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Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai dies of Covid-19

Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai.

President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Kikwai as a devoted public servant who was deeply committed to everybody’s progress and wellbeing. Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai is dead. Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony said that his deputy succumbed to Covid-19 at 10am on Saturday. Speaking at a press briefing at the Council of Governors offices in Nairobi on Saturday afternoon, Prof Chepkwony said funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date after full consultation with the family. “Our deputy governor tested positive of Covid-19 and succumbed to the virus this morning.

“I urge Kenyans not to lower their guard, the disease is real. Let us take the containment measures set by the government seriously,” said Prof Chepkwony.

“Major blow”
The county boss, who was accompanied at the press briefing by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Ainamoi MP Sylvanus Maritim, expressed his condolences to the family, residents of Kericho and the country for the loss.

“We are proud of her achievement both as deputy governor and while serving in national government before plunging into politics. We celebrate her life as she was admired by many,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

Mr Maritim said: “She was a hardworking deputy governor and we shall miss her. I am urging Kenyans to observe the regulations set by the government.”

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok in a separate statement said, “The loss of Kikwai is a major blow to the leadership of South Rift region, the people of Kericho and the country.”

“It is unfortunate that we have lost her at a time her valued administrative and leadership skills were needed in the region. I pray to God to give the family the strength to bear with the loss,” said Dr Barchok.

Fight against virus
Kikwai was serving her second term as the deputy to Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony after the two were elected in 2013 and re-elected in the 2017 general election on a Jubilee party ticket.

She took the final blow at a time when she was at the front-line in ensuring Kericho residents adhered to all the Covid-19 containment measures set by the Ministry of Health.

“The fight against Covid-19 cannot be left to the government alone. It is a team effort that requires partnership with the private sector,” Ms Kikwai posted on Twitter in 2020.

Before plunging into politics, Ms Kikwai served as the managing director of Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) between 2005 and 2012.

Following her death, former Council of Governors chairman Isaac Ruto said, “I have learnt with shock and disbelief the passing on of Kikwai whom I have known for many years.

“She was a dedicated servant of the people who served in government as a technocrat and later a politician. May God give the family the fortitude to bear with the loss.”

“Ms Kikwai was a hard-working, focused and down to earth leader whose administrative skills will be missed by Kericho county and the country at large. May she rest in peace,” said Belgut MP Nelson Koech.

Kericho Woman Representative Florence Bore said “the demise of Ms Kikwai is a big blow to the people of Kericho and negates the progress made in entrenching women leadership in the country,”

Mrs Mary Rotich, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Kericho branch said “The death of the Kericho deputy governor came as a shock and a major setback to women leadership as she was a trailblazer in the political front and as a technocrat of high standing.”

Uhuru’s message
In his condolence message, President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised Kikwai as a devoted public servant who was deeply committed to the progress and wellbeing of the Kericho community and all Kenyans in general.

The Head of State recalled the period when Kikwai served as the managing director of KenInvest.

She highly promoted Kenya as an attractive destination for foreign and local investment, Mr Kenyatta said.

“Susan was a great public servant. While working for the national government, she was instrumental in attracting various domestic, regional and international investments,” he added. –

Exodus from Paris as Parisians say new lockdown is ‘a bit too much’

Parisians arrive to catch trains leaving from the Gare Montparnasse serving the west and southwest of France

Parisians were racing to leave the city ahead of a new coronavirus lockdown coming into effect at midnight tonight as the country grapples with soaring case numbers.

From midnight, the capital will be plunged into a month-long lockdown, while another 15 regions in France will be placed under the same measures.

Desperate commuters were seen flooding into train stations across the city, as people looked to beat the deadline to reach other, less restricted parts of the country.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the measures will not be as strict as the previous lockdown, with people allowed to exercise outdoors.

However, only essential shops will remain open, while anyone travelling more than 10km from home or in the evenings will need to fill out a form.

At the Montparnasse train station, Anna Henry, a 21-year-old student, said she had decided to go to her parents’ place in Brittany, western France, describing the latest Paris lockdown as “a bit too much”.

Anthony Massat, 23, also a student, was catching a train to Toulouse in south-western France: “There’s no lockdown in the south, so it will be a bit more free.”

France reported 35,000 new cases on Thursday and there were more Covid patients in intensive care in Paris than at the peak of the second wave,

The chaotic scenes came at the same time Mr Castex received the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine today – but the country has moved to limit its use to only people aged 55 and over.

The vaccination was broadcast live on national television in an effort to restore confidence in the jab after its use was paused in France and several other European countries this week.

Despite the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirming the jab is “safe and effective”, and not associated with a higher blood clot risk, France’s medical regulator said it should not be given to under-55s.

Its recommendation was based on the fact that the reports of blood clots that had prompted the suspension had only been seen in those aged under 55.

Dominique Le Guludec, head of the regulator, told a press conference that blood clot cases in those who had received the vaccine were “very rare” but “serious”.

Three other vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – have been approved for all French adults and will continue to be administered.

Germany has also resumed using the AstraZeneca vaccine, with Italy set to follow suit. Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania have also started administering it again, while Spain and Canada are also set to resume jabs.

However, Finland has moved to suspend its use while it investigates two possible cases of blood clots, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said earlier today.

The institute estimated its investigation would take at least one week.

UK borrowing hits new record as debt soars to £2,131,000,000,000

Net debt has risen by £333 billion since the pandemic began

National debt has soared to a staggering £2.1 trillion with the amount borrowed hitting a record high last month. Government borrowing hit £19.1 billion in February alone – the highest amount than during any other February since 1993. While borrowing has shot up, income from taxes has dwindled as the pandemic continues to hit jobs and incomes. It means that net debt has risen by £333 billion since last April when the Covid-19 lockdowns began, bringing the total to £2.131 trillion. The figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) do not include the £27.2 billion pounds of Covid loan write-offs which the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates will need to be made. ONS finance statistician Fraser Munro said: ‘The recent large increase in borrowing has led to sharp rise in the debt. The UK’s debt currently stands 97.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) – maintaining a level not seen since the early 1960s and almost the size of the UK economy in 12-month period.’

The recent large increase in borrowing has led to sharp rise in the debt. The UK’s debt currently stands 97.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) – maintaining a level not seen since the early 1960s and almost the size of the UK economy in 12-month period. At least 50 schemes have been announced by central government and the devolved administrations to support individuals and businesses during the pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak ramped up efforts to help people get through the second wave at his Budget on March 3, when he announced the furlough and business rates relief schemes will be extended until the end of September. According to the ONS, £74.4 billion has been spent on furlough schemes in the financial year to February 2021. The ONS said the extra funding required by coronavirus support schemes ‘combined with reduced cash receipts and a fall in gross domestic product (GDP)’ have all helped push public sector net debt as a ratio of GDP to levels not seen in 60 years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has overseen the Treasury’s response to the pandemic, defended the Government’s high spending. Responding to the figures he said: ‘Coronavirus has caused one of the largest economic shocks this country has ever faced, which is why we responded with our £352 billion package of support to protect lives and livelihoods. ‘This was the fiscally responsible thing to do and the best way to support the public finances in the medium term. ‘But I have always said that we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable path once the economy has recovered, and at the Budget I set out how we will begin to do just that, providing families and businesses with certainty.’

Mr Sunak has signalled that tax rises are likely in the coming years and has already announced a plan to increase corporation tax from 19% to 25% for large companies by 2023. The ONS figures come after the Bank of England said the outlook for the UK economy post-lockdown looks ‘uncertain’, despite the rapid rollout of vaccines. It said it expected an economic rebound as restrictions are lifted and Government support for jobs continues. But it said the recovery still depended on the ‘evolution of the pandemic’ and measures to protect public health. The Stay at Home message in England will end on March 29, when people will be allowed to meet in groups of six outdoors. Shops, hairdressers and beer gardens can open from April 12, with all restrictions set to be lifted by June 21 at the earliest. Boris Johnson has said his roadmap out of lockdown is ‘irreversible’. But he has refused to rule out implementing another one, saying he can’t guarantee there won’t be further difficulties ahead. –

10 things President Magufuli banned in Tanzania


President John Pombe Magufuli often made populist — and in some cases weird — public pronouncements that highlighted his sometimes unconventional style of leadership that had him nicknamed the Bulldozer. We sample some of the bans he imposed.

School attendance by pregnant girls

Following the 2017 ban on pregnant girls and young mothers attending school, police arrests have been reported.

The pregnant girls and their families are seized, to force them to reveal the identity of the men or boys who have made them pregnant. Schools force girls to have pregnancy tests.

Following international pressure, the government has committed to finding ways for pregnant girls to return to school.

Political rallies

In July 2016, President Magufuli announced a blanket ban on political activities until 2020. Politicians were restricted to holding activities in their respective constituencies only, and the Tanzania Police Force brutally enforced the decree. The president argued that people should not be distracted from “building the nation.”

Export of metallic minerals

In August 2016, the president announced a ban on the export of metallic mineral concentrates. Miners in Tanzania had been sending heaps of earth containing metallic ore to Asia and Europe for smelting.

Following accusations that the country’s largest goldminer, London-listed Acacia Ltd, had flouted the ban in March 2017, President Magufuli ordered the seizure of more than 250 of its containers at the port of Dar es Salaam.

Live coverage of parliamentary proceedings

In early 2016, Magufuli’s government limited live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings by the state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation. The restriction was later extended to private broadcasters.

Broadcasters can now only air the morning question and answer session. The debate sessions are no longer shown live. Apparently, the action was to protect the regime from the fate of predecessors that had been jolted by corruption exposes during parliamentary debates.

State events

In his first days in office in late 2015, President Magufuli cancelled the symbolic Independence Day fete. He directed that funds budgeted for the event be channelled towards the expansion of a highway notorious for gridlocks in Dar es Salaam. It was the same year he dramatically sacked corrupt officials in public, winning the support of the common man.

Foreign trips

The newly elected president in November 2015 halted all foreign trips for public servants. The only exemption was emergency cases, but even they required his personal approval as well as that of the head of the civil service.

Family planning

President Magufuli in September 2018 denounced family planning and asked women to shun contraceptives. Two weeks later, the government suspended radio, and television spots encouraging family planning.

But the Ministry of Health would later direct heads of 18 institutions responsible for family planning in Tanzania to resume radio and television advertisements.

Entertainment in hospitals

At the beginning of 2019, a new ban forbade all public hospitals from televising entertainment programmes. TVs in hospitals were to only broadcast health-related content.

Corporal punishment

Teachers in the lower grades of primary school are barred from entering classrooms with canes.

Covid tests and public updates on virus cases

President Magufuli reported he had ordered secret tests on animals, fruits and vehicle oil at the national health laboratory. He claimed a papaya, a quail and a goat had been found to be positive for Covid-19. The head of the laboratory in charge of coronavirus testing was suspended a day after the President questioned the accuracy of the tests. Tanzania also ceased daily updates of Covid-19 cases. –

Morgan Stanley spotlight raises curtain for Bitcoin to give another $60,000

Morgan Stanley spotlight raises curtain for Bitcoin to give another $60,000 performance

Bitcoin’s theatre of dramatic ups and downs may have just found the star actor it needs to bring in the crowds as Morgan Stanley announced its crypto stage bow.

The financial behemoth has now officially told its wealth advisors to deliver access to Bitcoin funds, albeit restricted to no more than 2.5 per cent of total net worth.

Although limited, it is, however, a gigantic step towards even more institutional money being pumped into digital assets.

Coupled with the downward slide of the US dollar and wider investment into cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC) is back on track to notch a sixth consecutive month of positivity as it closes in on another all-time-high.

The flagship crypto pierced through $60,000 last weekend – with some conviction – as it set a record $61,701, toppling the previous high of $58,332 set a month ago.

Last month’s peak was hit as a branch of Morgan Stanley hinted it was weighing up the pros and cons of investing in BTC.

The latest narrative has propelled Bitcoin back into bullish territory after a post-weekend slump sent it down to the dimly-lit depths of $54,000 – largely driven by news that Binance was under the scrutiny of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Things picked back up a little when Binance bosses responded to the CFTC probe, which was coincidentally announced 24 hours before Binance appointed former US Senator Max Baucus to a roll which looked very much like CEO Changpeng Zhao was paving the way for regulation and a foot in the door of the American market.

Baucus has been handed a brief by to provide high-level guidance on efforts to build relations with US authorities and regulators. The 79-year-old Democrat – who recently served as the US Ambassador to China – is also Montana’s longest-serving senator after being in office from 1978 before being appointed to the Beijing role in 2014.

Putting Binance under the spotlight of the authorities now registers as little more than a dip in the road for the progression of Bitcoin which had been buoyed in the weeks before by a raft of institutional investment which is, according to Goldman Sachs, driving a crypto boom.

Goldman Sachs’ viewpoint was confirmed when Norwegian gas and oil giant Aker ASA has revealed it was to create a cryptocurrency arm with a massive $59 million opening investment.

Run by Kjell Inge Rokke – Norway’s second-wealthiest person – the 180-year-old holding company launched Seetee AS with a letter to shareholders declaring it would be running open-source Bitcoin payment servers.

This cast list of big players sets the stage for the superstar entrance of Morgan Stanley to make its curtain call this week.

The funds offered by the Manhattan-based multinational investment bank will be offered to clients by Galaxy Digital – a company founded by early Bitcoin evangelist Mike Novogratz. Other funds will be overseen by FS Investments and NYDIG.

The move represents a serious swing of opinion from the huge financial institutions which had spent years flatly rejecting the very concept of cryptocurrency.

Morgan Stanley, taking an early and tentative 2.5 per cent step into Bitcoin are now on the brink of formally identifying the 12-year-old crypto as a recognised asset class.

The Wall Street narrative now feeds into a rising trendline with its origins in early February – something traders and analysts have not been slow to evaluate.


Many now anticipate BTC to consolidate just shy of $60,000 before spring-boarding into the middle of $60k. Despite the bullish outlook, however, there is still a robust bearish resistance keen to keep the price under $60,000 and often in the mood for a push back to the $55,000 region. Market hesitancy also comes into play with the constant threat of further negative news as the financial authorities get their hooks into the confusing cryptocurrency space. Another alarm bell – the Indian government – heralds potential trouble on the horizon. One of most crypto-curious nations on earth, India’s Bitcoin enthusiasts have found themselves in a state of limbo as the government looks at the possibility of a cryptocurrency ban in India. The turmoil in New Dehli has already threatened to bring Bitcoin values down, but investors there have been told they will be given six months in which to liquidate their assets, should cryptocurrency be decreed illegal. For now though, the crypto markets are waiting to see how the world responds once news of Morgan Stanley’s stage debut is received. The reviews so far have been five star, and we wait to see if the markets give it a standing ovation. –

‘Burglar’ has to wait for police to arrest him after head gets stuck in railings

The suspected burglar was left a sitting duck for police

This suspected thief may have just won the award for most hapless ‘criminal’ of the year. The man got his head trapped in railings while allegedly trying to escape a burglary. His plight might have gone unnoticed but he ended up stuck between the metal bars for two and a half hours. Neighbours in the nearby block of flats spotted him trying to wriggle free and alerted the police. The marooned man was filmed by onlookers at 4.40pm but police in the Mexican city of Morelia didn’t arrive until 7pm. One witness said: ‘He looks like a rat caught in a trap.’ Three cops arrived and managed to cut him free with some bolt cutters. One officer even did a summersault to get down from the roof before the suspect was taken down. –


Loise N. Karanja| Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd.

Dear Esteemed Customer,
I trust you are keeping well and safe.
Please allow me to share below information.

We offer mortgages to diaspora customers both for property purchase (houses/apartments and land) as well as construction mortgage on residential property as well as commercial properties.
We finance up to 80% (KES xxx)of the property/ construction costs for a period of 10 years. On your end, you will thus raise 20%(Kes xxx) as a down payment and also cater for the additional costs that will be incurred in the transaction. i.e. Stamp duty, legal fees, valuation fees, commitment fees to the Bank and insurances for the mortgage. The current interest rates is 13%.

With the proposed mortgage, however, also note that you could pay it off within a shorter period with no penalties whatsoever.

To start off the transaction, we would recommend to handle it systematically as follows;

Step 1: The Bank to appraise you for a mortgage facility based on your current income abroad. This will be in about 7 days of receipt of the application documents in full. Approval of this mortgage will come with a letter of offer for the mortgage which will have some conditions to be met. i.e. availability of 20% of construction costs that is the customer’s contribution.

Step 2: You will be required to meet the conditions of offer, some of which are outlined in step 1 above. These conditions and acceptance of the offer for the mortgage should be done in 14 days.

Step 3: With the offer accepted and conditions met, the Bank will instruct a lawyer (on the Bank’s panel) to commence the legal process which will entail charging of the property to the Bank as collateral for the loan.

Noting the external stakeholders involved at this stage, this could take up to 90 days to be completed.

To commence this transaction, kindly share with us the following documents;

Latest 3 months pay stubs,
Latest 6 months Bank statements,
Account details with co-operative bank
U.S.A Passport -If applicable
Residence card- If applicable
KRA pin
Kenyan ID/Passport
Copy of title
Employment letters
Reference letter from employer
Utility bill
Complete loan application forms

*Please see attached documents.

Please have all your personal documents notarized. Notarization/certification of the documents can be done at;
The Notary Public
The Kenyan Embassy
Commissioner of oaths
Your Bank abroad
Your Employer

For the initial appraisal, please share with us your 3 months pay stubs and 6 months bank statements. Upon receipt of these documents and assessment of the income, we shall ask you to share with us the notarized documents and the filled up mortgage application form.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on the below contacts in case of any further clarification.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Loise N. Karanja| Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd.
Relationship Manager| Diaspora Banking & Remittance
Ground Floor, Co-op House, Haile Selassie Avenue
P.O Box 48321-01000, Nairobi, Kenya
Office Line: 0711049943
Mobile: +254723584725

COVID-19 has plunged Britain into the deepest recession on record

COVID-19 has plunged Britain into the deepest recession on record – and we’re tracking where jobs are being lost across the UK economy. Sky News is analysing cuts made public by major businesses since the UK lockdown began on 23 March. Worst hit is the retail sector – accounting for about one in four of the total. Big names such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Boots and John Lewis have been axing thousands of roles while others, such as Oasis and Warehouse, have disappeared from the high street altogether. The hospitality sector has also seen large numbers of job cuts and closures at brands such as Pizza Express and Pret. The aviation industry is paying a heavy price after the pandemic grounded flights and quarantine measures left travellers uncertain about making bookings. Aircraft manufacturing workers, baggage handlers and airline pilots have all been affected. Few sectors have been spared as the collapse in demand takes its toll on industries from car making and double glazing to ferry operators and oil companies. The biggest hit on a single day took place on 28 April when British Airways said it was cutting 12,000 jobs. That announcement alone made it the bleakest day so far in the coronavirus jobs crisis.

Another low came on 1 July, when Upper Crust owner SSP, retailers Arcadia and Harrods, lender Virgin Money and consultants Accenture revealed cuts adding up to 7,370. British Airways leads the table of the number of UK jobs lost by company, followed by Marks & Spencer – axing nearly 8,000 workers in two separate announcements. Some big job losses are not included in our list as they were announced before the lockdown – notably the more than 2,000 jobs lost at airline Flybe, which blamed coronavirus as the last straw that prompted its collapse in March. The list is not comprehensive – not all companies have given precise details on UK job numbers. There may also be smaller or privately-held companies where cuts have not been disclosed or widely publicised. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics suggest the number of employees on UK payrolls is down by 726, 000 between February 2020 and January 2021 – much larger than our total. But by compiling numbers made public so far, we’ve been able to reveal a compelling picture of where the pain is being felt since the economy was brought to a halt. The roll-out of vaccines and with it the prospect of a full reopening of the economy offers hope for a recovery but with many businesses on their knees after months in and out of lockdown – and furlough support likely to taper off as restrictions ease – further tough times look likely. The impact on overall unemployment is likely to be stark. The Bank of England thinks this could peak at 7.75% in 2021.

In the months before the pandemic struck, the jobless rate had fallen below 4%, its lowest since the early 1970s. The record high for UK unemployment was in 1984, when it climbed to nearly 12%. There were other spikes in the early 1990s – when it topped 10%. In 2011, after the financial crisis, the jobless rate rose above 8%. In recent years, people aged between 16 and 24 have been the worst affected by joblessness. More than a fifth were out of work in the aftermath of the last crisis, and over 10% during the recent, more favourable climate. Official figures show redundancies climbing to record levels though the unemployment rate is yet to reflect fully a major collapse in jobs. That is largely thanks to the government’s furlough scheme – subsidising wages for temporarily laid-off workers – persuading some employers to hold off on redundancies. Also, some people who have lost their job are not currently looking for work and so are not included in the unemployment figures. Instead, they are classed as economically inactive. The unemployment rate was 5.1% in the three months to December, according to the ONS – the highest since the start of 2016. However, the ONS also pointed to more up-to-date though still experimental figures – mentioned above – which cover the period up to January. They show the number of people on UK payrolls has fallen by 726,000 since February 2020. ONS data also shows how workforce numbers have changed in different regions since last year and – on an even more local level – figures show the hotspots where the highest proportion of people are claiming unemployment-related benefits.