Top 5 Stories in Kenya This Week

A bird rests atop a boat on the shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda (Creative Commons / Adam Jones)

This week’s key stories:

Bird die-off in Uganda prompts poultry ban – Kenya has banned poultry products from Uganda after a confirmed outbreak of bird flu. Ugandan authorities detected the virus after a mass die-off of birds on the shores of Lake Victoria since early this month.

“There is still continuous death of wild ducks and other wild birds along the shores and islands of Lake Victoria in Masaka and Wakiso districts,” Uganda’s agriculture ministry announced. The ministry added that it suspects that the avian flu has been brought by migratory birds from Europe or the Americas where cases of avian flu have been recently reported.

Avian flu can spread into domestic poultry and has also infected human beings, causing death in some cases. Uganda’s health authorities are advising the public to avoid contact with live or dead wild birds.

Wife of slain ICC witness attacked in her home – Newspapers on Tuesday report that the wife of slain ICC witness Meshack Yebei, identified as Lilian Yebei, was attacked by ‘thugs’ at her home in Eldoret. The widow’s husband was murdered in unclear circumstances two years ago before he was expected to testify in the case against Deputy President William Ruto. She was admitted to hospital with deep cuts on her head. A relative claimed to The Star newspaper she had been trailed by unknown people for the last two months.

New mine-resistant vehicles for police  President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday unveiled 525 new police vehicles, including 25 with distinctive V-shaped hulls that are meant to be mine-resistant, known as MRAPs. Some will be dispatched to Lamu, where police in recent years have seen more cases of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

15975222_1535601126468435_8404125414844976163_o

A few Kenyans taunted President Kenyatta on social media for mounting one of the armored vehicles and taking hold of the gunnery. Writing on the president’s Facebook page, Solomon Danguah compared the scene to a moment in the US 1988 presidential election when Governor Michael Dukakis lost to President George Bush after posing with a tank. “The image of the diminutive Massachusetts governor pretending to be something he wasn’t and, in the process, making a fool of himself cost him the election. Hope History don’t repeat itself,” he said.

Others, however, praised Uhuru for the new vehicles saying they would strengthen police strength against unruly protesters: “Wow! This will definitely curb the menace of mass protests with sole intentions of causing unrest, loss of property and lives,” wrote another citizen. ‪

Nicholas Ondiek complained that it looked like police were “readying themselves for a war with civilians” as the elections approach. But ‪Chris Leken Kamonjoh urged people not to see the police vehicles as political in any way. “Detractors will always spill their filth. It is NOT Uhuru procuring.. Policy makers must meet the needs of the defence forces. Stop politicizing everything!”

Kilifi politician linked to alleged Sh51m scam running for governor – Former MP Danson Mungatana, who has been linked to a scandal in Kilifi County involving the theft of the Sh51 million, is eyeing the Tana River governorship in the August elections. Mungatana, a Jubilee supporter, has denied any involvement in the scam. Four directors of Nairobi-based companies were charged recently in a Kilifi court with fraud but they denied the charge and were released on cash bail of Sh1 million. Their case is scheduled for a hearing on February 28th this year in Kilifi court. The Daily Nation has the details.

Grandmas in karate program in Nairobi – A group of grandmothers in the Korogosho settlement in Nairobi is practicing wrestling and karate to protect themselves and each other as part of a program that tries to prevent sexual assault. In poor Kenyan communities the rates of sexual assault are reportedly high.

“We found someone to train us. We started doing karate. As we continued, young men realised we won’t be hurt and started backing,” one grandma told a journalist in the settlement. Another said young men in the area get too drunk to know the difference between young and old women: “They take drugs, alcohol and when it enters their head, they can’t differentiate between their elders and young girls.” For the full story.