Author: Rita Wambui

Kenyans blamed for choosing bad leaders

State agencies appear to have thrown in the towel in the quest to block political candidates with questionable integrity. Instead, they now want the electorate to weed out leaders who do not meet Chapter Six of the Constitution at the ballot come August 8. Speaking at the National Elections Conference that ended Wednesday, heads of various independent institutions cited legal frustrations as well as the ‘culture of our person’ by Kenyans as some of the reasons it was unattainable to block politicians seeking elective seats. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko accused Kenyans of electing corrupt leaders only to turn back and blame State agencies for not barring them. “Do we really, as voters, pay regard to integrity? Why do we vote those facing charges then turn around to blame State agencies,” posed Mr Tobiko. Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Eliud Wabukala urged the electorate to use their powers when casting their votes to reject individuals facing integrity issues. Commission Chief Officer Halakhe Waqo said their mandate was hampered by “political noise”. The three-day conference closed with the electoral agency spelling out its steps to delivering credible polls on August 8. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) highlighted implementation of voter audit report, punishment of candidates flouting the electoral code of conduct, as well as putting in place a reliable technology. Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said they would continue engaging election players in the remaining 53 days, and also asked for trust and support from political players. Source: By Moses Nyamori | June 15th 2017

Kenya’s water and sanitation crisis

Kenya’s water and sanitation crisis With a population of 53 million, 15 percent of Kenyans rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, while 41 percent of Kenyans lack access to basic sanitation solutions. These challenges are especially evident in rural areas and urban slums where people are often unable to connect to piped water infrastructure. In rural Kenya, the average total coping costs for an unreliable or distant water supply are approximately $38 per month. In comparison, the average water bill of a typical household in Nairobi that is connected to a piped system is only $4.46 per month. This comparison highlights the economic burdens that often fall more heavily on unconnected rural customers than on households with piped connections. However, there are many areas where piped water connections do not produce a reliable, constant flow of water. Thus, solutions like borehole wells and rainwater harvesting tanks are also needed in urban and peri-urban areas. Now more than ever access to safe water is critical to the health of families in Kenya so they can prepare and protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases.   Source: Kenya’s Water Crisis – Kenya’s Water In 2021 |

As climate change threatens Kenyan tea, millions of workers seen at risk

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate change is set to ravage tea production in Kenya, the biggest global supplier of black tea, threatening the livelihoods of millions of plantation workers, a report by British charity Christian Aid warned on Monday. The report looked at how shifting temperatures and rainfall patterns in tea-growing regions in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka and China could affect the quality and yield of the world’s most popular beverage. Tea is one of Kenya’s top foreign currency earners, along with tourism and remittances, employing about three million people. But the East African country – which produces almost half the tea consumed in Britain – is likely to see the areas with optimal and medium tea-growing conditions shrink by about 25% and 40% respectively by 2050, the report said. Climatic changes will also make it increasingly difficult for tea growers to move into new, previously uncultivated regions, it said, adding that the decline in output was already being felt on the ground. “The conditions here used to be good and we had a great tea harvest. When the climate changed, the production of tea in my farm dropped,” said Richard Koskei, 72, a tea farmer from Kericho in Kenya’s western highlands. “We have nothing else to rely on here. People in my community will consider running away from tea farming, with jobs lost, and consumers of tea might see the price rise.” According to a U.N. survey of 700 growers in all seven of Kenya’s tea regions, farmers observed changes in rainfall patterns, distribution, and reduced yields tied to climate change. More than 40% of respondents said they had noticed changes in rainy and dry seasons, which led to shifts in the planting season, while 35% cited drought. Kenya is highly vulnerable to climate change, with projections suggesting its average annual temperature will rise by up to 2.5 degrees Celsius between 2000 and 2050, said Christian Aid’s report. Rainfall will become more intense and less predictable. Even the slightest increase in droughts will present major challenges for food security and water availability, especially in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid area in the north and east, it added. “Africans make up 17% of the world’s population but we generate just 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions that have caused the climate crisis,” said Karimi Kinoti, head of Christian Aid’s Africa Division, in a statement. “And yet it is we who are suffering the brunt of the impacts of climate change. Our tea industry is vital to our economy … and now it is under threat from climate change.” Ahead of crucial U.N. climate talks in Glasgow in November, campaigners are calling for countries to cut carbon emissions, cancel the debts of developing countries such as Kenya, and mobilise climate finance to help countries adapt. “The whole world will be watching, especially Kenyan tea farmers and other people on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a Nairobi-based climate and energy think-tank. Reporting by Nita Bhalla @nitabhalla; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit As climate change threatens Kenyan tea, millions of workers seen at risk | Reuters