Last Saturday, I was invited to a unique ceremony in lower Matasia, Ngong, to celebrate the centennial of a man I have known for many years.
Standing tall at 6ft 3in, with his trademark broad smile of spotless white teeth, James Njuguna ole Kashorda showed no sign of a stoop at the age of 100.
He walked confidently, brandishing an immaculate cane as he made his way to one of the four marquees erected in his compound for the occasion.
The third born in a family of seven, Kashorda estimates that he was born in 1919 because, according to his mother, he was born in Mutuini soon after the end of World War I.
He also claims his friend John Mark Leteipan was about four years older than him and it is on record that Leteipan was born in 1915.
His father Ekang’ole Kooi, a Maasai from Matapato, near Namanga, had been kidnapped as a young boy by the Kikuyu at the turn of the 19th Century and assimilated into Kikuyu culture at Mutuini.
Although the usual spoils of skirmishes between the Maasai and Kikuyu were livestock and girls, boys would sometimes be kidnapped and later become of great strategic importance as they could speak both languages.
When he reached marriageable age, his father was allowed to marry a Kikuyu girl, Wanjiru, who was the younger sister of Reverend Musa Gitau.
Kashorda spent his youth helping his father with his large herd of cows and goats around Oloolua, current day Langata and Kerarapon. His father was not interested in educating children considering that he had sufficient wealth in livestock.
Although Kashorda enjoyed looking after cows, something inside him told him he needed to go to school. In 1936, he approached his uncle, Rev Musa Gitau, who agreed to help him start school at Kerarapon, but he had to be baptised. After he was baptised and started school, Kashorda experienced a deep love for Christian ministry.
After leaving Kerarapon in 1939, he joined Mambere in Thogoto for Standard Five. Soon thereafter his father married a second wife and returned to his roots in Matapato together with his livestock, leaving Kashorda and his mother in Oloolua. Lack of school fees forced him to leave Mambere at the end of 1940.
Nevertheless, he was determined to further his education and in 1941 he visited Musa Gitau in Githiga where he was the Parish minister.
His uncle, however, was unable to help with school fees, suggesting instead that Kashorda join the Kings African Rifles.
He proceeded for the interview in 1942 near King George Hospital (now Kenyatta National Hospital) and passed.
However, Kashorda felt that since he could die in the war if he joined the army, he needed to find his father and his mother, who had followed the family to Matapato, to bid them farewell.
On reaching Kajiado in December 1942, Kashorda found his friend Muhia wa Njire who was working as a clerk for Liebig’s Canning Factory (later Kenya Meat Commission) at Athi River. His friend introduced him to the European manager of Liebig’s who offered him a clerical job, but he had to undergo training at the company’s headquarters in Arusha.
On his way to Namanga, he was able to locate his parents at Matapato and spent a month with them.
After completing his training in Arusha, Kashorda returned to Athi River in April 1943 where he took up the clerical job. It was while at Liebig’s that he made the acquaintance of Dr Igor Mann who was a meat inspector at the plant.
To his surprise, Kashorda was paid four months salary amounting to Sh160. He used the money to pay debts and help his family.
During his stay at Liebig’s he helped the Maasai in the hides and skins business to supplement their income.
Feeling confident and having built up sufficient savings, Kashorda resigned from Liebig’s in 1946 and returned to Thogoto where he informed Musa Gitau that he was ready to get a wife.
Apparently, there were three maidens on offer and he chose Tabitha, the daughter of Barnabas Nyoike, a man who was given to a violent disposition. Fortunately, Kashorda’s parents were well known to Barnabas and he readily agreed to give away his daughter.
They were married in 1948 at the Church of the Torch Kikuyu in a ceremony attended by leading politicians such as Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Eliud Mathu, John Keen and William ole Ntimama.
His friend Roshan gave him 50 acres of land at lower Matasia to settle his family.
In 1950, Kashorda met his old friend Dr Mann who offered him training in hides and skins at the Veterinary Training School in Ngong.
At about the same time he was appointed to the Local Native Tribunal, but he soon resigned when he discovered the elders were corrupt.
He accepted Christ in 1953 and joined the East African Revival Movement where he met John Gatu. In 1954, he was posted to Kajiado as a hides and skins inspector.
The job dovetailed with his evangelical ministry and he travelled widely in Kajiado District preaching the gospel. Later he and Reverend Gatu were inseparable, evangelising in Central Kenya and covertly helping the Mau Mau movement.
In 1964, Kashorda was appointed revenue clerk with Kajiado County Council based in Ngong where he remained for the next 20 years, resisting attempts to compromise him, including a delegation that was dispatched to State House to try and dispossess people who had purchased land under verbal agreements from the Maasai.
Kashorda has been an elder of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) since 1965. He has neither smoked cigarettes nor consumed alcohol. He has given so much to this country saying no to corruption when other people were turning a blind eye.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
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.
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.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
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.
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.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
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.
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.