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REASONS WHY I TURN DEAF TO THE GOSPEL OF “HUSTLER” AND EMBRACE DYNASTY

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There was a day Raila Odinga arrived in Kisumu, Ugenya and Bondo but the people who normally give him a rousing welcome could not recognise him. That was around the time Raila quietly boarded a motorboat at Ndeda Beach in Bondo at 4pm and sailed with other passengers at night to Uganda without being noticed.

Travelling under different names, sometimes dressed as a priest and other times as a Sheikh, Raila staged a dramatic escape from Kenya by boat at night, through Lake Victoria to Uganda then to Norway, to avoid arrest just before a 1991 Forum for Restoration of Democracy rally at Kamukunji, Nairobi.

That day, Raila was introduced to Kisumu and Ugenya as Father Augustine from Machakos, complete with a priest’s robe. He arrived in Uganda under the name of Joseph Ojiwa Wadeya. By the time he was leaving Uganda for Norway, his name had changed to Haji Omar, going to Mecca on pilgrimage, complete with a kanzu and a fez.

The Lang’ata MP would probably be dead today had he not made this dramatic exit. Raila remembers in his biography that as the Ford Young Turks and the six elderly men were mobilising for the Kamukunji rally, a US Embassy official, Alan Eastham, told him they had intelligence that the Government was panicking and blaming Raila for all the tension that had gripped the country then.

According to the US Embassy, the Government believed Raila was the man behind the movement despite the fact that Raila held no leadership position in Ford. The Embassy told Raila that he was likely to be arrested two days before the October 5, 1991 rally. It was not going to be an ordinary arrest. “The Moi Government had concluded that Raila no longer feared detention and Eastham warned that they could do him physical harm or assassinate him.

The advice was that Raila should take care,” the biography, Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, says. Police raided Raila’s offices in Agip House, but missed him, as he had gone to lawyer James Orengo’s office within the building. A team of lawyers, including Martha Karua, Japheth Shamalla, Martha Koome and media houses were soon at hand to witness the siege. The raid was foiled. But the struggle was not over. It was after this that Raila, Orengo and Anyang’ Nyong’o decided that it was too risky to play games with “a desperate enemy”. From this time on, Raila’s life changed.

A decision was taken that Raila should go underground. The solidarity of the Young Turks paid off for him. At that time, Raila, Mukhisa Kituyi, Paul Muite, Oki Ooko Ombaka, Karua, Kiraitu Murungi, Gibson Kamau Kuria, among others, were allies against dictatorship.

After a night at Orengo’s place, Nyong’o, Raila and Orengo decided that even that place was not safe enough. Another “trustworthy friend” took over when Raila moved to the home of Dr Kituyi, a long time activist who had been expelled with Otieno Kajwang’ from the University of Nairobi for their role in student politics.

Nyong’o drove Raila to Kituyi’s place where the Lang’ata MP stayed for a week while police hunted for him. On the first night at Kituyi’s place, police raided Raila’s home in Kileleshwa. Ida, now used to battles with the police, refused to open, insisting the man was not at home. She pretended to be looking for the keys, while she was in fact calling the press.

She asked the watchman to count the police loudly. When he reached 17 they beat him hard. Then they left with a message to Ida to tell Raila, “if he was man enough, he should come to the police station and they would know who they were.” It was time to get Raila out of Kituyi’s house, to the US Embassy. The task fell on Kituyi’s wife, Ling, who had to take him through the many roadblocks without police noticing. She changed Raila’s beards and hair, fixed him with glasses and took him to the Embassy with Dr Kituyi driving and Nyong’o following.

The Embassy gave audience to Raila, but was not willing to host him. Earlier, it had given exile to Kamau Kuria, to Moi’s chagrin. That day, Raila went to Nyong’o’s house, fearing that police would follow him to Kituyi’s house. Muite showed up. They decided Raila needed to be moved to a friend who was less politically active. They moved him to Jalang’o Anyango’s residence in Loresho where he stayed for another week.

From here, Raila issued a statement that his life was in danger. Moi, on the other hand gave an interview where he said Kenya was a one- party State by law and those going against that were guilty. The die was cast. The Catholic Church took over Raila’s issue, with Archbishop Zacheaus Okoth plotting how to get Raila out of Nairobi.

Raila moved to his sister-in- law’s house, met his children and promised them he would never go into detention again. A white American nun and a Kenyan priest Father Mak’ Opiyo, dressed in their religious dresses, got Raila out of Nairobi. They also dressed Raila as a priest, gave him glasses and with a clean-shaven head, Raila became a different person. Sitting on the back seat, Raila read newspapers as they passed police roadblocks, where they were easily waved on.

That day, even Kisumu could not recognise Raila. When the three reached the Catholic Station in Kisumu, the two priests booked a disguised Raila as Father Augustine from Machakos. He was later transferred to Rang’ala Mission in Ugenya where, again, he was booked in as Father Augustine. His father sent a car to collect him at midnight.

It was time for Raila to leave the country by boat. At 4pm, Raila went to Olago beach in Bondo and boarded a diesel- powered boat. The lake was rough that evening, and the driver had to collect other passengers at Ndeda island. They left Ndeda at 8pm and headed for Uganda. “The boat moved slowly using only the moon and the stars for navigation on an initially calm night,” the biography says.

After two hours, the driver, Hezron Orori, who was also carrying one of his wives who was sick, announced that they were in Uganda. That provided some relief for Raila, before a heavy storm hit the lake. It was cold, and Orori’s sick wife began to shiver. “Raila lent her his jacket and became cold himself,” the writer says. Raila turned to a bottle of Vodka a friend had given him. It gave him some warmth. Raila spent the night in Sigulu, one of the formerly Kenyan islands that had been annexed by Idi Amin.

Here, with the help of sympathetic Kenyans, Ugandans and Tanzanians, Raila acquired Ugandan papers. But his name changed. He became Joseph Ojiwa Wadeya. In Kampala, Raila landed in the hands of a friend who had worked for his company, the East African Spectre, who reported his arrival to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Uganda reported to Kenyan authorities that Raila was there.

There was fear that Kenyan intelligence forces in Kampala could abduct Raila and return him home. UNHCR asked Raila to remain underground saying Kenya had sent security forces to search for him. But Uganda declined to help the Kenyan forces. Germany, US and Britain, all keen not to ruffle relations with Moi, were reluctant to give asylum to Raila. Only Norway, which had cut relations with Kenya, accepted Raila.

To leave Uganda for Norway, Raila had to be disguised again. Ahmed Sayyid Farah, a Somali national who was the UNHCR country representative in Uganda, decided they were not going to take chances. Farah got Raila a kanzu with a fez and a jacket similar to those of Uganda Muslims to wear. His name changed to Haji Omar, going to Mecca on pilgrimage. A friend who had boarded Sabena Airlines in Nairobi could not recognise Raila when he boarded in Kampala.

His sisters who waited for him at the airport in Oslo could not recognise him either. Back home, Raila’s wife Ida was still fighting. She issued a press statement detailing why Raila had to, and stubbornly insisted that if anything happened to her husband, she would hold the police responsible.

She said thugs had attacked Raila’s car at their gate and a day later, an unidentified persons left a bucketful of faeces on their backyard. Police were calling their house every day and leaving death threats, she said. “The latest telephone message that police will shoot him if they caught up with him is the most terrifying.

The police have created a lot of fear in our children with these threats. The children freeze every time the phone rings or whenever there is a knock on the door,” Ida protested. “Last week, our daughter broke down in class. I am afraid our children can’t take it anymore. I appeal to the police to stop it for the sake of the children. In this country, all children are supposed to occupy a special place in the hearts of the leaders,” Ida said.

She insisted that those hunting Raila down were not ordinary policemen. “Never before have I heard policemen leaving death messages to people they intend to arrest. May be the tactics have changed. When they say openly that he will see fire or he will see what he has never seen before or that he will never see the sun again, these messages mean the same thing, that they will kill him.”

Ida complained that on October 4 1991, a rowdy and rude group of about 20 uniformed and plain clothed policemen attempted to get to their house by force. Earlier, police had invaded East African Spectre and harassed employees, staged continuous surveillance on the company and at Raila’s home.

At the company, they left the message that Raila should report to Central Police Station. “It was ominous that when we reported to the Central Police Station, no officer at that station knew about his requirement to report,” Ida said in the lengthy statement. “I want to state very clearly and in no uncertain terms that if something happens to Raila, my family will hold police wholly responsible.”

A day later, Raila’s father, Jaramogi weighed in with a statement asking police to leave his son alone. “I appeal to the Commissioner of Police to put a stop to this nonsense. I appeal to the head of the Special Branch, whose professional duty is to advise the Government on political matters as they relate to the security of society to advise against the Gestapo behaviour.”

Apparently, Raila had not left the country or even Nairobi, when this statement was issued. But it created the impression that he was out. It was not the first time Ida was showing this act of defiance in what was increasingly becoming a family’s battle with the State. A few years earlier, Ida had been sacked from her teaching job “in public interest.” That came after she took the State to court in 1988 to demand Raila’s release. A letter of retirement was delivered to her at Kenya High School on September 12, 1988, telling her to handover all school property and leave within six hours. Nobody, not even the Kenya National Union of Teachers protested.

Only the late Bishop Alexander arap Muge did. When international pressure mounted, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) changed tact. Mr J Kang’ali wrote to Ida about a week later: “The TSC has carefully reviewed its decision on this matter and having taken into account your previous record of service as a teacher, it has been decided that you be reinstated back to the teaching service, on humanitarian grounds.”

TSC declined to take responsibility for the inconveniences to Ida. In early 1991, an uncowed Ida fired a lengthy letter to Attorney General Mathew Muli, demanding to know why Raila was being persecuted. “Why is it that up to now, Raila has not been told specifically what it is that he did to warrant detention without trial? Would you not agree that general reference to his involvement or association with persons is not specific at all? How can he change if his offences are not specified?” she asked. In the end, Norway gave Raila an asylum, a job and a passport that allowed him to travel to all countries except Kenya. He had lived to fight another day and launch an attack on the Nyayo Government from abroad. He returned later to take the Lang’ata seat in 1992.

by Alloyce Ojwang’ Oyoo

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How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse and Litigation by Conducting Real Estate Due Diligence

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While investing in or buying real estate property, one of the biggest risks is that you are also buying the seller’s problem. However, you can avoid future problems by conducting due diligence. This process not only gives you, the buyer-investor, an opportunity to receive full disclosure of the facts and conditions of a potential asset, but also a chance to determine whether you can trust the seller.

Due diligence stretches beyond the basic inspection report that you should review before deciding to purchase a property. It allows you to obtain as much information as possible about the property developer. And with the majority of mixed-use properties purchased off-plan, or at least early on in construction, the importance of due diligence cannot be stressed enough.

Having a due diligence checklist on your real estate partner ensures that you are in a position not only to protect your investment or property but also to protect yourself from various risks including future litigation while also protecting future occupants from harm.

Choose a Company with a Proven Track Record

A well-established development company with a proven track record and projects already brought to fruition will give investors and buyers some instant peace of mind.   Therefore, before you venture into a real estate transaction, investigate the standing, reputation, and track record of your real estate partner.

Not only may this indicate a less-than-scrupulous transacting partner, but the reputation of a company may also hurt the property and future earnings if you are an investor.

Where are the real estate company’s offices located? What projects have they successfully done? What type of projects do they handle? How many title deeds or relevant documents have they issued? Do they have valid identification for the business and their staff? These are some of the questions that should be answered while conducting due diligence on the real estate partner.

Check the Reviews

It also pays to determine what the customers say about the property developer. Take time to investigate and go through testimonials on social media, their website, and the contents they prepare. Luckily, it has become easy to research and look for news stories online. Search online to see if there is some good press on the development company, new or current developments.

Also, listen to what other like-minded investors have to say about their experiences. This will give you a feel for the company, its delivery, and customer service.

Ask for Project Details

It is also equally important to check who owns the land on the project you are considering as well as the project details. If you are an investor, find out how well your deposit is covered and how your deposit monies or stage payments are ring-fenced.  Ask how project-cost management is controlled and if there is a contingency plan by the developer for any shortfall of any kind.

Making the Decision

Every real estate transaction is different and requires a unique due diligence plan. Moving too quickly — and failing to perform comprehensive due diligence — can create problems for even the most experienced investors. Fortunately, there are real estate partners that can walk with you through your journey while maintaining transparency.

A good example is Mi Vida – a fully capitalized homebuilder conceived through a KES 12 billion joint venture between Actis and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate. Actis is responsible for some of the most notable mixed-use real estate projects in Kenya including Garden City Mall, Garden City Residentials, and the Garden City Business Park. Other projects developed by the builder in Nairobi include The Junction Mall and the Nairobi Gate industrial park.

Both Actis and SPRE have a proven track record of over 220 years in combined real estate and have developed over 1 million square feet of real estate globally. Their determination to bring affordable housing solutions to sub-Sahara Africa saw the birth of Mi Vida, a real estate partner you can trust. By anchoring on the expertise of the partnership between Actis and SPRE, Mi Vida has maintained its solemn promise of on-time delivery and exceptional quality, even through the Covid-19 period.

Since its inception, it has sold over fifty percent of the first phase of the construction, and it continues to sell today as it inches closer to completion by Q2 of 2022, having begun construction in March 2020. The company currently offers 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments from KES 8.8m next to Garden City, off exit 7 Thika Superhighway. Visit www.mividahomes.com for more information.

 

By: Ciru Okobi

Commercial Director – Garden City

cokobi@gardencity-nairobi.com

 

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Mi Vida Home Builders Achieve 1 million Man-Hours Incident Free

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Residential developer Mi Vida homes has achieved a major safety milestone after surpassing more than a million work hours without a reportable accident. This hallmark achievement has been attributed to the developer’s strong focus on health and safety by instilling strict values and targets within the wider network of workers on its construction sites. This has been quite commendable especially in a country that experiences high rate of accidents and loss of life among workers.

 

In 2017, a report by the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) recorded 237 construction-related accidents in four years, with about 115 men aged 21 to 40 being seriously injured, some of them sustaining lifetime disabilities. The accidents include electrocution, falls from roofs, injuries caused by falling debris, explosions, and fire-related accidents, among others.

Mi Vida project Director Mayur Sancheti said controlling accidents in large construction sites is a challenge but they can be preventable if the right safety measures are implemented. “This milestone is a credit to the diligence of the Mi Vida construction team, Eco-Hub Services Ltd and Esteel Construction team, where a strong field leadership and excellent craft workers engage safety measures on each project on daily basis”, Sancheti added.

Mi Vida was created through a joint venture between Actis, a leading growth markets investor who have been active in the region for over 70 years and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate (SPRE), the real estate arm of one of India’s largest conglomerates aims to complete the first phase by the second quarter of 2022. The company currently offers 1-,2- and 3-bedroom apartments from KES 8.8m next to Garden City, off exit 7 Thika Superhighway.

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Actis and SPRE, Two Industry Giants with Commitment to Shape Africa’s Real Estate Landscape

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Arabella Townhouses developed by SPRE in Dubai.

In mid-2019, Actis, a leading investor in growth markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, the real estate arm of one of India’s largest construction conglomerates, with a group presence in over 70 countries and with projects today across fifteen countries in Africa, created Mi Vida, an institutional homebuilder through a 12-billion-shilling joint venture.

The joint venture was formed with the sole purpose of building middle-income homes across Africa; a move aimed at solving today’s issues around quality, affordability, and delivery within the middle-income housing sector.

The project, which began with Mi Vida Homes in Kenya, was particularly well received in the country where affordable housing remains a challenge. Kenya has a housing demand of 200,000 units every year but the market can only deliver 50,000 units.

With the area of focus being the Sub-Saharan region, Mi Vida is a culmination of Actis and SPRE’s international expertise, brought together to provide quality affordable homes.

Investing in a home is an important life choice and that’s why Actis and Shapoorji promote confidence for those investor buyers who recognize the value of a good track record and the commitment to delivering real estate projects on time and to the highest standards.

The two have over 220 years of collective experience behind them, building iconic and award-winning properties globally. From palaces in Oman to high-rise offices, hotels, airports, and railway stations in China, India, and across Africa, Actis and SPRE have invested in and built over 20 million square meters of real estate.

Currently, Actis manages the largest real estate private equity fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Some of its real estate projects include Garden City mixed-use project encompassing retail and residential units in Kenya. The project includes the Garden City Mall, Garden City Residentials, and the Garden City Business Park. Other projects developed by the builder in Nairobi include The Junction Mall and the Nairobi Gate industrial park.

Like other Actis projects, Garden City has sustainability at its core and was the first mixed-use development in East Africa to gain LEED’s green certification. It was also awarded Vision 2030 status by the Kenyan Government in recognition of its economic growth impact shortly after breaking ground in July 2013.

Other Actis real estate projects in Africa include Heritage Place, a world-class development situated in Lagos’ commercial and retail area; and Nigeria’s world-class shopping destinations such as The Palms, Ikeja City Mall, Jabi Lake Mall, and Twin Lakes Mall.

These malls follow in the footsteps of other retail and office spaces developed by the builder: Accra Mall, One Airport Square, and The Exchange residential and retail property in Ghana; Capital Properties in Tanzania;  l’avenue, the first, large scale, institutional quality offering in Douala, Cameroon; Racegame, Maputo’s first A-grade shopping center in Mozambique; and York Commercial Park in Zambia.

While SPRE has developed 14 residential and 4 commercial projects in India, its joint venture with Actis for the development of Mi Vida marked a continuation of a journey for Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate in the sub-Saharan African Region.

Currently, there is a huge demand for affordable and middle-income homes in Africa. The current housing backlog in the continent accounts for at least 51 million units, with large variation across countries. Some countries in the sub-Saharan region such as Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa, have housing backlogs of at least 2 million units. This is part of the reason why Actis and SPRE serve to bridge the gap in the market and bring solutions to ensure the region’s growing population matches its infrastructure.

A look at the population growth in the region is a key trend for real estate development. According to the United Nations, by 2100 there will be four billion people in Africa, one billion of whom will live in Nigeria. In 2015, 42% of Africa was urban. By 2050, this figure will be 62%.

These stats show the urgent need for good-quality and affordable housing. The demand for housing units and office spaces and an extreme lack of supply has made cities such as Nairobi some of the most expensive markets with prime rents remaining awfully expensive.

Luckily, the long-term prospects of real estate investment in Sub-Saharan Africa are appealing thanks to industry giants such as Actis and SPRE. The two have developed more than 1 million square feet of real estate globally. In Kenya they bringing world class mixed-use developments that incorporate green spaces.  These features allow a symbiotic relationship that allows the best use of spaces while reducing the impact on the environment.

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Transforming the Logistics Business: Inside Why Transmwami international

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Building trust with clients continues to be the simplest solution to complex logistic challenges.

It is for this reason that Transmwami international limited has diversified transportation and provision of logistics to clients as well as the safety of their cargo.

With vast experience in the gas and petroleum mining industry, Transmwami international limited has the ability to guarantee comprehensive, high quality and safety of the client’s cargo.

Led by Kelvin Essoa, C.E.O, Transmwami international limited is able to employ professionalism in its operations.

Kelvin Essoa Nkoy offers support to the mining and logistics operations allowing the company to have an in depth knowledge of the needs of our customers thus developing a sense of urgency and precision.

With Essoa at the helm, Transmwami international limited is able to meet the requirements of the industry which range from; Improved quality and safety standards, good innovation towards the supply chain and compliance with the environmental, social and legal standards.

“Today’s business environment is fueled by trust,” says Kelvin Essoa Nkoy. “Through the years, trust and reliability are some of the pillars that dictate the operations of Transmwami International Limited that have allowed us to solve logistical challenge successfully,” he adds.

Among the services offered by Transmwami international limited include consultancy, transportation of engineering equipment’s and warehouse management.

Choosing Transmwami International Limited is beneficial to individuals and businesses seeking a comprehensive solution that is tailored to meet their logistics needs through innovation, high quality, offer safety and its cost saving.

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Absa Partners With Mi Vida to Offer Affordable Mortgage Financing Targeting Middle Class Earners.

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  • Absa has partnered with property developer Mi Vida to provide preferential mortgage benefits to prospective and existing customers, with an aim of making it easy for middle income families to buy quality homes.
  • 25-year tenor is the longest repayment period in the market
  • The units being financed will include 1, 2-and 3 bedroom apartments with prices ranging from Sh8.8 to 15.7 million.

Wednesday, 16 June, 2021… Absa Bank Kenya has introduced a 25-year mortgage facility targeting middle income families seeking affordable homes within Nairobi.

 

The proposition seeks to increase mortgage uptake by prospective homeowners, offering options towards home ownership such as construction loans and home loans for self-employed individuals (SMEs) with a dedicated a team of experts who will walk customers throughout every step of buying or constructing their dream home.

 

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Absa customers will also benefit from established partnerships with players in the home ownership value chain such as property developers, furnishing partners and home appliance partners, who will offer homeowners a wide range of benefits among them great discounts.

 

This was announced as the bank signed a financing partnership with Mi Vida Homes where customers will enjoy a discounted rate of 12.5% p.a with up to 90% financing.

 

Speaking during the signing of the Absa-Mi Vida partnership, Peter Mutua, Absa Bank Customer Network Director, urged both existing and prospective customers to invest in the lengthened payment period and low interest rates of the Absa – Mi Vida mortgage proposition to own their dream homes.

 

“As a truly African bank, we understand that home is where the heart is. This is why we have availed the Absa – Mi Vida mortgage facility to employed and self-employed customers, presenting a lifetime chance to own ready-to-move-in homes. As a bank, we believe in developing sustainable financing models for our customers, we are offering up to 90% financing within market rates, over a period of 25 years to service their loans,’’ says Mr. Mutua.

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The proposition is one of the bank’s contributions towards the government’s housing pillar under the Big 4 Agenda and aims to provide quality family homes with sociable amenities and green spaces that enhance quality of living spaces to potential homeowners.

 

“We have a team of dedicated experts that will walk the journey with customers using our financial and non-financial expertise to provide credible information, services and solutions throughout every step of acquiring their dream home.” adds Mr. Mutua.

 

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Mr. Antony Kambiriri, Chief Financial Officer Mi Vida, said, “We are delighted to partner with Absa Bank Kenya as it brings us closer to our goal of addressing the shortage of middle-income housing in Kenya. There is a huge demand for affordable and middle-income homes and through this partnership, we will bridge the gap in this market to exceed customers’ expectations.”

 

Mi Vida’s project at Garden City, is a first of its kind with the development centred on green space and family living. Phase 1 at Garden City offers 1. 2- and 3-Bedroom Apartments. Launched in 2019, under construction and on course to be complete by March of 2022.

 

Besides the Mi Vida proposition, Absa’s mortgage flexible offers different options towards home ownership such as financing land purchases and disbursing construction loans as well as home loans for self-employed individuals.

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