November 24, 2014

A weekend at Mtwapa’s luxurious beach apartments


I first heard of it two years ago when it won the best architectural design in Africa at the African real estate awards. It was a pioneer all-suite hotel. When I recently visited Pangoni Sea Resort, and all I could say is O my! Wamae! This is apartment living at its best. I was welcomed to Mombasa by a damp heat that promised rain on a Saturday afternoon. I was still smarting from having missed my bargain Jambojet flight (Sh2,950 for a flight sounds like loose change!) that morning and paying dearly for it. 28 kilometres later, I was oohing…

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Farm in Machakos where female fish are turned into males


A system of elaborate water pipes, cemented tanks and tunnels joining the tanks to form what looks like miniature swimming pools is what you see when you enter this premises in Mua Hills, Machakos County. At an adjacent chamber, more water pipes, buckets, and electricity switches dot the cool room whose temperatures are regulated. Thousands of fish fingerlings can be seen swimming in the water buckets. These, we learn, are tilapia juvenile fishes. Welcome to Kamuthanga Fish Farm, where female fish fingerlings undergo sex reversal to become male. The fish hatchery has an estimated 800,000 to 1 million fingerlings. Joseph…

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I abandoned American dream to rear pigs back home in Kenya


After 45 minutes of a torturous drive on pothole-riddled Nakuru-Nyahururu road, we finally arrive at Ezra Waweru’s farm at Ahero village, Bahati, Nakuru. We are ushered into his compound by storey structures that occupy about 10 by 100 feet of his two-acre farm. The wooden structures are sties in which pigs are chewing away on fodder. Some can be seen resting while others are snuffing and snouting. Some sows and boars are in droves of 10 to 15 while others are alone in their sties. “The one who is lying on hay is about to deliver. Once she starts moving…

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Vimal, Uhuru and Kirubi dropped from Forbes list of Africa’s 50 richest people


Forbes magazine has released its fourth annual list of Africa’s richest people, setting the stage for renewed controversy over how it is compiled. It reveals that, unlike its neighbours Uganda and Tanzania, Kenya has no dollar billionaires despite being the biggest economy in East Africa and the ninth largest on the continent. Only two Kenyans make the list, Bidco Oil’s Bhimji Depar Shah ($700 million) and Sameer Group’s Naushad Merali ($550 million). Bhimji is the father of Bidco Oil CEO Vimal Shah, who was listed last year with a family net worth $1.6 billion. Forbes says “new information” has led…

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Super-rich Kenyans escape global wealth trackers’ spotlight


When consumer goods maker Bidco’s chief executive Vimal Shah heard that he had been listed as Kenya’s richest man and the country’s only dollar billionaire, his reaction was sharp and resolute. “That is completely useless information. There is not a grain of truth in it and it is not worth a single penny from anyone,” he said. “People are so desperate for money that they just package a string of falsehoods for purposes of selling it to others,” Mr Shah said of the $2000 (Sh176,000) report. London-based research firm New World Wealth had in a report published early this week…

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Young woman who services President Uhuru’s official cars


Cynthia Achieng Ng’ang’a is not your ordinary young woman. At the tender age of 22 she is among a handful of women who have chosen to walk an unbeaten path into the male-dominated, culture-forbiding world of repairing cars. She is a trained vehicle mechanic and the only female at top firm DT Dobie. Her duty, among others, includes servicing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s official cars. Her passion, she recalled, dates back to her childhood days in Homa Bay, Nyanza, where she would spend time counting luxury cars as they passed by while on school holiday. The idea was to identify models…

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UK court exposes how IEBC officials pocketed millions of shillings in bribes for printing contracts


Kenya’s election officials pocketed millions of shillings in bribes to award lucrative printing contracts to a UK company over a two-year period, prosecution documents filed in a London court show. In a legal battle that has left in its wake one of the best documented cases of an international corruption network in Kenya’s history, the UK prosecutors have filed in court loads of written evidence implicating senior election officials in the corruption ring, including Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Issack Hassan. Court documents show that the Kenyan taxpayer paid dearly for the illicit dealings between senior Smith &…

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NSE’s top 4 female investors gain Sh2 billion in six months


Women stock market billionaires added nearly Sh2 billion to their paper wealth in the past six months riding the wave of steady price rallies on select counters where they have a presence. Lawyer Jane Wanjiru Michuki tops the list of big gainers who saw her portfolio increase by Sh1.2 billion ahead of businesswoman Jane Wangui, who gained Sh768.9 million. Leah Wanjiku Muguku, a kin of the late business magnate Nelson Muguku, closes the exclusive list of the stock market’s women billionaires, having gained Sh306.9 million in the same period. A recent price drop at Carbacid temporarily knocked off its top woman shareholder…

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Getting Health Insurance:- A Matter of Life and Death


Thomas Eric Duncan is the only person to die of Ebola on American soil. All others infected by the deadly disease in the US, received timely treatment and survived. A lot of people say that Mr. Duncan wouldn’t have died if he had health insurance. He was initially turned away and just given anti-biotics. If he had health insurance, he would have been admitted and a lot more tests performed to properly diagnose him. Having health insurance would have assured the hospital of getting compensated for their costly tests, time and expertise of the medical staff. A 2009 Harvard study…

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Why young Kenyan investors don’t want bedsitters


As housing demand rises, developers have adopted a popular approach to attract young homeowners; building affordable bachelor or bachelorette pads. For developers, owning a cheap, small house at a young age outweighs the extras like space and location, so they thought. But well-paid young bachelors and spinsters are not interested in the small, cube-like homes with numerous creative space-saving features. Their dreams are fixed on big, spacious homes in leafy suburbs. While two-bedroom and one-bedroom apartments are proving to be an easy sale to young buyers, developers are finding it hard to sell studio apartments and bedsitters in Nairobi. Acorn,…

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