Kenya’s First Lady’s ‘Beyond Zero Campaign” is a Cheap Publicity Stunt


On January 24, 2014 Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign which will provide prenatal and postnatal medical treatment to women and children in Kenya. On March 9, 2014 she participated in the Nairobi international half marathon (21 kilometers) to raise awareness and mobilize resources to fund pre-natal and post-natal access. Around Ksh100 million was raised. She is also participating in the London Marathon on April 13, 2014. However, does it require the First Lady to run marathons to support maternal and child healthcare in Kenya? Parallels can be drawn from the failed activities of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki soon after her husband came to power.

After she settled in State House, Lucy was concerned with disabled persons and was also a chairperson of the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids (OAFLA). However, in 2006, she commented that: “Those who are still in school have no business having access to condoms. Those who are in university and are not married have no business having condoms in their halls of residence.” Her position contradicted Government policy which promotes the use of condoms. Being a follower of the Catholic faith, she could have been influenced by the Vatican’s then-stand on condom use. It was irresponsible for Mrs. Kibaki to utter such words because it is scientifically proven that condoms protect users against many sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, Kenyan youths are known to be sexually active from the age of twelve and abstinence is not an option for the majority. Unfortunately, there is nothing memorable about Mrs. Kibaki’s fight against HIV/Aids in Kenya.

OAFLA was established in 2002 “as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people, women and children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic” ( Further information indicates that it has transformed from a “forum of ideas to an institution capable of providing the continent-wide leadership needed to bring about change in peoples’ lives.” But there is no clear visibility of OAFLA, since most African First Ladies are better known for corruption and other scandals, more than improving the wellbeing of women and children. In this respect, both Lucy and Margaret are no exception. For instance in Cameroon, First Lady Chantal Biya “is famous for her hairstyles. Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions. Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya. She is also known because of her exotic wardrobe. Some of her favourite designers include high-end Western labels such as Chanel or Dior.” (See

Mrs. Biya’s husband, President Paul Biya, has been in power since 1982 and is said to be worth around $200-$300 million, mostly invested in mansions within Europe. “The U.S. imported $544 million worth of crude and fuel oil from Cameroon in 2008 and exported $59 million worth of drilling and oilfield equipment but still the citizens don’t see all this profit.” (See In 2009, President Biya was widely criticized by a French online newspaper for renting a villa in France for €30,000 per day during a vacation in France, yet his country is one of the poorest in the world with 48% of its population living below the poverty line ($2,257 GDP per capita in 2011).

Beyond Zero Campaign is below par

According to, the Beyond Zero campaign is “part of the initiatives outlined in the Strategic Framework for the engagement of the First Lady in HIV control and promotion of maternal, newborn and child health in Kenya that was unveiled on World AIDS Day 2013. The framework aims to galvanize high-level leadership in ending new HIV infections among children and reducing HIV related deaths among women and children in Kenya.” But the worst preventable killer diseases among children in Kenya are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. At the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, statistics show five deaths per week resulting from the three diseases.

Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta’s initiative may just be another sideshow to put a ‘human face’ to the incompetent Jubilee government which has high dreams with zero delivery. When her husband President Uhuru Kenyatta announced free public maternity care for all women as part of his 2013 election promise, it was expected that clear policy guidelines would be drawn to ensure its smooth implementation. However, almost a year later, there are not enough skilled professionals and adequate equipment to control maternal-child mortality. A UNICEF report released in September 2013 indicated that “in Kenya, 73 children out of 1,000 births die before age five.” (See Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed).

#sickat50 was a trending hashtag on Twitter during Kenya’s 50th Independence anniversary in December 2013 by the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) that tweeted: “We will witness the worst migration of doctors out of public service and out of Kenya. It will only be comparable to the doctor migration of the 1980s.” By March 2014, there were 18 public hospital doctors resigning per month in various counties. Dr. Wambui Waithaka who is co-founder and the National Treasurer of KMPDU wrote that: “Today’s resignations have the following reasons attached to them: “mismanagement of the devolved health functions by the county governments with missed salaries, reduced salaries (caused by omission of certain allowances that make up the doctor’s salary), frozen promotions of those due for promotion and delayed salaries that delay standing obligations such as rent and other bills). Frustrations on tribal lines with some county teams blatantly discriminating doctors on ethnic grounds and poor morale. Doctors are loosely advised by members of the county government to migrate to counties where their tribesmen can be found in larger numbers.” (In

President Uhuru Kenyatta is already in London with his entourage of Jubilee sycophants to cheer the First Lady during the marathon. This is at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers, yet the health sector is on its knees. The cost of his trip and that of his wife and her team reflects the Jubilee government’s continuous wastage of public resources. Mrs. Kenyatta does not need to run marathon races to buy mobile clinics for the 47 counties to improve maternal-child healthcare. The awareness is already there and money is available, yet as long as corruption is not uprooted, her initiative will fail. Fifty years after attaining independence, the doctor-patient ratio in Kenya is still 1:18000 against the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 1:1000. The Jubilee Government should monitor the devolved healthcare programs at the county levels to ensure efficiency. Further, there are so many governmental efforts and international initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals that need to be streamlined instead of creating new ones.

Here is the list of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s carers in London sponsored by taxpayers. It is notable that except for one person, they are mainly from her Kikuyu tribe: Mrs. Gakonyo – personal assistant; Mr. Robin Nyambu- Chef; Mr. Edwin Ndegwa – waiting staff; Mrs. Rose Wachira – waiting staff; Mr. Odin Ondari – waiting staff; Mr. Maina Kigaga – Head of media; Mr. Peter Kimotho – Head of security team and the medical team of Dr. Amos Ndiritu- medical team; Dr. Gichunuku Gikundi – Medical team; Mr. Paul Mabuka – Paramedic physiotherapist; Mr. Kariuki – Physiotherapist. (In the Daily Nation).

Apart from this entourage being funded by the tax payer, Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in London together with his own entourage comprising of sycophants, sidekicks, lapdogs, bootlickers, parasites, security detail and an assortment of idlers who follow the President everywhere. At a time when more than 10 million Kenyans are faced with starvation; doctors are resigning from government hospitals due to poor pay and lack of medical equipment; millions of children are dying out of treatable diseases and the Jubilee government failing on each and every election pledge, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s trip to London in the name of marathon is a big waste of both public resources and valuable time that could have been used in building the Nation.

Seriously, Kenyans ought to see through the cheap antics of the First Lady whose London trip is wasting the very funds she claims, she is trying to raise. Instead of seeking cheap publicity by exploiting the enormous suffering of millions of poor Kenyans as a result of a collapsed health care system and decayed infrastructure in the health sector, the First Lady should be advising her husband on ways of curbing corruption in government because then, she wouldn’t need to go around town running in fake marathons.

Succinctly put, the First Lady’s marathon project is nothing but a cheap publicity stunt to try and give the callous Jubilee government a human face. The “Beyond Zero” campaign is totally below par, does not cut and has nothing to do with improvement of health care in Kenya. On the contrary,  it has more to do with the notorious culture of overt deception and hoodwinking of the poor by Kenya’s corrupt and rotten ruling class represented by the President, the First Lady and Company. Kenyans must wake up and see through this deception.

Jared Odero


  • 1st lady London marathon
  • Classic example of kenyans political retardation. The first lady did not land from the moon she has been in kenya for 50 years, did she just wake up and notice these myriads of problem plaguing Kenyans? her family and her in laws are part of the problem, matter fact they are the problem. When one family grab land size of a province you deny the natives major component of economic production. War on maternal plight no matter how noble is reduced to treating the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. What kenyans need is jobs, level the playing field as opposed to tribal appointments where every other appointment go to either kikuyu or kalenjins savages, and equitable distribution of national cake.

    Pandering to the the White british colonialist PR machine might earn her and her criminally indicted husband some love and a few pounds but the journey to true love of the nation has to start from her looking in the mirror. A good start would be reading on how Lornho Africa is responsible to many problem afflicting our people.

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  • this is more of a policy issue and government funding issue that should be addressed
    at cabinet level rather than through some PR gimmicks. Jubilee government funding to health care is around 5% of national budget this should be around 15% if we are ever going to make a dent to health care issues.

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  • Madam Kenyatta wasting money

    Anyway, in other news, it is now emerging that donors may have shunned the whole Mrs Uhuru thing.

    Apart from those who were already in the programme right from the beginning, no new entrants made endorsements or contributions to the Kenyattas noble cause.

    The Kenyan taxpayer, on the other end, has been left to foot a staggering Ksh 100 million for the First Lady, including costs to her aides, PR ‘handlers’, security, food, and small shoppings in London’s upmarket malls.

    The other day, one of his handlers revealed they turned London upside down looking for the right drinking (bottled) water!

    Joining the first lady were the usual joyriders in the Kenyan politics. At hand to cheer the First Lady walk around in London included ODM-Jubilee politician John Nkaissery. Also present was the Somali hegemon Aden Duale, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and, of course, Margaret’s husband, Uhuru Kenyatta, president.

    Ksh 100 million. Gone.

  • Kenya's poor spending on healthcare

    Kenya’s 2013/14 Health budget cuts threaten to cripple sector
    Updated Saturday, June 15th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

    By Paul Wafula

    NAIROBI, KENYA: For every Sh100 President Uhuru’s Government will spend this year, only about Sh5 will go towards the ailing healthcare system.

    This is less than last year and only a third of what Kenya and other African countries pledged to invest on healthcare two decades ago. It also makes 2013 the fourth year in a row that Kenya has cut health spending in a trend sector insiders say is grinding medical facilities to a halt.

    In 2010, Kenya spent Sh7.20 for each Sh100 on healthcare. This fell to Sh6.10 in 2011 and last year, it was further cut to Sh5.9. This year, the national and county governments plan to spend Sh5.70 per Sh100 on the sector, translating to 5.7 per cent of the Sh1.6 trillion budget.

    Doctors have termed the trend “a catastrophe”. They note the Government will spend Sh2.50 this year for every Sh100, and worry that counties are likely to follow the precedent set by the National Government.

    The underfunding is happening at a time when most medical equipment in public health facilities are more than 20 years old, some double their lifespan, and may experience frequent breakdowns.

    Lacked equipment

    Last week, The Standard reported how a Kisumu clinical officer at Chula Imbo hospital recently watched a mother and her unborn child die because an ambulance did not have fuel to ferry her to the Kisumu General hospital for specialised treatment.

    In a month long campaign that seeks to get to the bottom of Kenya’s medical negligence, we also reported how a health officer helplessly watched a 12 year-old child die of meningitis at Malava District hospital in Kakamega County because the facility the child was transferred from lacked the proper equipment to diagnose and treat the disease. It was too late to provide effective treatment to the child at Malava.�

    �“All of us at the ministry know that this is not enough. But what do we do? We just have to do with what we are given,” a senior official familiar with budgeting at the Health Ministry, who requested not to be named for fear of retribution, told The Standard On Saturday. Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, raised concern over the inadequate funds. Mr Macharia says his docket needs Sh160 billion, but only received Sh34.7billion.�

    But even worse, at least 40 per cent of the total budget allocation is lost through corruption, questionable procurement and misappropriation of funds. “We lose 20 to 40 per cent as has been documented in a World Health Organisation report,” said Dr Boniface Chitayi, the former secretary general of the doctors union.

    It has also emerged that the Government has no intention of implementing the Musyimi task force report, that is critical in reforming the sector, given the competing interests on expenditure under a tight budgetary environment.


    “It is now apparent that the whole process of developing it was primarily to hoodwink doctors into ending their strike of 2011. The great document that came out of the process has been thrown onto the shelves of the archives to gather dust,” Dr Sultani Matendechero, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union ( KMPDU) secretary general said via email sent to us.

    The doctors union says most hospitals need weighing scales, thermometers, blood pressure machines, glucometers, stethoscopes, laryngoscopes, foetoscopes, patella hammers, pulse oximeters, ultrasound machines, incubators, delivery beds and so on. The needs in terms of infrastructure are colossal.

    “We also need renal dialysis machines, MRI and CT-Scan machines in selected hospitals. The list is endless. Our hospitals are in a pathetic state,” Dr Matendechero added.

    The Government however, says that devolution has added a new matrix to the implementation of the report given that the bulk of health functions are being devolved.

    “Implementing it (the report) will be done over the years. What has not been clear is that some money has been allocated to the county governments, so the total expenditure will be more than the Sh34.7billion allocated for the National Government,” the Director of Public Health and Sanitation Dr Shahnaz Kassam Sharif said in a telephone interview.

    The Standard On Saturday has established that the county governments have been allocated Sh60 billion for health in addition to the Sh34.7billion set aside for the National Government. This brings the total allocation to Sh95 billion, or 5.7 per cent of the budget.�

    But doctors argue that it is impossible for counties to spend over Sh60 billion on health. They say the� county Governments will not spend 28 per cent of their money on health alone given that they have other priorities like infrastructure, salaries, and local developments funds. Even if the counties were to spend the entire Sh60 billion allocation on health, it would still mean there has been a reduction to the sector progressively over the last ten years.

    Doctors have maintained that unless the Government implements the reforms, there is no end for the pain that patients are undergoing due to underfunding of the sector.�

    According to the Musyimi task force report made available to The Standard On Saturday, the National Treasury was to allocate a minimum of Sh217 billion to the Health Ministry to implement a three-year plan dubbed the health stimulus package. This was to begin last year. But the Government has apparently developed cold feet.� Treasury was also to increase progressively, at 2 per cent per annum, the Ministry of Health budget until Kenya can achieve the Abuja Target of 15 per cent of the budget.

    Data from the economic survey 2013, and budget estimates, reveal that Health Ministry allocation was reduced significantly in the last three years where spending decreased from 7.2 per cent in 2010 of the Sh998.8 billion budget, to 6.1 per cent in 2011 and 5.9per cent in the Sh1.5 trillion budget of 2012.

    The sector is running on less than a third of its recommended budget. Though the real figures have been growing year on year, the increment has not matched the pace of the total budget. The health sector has not been prioritised at the same level as education and infrastructure.

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    Goodluck Jonathan gives out customised iPhones to guests at daughter’s wedding
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    President Goodluck Jonathan’s first Child, Faith married her boo, Godswill Osim Edward today in at the Abuja Ecumenical Centre.

    The ceremony was broadcast live on NTA, where many state governors and other dignitaries were in attendance.

    Guests at the wedding received customised i-phones designed by Actress Tonto Dikeh’s boyfriend, Michael aka Malivelihood.

    The phones were packed in white packs with a golden ‘thank you’ for coming note’.

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  • “But the worst preventable killer diseases among children in Kenya are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia. At the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, statistics show five deaths per week resulting from the three diseases.”

    Then First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is focusing on wrong priorities.

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    Is Citizen TV’s Jacqui Maribe Pregnant with Ruto’s Child?

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    Claims have emerged through close friends of Deputy President William Ruto and Citizen TV political affairs reporter, Jacqui Maribe, that she is pregnant with the DP’s child. According to close friends of the two, the DP and Jacqui have been known to be close, a fact which might have made her score the EXCLUSIVE of the century, Interview with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.

    Jacqui formerly dated The Star journalist, Oliver Mathenge who is also very close to the powers that be. She might gained her footing through the relationship with Oliver. She is currently heavily pregnant.

    DP Ruto is known to have a soft spot for ladies as she is currently married to Rachel Ruto but is also linked to a single lady who lives in South B’s Balozi estate. He was once linked to youthful Senator Naisula Lesuuda especially when he hosted her during his trip to West Africa with the Hustlers’ Jet. But Bill, as DP Ruto is famously called, is very good in taking care of his offsprings. He has always provided for the 10 or so kids he has from different relationships.

    Jacqui recently hooked up a businessman with DP Ruto’s contact even having the senior Jubilee coalition partner open a building in North Rift.

    What do you think?

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    Ukraine on Thursday disbanded an army unit that lost six armoured vehicles to pro-Russian militants, as Kiev’s military reeled from a disastrous attempt to oust separatists in its eastern regions. “The 25th parachute brigade, members of which showed cowardice and gave up their weapons, will be…

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  • Mugabe on corruption

    “Are we now like Nigeria where you have to reach your pocket to get anything done? You see we used to go to Nigeria and every time we went there we had to carry extra cash in our pockets to corruptly pay for everything. You get into a plane in Nigeria and you sit there and the crew keeps dilly dulling without taking off as they wait for you to pay them to fly the plane,”
    President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

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