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Car free days: Why you may now have to embrace cycling, walking to work




Nairobians will now be forced to cycle or walk to the Central Business District after the government declared Wednesday and Saturday car-free days.

Transport PS Paul Maringa said there will be dedicated parking in Uhuru Park and Railways as no car will be allowed within the CBD during these two days.

Maringa said during the set days, hawkers will be allowed to sell their wares with the move set to generate Sh39.5 million daily revenue to the government from over 100,000 hawkers.

More on this: Wednesdays, Saturdays declared car-free days in Nairobi – Government

But what exactly does the government mean by car-free days?

On these days, motorists will be encouraged to give up their cars for the two days with aim of promoting mass transit, cycling and walking.

Only individuals with bicycles, police vehicles and emergency cars will be allowed into the city centre on these two days.

This means motorists will have to park outside the CBD and find their way to their offices.

However, on January 23, 2018, the Nairobi government banned boda-boda operators from ferrying people to and from the city centre.

A notice from Governor Mike Sonko’s office stated the regulation was effective immediately.

“Any operator and passenger found contravening this law will be arrested for an offence punishable by hefty fines and long jail terms as provided for in the Traffic Act, 2014.”

The notice stated that the county has not assigned parking lots in the central business district.

Read: Sonko bans boda bodas from Nairobi CBD

Car-free day is organised in various cities throughout the world in different ways, but with the common goal of reducing the number of vehicles on the streets.

The benefit to greater society is a day with less traffic congestion, a greener environment and reduced gasoline demand.

Today, the car-free day includes celebrations in 46 countries and in more than 2,000 cities.


Kenyans on Twitter have expressed disappointment after the directive was announced.

“This Wednesday and Saturday vehicle ban is like painting the pink lines on Thika Road or the matatu ban,” @Ma3Route said.

No counter system has been put in place to transport people. Are taxis, tour vans, buses, delivery vehicles allowed in the CBD?”

@bonifacemwangi said, “This is great but @MikeSonko has a by-law not allowing bicycles in the CBD, so can we cycle to the city on car-free days?”

 “Wednesday and Saturday no cars in CBD day, another unworkable action. When will @JamesMacharia_ @MikeSonko learn, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out this,” @KenyanTraffic said.

Senior Counsel Paul Muite said the measure is ill-thought and impractical.

Who is importing these buses from South Africa? Closing two or three roads say Koinange & Moi adequate; closing entire CBD impractical, ill thought through,” he said.

@FrankGanda said, “Ok, so basically, what Transport ministry is telling Kenyans is not to carry your phones and/or any valuables to Nairobi CBD on Wednesday and Saturday.”

“Just like that, the Kenyan Ministry of Transport led by the clueless James Macharia has once again regurgitated policy without alternatives. If Wednesday and Saturday are car-free days, what alternative is in place? Nairobi county itself has a ban on bicycles,” @ItsMutai said.

@japheth_bor said, “Does Kenya lack engineers or professionals from physical planning who can draw a plan on how to decongest Nairobi CBD feeder roads?”

He added, “Banning matatus from accessing town on Wednesday and Saturday is a wrong decision that is reached out without proper public participation @MikeSonko.”

@Kelvn_Cash said, “I can’t wait to see pizza delivery guys running around the city like crazy magicians in Nairobi CBD.”


“As usual, the government doesn’t think things through. What does ‘leave cars at home’ mean when you allowed people to build malls where there should have been parking?” @wmnjoya said.

@EriponMEripon1 said, “James Macharia just from Slumberland, then you decided to announce to the public that Wednesday and Saturday are hawkers day. Is this really the best way of decongesting Nairobi CBD.”


This is not the first time the county is planning a raft of measures to end congestion in the city. Nairobi residents were forced to work when City Hall banned matatus from the CBD on December 3, last year.

Sonko was forced to eat humble pie and lift the ban following transport chaos that followed the ban.

But he said he would not allow laziness and that Nairobians must learn to walk so as to decongest the city.

Sonko said 1km is not too much for the youth to walk to the Central Business District.

“Those who walked to the CBD because of the matatu ban in the CBD, this is just a step forward… Walking is an exercise and you will still walk. Even in Rwanda, people walk,” he said.

Read: I’ll not allow laziness, Nairobians must walk – Sonko

See: [VIDEO] Commuters stranded as CBD matatu ban takes effect

Related: Sonko bans boda bodas from Nairobi CBD

The first attempt to decongest the city was by former Town Clerk Philip Kisia in August 2009 under the defunct Nairobi City Council.

His efforts to clear the CBD did not, however last, for he bowed to pressure from the public service operators two months later.

Kisia’s plan was to keep matatus from Thika and parts of the Central, Rift Valley, Kisii and Kilgoris out of the city centre.

Nairobi first Governor Evans Kidero, who took office in 2013, said one of his key areas of focus was on the matatu menace and de-congesting the city.

He said the order to ban matatus from the city centre was to be put in place by September that year.

However, his plan never was never actualised. He relented on his stand and matatus where left to operate within the city centre for his entire term.


Should the car-free days be implemented to its desired outcome, Nairobi will join other cities that have closed down streets to drivers. 

Twice a month, parts of Kigali in Rwanda are turned into car-free zones where residents engage in physical activity from 7am to 10am. 

People hit the streets to walk, run or ride bicycles, among other activities.

The exercise was introduced two years ago by Kigali City Council, in partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Centre, to promote a healthy lifestyle.

In Denmark, half of its capital Copenhagen’s population cycles to work every day.

The city boasts of 322km of bicycle lanes and has the lowest percentage of car ownership in Europe. 

World Car Free Day is celebrated on September 22. It encourages motorists to give up their cars for a day. Organised events are held in some cities and countries.

Studies show that for short trips in cities, one can reach more quickly using a bicycle rather than using a car.

Within two years, the first days were organised in Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (United Kingdom) and La Rochelle (France), and the informal World Car Free Days Consortium was organised in 1995 to support car-free days worldwide.

The first national campaign was inaugurated in Britain by the Environmental Transport Association in 1997, the French followed suit in 1998. In town without my car! and was established as a Europe-wide initiative by the European Commission in 2000.

In the same year, the Commission enlarged the programme to a full European Mobility Week which now is the major focus of the Commission, with the Car-Free Day part of a greater new mobility whole.

Also in 2000, car-free days went global with a World Carfree Day program launched by Carbusters, now World Carfree Network, and in the same year the Earth Car Free Day collaborative program of the Earth Day Network and the World Car Free Days collaborative.

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised


“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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