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It’s tough village life for varsity graduate

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By FLORAH KOECH
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When she graduated from Chuka University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics attaining a first class honours, Ruth Jemutai Rono thought the myriad problems back at home would be a thing of the past.

But as fate could have it, the 27-year-old graduate ended up in the village doing manual jobs to help her younger siblings after her parents separated.

Ms Rono, who is from Lelbatai village in Baringo Central, was raised in a humble background but through hard work and perseverance, she managed to attain 364 marks in her KCPE exam in 2005 and was admitted to the prestigious Tabagon Girls High School.

Her problems started after her parents could not manage to raise the required amount and materials to take her to Form One.

“My mother, who always struggled to ensure that I achieve my dreams, managed to raise a meagre Sh11,000 through her manual jobs and I was admitted to Form One. Surprisingly, no other fee was paid until I cleared Form Four with arrears of more than Sh90,000,” said Ms Rono.

She added: “Throughout my secondary school education, I was often sent home for fees but I normally went back with nothing to pay.”

When the Nation visited her on Tuesday, it emerged that the graduate, who is the first born in a family of eight, is the sole breadwinner.

She also takes care of her two sisters who are disabled and need constant monitoring.

Her mother returned to her parents three years ago after she suffered from depression while her father is a habitual drunkard, which has led him to abdicate his responsibilities.

Ms Rono told the Nation that during her secondary school days, she used to walk for 20 kilometres from her home to school.

“I remember the pair of shoes which I wore when I reported to Form One is the same one I had throughout my secondary school education. I used to trek to school during opening days and when I was sent home for fees. I walked for more than 20 kilometres through hills and valleys just to pursue my dreams,” she said.

“I used to walk barefoot and when I approached the school I put on my only shoes. I did this to prevent the shoes from getting worn out. The trick worked anyway and I passed my KCSE exam, attaining a mean grade of A minus despite the challenges,” narrated Ms Rono amid sobs.

During one prize giving day at her former primary school, teachers raised the issue of her fees problem and a quick fundraiser realised Sh52,000.

“I was also given Sh20,000 for emerging the top student in my class. Knowing my fees woes, I used the money to pay the arrears and the schooled waived the remaining amount,” said Ms Rono.

Locals in her village helped to raise her fees after she was admitted to Chuka University in.

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“I was elated that despite the poverty back at home, I was almost achieving my dreams so that I could change the lives of my parents and siblings. The Helb (Higher Education Loans Board) loan helped me a great deal during my four years at university and I managed to attain a first class honours,” she explained.

After completing her university education, she returned home only to find her mother very ill.

“I struggled to get money for her medication and she was diagnosed with depression. Owing to the many challenges, I could not manage to cater for her treatment and my maternal uncles took her,” said Ms Rono.

The university graduate remained at home to take care of her siblings after her mother was taken by her family. Her sister was set to join Form One then and, together, they did manual jobs to raise school fees for her.

“Finally we got a good amount of money from the manual jobs in the village and I took my sister to a neighbouring day secondary school,” she added.

After her graduation in 2016, knowing the problems back home, Ms Rono decided to ook for manual jobs in Nairobi in order to help her family.

“I stayed in the city for close to three months only to be told that my father came home drunk one day and torched the three grass thatched houses and left the children for the dead. Knowing that my mother was not at home, I sensed danger and I left Nairobi in a huff,” she explained as she fought back tears.

“I had saved Sh10,000 when I came back. I started to build two mud-walled houses from the little savings and went looking for my siblings who were now living with neighbours after the houses were burnt. The elder ones refused to come back after my father was released from prison for fear that he would attack them,” she said.

She took care of her three younger siblings as she applied for job opportunities with no success.

“My father is not supportive at all and he does not care to know what we eat or who pays school fees. I have been forced to carry the burden of taking care of my younger siblings considering two are physically challenged. I rely on manual jobs to get money for literally everything,” said the graduate.

Her efforts to seek for assistance to get a good job in order to take care of her siblings have been unsuccessful.

“There was a time my mother left and one of my sisters almost starved to death. This made me not to look for internships because my siblings would suffer. I have been successful in my education but problems at home are dragging me back and I cannot enjoy the fruits of my hard work in school,” said the distraught lady.

She appealed for help to get a job so that she can help her family get out of the abject poverty they are in.



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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).
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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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