The News Brief: Ruto gives BBI proponents tough conditions

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

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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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Ruto outlines tough conditions before country holds plebiscite

Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday took the BBI battle to the doorstep of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. After a meeting with more than 150 of his political allies including MPs and Governors, Ruto said that the country should not hold the proposed referendum.

Ruto cited the contents of the Bill which he said needed more consensus-building while also raising issues with the timing as well as the process. The DP and his allies said that Kenyans should have the right to vote yes or no to specific issues. They also said that the country should currently dedicate its resources and energy to handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Puzzle of one-month-old firm awarded Sh1 billion Kemsa tender

Senators were on Wednesday seeking to unravel a puzzle of a one-man owned, one-month-old company that was awarded Sh1 billion tender for the supply of Covid 19 items to Kemsa. Shop ‘N’ Buy, a firm registered on February 14, was awarded multi-million tender a day after its sole owner, James Cheluley, walked to Kemsa promises and sought to supply the agency. In shocking revelations, Cheluley told the Senate Health Committee that he had not done any business with Kemsa before and only learned that the agency needed the items through other companies Shop ‘N’ Buy’ has been supplying.

He said that after learning from the companies that Kemsa was in need of emergency Covid 19 items, he wrote a letter of intent on April 29 and was issued with a commitment letter the following day. Without price negotiations or signing of any contract, Cheluley supplied the items – masks and personal protective equipment worth Sh970 million.

No business in Malindi beaches as cases of Covid-19 surge

Tourism stakeholders in the North Coast region have called on the government to come up with incentives of supporting them to cushion against the Covid 19 pandemic.

They said business has really been affected and they are unable to make ends meet due to the lack of international tourists who used to boost the economy. Currently the stakeholders among them curio operators, beach operators claimed the domestic tourists do not want to interact with locals on the beach due to the pandemic. Traders say that since Malindi was declared a hotspot for the Covid 19 Pandemic it has been difficult for them to do business.

Parastatals merger looms as treasury wards-off wastage

The National Treasury has hinted at a looming restructuring of state agencies that will see a number of them dissolved, in a move to cut wastage on taxpayers' money. Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has said the government is keen to fold agencies that have remained on the bail-out list of the exchequer year-on-year, with those with duplicating roles being merged to reduce wastage of resources.

There will also be a major restructuring in agencies that have "serious governance issues''. Some of the ministries with a high number of state agencies include agriculture, transport, tourism, energy, industrialization, trade and enterprise development, and sports, culture and heritage, which could face a major rationalisation. According to the latest Consolidated National Government Investment Report for financial year 2019/20,127 state agencies out of 247 reported losses.

Kenya accounted for 3% of malaria deaths globally in 2019

Kenya accounted for three per cent of malaria deaths and one per cent of malaria cases globally in 2019, the latest report shows. With the global number of cases and deaths standing at 229 million and 409,000 respectively in 2019, this means the country recorded 2.2 million clinical cases and 12,270 deaths as a result of malaria.

The report warns the country faces possible rapid diagnostic test stock-outs early next year should country orders fail to be delivered. It is estimated that more than 360 million people in the 11 countries with high transmission in East and Southern Africa are at high risk of malaria.