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September 13, 2012
September 13, 2012
A Kenyan mother of two facing eviction from her apartment on Friday, September 14th, has appealed for help from anybody to prevent her from being thrown into the streets with her children.
The woman, who lives in Sollentuna municipality, told KSB that she has been renting an apartment from someone in Stockholm who has decided to throw her out without notice. “I am in desperate need of a place as soon as possible”, she told KSB.
She said that she has reached out to people she knows, contacted the municipality where she lives and done everything in her power to get a place where she can shelter her children as winter approaches but failed. “I feel helpless but I try to stay strong for my children”, she told KSB.
“All I would request is to may be request or write on your blog and ask if anyone is willing to live with me as inneboende (tenant) with the kids too. Or better still, if anyone has word of an available apartment somewhere”, she told KSB, adding that she has an income while she is not “paperless”.
The woman said that although she is a very private person, she had decided not to keep quiet and succumb to depression like Nyambu, a Kenyan woman who murdered her two children in September last year out of frustrations.
The woman sounded like she was getting at the end of the road with her problems hoping that an appeal through KSB will help her see light at the end of the tunnel. She now has less than 24 hours to go before she is thrown out in the streets with her children, a scenario which appeared to scare her to death.
After failing to pay her rent for months, Nyambu drowned her two children in a lake in Sigtuna due to social frustrations, economic disintegration, hopelessness, psychological disorientation and lack of help. Prior to killing the kids, Nyambu had been abandoned by friends while she claimed that the social authorities had also refused to help her. Nyambu did not however try to reach out to the community for help.
While contacting KSB, the woman appeared to place herself exactly in Nyambu’s situation and her next move if she fails to get help remains unpredictable. Although it was impossible to adequately access her psychological condition, she appeared to send signals of fear, disparity and panic if the KSB appeal doesn’t result in any help.
KSB has the woman’s telephone number and anybody willing to help can contact the blog admin for further action.
September 12, 2012
September 11, 2012
For the last two weeks, Teachers and University lecturers have been on strike, demanding higher wages in the face of rising cost of living in Kenya. The teachers are demanding a 300% wage hike while University lecturers are demanding that the process of an earlier agreement reached between their Union and the government for a wage hike following a strike action last year be re-opened to pave the way for a pay hike.
Yesterday, President Mwaki Kibaki broke his silence over the strike issue by urging the striking teachers and lecturers “to be sensitive to the country’s economic status in their demands for pay rise”
The Kenya Red Alliance urges the striking workers to totally ignore the President’s empty pleas and continue with the strike until their demands are met.
This is because just like all workers in Kenya, Teachers and Lecturers can no longer live on their current wages. If there is anybody who ought to be “sensitive to the country’s economic status”, President Kibaki should be the first on the line. Despite sleeping at State House for much of his time or doing absolutely nothing, the President earns Ksh 2.5 million per month while the State pays for his housing, food, transport, security, entertainment, medical care, second wife and every imaginable activity he engages in.
Secondly, Kibaki has allowed his MPs to be insensitive to the country’s economic realities to an extent that the MPs have been increasing their salaries and allowances at will through Parliament. Recently, Parliament was refurbished and at a time when the country is said to be experiencing economic difficulties, the same government spent almost a billion Kenyan shillings on the purchase of seats that were fitted for MP’s comfort in the new refurbished Parliament.
Thirdly, the government has been wasting billions of Kenyan shillings in fighting a useless proxy war in Somalia. As a consequence, the war has attracted militant Islamic fundamentalists who have been terrorizing innocent civilians in retaliation through the use of hand grenades which have so far killed scores of Kenyans in different parts of the country and left hundreds of Kenyans with an assortment of injuries.
Instead of calling for “dialogue” with the striking workers, the government should first implement earlier agreements reached through dialogue between the government and the workers’ representatives. It is deceitful for President Kibaki to call for dialogue now when he knows that the striking workers have had tens of dialogues which have not produced any results because the government has been dishonest. What is the record?
Teachers are demanding that agreements signed since 1997 be honoured while the Lecturers have also demanded that agreements linked to the CBA of 2010/2011 and 2012/2014 be finalized as a condition for their return to work. The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) signed a CBA in 2008 with the universities council and the government committing to start negotiations on their pay but up to date, nothing has happened. In fact, the Kibaki government went to sleep as soon as the agreements were signed.
Over the years, the government has had a history of cheating workers into returning to work with agreements that are never honoured and it is important that the striking workers learn to understand that Kenya has a chameleon government that will never award them any pay rise unless they get more militant and uncompromising.
No “return to work” without pay rise
The Kenya Red Alliance urges Doctors in Kenya to follow the example of the Teachers and Lecturers by laying down their tools as soon as possible to widen the strike so as to put an end to starvation wages that have ravaged millions of workers across the country. KRA welcomes the Doctor’s threat to down their tools next Thursday if the last agreement between the Doctor’s representatives and the government is not honoured. It is time that the government is plunged into an even deeper crisis by the impoverished workers.
The politics of KRA is based on leading Workers to power and a collective strike action is one of the most powerful tools on the hands of workers against their thieving bosses. Workers should not be afraid of a government collapse through strike action because KRA is available to show alternative leadership with workers at the helm.
KRA takes this opportunity to congratulate all workers currently on strike while the Alliance urges workers in other sectors to join their colleagues by staging sympathy strikes across the country because deprivation of a section of workers in Kenya is tantamount to deprivation of all workers in Kenya.
The Coalition government must understand that workers in Kenya can no longer be taken for a ride as corrupt MPs like Amos Kimunya are allowed to steal billions of Kenyan shillings from taxes paid by workers. Since the Kibaki government took power in 2003, money that has been stolen by Kibaki’s hand-picked friends in government could have financed the current wage hikes being demanded by workers, majority of whom can no longer live from hand to mouth. The disparaging conditions under which workers live in Kenya is simply unacceptable.
KRA urges workers to view the Alliance as their Party and to begin preparing psychologically for a power take over as a way of solving the problem of starvation wages among workers in Kenya.
For more than a decade, workers have been taking strike actions and negotiating with a deaf government that is itself insensitive to the poor conditions in which workers live. Under the circumstances, why should workers sympathize with such a government or enter into fresh agreements which will be dumped in the bin as soon as they are signed?
Time for political deceit is over. KRA is firmly behind the striking workers because the Alliance views their demands as legitimate, timely, just, long overdue and democratic under the new Constitution which also guarantees the right of workers to resort to strike action as may be necessary. All workers in Kenya have a right to live on their wages and if this is not possible because the government has no control of prices of basic consumer commodities, workers are left with no option but to take strike action.
The next step following the strike actions is for the striking workers to form strong strike committees across the country and prepare for demonstrations as the government moves to intimidate them with the sack and other outmoded threats. It is important that the striking workers appeal to workers in other sectors to show solidarity with them by warning the government against taking any illegal action against the striking workers who are acting within the limits of the new Constitution.
The striking workers should also not accept any bogus deals between compromised Union officials and the government as has always been the case. There should be no bogus return to work formulas because all possible formulas have already been submitted to the government. The government must first act on all pending formulas before new ones can be reached.
Workers must send a clear signal to the government that they can bring it down at any time so that KRA can take over and meet all the demands to pave the way for a decent living standard for all workers in Kenya.
There should be no surrender to a corrupt, undemocratic, illegal and cheating government that is insensitive to the welfare of more than 15 million tax paying workers across Kenya. Without workers there can be no government and therefore, without a pay rise there should be no return to work regardless of the formula. Surely, there are times when enough is not just enough but is also seen to be enough!
Kenya Red Alliance (KRA)
September 10, 2012
My name is Evans Kamau and I am 32 years of age. I am a Kenyan by birth, from Nairobi, but have been living in Stockholm, Sweden, for the last decade. I am a computer engineer by profession. Next to this, I have attended different business administration courses, such as accounting, sales, risk assessment, pricing and marketing. For the last 5 years, I have been running a taxi business in Stockholm – Taxitime storstockholm AB. It has 5 cars and 15 employees. In 2011, the company had a turnover of 7,8 million SEK (approx. 950,000 EUR).
I have also been importing fruits, vegetables and flowers from Kenya to Sweden, currently facing challenges in freight logistics, which have made it difficult to guarantee timely delivery to my clients. With a family background of business in coffee growing, animal production, hotel and restaurant industry, I have a diverse experience in the functionality of the Kenyan market.
It has come to the point in my current company, where I can run it remotely with the help of a manager to oversee the operations. This is why I have decided to start a new business that I am going to present today.
Brief presentation of the business plan: Business concept
Nairo-Bio Limited is a company intended to introduce a new concept of renewable energies in the Kenyan market. The basic idea is to convert used cooking oils widely used in the restaurant industry to biodiesel. Other oil sources have also been identified like animal fat from the animal slaughter houses, croton seed oil, jathropha seeds, castor oil seeds, sunflower oil. These different sources have been researched and found in Kenya in large quantities. Kenya as a non-petroleum producing country heavily relies on this product import. Biodiesel would provide a great alternative fuel source that would both be environmentally friendly and economically viable.
There is a high demand for alternative fuels in Kenya, the transport industry is yearning to find cheaper and more efficient fuels to run in their vehicles.
The research, I carried out in December 2011, revealed large need for alternate fuels as the normal diesel prices were becoming uneconomical to run any transport business. The running costs in most companies were quoted as at least 30-50% of total company costs.
The only other similar concept of bio-diesel was in the place called Nanyuki, 2.5 hour drive from Nairobi on a very small scale production, about 100 litres per day, providing bio-diesel to the local personal transport vans better known as ‘matatus’.
I have gone to different places to see the possibilities, contacted the Kenyan government to get the policies and rules. All bio-diesel producing equipment would be duty free and the environmental section has put in place different measures to encourage this line of industry.
I am happy to announce that this far, I have very good feedback. Kenya has a lot of fried food eateries, especially around Nairobi. I found that most of the used oils are poured out down the drain, which is not only bad for the environment but a waste of a perfectly good alternative fuel. There was also a lot of animal fats at the slaughter houses. I have also taken into consideration the many other possibilities of raw material in bio-diesel terms known as feedstock, such as jathropha seeds, castor oil seeds, croton seeds, sunflower oil etc. These sources are in plenty in Kenya and have been found to have very high quality oil feedstock for bio-diesel production.
I have been to the Alfa laval Ageratec bio-diesel processor plant in Norrköping Sweden and went through their different types of processors. I found that the 1000 or 3000 litres a day machines would be a perfect starting point for my new business. Due to the very high acquisition prices for the equipment, I have been looking at second hand equipment, which has a market value of about 300,000 SEK (approx. 36,000 EUR) for a 1000 litres / 24 hour production unit. This would be the single most expensive part of the whole set up. Transport to Kenya would not pose a problem with the shipping companies. I have also looked into installation. Alpha laval has a local office in Kenya and would assist with the installation and after sale service of the equipment. Visiting an already working unit has also been very enlightening. I intend to go back again and spend a few days at Tolefors gård, a bio-diesel producing plant in Nörrköping. I had the privilege of hosting the plant owners in Nairobi and got invaluable consultation time with them with regard to my planned set up.
With a proposed unit that would run on 1000 ltr / 24 hours, we have planned to start production at 500 ltrs a day for the first quarter running 20 days a working month, eventually going up to 600, 700, 800 ltrs a day for 2, 3, 4 quarter of the first year. By the start of the second year, the production would be up for 100%, thus producing and average of 1000 litres a day.
Used cooking oil acquisition has been estimated at a low price of 1.5 SEK (approx. 0.18 EUR) a litre since most of it is poured down the drain, even after considering the other sources like animal fats that are also disposed off. Most of the cost of buying them would be at a symbolic level. The restaurants and slaughter houses contacted, actually took it as a better way of disposal.
The company will have all different operational departments, to cater from sales, purchases, production and maintenance. As mentioned earlier, Alfa laval has a local office in Kenya and that will go a great way in the maintenance front.
Marketing and communication
A local advertising agency will be helping in the branding and advertisement strategy of this company, since this is a fairly new concept in the Kenyan market. With great demand it should not be a problem promoting the product.
I have already been in touch with a few transport firms that are ready to run on bio-diesel. The pricing and delivery logistics are underway. A few private fuel stops in the proposed production area are also willing to work with us on the distribution level, where private clients can fuel just like in normal diesel fuelling. Since most of these companies have their parking depots we would deliver the bio-diesel straight to them. We are coming up with a contract that would cover quantities and quality assurance with pricing concepts. Since no modification is required for running on bio-diesel, clients would be able to fuel and continue running any diesel vehicle as usually.
A piece of land has already been acquired in Nairobi where the proposed facility would be built on, but this would only happen after the second year. The first year, the company will rent a warehouse facility. The equipment does not take much space, rent costs would not be in excess. Sales price has been estimated at 6.4 SEK (approx. 0.77 EUR) / litre exclusive 16% Vat in Kenya. Current normal diesel prices in Kenya are 8.0 SEK (approx. 0.97 EUR) / litre exclusive VAT.
With the current world oil prices unstable, I see a lot of potential in making bio-diesel in Nairobi and its environs. It is a better alternative fuel economically, and, considering its advantage in better engine lubrication, I have shared these views with a couple of transport companies which welcomed the initiative.
In Kenya, people are becoming more environmentally friendly and see the danger coming from global warming. I see this as a direct opportunity to offer an alternative, more eco-friendly option.
Bio-diesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl (methyl, propyl or ethyl) esters. This product is a very successful, world renowned environmentally friendly option that was discovered to help provide an alternative fuel that is both green and economically friendly. Bio-diesel has been used in different countries around the world and has proven a good option.
September 8, 2012
September 5, 2012