The News Brief: Obama recalls ‘over the top’ reception in 2006 trip to Kenya

Here is your summary of stories making headlines in the Star.

In Summary

The Star News Brief gives you a summary of the stories making headlines in Kenya today and offers you a glimpse of what to expect in tomorrow's newspaper.

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Peter Kenneth: Raila has what it takes to be president

Former US President Barack Obama. /FILE
Former US President Barack Obama. /FILE

Former US President Barack Obama has fondly narrated his experience when he first visited Kenya as a Senator in 2006. In his new book, A Promised Land, Obama writes that abetted by wall to wall coverage by the local press, the Kenyan response to his family’s presence was over the top.

He describes the reactions in Kibera and his father’s ancestral home in K’ogalo where they publicly took a HIV test with his wife Michelle. He adds that they escaped the commotion only when they visited the national park. The book launched on November 17 has been a hit globally selling over 890,000 copies in the first 24 hours within the US and Canada.

Covid-19, cash crisis threaten to stall Uhuru, Raila BBI reggae

The Building Bridges Initiative reggae has been paused yet again, jolting the unity drive into a deeper wave of uncertainty. President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday put off the launch of the collection of one million signatures to back the report.

Even so, the process, which would impact the 2022 elections, was already marred by concerns of its timing in the face of the ravaging Covid19 pandemic. The handshake principals are under pressure to build consensus on the document to avert a contested referendum that would result in ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides. The resource constraint – which has affected all state agencies - has been worsened by the sorry state of the economy. Kenya is technically broke and has heavily relied on borrowings of about Sh1.15 trillion to survive the pandemic.

Uhuru’s big projects in race to deliver big four legacy agenda


President Uhuru Kenyatta is angling to steer through the ravaging Covid19 pandemic in a bid to deliver his Big Four pet projects. Pressed for time, President Kenyatta’s administration has lined up projects tied to the health, food security, manufacturing, and affordable housing pillars. The government seeks to dedicate massive resources to the projects whose funding had been hit by budget cuts following Covid19 outbreak.

In this regard, the government intends to spend for the next three years Sh1.3 trillion in infrastructure, energy, and ICT projects. Housing and components of manufacturing fall under this sector. Jubilee administration plans to put Sh118 billion towards agriculture for the said period and Sh354 billion towards healthcare. Some Sh24.5 billion will be spent next financial year in efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

High-end apartments discharge raw sewage into River Athi

A section of Mavoko residents in Machakos has threatened to demonstrate against owners of some high-end apartments for discharging sewerage in the neighbourhood water bodies. They accuse the administration, environmental agencies and politicians of turning a blind eye as their health is threatened. The Star investigations show that human waste and sewerage are discharged in the open, dams and streams, which all end up in River Athi where some people fish and other source irrigation water.

The apartments, especially those in Mlolongo and Athi River discharge raw waste using well-hidden underground pipes and drains to the water bodies. The contaminated water is used to irrigate vegetables and other food items sold to unsuspecting consumers in Mavoko, Nairobi, Kitengela and Machakos town.