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Old Glory: Why our heritage sites empty

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By WILLIAM RUTHI
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The Tom Mboya square in Nairobi is a magnet for a motley crowd every day of the week.

Photographers call out passers-by, urging them to pose for a keepsake picture by the Mboya monument.

Itinerant preachers are a common fixture here on most afternoons, their target the many people who sit on the low wall next to the monument.

At the centre, the Tom Mboya statue looms tall, towering above the daily theatre. Now and then, someone stops to look at the statue, perhaps to mull Mboya’s place in the country’s history.

Across from the monument, about 50 metres away, is the Kenya National Archives (KNA), sitting in its own glory; standing out in its Indian vernacular architecture. It is a grand building, and like most buildings of historical importance, has a lonesome face to it.

It is not cold or forbidding, but there isn’t a flurry of feet walking up the steps leading to the door.

But traffic was markedly different when the KNA held the Kenya National Archives and Documentation International Archives week, an exhibition that ran from June 3 to 7.

Hundreds of people milled in the tent pitched outside the archives to view rare pictures depicting the country’s history, formerly classified documents and other general-interest items.

The halls of the archives, usually hollow in the working week, rang with the sound of footsteps.

“It is apparent many people are not aware of what the Archives offers,” said Darmi Kadida, a records officer at the KNA.

“Someone asked me how much we charge at the gate, and was shocked when I told him (Sh50 for Kenyan citizens, Sh200 for foreigners). He thought it was much more than that.”

Historians and noted anthropologists have over the years decried the lack of interest in the country’s history among the general population.

One of the goals the week-long exhibition hoped to achieve was to try and pique the interest of Kenyans in their country’s history; to offer an invite to the general population.

Like the Archives, many other depositories of history around the country are not living up to their capacity and potential.

The Nyeri branch of the National Museums of Kenya sits in the midst of history.

Within the well-groomed lawns behind Ruring’u Stadium, outside Nyeri Town, is the Mau Mau Veterans office; and across the road, down by a scattering of trees, is a spot of land where in 1952 hundreds of men and women gathered to declare war on British rule – an event that birthed the Mau Mau militant uprising.

A stone obelisk commemorates the momentous occasion and its aftermath.

The halls of the museums and the spacious picture gallery carry precious items, from homemade guns used by Mau Mau fighters to a haunting register of those in the old Nyeri district killed by the British, as well as traditional work tools.

The walls in the gallery showcase pictures marking important moments in Kenya’s history.

But, you wouldn’t know any of that unless you were actively looking. There isn’t any signage announcing the presence of the museum.

This would explain the spare entries in the guest log — about four visitors a day most weekdays, though there is no entry charge for visitors.

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Kelvin Mwangi remembers discovering the Nyeri Museums while a student at Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri.

“A friend had told me about the collection, the place,” he says. “I was surprised; I had no idea.”

In 2014, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria announced an ambitious plan to rehabilitate the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine, the alleged origin of the Gikuyu people, at Gaturi in Murang’a.

Once a thriving tourist site in the 90s, the shrine had fallen on hard times, neglected by the defunct Murang’a town council and abandoned by the National Museums of Kenya, under whose mandate heritage sites fall.

The pledge by the county leadership appears to have been written in the wind.

The website of the Murang’a County government breezily announces the Mukurwe shrine as a top tourist consideration.

The boilerplate-styled description reads in part: “This is the ancestral home of Gikuyu and Mumbi … and as such, rich cultural and spiritual heritage imaginations are told making it a pilgrimage destination.”

In 2017, the Nation carried a story about the state of the Mukurwe shrine. At the time, the local community had taken charge of the site, including gate collection.

Shortly after the story was published, an official from the National Museums of Kenya, wrote, saying that the institution had noted the concern.

A recent visit to the shrine revealed that little has changed. In the sloping weed-festooned compound sit 10 huts — they represent the daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi.

They are squalid, the only sign of life the messages scrawled on the walls in charcoal and chalk by past visitors.

Margaret Mukami is one of the community women who works as a tour guide, and is also a part of a dance troupe that provides entertainment at a fee.

When she talks about the shrine, her eyes sparkle. She wishes things were better, that the place received more attention. The gate charge for adults is Sh100.

Revival? It is the day before the Archives exhibition week closes and the tent is full. A young man moves in the crowd, pointing out the pictures.

He is slightly tippled but coherent, and he knows a good deal about the people staring from the walls. He is a volunteer guide, he explains.

He has been to the Archives before and loved it and thinks that everyone should go. It is not always this busy, he says.

Outside in the afternoon sun, Tom Mboya’s statue stands, as always. But as the young volunteer said, it is not always the same, not today.

Seen from a certain angle so that Mboya’s likeness looks out dead into the door of the Archives building, Mboya seems to ask the people sitting around and those at the statue to go discover history.

With the sweep of his outstretched hand, he appears to summon everyone: if you walk into the door you might just find something.

He could be speaking to the collective in all the places rich in history that are empty.





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DP Ruto ready to contest for Jubilee party’s ticket for 2022

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Deputy President William Ruto has welcomed competition for the Jubilee Party’s presidential nomination ticket for the 2022 candidate.  

Ruto says he will respect the Party’s choice for a flag bearer going into the 2022 Presidential poll.

The Deputy President spoke as an opinion poll conducted by the Insight Strategists Solutions Africa showed he is the most preferred candidate for President.

Speaking in Elgeyo Marakwet, Ruto said he was ready to follow any political direction paved by the Jubilee Party.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 22163

There has been growing concern within the DP’s camp that Raila Odinga may be harboring ulterior motives, a scheme they say is meant to elbow Ruto out from the 2022 political matrix.

The sentiments coming as a research conducted by Insight Strategists Solutions revealed Ruto is the most preferred presidential candidate followed by Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

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The Opinion poll conducted between 29th April and 3rd May and which sampled 1,702 in Nairobi, Nyanza, Coast, Rift Valley and North Eastern among other regions puts Ruto at 30.81%, Raila Odinga at 27.5% followed by Mike Sonko at 12.8% with Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi polling a distant fourth with 9.3%

 

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William Ruto would beat Raila Odinga if elections are held today

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– The DP scored 30.81% in the survey, followed closely by Raila who scored 27.5%

– Coming third was Nairobi governor Mike Sonko who scored 12.8% in the poll

– Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Senator Gideon Moi came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively

– Survey was conducted by Insight Strategists Solutions between April 29 and May 3, 2019

A new opinion poll has shown Deputy President William Ruto would be the most preferred presidential candidate if elections were held today, leading with 30.81%.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga would follow closely with 27.5% with Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko coming at third place with 12.8% in the poll.

READ ALSO: Raila Odinga’s son backs Orengo’s plan to impeach William Ruto

New poll shows William Ruto is most preferred presidential candidate with 30.81% followed by
Raila Odinga with 27.5% and Mike Sonko at third place with 12.8%.Photo: TUKO.
Source: Original

READ ALSO: Wakenya wataka Peter Kenneth akamatwe kufuatia tuhuma za ufisadi

Releasing the findings of opinion poll on Sunday, June 16, Insights Strategist Solution (ISS) lead researcher Peter Macharia said Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi scored 9.3%, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka 8.5%, Baringo senator Gideon Moi 2.7%.

According to the poll, governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa) received 0.9% and 0.8% respectively.

“Sonko is the most preferred candidate by 18-29 age group as rated by 38% of the respondents, Ruto the most preferred candidate by 30-44 age group with 37.5% of the respondents.

Raila and Ruto are still holding their blocks tight with 66% and 65% in Nyanza and Rift Valley respectively,” Macharia said.

DP Ruto would beat Raila if elections are held today, new opinion poll shows

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa) received 0.9% and 0.8% respectively according to the ISS poll. Photo: TUKO.
Source: Original

READ ALSO: You will soon know who we are-Raila responds to William Ruto

The lead researcher, however, clarified the situation could change since 14% of those polled said they were still undecided.

The poll was conducted by the Insight Strategists Solutions between April 29 and May 3, 2019, with a sample size of 1,702 respondents across 38 counties.

And in as far as running mates are concerned, Macharia said if elections were held today, then Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i would be the most preferred running mate as rated by 22.4% of the respondents followed by Makueni governor Kibutha Kibwana with 18.3%.

Former Kiambu governor William Kabogo came third with 15.5%, Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria fourth with 9.6%, Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru 7.8% and Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya 7.3%.

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READ ALSO: William Ruto sees ODM’s hand in opinion poll ranking him as most corrupt leader

On the fight against corruption, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was ranked highest with 42.6% followed by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) with 40.4%.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission(EACC) came a distant third with 7.7%.

When asked whether or not another referendum would be necessary, 79% responded in the affirmative, 17% said no while 5% said they are not sure.

The highest call for a referendum was recorded in Rift Valley with 87%, followed by Central with 86% while Western, Nyanza and Eastern recorded 82% each.

READ ALSO: DP Ruto states the condition under which Uhuru and Raila might hold talks

Macharia said the sampling frame was developed using Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) with the registered voter distribution as the weighting factor.

The sample was further split into key demographic groups including by region, age and gender.

The key administrative boundary was the district of residence, which was further split into both urban and rural.

Sampling technique adopted was purposive, random and systematic. This was done so as to ensure that every registered voter in Kenya was given an equal opportunity to participate.

Do you have a life-changing story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through news@tuko.co.ke or WhatsApp: 0732482690 and Telegram: Tuko news.

Story by Dan Ole Muhuni, Tuko Correspondent, Nairobi county.

Man who chopped and sold women’s breasts wants forgiveness – On Tuko TV

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Source: Tuko.co.ke





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Life lessons learnt in the heart of the Masai Mara

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By NG’ANG’A MBUGUA
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The lion and the zebra may both live cheek by jowl in the vast savannahs of the Maasai Mara, no two animals are so unlike when it comes to fatherhood. But both the carnivore and the herbivore have important lessons they can teach me on the subject.

On any given day, Father Lion is aloof to his cubs, keeping his distance high up in the rocky knolls as Mother Lioness plays with her young ones most day, rolling in the grass, cleaning each others coats and, when hunger pangs bite, going for the kill as one.

But the lioness and her cubs know that when they have zeroed in on a prey that is too big or too strong for them, they can always count on the lion – the pride of the pride so to speak – to deliver the killer blow. Unfortunately for the lioness and her little ones, once lunch has been served, they have to step back a respectable distance and wait until the king of the jungle has had his fill. That is why what Father Lion eats is called “the lion’s share”. But to his credit, and unlike many a man in the animal kingdom, he is present at most meal times.

Once in a while, the lioness and her cubs will bring down an eland, or a wildebeest, and gobble it down without the knowledge of the lion. That is what we witnessed when we visited the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, one of the 17 conservancies in the Maasai Mara.

“How come the lion is not here to share in the meal?” we asked, marvelling at the satiated lioness lying in the grass as her cubs tore away juicy pieces off the body of a wildebeest.

“He did not get the memo,” said our guide Philip Mushaba, who works for the Olare Mara Kempinski camp, a five-star establishment that offers its guests a touch of European luxury mixed with an authentic African experience of the wilds.

Indeed, the lion was away surveying his territory. As the dominant male in his pride, one of his key responsibilities is to secure his family and keep away the competition. The day he is not strong enough to fight them off is the day he loses his all and is cast away to die in ignominy. And because he has to fight many other males to secure his territory, this reduces his life expectancy to 12 years compared to 16 for the lioness.

Unlike the lioness, for whom bonding with the young ones is the biggest responsibility, the lion spends most of his time alone.

“He does not like to be bothered by the cubs. He takes offence when they step on his claws,” Philip told us as we watched a pride of cubs welcoming their two mothers who were returning from a stroll. They hugged and purred and ran out to meet the two females in a happy re-union. The lionesses led them to the river to quench their thirst.

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Whereas the lion is the alpha and macho man of the wilds, the zebra is the sentimental and caring male. The moment his female companion or companions become pregnant, he makes it his duty to stand by her. He will be there, doing sentry duty, when the calf is born and stands by his family until the calf is old enough to fend for itself.

The zebra is no different from the humble warthog, the most forgetful creature in the African wilds. This weakness, embedded in the warthog’s DNA, can make it so easy for the parents to lose their young ones especially in the long grass. To get around their own forgetfulness, and that of their little ones, the father and mother always raise their tails. That way, their young ones can always follow them, especially when they are running away from predators.

According to Philip, the animals use their tails as a GPS, which helps their offspring find their way around the world. For humans, a moral compass is more important, for without it, their children will be lost and arrive in adulthood bewildered, lacking a moral orientation, and experience difficulties finding something they can stand for. And, as we say, those who cannot stand for anything will fall for anything.

The most sobering lesson for fathers will probably be taught by the male buffalo. When he becomes too old to compete with young studs in the herd, he will be banished from his family. He will be lucky to find others like him who have suffered a similar fate, and together, spend their sunset days staring into the distance with nothing to do to give their lives meaning.

This is a conversation that came up at a dinner table last week when one man, an architect, narrated how he struggled to take care of his mother when she was ailing. After she passed on, his children came to him and said: “Dad, we admire your patience and commitment to your mother but we do not have it in us. Please make arrangements for your old age.”

Which left me thinking. That people do not just do safaris in the wild for the heck of it. When we are shorn of all pretensions, we are at base, animals. We live in our world in which how far you can see (into the future, into your life and into your environment) is as important as what you know. If a man is a lion, his next meal will be guaranteed by his sight. And if he is a zebra, his very survival depends on it.

Last, but not least, fathers can learn from the wildebeest for whom the power of community is the biggest life insurance. When they spot danger, the herbivores will make noises that are enough to irritate the enemy, and guarantee their safety as a group. However, the moment one steps away from the norm and the herd, he is exposed to every imaginable danger. Nothing can save him when the enemy strikes and he has to stare death in the eye, surrounded by hyenas.





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