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Construction works of Sh1.5billion University kicks off at Kakuma refugee camp

MMUST Vice Chancellor Prof Fredrick Otieno flanked by DVC Academics and Student Affairs Prof Josephine Ngaira. The university recently graduated 220 refugees with diplomas and certifcates at Kakuma refugee camp..Photo/Ong'ang'a Ochuodho


By CGN Reporter

The construction of the Sh1.5 billion Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (Mmust) Turkana West University College at Kakuma refugee camp has begun.

Kakuma, the largest refugee camp in the country has over 194,000 refugees but a paltry 3 per cent of the population has formal education according to MMUST coordinator for Kakuma Centre for Refugee Studies, Ronald Michieka.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC), MMUST, Danish Refugee Council, Lutheran World and the County Government of Turkana are raising money towards the erection of the university.

This is to ensure that the construction does not stop on the way.

Already, phase one for the construction of the university was commissioned yesterday by Turkana deputy governor Peter Lotethiro.

They are also partnering other institutions like the University of Geneva and Columbia University, Windle Trust Kenya and Jesuit Refugee Services to raise the money needed.

In an interview with the County Guardian News, Dr Bob Mbori, MMUST director of Public Communications said the County Government of Turkana has already given 100 acres of land where construction for administration and tuition block has started.

Dr Mbori said Turkana West University Campus will be will be a constituent college of MMUST once gazetted and the over 1,000 students are expected to be admitted next year.

MMUST has a satellite campus inside Kakuma refugee camp and recently, they graduated over 220 refugees with diplomas and certificates in primary education and social work.

During the ground breaking ceremony, UNHRC Country Representative Raouf Mazou said the university will offer degree and diploma programs to the refugees and the local community.

Mr Raouf said the courses will be organized and taught by Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, which has been offering diploma and certificate programs at MMUST Kakuma refugee campus.

“The collaboration between international and local universities will make higher education accessible and affordable to more refugees and the natives,” Mr Raouf said.

MMUST Chancellor Dr Peter Muthoka said they will work with UNHCR and education partners to ensure refugees at Kakuma access affordable education.

The institutions Vice Chancellor Prof Fredrick Otieno they are putting up two tuition blocks, a library that will also be accessed by the local community, engineering laboratories for Mining and Oil exploration courses among others.

“This is a county endowed with mineral resources, the courses are tailor made to ensure once we release the graduands to the market, they will get jobs immediately around,” said Prof Otieno.

“Only one percent of refugees attain university education and tertiary education as compared to the global average of 34 per cent. MMUST is committed to close the gap by bringing education near to the refugees,” he said.

MMUST has another constituent college in Lodwar town, Turkana University College which is 120km away from Kakuma refugee campus.

The university has been having a satellite campus inside the refugee camp since 2015 and a week ago they graduated the first batch of over 220 refugees with diplomas and certificate courses in three disciplines.

According to MMUST deputy vice chancellor for Academics and Students Affairs Prof Josephine Ngaira, the over 220 graduands took certificate courses in Teacher Education, Social Work and Community Development and Community Health and Development.

Prof Ngaira said other graduands did Diploma courses in Criminology and Criminal Studies and Community Health, Primary Education and Diploma in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE).

She said the courses were tailor-made for the refugees needs, adding the courses are for immediate value to them.

“It’s difficult to get teachers at refugee camps. The lecturers at Kakuma refugee campus sacrificed a lot by leaving their families behind to go a hardship place and equip the refugees with knowledge and skills,” Ms Ngaira said.

On the other hand, UNHCR estimates that more than 3.5million refugee children aged 5-17 years do not have formal education.

UNHCR has 17.2million refugees under their care where a half of them are children.

UNHCR report shows that children and docents out of school are located in Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey.

In Kenya, there are two main refugee camps at Daadab that hosts over 320,000 refugees and Kakuma that has 194,000 refugees.



Long serving ACK Maseno North Diocese Bishop Oketch retires

Outgoing ACK Maseno North Diocese Bishop Simon Oketch. He is set to retire on June 30 this year...Photo/Andrew Ombuni


By Andrew Ombuni

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishop for Maseno North Diocese, Simon Oketch is set to retire in three months’ time.

The prelate has been at the helm of power at the diocese for a period of 25 years and 6 months, two of which he was serving as bishop elect after his victory was challenged in court.

Speaking to the press today  in Kakamega town, Mr Oketch said the ministry’s Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit will visit his diocese on March 17 to open the newly rehabilitated ACK Maseno Mission Hospital.

He said Ole Sapit will also grace his last service as bishop on March 18 (on Sunday) at Milimani ACK Cathedral Church in Kakamega town.

“I will then go on annual leave awaiting my retirement on June 30 this year at midnight to my successor,” Oketch said.

The Bishop who hails from Esitsimi village in Luanda Sub County, Vihiga, took over from the late Bishop James Mundia in 1995 at the age of 40 years.

According to Oketch, it was not easy to ascend to the much coveted seat after trouncing four other priests who they were competing to replace Bishop Emeritus James Mundia.

“The four priests that I had defeated in the election ganged against me and lodged a case at Kakamega High Court before being enthroned in as the new Bishop of Maseno North Diocese,” Oketch said.

“They blocked me from assuming office on grounds that I was too young to hold such a position and more so they felt the election process was not inconsistent with the electoral laws of the church,” he said.

The outgoing Maseno North ACK clergy said he was forced to serve as a bishop-elect for two years without an office and funds before his enthronement two years later.

He said the case was dismissed by a Kakamega Court, adding the petitioners appealed the high court verdict that upheld his victory at the Court of Appeal in Nairobi.

“The appellate court upheld the decision made by the Kakamega high court and it was dismissed with costs,” Oketch said.

The outgoing bishop said the Court ordered the then Dean of the ACK Province of Kenya David Gitari to consecrate and enthrone him but under tight security on December 17, 1995.

He was ordained as Bishop at Bukhungu stadium by ACK chancellor Paul Kariuki, now a judge of the High Court of Kenya.

Bishop Oketch will be remembered for putting up 32 secondary schools during his reign, taking priests to the university and erecting storey building in Kakamega town whose rent is used to pay diocesan priests.

“We have over 50 priests in the diocese who are graduates. Two of them are doing their masters in divinity and 2 finishing their PhDs at St Paul’s University in Limuru,” Bishop Oketch said.

The 65-year old Bishop is blessed with three sons and one daughter.

ACK Maseno North diocese will be electing a new bishop on April 26 where three priests will face off although the names haven’t been made public.

According to ACK electoral laws, a candidate should get at least 20 votes during the first round of the voting process to be declared the winner.

In case there is a re-run, the winner in the first round and the candidate who emerges position two goes for a run-off while the one who comes a distant third after voting by the Electoral College is removed.

“The new bishop of ACK Maseno North Diocese will be consecrated and enthroned by Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit on June 10 at Bukhungu Stadium,” Bishop Oketch said.

Bishop Oketch has also secured a new job in the United Kingdom as from July 1, this year after hanging his boots

He is the last born in a family of 11 children and only five of them are alive.

He sat for his CPE exams at Bahati primary school, Bahati constituency and attended the Technical High School-Nairobi

He also worked as a spanner boy at Mt Kenya motors, then ordained as a deacon in 1979.

The bishop went to Duram University for his bachelor in divinity in 1985 and Haggai Institute of Advanced leadership in 1988 before being appointed Youth Advisor for ACK Western province in 1989 after completing his studies.

He was also at one point the Principal of St Philips Theological College-Kaimosi in 1992.




Two MCAs record statements with police after receiving death threats

Butali/Chegulo ward MCA Kevin Mahelo speaking to the press after recording a statement at Kakamega Central Police Station after receiving death threats....Photo/Andrew Ombuni


BY Andrew Ombuni

Two Members of the Kakamega County Assembly have recorded statements at Kakamega Central Police station after receiving death threats.

Kevin Mahelo, an outspoken Jubilee MCA from Butali/Chegulo ward and ODM’s Lazarus Lucheveleli of East Kabras Ward claim they have received threats from people whom they associated with Kakamega Deputy Governor Philip Kutima.

But Kutima dismissed the claims saying he has nothing to do with the two MCAs.

“I have never spoken about the two MCAs. I have nothing against them, they should stop maligning my name,” Kutima told The Standard on phone.

The MCAs said they have been warned of dire consequences if they will continue drumming up support for Lugari MP Ayub Savula’s 2022 gubernatorial ambitions.

Speaking to the press in Kakamega town, Mr Lucheveleli said they received the threats from six supporters of Kutima who has shown interest in the gubernatorial seat to succeed Wycliffe Oparanya during the 2022 elections.

He also said the supporters tried to rough them up at funeral ceremony in Malava but were rescued by security officers who came to calm the situation on time.

He alleged that after the funeral, he was trailed by unknown people while going back home.

“Following the fracas at the funeral, a black car followed my entourage   when I was going back home after attending a funeral ceremony in Malava sub-county.  They tried to overtake me but a cane tractor prevented them,” Luchebeleli claimed.

The ODM MCA said he was forced to divert to a different route which was unfamiliar to the occupants of the car, adding he entered a friend’s homestead where he stayed for two hours and then escorted home.

The MCA also claimed that the driver of the deputy governor cautioned him against supporting a candidate who is not a native of the county.

Mahelo, a jubilee MCA said they have been receiving threats on grounds that they had gone against the grain.

“You cannot force us to support you when you don’t have development track record. We will support Savula’s bid until 2022 when he will be declared the second governor of Kakamega County,” Mr Mahelo said.

He said they recorded a statement at the criminal investigations office in Kakamega central police station and that their witnesses will also recorded when required to do so.

Kakamega County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Carey Okech Nyawinda confirmed that the two MCAs have recorded their statements.

Mr Okech said they have launched investigations in to the matter.



Four people seriously injured as Matatu collides with a bus in Busia

Some of the patients who survived the grisly accident along Kisumu-Busia road- Photo/Courtesy


Four people are nursing serious injuries at Busia County Referral hospital after being involved in a grisly road accident along Kisumu-Busia road near River Suo.

The accident involved a 14-seater matatu and a bus belonging to Simba Coach Company.

Among those seriously injured is the driver of the matatu whose legs were broken when the accident occurred.

According to Henry Omoro, the conductor of the matatu, he said they were heading to Busia town from Kisumu when the accident occurred, adding they hit the bus head on collision.

“The matatu driver tried to avoid hitting the bus which was leaving a police road block but it was too late. My driver and the three passengers have broken their legs. We thank God no lives were lost after the accident,” Mr Omoro said.

“The police officers manning the roadblock are to blame for not stopping the speeding bus. It was raining heavily and the bus was being driven recklessly,” he claimed.

The tout also broke his hand but when the CGN team visited him at the hospital bed, he was in stable condition.

Maureen Adhiambo, a survivor, said she was breastfeeding her six-month old baby at the time the accident occurred.

“I was seated at the back seat when I heard a loud bang. I only regained consciousness when at the hospital but my daughter is not hurt,” Ms Adhiambo said.

She thanked the doctors at hospital for coming to their rescue on time, saying she sustained minor injuries.

Busia County Referral Hospital admintrator David Mukabi said four patients who broke their legs were in stable condition.

Mr Mukabi said the other patients sustained minor injuries will be allowed to go home tomorrow when they have fully stabilized from the trauma following the accident.




Boda bodas blamed for increased crime




Police have accused boda boda riders of the escalating killings and criminal activities in Kakamega County.

According to police, the boda boda operators are lynching suspected motorcycle criminals, as well as torching down their houses.

Police say Kakamega town, Lurambi, Khwisero, Butere and Shinyalu sub counties are the hot spots.

Reports indicate that in the months of December 2017, January and February this year, at least 20 people were killed with five of them being boda boda riders;

Out of the five riders, two fought against each other in Khwisero Sub County where one stabbed his colleague to death over a sh3, 600 debt. The irate mob of boda riders killed the other one in revenge mission.

Kakamega County police commander Johana Tunoi said the other three were killed in Butere Sub County by motorcycle thieves, who hired them at night, killed them and went away with their motorcycles.

Mr Tunoi in an Interview with the County Guardian Team, said property worth millions of shillings has also been reduced to ashes, adding that several houses having been torched in the month of January only.

“At Shimalabandu area in, a police vehicle from Kakamega Central police was pelted with stones by the riders and is not working. The vehicle has broken down, “he said.

The police commander said majority of the victims who were lynched by the boda boda operators could have been innocent.

“Most of these cases are revenge related. The riders do not verify information upon suspicion that someone is a criminal. They will go and kill you,” he said.

“We are receiving 3-4 murder cases every week and the numbers keeps on increasing. The trend is worrying and we are working around the clock to bring sanity to the riders,” said the police commander.

Mr Tunoi said some criminals are hidden among the boda boda operators are the ones wreaking havoc, adding that recently, they took sh200, 000 from a tomato trader in Mumias after returning home from the market.

He said they also attacked a petrol station at Sabatia with an AK47 riffle and took away the sales of the day.

Its 8.00am when we arrived at Busilwa village, Shinyalu Sub County.

Tension is still high boda boda riders rained terror in the village last Sunday at dawn.

The boda boda riders descended to the villagers with machetes, axes and jembes.

They also torched down several house leaving at least five families homeless. They also pelted the windows of their houses with stones.

According to Fredrick Shikokoti, a victim, he said the riders had come to the burial of their colleague who was knocked down by a vehicle in Kakamega town when the incident happened.

“A woman who had come for the burial was raped by unknown people who later fled away on a motorcycle. The riders then came to our village looking for three young men they suspected to have been behind the saga,” he said.

He said the riders surrounded the homestead of one of the suspects who he identified as Kevin Mugatia, saying they beat him senselessly using blunt objects while others slashed him.

“They also descended to with blows and kicks when I went to inquire why they were beating the young man. They threatened to kill me, my wife and children if I will continue distracting them from doing what brought them,” he said.

Mr Fredrick has a broken hand and the doors of his house broken also.

They then proceeded to another homestead where they torched down a house but the occupants who are three primary school pupils escaped unhurt but their elder brother became a sacrificial lamb.

This was the home of a 75-year-old widow, Teresa Alusa Muchiti, who said she was asleep around 4.30am last Sunday when she heard a loud bang on the door.

Ms Alusa said she came out of the house and found when they had barricaded her homestead and demanded the she produce his grandson. “Bring out Edward Muchiti alias ‘changaa’ we want to kill him”.

“My grandson was still asleep. They broke the door to his house, flushed his three young brothers and descended on him with machetes, kicks and blows. They then poured petrol to his house and set it ablaze,” she said as tears of sorrow rolled down the cheeks.

“Nothing was saved from the house, even the rabbits, goats, school uniforms and books of the pupils also burnt. They also threatened me to throw me in the burning house when I asked them to spare the life of my son,” she said.

The riders went away but came back yesterday at 11pm and then moved to the home of Mathias Mchiti and found his wife Anne Khalenya at home. They roughed her up and attempted to rape her.

“They teared my clothes into pieces using a piece of cloth and three of them tried to rape me. I screamed but villagers came to my rescue on time,” she said.

CGN has established that an 85-year-old woman, Felistus Khayega was also raped during the incident.

When the press visited her home, she was not able to speak to us since she was very sick and had not received medication by the time of going to the press.

Busilwa village elder Julius Lisamula also fears for his life after the riders told him that he should not be found outside his homestead past 6.00pm.

“The gang is raping women and murdering people at night.  There is a case where an old man was killed and his wife raped,” Lisamula said.





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