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KIEREINI: Machakos Girls deserves spot on honours roll and a facelift

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Machakos Girls deserves spot on honours roll and a facelift

Machakos Girls High School choir
Machakos Girls High School choir performs at the Kenya Music Festival in Nyeri last year. The institution is overdue for monument status and upgrade of facilities. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The earliest record of Machakos goes back to 1887 when it is claimed a trading post was established by Sakshi Shah. The town was named after the Akamba paramount chief and seer Masaku wa Munyeti who was grandfather to late veteran politician Paul Ngei.

In 1889, the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) established a supply depot and a fort to serve caravans travelling from Mombasa to Uganda and back. The fort also served as a deterrent against the slave trade.

When John Ainsworth was appointed administrator in 1892, he sought to plan Machakos as the principal administrative centre for the region, creating separate residential areas for the growing number of Swahili porters and askaris, and Europeans.

By 1895, the building of the railway had been agreed and a number of Indian traders started arriving looking for business opportunities. Ainsworth managed to persuade two Indian traders to put up shops in Machakos guaranteeing them suitable premises and living quarters. Soon Machakos became a busy administrative centre, a military barracks and a commercial centre for upcountry British East Africa.

In the same year, the African Inland Mission (AIM) had set up mission stations at Nzai, Kilungu, Kangundo and Manyatta, and were looking to establish their headquarters at Machakos.

But Ainsworth’s plans and those of the AIM missionaries were thwarted when the railway line was routed 15 miles (24 kilometres) away from Machakos. The railway authorities insisted that Nairobi should be the new capital city of Kenya and in a twist of fate Ainsworth was transferred there in 1899 as the chief administrator. Buoyed by completion of the railway in 1901 and official encouragement by the British government, European settlement began in earnest.

By 1910 there were two schools of thought about African education. The settlers, worried about relying on expensive foreign Indian labour which was left over after the building of the railway, wanted Africans trained for technical education which would produce artisans to be employed in the European sector of the economy.

On the other hand, missionaries emphasised literary education which would turn out educated Africans who would become evangelists and teachers to other Africans, spreading the Gospel as well as adopting a European way of life.

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But J.R. Orr, the Director of Education had a different view and for him the purpose of African education was to develop the reserves. He wanted Africans to be taught techniques which they could take back to their reserves and improves their livelihoods.

Because of his scepticism of missionary schools, Orr was anxious that the government itself create schools, if only to serve as models to other educators in Kenya.

Orr achieved his ambition in 1915, when he founded the Machakos Industrial School which became known as Government African School. He believed that the Kamba were the most fertile field for this government endeavour through a process of elimination of other tribes whom he considered unsuitable for various reasons.

The school opened in April 1915 with 26 boys and thereafter the government created a number of “bush” schools in the Machakos and Kitui Districts to serve as feeders to the central institution.

Unfortunately for Orr, even at the founding of the school in 1915, the Colonial Secretary Bowring wrote that the school would provide “a constant supply of trained boys fit to join the railway, public works department, and settlers requiring the services of trained artisans”.

Orr saw his experiment take a direction he did not favour and he was openly critical of this turn of events in his report of 1925. As if to add insult to injury, a branch of the Telegraphic Technical School was started in 1934 as a separate section of the primary school.

In 1946, the school admitted the first girls while in 1948 the Telegraphic Technical section was closed and transferred back to Karen in Nairobi.

The school came to be popularly known as “Kwa Mating’i” in reference to a Mr Martin who served as headmaster from 1946. After 1948, the school expanded rapidly and the facilities became overstretched forcing the boys to be relocated to the present site of Machakos Boys’ High School.

The name of the school was changed to Government African Girls’ Intermediate School. In 1959 the first Form 1 class of 12 girls was started and by 1961 a few of the pioneer secondary school girls joined Alliance Girls High School for Form 3 and 4. The school’s name was changed to Machakos Girls’ High School. The first 20 girls all passed their “O” level examination in 1963.

The first African principal was Mrs J. Ndile in 1966.

I recently visited the school and met the principal, Mrs Lucy Mugendi. The institution lacks facilities. Many of the classrooms and dormitories date back to the early part of the 1900s and have surely exhausted their usable lifespan. Although parents have recently funded the construction of a new dormitory and extension of the dining room, a lot more funding is required to give this iconic institution, which holds so much of our national history, a facelift.

Machakos Girls’ High School is the second oldest formal African school after Maseno, and I believe it deserves national monument status.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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