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UK applying to join Asia-Pacific free trade pact CPTPP

International trade secretary Liz Truss says Asia Pacific countries

“will provide big markets” in the future for British products

The UK will apply to join a free trade area with 11 Asia and Pacific nations on Monday, a year after it officially left the EU. Joining the group of “fast-growing nations” will boost UK exports, the government says. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – or CPTPP – covers a market of around 500 million people. But they are harder to reach than neighbouring markets in Europe. Members include Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are also founder members of the bloc, which was established in 2018. “In future it’s going to be Asia-Pacific countries in particular where the big markets are, where growing middle-class markets are, for British products,” International Trade Secretary Liz Truss told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.

“Of course British businesses will have to reach out and take these opportunities, but what I’m doing is I’m creating the opportunities, the low tariffs, removing those barriers so they can go out and do that.” Joining the bloc would reduce tariffs on UK exports such as whisky and cars, as well as service industries, she said. However the immediate impact is likely to be modest as the UK already has free trade deals in place with several CPTPP members, some of which were rolled over from its EU membership. The UK is negotiating deals with Australia and New Zealand. In total, CPTPP nations accounted for 8.4% of UK exports in 2019, roughly the same proportion as Germany alone. The US was originally in talks to be part of the CPTPP, but former President Donald Trump pulled out when he took office. If the new administration in Washington were to reconsider the CPTPP, that would make membership much more attractive to the UK. It could allow a much closer UK-US trading relationship, without waiting for a bilateral trade deal to be negotiated.

Fierce gunfight as suspected Al-Shabaab attack Mogadishu’s Afrik Hotel

The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. Casualties are feared as a huge bomb exploded at Afrik Hotel in Mogadishu on January 31, 2021. Casualties are feared as a huge bomb exploded at a popular hotel located along the main airport road in Mogadishu on Sunday, witnesses and police confirmed. The police near the scene said suspected Al-Shabab fighters breached the Afrik Hotel’s barrier and stormed the facility’s grounds, prompting a fierce gunfight. “Our forces are exchanging fire with the attackers, we are trying to subdue them,” the officer who did not want to be named told Xinhua on the phone. Witnesses said they heard several blasts near the hotel. They said the blast, which happened some minutes past 5 pm, caused massive damage to business premises around the highway and plumes of black smoke, which could be seen from a distance, engulfed the area. “I heard huge blasts at the hotel and then a huge fire followed,” Ismail Ahmed, a witness told Xinhua, –

Nairobi Real Estate company refunds millions to Kenyans, including those in Diaspora

Lordship Africa, areal estate company, has refunded millions of shillings to home buyers, including some who reside in the United States and other parts of the world. According to Kenyan media outlets, the company announced it has taken that step due to the financial hardships triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have refunded Sh40 million in pre-sales deposits to people who were seeking to buy apartments in its upcoming 88-Nairobi luxury development,” said Lordship Africa chairman Jonathan Jackson. He added that the refund was as a result of financial challenges facing the affected homebuyers, and the delay of construction due to the COVID-19 protocols. “We refunded the deposits in full ranging from Sh5 million to Sh12 million. Pre-Covid sales stood at 50 apartments that were sold at between Sh15 million for one-bedroom apartments to Sh25 million for two-bedroom apartments,” said Jackson. ZJCC, the Chinese contractor building the Sh5.2 billion 44-storey building in Nairobi’s Upperhill area, recently resumed operations after a nine-month break. The real estate sector has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, with property developers and buyers struggling to raise funds amid tighter credit conditions by lenders. The growth slowed to 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 7.2 percent expansion in a similar period of 2019, according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). “We have resumed sales and currently they stand at 60 units. This will continue until we reach 150 units where the rest will be sold at premium prices upon completion within the next 36 months,” said Jackson. – –

Kenya drops, Rwanda shines in global corruption index

Kenya scored 31 points out of a 100 against last year’s score of 29, still falling below the sub-Saharan average of 32 and the global average of 43. The CPI, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption collected by several reputable institutions, uses a scale of 0 to 100, zero being the score for the most corrupt. A score below 50 indicates serious levels of corruption in the public sector. In the latest report, Rwanda was ranked the best performer in East Africa with 54 points and was followed by Tanzania with 38, Uganda 27, Burundi 19 and South Sudan 12.

Pandemic link

TI noted that the report revealed a direct link between persistent corruption and management of the Covid-19 pandemic. Countries with low levels of corruption were found to have invested more in their healthcare systems and better able to provide Universal Health Coverage. Those with persistent corruption were found struggling with undermined health care systems and an increased likelihood of having institutions with less regard for the rule of law. “Covid-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis and one that we are currently failing to manage,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, TI’s chair. “The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad,” she added. In this year’s ranking of 180 countries, Denmark and New Zealand topped the list with 88 points, followed by Finland and Singapore with 85. The lowest points went to Syria (14) and Somalia and South Sudan, which both scored 12 points.

Institutional challenges

The report notes the fact that the poor performers also have fair shares of integrity challenges, including lack of transparency in their public spending in response to the pandemic. “The Covid-19 crisis has exposed cracks in our institutions especially in public procurement. It is time to plug the gaps that enable corruption to thrive in Kenya, particularly as we look towards taking the country along a path of recovery,” said Sheila Masinde, Executive Director, TI Kenya. “The government must guarantee that the acquisition and distribution of the much awaited Covid-19 vaccines will be transparent and equitable as strong oversight mechanisms are required.” In order to ensure accountability going forward, the organisation said, findings of all audits and investigations undertaken in relation to the pandemic must be released and key accountability organisations must increase their involvement in coordination efforts. TI also called for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) to give direction on pending Covid-19 corruption cases whose files have been submitted by investigative agencies. It further called for the publishing of all relevant data on procurement of personal protective equipment and vaccines, distribution plans and oversight mechanisms, in a timely and meaningful manner. –

Kenyan Women In Diaspora Have Issues With Kenyan Men

Kenyan women in the Diaspora have a problem with Kenyan men. Romantic relationships between Kenyans in the US, for instance, are beset with untold challenges. The Nairobian spoke to a number of women of different ages and careers who concur that relationships are not working and Kenyan men should take a big chunk of the blame. Sarah Mwangi, an auditor with a top auditing firm and whose resume is quite impressive, says Kenyan men may be intelligent, but they lack a certain charm that women value and cherish: ambition. “They lack the drive and their presentation is so poor. Some will still don those ‘Mwalimu Jini’ shoes, yet they are in the United States,” says Sarah, chuckling. Sarah is not alone.

Greener pastures

Chero Leitich notes that dating has not been as rewarding and her expectations have been shrinking each passing day. Currently, she is seeing someone and hopes it will herald a new chapter in her life by dating someone of a different race and nationality. Chero who hails from Nakuru vows never to date a Kenyan man in the Diaspora. Her public admission is a feeling many Kenyan women in the Diaspora privately share. Chero parted ways with her Kenyan boyfriend partly because of the “demands of the environment” and reckons that the relationship would probably have worked in Kenya.

She always felt limited to Kenyan standards while she was willing to pursue standards in American where, sadly, there is one man for every five women. “Even something as simple as public display of affection, which women value so much, is almost impossible with Kenyan men,” she observes. In addition, she feels that she had little say in the relationship because Kenyan men do not like a woman who is outspoken or opinionated. Chero adds that Kenyan men in the Diaspora are not motivated, lack ambition and are comfortable in circles where they only drink and have barbeques. She adds that Kenyan men in the Diaspora leave it to the women to work, which should not be the case. Rebecca Musau, who works as nurse in Washington DC agrees.

“It is true the single ladies find it hard to find men. I know some in their 40s with no men or kids in their lives. They have money but no man. It is not easy to get a white or American man. They are too busy just like everyone is in America. You many get one from online dating sites, which unfortunately has seen many women being scammed by con men,” explains Rebecca, who has been in the US for two years. Another challenge is that the available Kenyan men, especially the older ones, are married either in the US or back home. The only arrangement is having sexual liaisons to “help each other” out, but not long-term commitment. White and African-American men are hardly available, hence most women either decide to stay single or become single mums. “I think Kenyan men are few compared to women here,” she observes. But are men entirely to blame?

Many in the Diaspora agree that women adapt easily to the American environment compared to men. “Even a woman from the remotest part of Kenya comes here and a few months later, she will be driving and earning $2,000 a month (Sh170,000), probably from babysitting. Do you think such a woman will care about or respect the husband?” asks Rebecca who studies Public Health Policy in Washington. With rights, freedom and money, women are no longer subjected to the directions of their men as is the case in Kenya. With such freedom, you can understand the runaway infidelity that has become the order of the day here, explains Rebecca.

Individual preferences

Sonie Kendi, who recently moved to Indiana, thinks that despite the allegations, it boils down to individual preferences. “Some Kenyan women cannot date Kenya men and vice-versa. Generally, most of my friends prefer American men, black or white, to Kenyans,” she says. She has been in the US for four months now. What influences the choices according to Sonie is the cultural background of individuals since the two cultures are worlds apart. “In my estimation, I think as East African women score highly amongst American men because our black American women counterparts are rowdy, uncouth and not as ‘feminine’ as us, hence we attract their men,” she adds. Rhoda Adera* a journalist in Missouri and a resident of the US for more than 13 years, says the difficulty Kenyan women have in snagging soulmates has to do with the nature of life in America.

Liberal culture

“It depends on the visa one is granted. Save for those who immigrate here on the Green Card, many Kenyans come here as students or visitors. Without proper documentation, you cannot work and without work, finding a stable relationship is nearly impossible,” she observes. It is the reason many men and women often gravitate towards Americans in the hope that they can marry them and streamline to legalise they stay find jobs. Yet, even those who immigrate on the Green Card are divorcing at alarming levels. “Most married Kenyans, especially those who immigrate here on a Green Card, divorce within five years. It is the trend, even though data from the Kenyan embassy is not available, but that is the general trend everywhere you look,” she says and decries the inability of the Kenyan embassy to track the welfare of Kenyans in the US.

There are a myriad of reasons why marriages and relationships are not working in the US. Kenyan men find it difficult to keep up with the liberal culture, which Kenyan women take to like ducks to water. “Women navigate the culture shock faster than men. Unless you were brought up in a wealthy and liberal family back in Kenya where you share responsibilities with your sisters, the idea of a housewife in America is non-existent,” observes Rhoda, adding, “The hours can be unforgiving and that complicates many relationships.”

Another problem that Kenyans encounter is that in the US, there is no communal life. It is very individualistic. Kenyans reportedly don’t keep each other’s company, given their knack for petty domestic issues. And if you find yourself in a town without any Kenyan, you will hardly have a social support system. Furthermore, America changes the way one thinks. Those who cannot change their mindset cannot withstand the pressure.

“Views towards marriage are looked at from a cultural, financial and academic perspective. Before you settle with anyone, there must be a catch. But you notice younger women are not really interested in marriage anymore,” says Rhoda who writes for a local newspaper. At the end of the day, Kenyans and Africans must accept that they can never be 100 per cent equal with the whites. Those who discover this early, go back to those they are familiar with: their fellow Kenyans or other Africans. – Source-

Mugithi maestro Mighty Salim is dead

Timothy Njuguna alias Mighty Salim.

Popular Mugithi musician Timothy Njuguna popularly known as Mighty Salim is dead.

The heartbreaking news about his death which occurred on Sunday evening, January 24, 2021 were confirmed by his younger sister Sarafina Salim who posted on her social media accounts.

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart. Rest well my brother Njuguna,” Sarafina wrote.

Mighty was well-known for his style of music one-man-guitar and hit songs among them Jira ndukadiga (Tell me you won’t leave me), Kana Gakwa (My Child) among others.

Mighty’s death has left many in shock seeing that he passed on just a day after hosting the fifth anniversary of his late elder brother Paul Mwangi alias Salim Junior who died on January 23, 2016 after a short illness.

News about his ill health came to the limelight in 2019 when Kenyans posted that he was in critical condition and fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Nairobi hospital.

Mighty who hails from Subukia, Nakuru County however cleared the air releasing a video of him in good shape at home but revealed he was battling a serious illness.

“For those saying that am in the ICU, you are wrong. Am doing well but since 2018 I have been having battling with kidney failure. I am undergoing dialysis. I love you and thanks for your support,” he said in the video.

This was however not the first time his health was affecting his career. In a past interview, Mighty revealed that he was diagnosed with Diabetes which affected his voice.

Yesterday, his younger brother Salim Young recounted his interaction with Mighty the day before he died during the anniversary of their elder brother Salim Junior at 022 Gardens in Kiambu County.

“Just the other day brother at 022 Kamiti Road for Salim Junior’s anniversary you drove us to Kiamumbi…Shine on your way bro,” posted Young.

His nephew Kajei Salim popular for his Ciku Gaitu hit expressed the pain of losing Mighty who mentored him into the music industry where he is now among the fast-rising stars.

“You have fought a very tough battle and finally the Lord decided it’s time for you to rest in His everlasting grace. One thing I’m sure is that our sad loss here on earth is usually a happy reunion somewhere in heaven. I can’t even imagine I’m typing this. I have no words. Sleep well, when the time is right we’ll meet across the river,” Kajei wrote.

Musician Muchoki Ndirangu popularly known as Samidoh who also hails from Subukia mourned Mighty’s death wishing the Salim family peace.

“A good heart has stopped beating, a good soul ascended to heaven. You will stay in history of Múgithi forever. Thank you for all the pleasure you gave us. To the Salim’s Family, May our Lord brings you and your family the much-needed peace during this sad time,” Samidoh wrote.

In June 2019 the family also lost a member-Dorcas Muthoni alias Mso Domsa whom the family described as a great pillar in their success in music. –

Jubilee to support Ruto impeachment — Murathe

Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe

A further 1,725The Jubilee Party says it supports the proposal to impeach Deputy President William Ruto on account of violation of the provisions of chapter six of the Constitution. A day after Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party said Mr Ruto’s impeachment is a matter of national interest, vice chairman David Murathe said the party will rally its members to support the motion once it is tabled in the House. “We shall support anybody who brings a motion to impeach the Deputy President on account of violation of chapter six on ethics and integrity,” Mr Murathe said. The former Gatanga MP’s confirmation, made during an early morning interview on K24 TV, adds impetus to what initially started on January 13 as an innocuous attempt by ANC to flex its thin political muscle in the House. Even though Raila Odinga’s ODM has refused to support the motion, a source has hinted to the Nation that it could revise its position on the issue and support the motion to have the DP send home.

ANC has instructed its legal team to draft the articles of impeachment on the account that the DP is undermining President Uhuru Kenyatta through his continued stay in office “by deceit”, conniving, inciting the public and scandalising the government in which he serves. The actions of the Deputy President amounts to “treasonable sabotage” with collateral damage on stability of the country, the party says. In his interview on Thursday, Mr Murathe revealed that MPs allied to President Kenyatta are “building the numbers” and that the Jubilee Party will “be happy to support such a motion.” “We are going to impeach him,” he said, hinting that the land scandals that have dogged the DP’s political career could form part of the evidence to support the articles of impeachment to be submitted to Parliament. He claimed that the DP has acquired large tracts of land in Taita Taveta county, Trans Mara and his own Uasin Gishu county, all which he linked to land grabbing, corruption and impunity. He cited the case in Taita Taveta, where the DP is said to own more than 1,000 acres of land, another 2,000 acres in Kilgoris, land initially owned by the late Joseph Murumbi who briefly served as the vice president in the 1960s.

Mr Murathe further cited the land on which the Weston Hotel sits, another in Eldoret, but could not provide details about its size or location, and the infamous 100 hundred acres in Uasin Gishu in which the DP was accused, and convicted for having grabbed for an individual who had been displaced in the 2007/08 post-election “We have the facts and the evidence. In any case, he doesn’t hide these things,” he said referring to the DP’s own admission of having occupied the IDP’s land. The court ordered him to pay the IDP Sh5 million in compensation. At the same time, Mr Murathe agreed with the sentiments expressed by the Senate majority whip Irungu Kangata in his letter to the President on the BBI in Mt Kenya region. In the highly controversial letter, Mr Kangata had told the President BBI was unpopular in Mt Kenya region warning that it risked being rejected in the referendum. During the interview, Mr Murathe defended the senator saying he spoke “truth to power” and raised pertinent issues that focused on facts about the BBI which he termed as the President’s legacy to unite the country.

“It was the truth and that is why as Jubilee party we have not taken action against him,” he said. Despite being a political process, there have been no Mt Kenya politicians drumming up support for the process despite the region is primed for great gain in the long run. “The manner he did it was wrong, but he raised issues that have energised the BBI process in the Mt Kenya region because there was no politician campaigning for it in Mt Kenya region.” By Nation Media Group.

Relationship and fellowship – WORD FOR TODAY

We read in 1 John 1:6: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” God is responsible for your relationship with Him. The moment you put your trust in Jesus Christ His Son, you are a fully accepted family member. But you are responsible for your fellowship with God. The Bible says, ‘If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practise the truth.’ Stop and think about the last time you experienced tension with one of your family members. You were still members of the same family, but your conversation became superficial and you found that you were more comfortable apart than together. When something happens between two people who are normally close, the first thing to vanish is the evidence of fellowship. And it’s the same in our walk with God. Suddenly our prayers become surface and shallow: ‘Lord, please bless this food.’ And we begin to avoid spending time with that Person: ‘I just don’t have time for my devotions.’ The main prerequisite for experiencing fellowship with Jesus is following Him each day and obeying His commands. When Peter and the disciples were fishing, the Lord told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When they obeyed Him, they caught a boatload of fish. But something even greater happened that day. As Jesus drew closer, John said, ‘It is the Lord’ (see John 21:7). What followed was an intimate meal and a sweet time of fellowship with Jesus. So if you are feeling out of fellowship with Jesus today, the chances are that you’ve either stopped fellowshipping with Him or started disobeying Him. If that’s so, do something about it.

Sudden Death Notice

Late Millicent Wanjiku Theuri White

This is just to inform the Kenyan Community in The UK of the sudden death of Millicent Wanjiku White. She lived in Brigton but had work connections in Surrey where she passed away at the Royal Surrey County Hospital on Wednesday 20th January 2021. As the immediate family is in Kenya, please inbox “Tonny 07413797146 -WHATSAPP CALLS/TEXTS only” for further details, as we try to organise through the Kenyan Community in The UK for appropriate response to help with her send off.

Secretive Life Of Uhuru’s British Brother Peter Magana

While President Uhuru Kenyatta remains the most famous son of Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, a number of his siblings prefer keeping a low profile, despite being members of the prominent family. One such is Peter Magana, the only child between the founding father and his British wife Edna Clarke, who is rarely in the public limelight. Not much is known about Magana whose presence in Kenya has been fleeting. According to a publication by Standard Media Group, Magana was born on August 11, 1944, in Worthing Hospital within West Sussex, United Kingdom. He retired from BBC where he worked as a presenter before being a producer at the same station.

Magana, 76, lived in the United Kingdom with his mother who died in 1995 at the age of 86. Kenyatta left the UK barely two years after Magana was born and returned to Kenya where he married his third wife, Grace Wanjiku, Senior Chief Koinange’s daughter and sister to Mbiyu Koinange. During the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, Magana was among the distinguished guests that graced the event. On August 22 ,2019, Magana flew to Kenya to attend what would be the last public memorial service for his late father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. At one point, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is said to have tried to entice Magana into moving to Kenya by offering him a post in his government but to his surprise, the young man opted to go back to the UK. Magana is a family man, married with three children. Founding father Jomo Kenyatta with his son Peter magana, his wife and their children. Founding father Jomo Kenyatta with his son Peter Magana, his wife and children. –

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