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In plastic bags ban, Kenyans lose a faithful servant

Juala is a necessary evil in many households, and Kenyans will learn how to live without an item that has made life easier for them for years

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After shopping, most people reuse the plastic bags to store household stuff and many other activities that make life easier.

Time has come for it to die, because of its stubbornness to the environment. Though perceived to be hazardous, it has become the darling of many hence it might not vanish easily. Statistics show that supermarkets and retail outlets produce at least 100 million plastic bags annually. It has become part and parcel of lives of all Kenyans over the years and no one can imagine a life without it.

The polythene carrier bags are set to exit the stage by next month to reduce environmental pollution following a ban by Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu in February this year. However, how  effective the order will be is still uncertain since a similar directive by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to ban the manufacture and importation of the plastic bags in 2011 fell on deaf ears.

Commonly known as paper bags, the polythene bags are found almost everywhere, be it in cars, offices, at home, in the market, in people’s pockets or even dumpsites. This shows how much it is treasured across all divides of life, from the poor to the rich.

What would life look like without a plastic bag to carry sukuma wiki from that mama mboga? It is one of the many uses plastic bags are known for as Kenyans brace for their exit in a week’s time. Most people who use them for shopping will have to look for alternative ways to carry their goods from the market place and shops.

They will be required to buy reusable bags, a move that will save supermarkets the expenses they have been incurring in providing polythene papers free of charge for shoppers.

The century old product has also been used as a storage bag for most people. After doing shopping, most people reuse the plastic bags to store household stuff. This might still continue, provided they are not used publicly since government officers might not be forced to comb your house for plastic bags, hence you remain safe.

Related: NEMA lifts ban on select paper bags

Plastic bags, being trash in most cases have also been used to collect all kind of trash bearing in mind they are less reactive to chemicals and corrosion, hence can contain any kind of reactive substances. With the eradication of the bags, reusable plastic containers will take their place. They will, however, be missed for their simplicity and mobility to dumpsites.

Also, they have been used as carrier bags. The small scale retailers rarely offer these bags for free; hence you have to buy a new one every time you go shopping in the grassroots.

Children will also not be left out. Who has grown in the rural areas and never made a ball out of plastic bags? In fact, the future generation might be amazed to hear that plastic bags were once used to make balls.

READ: Car owners to be charged for using highways

Lastly is employment. There are over 176 plastic manufacturing companies in the country, which is 3.4% of all the manufacturers combined with an estimated cost value of the sector at Ksh 88 billion. However, they might not become purely extinct, the reduced market will see many lose their daily source of income, both directly and indirectly.

Nema’s decision to exempt certain types of polythene bags under strict guidelines, however, means a continued existence for some.

Editor and writer at BUSINESS TODAY, Muli has a passion for human interest stories that have a big impact on economic development. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Politics

Babu Owino arrested over Uhuru slur

The first time MP is being grilled at Mazingira House, the DCI headquarters, over his weekend remarks in Dagoretti, Nairobi

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Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino has been arrested and taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters for using disparaging remarks against President Uhuru Kenyatta and threats to force him out of office.

His remarks on Sunday during a campaign tour of Dagoretti in Nairobi, during which he referred to the President as “mtoto wa mbwa” ( son of a dog) set social media ablaze with Jubilee supporters demanding his arrest as those supporting Raila comparing him with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

His arrest came as protesters took to the streets of Kiambu and Ruiru towns to express their distaste to Owino’s remarks, demanding his arrest and an apology from him. Business and transport operations have been paralysed along Kiambu Road and at Ruiru on the Thika Superhighway.

The MP, however, refused to apologise, saying that his remarks were not directed to President Uhuru, and that he owes no one apology.

“I will not apologize to anyone because I called nobody’s name during my yesterday’s address. We have so many presidents in Kenya, from the President of Sonu to all presidents of students union in Kenya, President of the Supreme Court, President of Youth senate and many more. However I will stick to objective politics and will never abuse anybody,” wrote Owino.

Women Representative of Nairobi Esther Passaris, who was present, has distanced herself and the Nasa Coalition from Babu’s words and conduct, and apologised to former First Lady Mama Ngina and the Kenyatta family for the insults.

Kiambu-Town-demo-576x1024 Babu Owino arrested over Uhuru slur

Residents of Kiambu town protest remarks made by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino. He has since been arrested.

“I would like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the utterances made by my fellow MP Babu Owino during our campaign rally in Westlands and Dagoretti North yesterday. As a mother, I sincerely apologize to the former First Lady, Her Excellency Mama Ngina Kenyatta, and her family over the insult and disrespect meted on her, which neither depicts nor reflects the character or direction envisaged by our Party leader the Rt Hon. Raila Odinga and the NASA principals,” Passaris said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Freedom of speech comes with responsibility, and I beg my fellow politicians and Kenyans on both sides of the divide not to abuse this freedom whether on social media or otherwise,” she said.

ALSO SEE: Babu Owino: Radical who will spice up Parliament

According to Passaris,  no matter how big political differences are, there is a line that should not be crossed.

This is not the first time the MP is finding himself in trouble over derogatory remarks since he was elected into Parliament a month ago.

During his swearing in ceremony, Owino was forced to repeat his oath allegiance after pledging loyalty to Raila referring to him as the President of Kenya.

He, however, got away with utterance of the ‘Tibiim’ slogan at the end of the swearing in.

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Economy

Prolonged campaigns fatigue Kenyans

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, noted that elections tend to cause fatigue as they slow down all the other sectors

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A prolonged campaign period following the order by the Supreme Court for fresh a presidential election seems to have tired many Kenyans as the date for the new election got postponed.

Many of the electorate are eager to see the campaign period end so they can move on with their lives, but a political standoff among key parties, the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) and the ruling Jubilee is unlikely to end soon.

Kenyan politicians have been on the campaign trail since March, and on August 8, Kenyans went to ballot to choose Members of County Assemblies, senators, woman representatives, governors, MPs and the president.

Many thought the ‘election madness’ was over until the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory and ordered for fresh polls.

The electoral commission on Thursday pushed the date for the fresh presidential elections to October 26 from its earlier set date of October 17, citing the need to be fully prepared to deliver free, fair and credible elections.

Previously, Nasa leader Raila Odinga dismissed the idea of holding election on October 17.

“There would be no elections on Oct. 17 until the electoral commission is reformed,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Kenyatta and his party Jubilee insisted that elections would be held as scheduled on October 17, noting that the country must move on.

Some of his supporters have threatened to swear him into office if polls delay. The talk on the streets, on radio and social media show many citizens are tired with the seemingly unending electioneering period.

“I am tired with the campaigns and I want them to end. Does it mean this politicians have nothing else to do?” posed Classic 105 breakfast show host Maina Kageni.

On the streets, frustrations about the lengthy electioneering period is evident in peoples’ talk and faces.

“I’m exhausted of the elections, I’m completely tired of them that I may never vote even if they come on October 17 or November 1,” said Antony Kioi, a cooking gas seller.

Kioi noted that the country has seemingly been on campaign for the last four years, with the blitz heightening only close to elections.

ALSO SEE: IEBC sets new date for presidential re-run

“Leaders have been holding rallies for many months that one cannot remember when the campaigns started or ended. We can not live politicking, elections must come and go,” he said.

Beatrice Mulundi, an insurance agent, said elections had even derailed her sales, as her many potential clients hoped to wait until the polls are over to consider her products.

“In fact when I hear that the new polls may not be held as scheduled, I get angrier.

“How do I earn a living if political uncertainly hangs over the country?

“For the last two months, people have simply been not taking insurance,” she lamented.

On social media, election talk is prominent but opinion is divided on the lengthy electioneering period, with some noting the country should get it right with elections for the things to go right.

“We better politic for 90 days, reform the electoral commission and elect the right people than have bad leadership for five years,” said one Twitter post under the hashtag ElectionsKenya.

On the other hand, other citizens are complaining of how politics has clouded all the other sectors of life.

“The health sector is literally on its dead bed, politics has taken over nothing is moving.

“This is frustrating,” said Sylvia Nyaboke.

Companies too are feeling the pinch, with many complaining about losses related to the lengthy elections.

“We lost approximately 3.8 million U.S. dollars during the election day last month due to closure of M-pesa businesses,” leading Kenya’s telecom Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said at the company’s Annual General Meeting recently, adding that uncertainty over the new polls is having huge negative impact on business.

Related: Raila now threatens to prosecute Chebukati, top IEBC officials

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi, noted that elections tend to cause fatigue as they slow down all the other sectors.

“From education to the economy and sports, nothing moves.

“Even people tend to marry less during electioneering period when tribal hatred rises,” he said.

However, he observed that while citizens may get tired, it is important that the country gets it right in the elections.

“Countries have plunged to war because of polls, so to me there is nothing alarming with what Kenya is facing now.

“The Supreme Court was right in its ruling.

“What Kenya needs to go after the next elections is to enforce electoral laws so that campaigns do not start early as it happened before the August 8 polls.”

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Politics

Raila now threatens to prosecute Chebukati, top IEBC officials

Opposition Nasa gives DPP Keriako Tobiko 72 hours to act or it institutes private prosecutions

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The opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) has given the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko 72 hours to file charges against IEBC officials accused of bungling the August 8 election.

At the same time, Nasa has vowed to institute private prosecution against the IEBC officials.

Mathare MP Anthony Olouch, whose firm AT Olouch and Company Advocates, has written to the DPP, said the decision of the Supreme Court did not exonerate any member of IEBC.

“Following that decision, your office has made a statement that it will evaluate the full text of the Judgment and make a determination on whether or not to commence and proceed with criminal prosecutions.

ALSO SEE: Supreme Court puts IEBC on the spot over poll fiasco

“Our express instructions are that the commissioners and members of the secretariat not only committed criminal acts of which they should be held personally responsible, but also aided and abetted the commission of offences under the Elections Offences Act, the Public Procurement Act, the Elections Act and breaches of the Constitution,” the MP said in Nairobi on Friday.

He added: “In light of the pending presidential election due for 26th October, 2017, the persons cited herein below cannot continue being in office and neither can they be allowed to perpetuate further illegalities.

Related: IEBC sets new date for presidential re-run

“Unless investigation leading into criminal charges and prosecution is commenced within 72 hours [by] this office, our instructions are to institute private prosecutions pursuant to Section 28 of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Act).”

The IEBC officials whom Nasa wants charged are CEO Ezra Chiloba, Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Betty Nyabuto, Immaculate Kassait, James Muhati, Praxedes Tororey (who has since retired), Moses Kipkogei, Abdi Guliye, Molu Boya and Marjan Marjan.

NEXT: IEBC begins to fall apart as senior officer quits

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Economy

Trump hails Africa for making his friends rich

While US President almost certainly meant it as compliment, and even seemed to pause for applause, not one attendee clapped (SCROLL DOWN FOR STORY)

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President Donald Trump speaks before a luncheon with US and African leaders at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017 in New York. Credit: Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Wednesday was met with silence when he congratulated the leaders of African countries on the continent’s economic progress, telling them: “I’ve so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money.”

Trump delivered the remark at a luncheon he hosted with the leaders of many of the 54 diverse nations on the African continent. And while Trump almost certainly meant it as compliment, and even seemed to pause for applause, not one attendee clapped.

For centuries, Europeans and Americans have exploited Africa’s natural resources and labor force, not least during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In the post-Colonial era, the U.S. government has supported dozens of authoritarian regimes on the African continent, while American companies have made billions of dollars from deals with dictatorships.

Related: Trump to earn Sh10 per month as president after rejecting Sh40m

Since taking office in January, Trump has nominated ambassadors to only around a dozen African nations, despite having recalled all Obama-era ambassadors before he was inaugurated. This means that the vast majority of nations on the continent do not currently have a U.S. ambassador with whom they can conduct bilateral diplomacy.

During the same speech, Trump also mispronounced Namibia as “Nambia,” saying very clearly that “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”

A White House transcript confirmed that he meant to say Namibia.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Credit: CNBC

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