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Author page: Mister Seed

President Kenyatta on warpath with estranged DP

President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to kick out corrupt leaders from his government before the end of his term next year, escalating a raging war of words with his deputy.
The President’s statements made on Monday in his Mt Kenya backyard came just a day after his Deputy President William Ruto publicly complained that he had been branded “a thief” despite having campaigned for his boss and won the presidency.
Speaking in Gikuyu, the Head of State, while addressing crowds in Karatina, Nyeri and Rukenya said he will act decisively.

Other legal means

“And I’ve said it before, that I’m not seeking votes again and will, therefore, ensure I’ve purged all fraudsters. Isn’t it? Do we agree on that? I don’t fear anybody and nobody should blame me for that. It’s time to work,” he declared.
The President cannot sack his deputy, but he can use other legal means such as impeachment to remove him.
DP Ruto has, since falling out with his boss, avoided direct references to President Kenyatta while on his campaign trail, but on Sunday, he accused the President of political “conmanship” for branding him a thief.
“Now they’re calling me names, branding me a thief. When I supported Raila Odinga, they said I was dependable; when I supported Uhuru Kenyatta I was dependable. Today when I opt to make the jobless prosper, they label me a fraud. Are these not cons? To hell,” said the DP.
The bitter exchange sets the stage for an uneasy Mashujaa Day fete tomorrow should the DP decide to attend the celebrations to be held in Kirinyaga County.
The President warned central Kenya residents to be wary of whom they want to elect in next year’s General Election. He appealed to them to shun sustained campaigns targeting his administration.
At Rukenya, in Kirinyaga County, after inspecting the Sh8.5 billion Thiba dam, the President accused his deputy of going round the country hurling insults at him and offering empty promises to Kenyans.
“When some leaders achieve their political ambitions, you will not see them again when you are in need. Be watchful. Use your brains well lest you suffer forever if you make a mistake of choosing a wrong leader.
“Kenyans should go slow because the country is not going anywhere,” he said in a veiled reference to his estranged deputy.
He caused laughter when he told supporters to receive handouts from his deputy “but choose wisely when time comes to elect a leader,” he said.
Accusing some leaders in his government of frustrating his efforts to rally them behind his development agenda, the President said he won’t stop pursuing peace and unity of all Kenyans.
He urged his political base to focus on the work his government was doing. He cited the recently reduced fuel costs and said Kenyans should soon expect lower electricity bills.
“I don’t speak much but even God is my witness that I’m working. And you’ll see more, very soon,” he said in Karatina.
The President said he will return to the region and tell the residents the political direction to take.
“This is not time for politics. We’re now working, but when time comes, I’ll play politics,” he added.
The President said the Thiba dam will double rice production and supply clean water to residents once complete.
“We’re determined to ensure the project which will improve the living standards of the residents is completed,” he said. The dam is scheduled to be completed this year and is expected to increase water supply to farmers in the expansive Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
The President said the government will also build a hospital within the dam site.
“The residents from this village agreed to give out their farms to pave the way for the construction of the dam, and we’ve reciprocated by building a hospital for them,” he said.
President Kenyatta also inspected road and water projects at Kagio area.
Earlier, the president urged Kirinyaga leaders, led by Governor Anne Waiguru, to unite and work together as a team so as to achieve faster development and prosperity for their county.

Enhance mobility

He cautioned the leaders against politics of deceit and empty rhetoric. Good leadership, he said, emphasises peace, cohesion and unity of the people as enablers of development.
He met the county leadership at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County ahead of the Mashujaa Day celebrations at Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea.
Governor Waiguru, who read a memoranda by the leaders, thanked the President for his leadership, which, she said, had helped transform the lives of Kirinyaga residents through various development projects implemented by the government.
She said the ongoing dualling of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway, and construction of Kutus-Kianyaga-Kiamutugu-Githure and Karima-Kianjege-Mukangu roads as well as Nyamindi bridge will enhance mobility in the region. – nation.africa.

Crypto-fund assets explode to all-time high as first-ever ETF launched

THE PRICE of bitcoin is set to surge to an all-time high after the world’s first exchange-traded fund (ETF) was announced on Friday.
Bitcoin now stands at $62,000 dollars, just $2000 away from the $64,0000 record it hit in April.
The overall crypto market hit $2.5trillion on Monday evening and analysts predict that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will beat their previous records in the coming months.
The ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF, which was approved by the ETF on Friday, will begin trading on the New York stock exchange on Tuesday.
This will make the most widely traded cryptocurrency available to most investors who have a brokerage account.
According to the digital assets management company CoinShares, the ETF approval: “Could prompt further significant inflows in the coming weeks as U.S. investors begin to add positions.”
Prominent bitcoin analyst PlanB predicts the cryptocurrency will reach six figures within the next two months.

Repackaging cryptocurrencies through ETF

won’t automatically reduce risks

Repackaging cryptocurrencies through an ETF won’t automatically reduce the risks involved, said Andrey Dobrynin, Co-Founder and Managing Director of ETF specialist investment platform InvestEngine.
“As with all investments – investors should invest at a level or knowledge and risk that they are comfortable with,” he told the Express.
“Whilst ETFs traditionally provide excellent diversification and convenient access to markets – there are always things to consider such as the track record of product providers, replication methods and, in this case, the performance of the underlying futures contracts.
“Without forgetting the fact that Bitcoin remains largely an unregulated asset class which is still establishing itself on its use.”

UK daily cases near 50,000 – as Downing St admits winter looking ‘challenging’

Coronavirus latest as UK daily cases near 50,000 and are the highest since mid-July, as Downing Street admits winter is looking “challenging” but there is currently “no plan” to reimpose restrictions.
The British public has been warned that the coming months will be “challenging” as coronavirus cases reached almost 50,000, the highest daily level since July 17.
Downing Street said an increase in coronavirus cases had been expected over the winter and the government would keep a “close watch” on the situation.
Epidemiologist and government adviser Prof Andrew Hayward said the situation was “concerning” and there was “huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure”.
Government data up to Monday shows there have been another 49,156 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.
Another 45 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 138,629.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Friday showed coronavirus infection levels in England are getting close to the peak of the second wave and are mostly being driven by rates among schoolchildren.
“We obviously keep very close watch on the latest statistics,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said. “We always knew the coming months would be challenging.
“What we are seeing is case rates, hospitalisations and deaths still broadly in line with the modelling as set out a few months back now.
“The vaccination programme will continue to be our first line of defence, along with new treatments, testing and public health advice. But we will obviously keep a close watch on cases.
“But it is thanks to our vaccination programme that we are able to substantially break the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”
The spokesman said the success of the vaccines meant “we are able to be one of the most open economies in Europe, which is benefitting the public and indeed businesses as well”.
A medical worker prepares an injection of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in Baitul Futuh Mosque, London, in March. Photo: Reuters
“I think it’s concerning that we’ve got very high rates of infection and higher rates of hospitalisation and mortality than many of our European counterparts,” Prof Hayward, a member of the Sage scientific advisory panel, told BBC Radio 4.
He said waning immunity was “probably part of” the reason infections were high.
Prof Hayward said that there was “some evidence” that protection against infection was beginning to wear off, and “probably some evidence” that protection against severe disease was waning to a lesser extent.
“We shouldn’t be complacent because there is still huge potential for the NHS to come under a lot of pressure and for there to be a lot of unnecessary deaths,” he said.
“So we need to get the vaccination rates up and we need to be prepared potentially to think about other measures if things do get out of control.”
“Different countries are potentially at different stages of their vaccination programmes and have different measures in place, so it’s difficult to compare and contrast,” Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “What’s important is we strike the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods.”
The government’s autumn and winter plan suggested that some measures including the mandatory use of vaccine passports and face coverings could be required in England if cases were putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
But Downing Street insisted: “There is absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B currently.” – skynews.

Bank of England scrambling to buy Bitcoin before it tops £727,000 ($1million) per coin.”

Earlier this week Sir Jon Cunliffe said that crypto poses a rapidly growing threat to the global economy and should be regulated. The deputy Bank of England governor has called for tough new regulations or else Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could trigger a financial meltdown akin to the 2008 sub-prime crash. Mr Cunliffe warned governments to be wary of traders using digital currencies that could be worthless overnight.
Referring to the market capitalisation of the crypto-sphere, he said, “of course $2.3tn needs to be seen in the context of the $250tn global financial system.
“But as the financial crisis showed us, you don’t have to account for a large proportion of the financial sector to trigger financial stability problems sub-prime was valued at about $1.2tn in 2008.”
The banking chief added that there were “stability risks from Bitcoin that are currently relatively limited but they could grow very rapidly if, as I expect, this area continues to develop and expand at pace.
“How large those risks could grow will depend in no small part on the nature and on the speed of the response by regulatory and supervisory authorities.”
The deputy governor of the Bank of England, Mr Cunliffe, monitors cryptocurrencies for the Bank of International Settlements, the central bank of central banks.
Referring to the grim warning from the Bank of England’s deputy governor, Bitcoin expert Max Keiser said that, “Bitcoin is designed to trigger a meltdown of the current fiat money banking system.
“The bargaining phase will be their central bank digital currency stage and when that fails comes depression as the price tops £363,000 ($500,000) and then acceptance with the Bank of England scrambling to buy Bitcoin before it tops £727,000 ($1million) per coin.”
A senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown has also warned that regulators need to address the rise of cryptocurrencies.
Susannah Streeter said that regulators have spent years of “tip-toeing” around cryptocurrencies.
Referring to the Bank of England governor’s comments about regulating the crypto-sphere, Ms Streeter claimed that his warning was the “firmest indication” they will soon step in to prevent it blowing “up in the face of the financial sector”. – express.co.uk

Digital lenders risk ban for revealing borrowers

The Central bank of Kenya, Nairobi.
Rogue digital lenders who share personal data of loan defaulters will be stripped of their operating licences if Parliament passes proposed changes to the law to curb abuse of confidential records.
The National Assembly committee on Finance and National Planning has added a clause to the Central Bank Amendment Bill 2021, granting the banking regulator powers to revoke the permits of digital lenders who breach the confidentiality of personal information to pursue defaulting borrowers.
The proposed law aims to stop a trend where some lenders resort to “debt shaming” tactics to recover loans.
There are reports of debt collection agents pursuing borrowers either by informing their friends and family using contact information scraped from their phones or by threatening to tell their employers.
“The bank may suspend or revoke a licence by written notice to the holder of the licence, if the licensee (digital lender) is in breach of subsection (2A) or the conditions of the Data Protection Act or the Consumer Protection Act,” says the Bill.
The Data Protection Act bars sharing of data with third parties without consent and gives individuals the right to be told when their data is being shared and for what purposes.
Borrowers share personal information, including their professions and monthly earnings, when registering with digital lenders.
But besides the pursuit of unpaid loans, digital lenders share personal information with data analysing firms and for marketing.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has previously raised concerns about the abuse of the personal data of borrowers and called on lawmakers to fast-track legislation to provide for the regulation of digital lenders.
Lobbies that had petitioned Parliament during the review of the Bill also said that loan applications are private affairs that should be treated as confidential information.
Digital lenders have saddled borrowers with high-interest rates, which rise up to 520 percent when annualised, leading to mounting defaults and an ever-ballooning number of defaulters.
Tala and Branch, some of the top players in the mobile digital lending market, offer annualised interest rates of 84- 152.4 percent and 156- 348 percent respectively.
Market leader M-Shwari, Kenya’s first mobile-based savings and loans product introduced by Safaricom and NCBA in 2012, charges a “facilitation fee” of 7.5 percent on credit regardless of its duration, pushing its annualised loan rate to 90 percent.
The Data Protection Act further compels firms to disclose to individuals and customers the reasons for collecting their data and ensure that the confidential information is safe from infringement by unauthorised parties.
The CBK will also have powers to revoke or suspend licences of digital lenders who do not disclose full information on loan facilities to borrowers, in line with the Consumer Protection Act.
There have been concerns that digital lenders do not reveal full information on pricing, punishment for defaults, and recovery of unpaid loans.
The Consumer Protection Act requires sellers to disclose to consumers all relevant information tied to the purchase of a good or a service.
The parliamentary committee also added a clause that will require digital lenders seeking licences to get clearance from the Data Commissioner, highlighting the stiff measures that the State is eyeing to protect abuse of borrowers’ information.
The Committee on Finance and National Planning backed the Bill in August, paving the way for its passage into law.
The enactment into law will see digital lenders operate under the same rules as commercial banks, including having to seek the CBK’s nod for new products and pricing that includes loan charges.
The Bill gives the CBK powers to supervise digital lenders for the first time and curb the steep digital lending rates that have plunged many borrowers into a debt trap.
Digital lenders will put a ceiling on non-performing loans at not more than twice the defaulted amount if the Bill becomes law.
Scores of unregulated microlenders have invested in Kenya’s credit market in response to the growth in demand for quick loans, where borrowers can get loans in minutes via their mobile phones.
Digital lenders without operating licences will be barred from business in a bid to push out rogue players amid concerns of unethical practices. – businessdailyafrica.com

Cytonn covers self in voluntary administration

Cytonn Investments CEO Edwin Dande 
The management of Cytonn Investments has moved to cover itself from the wrath of investors by voluntarily placing two of its insolvent real estate funds under administration.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer Edwin Dande initiated the process which will see the controversial Cytonn High Yield Solution (CYHS) fund and Cytonn Project Notes (CPN) placed under the watch of a court appointed administrator.
Subsequently, the High Court Commercial and Tax Division has appointed Kerato Marima, a licensed insolvent practitioner as the administrator of the property of Cytonn High Yeilds Solutions LLP ahead of further court directions to be issued on November 24.
Cytonn is expected to serve all its creditors covered in the two insolvent real-estate funds with the new order ahead of the mention next month.

What it means

By putting the insolvent funds under administration, Cytonn is set to keep its aggrieved creditors off its back preventing scenarios such as auctions and attachments to its assets with the current insolvency law allowing companies to remain a going concern while in operations.
Effectively, the administration process serves as a moratorium which blocks any of Cytonn’s aggrieved creditors from applying to wind up the company.
The court appointed administrator will meanwhile attempt to rescue investments in the two funds and assure the best outcome to aggrieved investors.
“First administration provides an enabling environment for restructuring under a competent administrator. Second, it gives a moratorium of any ongoing collection efforts so that all investors get to be treated equally,” said Cytonn Group CEO Edwin Dande.
Curiously, the voluntary administration is seemingly a counter reaction to a planned class suit by aggrieved investors which has been in the works since June this year.
With the two funds in administration, the aggrieved investors can no longer push to wind up the company as it now bears protection in the law.
Cytonn has been unable to meet repayments to investors in the two funds whose value is presently estimated at Ksh.12.5 billion.
The company has nevertheless offered alternative settlements to investors including an offer of housing units under its complete and ongoing real-estate development projects.
By early September, Cytonn had deployed the option to clear 20 per cent of its obligations to creditors under the CYHS and CPN or an equivalent Kh.2.5 billion.
Cytonn has previously tied the illiquidity of the two funds to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate even as the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) probes the two funds for potential mismanagement and malpractice. – citizen.co.ke

WHO unveils action plan to prevent sex abuse after DR Congo scandal

The Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
By AFP
The World Health Organization on Friday unveiled part of its zero tolerance plan to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation in crisis zones, following pressure from member states.
The WHO said its full plan, involving experts sent to the field and a culture shift, would be revealed soon, following a damning sex abuse scandal implicating its workers in DR Congo.
The UN health agency has allocated an initial $7.6 million “to immediately strengthen its capacity to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse and exploitation, in 10 countries with the highest risk profile”, the organisation told AFP.
Once recruited, experts will be deployed to Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen.
The WHO has apologised to victims after a report on allegations of rape and sexual abuse by workers sent to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2018 and 2020.

Under pressure

Major WHO donor countries have publicly put the UN health agency under pressure on the issue.
In a rare joint statement, dozens of countries, including the United States and European Union members, demanded full commitment from the WHO and its leadership on the subject.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed the draft response plan to member states on Thursday for their feedback.
The final version will be published in the coming days, the WHO said in a statement.
An independent commission of inquiry was set up after a year-long probe by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The New Humanitarian brought the allegations to light.
On September 28, the commission released a devastating report which found that 21 WHO employees – among 83 alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse – had committed such abuses against dozens of people in the DR Congo during the Ebola epidemic.
The report found “clear structural failures” and “individual negligence” among the UN agency’s staff after dozens of women told investigators they were offered work in exchange for sex, or were victims of rape.

Focus on survivors

“The plan outlines immediate, medium- and longer-term actions to address the failures identified in the independent commission report,” a WHO statement said.
It focuses on putting victims and survivors at the heart of prevention and response actions, and “reforming WHO’s culture, structures, systems and capacity to create a culture in which there is no opportunity for sexual exploitation and abuse to happen, no impunity if it does, and no tolerance for inaction”.
The WHO’s initial estimate suggests the programme will cost around $15 million a year.
It said it is committed to implementing the report’s recommendations and to getting rid of the employees behind the abuse – as well as those who should have intervened.
Four employees have already had their contracts terminated, while two senior staff have been placed on administrative leave.
In the current Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo’s North Kivu province, which was declared earlier this month, an expert on preventing sexual abuse and exploitation was among the first members of a 15-person surge team deployed to the field.
“The expert will brief WHO employees and partners on how to prevent any inappropriate or abusive behaviour,” the UN agency said. – nation.africa

A 25-YEAR OLD MAN OF SOMALIA ORIGIN KILLS AN MP IN UK

Sir David had been MP for Southend West since 1997 and first entered parliament in 1983.
Counter-terror police are investigating after Conservative MP Sir David Amess died after being stabbed at a surgery in his constituency.
Sir David, who represented Southend West in Essex, was attacked shortly after midday on Friday at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
He was found with multiple injuries and, despite the efforts of police officers and paramedics, the MP died at the scene.
A 25-year-old man was immediately arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.
Essex Police chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “The investigation is in the very early stages and is being led by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s specialist counter terror command.
“We made it clear at the time of the incident that we did not believe there was any immediate threat to anyone else in the area.
“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this may have been a terrorist incident. As always they will keep an open mind.”
Sky News understands a man walked into Sir David’s constituency surgery and stabbed him multiple times, with the MP said to have suffered more than a dozen wounds.
An air ambulance was seen arriving at the scene on Friday afternoon.
Sir David, a 69-year-old father-of-five, had been MP for Southend West since 1997 and first entered parliament in 1983.
He never held a ministerial role during his long parliamentary career and instead focussed his efforts from the back benches of the House of Commons.
Flags at parliament and Downing Street have been lowered to half mast following Sir David’s death.
Tributes have been paid to the long-serving MP from across the political spectrum, including from all five surviving former prime ministers; Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major.
Some politicians even called for Southend to be given city status, which was a long-running campaign of Sir David’s, in memory of the MP.
Boris Johnson described Sir David as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, as the current prime minister paid tribute to his “outstanding” campaigning work on endometriosis, animal cruelty and fuel poverty.
“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and its future,” Mr Johnson said. “We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague.”
The prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, posted on Twitter: “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess.
“He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described a “dark and shocking day” as he urged people to “come together in response to these horrendous events”.
“The whole country will feel it acutely, perhaps the more so because we have, heartbreakingly, been here before,” he said.
“We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said they were “shocked and saddened” by Sir David’s death, which is the second killing of an MP in their own constituency in little more than five years, following the 2016 murder of Labour’s Jo Cox.
Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday asked all police forces to immediately review security arrangements for MPs, while House of Commons Speaker Sir Linsday Hoyle has also pledged to “examine” safety measures.
He told Sky News that he had gone ahead with his own constituency surgery on Friday despite the news of Sir David’s death.
“Nothing will stop democracy, nothing will stop us carrying out our duties,” he said.
“Those people who don’t value the job that we do, those people who don’t support us will not win – hence why I’ve had my surgery tonight.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Sir David was a “great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role”, while Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said he was “a lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian”.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, described him as a “dedicated, thoughtful man and a true parliamentarian, who lost his life while serving the constituents who he worked relentlessly for throughout his career”.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove said Sir David’s death was “heart-breakingly sad” and “terrible, terrible news”.
“He was a good and gentle man, he showed charity and compassion to all, his every word and act were marked by kindness,” he posted on Twitter.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most.
“Today it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague.”
Lord Pickles, a former Conservative minister, told Sky News his Tory colleague was a “great family man, somebody who was very open and very good company as a fellow member of the House of Commons”.
“He was enormously good company. He cared passionately about a number of issues, in particular animal welfare, and he was somebody who really knew how the system operated,” he said.
“Some people choose a path of being a minister, but David knew how to operate on the floor of the House of Commons to get things done.”
However, the ex-Tory chairman urged caution over new security measures in the wake of Sir David’s death that would move MPs away from meeting with members of the public.
Conservative MP Tracey Crouch said she was “heartbroken” at Sir David’s death.
“I could write reams on how Sir David was one of the kindest, most compassionate, well liked colleagues in Parliament. But I can’t. I feel sick. I am lost,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Rest in Peace. A little light went out in parliament today. We will miss you.”
Brendan Cox, widower of the late Labour MP Jo Cox said Sir David’s killing “brings everything back”.
“The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now,” he said. – skynews