7 interesting things that made the news this week (18th Aug – 24th Aug)

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Didn’t have time to catch up with all of the week’s news stories? Relax, follow Herbusiness summary and commentary of the most interesting things that made the news headlines in Kenya.

Civil servants wealth declaration suspended

The directive for public-sector workers to disclose their wealth has been suspended by the Public Service Commission (PSC). Civil servants were to reveal shares, bonds and properties they owned. The disclosure also touched on any consultative work. The reason for this was to address embezzlement and conflict of interest. But, as confirmed by PSC vice chair, Peter Ole Nkuraiyia, this has been suspended. He said, “The deferment was necessitated by feedback the commission had received from public service institutions and other stakeholders.” Let’s hope they iron out issues from the “feedback.” We have enough “tycoons” with sketchy public-service history.

Prisoners Hunger Games

It has been so many days since the Moody Awori times, when prisoners made the 9pm news. This week, prisoners at the Industrial Area Remand were protesting over “brutality, substandard service provision and mismanagement.” They demanded for the officer-in-charge, overseeing their tribulation, to be removed. They also said that an inmate died from beatings. The Commissioner of Prisons, Isaiah Osago denied these claims, plus additional “misinformation” circulating online. I know empathy for prisoners is a hard sell. But what do you think of the development that the protesting prisoners were transferred to Kamiti Maximum Security prison?

Blockchain

We covered our fair share of blockchain, so that of it ever hits like the dreamers tell us it will then we’ll be on the right side of history – read here. Kenyan Government officials changed tune, a bit, on the issue. First, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) let it be known that they are considering it as part of election reform. IEBC is confident it can utilize blockchain to release real time results. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which warned the public off cryptocurrency and whose head has been against “experimenting on Kenyans” with all sorts of financial services, sang a similar tune. CBK is receptive of “opportunities” from emerging technology. Cautious as ever, it called for regulation to mitigate against “risk” arising from the same.

Disabled children to join regular school

In keeping with the times, the Ministry of Education sees this as the right time to have disabled children attend regular schools. This would reduce stigma and integrate special needs kids into society, better. Director of Basic Education, Abdi Habat is pretty passionate about this (we should hope so!). He asked, “Are we saying they are not part of our society? Can they not learn along with others? Yet when these children reach university, they go to the same institutions.” It is good but they have to make it work. In some quarters, concerns have been raised over infrastructure-readiness…with as much passion (we should hope so!)

Schools receive STEM kits

Nine schools selected to impart skill in STEM have, this week, received robotic science kits. The schools are in Western Kenya. These will be used from third term, 2018. 27 teachers were also trained on the same. They will identify learners interested in technology and innovation, and integrate this learning into normal school curriculum. A teacher commented that the initiative is, “designed to prepare learners to innovate and come up with practical solutions to problems bedeviling communities in the rural setup.” The project is overseen, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, by the Center for Mathematics, Science, Technology, Education in Africa (CEMASTEA).

Kenyans rated for hard work

Chill, it was only Kenyans in the diaspora. It all adds up now. Remittances is a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya. We hate the brain drain, but they send so much money. Anyway, a report on immigrant groups in the US has ranked Kenyans third on job skill and work ethic. The Bloomberg Report scored Kenyans at 73.4% in terms of the two metrics. Only Ghana (75.2%) and Bulgaria (74.2%) work harder. Africans. generally, were rated to work hard. A Bloomber journalist involved in the report was so moved he said, “If we want more highly skilled and hardworking English-speaking imigrants. it looks like the most obvious place to find them is in Africa.” The report comes against a backdrop of anti-immigration sentiment prevailing in the country. There are 120,000 Kenyans living, working and studying legally in the US.

Nakuru to host film festival

How cultured do you consider yourself to be? Haha. Look away if not. Lake International PanAfrican Film Festival (LIPFF) will be holding its annual film festival in Nakuru, between 7th to 10th November. LIPFF is part of Dr. Zippora Okoth’s mission. She is the first woman in Kenya to attain a PhD in theater arts, from a Kenyan university. She will oversee this film festival featuring 145 films made in African languages (yes, there will be subtitles). Dr. Zippora confirmed, “films from 14 African countries will be screened during the festival.”

Screening will happen at Nakuru Players Theater, Kenya National Library Services plus the Bondeni and Kaptembwo social halls.

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