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Zakayo: Still in Form Three, but already a world champion – PHOTOS

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By BERNARD ROTICH
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We started our journey at 5.00am, headed to a school at the border of Elgeyo-Marakwet and West Pokot counties.

This is an institution which has specialised in nurturing running talent. As we cruised past Iten in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, hundreds of athletes could be seen grouping and getting ready for their early morning run.

Our destination, the iron-sheet structured Kapsait Athletics Secondary School, lies about 150 kilometres away from, and is a place where many athletes now study and reside.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other Form three students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a lesson on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other Form three students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a lesson on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Our mission was to get to know about the school, the educational programmes it offers, and, most importantly, trace one of the school’s most famous students: Africa 5,000 metres champion, Edward Pingwa Zakayo.

Zakayo, a form three student at the school, is also a World Under-20 Championships gold medallist and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, and has been a huge aspiration to his schoolmates.

Other notable names at the school includes Leah Kibet, a semi-finalist at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in the 400 metres hurdles (who has since changed her race to the 800m), 2018 East Africa Secondary School Games’ 5,000m champion Catherine Relin along with Joseph Muigai, Reuben Longosiwa, among others.

We arrived at the school, just in time for the morning assembly where Zakayo, a devout Christian, was reading a word of encouragement from the Bible, in the book of Psalms 113:5, before leading the students with a word of prayer.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other Form three students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a lesson on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other Form three students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a lesson on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

After we settle down for the quick interview, ahead of the start of the day’s classes, Zakayo says it’s a delicate balancing act between sports and education, but adds that he’s giving it his best short.

“Balancing education and sports is tricky, but I have always tried my best to do well in class just as I do in athletics, and my goal is to be a successful athlete with a good, bright future,” said the second born in a family of eight.

His day starts at 6.00am when, together with his training mates, they head for a one-and-a-half hour workout before going to class.

Edward Zakayo lifts the Most Promising Sports Personality of the year (Boys Category) trophy during the 2018 Sportsman of the Year Awards (Soya) gala held at Fort Jesus, Mombasa on January 12, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |

Edward Zakayo lifts the Most Promising Sports Personality of the year (Boys Category) trophy during the 2018 Sportsman of the Year Awards (Soya) gala held at Fort Jesus, Mombasa on January 12, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |NATION MEDIA GROUP

By the end of the day, they will converge for an evening run which he says is normally “easy” compared to the morning workout.

Zakayo’s career took shape in 2014 when he competed at the national athletics championships, where finished second in the 10,000m race, attracting the attention of national coaches.

But his memorable race, he recalls, was when he teamed up with World Under-20 Championships silver medallist Stanley Waithaka to beat Ethiopia’s rising star Selemon Barega in Tampere, Finland, at the age-group competition.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a training session on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a training session on January 29, 2019.
PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

To show how good Barega is, at the Brussels IAAF Diamond League meeting in August last year, the Ethiopian youngster ran the fourth fastest 5,000m race of all time, 12 minutes, 43.02 seconds, which falls behind the three fastest times ever run by compatriots Kenenisa Bekele (12:37.35), Haile Gebrselassie (12:39.36) and Kenya’s Daniel Komen (12:43.02).

“We had strategized with my good friend Waithaka on how we can beat Barega after he beat us in Nairobi at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships,” says Zakayo.

“It was a sweet revenge for me, and I’m still smiling when I think of that race,” states Zakayo.

But Zakayo recalls that they almost lost it after concentrating too much on Barega, forgetting Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway who managed to squeeze in for a bronze medal.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a training session on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (left) and other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County during a training session on January 29, 2019.
PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“At that time, we knew our great challenge and competitor was Barega forgetting the Norwegian. He was going to win gold but my finishing kick saved the day coming from the behind to beat the four athletes ahead of me,” recalls Zakayo, who maintains Barega may have won in Nairobi, but he isn’t good at the big championship races.

It was Thomas Mukhwana who saw how well Zakayo was running during the secondary schools national championships. He then introduced him to the school in Kapsait, where Zakayo, upon finishing his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in Osinandi Primary School in Narok County, travelled all the way to Elgeyo-Marakwet to seek a place in Form One.

From left to right: Silver medallist Canada's Mohammed Ahmed, gold medallist Uganda's Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei and bronze medallist Kenya's Edward Pingua Zakayo celebrate on the podium after the athletic's men's 5000m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 8, 2018.  PHOTO | SAEED KHAN |

From left to right: Silver medallist Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, gold medallist Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei and bronze medallist Kenya’s Edward Pingua Zakayo celebrate on the podium after the athletic’s men’s 5000m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 8, 2018. PHOTO | SAEED KHAN |AFP

On arrival, he met the school’s deputy principal, Painito Chisanya, who enrolled him in Form One where he embarked on his training.

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“When I arrived here, I had nothing because we were very poor at home and getting school fees was a challenge. I talked to the deputy principal who allowed me to go on with my education and I’m happy God opened avenues and I can now pay and help my siblings back at home,” Zakayo explains.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (centre) leads other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County in a bible verse during a assembly on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (centre) leads other students at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County in a bible verse during assembly on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

I would also not forget my friend and former IAAF Diamond League champion in 800m, Ferguson Rotich, who gave me training kit after he saw me running well.

Three weeks ago, Zakayo was named the most promising boy, beating his friend Rhonex Kipruto who was second during the annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards held in Mombasa.

“I was happy to be awarded as the most promising boy’s award recently, and my goal is to be named athlete of the year. My career has just started and I will be working hard to keep my name high up.”

Kenya's Edward Zakayo (left, silver) and Stanley Waithaka celebrate at the end of the boys 3000m final during the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Kenya’s Edward Zakayo (left, silver) and Stanley Waithaka celebrate at the end of the boys 3000m final during the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Kenya's Edward Zakayo (left) and Stanley Waithaka pose for photos after bagging silver and bronze respectively in the boys 3000m during the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya’s Edward Zakayo (left) and Stanley Waithaka pose for photos after bagging silver and bronze respectively in the boys 3000m during the World Under 18 Championships on July 16, 2017 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROUP

After bagging silver in 3,000m during the World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Zakayo was selected in the team that headed to the Commonwealth Games in Australia, where he clinched bronze in 5,000m in 13:54.06 behind Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei (13:50.83) and Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed (13:52.78) showing little respect to other seniors.

Kenya's Edward Zakayo celebrates after winning the 3000m Heat 2 during the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championship on July 13,  2017 at Moi international Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya’s Edward Zakayo celebrates after winning the 3000m Heat 2 during the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championship on July 13, 2017 at Moi international Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROUP

He went ahead to seal the deal in the IAAF World Under-20 Championships, where he bagged a gold medal in 5,000m before proceeding to Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, where he didn’t disappoint after clocking 13:48.58, beating Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla (13:49.06) and Eritrea’s Yemane Haileselassie (13:49.58) to bag gold.

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (centre) during the interview on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

World under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo (centre) during the interview on January 29, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Zakayo’s already in the thick of a busy season as he aims to compete in the National Cross Country Championships in Eldoret on February 23. Zakayo will be seeking a place in the Kenyan team that will be heading to Aarhus, Denmark, for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships slated on March 30.

“My season started well with a few races outside the country which has kept me in good shape and I will be looking forward to a good run at the national trials for the cross country championships.

It will a hard task because this is my first time and I will be happy to get chance,” he said.

Once done with cross country running, Zakayo will then concentrate on the IAAF Diamond League series where he says he wants to restore Kenya’s lost glory in the 5,000m race.

“If you follow the 5,000m race history, you will find that Kenya has not been performing well recently, and I will start my build-up for the race immediately in May when the Diamond League series starts. I hope I will be able to perform well,” he added.

He is also expecting to represent the country in the IAAF World Championships which will be held in Doha, Qatar, in October.

Edward Zakayo (right) is served porridge by John Ondabwa during a break on January 29, 2019 at  Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Edward Zakayo (right) is served porridge by John Ondabwa during a break on January 29, 2019 at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

His school principal, Lawrence Isinta, says Zakayo has been “a very obedient” student and is always ready to help upcoming athletes in training and by also motivating them.

“We are really proud of Zakayo because he has put our school on the world map for his good performances in athletics. He has been motivating students on the need of remaining disciplined and working hard in class,” said the principal.

He also said Zakayo has been helping fellow students out by buying them small things, like the geometrical sets for those who come from poor families, from his earnings in athletics.

Mpaima Pingwa, a class six pupil, is following his brother’s footsteps and has also been competing in the 5,000m race.

Zakayo remains grateful to their mother, Agnes Pingwa, who brought them up well, despite various challenges.

Edward Zakayo (centre) enjoys porridge alongside other students during a break on January 29, 2019 at  Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Edward Zakayo (centre) enjoys porridge alongside other students during a break on January 29, 2019 at Kapsait Athletics Secondary School in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

According to his coach Erick Kimaiyo, a former Honolulu Marathon champion, Zakayo has proved that he can perform well both in class and in sports.

“Zakayo is a hard working boy and with the way he is training and performing, he will do wonders in the long distance races in track events,” said Kimaiyo, who is also the director of the school which sponsored by American sportswear giants, Nike.

Kimaiyo also coaches Chicago Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei among other upcoming athletes.



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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).
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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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