Weekend roundup: Top news stories in Kenya

Opposition politicians Raila Odinga (right) and Musalia Mudavadi (left) at a recent NASA coalition leadership meeting (Photo credit: Musalia Mudavadi / Twitter)

Tired of all the news blather? Try catching up on only key headlines and facts with our roundup of stories from the past week. News without the noise.

World Bank projects economic slowdown

Kenya’s economy faces a slowdown in growth from a projected 6% to 5.5%, according to the World Bank. The bank released a report in Nairobi on Wednesday saying the ongoing drought has led to crop failure, dying herds of livestock, and increased food insecurity. Secondly, Kenya faces a marked slowdown in credit growth to the private sector.

Employers’ body says wage increases pushing them out of Kenya

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) says the cost of doing business in Kenya has gone up significantly compared to neighbors Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. Kenya also compares unfavorably to other economic powers on the continent including Rwanda and Egypt. The employers’ federation warns that further increasing minimum wages will push employers to relocate jobs elsewhere. This comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the private sector to give Kenyan workers salary increments on the next Labour Day.

Attack on police post in Laikipia

A police officer was killed and two others abducted when Pokot raiders attacked Matweku police post in Laikipia Nature Conservancy on Thursday. Two officers were wounded during the attack. Herders looking for pasture amid a drought have been invading ranches in Laikipia over the past two months.

‘Terror suspect’ arrested in Mombasa

A terror suspect was on Friday arrested in Mombasa by officers from the Anti Terror Police Unit, according to a report in The Star. The officers searched the house of the 24 year old and recovered two hand grenades, ammunition, binoculars, and a camouflage jacket.

Funeral for Margaret Wambui Kenyatta

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Margaret Wambui Kenyatta, half-sister of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, has passed away at age 89. The daughter of Jomo Kenyatta and his first wife Grace Wahu, Wambui was born the Dagoretti area of Nairobi. Her parents separated when her father went to live in London in 1929. She became the first girl to enroll at Alliance High School, a boys’ school, in 1948. Wambui served as mayor of Nairobi from 1970 to 1976, and later as Kenya’s envoy to the United Nations from 1976 to 1986. Her younger half-brother Uhuru, speaking at her funeral, described her as “a strong woman who has been a pillar of our family.” Wambui’s only son, former High Court judge Patrick John Kamau, died in 2005.

Election developments

  • Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has cancelled a Saturday tour of Lamu. The tour was aimed at solidifying support for ODM and the NASA alliance in the county. An ODM official in Lamu attributed the cancellation to the ongoing controversies over party nominations.
  • Violence and smear campaigns have marred ODM nominations in Busia County. Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa’s vehicle was smashed, its tires deflated and the driver attacked by rowdy youth on Wednesday night. And earlier, a fake newspaper article doing the rounds claimed that Dr Paul Otuoma had defected to Jubilee – a claim similar to one voiced by the rival candidate Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, who says Otuoma is a Jubilee candidate masquerading as an ODM contender.
  • A fresh political split is emerging among the Somali community in Isiolo over the choice for the county’s gubernatorial candidate, Daily Nation reports. Some of the elders do not want to renominate Senator Mohamed Kuti, saying he has not done enough for the constituency.
  • Musalia Mudavadi’s campaign manager Godfrey Kanoti claims the existence of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ struck late last year among the opposition NASA alliance principals that would make Mudavadi presidential candidate for the NASA ticket while Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka would be the running mate and Raila Odinga would be prime minister, according to a report in The Star. However, the ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed trashed the revelation as “bar talk”. NASA principals have reportedly been at odds over which candidate to choose as their flag-bearer.

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