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What’s going on around Kenya – Wednesday 05/08/2015

2 Children die in lake Victoria tragedy

Two children died when a passenger boat capsized after colliding with a fishing vessel in Lake Victoria in western Kenya.

A local official said fishermen responding to distress calls rescued 21 of the 23 people on board the passenger boat and recovered the children’s bodies. There were no casualties on the fishing vessel, which also capsized.

The accident happened at about 02:00 on Wednesday morning.

Fishing boats are often to be found on Lake Victoria in the small hours because the waters are calm at that time.

Earlier reports had suggested the passenger boat was carrying 200 people. But a local government official downgraded that figure to 23, and this was confirmed by a boat owner who responded to the distress calls.

Both boats have now been recovered from the lake.

MCAs stop attempt to fire 300 County employees

Bomet County Assembly has stopped the executive from retrenching nearly 300 former employees of defunct local authorities.

Through a motion tabled by Singorwet Ward Representative Joyce Korir, the assembly warned that it was against the law to ask legally employed staff who are on permanent and pensionable terms to reapply for their positions.

While moving the motion, Korir claimed that a section of operatives within the county executive were trying to create positions through the planned retrenchment of the workers.

The employees of the former local government authority who included drivers, clerks and accountants were staring at job losses after they were issued with notice to re-apply their positions for consideration or face dismissal.

First phase of polio vaccination campaign ends

The first phase of the polio vaccination exercise ended on Wednesday following the vaccination campaign that stated on Saturday.

The Polio vaccination exercise, which focused on 32 high-risk counties, received mixed reactions with the Catholic Church warning that the vaccine may not be safe.

Public Health officers administering polio faced a stiff opposition after residents in Migori County refused to have their children vaccinated.

Last week, the Catholic Church and the government were yet again involved in a row over a planned anti-polio vaccine campaign.

The catholic clerics said that they did not trust the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who were funding the campaign.

The last indigenous polio virus case in the country was reported and confirmed in 1984.

Health workers administered Polio vaccine to a baby in Nairobi's Mlango Kubwa area.
Health workers administered Polio vaccine to a baby in Nairobi’s Mlango Kubwa area.

Defense committee chairman gives assurance on KDF Bill

The Parliamentary Defense and Foreign Affairs committee chairman, Ndung’u Gethenji has lashed out at political leaders opposing Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) amendment Bill 2015.

Gethenji said the politicians are commenting on imaginations since the Bill is yet to be committed to the floor of the national assembly.

“As a chairman and member of the committee, I cannot speak much about the amendments because I will be preempting.

Kakamega County Senator Boni Khalwale had claimed that the Bill will make KDF more independent and powerful if the Bill becomes law.

The senator further accused the Jubilee administration of introducing draconian laws to water down public freedom gained under the new constitution.

However, in response, Gethenji said the lawmakers will consider public sensitivity over the Bill.

“Before we pass any amendments, we must involve public participation and consider their input. The Bill must be faithful to Kenyans and to the spirit of the constitution. No need of raising alarm,” said Gethenji.

He added that the new amendments will address deficiencies in the security departments of the country.

Tana clashes leaves 4 dead and several injured

Tension is rising on the border between Kilifi and Tana River counties following a land dispute that has led to killings and kidnappings since Sunday.

Four people were killed on Monday in flare-up between Wardei pastoralists and Giriama farmers.

Local residents say those killed were shot, amid reports that one herdsman is missing after allegedly being kidnapped.

Police said they were aware of just one death but added that a search for the “missing people” was still on in the thickets amid reports several villagers had gone hiding in nearby bushes.

Tensions between the two ethnic groups who live in separate villages on the undefined boundary have been growing since last month when two people were killed in a clash over grazing land at Kasangani village, which is mainly occupied by Giriama farmers.

Reports show that the unsolved dispute might have been the cause of Monday’s killing at Kasangani and the alleged kidnappings in the same area on Sunday.