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How one Kenyan is replanting depleted forests with a slingshot – Lifestyle – Pulselive.co.ke

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The United Nations recommends that countries maintain at least 10 percent of their land in forest, that however is not the case in many countries. One such country is Kenya which has only 7 percent forest cover.

In this
age of climate change and pollution, forests have never been more important to
the human existence.

According
to scientists forests can help regulate rainfall and protecting and expanding
forests is one of the cheapest and surest ways of curbing climate change.


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Karura forest, Nairobi Kenya. (TripAdvisor)

 

Forests
provide water storage, dictate weather patterns and, critically, act as the
planet’s lungs by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the
atmosphere through photosynthesis.

“Trees
and forests play an essential role in mitigating the impact of climate change.
Planting trees is one of the most important things we can do to contribute to
the health of the planet,”
said UN
Secretary General António Guterres, at a forum on forests in March.

Therefore
for a country which produced the first African woman to win the Nobel laureate,
Professor Wangari Maathai, you would think Kenya would know better especially
on the importance of forests.


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Nobel laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai. (Citizen TV)

 

In late
2017 and early 2018, Kenya was hit by a particularly severe drought which saw
hundreds of livestock die and millions of Kenyans starve after much awaited
rainfall failed to fall due to ‘hostile environment’.

Since
then the country has rolled up its sleeves and embarked on reforestation
efforts with renewed vigour including conscripting the national army and
primary schools in planting tree seedlings.

In an
effort to combat deforestation and rebuild the nation’s depleted forests, the
government also unveiled a number of counter measures including evicting people
who had encroach on forest land and issued a three month logging ban.


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Kenya Forest Service (KFS) inspecting felled trees at the Maasai Mau forest. (The Standard)

 

While the
governments’ reforestation efforts are admirable and even commendable, two
Kenyans are proving you don’t need millions to plant trees and have gone an
extra mile in increasing the country’s forest cover in the most novel and
cheapest method, relying only on a simple slingshot and the services of
herders’ boys.

Nicholas
Waweru is a conservationist based in Kisaju, south of Nairobi is literarily
changing the semi-arid landscape of the area, one shot at a time.

Waweru
works with Teddy Kinyanjui, a conservationist living in Nairobi’s Kabete
estate, who makes the slingshots and seed balls.


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Teddy Kinyanjui (iAfrikan)

 

On daily
basis Waweru distributes a packet of seed balls, made of charcoal dust, cassava
starch and tree seeds, to herder boys in the area before they go grazing.

The balls
work as ammunition to bring down birds – and, left behind on the ground, they
gradually break down, releasing tree seeds to take root.

Kinyanjui
researches what trees grow best in each area, then manufactures seed balls
designed for that area. He sources the seeds from the Kenya Forest Research
Institute.


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Teddy Kinyanjui’s seedballs. (The Open University)

 

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The
conservationist who says he inherited his love of trees from his late father,
Maxwell Kinyanjui, a professor at the University of Nairobi who was well known
for his conservation efforts, explains that packing tree seeds in charcoal
dust, sourced from a charcoal briquette-making firm, gives the seedlings a
better chance of sprouting.

“After
research, we found out that 95 percent of tree seeds are eaten up by insects or
animals such as goats or birds,”
he said.

You can imagine if you just took a handful of
seeds and threw them down on the ground, and waited for three more months until
the rains come – it’s just going to get eaten by something
,” he said.


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One of Teddy Kinyanjui’s SeedBalls. (the star)

 

But the
charcoal dust deters animals and when the rains arrive, they wash away the
charcoal coating, allowing the seeds to sprout.

Kinyanjui
has helped distribute about 2 million tree seeds across the country, focusing
in areas where charcoal making has led to deforestation.

To
encourage herder boys to use the seed balls, Kinyanjui organizes shooting
competitions, with those able to hurl the balls furthest winning certificates.


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Teddy with a group of boys participating in a slingshot competition. (bbc.)

 

He has
gone an extra mile and approached airlines and corporations in  abid to
scatter the seedlings even further and wider.

He has
persuaded some aeroplane companies, hot air balloon owners, and paragliders to
fling the balls, and he sells some to corporations, who distribute them to
customers and staff as part of corporate social responsibility campaigns.


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A small tree seedling sporting from a seedball. (The Independent)

 

Kinyanjui
recognises that not all the trees will sprout and survive, particularly with
hungry goats foraging in many areas. But “this is better than nothing”, he said.

Indeed
the world would be so much a better place if we all embraced Kinyanjui’s ‘better than nothing’ mentality.

Nobel
Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai couldn’t be prouder.



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General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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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).
[email protected]    

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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 –

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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

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“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.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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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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