notorious red light district hat Voi town in Taita -Taveta County is a twenty four–hour economy is there for everyone to see. From the crack of dawn to the dead of the night, there is one kind of activity or another going on. This has largely been attributed to the high security levels in the town and its environs. Suffice to say that as evening sets in and some people prepare to retire to their homes, others are preparing to usher in the night, ready for work. This latter category includes commercial sex workers who have invaded the town in large numbers seeking to make a kill. These come from as far as Ukambani, Taveta, Mtito Andei, Macknnon Road, Maungu and other far flung parts of Kenya. In fact the cosmopolitan nature of Voi is also true when it comes to prostitution as virtually every community in Kenya has at least a commercial sex worker here. So as darkness sets in, they begin crawling out like vermin from the woodworks, tight hip-star jeans, skimpy shorts, and all sorts of flesh-baring attire. From Mwakingali, Maweni ,Sofia ,Kariokor and Tanzania village, commercial sex is big business here. “The increase in prostitution is largely due to loose cash in the hands of fun-loving men who have no serious plans with their money. They begin with alcohol and eventually pick prostitutes for easy sex, ” said Bildad Kombe, a social worker. Kombe says some of the men, while under the influence of alcohol, engage in unprotected sex, which exposes them to the danger of HIV/Aids. “In most cases, a drunk person may not use a condom well and in the process it might burst, putting him at the risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STDs), such as Aid,” the social worker says. Taita-Taveta Express carried out a nightlong investigation into this commercial vice that has gripped Voi town and the results are grim as they are telling. I have just taken a seat at vacant corner of a notorious nightclub and ordered a drink. A tipsy lady who appears to be in her early twenties comes and sits next to me. She asks for a matchbox to light a cigarette. I order a soda for the lady, which she gladly accepts but on condition that I also buy her a matchbox. We begin our conversation, the woman believing that she has landed a catch. no deal I ask her about a deal for a whole night. She says Sh2,000, payment for guest room aside.

A street in Voi town that has now been nicknamed “Koinange Street” I change tack, saying I am “a short distance runner” and may not need her services for the whole night. “O.k, Sh 200 just for today, because things aren’t so good. Mwezi uko kona (meaning it’s bad time of the month). The lady downs her soda anxiously. Shortly, another call girl rushes in and pulls her colleague away. “Achana na huyu mtu, atakupiga picha!”(Leave this guy alone, he is a journalist and wants to publish your picture!”). This is just a snapshot of the rot that has gripped Voi town ,reducing it to the status of the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. Visit any night club in the dead of the night and you can hardly tell the difference between students from local colleges and

prostitutes. They are all shameless, drunk, skimpily dressed and setting the stage for the booming flesh trade. Police swoops in the recent past have turned out to be a total fiasco, given that some of the rounded up commercial sex workers have “customers” within the police force and are set free shortly, without any charges being preferred against them. This commercial flesh trade goes hand in hand with alcohol outlets, which are scattered all over Voi and its environs. With about 40 alcohol outlets and about a similar number of guest houses and lodges, this is big business which seems to continue growing unabated.


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

TOWN PROFILE

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Child prostitution one of the key challenges facing education sector in Coast-report says reion:report

Child prostitution is among the key chal- “Many of the children being exploited them gain access to tourists, such as lenges facing the education sector in are not from the coast region but are beach boys, bar staff, waiters and oththe Coast region. imported from rural areas from around ers. These illegal activities involve tour As such, according to a UNICEF report, the country. You don’t have to spend a operators, hotels and well-connected there is a steady rise in school dropouts lot of time at the Kenyan coast to know agents. in the province as girls from poor that child prostitution and sex tourism Most child prostitution incidents go unfamilies fall prey to prostitution. are rampant there. In Mombasa and reported, and when they’re brought to The boys have also not been spared Malindi, it is common to see aging white light, authorities downplay the gravity of either as they drop out of school after men well into their 70s and 80s with the matter for fear that the already fragbeing lured by rich female tourists who girls young enough to be their grand- ile tourism industry in Mombasa would laze around the coastal beaches. daughters” the report says. be further affected. “In Kenya, nearly 30 per cent of Alongside the problem of child prostituchildren between the ages of 12 to 18 Locals tolerate this type of sexual ex- tion is the issue of child trafficking. It is years are engaged in child prostitution . ploitation because they claim “nothing estimated that more than 20,000 chilMost of these children can be found in gets a family out of poverty faster than a dren are trafficked annually in Kenya. urban areas. The practice is most prev- daughter who has a white boyfriend.” This has been blamed partly on private alent in the Coast province which is a In many cases, girls are encouraged by villas where these activities are carried favorite haunt for pedophiles disguised none other than their parents and rela- out. as tourists. Although sexual exploitation tives to look for older white men who will Most of these villas are rented by visitof children is a criminal offence under not only pay the girl for her services, but ing tourists some of them believed to be Kenya's penal code and also the Chil- her family as well. very rich as to be untouchables to the dren's Act, a study by UNICEF has The UNICEF study, The Extent and Ef- law enforcement agencies. found an extremely high level of ac- fect of Sex Tourism and Sexual Exploi- Majority of the victims are in primary ceptance of commercial sexual abuse tation of Children on the Kenyan Coast schools and in the 10 to 14 years age by those most closely involved with indicates that up to 30 per cent of all the bracket. them including parents” the report says. 12 to 18-year-olds living in the coastal {et The report points out that the promise areas of Malindi, Mombasa, Kilifi and of easy money has seen underage girlsCounty Diani are in park casualbut sexis work. oi town in TaitaTaveta is involved matatu now being used by buses, registeringamong for identity cards to falsify As such, it is estimated that 10,000 to and pushcarts. The Voi sub-county is one of the four sub-counties the fastest growing urban cen- lorries, boda bodas, taxis in Taita-Taveta County with a population of over their agestres andinbeCoast allowed to gain entry 15,000 girls living in these areas are region and a business hub lower part of the bus park is taken up by kiosks 60,000 inhabitants. Despite its relatively small into hotels and entertainment spots. being sexually exploited. A further 2,000 gearing towards a twenty four hour which are constructed right under power lines. size Voi town has been growing fast and gearIt further reveals that 76.3 per cent of to 3,000 girls What and boys economy. wasare to sexually be a busexpark was later on taken ing up to become a vibrant 24 hour economy. girls saidofthethe practice a be ploited year-round by asex tourists, in Theinterviewed rapid growth town was might an indiover by private developer before it changed The thriving economic activities especially "normal an acceptable to these same areas. Other estimates cator of and the huge economic means potential that Voi hands to become thesugsite of the ACK Cathedral. in the Voi CBD have made the town the comearn that -as many as 30,000 holdsa ,living". being located next to the busy gest Nairobi The lorry park girls was belater moved to Maungu mercial hub in the county despite the official In more shocking findings of the study tween the ages of 12 and 14 are lured Mombasa highway, the Nairobi Kisumu Railtownship after the area earmarked for the same county headquarters being in Mwatate subon theline extent sexexpansive tourism andTsavo sexualNational into hotels andwas private villaswhile to be the sex-slaughter house at Kari- county but now temporarily housed in Wundanyi way andofthe grabbed exploitation of children at the Coast, the ually exploited. During the low tourism sub-county. Park. okor was deemed a health hazard as it was loUNICEF reports that 35.5 per cent of season, local demand sustains the Voi town owes its origin to the construcIn fact Voi missed becoming one of the tourism cated in a residential area and was subsequently the girls and boys interviewed said they sexual exploitation of children. Children tion of the Kenya-Uganda railway line during the resort cities in Coast region in line with Vision moved to Ndara area where it still faces chalhad unprotected sex when their clients involved in prostitution are also comlate 1890s where small businesses largely 2030 , the main problem being lack of enough lenges especially availability of water. demanded it. pelled to provide sex to locals who help land for expansion and lack of a watertight mas- The plot that was initially allocated for a Social owned by Indians constructing the railway line

began to spring up. Hall has now been turned into an open air market. An alternative site for this social amenity history has so far not been identified. intense rainsplot earlier in theforyear than expected. region including North and South Coast . After the meant a public toilet in But the Currently it seems as though history is repeatinstead of coming up with strategies combat “The big problem here is our government and releVoi CBD was reportedly grabbedtoby a private ing itself as the construction of the multibillion dangers related to climate change, the government vant departments failed sensitize locals on developer, the confusion heightened. Standard gauge have railway lineto has begun to exhas its priorities and health is putting the fate of environmental issues”ofsays Asmisplaced such in 2007 the public department pand the economy VoiAli. and its environs given the Coastal people danger,” warns the report. from the fears that Mombasa could sink sued the then VoiinMunicipal Council to compel Apart the vast business opportunities island that the project According to Ibrahim Wangila, an expert on matters in fifty years there is also the risk of tsunami striking the local authority to put up a public toilet at the will entice in Voi and the whole Coast region as concerning climate changethe andabattoir a programs officer the coastal region. a whole. CBD and also relocate at Kariokor Already land speculators have been to with Eco-Ethics International Kenya, even though This is exacerbated by the cutting down of rushing trees which to a safer location as it was deemed a public Voi to acquire land as the prices of plots sore to there danger signs that Mombasa island could grow along the beach and runaway construction of healthare hazard. up to Sh.In 10m acre. sink , this will take many years to come and only by the per event of a tsunami, the report notes, The case of solid and liquid waste management buildings Some of the key businesses in Voi and its envi“a few tens of centimeters”. is another thorn in the flesh. The Voi CBD does people living hundreds of kilometers away from the rons include those related to The environmental says climate change is a beaches would also be affected. the tourism indusnot have a properexpert sewerage plan and it’s not try. global problem residents have a roleintothe uncommon toand findcoastal the filth flowing freely The mining sector has also played a key ecoplay in mitigating the impacts that the phenomenon {et town. nomic role even though most of the gemstone can Thishave. is despite the fact that in 2005 the World dealers do not invest directly into the local econ“We the fact that Mombasa mayfeasibility sink but Bankcant hadavoid undertaken a Sh500 million omy. we canon make sure that it does not take place anyand time However, this is set to change dramatically study sewage management in Voi town soon,” he saysthrough in the report. once the gem center put up in Voi becomes its environs the then Ministry of Local fully operational. The gem center will double Government(MOLG). The feasibility global study has never been actualized both as a business hub for minerals and gemwarning and planners estimate that the cost could have stones as well as a resource centre where those interested in the gemstone business can Kilindini habour. doubled Sh 1 Beach billion,Management more than ten The Coasttoregion Unityears secretary learn about the value and nature of minerals. “It’s very sad see weather are The area hadtoboda initially beenpatterns earmarked to be ahome down road. A Voi boda operator ferries fivechanging pupils on his the motorcycle: careless could general Salim Ali saysSuch global warningmistakes effects will not lead {etto accidents , injuries and even loss of lives ter plan that could guide this rapid expansion. However, beyond this seemingly rapid expansion and development lies a challenge that Mombasa Island whichaholds the second largest city might become nightmare to town plan“It’s soon very sad to see weather in thegiven countrythat could be no more 50 years to come ners initial blueprints that had been patterns are changing drastiunless drastic measures are taken to counter the designed to guide the planning of the town cally doing us more harm effects ofand climate change. have largely been ignored. than bringing about in- meenvironmental experts and scientists have warned . Instead,good, corruption, political patronage and The city with a population of over 1 million people factense earlier in the year diocrity rains have seen the emergence of runaway es a real danger of being submerged due to rising infrastructure, buildings and numerous infor-sea than expected” levels occasioned by rising global temperatures. mal settlements whose structures do not conAccording to architectural Climate Change News , Mombasa form to any standards. stands the risk of sinking due to sea levels Some of the town planners rising who came to Voi in occasioned by totally the melting of icethe blocks the North recent years ignored wayinleaves that and poles. had South been demarcated for water pipelines and “Some in theand Pacific are already future islands expansion allocated plotsgetting which endsubmerged the ice in the North and ed up over.With lapping theblocks way leaves. Some of the South poles melting due to rising temperatures, Part Development plans(PDPs) designed bythere the are reserves to storecouncil this water thus flowing into thennoVoi municipal planners also added the oceans and raising the disregarded sea levels” thethe report says. to the confusion as they sections The touristfor town of Mombasa set aside water pipes. lies next to the Indian Ocean as Park the centre ofmajor the coastal tourism In factand theserves Voi bus is one indicator industry and is locatedplanning on Mombasa Island is of how haphazard of Voi has which lead to separated from mainland by two creeks Tudor and congestion andthe confusion.

Why Mombasa island Risky could ride disappear after 50 years-report

and doing us more harm than good, bringing about

only be felt in Mombasa but also in other parts of the


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

POLITICS

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

7

Of Uhuru-Raila pact and 2022goods pol- Human rights report lays Why substandard are the elephant in itics in Taita-Taveta County bare the challenges facRecently a distraught woman came to (Rivatex) collapsed ostensibly due to me with two pairs of shoes. The the influx of mitumba in the local marwoman, a teacher in a local primary ket. school, had bought the shoes from a However, the elephant in the room reputable company for her two chil- that we have failed to pinpoint are dren. Apparently, the shoes had besubstandard goods. gun to wear out too soon, in fact in a Naturally, consumers want value for matter of weeks. While buying the money. One would expect an item and ownership disputes are among the key shoes, she had been assured of quali- costing so much to last for a certainfactors affecting the mining ty and durability, attributes that the time under normal circumstances. sector in Taita-Taveta Former governor John products did not have. For instance, a pair ofCounty. shoes costing This includes nonMruttu and former senator “I have approached the manager of Sh4,000 , assuming one doesinnot wear exclusivity decision makDan Mwazo at a past ing and conflicting claims to the company about my predicament it on a daily basis, could last for up to function land rights, compromised but he has been a trifle edgy ,taking a year. accuracies in determining extent of land FROM PAGEin 1 circles without giving Among the leaders the county me round But if from the shoes beginthe tospatial wear off after rights and delayed and deSpeaking at Mwasere Girls during who attended the event were fornied enjoyment has of claimed me an explanation why the shoes a month, clearly the consumer not events to mark the World Water mer governor John Mruttu, Danson land rights. wore out too soon despite paying gotten value for money. They According to ahave “Report on Day Samboja said he was not Mwashako(Wundanyi MP),Johnes mining activities in TaitaSh2,000ofper pair.with I finally decided to been shortchanged. ashamed working the govMlolwa(Voi MP)and governor SamTaveta County and its impact ernment the sake developboja,lady amongIn others. take myforplight toofthe Press,” the fact most people would that on human testify rights” by the ment. “I have said it before and I Many questions still linger on how National Commislamented. they had rather buy Kenya second hand want to repeat it here that I am go- leaders who have been sworn rivals sion on Human Rights Actually, the lady’s plight wasinnot a items , someODM of which(KNCHR) last long loss of entitleing to work with the government the opposition especially ment to land due to irregunew occurrence me. have will been a with enough, buy goods. to bring developmenttofor my Ipeople tango those inthan Jubilee, as substandard lar practices has given room of Taita-Taveta .Those who want to ,shoes the new realignments take shape. some miners the to operate victim of substandard goods On the other hand, ittobehoves make noise and play politics let Even though it’s said that in politics without licences. from the same company being one of Government to protect consumers “Due to land ownership them continue doing so even on the there are no permanent friends or disputes Taita-Taveta them. have several of aenemies, popu- only against substandard goods,in which is internet.IWakitaka waandikepairs hata kwa permanent interests County that have remained mitandao” –afrom barb calculated to (maslahi), might be elephant lar brand the company but eachthings in line with the new constitution. unresolved for long, the sting some disgruntled members of this time round. communities affected canhas a problem. If it’s not the soles fall- Chapter Five(The Bill of Rights) not enjoy the right to use a Facebook group,Taita-Taveta Despite being an affable and down ing off too soon, it’s the leather crack- states in section 46(1), which dwells County Citzenry Forum, with more to earth character, former governor the land they claim to be ing and consumer rights: theirs, either for subsistence than 50,000ripping members,off. who have John Mruttuon might need another or economic purposes such been attacking the governor for virtue installed in him to cope withthe asright, In fact the issue of substandard goods Consumers have mining,” the report says. shifting party allegiance among othhis belligerent and straight-shooting The report calls for particiencompasses virtually all products a)to goods and services of reasonable patory planning of land er critical issues. nemesis, former Wundanyi MP adjudication which should we use. during From aclothes to in shoesThomas and Mwadeghu, qualitya loser in the Speaking fundsdrive be executed by involving electronics, our Church streetsatare littered b)to the necessary for aid of Hope Gospel last gubernatorial pollsinformation and now the local communities in an Mwakiki village in Voi sub-county, ODM national vice-chairman. open ,fair and transparent with these. them to gain full benefit from goods process. governor Samboja described the Other politicians whose fate reIn the same vein it would be in order and services “Policies and systems must decision by Raila Odinga to work mains unknown include former be established and implefor one to wonder what really poses a c)to the protection of their health, with Uhuru Kenyatta as liberation senator Dan Mwazo, who despite mented for accurate land (ukombozi)for theeconomy: country. defecting from ODMand to Jubilee and surveying threat to our Substandard safety economic interests; and in and mapping “Raila’s decision to work with Jubilaunching a spirited campaign for Taita-Taveta’s mining goods or second hand items, popular- d)to compensation for loss or injuryareas lee government is liberation not on- the Taita-Taveta gubernatorial seat, before allocating any rights ly known as mitumba. This is a rhetor- arising from defects in goods orlands ser-in to mining on the ly for the country but also a panacea lost, coming a distant third after question,” the report recomicalTaita-Taveta question,County” anyway. for Samboja Samboja andvices. Mruttu. mends. was his Press Service the as lesser Mwazoof has maintained a low The report further Yet,quoted if onebywas to choose In the light of prothe foregoing, one calls out to both national and county saying. file since the resounding loss and two evils, they would rather go for would have expectedgovernments to get some reto come up This shift in political matrices has his deafening silence is of much with Bureau a land in formation mitumba that areTaita-Taveta affordable and in Whether prieve the in Kenya of also dumbfounded concern. he from has thrown system with digital integramost cases last longerarethan sub- from Standards which facto standpoliticians some of whom now most the towel active politics or is is the tion de of county land records wondering they will work to- planning a fresh forin 2022 re- country. and national land parcel standard how goods. ardsmove body this gether now that the top brass have mains a matter of conjecture. There data. Curiously, most of the sellers of these However, it has come“The tojudiciary my notice should also buried the hatchet. In fact if this have been unconfirmed rumours speed up the resolution goods caveat onwas the that virtually all substandard goods of sudden place politicalaabout-turn to receipts that he was considering moving court cases on land and be accompanied by stomping of backreacto ODM, which be which that “goods once sold cannot be bear theremains Kebs to logo, is also mining rights in order to allow mining investors and feet on the ground, the dust raised seen now that events have moved cepted”. One would wonder why an counterfeited. The silence of the land owners to enjoy the could reach the sky. full circle. economic benefits of the honest business entity dealing in standards body on this issue is unDuring a recent tour of Voi by dep- Joyce Lay former county Women land sections that are rightgoods of reasonable quality bedefected nerving and raises questions uty president William Ruto, local should Rep who to Jubilee from more fully theirs,” it asserts. leaders from both Jubilee and Nasa ODM suffered similar fate and deThe issue of labour rights worried about consumers returning than answers. and environmental degra“endorsed” the DP for the country’s spite loose talk that she could be them. Towards this end, I should aver that dation have also been put in presidency in 2022. Yet these are the considered for a cabinet post, that full focus. Sometime thebeen government substandard goods pose a serious same leaders back who have foam- was not to be. Miners and members of the sought increase duty on imported economic challenge for the country ing at the to corners of their mouths, In Taveta, the uneasy relationship community have been exposed to environmental reminding those clothes talking politics t the between MP the Naomi Shabaan, second hand to save locallocaland government must show hat “siasa zimeisha sasa ni wakati wa a Jubilee staunch supporter and her health and safety risks from textile industry .This is understanda- commitment to rid ustheof thisactivities. problem. mining maendeleo”(politics are behind us neighbour John Mruttu might ease The KNCHR confirmed that ble. It now has time to be mindwith thatthe UhuruRao arrangement. and its to borne focus onin developen pits and weak support opment). {et in underground mines have companies such as Kisumu Cotton claimed many innocent Mills(Kicomi) and Rift Valley Textiles

the room that is being overlooked bysector many ing the mining in Taita-Taveta County A mining site in Taita-Taveta County

lives and caused serious injuries to mine workers and even animals, with reported cases of collapsing mines and flood waters entering the mines while the workers are inside. It was reported that criminal elements used mining caves and open pits as hideouts. Lack of safety gear for mine workers led to exposure to harmful particles and gases, while pollution of water, soil and air arising from mining activities was also observed as a key source of health problems in the County. Blasting activities also caused noise pollution and weakened the built structures near the mining areas. The report calls for well designed health and safety programmes for miners and the investors and the strict implementation of a policy on rehabilitation of mine sites after mining activities have stopped. It is also important to establish the properties of the minerals in a mining area before embarking on mining to ensure workers are not exposed to harmful rays and particles. Another sticky issue has been the labour rights of mine workers most of whom working for long hours for meager pay under risky and unhygienic conditions. They are not provided with protective gear to shield them from harmful objects and substances as well as cold nights. “Clean water and sanitation facilities were generally missing and in most cases the conditions were deplorable and undignified. Poor nutrition of the workers , with cases of unclean food cooked in dilapidated drums”, have been cited as evidence to the mine workers woes. The human rights body calls for the welfare of the workers to be taken seriously by the employers who are asked to observe strict adherence to labour laws

and the relevant provisions for remuneration, written contracts, working hours, worker compensation policy, medical insurance and statutory deductions. Gender and children rights are also mentioned as other issues in the mining sector that require redress. Cases of children dropping out of school to work in the mines especially in Kamtonga in Mwatate sub-county were reported, with some being sexually abused by mine workers due to the allure of money. Discrimination of women in getting work in the mining sites is noted as a violation of gender rights with some women claiming that they were being chased away from the mining sites by their male colleagues as well as suffering sexual abuse and harassment. Extreme cases of assault were reported where women were subjected to indecent searches for hidden gemstones in their private parts. The human rights body calls upon the Government to operationalise the two key Acts of 2016; The Mining Act and the Community Land Act, which will go a long way towards solving and mitigating some of the issues highlighted so far. Crispus Mkungusi a mining prospector at Mkuki ranch calls for regular police patrols in the mining areas to flush out criminal elements disguised as mine workers and prospectors. “A fully-manned police post should be put up near the major mining zones to ensure that miners are not robbed of invaluable gemstones when the minerals are struck” suggests Mkungusi. He also called upon the national and county government to supply mining equipment to small scale miners to enable them access gemstones and minerals where manual extraction cannot be of any good. {et


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

BUSINESS NEWS

7

Qwetu Sacco records business as dividends Why extension services hold impressive the key to boosting agricultural productivity reach Sh 65m compared to Sh 50m the previous year Agricultural extension is the System” played an important “We are upgrading our software in order to record faster growth. This will function of providing needand role in the Green Revolution. enable our members to transact business such as loan applications even demand-based in ag- ThisCEO should be replicated from the comfortknowledge of their homes”-Qwetu Mr Charles Kaba in ronomic techniques and skills to Kenya where agriculture is a rural communities in a systemat- major economic pillar. embers ofmanner, Qwetu Sacco Couty will begovernments smiling all the way ic, participatory within Taita-Taveta Under the county to the bank to cash in on their dividends amounting to over Sh 65 million. the objective of improving their now in place with agriculture This is a remarkable achievement for the sacco which paid out Sh 50m as production, income, and in esbeing a key development agendividends in the previous financial year. sence, theAddressing quality ofjubilant life. delegates during da in most of them, the Qwetu sacco extension annual delegates should take a central meeting at Vacani Hotel at Ikanga on the services outskirts of Voi town, sacco chairman Mr Alfred Mlolwa underscored the need to capitalize their dividends in Extension services are also re- for members place if rural communities are to order for them to secure preferential loans. ferred to as “farmers field days”. enjoy self-sufficiency in food “While our members should feel gratified to cash in on their dividends, it’s also As a matter of fact, the key role production . worthwhile to emphasize the need for members to plough back part of their diviof extension be This entail increasing budgdends in order services to ensure acannot secure financial basewill for our sacco”, said Mr Mlolwa. gainsaid whethersaid in Kenya in etary The sacco chairman that the or dividends issueallocations was a tricky for one agriculture where money left the sacco without any guarantee that it will used tobudgets strengthen the sacco economother countries. in be county which, in the ically. case of Taita-Taveta is less than 3 Mr Mlolwa pointed out that the year under review(2017) was a critical one considCountries like the United States, per cent and sourly inadequate ering that it was an electioneering one. Canada, Australia, and Denfor apolitical countycampaigns with a considerable “Most resources were being directed towards while little was mark, which have very adpotential for agriculture and agri spared for savings and development” said Mlolwa. He added: “It should be sectors, noted thathave the slipover effect in rates implemented in the vanced agricultural -based development initiatives. year 2016 brought about reduced performance in the interest income especially in always banked on strong extenthe FOSA”. sion services.

“Countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and Denmark, which have very advanced agricultural sectors, have always banked on strong extension services.”

However, an upbeat Mr Mlolwa expressed optimism that Qwetu sacco would continue being the sacco of choice for Taita-Taveta residents and the Coast region as a In India, the “Training & Visit whole. “Our sacco membership grew from 34,246 members in 2016 to 35,300 in 2017, an increase of 1,054 members, which is quite impressive at a time when most saccos are struggling to remain afloat in these turbulent economic times,” said the sacco boss. He however called upon all inactive members to start contributing seriously towards the sacco so that they can also be part of the sacco’s success story. One of the key growth indicators, according to Mr Mlolwa was the impressive increase in the sacco assets from over Sh 1.3 billion in 2016 to Sh 1.595 billon in 2017. On the sacco development agenda, Mr Mlolwa revealed that the architects have been engaged to come up with drawings and bills of quantities for the Voi office construction. “So far, several meetings have taken place to put into perspective the kind of structures we are intending to contract. This project is intended to be done in phases to avoid cash flow problems,” he said. Mr Mlolwa also revealed that that the sacco has already acquired title deed for the Taveta plot. The chairman pointed out that the sacco has already received the 2018 operating licence in accordance with the Sacco Society Regulatory Authority(SASRA) reguladifferent marks to distin- sale of the crop in 2016. tions. It might delegates appearduring strange the produce,” said Addressing the meeting,guish Qwetu Sacco CEO Mr Charles Kaba saidThe amount accrued from that ineven order to ensure that theto sacco remains strongfarmer to face future and ridiculous Taveta Joeluncertainties Mkun- with the sale of 122,580 tons of a strong foundation, it had been resolved that each member should contribute come across bananas paint- da. the crop . Sh4,000 as monthly long term deposits. Mr Kaba pointed out that the or sacco was intent on encouraging more members to Data indicates that in ed different colours invest in the sacco on long term deposits is the cheapest of capital. bearing people’s names at which The farmer saidform that they 2015 over 2,147 hectares “Towards this end, today we are going to reward individuals from different sectors QWETU SACCO QROWTH INDICATORS AT A GLANCE the busy use oil paint which inof The land wasmembership put underhas ba-shown remarkable growth in the last who were the Taveta best in themarket year underin review including delegates, boardismembers, sacco staff retirees and other members”, said. Taita Taveta County on the theCEO delible and will only come nana fourcultivation years, a clear yielding indication of the confidence people have in the Mr Kaba pointed out that Qwetu Sacco underscored the need to embrace current Kenya-Tanzania border. off when the bananas have 122,580 sacco. tons compared to ICT facilities in order for the software to transact business at the required automabeen pealed. 20,605 hectares and a pro2014(4,843members),2015(29,487 members),2016(34,246 memtion level. “We aremight upgrading our software in order to record faster growth. This will enable duction This even repel poof 120,780members). tons in bers) 2017(35,300 our members to transact business such as loan applications even from the comfort of tential buyers of the popu- He pointed out that the theThe previous year. sacco loan portfolio has also recorded impressive increase their homes. This will greatly save on the time members spend travelling to the over the past couple of years. lar mainagricultural office to transact produce the same” he said. crop which is the staple in During the AGM, the event guest of honour Mr David Mategwa, who is also the 2014(Sh 711,490,330), 2015(Sh761,793,544),2016 but this has been necessi- Taveta had proved to be chairman of Kenya Police Sacco, officially launched the sacco website. (Sh1,026,176,779),2017Sh1,185,472,618). tated by rampant theft of too lucrative and thieves Mr Mategwa emphasized the need for saccos to embrace modern ICT technology in On the share capital, there was also an impressive increase from the hadefficiently”. become notorious in ordercrop to serve their members effectively and “Technology is the engine that drives virtually all sectors the economy stealing theofcrop someand of saccos Sh 33m in 2016 to Sh 45m in 2017,which represents a 33 per cent should not be left behind. Members need to save on time for transacting business growth. “I the was forced paint all iswhich across the and only way thisto can be guaranteed throughis thespirited use of modern technology” On the other hand the core capital increased from Sh 172m in 2016 said Mategwa. my bananas blue and print border into Tanzania. to Sh 195m in 2017, representing an increase of 13.2 per cent. He the sacco for recording on impressive growth in assets ,members’ deposits myhailed name permanently and loan portfolio. Last year, Qwetu Sacco earned top national honours as the second the for growing easy identito available da“Withproduce the sacco assets to over ShAccording 1.5 billion, Qwetu sacco effectively joins best improved sacco and the second best nationally in risk the billionaires’ club, an enviable feat thatta, remains a pipefarmers dream for most saccos in fication. The other farmers banana in Tamanagement.{ et the country”, he said.

Taveta farmers go bananas as crop earns the County millions

are doing the same but we always ensure that we use

veta earned over Sh. 1. 8 billion from the

“The farmer said that they use oil paint which is indelible and will only come off when the bananas have been pealed”


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

CULTURE

8

Uncovering mysteries of life in Tradi The traditional Taita society had an elaborate system through which elusive and inexplicable mysteries were uncovered. These included misfortunes such as barrenness, miscarriages, untimely deaths, droughts, locust invasion and many others. This was done through wula divination where seers, diviners and medicine men came together, not only to unravel the cause of the misfortunes but also the right remedy, writes

PASCAL MWANDAMBO he old man sat under the shade of an acacia tree, his head lowered to his knees. A few flies hovered around him. On one side, a well fed dog stretched out lazily, fast asleep, seemingly contented and at peace with itself. A few meters away three elderly men were making a fire and talking in low tones. A youthful man emerged from behind the house pulling a brown goat willy-nilly. As one of the elders sharpened a knife, the other held the goat by the horns while the third one smeared some green twigs on its forehead. The goat was now subdued and thrown to the ground ready for slaughter. As it let out a shrill scream from the throes of death, the dog immediately awoke from slumber and ran towards the place the goat was being slaughtered. After the goat’s innards had been spread out, the three elders lifted them carefully and placed them on an upturned bucked, carefully studying the patterns and marks. One of them shook his head nonchalantly as the others nodded in agreement, exchanging knowing glances. This was a wula divination ceremony, the only one I have witnessed in my life. Wula is a process of unraveling mysterious issues touching on peoples’ lives, such as prolonged diseases in a family, inexplicable deaths and other abnormal happenings. The cause of calamities such as barrenness, prolonged drought or locust invasions can also be detected through wula. Experts of this kind of divination largely come from families with the gift of talent of studying a goat’s intestines to read certain features that can be used to explain why certain things happen the way they do. The diviner’s prime role is to uncover the causes of certain problems and after the diagnosis the wula will also prescribe which remedy is to be done and by which type of medicine man. “My grandparents used to be diviners and I used to accompany them during their work and began learning the craft from a very early age. Divination is a talent that runs in some families and is handed down from generation to generation” says Mzee Hudson Mwachongo(79) when I interviewed him in Mwatate where I met the old man I have described in the intro to this story. It’s unfortunate that our culture is slowly fading away and even my grandchildren might forget it altogether,” says Mzee Mwachongo. He says diviners are not necessarily medicine men but work in tandem to address certain issues facing an individual, family or a community at large. “Things like serial miscarriage, death of newborns, barrenness, incurable illnesses are among problems that drive elders to go for divination to unravel the root cause of these problems” says Mzee Mwachongo. “These misfortunes can be caused by curses or witchcraft by jealousy relatives and neighbours,” says the elder and diviner, one of the last disappearing vestiges of Taita culture. Wula divination can be done using either a male or female goat, but for the latter, the goat should not be lactating as the milk will “cloud” the wula patterns which might lead to misdiagnosis. CONTINUED ON PAGE 9


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

CULTURE

9

itional Taita society through “wula” FROM PAGE 8 The person whose cause of misfortunes is to be uncovered in wula is first given strands of mkengera herbs to partly chew as he silently narrates his woes and then parts of the chewed herbs are fed to the goat. After a while the goat is slaughtered and its intestines spread out, allowed to cool down before analysis. On close scrutiny the intestines can indicate the patient’s clan and family history and if such problems run in that particular family. According to Mzee Mwachongo, a person’s family tree can be carefully located and traced in the patterns which he says are different for different victims. Certain marks can also indicate curses and whether these were uttered by male or female relatives of yore. For instance, according to Mzee Mwachongo,red spots in the family tree indicates one has been bewitched while black spots indicate family medicine portions mikoba which were discarded instead of being handed over to future generations. These are said to cause suffering to future family members. For the poor old man in the case in point, Mzee Mwachongo( who was accompanied by Mzee Francis Mng’ongo a medicine man from the county),began by pointing out that he had first detected a “female toungue” meaning the curse stalking the old man was from a female parent. The victim, now 62, has never married, has no children, is a pauper and was living a very miserable life in an abandoned house in the village. It turned out, from the victim’s own narration, that his mother had died with a heavy heart after he refused to buy her sugar when he got his first job. He is also reported to have assaulted his mother with a broom full of red ants, while drunk, an abomination of sorts. If this story is to be believed, then curses and the powers of divination could be real, at least in the years gone by. As a remedy, the poor old man was advised to buy seven pieces of lesso, a kilo of sugar and bottled water(marami) and place them under a certain tree at a time and place the diviner would determine. Mark you, he was not supposed to beg or borrow the money to buy these items. He was to work and get the money by himself, else the sacrifice would be rejected. I am not a very strong cultural advocate but this incident that I personally witnessed really amused me and I decided to share it. After all they say mwacha mila ni mtumwa. Probably that’s why many things are going wrong in our contemporary society, because we have discarded our cultures and living like rudderless vessels in stormy seas. {et

The mkengera herbs used in the process

Mzee Hudson Mwachongo(left) with Mzee Francis Mng’ongo


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

CULTURE, TOURISM AND THE PEOPLE

10

Mtito Andei State Lodge, a neglected facility with rich history and tourism potential crying out for renovation BY PASCAL MWANDAMBO

espite its historical significance in the politics of Taita- Taveta and Ukambani, the Mtito Andei State Lodge has remained more of a forgotten facility yearning for renovation and probably listing as one of the endangered historical monuments in the county.

Taita –Taveta leaders pull down a signboard demarcating the boundary between the county and Makueni

The cool ambience around the lodge characterized by brightly colored flowers in the compound and the melodious songs of birds somehow provides respite to visitors who could probably not be aware of the heightening political temperatures over the location of the boundary between Taita- Taveta and Makueni counties. Even some local residents and travelers on the busy Nairobi/Mombasa highway who disembark briefly at Mtito Andei are unaware that a facility worth that status is located in the vicinity, a semi arid area characterized by stinging heat, acacia and baobab trees.

The Mtito Andei state lodge in its current state

The lodge, located about 100 kilometres from Voi, is also a tourist attraction, given Taita-Taveta pulling down a signboard its location within the expansive Tsavo Na- erected in the area designating the boundational Park ,the largest game conservancy in ry near Tsavo river by Makueni county. the country. On the other hand Makueni County leaders Mtito Andei derives its name from the Kam- have stuck to their guns asserting that the ba language and literally means the “jungle dusty Mtito Andei township is in Makueni of vultures”. This came about due to the and that Taita leaders have failed to offer runaway poaching for elephants for their services in the town despite claiming owntusks during the late sixties and early seven- ership of the town. ties in the area where huge droves of the scavenging birds flocked around the area to In a suprising turn of events, the National feed on the elephant carcasses. Land Commission(NLC) revealed that the land belonging to Mtito Andei State lodge “According to Mzee Daniel Wakisha, a Taita had been grabbed alongside six other state -Taveta resident, the founding father of the lodges in the country. nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta used to hold meetings with Taita leaders at the MtitoHowever the NLC, through its chairperson Andei state lodge to discuss both local and Mohamed Swazuri said it would investigate national politics. the matter to its logical conclusion. “The fact that president Jomo Kenyatta used to meet Taita leaders at the lodge is an indication that the historical facility belongs to Taita- Taveta and adds weight to our concerns over Mtito Andei being in TaitaTaveta county”,says Mzee Wakisha. The fight over Mtito Andei by Taita- Taveta and Makueni has in the recent past had dramatic turns with section of leaders from

the Kitale, Mombasa and Mtito Andei lodges. Addressing the Press at that time Dr Swazuri ordered that caveats be issue on the land belonging to the State lodges to stop any transactions or transfer of the acquisitions in question. “This is impunity and the law is very clear. Once we find out the truth, we will immediately revoke the title or the allocations,” Swazuri was quoted in the press as saying.

He said the individuals who grabbed the State lodges were not yet known, as most of the land was registered under company names. “Most of the details in the Lands registry have been altered, but we will do our best to get to the bottom of these acts of impunity. Public land has to be used for public purThe commission also cautioned members of poses,” said Swazuri. the public against transacting in land near any State house or lodge saying that some Sources indicated that the name of a very private developers had obtained titled senior government official had been listed deeds for the land. among those involved in the land-grab of two of the State lodges. The acquisitions, he Other State lodges whose land had report- said, had taken place over the years, startedly been grabbed included Mombasa, ing in the 1980s. Eldoret, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kakamega, and “Anybody who grabbed these lands will Kitale. Titles have already been issued for have to give them up. There is no question


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

PEOPLE AND SOCIETY

11

Reaping the benefits of bamboo farming as the Red alert over spikers in Voi town giant grass becomes a money spinner in Taita t was supposed to be an enjoyable weekend for Isaac, who worked at a Voi section of the Standard Gauge Railway line.

By PASCAL He had just received his end of MWANDAMBO

month dues and to cool off his frayed nerves, he decided to patA giant grass that initially used ronise one of the night clubs in the to grow as a wild plant and town. getting little attention lo“I had just withdrawn 20,from 000 shilcals Taitathat –Taveta lings.inFrom amountCounty I boughtisa now poised to be a major monnew smart phone worth Sh11,000 and decided to use the balance to ey spinner. have fun drinking beer a popular Farmers in Rong’e Juuinand joint in town,” said Isaac. Wongonyi villages have now He says after sipping three beers he embraced the bamboo plant decided to shift to another bar sayas a viable income earner and ing the particular one he had startif tempo is maintained the edthe off “was boring”. crop might be adopted byof Isaac says he found a number thousands of other farmers in revelers enjoying drinks in the secthe ond county. club, some of whom he knew, and decided to join in.(80), The party Angela Mwangemi is turned lively as some ladies joined among the beneficiaries who in and the fun reached fever have completed a 10 daypitch with good music playing and training course in Rong’e Juu drinks flowing freely. and Wongonyi villages in Taita “I thought I was in the right compa-Taveta County on designing ny and did not suspect anything and marketing bamboo would go wrong. of One of the ladies crafts a the programme agreed under to spend night with me and I obliged, not knowing that the dubbed : “Promoting bamboo worst was yet come,” he says as a craft andtotechnology appliruefully adding, “What I remember cation with a view to conserving is booking guest room in the town Taita Hills aforests”. with the lady”. Angela is upbeat about her However, poor Isaac was to wake achievement saying: “ Our chilup in the morning to find the guest dren should stop running to room door wide open ,his identifibig towns to lookstrewn for jobs and cation documents on the forget secure their jobs inall floor, histonew smart phone and the money gone. the villages through locally “I could feelmaterial. sharp pains available If through I can my stomach, only to realise that make it then they surely can. something had gone badly “Mrangi”(bamboo) has awry. The woman had spiked the drinks:” changed our lives”. This is a rather unnerving and Angela is good at weaving chilling habit targeting careless baskets and mats it’sin Voi drunks which is on and the rise through this rare feat that town, Taita-Taveta County. A she won accolades. number of people have fallen victim to the nefarious actswas of spikers The farmers’ training con(ducted malicious people who lace food by Mr Charles Mogireor drinks with poison or from sedatives and Samson Gitau the to intentionally harm the victim). Kenya Forestry Research InstiThe dirty habit had reached higher tute(KEFRI). levels following the increase in the Thirty bamboo artisans numberpioneer of call girls and commercial have been flocking awarded sex workers intocertifithe town cates, including 15 women and to cash in on the financial fortunes of those working with the SGR pro15 youths. ject, with most project of those compenThe bamboo has alsated for their land and structures ready won international recogusing their money on debauchery. nition through UNEPs Seed InitiFrom snuff(ugoro) to sedatives, ative Award, in which $5,000 otherwise referred to as sleep inwas given out for farmers’ ducing pills, (michele) the danger training. stalking drunkards is very real. The projectcan was initialSomebamboo of the sedatives keep the ly conceived in 2008 under victim unconscious for up to 8 the

then Taita Environmental Man-

agement Alliance(TEMA) and involved cultivation of bamboo alongside other tree species as a way of addressing soil erosion along the steep slopes of Taita Hills, especially Rong’e Juu and Wongonyi. Currently the project is mainly being supported by the TaitaTaveta Wildlife Forum(TTWF) and has benefited about 150 pioneer villagers who recently received training on making bamboo handcrafts. The project targets about 10,000 villagers in Wongonyi and Rong’e Juu where bamboo plant does well both as a wild plant and now with new ofvariehours posing a real danger being ties introduced the area to robbed or causinginserious accidents for whoas drink and drive. be those planted a crop. A trader who himAccording toonly the identified former execself as Ngeti says he too almost fell utive coordinator of the TTWF victim to spikers. Mr John Mlamba the project The business man who supplies sourced its first bamboo seedtimber and construction poles in lings from Kiambu where they Voi town from Taita said he had bought an initial of 15,000 just concluded a lucrative deal and seedlings and distributed them landed over Sh100,000. to thethe villagers 2008. After businessindeal Ngeti walked intoisone of the night clubs “Bamboo a versatile crop to enjoy a drink. and can survive extremely well "Barely beersas than in bothhad aridI taken areasthree as well three good callagirls joined places thatlooking receive lot of me on the table. They exchanged rainfall” said Mlamba.. knowing glances, but by then I had He says theyanything plan to fishy. introduce not suspected Inbamboo farming to them the entire stead I bought each of a Taitadrink," Taveta says the County trader. saying that the hills the have been Ngeti sayssteep that after ladies had taken twoeroded beers each, they unsusleft for rapidly though the "ladies" and after a short tainable human activities while . only one returned to the table “Charcoal burning and timber where he was still sitting, enjoying harvesting take a heavy toll on his drink. our forests and bamboo comes "From the look of things I could tell in handy in addressing erothere was something fishy.soil Howevsion as was wellonasmy serving as a er, luck side", says substitute for wood” says Ngeti. "After I bought the call girl another Mlamba. drink, up andproject confided “This isshe a opened remarkable to me that her other two colleagues that has really boosted our inhad gone to pick to lace come” said onesedatives of the benefimy drink so that I could fall asleep ciaries David Karungu. before they emptied my pockets for He adds: “ the only challenge cash and other valuables," says the is to get enough seedlings to trader. Ngeti says he downed his sustain the project givdrink quickly and leftbecause the nightclub enathe demand for bamin huffhigh . This just one fine illustration boo isproducts soon the wildofvathe danger posed by spikers, rieties will be finished andmost of themiscall girls. their there need toThey haveknow the bamwork pretty well, as they do their boo crop in our farms”. targets. They seem to know who Mary Mzame the chairlady of has money and how they will lure Vidasi-Vikapu Women Group you into their company before they in Wongonyi village says the project has great prospects for

making items for local use and for export. The womens’ group specializes in weaving baskets and mats from bamboo. “Bamboo makes a significant contribution to rural income and employment although the rapidly diminishing supplies of forest bamboo through indiscriminate clearing of natural forests and the lack of priority in its development join forces to reduce its economic status” says a report by Bernard Kigome published by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute(KEFRI). “The youth can make viable income through exploitation of bamboo and make income instead of flocking to towns in search of white collar jobs which do not exist” said one of the beneficiaries of the project. Bamboo farming at a glance According to a report titled “ New Agricultural Development: “ Bamboo ready to boom” ;the giant grass is described as one of the fastest growing, strongest and versatile plants on earth. The report reveals that bamboo supplies a global trade spike your drink. worth bilSome of$2 thebillion(KSh200 call girls have male aclion)annually with thewith lions complices who they work in share being earned by Asian these nefarious undertakings. On countries. many occasions, they will accompany to spend a night together of “Inyou India, 8million hectares shortly after they have spiked your commercial bamboo provide drink. Oncecent you of fall the asleep, they sixty per country’s call in their male accomplices and paper” the report says. clean your pockets. The plant which takes about A gemstone dealer from Mwatate three years hasto altown says he to alsomature fell victim the so been adopted as a comfemale spikers. “I left one of the mercial crop 9inpm theand United bars at around headed for the Voi bus park to board matatu States where it’s used aas fodto However, I became underMwatate. for livestock, handcrafts conscious waiting, to making, while furniture andonly also wake up at 5 purposes. in the morning, with decorative

sure that they go out with people they can trust so that in case of any trouble one can get assistance,” says Mwakilo. The dirty habit has reportedly become common even in eateries in Voi town where hotel attendants also lace food and drinks with witchcraft potions(uchawi) to unsuspecting victims.

“I was a victim in one of the hotels which is also a popular nyama choma joint”, laments Mngongo,a Voi resident. He says he and his girlfriend had gone for supper in one all my money and mobile phone of the hotels, ugali and choma, but gone,” he says. alas, after leaving the place and re{et "Any responsible drinker should tired to their room, both began exbeware of whose company he periencing stomach pains and runkeeps. Drinking with strangers might expose one to wrong compa- ning stomachs for the better part of ny such as spikers out to steal from the night.. them once induced into sleep with “We survived by the grace of drugs", says Edward Mwakilo, a manager in one of the nightclubs in God”,says Mngongo who suspects Voi. that the waiter had laced their food Spiking of drinks is a reality in the with uchawi potion.. town. As such revelers should en{et


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Serious beesness: How beekeeping can promote the economies of rural communities

How corruption and selfish politics stalled Voi Moi stadium upgrading

12

Traditionally, honey in Kenya was collected from wild generated by a cluster of worker bees, causes eggs to netting is sewn onto the ring. Such a net is used for This makes the badgers to fall therefore discouraging bees in forests. Honey has been very popular with to hatch after three days. catching a swarm high up on a tree, telephone poles them. many people in Kenya. This has necessitated beeLarvae are fed by nurse bees on special pulp, then etc. Diseases keeping. The science of bee farming is known as on a mixture of pollen and honey. Each larva spins a The bees which have been caught up by darkness or Acarive and American foul Brood are the two comapiculture. cocoon and after two days molts into a pupa. cold weather during swarming form a nesting swarm mon diseases of bees that seldom attack the African A 2007 study in northern Kenya found that honey The pupa becomes a young bee after ten days and by hanging from a tree branch. These can be trapped bees. These diseases are controlled through proper production is expanding in Kenya, but data on proemerges from the cocoon. using a swarm net when inactive and unlikely to sting. feeding of bees and proper construction of the hives duction trends, processing and marketing is fragEggs, larvae and pupa form what is called the brood. Trapped bees are then transferred to a hive. to prevent damp conditions in the hive. Moi in Voi, Taita-Taveta County. mented.stadium Annual production is estimated at 700 metric In this development, it takes twenty-one days to pro- (ii)Use of a Catcher Box - A catcher box is a small Swarming of Bees Named the second serving tonnes . Theafter arid and semi-arid landsand yield longest only duce a worker bee, twenty-four to produce a drone hive which is movable. It is kept where it is likely to A swarm of bees is a colony or part of it that is in crudely processed honey for urban markets. and fifteen to produce a queen from the brood. attract bees. In it, there are old combs and wax to flight. Bees swarm because of the following reasons: Kenyan presidents Daniel Moi, the sports and Introduction of better technology hives can signifiSiting the Apiary . attract bees. A week after bees have occupied it, they  Shortage of food and water in their surroundrecreational facility has been dogged by controcantly improve the yields and quality of bee products. An apiary is a place where beehives are laid. In siting are transferred to the main hive. Placing a hive in a ings. versy and divisive politics for about two dec-the following factors are considered: Local marketing systems should be strengthened the apiary permanent place and waiting for swarming bees to through organization of traders and bee-keepers. To  Availability of water — Where water is not avail- occupy it. Some old combs, wax and sheep sorrel are  Outbreak of diseases and parasites. ades now. enhance the market competitiveness, honey requires able in a 3 km radius, sugar solution or syrup is placed near and in the hive to attract the swarming  Damage of brood combs. During the night, many weird things happen improved processing and quality assurance. bees. close to the hives in containers. here. Commercial workers whose placed clients To reduce costs, processedsex honey should be packIn transferring bees from the net or box after catching  Lack of adequate ventilation.  Availability of flowers. aged in bulkafford using plastic jerry cans. To improve them, it is important to know that on a sloping sur Dampness and bad smells. cannot a guest house for lodging facilities quality and price, traders should blend crude (and face, they always move upward. The hive is placed at  A sheltered place – The bee hives should be  Sick or infertile queen. take a short trip to the facility and conclude uniformly ripe) honey from sources with similar a higher position than the box containing the swarm protected from strong sun and wind. their So nectar in the morning  Overcrowding. viscosity,deals. colour, and source plants. when you find and the two are connected by a sloping board.  yourself A place which is free from noise and other dis- A few puffs of smoke towards the swarm makes bees After leaving the hive, bees alight on some branch Bee Farming in Kenya is the following spent cartridges atdone thefor facility don’t ask turbances. reasons: move towards the hive on their own. Alternatively the and await the return of a scout or messenger bee. how and why. Just mind your own business. (a) Production of honey which is: roof of the hive is opened and the swarm shaken into The type of dance the messenger bee displays indi Away from human beings and livestock. The Mentally sick people and homeless loafers alsobe sited away from homesteads, pas- the hive. This is followed by returning the roof to cates the condition of the area surveyed. It leads the apiary should  A high energy feed. cluster towards the area where they are going to cover the hive. find a temporary home here where they turesspend and busy roads.  Sweetener for beverage and soft drinks. settle. Materials Collected by Bees Types of Beehives the night. So in the morning, under the shades (i) Nectar — This is juice collected from flowers. It is Swarming may take place with or without the queen. Log Hive of the Medicinal, as it is used to dress fresh wounds. few trees at the stadium periphery, This isyou’ll made of log. The log is split into two parts one used as their main food and in making honey. Worker When a new queen is prepared, a cluster of bees (b) The honey and the beeswax are sold to earn take the queen and the drone for the first flight. Durbees swallow it into their stomach where it is acted find fast asleep, curved up like being carpenlarger than the other. The larger pan is made incomethem for the farmer. into a trough-shaped structure by removing the inner upon by enzymes then regurgitated back and stored ing this flight the queen moves vertically followed by (c) Theyrulers. require little capital and land to keep. ters’ in the cells of the comb. Here moisture is reduced to the drone and mating takes place. The first flight tissues of the stem using a sharp chisel. Holes are (d) Bees are good pollinators for many crops. That is Moi stadium for you. Virtuallydrilled all nawhen mating place is state, known asand the nuptial MoimemStadium in itstakes present bewith aVoi thin waxy on the sides of the larger pan. The smaller part about l7 -21% and then sealed The Types of Bees in Kenya flight. Sometimes a cluster of bees decide to leave brane. tional holiday functions and other high profile forms the floor board. low, County executive in charge of sports Bigvai the hive because of unfavourable conditions. This is (ii) Pollen — This is collected from the flowers. It is There mainly two types and of bees, namely the are Afri- held The two parts are tied together using wires. Bees openareair meetings crusades here. Mwailemi collected in special “pollen baskets” found on the feet referred to as absconding. can wild bee and the European bee. attach their combs only on the topside. The lower Even retired president Moi, from whom of the bee. It is then brushed off into the empty cells. Handling Bees The former is the most important bee species found piecethe (floorstaboard) can then be removed without In handling bees, it is necessary to remember the It contains 30% proteins and is used by the bees to dium is named, held public here. the combs and brood. The hive is susin Africa from Morocco tohas South Africa.It has theralliesdamaging following: feed the brood and the queen. People eat it when following characteristics: pended by means of wires from a tree or a pole. And during political rallies the facility is the mixed with spices. Box Hive  Bees should not be frightened as doing so principal Well adapted to local weather conditions such convergence point where Taita-Taveta (iii) Propolis—This is a bee product which is collected makes them wild and sting. This is made of sown timber cut to a length of one as high temperatures. county political rallies are concluded before offorhis predecessor from trees and is used to fill in cracks and crevices in metre. Theparbest size a box hive is up to oneJohn metre Mruttu.  Beehives should not be approached from the ty leaders It has high flying power and hence can fly for the hives. It and is blackboost spongyhis product from gums and long with and the inner Desperate area measuringto 11xforge 30 cm. new The alliances and honchos fly out to Mombasa long distances. top side and end board are nailed together while the tree resins. It has some medicinal properties and has front. other Coastal counties. chances of re-election, Mruttu reportedly of- such as Arthritis in  A smoker must be used properly. Two or three been used to cure such diseases bottom board is attached by means of wires or sup It is more active in the search for food and On other handof the stadium is the prime mostwhich pending project human funds beings. to his ported byfafour smallfloaded pieces of timber, are easily puffs are first blown round the hive. After a few waterthe and also protection the hive. Water— This is essential for the survival of bees. minutes smoke out directly through the entrance detached. For ventilation and entrance of bees, bolster holes (iv)his cility of its kind in the fast growing Voi town friends, who could chances of reelec lt is fairly resistant to the diseases that attack are drilled in the bottom board; two near the ends and Water is put in a container and placed near the hive. holes. andsuch theascounty asAmerican a whole. tion with promises of “paying back kind” sort bees acarive and foul brood digTo prevent beesin from drowning, pieces of sticks or one the centre.  Bees should not be crushed during handling. ging.such, its upgrading to modern standards As is of arrangement, once he returned to office. This bark are floated on the water or stone islands are Kenya Top Bar Hive (KTBH) This makes the whole colony excited. it is vicious if manhandled . provided. is a movable frame whichto wasbe, designed an issue that leaders, past and present,Thishave washive never given that the engineer lost to TheEuropean bee has the following characteristics:  Movement towards the hive should be made after the Greek basket hive. The Kenya Top Bar Hive Feeding Bees in Kenya been with but without much success. the political greenhorn Samboja. quietly to avoid alerting them.  It isgrappling more gentle and larger than the African has a series of bars arranged to form the top of the Bees feed nectar and pollen from flowers. When Corruption, bad politics and muckraking have The report was compiled byonMwaisaka hive. The bees attach their combs tothat the bars which bee. flowers are not available, they are fed on sugar made  If stung, the beekeeper should not run away or can be examination. These conspired leave stadium ofremoved ne- forteam reveals a bars lot are of discrepancies that bespeak  active andto vicious thanthe the African bee. in a state throw the combs down. known as top bars, and hence the name of the hive. into syrup with water at a ratio of 1:1 by volume. The glect, thereby denying the then Voi municipal runaway cronyism and graft, especially for tenjar containing syrup is placed about ten metres from  A bee sting should not be rubbed. A sharp nail  It is susceptible to diseases that attack bees. They are normally 27 in number but if the bees are to the hive and should be cleaned council ders that awarded before the last regularly to avoid or a razorblade should be used to scrape it off. PressBee Colonyand now Taita-Taveta Countybegovernfed, a feeder box replaces onewere of the top bars to shortly fermentation of sugar. ing causes the poison bag of the sting toReferees release A bee is the a social insect needed which lives revenue. in a colony. The leave about 26. elections, the Moi stadium ment much one sticking out like branch chairman of the Kenya Football more poison. bee colony is made up of 3 types of bees as follows: Again another top bar can be replaced with the queen Reasons for Feeding Bees The stadium, to begin with, lacks a secure a sore thumb. Association(KEFORA) told Taita-Taveta ExThe Queen excluder to restrict the queen from laying eggs on all  To maintain the colony. Well fed bees do not  association In handling bees, always wear protective clothfence , hasthere noisgrass and nofunction podium worth The report indicates that have the the contract was keen to see the In bee colony only oneturf queen whose the top bars, thus ensuring high quality honey which tendencywas to swarm or leave press the hive.that theing. These are a veil, an overall, glove and gumboots. in the hive ishome to: is not mixed with brood. writing about. awarded Sh 94 million despite the fact that only facility upgraded to modern standards as this  To encourage multiplication. A well fed queen  Approach the hive quietly and blow smoke *Lay fertile eggs — The queen can lay about 1,500 — The top bars contain a strip of beeswax starter along However, recently there was a sigh of relief Sh 7 million had been budgeted. would boostaround the state ofand sports, andthe more soholes breeds regularly. the hive later through entrance 2,000 eggs per day. The eggs are laid only when the centre to guide the bees to build their combs using a smoker. The smoke makes the bees to start when a local contractor began putting up a It also reveals that there were two signed confootball, in the county. conditions are favourable and after being mated by straight so that they do not touch each other. Natural-  To supplement what bees get from flowers. This eating honey thus becoming heavy and inactive. the drone. Mating takes place in the air and about 5-7 is done during dry seasons when flowers are fewer. ly built combs are round in shape with sloping sides modern podium that could have seen the facili- tract agreements with varying amounts of Sh drones are required. The queen stores the sperms in and a rounded bottom. This means that the sides of Pests, signed Diseases and  Cut the combs from each top bar three centimety assume the image of Bukhungu stadium in 74.7 million and Sh94 million on Their JuneControl 13 standards a spermatheca and hence requires mating only once the hive should be sloping at an angle of 110°— 120° The various pests that attack bees are: the hiveinternational when tres from the surface and put them in a clean containWestern about andasJune 23 thus 2017, happened in her life time.region, with a capacity to hold there is aThis plant touching the hive. They make the hive er rubbing off the bees using a twig. almost the same angle the comb, the respectively. bees *Keeping the colony together production of a pher- that which allowjust wateraround into the hives and causes rotting. A CONTINUED ON PAGE 13 will notat attach theirwhen combs tothe the hive walls. This 10,000 people. Manybywere optimistic long August elections were the omone known as queen substance for identification. allows inspection of each top-bar separately. or rotten hive allows honey badgers into the hive last a welcome reprieve had arrived. corner. “Currently we do not have any stadium in the The Drones which destroy and bees. Advantages of the Top Bar Hive Heavy moving began work. “We hope the upgradingAvoid of the stadium will Are usuallyearth about 300 in numbermachinery in a colony. Their contact between a plant and the hive. Suspend county that meets international standards and 1. The top bar can be removed for inspection of (vi) Bee brush — This is an ordinary brush with a long function inbegan the hive are: the hive with wires between poles. The wire and Pillars coming up around the new podirestart after about five months from now once it’s our hopehandle that toMoi behoney the first the combs and replaced. brushstadium off the beeswill from the comb of *To fertilise the queen. postsproject should be file”, coated with old engine oil to keep off um. A temporary mabati fence was put2.upHoney combsthe DPP is through with the said before cutting into the container. The bees areVoi can be removed without disturbits kind”, said Kimbio, adding that to most *To control the temperature or to cool the hive. They the ants. brushed back into the hive. around the podium for atsecurity county sports CEC Bigvai(ii)Mwailemi. ing theThen brood. do this by flapping their wide wings a very highreasons. Wax Moth residents, it mattered little who undertook the Processing speed. a couple of months everything stopped. 3. Honey of highThe quality as it is harvested without Larvaeout of wax mothgovernhatch from eggs laid in cracks in after county minister pointed their contract, as long as the was up and runThere are three facility common methods of extracting honThe drones are killed by the worker after fertilizthe hive. themselves a greyish web. brood combs. Nobody knew what wasbees going on as they went ment placed a high premium onThey theprotect sports and withning. ey from the combs include: ing the queen. They make tunnels in the combs and contaminate 4. More wax is harvested as combsfacility are not re-and all efforts would be about their recreational  Using heat tothwarted melt the honey. The Worker Beesbusiness. There were occasional In 2011 the government attempts by a honey with their excreta. turned to the hive. In a colony the worker“Pesa bees are about 60,000That in lamentations: zimeliwa”. is a common made for it to be upgraded to modern standControl  Crushing and straining. private developer to grab the stadium and put 5. The hive is easy to construct and repair. number. They are the soldiers and are normally fe- passing, Remove and burn all infected combs. allegation that most people say in ards. a commercial building on extractor. it. The then Voi a centrifugal male bees. Their functions in the hive are to; 6. The hive is cheap to build and does not require Old combs or wax left after harvestingup honey should  Using though without anyand iota evidence. Mbololo ward MCA , Godfrey Mwambi, where Method Municipal Council had promised to set aside *Feed the queen, the drones the of brood (young immediately be melted. expensive equipment to extract honey. Procedure in this method is as follows: bees). many did not know is the wheeling What and the stadium is located, asked the government to (iii) Bee Louse funds to upgrade the stadium to the standards 7. A queen excluder can be used in the centre of *Protect the that hive from intruders. This is a parasite ofthe bees.project The larvae are hatched in  Heat some water in a sufuria. dealing was playing behind the scenes on out controversy the hive to separatesort honey fromthe the brood. It further surrounding of the Sheikh Abed Karume stadium in Tanza*Collect nectar, pollen, trees resins, gums and water. the wax and spoil the increases the quality ofthat the honey.  Put honey combs in an enamel basin or any the awarding of the tender contract. so it can be completed. nia. The *Build combs and seal the cracks and crevices in the combs. The adult louse is found on the thorax of plans came a cropper. other container which is not made of iron. The “The stadium is a key facility in Voi hive. vermin began crawling out of the woodbees. Several cantown be seenthat on the queen. A couple of years earlier, plans to convert the The Langstroth Hive. *Clean the hive. the new governor Granton Samboja will greatly improve the face  Put the container with honey combs on the Control work when of the town once Stocking the Hive stadium intoboiling a modern bus park ran into a *Make honey and beeswax. Smoke out the hive using a smoker that has some water. Thischief is the act of encouraging bees and to enter an empty formed a committee at the behest of his of completed will also boost the revenue colstorm after a section of leaders and religious Life Cycle and Work of a Bee Heat until most of the honey melts. hive or actually putting them in it. There are a number creosote to control the pest. staff Philemon Mwaisaka that, other lected by the county government” said MCA In the development of bees the following takesamong place: (iv) Honey Badgers BUSY BEES :Beekeeping is an idealthe groups; civil society and residents opposed of methods used to stock hives.  Separate the melted honey in fromarid the combs Fertilised fromto oneget cell to These are small strong animals which spoil hives and agricultural undertaking and by things,queen wasmoves tasked toanother the bottom the Net Mwambi. (i) of Useall of Swarm — This is made by fixing a move. straining through a muslin cloth. laying an egg in each. The warmth and moisture eat honey. To control them, hung hives with wires so semi-arid lands strong wire ring to aMeshack bamboo pole. A piece of mosquiprojects awarded irregularly during the tenure Mwamunga Kimbio, the Taita-Taveta {eton them. that they swing when the badgers climb  Keep honey in a container to cool down.


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

WITH A LIGHT TOUCH

13

How beekeeping can benefit rural farmers Of the diminishing powers of

Of alcohol induced pride and a ruined party some politicians and my

 Heat the mixture until the wax melts. Honey harvesting Honey is harvested early in the morning or late  Sieve the mixture through a muslin cloth. inThe the evening when bees invited are less active. Whenbya Squeeze the residue strongly to force the other day I was to a party in relation to the measures of central tendency. advised me. PAPA KACHERO Later I proceeded for my masters degree in harvesting the following steps are to fol-con- wax out. friend of honey, mine who has managed lowed: vince almost half the population in the University of North Carolina I fully obliged. I was not going to leave  Cool the mixture overnight. Mavumbi Approach the hive blow smoke town thatquietly he is and a distant cousin to USA where my major thesis was on Spelanything to chance. I had to win the verbal WITH PASCAL The new constitution has brought in a better placed to discuss these politi Drain the water and remove any foreign around hive and later through the entrance ological Developments of Primitive communiformerthe American president Barack Obama. battle for Cindy. MWANDAMBO PAPA KACHERO particles. holes smoker. The smoke makes the ties of of Kalahari who still live in counnew breed leadership in the cal So matters better thanand mysatcousin This using man afrom Kogelo had thrown a party I went back to Cindy next to her. bees to start eating honey becoming caves.” to show gratitude andthus thanksgivings to  Re-melt the wax over a water bath and I then smiled broadly , rubbed my hands tryWITH and the villagers where I was born Timotheo. heavy andhaving inactive. enabled his daughter to put it in a clean container. PASCAL God for swallowed saliva together and said passionately: Market of Honey and Wax and brought up are struggling to keep This chap has a penchant for getting MWANDAMBO scoreLower the hive the ground. a clean A intolast years KCSE examinaHoney is sold locallykuchafua or exported;meza for direct the bright girl’s Suraupside ni rachidown, ka bimbut he never swallowed a tuft of saliva and continued:things in step Iwith the changing times. tions.CutNow the combs from each topambition bar three is toconsumption or domestic, industrial use. Actually, the whole table was full of drinks, ‘’At the moment I want to enroll for evenbecome an aeronautical engineer, whatever Kata janeko ok nyar heri centimetres from the surface and put them in a been to easy forGujerati, an ordinary fromchal discussing issues which what is usually described jokingly It has not that is. ing classes study just in case”.shies Tiendi kod yien, mitedogo clean container rubbing off the bees using a Source: Softkenya.com as “kuchafua meza”. From the kitchenrustic was to Maybe it involves flying balloons around Cindy wasthe so moved ,youroles could that have twig. kod opuk… know different areWangi clearlychal beyond his level of comroasting a whole goat, locally known as the Maasai Mara. knocked her down with a feather. She only  The 3 cm of the comb left is for attachsenator and an MP are prehension. not been or able to fully verifyThe the lattera governor, “tumbukiza” “anti-theft”. The man Kogelo has a lot of respectNB: I have I then widened my sheepish smile from ear nodded vigorously like an agama lizard, a ment of newfrom combs. accuracy of the data contained herein. The for me probably because I am a scribe (one comes from the fact that the goat is roasted supposed to play, but that not This even my more ridiculous when togets ear, cracked fingers apprehensively broad smile spread acrossdoes her beautiful readerwhole might so have to countercheck thecook in- stealing idiotPlace back and do not disturb the that chances of the called methea bars scribbler!) or maybe beas I waited for the daughter from the land face. mean the villagers have been sitting he is high on something cheap. Beformation with data contained in other rebrood. some pieces are highly minimized. cause I have never shown any doubts , at of powerful men to melt down, smitten by Tactic number two: I had to leave no doubt search documents and reports on beekeepleastRetum the that hive to down as mere ignoramuses. fore the price of cheap keg sold in Next to me was seated a beautiful belle openly, heitsisposition. a distant relative to love. in Cindy’s mind that I was a financially ing. – EDITOR Equipment Harvestingman Honey from Kogelo. Cindy was her name, I They was to have one of theused mostinpowerful on planet Instead, complexion stablebeen man, the real “jakom”. learning both mugs (alsoCindy’s known as vutachanged pumzi)from (i) Protective gear. learn later. She had such shapely legs like earth. dark brown to burnt sienna then a mixture “I am normally not this tall when I am sit(ii) A honey container with aeasily tight cover — This in throughting,” radio, TV asThat wellmeant as grapewent up, Timotheo would imbibe the the cedars of Lebanon (That is King SoloWindfalls don’t come especially of both. Drops of sweat began to collect on I declared. that my wallet can be a pail or a bucket which is used to hold mon’s description of a woman the wise these hard times .On this particular day, I the tip of her nose and the temples. tucked away in my hind pocket was loaded vine, on who is who in the new county stuff and then regale listeners the honey combs as they are being harvested. would get a break from the measly meals of man dearly loved). with real money. I also declared that I was Before I could say “ Jakom Obama ”, Cindy The tight cover prevents the bees from entering pecking order. withshot political tales, you would think he As Tusker Malt Larger took the bettergovernment of me ready and chapati choma chopped into small up and swung a heavy punch and hit willing to spend real money in the container and(chapati continue eating the honey. so was I in a position to throw a few sweet pieces and sprinkled with bean However, to say that one Iperwasmea hard student of political and squarely on thescience. face. Given real suffice time to make Cindy happy. also (iii) A hive toolthen —A piece of iron flattened and words to the daughter from the land of soup) and mseto ,(a mean mixture of rice that I had already swallowed several Tuskpromised her that when the contents of my sharpened at one end to look like a screwdrivson whose glamour has been severe- Nower with the price and colour of vuta powerful men. and Malts, I crashed to the floor like a strickwallet thinned out due to rapid use, I er. It isbeans). used to scrape away the propolis holdI bade her greetings. She responded with ly eroded a would is the local member par- by pumzi having changed for the I was cork sure that my would ing the top bars together, thusfriend separating them.preen ox. A constellation of stars was worse, dancing restore my height whileofseated smile and a knowing wink. Not a bad start, consulting the wall at the bank where I reg- before my eyes. I was totally confused. I meals foroffkings. He is notinto thethe type Itpare is also used fit to cut the honey comb liament. my dear cousin Timotheo has resorthoney when harvesting honey. huh? My principle is that you should never ularly make another terrible mistake to let container, his guests down on such auspicious spat something whitish on the floor. It was Gone the days when an MP ed to drinking a Meanwhile tough spirit called (vi) Bee brush — This is an ordinary brush with move too fast when pursuing something of are occasion. a broken tooth. Cindy was Je (ATM). a long handle to brush off the bees from the value. Get a little time off to unwind. would bestride standing next to hands with akimbo, shoutI hammered theconstituency last nail by revealing the like ato her (ze)bel, which heme, dilutes water, honey comb before cutting intodressed the container. So I arrived at the party to kill. On Plan.Strategise. Then hit back with a venge- that I had plans of setting up a small factory ing all sort of insults and expletives. The brushed backrested into the ahive. colossus dishing outhelmets money,at issuing for lack of anything better to dilute the ance. In other words, learn to be a master of for ,manufacturing my bees headare precariously Chicago the outskirts party animals Processing Bulls cap and just below it, sun shades with surprise and attack. of Mavumbi town. decrees and threatening errant public stuff. Other party animals were now milling There are three common methods of extracting Three more Tusker Malts and my reasoning Tactic number three. I had to use the most yellow rims half the face. Below honey from the covering combs include: around me wondering what “bwana ripota” servants. them was glued an impish smile that could capacity took a nosedive from that of Horomantic words on earth , done in her had done to deserve such thorough thrashmakeUsing melt the honey. mosapiens to that of Homo erectus. I took a the bothheat MrtoBean and Charlie Chaplin Now MP tongue. has toWords tug along withsend the mother that would However, the end results are the ing. paleCrushing and straining. sidelong look at Cindy’s waistline and in comparison. belle’s and mindgovernor into a total tailspin. This was My friend came over and picked me up and the senator to boost his same and theprofusely hiddentoTimotheo shapely legs, cleared my throat and wore a checked shirt with a frayed the hardest part of the game. You see what I apologized I alsoUsing a centrifugal extractor. the lady from the ego and his word is no longer law as said: “Daughter from the land of powerful collar and a faded mtumba jeans, and furwanted to tell Cindy was something like Method comes and holds land out of powerful mean.the whole drinkther downin ,this green Eboebo sandals to boot. presidents, my name is Paparazzi Kachero : Procedure method is as follows: it were this a few years back. ya pombe tu” he tried to not calmoning “Ni densababu at ransom, explaining Esquire, deputy senior staff correspondent Around my shoulders was slung a digital  Heat some water in a sufuria. down Cindy who was still seething with What isYou even unnerving with the Coast Monthly. I am here to give camera with big zoom lens the size of a are somore beautiful and lovely, is that ly the roles of governors, senators rage. beerPut honey combs in an enamel basin or bottle., just to drive the message home exclusive and full coverage to this great Youilliterate are my only star in the sky,has realeven the village folk I explained to my host what andImmediately, MPs are playing, but also their any other container which is not iron. not party. My camera is imported from Karawho exactly I was. Pity memade that of I have My only flower in the desert, exactly I had said to the lady. As I narratized that annice MP now a lips mere chi, Pakistan”. fullyPut the container with honey on mastered the use of thiscombs precious Your hairisand sweet , numremuneration. ed my tale, my friend shook his head in the boiling water. The daughter from Kogelo smiled again Make me glad and loved, gadget. ber three in the county leadership hi- Highdisbelief, occasionally and on coveron Je(ze)bel butcringing very low and wowed: “I am Cindy, a practicing thes- I love you like vanilla yoghurt. was there in time My friend Heat until most of thejust honey melts.to usher ing his mouth with his hands. erarchy. reasoning, Timotheo will screw his pian at the Kenya National Theatre. Soon in with both arms outstretched. In fact After serious investigations, it emerged that me Separate the melted honey from the of villagers we are going to release a feature film.In Wefact the Thennumber I got a brainwave, thankswho to the liquid he described me as “jakom”. At first I was eyes a political pundit submylike friend –turned fiend, had of given me the combs by straining through a muslin cloth. at in a green bottle that I had imbibed. slightly uncomfortable with the description are birds of the same feather. Please feel used to go for handouts at the local wrong translations to the words I had because Keepin honey a container to cool“jakom” down. stance and blurt, “I swear, the goverthe party.” I decided to seek the translation services of my in mother tongue, wanted to tell Cindy. I had unknowingly Mavumbi town has reI swallowed hard, I then took a swig MPs of my office one ofinmy friends who was seated at the nor earns more than 2 million shillings something to cow dung. means Remove the wax close layer that may form on called her names, insulted her and lowered extreme corner of the room watching all Mysurface confidence was restored when a friend beer and then quietly went back to the the of the honey. duced drastically. her dignity to the lowest level possiblewith .It a month, followed by the senator to my friend confirmed to me that the word drawing board. I had to launch my missiles three TVs at the same time. Crushing and Straining Method could even have amounted to hate speech. This might be a him burden off the politi- 1.5 million while the MP and ward rep This is the means method that produces the highest or with tact and zeal. First impressions matter, I consulted and after understanding actually ‘ a man of substance The case was however solved amicably and quality honey. or In this method the following you know. my predicament, agreed to bail chairman”, what a neighbour of mine cians’ shoulders, but remember me ourout byeach I am nowsh back to my work as a you, scribe.the Agoearn 500,000. I tell should be done: taking me through quick translation lessons who has a very poor command of Kiswahili I craned my drooping eyes around. There ny is I have lost two teeth and a bruised ego leaders also have an ego that needs Honey combs are crushed and strained using a were a number of curious faces staring at on how to effectively woo a lady from thegovernor is the real guy”. He will look language calls “mtu ya ngufu”. to boot. {et muslin the enamel basin.well organized. us. Leaking cables, so to speak. I ignored land of powerful men. Inside,cloth theinto party room was to be regularly massaged. around for applause, which he gets. The scum formed is removed with a wooden “Make sure you put a lot of emphasis on An eight feet wall unit had been pushed to them all the same. Meanwhile my friend, On the other hand, the governors spoon the host , had taken on the role of MC and each and every single word you use,” he He will go on: “The governor is the the extreme of the room and inside Honey is put in end a suitable container (plastic or it have their hands full addressing iswas saying something over the microphone were four TVs all switched on. One was president of the county. His salary is glass jars) that is tightly closed. which I could not clearly discern. To hell showing KTN another Citizen while the Using a Centrifugal Extractor sues of all kinds, ranging from enough to open a hundred bars in with him. My interest now was to win the was showing Aother centrifugal extractor isKBC. used inThe largefourth scale one squabbles between cuckolds and heart of this belle from Kogelo. which looked slightly was and showing a production. The combs are sick decapped this village and stock them fully,” he By now my reasoning faculties had fallen placed mixture in the of extractor. the three. The rotary motion forctheira wives as well as chicken thieves, will say, you might think he is entitled es outparty honeywas and combs clean. were mur- rung lower from that of Homo erectus to that The lively.are Allleftaround cases Beeswax on, which ideally should be admurs of “ber” , ‘maber” and such like adjec- of Homo ibilisi, and actually from there to a fixed percentage of the goverWax is secreted by a pair of glands in the abdothe Devil took charge and almost disortives, all describing the heroic deeds of a dressed by local chiefs and nyumba nor’s perks. men of the worker bee. It islast usedcousin by the worker ganized everything, including my dental daughter to Obama’s who had kumi chairpersons. bees to make the combsfour whichexam. are used to formula. I hearkened to his every beck and demolished a form raise the young brood and store honey. When fact I felt pity for our MPs when I call. I was his slave, drinking from hisInpoiSomeone even suggested that the bright wax is processed it is used: soned chalice. girl’s results be preserved by the Kenya overheard a bunch of market women 1. To manufacture creams, ointments, canNational Examination Council to be used as To create a lasting impression ,I had to dles, shoe and floor polish. commenting that an MP’s position make my academic credentials clear to Cinmarking schemes for future exams. Igno2. In is dentistry, dy. You see, she looked the type that has attachrance bliss. it is used to make teeth imnow reached almost the same pressions filling replacement. es a lot of importance to someone’s educaSo that Ifor did notand make a sucker of myself level as a councilor( read county as3. laboratories, it is who used inhad the adissection tional background. like aInfriend of mine buffet for of small the firstinsects. time and ate and drank everything So I opened my beer fouled mouth wide sembly representative). along line till he itwas admitted 4. In the pharmaceuticals is used to maketo pillhospi- and declared: “I got a first class honours I swallowed hard, tookpesa a swig of my “Siku hizi wabunge hawana upper division degree from the University tal unconscious, I went straight for the coatings. beer and then quietly went back to of Nairobi. My main term paper centered kabisa, wameshindwa na magoverbeers. Tusker Malt, patented by Sir Charles Wax Processing the drawing board. The procedure for processing wax is as follows: on the strange breeding habits of certain Glass. nor”, the women said before breaking spiders found in Angolan riparian lands. In  Put combs whose honey has been exinto a hearty laughter. between I studied Romantic thermodynamics tracted into a basin. From page 12

cousin’s wagging tongue

ransom

Add water to the basin.

But probably no other villager feels


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

RECENT HISTORY

14

Tracing Jomo Kenyatta’s footsteps into Taita caves where the founding father of the nation hid to escape arrest by the colonial government

The desolate, forlorn and yawning caves stand out poignantly amidst the sharp sun rays piercing through the valley. A pervading putrid smell, dust and dry foliage are what welcomes one into these neglected caves. Seemingly unaware of the sheer state of neglect of these historical and cultural monuments, huge lizards and rock hyraxes scream endlessly as they chase each other in and out of the caves. The numerous rats that have found refuge in these caves may also not understand the significance of the souvenir bed which the founding father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is believed to have slept on several decades back. Welcome to the historically significant yet virtually forgotten Kenyatta Caves situated about three kilometers downhill south of Wundanyi town ,TaitaTaveta County, in a sleepy village called Mwanguwi. In fact, tracing times footsteps in the independence struggle of this country and the Mau Mau uprising may not be complete without mentioning the Kenyatta caves. “Whenever I think of the rich history of these caves I fail to understand why the government has forgotten such important historical landmark. This is very unfortunate” said a local resident Mr Barnabas Nyambu. The Kenyatta Caves also known as Kino Caves, played a significant role in the struggle for independence and it is believed that Kenyatta and the other Kapenguria Six visited the caves on several occasions to escape the colonial dragnet. Therein they were also served with local Taita traditional charms that allegedly made them hard to arrest. “I remember on many occasions, we used to spend virtually sleepless nights as police used to rummage every corner of our homestead searching for Kenyatta and his group,” says Charles Mlekenyi. Mlekenyi is the son of Mzee Zephania Mwakio , a political activist and founder of Taita Hills Association ,a political lobby group during the early 50s, and the owner of the land where that caves are located. Mzee Mwakio usually hosted Kenyatta and other freedom fighters in his home as well as in the historic caves. “Former Tanzania president Julius Nyerere also used to visit the caves where he normally used to have long deliberations with Kenyatta, ostensibly on how to bring down the colonial government” says Mlekenyi. He says that inside the caves there used to be a famous Taita traditional medicine man called Mwakishaluwa Mkamba who worked tirelessly with charms to ensure that Kenyatta and his group were protected from any threats from the colonial government.

“The medicine man usually fed a goat with special medicinal herbs after which he would whisper certain demands to the animal before suffocating it to death by blocking its nostrils. The medicine man would then split the goats belly open and keenly observe the entrails for any outcome which he would announce to Kenyatta and his group” says Mlekenyi. This kind of divination is called kulaghua wula ” in Kitaita.He says that if the ritual predicted anything ominous, the medicine man would warn his clients about it and advise them accordingly. It is in these caves where Mwakishaluwa predicted the arrest of Kenyatta and his rise to power later. On display in these caves is a small clay pot locally known as “kirau” from which Kenyatta and Nyerere are said to have used to imbibe a local drink called “m’bangara” as a sign of unity with Taita ancestors. Mrs Silvia Manga, Mzee Mwakio’s widow, died two years ago aged 102 years and buried a few metres from the caves. The late Manga and her daughters are said to have cooked the food that Kenyatta and other visitors ate during their secret rendezvous. Mbiyu Koinange is also said to have paid homage to the Mwakio family and actually had one of the sons named after him.

The late Sylvia Manga(right) who used to cook for Kenyatta in the caves

neglect Later on, according to family sources, the young man abandoned the name Mbiyu Koinange, after realizing, painfully, that the leaders they had hosted in the hours of need many years back had neglected them after assuming power. Gintone Mwanyumba 58, Manga’s other son, confirmed having served Kenyatta and his friends with food in those days gone by, back in Mwanguwi village. Mwanyumba who also lives in abject poverty said: “Kenyatta used to wear his long leather overcoat and occasionally looked after our goats. I admired him because he was a very jovial man”. However, Mzee Mwakio’s son, Mlekenyi, is determined to see to it that the Kenyatta caves are turned into a major cultural and tourist attraction . He says that it’s imperative that the government puts up a museum at the site to create a monument as a way of preserving our history as a nation. {et

“I remember on many occasions, we used to spend virtually sleepless nights as police rummaged every corner of our homestead searching for Kenyatta and his group,” Charles Mlekenyi

The bed Kenyatta slept on in the caves

The sewing machine Kenyatta used to mend his clothes


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

15

he iron ore mining project in Kishushe Taita-Taveta County has resumed and so are the controversies surrounding the multimillion project. Of much concern to the leaders and environmentalists is the noise and dust pollution that poses serious health risks to residents and school children.

consignment Recently an iron ore consignment weighing 56,000 tonnes from Taita-Taveta was barred from being shipped out of the port of Mombasa after it emerged that the ship from Far East that was reportedly coming in with iron ore import had actually arrived to spirit out the iron ore from the country. Press reports had earlier indicated that the government could have lost over Sh50m after KPA transferred handling of iron ore for export to a private firm. {et

Ndambonet Graphics

The trees, rocks and houses along the roads from the Kishushe mine have now turned reddish-brown with the soft dust that daily rises and settles on them. “We have become accustomed to this ordeal and we are calling on the concerned authorities to do something to alleviate our suffering,” says Charity Mboje, a Kishushe resident. Her children are among hundreds of pupils in five primary schools in the area who risk serious health complications from the dust emitted from the mines and the heavy billows of dust stirred up by the heavy laden trailers zooming away with hundreds of tones of ore. “This noise and dust is making life unbearable for local residents. The noise from the trailers is making learning difficult for schools near the dusty roads the trailers are using,” laments Charles Kale. Since the iron ore mining was halted four years ago then under Wanjala Mining Company, the county government could have lost millions in revenue due to the protracted tussle between the company and members of Kishushe Ranching Cooperative Society on whose land the vast iron ore mine is located. Lack of consensus over the amount of revenue that the county government was to get from the project has added another cloud of dust over the otherwise ambitious project that has the potential to employ hundreds of jobless youths and transform the economy of the county. Political patronage and underhand deals continue to dog the project even after the mining activities resumed in April this year under Samruddha Resources Kenya Limited. A resident from Kishshe who spoke to Taita-Rtaveta Express lamented that the iron ore mining project was not benefitting the larger Kishushe community but a few greedy leaders and well connected locals who have a stake in the ranch land who have been visiting the mining project to demand for bribes ,kickbacks and favours from the new investor. “Since the project began, selfish, well-connected political leaders have been using the project as a milk cow, where they sourced for campaign funds with promises to cushion the investor against any adverse developments that could hamper operations,” said the resident. He said that even though some of the previous leaders have lost clout after losing in last years elections, the new crop of leaders are not any different as they too are demanding for a share of the pie. “It is the situation of “shambe ni tofauti, nyani ni wale wale”, he said ruefully. A NEMA official in the county conceded that the dust pollution issue was serious and hastened to add that they were holding discussions with the concerned authorities to get a lasting solution towards that end.


Taita-Taveta EXPRESS

Taita-Taveta Express

16

Wariangulu, a Coastal community with rich cultural heritage betrayed by history and State ometime back, a leader in Taita -Taveta County courted controversy when he asked members of his community to ditch family planning and reproduce in large numbers so that the number of voters could increase.

“I worked as a casual in Tsavo for 25 years starting from 1951,” says Mzee Ngonyo.

“There are a lot of things people do not know about the Wariangulu. Most of the things people say about us are misguided, false and paint As misleading as this might have our community negatively, chief been , the term “tyranny of numamong them being the belief that bers” has begun to gain currency in Wariangulu women are a bad omen the recent past. Given Kenyans’ and bring misfortunes to families,” pride in numbers, most people would says Willy Kazungu another Mrianfeel proud to belong to the largest gulu in Voi. community in the country. Though he seems better off than the But how would one feel if they come others, he still feels the pain of befrom a small community which is ing neglected and stigmatized. nearing extinction to an extent that even their name does not appear in With a wry smile, he asks: “ Take a the last national census? good look at us. Do we look any different from the rest of the memThat is the fate of the Wariangulu, a bers of the society?” tiny vanishing community found scattered on the fringes of Tsavo NaKazungu laments that the governtional park in Voi and Kwale coun- ment has neglected the Wariangulu ties. community and sits back to watch the community become extinct. They live in poverty and destitution. Most of them have no formal edu- He points out that no single Mliancation. Majority live in areas too gulu is in any position in government. hostile for any meaningful means of agriculture or livestock rearing. “There is not even a single assistant Statistics show that they number be- chief from our community, leave tween 700 and 1,000 people. alone a chief” says Kazungu, a retired KWS staff, with a frown on his “As you can see we are leading a face. life of poverty and misery. The small plot where I grow my crops is no He says this is against the spirit of longer productive so we have to the new constitution. rely on relief food. It’s a hard life”. Chapter Four of the new constitution These are the pitiful words of 58namely The Bill of Rights, Section 56, year old Halaku Mwachofi, a Mrian- among other things, says minorities gulu married to a Taita. She lives in and marginalized groups should be Birikani village near Tsavo East Na- provided with special opportunities tional Park. to access employment and develop their cultural values. This has not Another member of the Wariangulu been true with this vanishing commucommunity living in abject poverty is nity in Voi. Mzee Neko Abarufa(70). The Waringulu, whose roots can be The grey-haired old man says he traced back to Ethiopia are a norelies on relief food as he has nomadic hunter –gatherer Cushitic where to farm or keep livestock. community .Their original name was the Wartha. Another Mriangulu, Galgalo Ngonyo (72) is in no better situation. With a A story is told of a Mriangulu hunter forlorn look on his face he reminisces at the Galana area of Tsavo who about the days when he was emhad gone for days without getting ployed as a casual in the then Royal any wild animal worth killing for Tsavo National Park. food. Hungry and distraught, he came across a tortoise and grabbed

it and lit a fire to roast it. Members of the Giriama community spotted him and in shock and conrecorded history of Tsavo were sternation screamed out: “Ano mana Abakuna Gumundi and Galgalo ria ngulu!” (This man wants to feed Kafonde. on a tortoise!”). However, the Wariangulu suffered Since then the name changed gradu- a major blow, which completely ally to Wariangulu, deriding the changed their lifestyle, when the community as people who feed on Tsavo wilderness( where they hunted tortoises. and gathered fruits and wild honey,) was gazetted by the government as The Wariangulu are know in history a national park in 1948. as among the most accomplished hunters in Africa, and have also This forced the community to abanbeen called “The elephant people”. don their nomadic and hunting lifestyle to a sedentary one, on the This community hunted with precision, fringes of Tsavo such as Birikani in but only for food and not ivory. Voi and Kilibasi in Kwale. The most notorious hunters known in

TAITA-TAVETA EXPRESS ISSUE NO 7 FINAL  

The first online publication navigating the social,cultural,political and economic landscape of Taita-Taveta County

TAITA-TAVETA EXPRESS ISSUE NO 7 FINAL  

The first online publication navigating the social,cultural,political and economic landscape of Taita-Taveta County

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