Top 5 stories in Kenya this week

A roundup of this week’s key stories:

Kenyan sets half marathon world record

Peres Jepchirchir, hailing from Kapsabet, beat three-time New York Marathon winner Mary Keitany as she set a new world mark of 65:06 at the RAK Half Marathon on Friday morning. 23-year-old Jepchirchir is the reigning world half marathon champion. The Standard described the race with Keitany as an “epic duel” that featured arguably the greatest women’s half marathon field ever assembled. Each of Jepchirchir’s 5k splits in the 21.1 km/13.1 mile race were faster than the previous as she ran 15:37 for the first 5km segment, then 15:27, 15:24 and 15:10 from 15k to 20k to finally drop Keitany. In remarks after her victory, Jepchirchir hinted that her next move may be marathon racing.

National vs county showdown shaping up on transportation

Kenya’s president has created a new Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NAMATA), which could battle with the opposition-controlled county government for authority over transit-related matters. The authority will cover Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Machakos and Kajiado counties. Uhuru Kenyatta’s decree creating the new regulatory body came just a day after he criticized Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero for his management of the transit sector in Nairobi. The country government “has achieved nothing and all they have been doing is demolishing small business premises and houses and chasing down boda boda operators instead of implementing policies to benefit city residents,” Uhuru Kenyatta said, as quoted by the Daily Nation.

Dozens of engineers leave struggling Kenya Airways

About 70 engineers have quit Kenya Airways to join carriers mainly in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. “We have had an exodus of engineers,” disclosed airline chairman Michael Joseph. “We will be looking at some adjustments in packages and things like that to attract them back.” The Standard newspaper reports that the airline is considering offering higher wages to entice back the dozens of engineers. He said they also have a shortage of pilots and are in discussions with the pilots union to allow them to hire foreign pilots on short-term contracts if the need arises.

Man charged for threatening to kill news anchor

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News Anchor Joy Doreen Bira

A man has been charged with two counts of threatening to kill Joy Doreen Bira, a news anchor with Standard Group’s KTN. Lawrence Nyamao allegedly issued the threats through SMS on January 15th, at an unknown place in Nairobi. The threats related to an earlier incident in which a colleague of Bira stole her vehicle and was later arrested. Nyamao’s SMS to the anchor in Swahili reads, “You are not lucky at work. The options are for you to die or for Aaron to get out of jail.” He was referring to KTN’s news editor Aaron Obudho was recently charged before a Nairobi court with stealing Biira’s car. Police said that Aaron stole Biri’s Mercedes Benz after taking her keys fro her desk and too it to Kisumu where he changed the vehicle license plate.

ODM ward representatives in Mombasa defect

More than 10 ward representatives in Mombasa have defected from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to the Wiper Democratic Movement. The county assembly members said they left the party because they were unhappy with its county leaders. The Nation refers to the defection as “a big blow to [ODM] leader Raila Odinga as Mombasa is an ODM stronghold.” They also reportedly do not favor the ODM candidate for governor, the incumbent Governor Ali Hassan Joho, and prefer to support for Senator Hassan Omar. Representative Jabess Mudhai said he joined Wiper because it practices “democracy” and is not engaged in “hero-worshiping”.