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Vet on call: The triple threat to your dairy cattle

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By DR JOSEPH MUGACHIA
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The call came at 7pm last week as I settled to watch the day’s news. Gabriel registered his frustration outright stating that he had lost two calves and two cows in the past two weeks.

The farmer said the last animal had died an hour before he called. He wanted me to visit the farm the following day to find out what was killing his cattle.

I got another call soon after from Gabriel’s farm manager, Eddy, explaining that another cow which had been treated two days earlier was also weakening. He feared it would also die.

The two reports meant I would have to visit the farm in Matuu by 8am the following day. From Eddy’s description, I determined there was no emergency in the cow he feared could die because it still had some appetite.

I had visited the farm in December last year and advised on dairy cattle management and disease control. During the visit, ticks had been many on the farm that they were visibly crawling from the grass and bushes into the cattle pens.

I wondered whether they could be the ones causing the animal losses that Gabriel had described as a disaster.

I stopped theoretical disease diagnosis and waited to carry out a post-mortem examination and diagnose the disease with first-hand observations.

Disease history as given by the farmers can be deceptive but direct observation by the doctor tells the whole story in most cases.

I arrived on the farm at 7.45am the next day. Eddy took me round the dairy unit explaining in details how the four animals had got sick, the way they were treated by two different paravets and how they had failed to recover and died.

The farm manager’s story was precise and consistent. All the animals had shown the same set of signs, behaved the same way and died between two and four days after treatment.

The cows had suddenly dropped milk production, stopped eating and became slow in movement. They were all treated on the same day they stopped eating.

Both the cows and calves did not regain appetite and they proceeded to have difficulties in breathing and died.

Save for the new death, none of the others had been reported to me or any other veterinary doctor and no post-mortem had been carried out. I advised Eddy that was a bad practice in livestock farming.

It is recommended that a veterinary doctor carries out post-mortem on any animal dying on a farm to diagnose the cause of death to safeguard the health and safety of the other animals and people.

Upon examining records by the two animal health service providers, I observed they had diagnosed east coast fever (ECF) in all the cases and treated as required.

I told Eddy to restrain the cow that he had reported sick so that I could examine and treat it before carrying out the post-mortem on the dead one.

The cow walked slowly with the head lowered and the sides of the lower abdomen were heavily sunken indicating that it had been eating poorly.

Flies were feasting on its nasal and eye secretions because the animal could not fend them off with the tail or head shaking.

It had a fever of 40.7 degrees centigrade, a wildly racing and pounding heart and very pale mucous membranes. The breathing was shallow and rapid.

There were brown disappearing blood spots on the mucous membranes of the gums and vulva. The external lymph nodes were slightly swollen.

I diagnosed babesiosis, commonly called red water. The disease is caused by blood parasites that are spread by ticks.

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It was also evident to me that the cow initially had a mixed infection with ECF, the deadliest of the common tick-borne diseases.

ECF had responded well to treatment and was no longer a threat as shown by the brown blood spots, the slightly swollen lymph nodes and the moderate fever.

I injected the cow with medicine specific for babesia parasites and also gave antibiotic, multivitamin and iron injections.

The antibiotic would help prevent bacterial infection due to weakened immunity. Multivitamin would stimulate appetite while the iron would enhance blood formation to replace the red blood cells destroyed by the disease.

I advised Eddy to feed the cow a balanced diet, lots of water and keep her in the shade. I then proceeded to the dead cow for post-mortem.

The cow was a replica of the live one I had just treated, save for the life. The mucous membranes had progressed from pale to yellow in the terminal stage of the disease. The lungs were full of fluid and the bladder had bloody urine.

The disappearing brown blood spots were evident on the lining of the rumen and other internal organs.

As I concluded the post-mortem examination, one of the farm workers asked me why all the cows that died initially had very hard dung which reverted to normal after treatment for ECF.

I explained the stool was a sign of infection by another blood parasite called anaplasma. The parasite is quickly killed by the antibiotic recommended for use with ECF treatment.

With the examination of the sickly cow, history of hard dung in sick animals and the post-mortem findings, I uncovered the mystery of the dying cows.

The farm had an attack of what I called “the three musketeers” in my article of July 15, 2017 available online. Gabriel’s cattle had been infected with a combination of ECF, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

The three diseases are a vicious triad of blood parasites spread by ticks. In the article, I exhaustively explained about the diseases.

In Gabriel’s case, ECF would be diagnosed and treated as it was most evident and impactful. The tetracycline antibiotic used as supportive therapy for ECF medicine would also treat the anaplasmosis but red water would be left untreated because it was not detected. The disease would progress to kill the cattle.

Only a veterinary doctor can make the full diagnosis of all the diseases when they occur combined.

Farmers should always call in a veterinary doctor if treatment by a paravet does not show good recovery within 24 hours. Gabriel’s cow has since recovered.



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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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