The News Brief: Uhuru’s projects in limbo over cash crisis

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.

Uhuru legacy projects in limbo over cash flow problems

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy projects are facing serious financing problems after a serious cash crunch hit the government – with less than 20 months to the end of his tenure. The Star has established that the government faces a cash-flow crisis that has pushed the Jubilee administration to drastically reduce funding the projects to free up cash for salaries and other expenses.

A new report by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango on exchequer releases by the National Treasury reveals that development projects have been hit hard as the financial crisis ravages the government. The report shows that the National Treasury has released only Sh140.57 billion to MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) for development against an annual allocation of Sh387.92 billion as of Monday this week. This translates to about 36 per cent of the total allocation.

State reopens six schools in Lamu after seven years

The government has reopened all six schools that were closed seven years ago in terror-prone areas of Lamu County over frequent attacks. They are Bodhai, Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools. More than 10 teachers were airlifted by the military and police choppers to their respective schools.

Some learners were also airlifted to school. The reopening of the schools in Lamu comes as a relief to the over 500 learners from the Boni minority community who have missed school for seven years. Last week, the six schools failed to reopen after teachers failed to report to their duty stations for fear that they would be attacked by al Shabaab militants. The major road leading to Boni Forest schools has been known to be targeted by militants who plant IEDs and attack security vehicles at any will.

Mukuru residents to get 15-year mortgage in project

Residents of Mukuru will pay Sh4,000 monthly over 10 to 15 years to own homes built under the government's social housing project. The Nairobi Metropolitan Service has said plans for the construction of the Sh15 billion Mukuru Social Housing Project are complete. NMS director-general Mohammed Badi said that the scheme will benefit residents hence must be affordable to them.

The Mukuru Social Housing Project was approved by the Cabinet in September last year. The government and private investors will jointly implement it. Badi said the government will provide construction materials and structural engineers while labour will be sourced from among the Mukuru residents.

Two PSs now to testify against ex-Treasury CS Rotich

The Kimwarer Arror dam scandal took a new twist as the Director of Public Prosecutions secured the cooperation of two former principal secretaries as witnesses against former Treasury CS Henry Rotich. Former Treasury PS Kamau Thugge who entered into a plea bargain with the state will now be the key prosecution witness against his former boss.

Also lined to testify against the former CS is his co-accused former Wildlife PS Susan Koech who also entered into a plea bargain with the state. Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti told Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti that they had dropped charges against Thugge and Koech. Muteti asked the court to withdraw the charges against the two saying they will be prosecution witnesses in the case..

Inside the shady dealings in school uniform sales

Schools are compelling parents to exclusively purchase uniforms from their dictated suppliers - typically at above-market prices. That requirement is improper, says the Competition Authority of Kenya that on Monday warned schools against the practice and told parents to complain to their website. Schools that have deals with outfitters require parents to only buy uniforms from their favoured outfitters for hundreds or thousands of learners.

In the latest case, the Star has learnt a school (name withheld) has forced parents to acquire at least five masks that are branded with the school logo as a requirement for their learners to go back to class. The exploitation of parents through special requirements and mark-ups is a long-standing racket between school heads and outfitters.